Several Finnish Newspapers Report on the Persecution of Falun Gong

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On May the 13th, the Finnish Falun Dafa Association held a press conference in Helsinki about human rights in China. Many newspapers were represented as well as the Finnish news agency and radio news. The following day, newspapers all over Finland reported on important current human rights issues including the persecution of Falun Gong.

An article in the newspaper Turun Sanomat on May the 14th described how the human rights situation in China has been overshadowed by the so-called 'economic miracles' taking place there. The Executive Director of Laogai Foundation Mr. Harry Wu reminded everyone that human rights abuse in China continues as it always has done. Mr. Wu told the media that the Laogai system is still working in China, but the categories of crimes have changed with the years. “Those now being sent to labour camps are Catholics, Internet-criminals and Falun Gong practitioners”.

The morning paper Aamulehti reported more specifically about the Laogai prison system, where many imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have been sent: “Laogai is the biggest prison system based on forced labour, where, in addition to the labour, torture and 're-education' are practised. People who have been sent to camps must abandon their beliefs, such as Falun Gong or Christianity.”

According to some estimates there are at least 100 000 Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese labour camps. As an example of China’s human rights situation the newspaper explained the persecution experience of Falun Gong practitioner Jane Dai Zhizhen. The morning paper described how Dai’s husband was killed in 2001 while in the custody of the Chinese authorities because he would not renounce his belief in Falun Gong. “Dai Zhizhen has travelled around the world with her young daughter Fadu to over thirty-seven countries to tell her story so that the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China can be brought to an end.”

The Executive Director of the Association for Asian Research, Erping Zhang, explained in Aamulehti how the Chinese government "controls the country with fear, propaganda and lies.” “The censorship also includes, in 1999, the banning of the Falun Gong movement, whose Internet sites people don’t have any access to in China.” Practice of Falun Gong has been suppressed with a heavy hand.

At the press conference, Erping Zhang explained the reasons for the persecution of Falun Gong in more detail. According to Mr Zhang, Falun Gong was banned due to its popularity. “In the middle of the 1990s Falun Gong was recommended by the government as a health improving exercise and it was introduced abroad as a manifestation of Chinese culture. The ban was decided upon in 1999 after the number of Falun Gong practitioners grew to seventy million, according to a survey made by the Ministry of Public Security ”.

Originally published in Finnish at

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