• Highest number of signatures gathered for a human rights issue in Australian history

Activities in support to be held on Saturday, 18th July Melbourne CBD and City Square MELBOURNE – On July 20th, 1999 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a violent persecution of Falun Gong.

This month, ten years will have passed since Falun Gong practitioners’ peaceful resistance began. Details of activities to be held on Saturday, 18th July in Melbourne’s CBD and City Square, to be advised.

Overview of the CCP’s campaign of genocide against Falun Gong

• The largest religious persecution in the world today – by 1999, almost 100 million people were practising Falun Gong according to the Chinese regime’s reports at the time. While Falun Gong is practised freely in more than 80 countries, it remains subject to egregious and horrific human rights violations in its homeland. These are well-documented by human rights organisations, journalists, witnesses, and scholars. The sheer scale of abuse makes this the largest religious persecution in the world today.

In January 1999, a survey commissioned by the CCP estimated that up to 100 million people were practising Falun Gong. In addition to the practitioners themselves, relatives, friends, workmates and schoolmates have all been affected by the persecution to varying degrees making the overall number of those affected considerably larger.

• Jiang Zemin alone decided that Falun Gong must be “eliminated”

Journalists and writers have widely acknowledged that the decision to launch the persecution was determined by the “fear” and “jealousy” of former-Party head Jiang Zemin alone. According to analyst Willy Lam, Jiang was seen as “using the [persecution of the] mass movement to promote allegiance to himself.” Sources cited by The Washington Post, state that “Jiang Zemin alone decided that Falun Gong must be eliminated,” and “picked what he thought was an easy target.” Although, many other members of the Central Committee disagreed with Jiang’s action, they either retired from politics, like Premier Zhu Rongzhi, or fell into line in order to preserve the hegemony of the party and the security of their own positions within its hierarchy.

• A campaign of extreme torture

The most prominent feature of the campaign is its systematic use of extreme torture. The torture of Falun Gong adherents has been documented in each of China’s provinces. Torture is meted out by police and public security officials in prisons, forced-labour camps, brainwashing centres, detention centres and police stations in China’s big cities, small towns and villages.

The most common methods of torture include shocking with electric batons, burning with irons, tying the body in painful positions for days, force-feeding saline solutions or other harmful substances through a plastic tube inserted in the nose, ramming bamboo under the fingernails, the use of custom made ‘tiger benches’ to contort the body, among many others.

 Psychiatric abuses of equal severity have also been documented in the highly prestigious Columbia Journal of Asian Law. Rape, gang rape, sexual abuses, and the sexual torture of Falun Gong practitioners in detention are also widely reported.

To date, over 63,000 accounts of torture and over 3,000 deaths have been documented. A communist Party-insider estimate of the real figure puts the actual death toll in the tens of thousands. Repression also includes: dismissal from work, expulsion from schools and universities, deprivation of health care and pensions, divorce, homelessness, and numerous other forms of discrimination.

• Hundreds of thousands currently languish in China’s gulag system

For hundreds of thousands, the most basic reality of the campaign has been long periods of detention in “reform through labour” camps – China’s gulag system. There, practitioners are forced to work up to 20 hours per day, producing toys, Christmas tree lights, chopsticks, soccer balls, etc., for export. Refusal to work can be met with beatings or torture. The regime’s goal is to force practitioners to renounce their spiritual beliefs and turn in others who are active in exposing the persecution.

• Organ harvesting – “A new form of evil”

David Kilgour, former Canadian Foreign Minister (Asia-Pacific), and David Matas, a renowned human rights lawyer, conclude in their report, BLOODY HARVEST: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China (January 2007), that since 2000, Chinese authorities have been using Falun Gong practitioners as a live organ bank. Falun Gong practitioners, they write, are kept in forced-labour camps and jails, blood and urine tested, and when an organ is needed for transplant they are killed, their organs taken, and their bodies incinerated.

• The CCP’s campaign of hatred and aggressive propaganda

As in every 20th century genocide, extreme violence first required dehumanisation through aggressive propaganda. A key aspect of the persecution has been to limit, distort, and most often fabricate information about Falun Gong—both inside and outside China.

Three months after the persecution began, as a way of controlling public opinion, Falun Gong was branded as “xie jiao”, meaning “heterodox teaching”, which with the help of a Western PR firm was translated as “evil cult.” All information discussing Falun Gong positively was also banned. Websites related to the practice were blocked. In a Cultural Revolution throwback, millions of Falun Gong books were seized and publicly burned.

The Ministry of Propaganda inundated the public with an onslaught of anti-Falun Gong material in radio, newspapers, on TV, and even in poetry, plays, comic books, and exhibitions meant to criminalise the practice. The Party has sought to scandalise, dehumanise, and incite hatred toward Falun Gong, and practitioners are forced to prove the innocence of their peaceful beliefs.
• Falun Gong’s peaceful resistance awakens conscience throughout the world
The resistance to this violent persecution is awakening peoples’ consciences around the world. The unwavering will Falun Gong practitioners have demonstrated, and the tremendous sacrifices they have made, are what is described in Chinese as “startling the heavens and moving the gods.” While, sadly, the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong continues to this day, it has failed to destroy the practice, and has only served to fortify the righteous faith of its adherents.

• Highest number of signatures gathered for a human rights issue in Australian history

Petitions tabled in the Australian Parliament regarding the persecution of Falun Gong record the highest number of signatures gathered for a human rights issue in Australian history, and at least 75,700 Australians have signed the global “Millions of Signatures” petition, which calls for an immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. ( World-wide 1,089 628 people have signed this petition.

• Senate motion passed unanimously in support of ending the persecution of Falun Gong in China – June 24th 2008, Australian Senate.