Compassion Magazine

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Compassion MAY 2019



MAY 2019





Falun Gong practitioners throughout China continue to be detained, imprisoned, tortured, and sometimes killed in what is still a massive campaign of religious persecution.” FREEDOM HOUSE, 2017

The campaign of persecution [against Falun Gong] has been... carried out by government officials and police at all levels, and has permeated every segment of society and every level of government in the People’s Republic of China.” UNITED STATES CONGRESS

Promoting the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, the practice has found a receptive audience in Canada. I commend the Falun Dafa Association of Canada for sharing this discipline with fellow Canadians. ” HON. STEPHEN HARPER, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA

Through my acquaintance with these [Falun Gong practitioners], I was deeply moved by their calmness when narrating their unprecedented calamity, their compassion toward those that tortured them, and their optimism towards our nation’s future. These people take fame and profit very lightly... How one’s belief has such a strong influence over one’s soul and morality is unbelievable.” MR. GAO ZHISHENG, RENOWNED CHINESE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW YER

(Right) College student Miss Bian Xiaohui holds a banner that says “I want to see my father.” Bian and her cousin who took the photo were detained in China, and put on trial on Dec. 12, 2014, accused of publicizing the Falun Gong persecution by posting the photo online.


A Story That Affects Us All Compassion is a journal that was started in response to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. It is produced entirely through the efforts and donations of volunteers. The views expressed in this magazine are solely those of the Editorial Committee.

Editorial Committee Levi Browde Joel Chipkar Larry Liu, Ph.D. Lucy Zhou Erping Zhang Grace Wollensack Brett Price J. H. White Christine Lin Joan Delaney Production Jens Almroth Ingrid Longauerova Scott Chinn Serena Zhao Luba Pishchik Publisher Compassion is published and distributed by: Falun Dafa Information Center P.O. Box 294 Otisville, NY 10963 Website e-mail: Founded in 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Center is a New York-based organization that documents the rights violations of adherents of Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) taking place in the People’s Republic of China. Millions have been detained or sent to forced labor camps in this persecution. The Center has documented over 4,200 deaths and over 87,000 cases of torture in police custody. © FA L U N D A FA I N F O R M AT I O N CENTER, 2019




We were at the park getting ready for a refreshing morning exercise session. Kevin was late, which was odd. Kevin was never late. Eventually, he showed up. His face was solemn. “My mother is missing,” he told us. “She’s gone. They took her away.” This was the first of hundreds of stories I would hear over the coming months and years. Among my circle of Chinese friends, almost everyone has a story. Jane’s husband was tortured to death. Danielle’s father was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Harry’s whole family was torn apart. His mother was put in a forced labor camp; then his sister. His younger brother was put in jail. This is happening to people for one simple reason: they do the traditional, Buddhist practice known as Falun Gong. Throughout the 1990s, Falun Gong was praised by Chinese officials and celebrated throughout the country. By 1999, 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong—that’s a staggering 1 of every 13 people in the country. And then, in the summer of 1999, the communist regime engineered an about-face, labeling Falun Gong practitioners as public enemies. Military leaders, university professors, farmers, software entrepreneurs, grandmothers, high school kids; none were spared. As of July 1999, nothing about your character, your intellect nor your contribution to society mattered if you practiced Falun Gong. The regime has mobilized all the mechanics of a totalitarian state to “stamp out” the peaceful, traditional practice. The decimation of China’s social fabric is hard to overstate. The persecution of Falun Gong hurled the country back to the dark days of the Cultural Revolution. And yet, it often doesn’t appear so on the surface, especially in recent years. The Beijing Olympics normalized China for many. The skylines of China’s major cities are impressive and growing. China con-

tinues to exercise more and more clout on the international stage. Starbucks and Armani have moved in. Widespread famine and communist Mao suits have faded into the past. It all seems almost exciting—as if China’s rise at the beginning of a new century could bring endless possibilities. And yet, as you will read in the pages of this magazine, beneath all the clout and glitter of the “new China” there lies one of the most horrifying atrocities, and tragic stories, humankind has ever faced. In this magazine, we present to you the real story of Falun Gong. A story about the revival of China’s traditional culture, restoring hope and wellness to millions. A story of a communist leader obsessed with building power by creating an enemy out of a peaceful group of citizens. A story of a communist state whose macabre inner-workings result in terrible cruelty, suffering, and slaughter. This is, quite simply, the story of the very worst in our human nature struggling to “stamp out” the very best in our human nature. And the question for each of us is: where do we wish to stand in this struggle? As responsible world citizens we owe it to ourselves to study the material presented here in this magazine, so that we may be properly informed, indeed, equipped, to handle the challenges we face in the world today. China touches, in some form or other, virtually every layer of our society. The persecution of Falun Gong touches every layer of China. This is, in short, a story that affects us all, and it would behoove us to know it well.

LEVI BROWDE, Executive Director, The Falun Dafa Information Center April 25, 2019 COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




Compassion By the Falun Dafa Information Center


Letter From the Editor AT A GL A NC E

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What is Falun Gong? Why is Falun Gong Persecuted?








20 Years of Persecution and Resilience in Photos The Falun Gong Story

Events surrounding this ancient meditation practice have been like a bellwether of modern times: its simple spirituality and sweeping popularity, the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal campaign to wipe it out, and practitioners’ many types of peaceful resistance.

Taiwan: 100 Miles Away, A World Apart PE R S E C U T ION


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Methods of Suppression

How the Chinese regime implements the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong 30 32 34 36 38 40

Abductions and Wrongful Imprisonment Torture Sexual Torture Forced Indoctrination and Brainwashing Coercion Through Employment, Education, and Housing Propaganda and Censorship THE FALUN GONG STORY


China’s Forced Organ Harvesting

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Persecuted to Death

Mounting evidence reveals a secret industry inside state-run hospitals that kills prisoners of conscience to sell organs for profit.

Eye to Eye With Persecution: Personal Accounts A BROA DE R L O OK


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Falun Gong Around the World Who Practices Falun Gong? A Great American Story I N SIGH T S


Falun Gong and Today’s China

Impact of Falun Gong persecution across Chinese society and international relations. 77 78 79 80 81 82



Testing Ground for Persecution Purging Perpetrators Nurturing Thuggery High-Tech Tyranny What Rule of Law? Standing Up to Tyranny

The CCP’s ‘War on Falun Gong’ Outside China Beijing’s attacks target the conscience of public officials, organizations, and supporters. R E P ORT S



90 Third-Party Reports 90 91 92 94


Human Rights Groups Government International Media Experts and Lawyers

Recent News ACT ION


100 How You Can Help 101 How to Learn More COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



WHAT IS FALUN GONG? TRANQUILITY A young woman practices the fifth of Falun Gong’s five exercises—the sitting meditation. She sits with her legs folded in the lotus position, her hands in the “jieyin” (“conjoined”) position, her mind still.


alun Gong (pronounced “Fahloon Gong”) is a Chinese spiritual discipline in the Buddhist tradition. The practice consists of moral teachings, a meditation, and four gentle exercises—similar to tai chi—that are a unique and highly effective way to improve one’s health and energy levels. Similar practices have been a vital part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. At one time, meditation and energy-based exercises were always linked to spiritual development, that is, cultivating oneself according to spiritual principles. Falun Gong keeps that tradition alive and has its own set of teachings and beliefs. The core principles are Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance (or in Chinese, Zhen 真, Shan 善, Ren 忍). Falun Gong teaches that these are the most 4|


The Early Years

A young practitioner meditates with a single leg crossed. Falun Gong is practiced by people of all ages, races, and social classes around the world.

fundamental qualities of the universe and takes them as a guide for daily life and practice. So, no matter the circumstances, a practitioner is to be genuine, kind, and patient.

After being introduced to the public in China in 1992, by 1999 Falun Gong had grown to become the largest and fastest-growing practice of the sort in Chinese history, if not in the history of the world. In just seven years after its introduction, an estimated 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong. In China, people of all ages and from all walks of life practiced Falun Gong, including government leaders, professors at elite universities, elementary school children, and the elderly. Various central government agencies endorsed Falun Gong. Mr. Li Hongzhi, the teacher and founder, was honored and awarded for his contributions, and his principal book, Zhuan Falun, was a best-seller. THE FALUN GONG STORY

WELLNESS Falun Gong practitioners practice the second exercise, also known as the standing meditation, at Union Square in New York City as they celebrate World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2016.



THE BASICS THE EXERCISES ARE TAUGHT FOR FREE by volunteers, and texts can be downloaded for free from PRACTICE SITES IN NEARLY 90 countries can be found on ZHUAN FALUN, the principal book, has been translated into 40 languages. FALUN GONG was introduced to the public in 1992 but has Buddhist roots that go back thousands of years.



Today BY 1999, 100 MILLION people were practicing Falun Gong in China, according to media and a nationwide survey. DURING THE 1990s, the Chinese regime supported Falun Gong and recognized its outstanding health benefits. FALUN GONG is also known as Falun Dafa. SEVERAL HEALTH STUDIES of Falun Gong practitioners show marked or complete recovery from diseases.

Today, Falun Gong is practiced in over 90 countries around the world, with clubs and associations existing in a wide range of cities, companies, universities, and other settings. Falun Gong texts have been translated into more than 40 languages. While Falun Gong teaches inner transformation of the self, the practice typically translates outwardly into positive changes that benefit others. For example, practitioners normally become more patient family members, more conscientious employees, and more positive members of society. For more information visit








practice of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 and became popular in China throughout the 1990s. By 1999, more than 70 million people had taken up the practice. Its core principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance were growing in the hearts of the Chinese people, and news articles about practitioners’ kind and even heroic acts began popping up around the country. So why, on July 20, 1999, did the regime begin to violently target Falun Gong? There are three main reasons: The size of its following made communist leaders fearful of losing control of the people’s hearts and minds. Its guiding principles were not compatible with communist ideology, which the Party had forcibly imposed

on the Chinese people during the Cultural Revolution. In addition, certain communist officials saw Falun Gong as an easy target and used its vilification as a tool for their own political advancement. WIDESPREAD POPULARITY

China’s State Sports Commission estimated that at least 70 million people were practicing Falun Gong in 1999. This outnumbered the membership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the time, a fact that didn’t sit well with Party leaders. OUTSIDE OF COMMUNIST CONTROL

Communism is an authoritarian ideology, an “all or nothing” proposition. Its goal is to control all aspects of public and private life, including religion and spirituality. In China, churches, temples, and even health practices are allowed to operate only under the control of the CCP, but Falun Gong operates independently of communist thought and control. Party leaders could not tolerate such independence. The vast difference between Falun Gong’s tenets and IN EVERY PARK As Falun Gong quickly grew in popularity in the the CCP’s ideology, 1990s, outdoor practice sites could be found in rural villages and which is officially large cities across China. 6|


atheist and Marxist, was another factor some in the upper echelons of the Party could not tolerate. Falun Gong conveys belief in the existence of Buddhas, Daos, and gods and the conviction that anyone can reach a divine realm through self-refinement. Thus, some Party leaders saw Falun Gong as being in conflict with Party ideology. They also feared that Falun Gong’s strong moral code undermined the Party’s violent, Leninist tactics for controlling society. ONE MAN’S POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS

According to, which gathers information on the persecution, then-Party leader Jiang Zemin personally launched, planned, and executed control over the campaign, even though members of the politburo advised him not to do so. By all accounts, he was incensed by Falun Gong’s immense popularity and saw it as undercutting his own legacy. He expected to eradicate the practice within three months after the start of his campaign. Jiang also saw an opportunity to boost his authority, China experts say. By painting Falun Gong as an enemy of the state, Jiang hoped to mobilize the country into a struggle, with himself at the helm, and thereby consolidate power. In a July 2000 article, then-CNN senior China analyst Willy Lam wrote that Jiang “seems to be using the mass movement to promote allegiance to himself.” THE FALUN GONG STORY


VIOLENCE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE AND BEYOND Falun Gong practitioners protesting the violent campaign against them are taken by Chinese police in Beijing (circa 2000). Over 4,200 deaths from torture of Falun Gong practitioners have been verified, although the actual death toll is likely much higher.




ome media misinterpreted the gathering of more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners at Beijing’s State Council Appeals Office on April 25, 1999, as the reason for the persecution. The Appeals Office is next to Zhongnanhai, the central government compound, and events leading to the incident as well as eyewitness testimonies indicate an elaborate bait-and-switch scheme: Chinese security officials had arrested dozens


of Falun Gong practitioners in a nearby city, encouraged the rest to go to Beijing to appeal, and then framed the gathering as “besieging” the government compound. The Party repackaged photos and video from the event into a media segment broadcast nationwide that contained the false pretext for persecution that the Party had been looking for. Suggested Reading: “An Occurrence on Fuyou Street”

an article by Ethan Gutmann in The National Review. This investigative report sorts through the evidence in detail. A lively and enjoyable read, it explains that Western media outlets adopted the Party’s own retelling of events. It also explores additional reasons why some China-watchers themselves are unclear that the April 25 event did not cause the persecution of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai to silently, peacefully appeal for fair treatment on April 25, 1999.






YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE From pride of a nation to prisoners of conscience

GROUP PRACTICE People gather at a park in Guangzhou (circa 1998) to perform

Falun Gong’s five gentle, energy-strengthening exercises. At this time, 1 out of every 13 people in the world’s most populous country were practicing Falun Gong.

HAPPY TIMES Practitioners of Falun Gong attend a conference in

Wuhan, China on May 24, 1996. Before the persecution, people freely practiced Falun Gong throughout China, and it was widely endorsed by the government.

FABRIC OF SOCIETY Between 1992 and 1999, Falun Gong largely

spread through word of mouth. By 1999, 100 million people had taken up the practice, striving to improve themselves by following Falun Gong’s core tenets: honesty, compassion, and tolerance.

Mr. Li Hongzhi introduces Falun Gong to the pub- Invited by China’s ambassador to France, Mr. Li Hongzhi gives lic with the first of many ten-day lecture series. a seminar on Falun Gong at the Chinese Embassy in Paris.

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100 million people practice Falun Gong, according to China’s state-run television.


ACCOLADES Mr. Li Hongzhi (speaking, above) introduced Falun

Gong to the public in 1992. He gave over 50 lectures around China upon invitation from local governments and associations. At Beijing’s 1993 Oriental Health Expo, Mr. Li was the most-awarded qigong master (top).

PEACEFUL APPEAL Directed to do so by Chinese officials, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gather outside the central government compound to ask that unfounded attacks against them stop.

State-run media prints attack pieces on Falun Gong. See page 6, “Why?”


INTERNATIONAL MEDIA Mr. Li Hongzhi is interviewed by a CBS

reporter during the first few days of the Communist Party’s brutal effort to eradicate Falun Gong in China.

April 25: Directed to do so by Chinese officials, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gather outside the central government compound in Beijing to ask that unfounded attacks against them stop.





PUBLIC BOOK BURNINGS Falun Gong posters, writings,

and books that advocate truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance burn in a public square (top). Homes of Falun Gong practitioners are regularly ransacked by police.

