Sweden: Practitioners Protest at the Chinese Consulate in Gothenburg on April 25th

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On the 25th of April 2006, Falun Gong practitioners in Gothenburg and from the surrounding area held peaceful protests at the Chinese Consulate. One protest was held in the morning during the Consulate’s opening hours and another in the afternoon. April 25th was a special date for this activity because it marked the seventh anniversary of the peaceful gathering of 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing on the 25th of April 1999.

The background to this appeal goes back to 1992 when Li Hongzhi, a qigong master from Northeast China, started to teach Falun Gong to the public. A small group of politicians in China started to oppose Falun Gong when the practice became more popular and kept growing. Attacks started in 1996 and Falun Gong books were banned from being published. The Chinese authorities estimated that there were seventy to a hundred million Falun Gong practitioners in China.

A national investigation into Falun Gong declared that the practice did not constitute a threat and that it was on the contrary very beneficial for Chinese society. But individuals in the Public Security Bureau continued to escalate their disapproval and committed infringements by banning group practice, searching homes and confiscating properties. Practitioners reported these incongruities to the government eighteen times between 1998 and 1999 by using the form of appeals.

After a magazine in the city of Tianjin attacked Falun Gong, about forty practitioners were violently arrested and detained by the police when they peacefully expressed their concern. Officials in the city of Tianjin suggested practitioners should go to Beijing instead because the public security bureau was involved. By acting according to their right in the constitution to gather and appeal, ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered outside the Beijing Appeal Office situated close to the government compound Zhongnanhai. The gathering was peaceful, quiet and didn’t disturb the traffic. Practitioners requested that the arrested practitioners be released, the book publishing ban be suspended and freedom from harassments by the police when they practised be re-instituted. The former Prime Minister Zhu Rongi met with practitioners, those who were arrested in Tianjin were released and everybody quietly went home. Before leaving the practitioners picked up every piece of litter in the appeal area and left the site spotless.

Despite the intervention of Zhu Rongi, events took a fatal turn. The then Communist Party leader took an official stance against Falun Gong. In July of 1999, Jiang Zemin banned the practice and started a violent campaign to “exterminate” Falun Gong within three months. Since then the government has been implementing a full scale propaganda campaign against Falun Gong while they imprison, torture and even kill practitioners.

This persecution has become worse and worse. Seven years later, on April 25th 2006, there are 2,862 confirmed death cases. But the hidden numbers are much larger and unknown because of China’s information blockade.

The protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Gothenburg was also held to inform the public about the concentration camps that have been exposed in China. It has been confirmed both from witnesses and journalists that organs are removed from live Falun Gong practitioners and sold for profit. The bodies are then cremated. A flyer that Swedish practitioners specially made for the occasion featured a page about the 7th anniversary of the Zhongnanhai incident and another page about the concentration camps that have been exposed in China. It also touched on the emergence of a Chinese journalist who revealed the whereabouts of a secret concentration camp in China. He said Falun Gong practitioners are killed for their organs, which are sent to medical institutions. Nowadays the organ business is very profitable in China. The flyer also talked about a military doctor from Shenyang who said that there are at least thirty six concentration camps of this type situated in several parts of China.

A special flyer was made for the protest.

During the protest the weather was good. Many flyers were distributed and petition signatures were collected calling for an investigation into China’s labour camps. A person passing by mentioned that it is strange that governments and the UN let this thing happen. The practitioners also protested to the Chinese Consulate that this persecution has continued for far too long and must immediately stop. Those who are guilty of inhuman crimes must be brought to justice.

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