During the last five to six years the international community quakes when hearing stories about the Chinese subjected to inhuman torture. In the 21st century similar accounts cause strong suspicions that the torture methods include force-feeding by pouring food in the trachea, burning with cigarettes, branding, electric-shock batons, beating and injecting drugs that cause harm to the nervous system. What is common between these cases is that the torture is directed towards a specific group of people, practising an ancient system to cultivate mind and body called Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong).
[Falun Gong practitioners] represent a huge number - 70 to 100 million people in China alone. The crackdown against them began in 1999, when the former Chinese President Jiang Zemin decided that the huge popularity of this cultivation system that refines mind and body and the overwhelming growth of the number of practitioners may have become a threat to his political power. He declared the system an unlawful “cult” and ordered the physical elimination of its followers. Since then, the people who are known to practise Falun Dafa, as well as their relatives, have been thrown in labour camps, jails, psychiatric hospitals; tortured in the most brutal ways and even killed.
Photos taken in Inner Mongolia show a barely alive body that is under thirty kilos. It belongs to Wang Xia, thirty years old, who is unconscious. The cause of her condition is two-years of torture for practising the ancient Chinese system for self-cultivation, Falun Gong.
Wang was sentenced to seven years in prison for distributing information about Falun Dafa. She had to serve the sentence in the city prison of Huhot in Inner Mongolia. There the woman was tied to a bed and her limbs were stretched. She was hung up with her head facing the ground, whipped with electric-shock batons, and deprived of food or use of the toilet. The purpose of the torture was to force her to sign a declaration to stop practising Falun Gong. But she didn’t give in. Her body became skin and bone and she was barely conscious. The culmination was reached when the supervisors decided to cremate her body while still alive. Their chief, however, refrained from that after her story was published on the Internet. They called her family to take her home to her four year old son.
A System for Obtaining Wisdom and Health
Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) is an ancient system for cultivation of character and body, integrating cosmic principles and five exercises. It was updated and offered to the public in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi. At that time he may never have guessed that in only six to seven years the followers would become seventy million. The practice goes way beyond the goal of qigong (the basis of Falun Gong) for treating illnesses and fitness and aims at wisdom and going back to the original altruistic nature of people. The basis of Falun Dafa is the cultivation of morality and refinement according to the cosmic nature and the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Practitioners upgrade their spirit, applying these principles in their daily lives and striving to be better and better. They try not to argue, swear or cause violence and they try not to be jealous, covetous, egoistic, haughty, etc. This, along with five meditative exercises, guarantees good health, relief from stress and inner peace.
Falun Dafa has No Religious Leader and is Free of Charge
Falun Dafa has no political, religious or commercial nature. The practice has no rituals or hierarchy. It is completely free of charge and followers are not obliged to express any special attitude towards its founder like Father Moon of the Moonies or others who proclaim themselves as messiahs and leaders of religious organisations. This universal system doesn’t have any limitations in everyday life and can be practiced anytime anywhere, which makes it very comfortable and interesting. By 1999 the practice became very popular not only in China. The government estimated that practitioners in parks and gardens were between 70 and 100 million people, i.e. much more than the communist party members (app. 65 million). The former president Jiang Zemin decided that the great popularity of Falun Dafa may threaten his political power and outlawed the practice. The protests of the majority of the Politburo members of the Chinese communist party, who also used the system remained unheard.
Those Beaten to Death are to be Counted as Suicide
”Ruin their reputation, bankrupt them and eliminate them physically!” “Every Falun Gong practitioner beaten to death is to be counted as suicide!” These are orders from the former head of China. Since then the people who are known to practise Falun Dafa, as well as their relatives, have been thrown in labour camps, prisons and psychiatric hospitals. They are tortured and even killed by the most inhumane methods – beating, forced feeding with a tube into the trachea, deprivation of sleep and toilet facilities, burning with cigarettes and branding, beating with electric-shock batons and mind-altering drug injections. These are just a fraction of the documented torture methods which China continues implementing before the eyes of the international community. Community activists, human rights defenders and international organisations have been trying to stop the violence in China for five to six years now. According to a report of Amnesty International, Falun Gong practitioners are the largest group of people in the world subjected to systematic torture and harassment.