PEOPLE SILENCED Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners travelled to

Tiananmen Square, the place Chinese have gone to for centuries to ask for redress, and held up banners reading “Falun Gong is Good.” Police immediately apprehended them. You can see her yellow banner, in the policeman’s hand, blocking her from speaking.

TIANANMEN SQUARE Plainclothes police officers patrol Tian-

anmen Square, ready to pounce on anyone uttering or displaying the words “Falun Gong is Good” or “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance is Good.”

June 10: The 6-10 Office is established. Like the Gestapo, it’s a shadowy security unit instructed to abduct and terrorize Falun Gong into total surrender.

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ELABORATE, GRAPHIC HOAX In 2001, state media falsely claimed that five people who allegedly set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square are Falun Gong practitioners. The staged incident is used to escalate the persecution.

July 22: The Chinese Communist Party begins to vilify Falun Gong nationwide via TV, radio, and newspapers.


ELECTRIC SHOCK TORTURE Ms. Zhao Ye, 40, was an award-winning ceramic artist from Hebei Province. She was detained by police for

handing out video CDs to people on the street with information about Falun Gong. At the Hebei Women’s Forced Labor Camp she was tortured with high-voltage electric batons and repeatedly beaten. She died from the abuse in 2012.

TORTURE VICTIMS Mr. Cao Zhenqi of Shandong Province was

beaten by local police for going to Beijing to petition for Falun Gong. Mr. Zhongmin Li (right) was beaten by police officers at the Harbin Road Police Station in Dalian Development Zone in May 2001 for expressing support for Falun Gong.

August 16: First known death of a Falun Gong practitioner taken into custody for her faith. See page 50 for her story.


CHINA TO TEXAS Guards pressed a red-hot iron rod into Mr. Tan

Yongjie’s legs 13 times, asking him all the while if he would renounce his belief in Falun Gong. Tan made a harrowed escape to the US where he is pictured here in a Texas hospital.

Five people allegedly set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square. State media falsely claim they are Falun Gong practitioners and use the staged incident for propaganda.


The Wall Street Journal’’s Ian Johnson wins a Pulitzer Prize for articles about the regime’s violence and killing of Falun Gong in China.




SPEAKING THE TRUTH A Falun Gong practitioner in Heilongjiang Province debunks the lies propagated by the state-run media as a group of men in his local town listen. If caught by police or reported by one of the people he is talking to, he risks imprisonment, brainwashing, and torture.

CHINESE SAMIZDAT In over 200,000 homes throughout China, Falun Gong practitioners make flyers to give to fellow citizens, informing them of the abuses they face and cutting through the lies of state-controlled media.

U.S. House Res.188 passes unanimously, calling on the Chinese regime to cease the persecution of Falun Gong.

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THE REAL STORY A passer-by in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province stops to read an

informational banner exposing details of the persecution against Falun Gong. Practitioners are arrested, imprisoned and often tortured if caught hanging these banners.

Documented deaths of Falun Gong as a result of persecution reach 1,000. Unofficial estimates show the true number is many times higher.


Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party is published, exposing communism’s terrible crimes and sending shock waves through the Chinese-speaking world.


LOST LOVED ONES Ms. Jiang Li in Flushing, Queens, on Nov. 1, 2015,

GRUESOME FINDINGS (L-R) Former Canadian Secretary

WESTERN SURPRISE Falun Gong practitioners from North America

HACKER, HERO Mr. Liu Chengjun was one of the daring ‘Airwave

holds a photo of her father who was killed by the Chinese Communist Party in China for practicing Falun Gong.

and Europe demonstrate on Tiananmen Square to call attention to ongoing human rights abuses in China. They are immediately arrested and deported.

Mr. Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat, defects to Australia. He testifies that China’s consulates are instructed to carry out persecution against Falun Gong worldwide.


of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour and human rights attorney David Matas announce Falun Gong practitioners are being killed for their organs.

Six’ - a group of Falun Gong practitioners who, in 2001, tapped into state-controlled television channels to broadcast videos exposing human rights abuses against Falun Gong. In the last known photo of him (right), prolonged torture has left him unable to sit up. He died in 2003 from torture.

An investigation by two Canadian lawyers finds over 50 pieces of evidence that China is forcibly removing organs from Falun Gong practitioners for profit, then cremating their bodies. See page 44.





MARCH FOR FALUN GONG Falun Gong practitioners and supporters march through Washington, D.C. on July 17, 2014, calling for an end to the persecution in China. The Capitol building is in the background.

SELF-IMPROVEMENT SHARING Nearly 10,000 practitioners attend the recent New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference in New York City, on May 15, 2017.

Anastasia Lin, an outspoken supporter of Falun Gong, wins Miss World Canada on a platform of human rights in her native China. She is barred from entering China for the final competition.

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Gong practitioners commemorate the 14th anniversary of the Chinese regime’s crackdown against them, on July 18, 2013 in Washington.

10,000 Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gather in New York City to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day.


TIMES SQUARE MEDITATION Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world exercise in Times Square to begin a day of festivities in celebration of World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2012.

WORLD FALUN DAFA DAY Each year, hundreds of thousands of

practitioners hold activities to mark World Falun Dafa Day (May 13), including rallies, demonstrations, and parades, like the one seen here on 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017.

An independent tribunal in London examines evidence of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong, issues the statement that they’re unanimously certain it is happening in China. See page 44.


DID YOU KNOW? A woman introduces Falun Gong to a passerby during World Falun Dafa Day celebrations in Times Square in New York City on May 13, 2015.

BBC publishes multi-part investigative report via television and radio on organ harvesting of Falun Gong.


Falun Gong practitioners in China file over 200,000 legal complaints against former Party head Jiang Zemin.






FALUN GONG STORY How practitioners of this traditional Buddhist-based discipline became the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the world


T WAS THE 1980s and early 1990s,

and the qigong craze was red-hot in China. Having survived the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) with significant trauma, the Chinese people were finding ways to reconnect with their ancient spiritual traditions without risking being denounced as backward or counter-revolutionary. Try as the Chinese Communist Party did to obliterate ancient Chinese spiritual practices in order to establish class struggle and atheism as the new Chinese culture, the Party could not remove traditional spiritual beliefs from people’s hearts. Rather than returning to traditional modes of religious expression, Chinese spiritual teachers began repackaging ancient philosophy into innocuous, secular-sounding exercises generically called “qigong” (literally “energy work”). These practices touted longevity, better energy, improved health, and the like. Soon, hundreds of qigong teachers could be found in-

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teracting with a public hungry for the traditional Chinese techniques. Each morning, Chinese of all ages flocked to public parks to practice various forms of these tai chi-like exercises. Based on the ancient meditation and cultivation systems of the Buddha and Dao schools, these practices fulfilled a deep need for rediscovering Chinese identity after decades of cultural upheaval, but the qigong craze also opened the door to enterprising, self-styled gurus. Some claimed that by becoming an exclusive member of their school, their followers would develop super powers—mind reading, levitation, the ability to disappear— or that they could release healing energy, enabling them to become qigong masters over the course of a three-day workshop. Under the guise of popular culture, the Chinese were able to explore the spiritual. Many enthusiasts tried

His talks were unlike those of other qigong teachers because of his focus on moral standards and selfimprovement. THE FALUN GONG STORY

MORNING EXERCISE Practitioners used to gather every morning to practice Falun Gong in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.

dozens of types of qigong, most out of mere curiosity, but many genuinely hoped to find something that resonated and that could satisfy a deeper spiritual yearning. AUTHENTIC CHINESE CULTURE REVIVED

While many teachers vied for followers, one came on the scene that caused all of China to take notice. Born in the northeastern town of Changchun, Mr. Li Hongzhi had studied under Buddhist and Daoist masters in his youth. In 1992, Mr. Li began lecturing across the country, making tradition20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

al cultivation methods accessible to the general public through an ancient qigong method called Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. His talks were unlike those of other qigong teachers because of his focus on moral standards and self-improvement. Falun Gong teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. It emphasizes character-building and virtue—rather than supernormal powers—as the true path to health and spiritual elevation. Mr. Li charged only small entrance fees to cover the costs of traveling and venue rentals. Though he never advertised

his lectures, they had the greatest turnout. The health benefits of the practice quickly spread by word of mouth alone, and eventually attracted thousands at a time. By 1999, according to China’s official estimates, 70 million to 100 million people were studying Falun Gong, not counting the many more who had casually practiced it for a short time. This amounted to approximately 1 in every 13 people in China. In many cases, entire families across generations took up the practice after seeing the positive changes it engendered among their friends and relatives. Virtually COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




everyone knew someone who practiced Falun Gong. The practice became so popular that in public parks every morning, hundreds of people could be seen performing Falun Gong’s meditative exercises to peaceful music before heading off to work. While morning group qigong exercise is a common sight in China’s public squares, the sheer volume of attendees at Falun Gong practice sites was unusual. Volunteers provided the exercise instruction free of charge to anyone who wanted to learn. When one exercise site became too large, practitioners would volunteer to start new ones at other locations. Many people were initially drawn to Falun Gong because of its healing effects. However, a significant reason for Falun Gong’s popular appeal was also due to its simple and straightforward requirements for practitioners: Live your life according to truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, let go of negative attachments, and be responsible to yourself and others. Mr. Li discouraged the fanaticism that practitioners of other qigong schools so often dedicated to their masters, and instead encouraged Falun Gong practitioners to focus on what matters—becoming a better person. The Chinese people recognized in Falun Gong’s teachings the core tenets shared by Buddhism and Daoism. But unlike these religions, there were no ordinances, onerous lifestyle restrictions, or the requirement to relinquish the secular world. Falun Gong spelled out the essence of cultivation and avoided the esoteric language of ancient scripture. The Chinese public quickly recognized Falun Gong as a truly useful set of principles for living a meaningful life. This attracted people from all backgrounds and strata of society, including barely literate farmers, university professors, homemakers, and communist cadres. The common sentiment among 18 |


Chinese people upon encountering Falun Gong, whether they chose to practice it or not, was that the true heritage of China had been revived. As retired Chinese official Mr. Hao Ye tells it, “People really took it to heart. In Falun Gong, we believe the true ancient, good things have come back!” A MEDICAL MARVEL

Falun Gong taught that only with elevation of thought and behavior could true and lasting health follow. And so it was. A 1998 survey of 6,000 practitioners in Dalian City showed a near-complete recovery rate among those with diseases. So did similar studies in other Chinese cities and in Russia. Even chronic and terminal patients—such as those with cancer, immunological diseases, and neurological problems—showed marked or complete recovery by practicing Falun Gong, and without the help of medical intervention. A study in 2016 by an Australian researcher found that Falun Gong

practitioners reported fewer health problems, improved mood, and much lower drug and alcohol use compared to others. These cases demonstrated that the practice worked on the individual’s holistic health—emotional, mental, and physical. In a Feb. 22, 1999, interview with U.S. News & World Report, an official from China’s State Sports Commission praised the practice for reducing the state’s medical costs: “Falun Gong and other types of qigong can save each person 1,000 yuan in annual medical fees. If 100 million people are practicing it, that’s 100 billion yuan saved per year in medical fees.” The official said that then-Premier Zhu Rongji was very happy about this. COMMUNIST TYRANNY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

Unfortunately, Falun Gong’s good reputation drew attention from hardliners within the Communist Party. As early as 1996, the publication of Falun Gong’s main book, Zhuan Falun, was banned by government censors. Communist Party ideologues look askance at faith groups in general. They disapprove of Falun Gong in particular because of its immense popularity and because it has sparked a desire among the public for the traditional culture, including belief in the divine, which the Party has tried for decades to eradicate. Jiang Zemin, a Shanghai bureaucrat, was chosen to lead the CCP in 1989 after he actively supported the Tiananmen Square assault on students by shutting down protests and a major newspaper in his jurisdiction. He was fearful of anything outside his control that could win the people’s hearts. A decade later, Jiang became jealous seeing that so many people admired Mr. Li, and decided that the practice had to be annihilated. A November 1999 Washington Post article about the repression of Falun Gong reported that Jiang’s “resolve was only strengthened when he learned people close to him were followers of the group.” THE FALUN GONG STORY

GROUP PRACTICE Practitioners meditate in Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Square, in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, in 1998.

In the summer of 1999, Jiang acted independently of the People’s Congress and launched a campaign to eradicate the practice. According to The Washington Post’s 1999 article, Communist Party sources said that the Standing Committee of the Politburo did not unanimously endorse the repression of Falun Gong, and that Jiang alone decided to instigate it. In June 1999, Jiang established the 6-10 Office (China’s version of the Gestapo) to kidnap and extrajudicially incarcerate practitioners en masse. In true dictator fashion, he announced his goal of “defaming their reputations, bankrupting them financially, and destroying them physically.” Meanwhile, the entire state-controlled media apparatus dutifully went into overdrive to justify Jiang’s genocidal campaign. The defamation, financial deprivation, and killing has continued ever since.

through state-run media itself. To pull off this about-face, in July 1999, the CCP launched what can only be described as “propaganda marathons” throughout the country. State-run television piped vilifying propaganda into homes throughout the nation and around the clock, branding Falun Gong a menace to society. Merely seven days into the campaign, authorities boasted of having confiscated more than 2 million “illegal” Falun Gong books. Some cities even witnessed book-burning rallies, which were carried out by the Public Security Bureau. By the end of the campaign’s first month, the People’s Daily, the voice of the Party, had carried a staggering 347 articles denouncing Falun Gong.


One of the most powerful weapons in the communist arsenal is public opinion. In the late 1990s, China’s state-run media outlets were tasked with changing the public’s opinion of Falun Gong. With over 70 million people practicing Falun Gong, many Chinese had heard a first- or second-hand account of its benefits, and they certainly had heard about the practice in glowing terms 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

DESTROYING BOOKS After the regime launched the campaign against Falun Gong, it destroyed all publicly available Falun Gong books and materials, making it difficult for Chinese people to learn that the regime was falsifying Falun Gong teachings.

The extent of the pressure exerted on society is hard for those in the West to imagine. Schoolchildren were forced to study hateful fabrications in textbooks; college entrance exams contained questions criticizing Falun Gong; workplaces held mandatory “study sessions” on the topic. And of course, everywhere people went, they were surrounded by the constant barrage of propaganda. The residual effects have remained instilled in many Chinese minds to this day. Despite the CCP’s best efforts, by the middle of 2000—a full year after the persecution campaign started—many throughout the country who knew Falun Gong was a positive, healthy practice remained unconvinced or at least unmoved. But that began to change radically in early 2001 when the Chinese regime staged an event that would turn the tide against Falun Gong. On Jan. 23, 2001, five individuals allegedly set themselves on fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The entire scene was caught on camera from multiple angles. How TV crews for state-run media knew exactly where to place their cameras just before the “impromptu protest” is highly suspect. Within hours, state-controlled media inundated the public with false reports that the “self-immolators” were Falun Gong practitioners. These reports included grisly footage of the victims and portrayed Falun COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



TIANANMEN SQUARE PROTEST Plainclothes police arrest a Falun Gong petitioner on Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, on July 1, 2001. Many of those arrested suffer torture in prison. Others never return.

Gong teachings as directly responsible for the tragedy. In fact, Falun Gong’s teachings strictly forbid killing, including suicide. Falun Gong practitioners throughout China and abroad rejected the alleged act as something that sincere followers would never do. In the weeks following the event, a wealth of evidence was uncovered that indicated the entire incident was staged by the CCP. The Washington Post published an investigation of two of the “self-immolators” that found that they had never practiced Falun Gong. Yet, people inside China had no access to this information, and the Chinese state-run media continued a blitz campaign to portray the “self-immolators” as Falun Gong practitioners. The grisly nature of these reports and the frequency with which they were broadcasted began to have its effect. People across China changed from respecting and sympathizing with Falun Gong to rejecting and attacking the practice. Members of the public who had remained unconvinced by the months of endless propaganda vilifying Falun Gong finally came around to the Party line. Hostilities against practitioners increased, and the CCP escalated its persecution with intensified arrests, torture, killing, and forced organ harvesting. 20 |



The climate of fear and paranoia facilitated by the self-immolation reports paved the way for the Party to pull a page from the communist revolutionary playbook—utilizing psychiatric facilities to break their enemies. Healthy people who practiced Falun Gong were deemed insane if they did not keel under the pressure to stop practicing—because who in their right mind would continue following a faith that the whole society had “agreed” is harmful?

Brainwashing centers pumped visual and audio propaganda into the minds of practitioners for days on end until they could no longer tell their own thoughts from those manufactured by the state. Thus, practitioners were forcibly administered psychotropic drugs and other dangerous treatments to cure them of their supposed delusion. The authorities took the behavioral ef-

fects of these substances as further evidence that the practice produced psychosis, and the cycle of needless torment continued. Brainwashing centers pumped visual and audio propaganda into the minds of practitioners for days on end until they could no longer tell their own thoughts from those manufactured by the state. A 2002 paper published in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law noted: “At least 57 hospitals in 36 cities are known to be involved in the illegal detention of [Falun Gong] practitioners, with some of them located in major cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Wuhan. At least six of the 320 documented deaths caused by official mistreatment have been the result of abuse of psychiatric treatment.” As the years went by and the tools of persecution became more sophisticated, the numbers of such facilities grew. Abusing the medical system to torture Chinese citizens was only one part of a multi-pronged persecution. For the past 20 years, practitioners and their families have been under constant surveillance. Phones are tapped and computers traced. Having plainclothes policemen surveil their every move remains a common experience for many practitioners THE FALUN GONG STORY


in China. Some live in a constant state of unofficial house arrest. Those unfortunate enough to be captured often end up in labor camps, where in addition to 18-hour shifts of manual labor, they have to endure torture techniques such as shocking with electric batons, burning with irons, tying the body in painful positions for days, force-feeding saline solutions or human waste through a plastic tube inserted in the nose, and prying out fingernails with bamboo pieces. To date, over 4,000 deaths have been confirmed by overseas human rights workers, although the actual toll is many times higher. Hundreds of thousands of accounts of torture or abuse in custody have been documented. Millions have been abducted and held in labor camps, prisons, makeshift detention centers, or “black jails” (a network of extralegal detention centers where individuals are held without trial). This all-encompassing campaign of persecution is not targeting a tiny, marginal group. Tens of millions of people across all of China and from all walks of life are the target, and that’s not including their family members who have to endure the reality that their loved ones could be abducted by local officials at any time. This persecution has swept up the entire nation, a nation where, at one point, everyone knew someone who practiced Falun Gong. Today, every Chinese citizen is either a target, a perpetrator, a discreet protector, or a silent enabler. Some have been many of these over the course of the last 20 years. Virtually no one has been left completely unaffected. As human rights lawyer David Matas explains, it’s only after this entire picture is realized—the normalized brutality, the sheer volume of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned, their dehumanization, plus China’s long-standing and public practice of removing organs from convicted felons on death row—that forced organ harvesting of these innocent people becomes believable. For us in the West, genocide through forced organ har20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

vesting seems impossible. In China, however, all the necessary groundwork has been laid.

More than 4,200 deaths have been confirmed by overseas human rights workers, although the actual death toll is many times higher. Hundreds of thousands of accounts of torture or abuse in custody have been documented. DOCTORS OF DEATH

The first major reports of organs being harvested from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners emerged in 2006. In a few short years, Falun Gong practitioners had gone from accepted and respected members of society to becoming its reviled underclass. Then it was revealed that their bodies were being sold for parts. China has no cultural tradition of organ donation, nor a voluntary donation system. Since the 1980s, China has officially admitted to extracting organs from executed prisoners con-

victed of capital crimes. Suddenly, Chinese hospitals were advertising short wait times for livers and lungs, but with no corresponding increase in executed criminals, which begs the question: where did all these organs come from? Many people, particularly desperate transplant patients, didn’t think too much of it and flew to China for speedy surgeries. Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour and Matas looked into China’s booming transplant industry and discovered substantial evidence of China’s killing machinery. Unlike illicit organ trades in other countries, these organs didn’t come from the desperate poor willing to trade a kidney for cash, nor from unsuspecting individuals kidnapped by gangs. In China’s case, the butchery was state-sanctioned, and the illicit market was China’s transplant industry itself. Joined by Ethan Gutmann, Kilgour and Matas released an update to their research in 2016. Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter: An Update details the types and locations of the transplant centers, the volume, organ type, frequency of transplants, and sources of the organs. Numerous documentaries have been produced in the past decade showing that the short wait times and organ availability advertised to medical tourists meant that the organs couldn’t have any other possible

PROLONGED TORTURE Ms. Ren Shujie spent two years in Chinese labor camps for her belief in Falun Gong. Upon her release, she was emaciated and never fully recovered. She died in 2005.





source—prisoners were being killed on demand. Furthermore, eyewitnesses have come forth to tell what they’ve seen, or what they’ve had to do, in hospitals where they worked. Falun Gong practitioners who have been released from the prison system tell of routine blood typing and unexplained medical exams. Doctors have since confirmed that these sorts of tests are necessary to find out whether a detainee could be a match for a transplant patient. As always, where the Mengele of China went, its Goebbels followed. TV anchors continue to tout China’s state-of-the-art transplant technologies as a point of national pride. Chinese

ceive trafficked organs. Spain now has a 12-year prison sentence for anyone who promotes or facilitates organ trafficking. Australia is currently working on legislation to make organ transplant tourism illegal. In 2018, an independent people’s tribunal was established to inquire into forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. Survivors stepped forward to tell their stories before the jury in London, and consequently the tribunal issued an interim verdict stating that it was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that forced organ harvesting was taking place. Today, 40 members of the U.K. Parliament support banning transplant

UNCOVERING ATROCITIES (L-R) Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour, human rights attorney David Matas, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann say tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have likely been killed for their organs.

hospitals and their affiliates overseas advertise their short wait times for organs worldwide. Top medical officials in the Communist Party go on public relations tours to whitewash China’s transplant practices and to make hollow promises of ethical improvement. Many are not buying it. Over the past two years, more and more states across America have passed resolutions condemning China’s forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. Israel ruled that its health insurance system could not fund transplants in China for Israeli nationals and made it a crime to re22 |


tourism to China. In addition, medical review boards vet white papers submitted by Chinese transplant surgeons who may have conducted their research on non-consenting donors. AWAKENING CHINA’S CONSCIENCE

From the very first days of the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have believed that the key to a peaceful resolution rests with the Chinese people themselves. After all, it has been people who carry out the day-to-day suppression—the small-town police departments and labor-camp admin-

istrators, the school teachers forced to turn in unrepentant Falun Gong students, the neighbors who report on neighbors. Falun Gong practitioners reason that if the people knew the truth, they would no longer be complicit in such injustice. Beginning in 2001 and continuing to this day, Falun Gong practitioners have set up underground printing houses in nearly every county and district in the country—China’s equivalent of the Soviet samizdat. From their living rooms, practitioners have established secure internet connections, accessed websites outside China by using proxy servers, downloaded censored literature on the persecution of Falun Gong, and used it to produce homemade leaflets. Others volunteer to distribute the literature, usually by night. These actions are always taken at great risk. Untold thousands have been arrested and many killed for possessing and distributing these materials or for operating the production sites. Abundant evidence of these underground printing houses comes from a multitude of sources: from official statistics on police seizures of Falun Gong informational material to anecdotal accounts of citizens regularly waking up to find CDs or leaflets about the persecution waiting outside their front door. Chinese government and Communist Party websites routinely report on efforts to limit the circulation of Falun Gong-related literature. In the spring of 2009, for instance, the Fujian Provincial Transport Administration issued a notice ordering that among the items to be targeted as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal publications were those that “slandered the country’s political system, distorted the history of the Party, … [or] publicized Falun Gong.” Today, 200,000 or more of these underground printing houses continue to operate across China in what likely constitutes the largest non-violent, grassroots resistance in the world. In addition to quietly distributing literature under cover of darkness or THE FALUN GONG STORY


PEACEFUL DEFIANCE A female Falun Gong practitioner petitions peacefully at Tiananmen Square in January 2001. Such appeals were common in the early years of the persecution.

among close friends and acquaintances, some Falun Gong adherents have also been known to go door-todoor to tell their stories to common citizens. Their goal is to improve understanding of a persecuted faith, and the stakes are incredibly high. In recent years, scores of human rights lawyers have risked their careers and their own freedom in order to speak out against the injustice done to Falun Gong practitioners. Perhaps the most prominent among them is Mr. Gao Zhisheng. Featured on the cover of The New York Times in 2005 and later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Gao began taking Falun Gong cases in 2005 after conducting his own investigation of the persecution. “The cruel nationwide persecution of Falun Gong believers has seen no precedent,” Mr. Gao would later write, “both in terms of the number of people unlawfully detained and killed, and in terms of the degree of brutality.” In more recent years, attorneys such as Mr. Quanzhang Wang and Mr. Yanyi Xie were actively defending Falun Gong in Chinese courts. However, many lawyers, including Mr. Wang and Mr. Xie, were arrested in 2015 in what has become the “709 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

incident”— a large-scale arrest of human rights lawyers in July 2015. Mr. Wang was sentenced to four years in prison, although his whereabouts are unknown. Mr. Xie was detained for 18 months and tortured.

The future of the world’s most populous nation lies in how it answers the Falun Gong question. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Chinese people who do not practice Falun Gong have sent declarations to the overseas website publicly apologizing for past participation in anti-Falun Gong activities. Many have expressed their gratitude toward Falun Gong’s founder, Mr. Li, and also to practitioners for their kindness, courage, and patience in awakening the goodness in people’s hearts. This growing chorus of voices from China is bolstered by increasing concern about the persecution in the West. The U.S. Congress has passed five resolutions commending Falun Gong’s peaceful nature, con-

demning the persecution, and calling on China to end it. Human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House have issued dozens of reports, documenting cases of wrongful imprisonment, torture, and deaths in custody. In many ways, the pain endured by the Chinese nation over the course of communist rule has culminated in this showdown between the CCP and Falun Gong—a tyrannical regime versus peaceful spiritual practitioners who do not strike back and refuse to give in. Left unchallenged, the Chinese regime will only widen its use of torture and surveillance to include more and more of its citizens. We have already begun to see this happen in the recent reports of Uyghur concentration camps and a digital “social credit” system to monitor the behavior of the masses. In the face of this persecution, each Chinese person has a choice—to continue to cower and suffer a hampered existence under an unjust regime, or to renounce communism and begin reclaiming the true Chinese culture. In short, the future of the world’s most populous nation lies in how it answers the Falun Gong question. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



Two Different Worlds, Only 100 Miles Apart

CELEBRATION Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners gather MAGAZINE 2019 24 | COMPASSION in downtown Taipei, Taiwan, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day.


While the Chinese communist regime brutally persecutes Falun Gong on the mainland, the practice is immensely popular and flourishing in democratic Taiwan.





SOLIDARITY Falun Gong practitioners hold a rally in downtown Taipei, Taiwan, to call for an end to the persecution of fellow practitioners in China.


eparated by 100 miles, Taiwan and mainland China are worlds apart when it comes to basic freedoms and rights. While a remarkable democratic transition has mostly delivered the human rights goods in Taipei, in Beijing a communist system continues to persecute millions. Perhaps no example better illustrates this point than Falun Gong. Consider the following: Mr. Wang Zhiwun, an engineer from Beijing, was kidnapped from his home by police, illegally held in detention for six months before he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. The reason? Mr. Wang had volunteered his time to help organize Falun Gong practice sites in Beijing. Mr. Zhang Qingxi, a professor of economics at the National Taiwan University, has received congratulatory telegrams from Taiwan’s president and played host to the mayor of Taipei during a recent Falun Gong confer26 |


ence. The reason? Mr. Zhang volunteers his time to help organize Falun Gong practice sites in Taipei.

In Taiwan, traditional Chinese culture has been celebrated and preserved. In the same month that Chinese authorities were arresting and torturing Falun Gong practitioners, across the Taiwan Strait, the mayor of Taipei ordered the city’s police to do a better job of protecting Falun Gong practitioners from a violent pro-Beijing group that had been harassing them. It was the mayor’s first day on the job in 2014. CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH

Taiwan and mainland China share the same ethnicity (the majority population in both is Han Chinese), the same language, as well as common cultural

and religious roots. Yet, they have followed divergent paths over the last six decades. Five thousand years of Chinese culture and history have been ravaged during 70 years of Communist Party rule on the mainland. But in Taiwan, traditional Chinese culture has been celebrated and preserved. An often-used example is that of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. The masterpieces of Chinese art in its exhibits would have been destroyed in China during the Cultural Revolution had they not been moved out of China in the 1940s by those hoping to preserve Chinese culture. WHERE FALUN GONG IS WELCOME

In Taiwan, Falun Gong has become a cherished element in the fabric of society. The practice has received praise from the highest government levels in both major political parties there. Taiwan has also taken steps to ensure its citizens don’t take part in the Chinese regime’s persecution of the THE FALUN GONG STORY

group. The country criminalized organ transplant tourism to China because of well-documented evidence that Chinese military hospitals are forcibly removing organs from living Falun Gong practitioners to sell to unsuspecting patients. (See page 44 for information on forced organ harvesting.) Taiwanese patients can face up to five years in prison for procuring an organ from China that was obtained by illegal means. Taiwanese doctors and hospitals that provide aftercare, such as anti-rejection drugs, to these patients can also face criminal charges. The Taiwanese government has also denied entry to Chinese Communist Party officials and others involved in the persecution, as it did with three officials and their entourage in 2017.

ON CHINA’S DOORSTEP In March 2019, U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback traveled to Hong Kong and Taiwan. He said, “We will continue to advocate for the Chinese government to end abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners.”