More than Twenty Lawsuits Filed for Harassment
During the last six years, there are 1099 registered Falun Gong death cases as a result of torture in Chinese prisons and police stations. More than twenty lawsuits have been filed in more than fifteen countries against Jiang Zemin and other high-ranking government officials who participated in the persecution of Falun Dafa followers. The victims have won some of the lawsuits.
Following the repression initiated by the Chinese government in the summer of 1999, the founder of Falun Dafa made a short statement where he explains the methodology of Falun, Gong which is a popular qigong activity. He denies to have forbidden the adherents of the practice to take medicine and states that the bodies of the followers obtain health on their own.
“We are not against the government, nor will we be in the future. Others may treat us badly but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies”, Li Hongzhi says. He currently lives in the USA and continues writing books and teaching those who want to practise Falun Gong. He appeals to all the governments, international organisations and people of goodwill to extend their support to Falun Gong so that the current crisis can be resolved and the persecution stopped.
The International Community Condemns the Persecution
There are numerous opinions condemning the repression in the reports of international human rights organisations. Unfortunately they are in vain. The last reproaching resolution is the 11th of October this year in Washington, the unanimously passed concurrent resolution 304. It condemns the repression against Falun Gong by the Chinese Government on the territory of both China and the US. The grounds for passing such a resolution are the registered cases in which agents of the Chinese Government exercise pressure on US officials, as well as dissemination of propaganda against practising Falun Dafa. The resolution appeals for the release of all prisoners of conscience and an end to the persecution. According to American congressman Tom Lantos, “The campaign of the Chinese Government for intimidation, brainwashing, arrests, torture and even killing of Falun Gong practitioners is one of the most chilling, cruel phenomena ever seen in China”.
The Controversial Self-immolation on Tiananmen Square
One of the biggests actions against Falun Gong took place on the 23rd of January 2001. On the day before the Chinese Lunar New Year the media announced that on Tiananmen Square in Beijing five people had set themselves on fire. A week later, Chinese state television broadcast footage showing what happened on the square. The close-up frames of the video are taken from a recording confiscated from a journalist of CNN. The TV broadcast a soul-stirring story of a twelve year-old Liu Chunling with horrifying burns and her mother dead as a result of the self-immolation.
The Washington Post made a private investigation of the incident and discovered many debatable aspects. Journalists and experts bring into question whether the victims practised Falun Gong. Neither the way of sitting of the self-immolators (practitioners sit in the lotus position) nor the hand position conform to those in Falun Gong.
Beijing stubbornly denies any interviews with twelve years-old Liu Chunling by the international media, as well as with the other three people surviving the self-immolation.
While making an analysis of the TV footage, international media journalists discovered that when looking at it in slow motion, it is seen that the woman dies not from the flames but from a blow to her head. The blow is delivered by a man in a military uniform. What happened on Tiananmen Square in 2001 still remains a mystery.
In Bulgaria: Falun Gong in Boris Garden
Falun Dafa is also practised in Bulgaria. On Saturday and Sunday followers of the practice do the exercises in Boris Garden near the water lily pond. The practitioners who make smooth hand movements, are software developers, economists and architects. They practise the new exercises for achieving physical and mental refinement.
Unfortunately we have witnessed a bad attitude and discrimination against a Falun Gong practitioner in Bulgaria as well. The general secretary of the Parliament Mr. Ognian Avramov cancelled an art exhibition by the artist Zhang Cuiying (a Falun Gong practitioner who was detained in a Chinese prison for eight months). She was released after the intervention of the Australian authorities because she had double citizenship. “The art exhibition was removed from the programme one day before opening after interference from the Chinese Ambassador Xie Hansheng,” stated Kremena Krumova from the Bulgarian Falun Dafa Association, an organiser of the exhibition.
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