In mainland China, people practice Falun Gong’s meditative exercises secretly, at home. However, in the small neighboring island of Taiwan, there are more than 850 practice sites where people can go to learn Falun Gong free of charge. Several Falun Gong summer retreats for elementary and middle school teachers, endorsed by Taiwan’s Board of Education, have been organized in past years to introduce the principles of the practice to teachers as part of their continuing education. In China, Falun Gong practitioners are routinely imprisoned. They are kidnapped from their homes for meditating, seized while handing out leaflets, or arrested for posting information online—and they are tortured and killed. In Taiwan, prison officials welcome Falun Gong practitioners as guests invited to speak to inmates about living upright, moral lives. Today in Taiwan, one might strike up a conversation with a cab driver about Falun Gong only to find out that he himself practices it. This kind of occurrence used to be common in China before the persecution began in 1999, when nearly 1 in 13 people practiced Falun Gong. Today, in Taiwan, one might attend 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

CELEBRATION Falun Gong practitioners gather in downtown Taipei for a series of activites, including exercises and a parade to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day.

a concert and later find out the lead soprano is a Falun Gong practitioner. In Taipei, one might go to a restaurant and see a cook quietly reading Zhuan Falun, the teachings of Falun Gong’s founder, in the corner during an afternoon break. That same Chinese soprano or cook may have fled China for freer shores. The contrast has reached the point that travel guides encourage tourists to Taiwan to check out the Falun

Gong activities there, where practitioners can be seen in their “natural state.” Taiwan is sprinkled with Falun Gong posters on windows. It’s easy to find paper lotus-flower decorations adorned with the characters for truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, Falun Gong’s principles. In parks everywhere, there are groups performing the slow-moving exercises. It’s just as it once was in China. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




PEACEFUL DEFIANCE Chinese police detain a Falun Gong practitioner on Tiananmen Square in Beijing presumably after she unfurled a banner calling on the government to end the persecution. (circa 2000)

28 |




SUPPRESSION How the Chinese regime implements the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong


etween 70 million and 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong in 1999 when Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin launched a systematic persecution campaign against them. The CCP put to work its full toolbox of repressive tactics to implement Jiang’s orders: It began a massive propaganda campaign to demonize Falun Gong. It built new labor camps and makeshift detention centers to hold the huge influx of detainees. It set up a Party-controlled judiciary to wrongfully sentence Falun Gong practitioners to prison. It established an extralegal police task force to implement the plan. The Party also devised an internet


censorship apparatus to stop people from learning the truth about what was happening. The result? Tens of millions of hard-working, upright people from every profession and of every age have been subjected to one or more of the following: fired from their jobs, expelled from school, sent to labor camps or prisons, tortured or killed. The next 20 pages are an exposé of the brutal tactics that Jiang and the CCP have used against Falun Gong practitioners over the last two decades. In Jiang’s own words, the stated purpose is to “defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.”




TAKEN AT ANY TIME Falun Gong practitioners can be abducted by police and held in a detention center, brainwashing center, labor camp, or be sent to prison for up to 20 years. M ET HOD S OF S U PPR E S SION

ABDUCTIONS AND WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT In China today, tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners are at risk of being abducted by police at any moment. Once detained, they can be held in detention centers, “black jails,” and brainwashing centers; they can be wrongfully sent to prison for up to 20 years. They live under this reality morning, noon, and night. TEAMS OF POLICE can arrive at any time of day to Falun Gong practitioners’ homes and workplaces to take them away. Some have been abducted right off the street after shopping or dropping their children off at school. Once taken into custody, they are interrogated at length about their faith and Falun Gong contacts, while their homes are ransacked for any so-called “evidence” like spiritual texts or homemade leaflets. Many types of dissidents have suffered in China’s network of labor camps, detention centers, and prisons, but Falun Gong practitioners have long 30 |


been one of the largest populations of prisoners of conscience in the country. At any given time over the past 20 years, there have been as many as several hundred thousand Falun Gong practitioners held in China’s vast system of detention facilities. According to a 2013 report by Amnesty International, Falun Gong practitioners “constituted on average from one-third to in some cases 100 percent of the total population of certain reeducation-through-labor camps.” Although China officially abolished its labor-camp system in 2013, Falun Gong practitioners continue to be un-

justly jailed in large numbers, be it in prisons after sham trials or in extralegal facilities for political indoctrination. In a 2017 report, the human rights group Freedom House “independently verified 933 cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years” between 2013 and 2016, while acknowledging that this was only a portion of those detained. Although sentenced in court, these Falun Gong practitioners received no justice. Falun Gong trials completely lack due process and violate China’s own laws, while Communist Party committees manipulate judges beTHE FALUN GONG STORY


hind the scenes to arbitrarily impose prison terms. Human rights lawyers who have tried to defend Falun Gong have encountered this first-hand. Mo Shaoping, a top Chinese attorney, reflected on the case of Ms. Liu Jin who was sent to a prison camp for three and a half years after accessing information about Falun Gong online: “She downloaded from the internet articles that are good in her judgment and passed them to others to read—[this] caused no harm to society. Liu Jin’s behavior is consistent with provisions of China’s Constitution about the freedom of speech and freedom of belief and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

SLAVE LABOR For Falun Gong practitioners and others held in China’s vast system of gulags, forced labor is a daily fact of life. Detainees are forced to work up to 20 hours per day. Those who refuse are beaten, tortured, or starved. Many of the products they make—Christmas tree lights, toys, chopsticks, and much more—are sold in America, Europe, and Australia, the products of slave labor by innocent people.

“Falun Gong practitioners continued to be subjected to arbitrary detention, unfair trials and torture.” – AMNEST Y INTERNATIONAL , 2018

When Jennifer Zeng was imprisoned in Beijing’s Xin’an labor camp, she worked long hours making toy rabbits for Beijing’s Mickey Toys Co. Ltd., a project reportedly subcontracted from Nestlé. After she was released and moved to Australia, she was shocked to find the toys she had made were being sold on store shelves there. “Usually we began work at 5 o’clock in the morning and worked until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning the next day,” says Ms. Zeng. “Long hours of in20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

tensive work and severe lack of sleep made me feel for a long period of time, that the only thing I needed in my life was sleep.” Mr. Lin Shenli, a Canadian immigrant, was forced to make soccer balls by hand in a Jiangsu Province labor camp. Other types of intensive manual labor led to large, bloody wounds on his chest and buttocks. Throughout his sentence, labor-camp staff tried to force Mr. Lin to renounce his beliefs.


EXTORTED FOR MONEY Since 1999, Chinese courts have extorted many millions of yuan from Falun Gong practitioners under the pretext of fines. According to prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, “The prison terms and fines imposed on Falun Gong people are in complete violation of basic legal principles and contemporary legal norms.” This extortion continues today. In January and February 2019 alone, courts ordered 40 practitioners across China to pay fines totaling 692,000 yuan (US$103,000), according to reports by During that time, 109 people were imprisoned in China for sharing messages about Falun Gong with friends or neighbors, for showing signs of support for practitioners, or for refusing to renounce their belief in the practice. On Jan. 7, 2019, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Xinwei Zhang from Bazhong City, Sichuan Province, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 4,000 yuan. Every month, the tally grows. Many of those released have found themselves detained and jailed again when officials discover they have persisted in practicing Falun Gong. What awaits them are harsh conditions and rampant torture. Some never return home.

MS. JENNIFER ZENG was held at the Beijing Female (Xin’an) Labor Re-education Camp, before fleeing to Australia where she published a memoir about life in China’s labor camp system.

MR. LIN SHENLI was held without trial at the Dafeng Labor Camp in Jiangsu Province for two years where he made soccer balls that he later found in sports stores in Canada. Due to the extreme labor conditions, he suffered excessive bleeding and ulceration around his chest and buttocks.

MS. LI QINGHUA was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan on February 21, 2019 for mailing a letter with information about Falun Gong to a former colleague. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



MS. WU LINGXIA was held at the Xigemu Forced Labor Camp in Jiamusi City in 2001 and 2002. She was tortured, causing severe swelling in her abdomen; she died soon after being released. M ET HOD S OF S U PPR E S SION

TORTURE Human rights organizations have documented more than 87,000 cases of severe abuse or torture of Falun Gong practitioners, but that number is believed to be a small portion of the real total. Of the more than 4,000 confirmed deaths of Falun Gong adherents in China, the vast majority were caused by torture. A 2006 report by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture says that two-thirds of the torture cases listed for China were of Falun Gong. USED FOR DECADES by Chinese Com-

munist Party police to extort confessions from suspects and targets of political campaigns, torture is now being used against Falun Gong practitioners to force them to renounce their faith. Both physical and mental torture techniques are used. Human rights workers have compiled over 100 methods of corporal torture used against Falun Gong practitioners. Below are a few examples of such methods.

BEATINGS Falun Gong practitioners in police custody are often brutally beaten, sometimes to death. Items used for beatings in documented cases have included 32 |


wooden clubs, steel and iron bars, iron rods, bamboo sticks, rubber sticks, electric batons, wooden planks, steel-wire locks, rattan, and whips made of twisted copper wire, electric wire, or rope.

PIERCING Sensitive body parts such as women’s breasts are often pierced with sharp wires. Fingertips are pierced with pins and bamboo nails, which are also hammered under the fingernails. In many cases, torturers pull the practitioners’ fingernails out by the root. The prevalence of this torture method and its use against Falun Gong practitioners was referenced in the Hollywood blockbuster film Syriana starring George Clooney.

FORCE-FEEDING Force-feeding is a torture method often used on Falun Gong, and it has been the cause of death in approximately 10 percent of all known death cases. Force-feeding is most often carried out by labor camp staff with no medical training, or by criminal inmates who are coerced to do so. Unsanitary rubber tubes are shoved into a practitioner’s nose and down into the stomach, often rupturing or damaging tissue. Sometimes the tube enters the lungs. Detainees are often fed irritants such as highly concentrated salt water, hot pepper oil, boiling water, detergent, or even human feces. THE FALUN GONG STORY


SCORCHING WITH HOT IRONS Hundreds of practitioners have reported being burned with cigarettes, lighters, fire, irons, or hot iron bars.

‘THE WATER DUNGEON’ In “water dungeons,” the detainee spends many days in total darkness while inside a small cage and immersed in chest-deep water. Often the water is from sewage lines. Some detainees have died under such conditions, while others have been driven insane from this torture.

HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRICSHOCK BATONS Electric batons carrying high voltages are used to shock practitioners’ sensitive areas and private parts such as the inside of the mouth, top of the head, breasts, genitals, buttocks, and thighs.

“Once in detention, Falun Gong adherents—young and old, male or female—are routinely subject to various forms of psychological and physical torture in an effort to break their will.” – FREEDOM HOUSE , 2017

Several electric batons are often used simultaneously on different parts of the body. Victims have said that the smell of burning flesh permeates the air during the torture.

PSYCHIATRIC TORTURE Tens of thousands of practitioners have been subjected to psychiatric torture, with over 7,000 documented cases directly involving Chinese mental hospitals. In the CCP’s psychiatric wards as well as other detention facilities like labor camps and prisons, Falun Gong detainees are injected with toxic doses of unknown psychotropic drugs. Some have suffered severe damage to their central nervous system from the injections, while others became deranged after being “treated” there. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

MS. MENG ZHAOHONG, 61, a nurse from Tahe County in Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 2008, during which time she was tortured and assaulted by male prisoners. The photograph from 2013 shows her wounds having not fully healed.

MS. ZHAO XIN, a teacher at the Beijing University of Business and Industry, had her neck broken from a beating at the Haidian District police detention center in 2000. She died six months later on December 1, 2000, at age 32.

MR. ZHANG JINKU, 46, was released on July 2, 2018 from Hulan Prison near Harbin City, emaciated and unable to walk or speak. During his incarceration, Mr. Zhang had been beaten and tortured causing broken ribs and vomiting of blood. During one family visit, Mr. Zhang told his relative that a prison doctor had admitted to him: “No official would care even if you were tortured to death here.”




MS. TAN GUANGUI of Heilongjiang Province before and after being sexually tortured and gang-raped by male prisoners and guards in the Wanjia Labor Camp, 2001. By the time of her release, she had suffered a mental collapse.



The women of Falun Gong tell wrenching tales of physical and sexual abuse in captivity. They have been sexually assaulted with brooms, sticks, or electric batons, causing vaginal bleeding. Their breasts have been pierced with barbed wire, and they have been gang-raped.


torture either, and are beaten and shocked with cattle prods, sometimes lasting from 9:00 at night to 8:00 the next morning. The torturers use cattle prods all over their bodies, including inserting them into their anuses. According to the Status of Chinese People website, scores of different sexual torture methods are used on Falun Gong practitioners. The methods employed include rape, molestation, rape with foreign objects (such as toilet brushes and batons), shocking genitals with electric batons, shoving hot peppers into the vagina, tearing off nipples of men and women, kicking genitals, administering drugs that cause menstruation to cease, and 34 |


forced abortion. “Among the true accounts of unbelievable brutality, the immoral acts that shocked my soul the most were the lewd yet routine practice of attacking women’s genitals by 6-10 Office staff and the police,” wrote prominent Chinese human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng following his investigation into the persecution of the Falun Gong. “Almost every woman’s genitals and breasts or every man’s genitals have been sexually assaulted during the persecution in a most vulgar fashion,” Mr. Gao wrote in a December 2005 open letter to Communist Party leaders. Gao himself was imprisoned, tortured, and sexually violated for

his investigation into abuses against Falun Gong detainees. “Two people stretched out my arms and pinned them to the ground. They used toothpicks to pierce my genitals. There are no words to describe the helplessness, pain, and despair that I felt then,” Gao later wrote. One group letter from Chinese women who practice Falun Gong summarizes what they have suffered as follows: Police “have sexually violated our bodies with eggplants, toothbrushes, and plastic water bottles. In one female labor camp located in Jilin Province, police inserted hot pepper powder into women’s vaginas in order to force them to give up their belief and practice of Falun Dafa.” THE FALUN GONG STORY


A report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women cites an October 2000 case in which 18 women who practice Falun Gong were stripped naked and thrown into jail cells containing convicted male criminals who were encouraged to rape the women without any repercussion. The aim of such abuse is to humiliate and traumatize female Falun Gong practitioners, and it has led to mental instability, disability, and death.

“The immoral acts that shocked my soul the most were the lewd yet routine practice of attacking women’s genitals by 6-10 Office staff and the police.”

MS. HU MIAOMIAO, a then-25-year-old kindergarten teacher from Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, was put in a forced labor camp for one year from June 2010. Upon arrival she was taken to a storage room, had her mouth taped shut, and was violently sexually assaulted by male prisoners.


After being rescued to the United States, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Yin Liping testified at a hearing of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, where she described the sexual torture she had experienced at the Masanjia forced-labor camp. She was locked in a room with four inmates who beat her until she passed out and then gang-raped her. After she regained consciousness, she was told the assault had been videotaped, further humiliating her. One of the most prominent rape cases is that of Ms. Wei Xingyan. On the evening of May 13, 2003, the graduate student from Chongqing University was arrested for possessing balloons and banners printed with messages about Falun Gong, such as “truthfulness, compassion, forbearance.” A policeman ordered two inmates to strip her naked. Then he forced her to the floor and raped her in front of them. Once news of her story was exposed outside of China, her university and the local authorities attempted to erase her identity. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

MS. WANG YUNJIA of Dalian, Liaoning Province, was abducted from work in 2002 before being sent to the Masanjia Labor Camp where she was sexually tortured, including having her breasts shocked with electric batons. She died in July 2006.

MS. LIU JIZHI, 51, from Zhuozhou City, Hebei, was abducted from her home in November 2005. In police custody, she was shocked with electric batons and raped by police.




MS. ZHU XIA, from Sichuan was driven mad from torture in custody in 2002, at age 32. M ET HOD S OF S U PPR E S SION

FORCED INDOCTRINATION AND BRAINWASHING The Chinese Communist Party uses diabolical measures to aggressively “transform” practitioners of Falun Gong. Transformation is a euphemism for “forced mental conversion,” which has been central to the effort to wipe out the practice. This amounts to brainwashing of the most destructive kind. COMMON TACTICS INCLUDE isola-

tion, humiliation, sleep deprivation, inundation with anti-Falun Gong propaganda, threats of indefinite incarceration, emotional manipulation, economic punishment, use of former practitioners, ideological indoctrination, physical and psychological abuse, among many other methods. In its 2008 annual report, the US Congressional Executive Commission described “transformation through reeducation” as “a process of ideological reprogramming whereby practitioners are subjected to various 36 |


“‘Brainwashing centres’ have been used extensively since 1999 for the ‘transformation’ of Falun Gong practitioners – that is, as a place designed for coercing Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their spiritual beliefs and practices. Abusive treatment, including torture... are endemic.” - AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 2013

methods of physical and psychological coercion until they recant their belief in Falun Gong.” As described by Chinese attorney Gao Zhisheng in his writings, efforts to transform practitioners stand at the center of their mistreatment by the authorities regardless of the type of detention facility—be it a prison camp, reeducation-through-labor (RTL) camp, brainwashing center (often known publicly by the euphemism “legal education center”), or isolated mountainside torture chamber. Central to the transformation proTHE FALUN GONG STORY


cess are efforts to coerce adherents into signing three statements as proof that they have given up their belief in Falun Gong. The statements must assert that the practitioner feels “remorse” for practicing Falun Gong, that he or she promises to give up Falun Gong, and that he or she will never again associate with other Falun Gong adherents or go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. Practitioners are told that if they sign the statements, they will be released, but if they refuse, they risk torture and indefinite imprisonment. For those who concede under intense pressure, the mental anguish of being forced to renounce one’s deeply held spiritual beliefs does not stop there. The “transformed” practitioner is then immediately required not only to stop believing in Falun Gong, but also to turn against it. Once a transformation statement is signed, practitioners have often been taken in front of television cameras and made to read the statement with their “new understanding” about Falun Gong for use in propaganda materials. If the statement is not satisfactorily repentant or disparaging of Falun Gong and its founder, the process must be repeated. The recently transformed practitioners are obliged to take an active role in transforming other detained practitioners, lest they be returned to intensive torture sessions themselves. Party leaders regularly encourage lower-level officials to increase their efficiency at transformation, stating explicitly or implicitly that this should be accomplished regardless of the severity of abuse required to achieve it. High-ranking Party cadres often travel to labor and prison camps to inspect the methods and transformation rates achieved there. A variety of incentives are used to further encourage detention facilities to pressure adherents to renounce their beliefs. These include imposing quotas or offering rewards such as promotion or monetary bonuses to camp administrators and guards who achieve high transformation rates. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

At least 43 psychiatric hospitals all over China are being used to detain and torture [Falun Gong] practitioners. ... We know some of the drugs the hospitals force on sane individuals in an attempt to destroy their will and spirit. ... We know of the widespread use of psychotropic drugs by ordinary police in jails, brainwashing centers, and labor camps.” ABRAHAM L. HALPERN, M.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, New York Medical College Former president, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

MS. SONG HUILAN from Xinhua Farm, Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province, was detained in 2010 at age 60, injected with drugs as a form of torture. She was released suffering necrosis in her right foot, resulting in amputation.

MS. LI JINGHUA, from Chaoyang, Liaoning Province, was driven insane after being put in solitary confinement and tortured at the Masanjia Labor Camp in 2000. She was in her mid-20s.

MR. DU WEIFENG of Lingyuan, Liaoning Province, was subjected to torture from 2000 to 2004 to force him to renounce his faith. Then 27 years old, he was driven to schizophrenia and institutionalized.





POLITICALLY CORRECT ANSWERS From elementary school through college, students are given Falun Gong-related material on tests. If they provide an answer that does not toe the Party line, they risk a lower grade or even being expelled.


COERCION THROUGH EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, AND HOUSING Schools and workplaces are among the institutions that the Chinese Communist Party immediately mobilized when it launched the campaign against Falun Gong in 1999. The persecution reached the masses through these avenues of Chinese society. IN CHINA, EVERY school and work

unit (called “dan wei”) has a Communist Party official responsible for carrying out Party directives and reporting back to superiors. Under decades of Communist Party rule, Chinese bureaucracy has reached unprecedented levels and can quickly mobilize campaigns throughout the vast country. Though somewhat underused at the time, this system was readily available for Party head Jiang Zemin to employ in 1999. Before the 1999 campaign, students and teachers could often be seen practicing Falun Gong togeth38 |


er, as they currently do in Taiwan. The prestigious Qinghua University, “China’s MIT,” featured 11 Falun Gong practice locations on campus with over 500 dedicated Falun Gong adherents, including 100 to 200 professors. In many workplaces, Falun Gong quickly spread from one individual to another as employees became intrigued by the new exercise regimen and the discipline’s moral code. At some factories, workers gathered in the factory yard to practice Falun Gong’s slow-movement exercises in the early morning before work.

Some managers praised the practice for boosting employees’ morale and work ethic. But once the persecution and its accompanying propaganda campaign was launched, millions of colleagues, teachers, and classmates were suddenly ostracized. Designated model workers and honors students who were Falun Gong adherents were reprimanded, penalized, and even jailed. Friends who had only weeks earlier asked to borrow a Falun Gong book began urging their friends to stop practicing in order to stay out of trouble. THE FALUN GONG STORY


MS. LI FENGQING had worked in asset management at the Beijing University of Technology for over 30 years. She was jailed for her beliefs for six years in 2001 and fired from her job. Upon release, at 52, she was forced to become a janitor.

MS. SUN QIAN, 53, is a Canadian citizen currently held in detention in China for her Falun Gong faith. Sun was a highly successful entrepreneur in China and was founder of the multibillion dollar biochemical firm Beijing Leadman Biochemistry.

MS. MI XIAOZHENG, a student of construction engineering, was expelled from Chongqing University in 2009 (not long before graduating) for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong.

Employers and school principals immediately came under pressure if one of their employees or students publicly petitioned the government to end the persecution. One after another, adherents were fired, and students were expelled for their belief. Meanwhile, workplaces and schools were forced to implement Cultural Revolution-style study sessions. These included public denunciations of Falun Gong in People’s Daily editorials and other Party materials, which delineated the “correct view” Chinese people should have about Falun Gong. Elementary school students were forced to line up and sign huge banners attacking Falun Gong and “superstition” more broadly while swearing allegiance to Marxism and science, which were deemed “progressive.” High school students taking national standardized matriculation tests were required to answer questions according to the official Party line.

Failure to provide the official answer meant expulsion or denial of college education to otherwise qualified students. An answer that challenged the Party’s reasoning meant jail or worse.

ries have been used as ad hoc detention centers for Falun Gong adherents who have submitted petition letters to official petition offices. One woman from Shanghai described how she was locked in the school in which she taught while policemen took turns around the clock carrying out “thought work” (“sixiang gongzuo”). Students of all ages have not been spared the most brutal methods of persecution. Ms. Xingyan Wei, a graduate student from Chongqing University who practiced Falun Gong, was raped by a policeman in front of onlookers. When her case was exposed online, she disappeared, and the university denied she had ever existed. Because of the deliberate way in which the persecution of the Falun Gong has been conducted throughout China’s education system, former education minister Chen Zhili has been sued for crimes against humanity.


Elementary school students were forced to line up and sign huge banners attacking Falun Gong and... swear allegiance to Marxism. Jailed adherents who refused to be “transformed” were threatened that their resistance would cost their loved ones their jobs and education opportunities. Survivors have reported many cases in which these threats were carried out. These forms of persecution continue to this day. Classrooms, offices, and dormito-





LIMITED ACCESS, SANITIZED CONTENT The Chinese regime blocks access to large numbers of websites, especially those hosting information about human rights in China. The government also employs between 500,000 to 2 million people to post regime-friendly messages online. M ET HOD S OF S U PPR E S SION


Weapons more powerful than battleships or bullets in the struggle to wipe out a peaceful meditation practice A hate-filled propaganda campaign of enormous proportions has been central to the persecution of Falun Gong. Under the direction of the aptly named Ministry of Propaganda, Chinese staterun television immediately launched disinformation marathons, broadcasting defamatory attacks on the meditation group 24 hours a day. To target the entire society, the propaganda was spread across every medium imaginable: state-run radio stations, newspapers, billboards, comic books, posters, movies, a TV series, and even theatrical plays. “Beijing has ratcheted up the campaign to a fever pitch, bombarding citizens with an old, communist-style propaganda war,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 13, 2001.

THE KINGDOM OF FAKE NEWS Mr. Clive Ansley, Esq., a renowned lawyer who has practiced and taught in China for 14 years, would joke 40 |


with his Chinese colleagues that the only truthful thing in the Chinese media was the date. Mr. Ansley, an advising professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, worked and taught international economic law at Shanghai’s Jiaotong University and lived in China for 14 years. After the Falun Gong persecution officially started on July 20, 1999, Ansley testified that he witnessed on a daily basis “the most extreme campaign of unmitigated hatred” that he had ever seen in Chinese print and television media, including young people’s programs, cultural

presentations, comic books, and news programs. What he found equally shocking was how his highly educated colleagues could fall for the same propaganda tactics in the media that they had all ridiculed in the past. It was then that he knew this campaign was different from the rest.

HYPOCRISY IN ACTION The CCP had initially used its staterun media to promote Falun Gong for its health benefits and for uplifting the morality of society. Falun Gong was respected, awarded, and praised THE FALUN GONG STORY

SOCIAL MEDIA “CRIMES” Mr. Zeng Hao (left), 45, a university professor, was arrested after the police discovered he had shared information about the persecution of Falun Gong on social media. Mr. Zeng was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on January 29, 2019. The WeChat system in China (top) automatically displays a warning when one uses words like “Falun Gong.”

by government bodies, including the Public Security Bureau, which lauded Falun Gong for “promoting the traditional crime-fighting virtues of the Chinese people, safeguarding social order and security, and promoting rectitude in society.” The Public Security Bureau even invited Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong’s founder, to give a seminar on Falun Gong at the bureau office in 1993, which he accepted. China experts believe that Falun Gong’s rapid growth surprised then-Party chief Jiang Zemin, who regarded Falun Gong’s skyrocketing popularity and its Buddhist-like precepts of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as an existential threat to the CCP’s doctrines of atheism, class struggle, and violent revolution. So on July 20, 1999, Jiang started his campaign of persecution and propaganda, demanding that the regime “use all measures necessary to eliminate Falun Gong.”

THE DEADLY ‘EVIL CULT’ LABEL A 1999 Washington Post article reported that it was Jiang who ordered that Falun Gong be labeled a “cult,” and then demanded that a law be 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

passed banning cults. David Ownby, a leading scholar on Chinese religions, notes: “The entire issue of the supposed cultic nature of Falun Gong was a red herring from the beginning, cleverly exploited by the Chinese state to blunt the appeal of Falun Gong and the effectiveness of the group’s activities outside China.”

“Beijing has ratcheted up the campaign to a fever pitch, bombarding citizens with an old, communist-style propaganda war.” - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In 2017, a Freedom House report titled The Battle for China’s Spirit stated that the “evil cult” label against Falun Gong only appeared in Party discourse in October 1999, months after the repression was launched, suggesting that the term was applied retroactively to attempt to justify a

violent, irrational campaign that was provoking international and domestic criticism. In 2014, a BBC News China article reported that 13 years after the start of the persecution, Falun Gong was still not on any of China’s official lists of “evil cults.” The severity of the persecution, including spreading dehumanizing messages, however, has not abated. Some international media outlets have chosen to adopt the perpetrator’s language by including the CCP labels “cult” and “evil” in their reporting of Falun Gong, perhaps under the guise of “balanced reporting.” Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas explains that using propaganda terms to contextualize what the propagandist thinks validates the propaganda and the propagandist, thus giving credence to slander and aiding in the oppression. No media outlet today would report what Hitler labeled Jewish people. When journalists use the labels crafted by a tyrannical regime to demonize the oppressed, they’re putting innocent lives at risk. It’s important that reporters and readers understand clearly what demonizing terms are—tools of oppression, not genuine COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




THE STAGE A police officer stands over one of the “self-immolation” actors waiting for him to finish his lines before draping a fire blanket over him. Even from this image, it is clear that the man is incorrectly performing the Falun Gong exercises.

attempts at characterization and not valid reporting. Falling short of the truth is simply allowing the media to be used by the Chinese Communist Party to extend the reach of its propaganda and its ability to oppress.

THE STAGED SELF-IMMOLATION ON TIANANMEN SQUARE In the year 2000, the persecution seemed to be losing the hearts and minds of people in China. In addition, the international community viewed Falun Gong as yet another victimized group attacked by the world’s largest human rights abuser. But everything changed on Jan. 23, 2001, when Communist Party mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency falsely claimed that five Falun Gong practitioners, including a 12-year-old girl, had attempted to “enter heaven” by setting themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square. (See sidebar: “Beijing’s Deadly Hoax.”) Around the clock, gruesome videos and pictures were broadcast through every newspaper, magazine, radio, and TV station in China. They featured a badly burned and mutilated little girl lying on a stretcher, her face 42 |


ON JAN. 23, 2001, five people allegedly set themselves on fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Within hours, state-run media were claiming that the self-immolators were Falun Gong practitioners. For days, media aired grisly footage of the victims and blamed Falun Gong teachings for the tragedy. However, Falun Gong strictly forbids any type of killing, the entire Falun Gong community opposed the actions, and nothing like this has ever taken place before or since. In fact, a wealth of evidence indicates that the entire incident was staged—a sophisticated propaganda stunt contrived to demonize Falun Gong: A WASHINGTON POST investigation into two of the self-immolators found that they had never practiced Falun Gong. AN AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY showed, via slow-motion footage, that one of the immolators collapsed after being hit on the head by an object hurled by a man wearing a military overcoat. IN THE STATE-RUN MEDIA COVERAGE, a policeman stands next to one of the alleged immolators, waiting for him to finish speaking. The officer then casually places a blanket over the man to extinguish a non-existent flame, contributing to the view that the scene was staged. QUOTES ATTRIBUTED to the immolators in state-run TV coverage were incompatible with Falun Gong teachings. This staged “self-immolation incident” and the state’s media blitz led many Chinese who had sympathized with Falun Gong to believe practitioners were crazy or even dangerous. The effect on public opinion made it easier for the Party to abduct practitioners, take them for brainwashing, and torture them.

and lips charred black, whimpering, “Mama, Mama.” Days later, reports from Western media started to blow gaping holes in the story that pointed to a government conspiracy. A CNN reporter who was on the scene never saw a 12-year-old girl at the site. For The Washington Post’s investigative report titled “Human Fire Ignites Chinese Mystery,” the reporter interviewed neighbors of the 12-year-old and her mother, who died at the scene. The neighbors said that the mother had mental problems and that “no one ever saw her practice Falun Gong.” However, nothing could stop the power of that terrible story of self-immolation. What was once seen in the West as a peaceful meditation group and a victim of an oppressive regime was now seen as a fringe group and possibly a questionable one at that.

HATEFUL MESSAGES COMPLETE THE VIOLENT MACHINERY Between 1999 and 2001, media watchdogs such as Reporters Without Borders grew more concerned about the inability to report on Falun Gong in China and the arrest and harassment of reporters who tried. A few of the successful reporters included John Pomfret and Philip Pan from The Washington Post. In August 2001, they published an article titled “Torture Is Breaking Falun Gong, China Systematically Eradicating Group.” They secretly interviewed a government official who exposed the three ingredients that the regime was using against Falun Gong. The first ingredient was the CCP’s sanctioning of widespread violence against Falun Gong practitioners. The second was intense brainwashing sessions to get practitioners to give up their faith. And the third and most crucial was the high-pressure propaganda campaign. As Chinese society turned against Falun Gong after the staged Tiananmen Square self-immolations, pressure on practitioners to abandon their beliefs increased, and it became easier for the regime to use violence against those who did not. “Each aspect of the campaign is critTHE FALUN GONG STORY

ical,” the official told The Post. “Pure violence doesn’t work. Just studying doesn’t work either. And none of it would be working if the propaganda hadn’t started to change the way the general public thinks. You need all three. That’s what they’ve figured out.”

ONLINE TROLLS-FOR-HIRE In addition to controlling the message, CCP leaders knew from experience they had to prevent the masses from having access to the big picture and the free flow of information. Internet censorship has been a major concern for the CCP since 2000. They created the world’s largest firewall system as part of the Golden Shield Project. Not surprisingly, all Falun Gong-related websites are blocked, including MIT’s website at one point because it hosts the MIT Falun Gong club. A 2016 Harvard study reported this finding: “The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2 million people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. … We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year.” These online commentators are called “the 50-cent party” because they are reportedly paid 50 cents for every post. Inciting hatred, spreading misinformation, and promoting state propaganda against Falun Gong is their job. Falun Gong practitioners have resisted the onslaught of falsehoods about them through their courage, ingenuity, and technical know-how: They’ve tapped into state-controlled cable television networks to broadcast truth-telling videos, invented and circulated software to circumvent the internet blockade, hung banners in trees, and produced and distributed CDs, DVDs, fliers, and leaflets—all to get the truth to the Chinese people. For these seemingly simple acts, many have been abducted and tortured, and many have died in detention. In the words of U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, “Falun Gong practitioners have been great witnesses of courage and peace.” 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE


The Chinese Communist Party has built the world’s most sophisticated apparatus of internet censorship and website blocking. The project was accelerated after 1999 primarily to prevent Chinese people from accessing uncensored information about Falun Gong. KEY CENSORSHIP TARGET

Falun Gong remains one of the most censored topics in China. Academic studies of internet censorship have repeatedly found that in addition to blocks on Falun Gong websites, numerous terms related to the practice or its founder are automatically flagged as “sensitive” keywords for deletion or monitoring. All Falun Gong websites have been blocked since the campaign’s onslaught. Other potential sources of independent information about the practice and the persecution in China—human rights groups, many international media, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter—have been blocked as well. REAL-LIFE REPERCUSSIONS

Those in China who use the internet to access or share information about Falun Gong risk arrest and imprisonment. In its 2018 Freedom on the Net report, Freedom House noted: “Many Falun Gong practitioners have been jailed in recent years for posting messages about the spiritual group or human rights abuses on WeChat or QQ, accessing banned websites, and possessing VPN technology.”





China’s Forced Organ Harvesting:

KILLING FOR PROFIT Mounting evidence reveals a secret industry inside state-run hospitals that kills Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience to sell organs for profit


growing body of evidence indicates that Chinese hospitals have been colluding with the country’s police in a nefarious scheme known as “organ harvesting.” They hold prisoners of conscience against their will, often illegally, examine them for organ compatibility, and then systematically remove their healthy organs to supply transplants for a booming organ transplantation industry. Their bodies are cremated, according to eyewitnesses. The vast majority of prisoners of conscience targeted in this manner are believed to be Falun Gong practitioners — possibly running into tens 44 |


The Tribunal’s members are all certain – unanimously, and sure beyond a reasonable doubt – that, in China, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.” SIR GEOFFREY NICE QC, TRIBUNAL CHAIRPERSON

of thousands annually, according to estimates by Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist, David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former Canadian member of parliament, who published their findings in 2016. Allegations of mass murder of Falun Gong practitioners for organs have been made since 2006. With every year that has passed since — and in particular over the last few years — more evidence has emerged supporting the allegations. The methodologies used to analyze the mass of evidence have become more robust, and concerns have become increasingly mainstream. Meanwhile, the THE FALUN GONG STORY


MACABRE MILLIONS Organ harvesting is big business in China, with hundreds of hospitals around the country working in partnership with prisons that house prisoners of conscience.

position of the Chinese regime and its defenders, who seek to deny the claims, has become increasingly untenable. This year, a number of developments are swiftly raising awareness of this issue and sounding alarms. Foremost among these is the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting of Prisoners of Conscience in China, chaired by the eminent British barrister and professor, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. Nice was the prosecutor of Slobodan Milošević at The Hague and subsequently worked on cases before the permanent International Criminal Court. The Tribunal consists of a group of experts from a variety 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

of fields who evaluated the evidence of organ harvesting in China and rendered a judgment as to whether crimes against humanity have been committed. After first reading evidence for about nine months before holding three days of hearings in London, in December 2018, the tribunal issued an interim judgment that stated: “The Tribunal’s members are all certain — unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt — that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.” This interim verdict foreshadows

the formal, final judgment and report expected midyear. Given Nice’s prestige in the world of international human rights, it is likely to carry significant weight. The matter of whether — and in what volume — Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience have been killed for their organs, has occupied a somewhat awkward place for world governments, major human rights organizations, and major media corporations ever since the allegations surfaced in 2006. Millions of people around the world, including prominent experts, have seen documentaries like Human Harvest or Hard to Believe, have read COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



ORGAN HARVESTING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW What Is It? Organ harvesting refers to the mass incarceration of prisoners of conscience in China who are screened for blood and tissue type, held captive until needed, and then killed on demand (or harvested alive, according to reports) for their organs. The profits are estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

Summary of Evidence RAPID GROWTH: China’s national transplant

system spiked just as its death-penalty system began to decline, making the new source of organs an apparent mystery.

SHORT WAIT TIMES: After weeks, days, or in

some cases merely hours, a patient’s new organ mysteriously arrives, indicating a bank of living, blood-typed “donors” available on demand.

PRISONER PROFILING: Former prisoners of

conscience report being blood-tested and given physical exams assessing organ health for no apparent reason. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS: Guards and doctors

have testified to witnessing the removal of organs from unwilling, living people. DISAPPEARANCES: Dissidents vanish into

the reports, and have concluded that such crimes against humanity have indeed taken place. But the matter is more complex for the foreign ministries of Western countries. If they were also to conclude that these crimes have happened, they would have to determine what to do about it. The acts alleged are equivalent to any of the major crimes against humanity of the 20th century, if not in scale, then certainly in severity. It is possible that global exposure and acknowledgment that these crimes have taken place, and are likely still taking place in China, would raise major questions about the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party, and compel a strong response from governments.

China’s Dubious Data In response to the increasing overseas pressure, Chinese transplant officials promised that in 2015 they would no longer source organs from death-penalty prisoners. This claim was largely accepted by the international transplantation establishment. Subsequently, Chinese officials became members of the World Health Organization’s organ transplantation task force, and Chinese surgeons continued publishing in Western medical journals and presenting papers at conferences. But new scientific research is calling into question these claims of reform. A paper titled “Analysis of Official Deceased Organ Donation Data Casts Doubt on Credibility of China’s Organ Trans-


China’s labor-camp system never to be seen again.


nese medical authorities have long worked with the security apparatus, and sometimes wear both hats in the sourcing of organs. Some are directly involved in religious persecution.

International Condemnation - The U.S. Congress condemned organ harvesting in 2016. - Israel, Taiwan, and Spain have outlawed transplant tourism. - European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting in 2013. - An independent tribunal in London issued a judgement in December 2018 that Chinese authorities are harvesting organs from persecuted groups.

46 |



$ 30,000


$ 130,000-160,000 LUNG

$ 150,000-170,000


$ 98,000- 130,000 KIDNEY

$ 62,000


Evidence of Killing Falun Gong for Organs

CONFRONTING HORRORS Tribunal panel member Regina Paulose (L), chair to the tribunal Sir Geoffrey Nice QC (C), and panel member Nicholas Vetch on the first of the April hearings in London on April 6, 2019.

plant Reform” finds that China’s data follows an arbitrary growth formula — specifically, a quadratic equation — extraordinarily closely. Currently undergoing peer review, the paper is authored by Matthew Robertson, a doctoral student at the Australian National University and research fellow with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Dr. Raymond L. Hinde, a statistician; and Dr. Jacob Lavee, a cardiac transplant surgeon and professor of surgery. The claim of such incredible smoothness of growth is in contrast to the highly contingent nature of voluntary deceased organ donation, where eligible donors only become available at random, and their family members often decline to consent. When compared to comparable data from 50 other countries for goodness of fit to the same type of model, none come close — precisely because real transplant data does not tend to look almost exactly like a mathematical model. This raises the question of whether China’s data actually represents real organ donation activity taking place across the country or was simply fabricated by using a model as a template. To test the hypothesis of data falsification suggested by the initial analysis, the authors compared the data to that generated by the Red Cross, both centrally and locally, and then compared this data to hospital data in a number of provinces. They discovered 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

that there were multiple anomalies in all of the datasets, many of which could only be explained by human-directed manipulation. In one case, the Red Cross data claimed that Chinese hospitals had obtained 21.33 organs per donor for a period of about two weeks — a clearly impossible claim. The authors stated, “The manufacture and manipulation of three datasets is indicative of a deliberate, elaborate, and systematic process of falsification that appears to have been intended to create a misleading impression about the successes of China’s voluntary organ donation program.”

The meteoric rise in transplant operations in China directly correlates to the meteoric rise in Falun Gong practitioner detainees. In Falun Gong, the Chinese regime suddenly had a near-endless supply of organs to draw from. The finding of systematic falsification of official organ-donation data raises numerous questions about China’s organ transplant system — including both the real magnitude of the voluntary system claimed by officials, as well as the actual transplant activity that goes on beyond that system.

The Chinese authorities have admitted to having harvested organs from death-row prisoners for many years, and this is widely accepted as fact in Non-Govermental Organization and diplomatic circles. This refers to criminal prisoners who have been sentenced to death by courts for (in most cases) violent crimes. But the allegations now being discussed go beyond that. The allegations are that Chinese authorities, including those affiliated with military and paramilitary hospitals, have been extrajudicially killing Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, those guilty of no other crime than belonging to a religious or ethnic identity that the Party has targeted for destruction. One of the problems in gaining the widespread acceptance of this allegation has been that, for some years now, there has been so much evidence of a complex character, and an unwillingness in some sectors to consider the evidence. The primary source materials that must be marshaled, parsed, and assembled into arguments are often in Chinese, typically complex, and sometimes difficult to even find. Moreover, one piece of evidence only takes on significance in the context of other pieces. The argument can be summarized as follows: PRIOR TO 2000, organ transplan-

tation in China was a relatively niche medical treatment, primarily reserved for Communist Party officials. THE SOURCE OF ORGANS was al-

most exclusively prisoners who had been found guilty of capital crimes and sentenced to death (hereafter referred to as “deathrow prisoners”), though Uyghurs and some political prisoners were also subjected to organ harvesting. FROM 2000 ONWARD, a tectonic shift

began in China’s transplant secCOMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



tor. This is evidenced by a massive expansion in transplant capacity and capability — as measured by metrics such as these: THE NUMBER OF HOSPITALS

performing transplant surgeries BEDS DEVOTED to transplants

INCRIMINATING PHONE CALLS Investigators called Chinese hospitals to ask for organs sourced from Falun Gong practitioners. Here’s a small sampling of what hospital staff said over the phone.

in those hospitals


nurses trained in transplant medicine (many of whom received their training overseas) IMPROVED PATIENT

survival times


and clinical research in transplantation biology and immunosuppressive medicines THE ESTABLISHMENT of

numerous transplant centers in hospitals




Investigator: Her doctor told her that the kidney is quite good because [the supplier] practices Falun Gong.

Investigator: So how long do I have to wait [for organ transplant surgery]?

Song: Of course. We have all those who breathe and with a heartbeat. … Up until now, for this year, we have had more than ten kidneys, more than ten such kidneys. Investigator: More than ten of this kind of kidneys? You mean live bodies?

Doctor: About a week after you come Investigator: Is there the kind of organs that come from Falun Gong? I heard that they are very good. Doctor: All of ours are those types.

Song: Yes, it is so.

immunosuppressant manufacturing industry via state subsidies THE VARIETY OF ORGAN TRANSPLANTS performed (as measured

by organ type and surgical method) THE SHEER NUMBER of

transplants performed Alongside this growth in transplants performed, there was also the rise of “on-demand” transplants. This means waiting times of mere weeks for patients to receive transplants, or in many cases, mere days or hours. In short, the great shift post-2000 was that many more transplants were being done and much faster. These developments took place even as the primary official source of organs that was supposedly supplying the system — death-row prisoners — went into decline. This trend is documented extensively in the literature on the application and law surrounding the death penalty in China. The number of judicial executions, on average, de48 |


clined every year of the decade beginning in 2000. In 2007, in particular, it “dropped precipitously,” according to an unnamed Chinese security official,1 after death-penalty review was recentralized under the Supreme People’s Court on Jan. 1, 2007. These two opposing trends — a rapid and significant expansion of organ transplants and shorter wait times for them, even as the official source of organs declined — clearly demand an explanation. Organs must come from somewhere, and the official explanation does not explain the source. The main preliminary conclusion one can draw is that during this period, there was some other source of organs beyond the officially claimed source of judicially executed prisoners. As of 2009, there were only about 120 cumulative voluntary, deceased organ donors in the whole country.2 Given that China had no voluntary organ transplantation system during

this period of declining judicial executions, which began in 2000, the source of organs could not have been voluntary donors. In attempting to identify the other population that must have been used, it becomes clear that by far the most plausible organ source — indeed the only explanation posited so far — is prisoners of conscience who are executed extrajudicially for the purpose of organ extraction and die in the process of organ extraction itself. There is a great deal of evidence indicating that this is precisely what happened, including the following: THE BRUTAL, NATIONWIDE PERSECUTION of Falun Gong began in

July 1999, just six months before the beginning of the rapid growth in the transplant industry. This meant the regime suddenly had hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners they could use as a live organ pool. THE FALUN GONG STORY

SURGERY THAT KILLS Doctors performing an organ transplant in China as seen in the film “Harvested Alive: 10 Years of Investigations.”


Investigator: Do you use live kidneys [for transplant]? Doctor: Yes. Investigator: Well, we have a relative in Shenyang, he said that it seemed that there were fairly larger numbers of kidneys used over there and they were better in


type testing and highly specific examinations of organ function while in detention, consistent with the tests required for organ harvesting. WHISTLEBLOWERS TESTIFY to

direct or indirect knowledge of organ harvesting. THERE HAVE BEEN (and continue

to be) mass incarcerations and permanent disappearances of targeted populations. NUMEROUS TELEPHONE CALLS

by investigators have elicited admissions of organ sourcing from Falun Gong practitioners. THERE ARE OVERLAPS of person-

nel engaged both in the persecution of Falun Gong and in organ transplantation work. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

quality. He refers to that kind from Falun Gong, right? Do you use this kind as well. Doctor: Yes. Investigator: Wow, you use that kind as well. Doctor: Every hospital is the same. Note: Translated from Mandarin by an independent, third-party.

Putting all the pieces together, there is clearly a case that requires an answer from the Chinese authorities. Yet the kind of intense international pressure needed to force the issue has not yet been brought to bear.

Uyghurs: A New Target? The largest group of prisoners of conscience since 2000 has been practitioners of Falun Gong, who have been targeted in a campaign to eliminate them for the last 20 years. More recently, however, it is possible that Uyghur Muslims, a Turkic people in the northwestern border province of Xinjiang, have increasingly been used as an organ source. As with Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs have been incarcerated in vast numbers in re-education camps without recourse to any legal proceedings. Family members report loved ones going missing and never being heard from again. Radio Free Asia has reported that Uyghurs have been

transported by train to prisons across the country. Former Uyghur prisoners have testified to being subjected to suspicious blood tests and physical examinations — very similar to those reported by Falun Gong practitioners. Meanwhile, Chinese hospitals continue to advertise rapid availability of organs to foreigners, as shown in South Korean TV Chosun’s November 2017 undercover documentary The Dark Side of Transplant Tourism in China: Killing to Live, which can be viewed on Moreover, Chinese official numbers of voluntary deceased donors appear to have been simply invented. Governments around the world cannot avoid the issue forever. Fortunately, there are signs of movement. The U.S. State Department’s Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, told reporters in Hong Kong on March 8, 2019: “Allegations persist that the Chinese government continues to forcibly harvest organs from prisoners held on account of their faith, like Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs. … This is the truly horrifying prospect.” Editor’s note: The section outlining the evidence of extrajudicial killing for organs in China was adapted from language and research provided by Matthew Robertson, research fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

1. Yuxiao Dan, 死刑改革十年录 [“Ten Years of Death Penalty Reform”] Caixin 2016, https://web.archive. org/web/20170219034238/http://china.caixin. com/2016-12-18/101028169.html (last visited April 25, 2018). [In Chinese] 2. This figure has been stated by three top Chinese transplant surgeons and medical administrators: Huang Jiefu, Chen Zhonghua, and Zhuang Yiqiang. Cf. Hong Zhao and Ning Wu, 专访黄洁夫:中国器官移植 事业光明正大地登上世界舞台 [“Exclusive Interview With Huang Jiefu: The China Organ Transplant Field Justly and Honorably Steps Onto the World Stage”] China Healthcare 2015, (last visited March 23, 2018) [In Chinese]; “China Hopes Organ Donor System Stops Trafficking,” CNN 2009, (last visited April 25, 2018; 中国使用死囚器官做移植将成历史 [“China’s Use of Death Row Prisoners for Transplants Will Become a Thing of the Past”], China Youth Daily 2015, (last visited April 25, 2018). [in Chinese] COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



Ms. Chen Zixiu (top) I N M E MOR I A M

PERSECUTED TO DEATH As of May 2019, the deaths of at least 4,200 Falun Gong practitioners who died in the persecution have been reported to overseas volunteers. But the true death toll may be much higher. Many who have disappeared are feared dead from organ harvesting, torture, and other abuse—tens of thousands or more. These pages hold a small sampling of the many we’ve lost. They were men and women, young and old, from all walks of life. Their grainy portraits were smuggled out of China by friends and family who risked imprisonment themselves in order to show the world who these people were.



The first known casualty was 17-yearold Ying Chen. Ms. Chen had gone to Beijing to ask the government to reverse the ban on Falun Gong. She was arrested, beaten, and threatened. On Aug. 16,1999, she died while attempting to escape from police custody.

Grandmother Chen’s death became the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning article by The Wall Street Journal and was reported prominently in The Boston Globe. The Journal’s story begins: “The day before Chen Zixiu died, her captors again de-




Ms. Chen Ying (R)


manded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head. Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited, and collapsed. She never regained consciousness.”


Mr. Zhang Youwei


After Falun Gong became the target of government harassment, Ms. Xu went to Beijing to appeal for justice and was arrested and released numerous times. At 11 p.m., June 28, 2001, police from Chengdu City surrounded Ms. Xu’s home where she was with her family, fired three shots, then broke down the door, and entered. During the chase, Ms. Xu fell to the ground and broke her neck. Four policemen lifted her off the ground and threw her into the police car, claiming they were going to bring her to the emergency room, but they refused her family members’ request to accompany her. The next day, Ms. Xu’s family members were notified that she had passed away.


Ms. Gao wanted to expose the crimes done to her, and so smuggled photos of her burned face to international media outlets. Protests cropped up around the world. With Ms. Gao on the brink of death, her family and friends undertook a daring rescue, bravely spiriting her out of the hospital where she was being held in custody and surveilled. But after a five-month-long manhunt involving top communist cadres, Ms. Gao was found and brought back to prison. By the time her family was informed of her whereabouts on June 12, 2005, Ms. Gao had lost consciousness from further torture. Her family members say she was little more than “skin and bones” when they finally saw her, and she died four days later.


Mr. Zhang of Beijing’s Shunyi District was distributing fliers about Falun Gong in a village in 2001 when he was arrested and sentenced to two years of forced labor at the Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp. Thus began years of torture, incarceration in a small cell, and shock with electric batons. He was arrested again on May 14, 2009, by officers from the Guangming Police Station, charged with owning Falun Gong books, and again sentenced to forced labor. When, after two years, his family was allowed to pick him up at the Tiantanghe Forced Labor Camp, his body was swollen and disfigured from beatings. He died shortly after, on Dec. 1, 2011.



In July 2003, Ms. Gao was taken into custody for practicing Falun Gong and sent to the Longshan Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang City. On May 7, 2004, she was tortured with electric batons for seven consecutive hours. The torture seared the skin off her face and neck, leaving shockingly severe damage. Her once-radiant face was left scarred and blistered, and her hair was matted with pus and blood.

Ms. Gao Rongrong, before and after torture

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Ms. Jiang was arrested after going to Beijing to petition for the right to practice Falun Gong. In the years that followed, she endured forced labor, beatings, torture, physical restraint, invasion of her home, interrogation, and detention before dying on Sept. 16, 2009, as a result of persecution.

Ms. Jiang Ruihong

Mr. Yu Zhou


Mr. Yu, a well-loved folk musician, was arrested and tortured to death in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His death was reported by The Times in the U.K. Mr. Yu endeared himself to fans both for his melodies and his humble, down-to-earth personality. His band frequently topped the charts, capturing the hearts of countless Chinese citizens. For many years, his fame had granted him a certain amount of protection amid the persecution of Falun Gong, which he took up in 1995. Yet in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese regime intensified its campaign against Falun Gong. On Jan. 26, 2008, Mr. Yu MAGAZINE 2019 2019 5252| COMPASSION | COMPASSIONMAGAZINE

was arrested while on his way home from a concert. Eleven days later, he was tortured to death. His death serves as an example of the lengths the regime went to in order to ensure “social stability” for the Olympics.


On April 1, 2004, police arrested Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Huang without giving any explanation or revealing where she was being detained. On April 16, the police informed Ms. Huang’s family that she had died on the morning of April 16 in Wuhan City Number One Hospital. It had been only 15 days since her arrest. After her death, the police did not permit examination of her remains or allow her family to see her body.



An army major in Lanzhou City, Mr. Wang died on July 1, 2017, while serving six years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. He was often beaten, shocked with electric batons, ordered to do hard labor without pay, forced to stand for long periods of time, and deprived of sleep and use of a restroom. The long-term abuse took a toll on Mr. Wang’s health. He suffered a brain hemorrhage which led to his untimely death.

officials, guards, and inmates, all of whom are rewarded for tormenting adherents like Ms. Zhao to try to make them renounce their faith. Ms. Zhao was force-fed unknown drugs that wreaked havoc on her health. She was forced to hold painful positions for hours and days. She was subjected to long-term sleep deprivation, grave psychological humiliation, and beatings with clothes hangers, tubes, and other implements.

Mr. Yang Zhonggeng


When Mr. Yang, a resident of Zhejiang Province, spoke out in a village about inaccuracies in the state-run media reports about Falun Gong, he was arrested and tortured for years by police and prison guards. After his release, he was arrested a second time on June 23, 2013, only to be beaten and tortured in police custody until he was on the verge of death. He was then transferred to the Lingbao Detention Center. He passed away on June 28, 2013, just five days after the arrest.

Ms. Jin Shunnu


Ms. Zhao Chunyan



Ms. Zhao died on July 28, 2018, in Heilongjiang Province after five years in prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She had become emaciated after enduring unimaginable and protracted forms of torture at the hands of Chinese

Ms. Jin of Liaoning Province died on Oct. 10, 2018, after being arrested for talking to people about Falun Gong at a pension office in China. It was her sixth detainment since 1999. Days after her arrest, this previously healthy prisoner of conscience fell into a coma while in police custody. The authorities have not disclosed the cause of the coma. Ms. Jin endured brutal physical torture by police and guards during her previous 13 years of detention, and her husband and daughter believe that police brutality was the cause of her coma. On the day of her death, hospital staff cremated her body without an autopsy.

| 53 | 53



EYE TO EYE WITH PERSECUTION This small collection of personal stories holds details that are echoed in tens of thousands of testimonies of Falun Gong practitioners who, since the persecution began in 1999, have been harassed, abducted, and brutalized by Chinese authorities.

54 |




LETTER FROM A CHINESE JAIL Mr. Sun Yi holding the SOS letter he wrote, that made its way around the world and back to him.

A Daring Plea An SOS note smuggled out of a labor camp makes headlines in the U.S.

WHEN FALUN GONG practitioner

Mr. Sun Yi was incarcerated for two and a half years in China’s infamous Masanjia forced-labor camp, he began writing SOS letters about the desperate situation in the camp and hiding them inside the packaging of goods for export that he was made to work on. Life at the camp was indeed harsh. Inmates were forced to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week, while also subjected to torture and abuse. Mr. Sun was often handcuffed to a bed in agonizing positions for long periods. At one point, he was hung up from a bunk bed for an entire year, with the cuffs cutting into his wrists and his feet swelling to the size of an elephant’s, yet he never succumbed to demands to renounce Falun Gong. Mr. Sun was released from Masanjia 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

in mid-2010. Two years later, an American woman, Mrs. Julie Keith, found one of his letters in a Halloween kit she’d bought at K-Mart. His letter had traveled 5,600 miles from China to a small town in Oregon. Mrs. Keith went to the media, and the story made headlines around the world. The subsequent publicity and international pressure over the gross rights violations in China’s vast “re-education through labor” system led to the system’s abolishment in 2013. (However, “black jails” have since sprung up to replace the labor camps.) Mr. Sun, whose Chinese name means “firm and resolute,” subsequently became a target of the authorities. His home was repeatedly ransacked. He fled and lived on the run. In December 2016, Mr. Sun managed to escape to Indonesia. There, he met

Julie Keith, and filming for part of the documentary “Letter From Masanjia” took place. The film tells Mr. Sun’s story while shedding light on how Chinese dissidents are arbitrarily imprisoned and then used as slave labor to produce goods for export. Mr. Sun planned to go to Canada from Indonesia, but while he was awaiting his visa, he was picked up by suspected agents of the Chinese regime. On Oct. 1, 2017, just days before his 51st birthday, he died at a hospital in Bali. His death was attributed to kidney failure. However, his family reported that he didn’t have kidney problems, and said they suspected foul play. They claimed that the hospital didn’t give concrete details about his death and rushed to have his body cremated. Many wonder if his death was an assassination by poisoning. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



TIME TO HEAL (L-R) Wang Huijuan, Li Fuyao, and Li Zhenjun at their home in Queens, New York, on Jan. 8, 2017. They escaped China in 2014 and were granted asylum after years of torture for practicing Falun Gong.


Life After Torture After 10 years of brutality in China, a family finds healing and normalcy in the U.S. WHEN MS. WANG HUIJUAN was

picked up by police at a train station and taken to a detention center to be interrogated in 1999, she struggled so much that the officers were unable to tie her up. They rammed her head against a wall and beat her head and face with a metal ruler from a nearby office desk. “There was lots of blood. My nose and mouth were bleeding, and they shattered my eardrums,” said Ms. Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner who now lives in New York (and wears hearing aids). “I thought one thing then: ‘Even if I have to die, I won’t give up the others’ names, and I won’t renounce my faith.’” But the cost was high. She spent the next seven years in prison, apart from her husband and young daughter, where she endured brainwashing, interrogation, physical 56 |


restraint, beatings, force-feedings, sleep deprivation, and psychological torture. Her husband, Mr. Li Zhenjun, suffered a similar fate. As well as being tortured and beaten, Mr. Li spent 16 hours a day, seven days a week for more than two years, stitching together commemorative soccer balls for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His fingers were often infected and seeped blood and pus from the toxins in the fake leather. The couple were in and out of forced-labor camps, brainwashing centers, and prisons consistently over a 10-year period, simply because they refused to renounce their belief in Falun Gong. Their daughter, Fuyao, who was only six when her parents disappeared into China’s forced-labor camp system for the first time, was

looked after by her grandmother. Fuyao had her own trials to deal with. Her classmates at primary school, influenced by the relentless propaganda campaign against Falun Gong, shunned her and spat on her books. The family was finally reunited in 2009 after Ms. Wang was released. Mr. Li had been out since November 2006, and Fuyao was now 14. But the threat of being arrested again always haunted them. Then a chance to escape to America presented itself in 2014, and they took it. “When we got on U.S. soil, all of our fears evaporated,” Ms. Wang said. “But the psychological trauma is very hard to erase, and as I breathe the fresh air and enjoy my rights and freedom of belief here, I can’t help but have a heavy heart for my fellow citizens in China.” THE FALUN GONG STORY

RECOUNTING THE HORRORS Yin Liping testifies before the CongressionalExecutive Commission on China, April 14 2016, on “China’s Pervasive Use of Torture.” Ms. Yin is a Falun Gong practitioner who survived torture, forced labor, and sexual violence in Masanjia and other forced labor camps in China.


One Woman’s Nightmare Psychiatric torture, gang rape, and grueling work at China’s most infamous forced-labor camp IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE Ms. Yin Lip-

ing survived. Not only was she tortured to the verge of death several times while incarcerated in China, but she was also subjected to brutal sexual violence, forced to do hard labor, and injected with psychiatric drugs in toxic doses—a form of torture used routinely in China’s prison system, often with devastating, long-term effects. After being held in various labor camps, Ms. Yin, a Falun Gong practitioner from Liaoning Province, was sent to the notorious Masanjia forced-labor camp in September 2000 because she refused to be “transformed,” a term for forcing Falun Gong adherents to give up the practice and their beliefs. That’s where some of the worst abuse took place. “I was cuffed to a bed and injected 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

with unknown drugs for over two months. This caused me to temporarily lose my vision. ... They injected two or three bottles each day. As a result, I developed endocrine disorders, incontinence, and had blood in my urine. In addition, their frequent violent force-feeding almost suffocated me,” Ms. Yin recounted at a hearing for the Congressional Executive Commission on China in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 2016. Ms. Yin, who was granted refugee status in the United States in 2015, also testified that one day in April 2001, she and eight other Falun Gong practitioners were taken from Masanjia to a so-called black jail to be raped by the male inmates. “Four or five male inmates threw me onto the bed. Some held my arms, some held my legs. One younger man sat on me and beat me. I became dizzy

and passed out. When I came to, three men were lying beside me. I realized that I had been videotaped when I was sexually attacked and humiliated by these gangsters of inmates,” she said. Ms. Yin was also detained for nine months at Liaoyang forced-labor camp, during which time her hair turned gray and her menstrual period stopped due to the grueling work, which included helping load eight tons of steel bars onto trucks in the daytime and binding artificial flowers at night until 2 a.m. Tears ran down her face as she spoke. She said 30 practitioners she knew personally developed mental disorders from the torture, and 10 died, either in prison or after they were released. “Ms. Wang Jie was one of them,” she said, holding a picture of her friend. “She died in my arms on April 21, 2012.” COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



CHEN ZHENPING pictured with her daughter in Finland on Oct. 9 2015. PE R S ON A L ACCOU N TS

International Pressure and a Daring Escape Amnesty International campaign helps reunite mother and daughter WHEN FALUN GONG PRISONERS of

conscience are rescued from dire situations in China, it’s usually thanks to the concerted efforts of overseas fellow adherents, rights organizations, and politicians. The story of Ms. Zhenping Chen’s journey to freedom in Finland began in December 2012, when the Amnesty International Taiwan Group 32 took an interest in her case. In the three years that followed, the group applied constant pressure on Ms. Chen’s persecutors while appealing to the Finnish government and media, as well as to the Chinese authorities. Ms. Chen’s first prison term began in 2003, when she was sentenced to three years in Henan’s Shibalihe women’s labor camp. There, she underwent force-feeding and was put in a specialized straitjacket meant to “transform” the Falun Gong adherents, that is, to force them to quit the practice and renounce their beliefs. 58 |


Women at the labor camp were routinely tied up in the garment, which is designed to tighten when the wearer struggles. One of Ms. Chen’s fellow inmates died after spending a day in the straitjacket. Ms. Chen was tied up and hung from a window while in the straitjacket. When Ms. Chen went on a hunger strike to protest efforts to transform her, labor camp staff force-fed her. After one particularly violent force-feeding event, she went into shock, and the authorities notified her daughter to take her home. In July 2008, in anticipation of the Beijing Olympic Games, Ms. Chen was arrested and sentenced to eight years at the Xinxiang City Women’s Prison. She was forced to work 18 hours a day in the prison’s garment factory. Ms. Chen’s daughter, Jin Zhaoyu, who was by then living in Finland, brought the matter to international attention with the help of Amnesty

International and Finnish media. Countless letters demanding Ms. Chen’s release were sent to those responsible for her abuse—officials at the prison, public security, and the judiciary. Often, the letters were addressed to individual wardens, prison heads, and guards, making the issue personal and letting them know that they would get no anonymity for their violence. Ms. Chen was finally released, and in September 2015, she escaped to Thailand with the help of friends, before arriving in Finland. She and her daughter were reunited after seven years apart. “Today I am finally standing on free land, the beautiful Finland,” Ms. Chen said at the time. “I want to thank Amnesty International and the kindness of people who show their support to the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners who carry on in the belief of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.” THE FALUN GONG STORY


MOURNING Ms. Wang Yifei holds a wreath to mourn her sister who was killed in a Chinese labor camp because she stood up for her faith in Falun Gong. Ms. Wang fled China to escape the same fate, and is shown here in a march in Los Angeles in 2016.


Picking Up the Pieces

Two San Francisco residents escaped the brutal persecution that claimed the lives of their sister and father BEFORE THE PERSECUTION

of Falun Gong began in 1999, the shy yet resilient Ms. Yifei Wang worked as a senior journalist for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). She supported her parents’ practice of Falun Gong after it led to their recovery from long-term lung and kidney diseases that had often hospitalized them for long periods. They had become completely healthy for the first time in decades. After witnessing police brutality against citizens as they meditated peacefully in a park, Ms. Wang decided to stand alongside Falun Gong practitioners and tried out the practice for herself. She soon became a dedicated practitioner. In 2001, she, her brother, and her sister appealed to the authorities to end the persecution. But security forces arrested the siblings, and the nightmare for her family began. Her brother spent 12 years in prison. Her sister was tortured to death in a labor camp, and her father, overcome with grief, died soon after. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

Ms. Wang escaped detention and made it to safety in the United States and to the vastly different environment of openness, diversity, and freedom in San Francisco. Eventually her brother was released from prison and escaped from China to join her. Now the siblings are dedicated to retrieving the body of their sister, which is still held by the labor camp where she was killed 18 years ago. Ms. Wang and her surviving family members are willing to face the pain of their tragic past to tell their story and secure the release of their sister’s body as proof that she was murdered. They hope that when people learn of

their personal nightmare, it will expose the CCP’s genocidal campaign against Falun Gong and help the millions of others in China suffering the same fate. The Wangs’ harrowing story of loyalty, resolve, and hope is featured in an upcoming documentary by Swoop Films entitled Finding Courage. For more information on the documentary, visit The preceding personal accounts include reporting by The Epoch Times,, and China Uncensored.
















Falun Gong around the


Although originating in China, Falun Gong is now practiced by people in over 90 countries around the world. The main text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, has been translated into 40 languages.





Falun Gong around the

World Morning meditation in the park


Keeping the smile going!

Los Angeles, United States


Brooklyn, New York City

Washington, D.C : Candlelight vigil to remember those killed in China. 62 |




Talking about Buenos Aires, Argentina:Falu n Gong of on uti sec the per . na Chi in taking place

Teenagers ride bikes across America to raise awareness.

Tranquility on the bea through Falun Gong meditch ation.

Mother and son join peaceful Falun Gong demonstration

World Falun Dafa Day Parade in New York City



Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day in traditional attire and holding elegant lanterns. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




Australia Seoul, Korea: World Falun Dafa Day celebration in the Olympic Park,

Taiwan: Candlelight Vigil

Tens of millions of people in China persist in their Falun Gong practice amid a brutal campaign that targets them.

Taipei, Taiwan

ce birthpla India: Ahtakyamuni of S

Helping the kiddos with their exercises

Indonesia Hong Kong: World Falun Dafa Day celebrations

64 |




Belgium: Telling people about persecution taking place in China

Berlin, Germany

London, England: Collecting signatures

Moscow, Russia

Rome, Italy

Prague, Czech Republic




Ethiopia: Students gather to study a Falun Gong book





PR AC T IC E S FA LU N G ONG? Beyond the country of its origin, Falun Gong has touched the lives of people around the world. Here’s a closer look at a few Falun Gong practitioners outside China.



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ost people want a lot of money. They think it’s the key to happiness. However, I found out that it’s not so at all,” says Mr. Vasilios Zoupounidis, recipient of Sweden’s Business Pioneer of the Year Award from King Carl XVI Gustaf. Vasilios is the co-founder of multiple Swedish corporations and the CEO of a media company in Stockholm. “The key to happiness is letting go of all attachments, money being one of them,” he says. Vasilios began practicing Falun Gong in 1998 and says that the benefits of its teachings, which include a Buddhist-like indifference toward attachments or desires, have always been self-evident to him. “With some salespeople, their attitude is just to close deals,” he says. “But if guided according to truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, asking them to think about the clients first, then they’re happy, work more efficiently, and close deals even faster.” Vasilios says he felt grateful for Falun Gong’s role in his success after his company expanded into six cities in Sweden, with 50 employees, and an annual revenue of 10 million. “The exercises in the morning make me energized and, at the same time, relaxed and calm, allowing me to take on any difficulties,” he says. THE FALUN GONG STORY




ichelle Xu Lian grew up in Taiwan as the cherished eldest daughter of a loving family. At age 7, Michelle saw Shen Yun Performing Arts in Taipei, and longed to join the classical Chinese dance company whose performances revive ancient traditions. After years of effort and dedication, Michelle’s wish came true and she is now a principal dancer with Shen Yun. To top it off, she placed first in the 2018 NTD International Classical Chinese Dance Competition. Much of her success, she says, was built upon humility.

“One night, when I was practicing after class, a senior student tried to help me. Although she was very gentle, I couldn’t bear it. While growing up, I was rarely criticized. So it’s especially hard for me to accept teachers’ or classmates’ comments on my flaws or problems. I felt like the sky was collapsing.” Michelle says she felt like crying. But her peer, also a Falun Gong practitioner, was a model of determination and altruism. She gave Michelle all the time she needed. The pair practiced one move for two hours. “I finally learned it!” Michelle says. She felt that the other dancer demonstrated real selflessness. Learning to persist despite hardships, to think of others, and to keep a peaceful mind are some of the rewards of being a Falun Gong practitioner, Michelle says.



ccording to the Parker family, Falun Gong meditation is powerful. They’ve practiced the exercises together as a family almost every day since the kids were old enough to sit up straight. “We all sit down to meditate, and the kids learn self-discipline and how to be calm,” says Christine Parker, a school teacher. But the Falun Gong principles and meditation benefit mom and dad just as much. “Being calm and kind is just so important when dealing with children, so we really try to practice Falun Gong every day, so we can give that to our kids.” Andrew Parker, who works as a software consultant, offers a little insight into how the practice inspires the family to help each other. “Because of the meditation, I’m usually 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

pretty calm, but if it’s too wild at home sometimes I’ll get angry,” he explains. “But then one of the kids will say something like, ‘We’re sorry. Please don’t be

mad. We practice compassion, right, Daddy?’” When your own kid kindly reminds you to be patient, it’s so humbling you can’t stay mad.” COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019






hen Nike came knocking at Taiwanese architect-turned-graphic designer Mr. Laurent Shen’s door, he was full of passion and talent. These two traits became the bedrock of his thriving digital advertising agency, Moulin Orange, and attracted Adidas and New Balance to become his clients in succession. But Laurent says that he had a hot temper toward his employees and directors. “I was very harsh. If I was not satisfied with what they did, I would shout with abuse.” After years of pushing himself and those around him like this, Laurent lost vision in his left eye. A friend of his suggested that he read Zhuan Falun and try the Falun Gong exercises. Within a year of beginning the practice, Laurent’s eyesight returned to normal. Now his firm is doing better than ever. “After I started putting Falun Gong’s truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to real use, I realized truth without kindness never works. I almost met with huge losses because of my abrasiveness. But when I became determined to communicate with all of my employees with tolerance and compassion, my office’s atmosphere changed dramatically.”

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usic can communicate positive energy to the audience,” says New York-based Dr. Yevgeniy Reznik, assistant professor of music at Fei Tian College. Dr. Reznik trained at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris, completed a fellowship through Yale School of Music, and has played with the Tokyo String Quartet and at the Y. Mravinsky International Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. A native of Ukraine, he came to the United States at age 17 to attend Interlochen Arts Academy on a full scholarship. Dr. Reznik has studied Falun Gong’s texts and practiced its five energy-strengthening exercises for years. But he’s still amazed at how much of a positive impact it has. Of the meditation he says, “There are a lot of unnecessary thoughts throughout the day that run through my head, and doing meditation helps to clear them out. As a result, I stay focused more easily on the important things.” Given the level of discipline and dedication classical music requires, it can be taxing, but Dr. Reznik finds Falun Gong’s emphasis on compassion and selflessness helpful. He says, “When I let go of self and think about other people, I receive the energy I need and stay fresh, which allows me to maintain a high standard.”



rtist and former professor Mr. Zhang Kunlun has served as director of the Sculpture Institute of China’s Shandong Art Institute as well as director of its Sculpture Research Institute. Mr. Zhang, a Canadian, became one of Amnesty International’s special cases after he was detained and tortured in China for his belief in Falun Gong. He was released in 2001 only after an outcry from NGOs, Canadian Parliament members, and coverage by the Canadian media. Mr. Zhang’s oil paintings, Chinese paintings, and sculptures — in both their pain and hopefulness — are often inspired by the persecution he lived through and have garnered him international recognition. “Throughout my entire life, I had searched for a pure and unblemished way to express myself through my art but couldn’t find it. I was only able to recover my innate purity after I took up Falun Gong. Now, I’m able to express the sides of myself that are naturally good and kind.”





iss Anastasia Lin is one of the world’s highest-profile voices against the persecution of Falun Gong. A Canadian immigrant from China and an award-winning actress, she held the title of Miss World Canada in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, Miss Lin was to represent Canada at the Miss World pageant in China, but was refused a visa and was turned away at the Hong Kong border by Chinese authorities. Her dramatic denial put her and her message of freedom into headlines in major news outlets worldwide. Since then, Miss Lin has been invited to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Oxford Union, the Geneva Human Rights Summit at the U.N., and the Oslo Freedom Forum. She has testified before the U.S. Congress, the U.K. Parlia-

ment, the Australian Parliament, and the Taiwanese Legislative Assembly. Miss Lin’s practice of Falun Gong has been a beacon for her, she says. “I love the ancient Buddhist and Daoist philosophy that is embedded in

the teachings of Falun Gong. It has helped me to connect to the universality of ancient wisdom in modern-day life. It embraces the essential part of Chinese culture that was lost during the Cultural Revolution.”



ife’s pressures can pile high for an ambitious doctoral candidate in a STEM field. So when Dr. Wei Biao Wu made Falun Gong part of his routine in 1998, he was elated to find that his sleep improved and his energy soared. As a result, he says he’s been able to concentrate better and be more fruitful in his research. Dr. Wu credits Falun Gong for helping him win America’s National Science Foundation Career Award, the Tjalling C. Koopmans Econometric Theory Prize, and the Econometric Theory Multa Scripsit Award. It wasn’t only because Falun Gong lifted his energy. “Falun Gong’s teaching broadens my understanding about science, nature, and the universe,” he says. He applies these insights today to his groundbreaking scientific theories.


But Dr. Wu’s favorite place to apply the discipline’s insights are at home with his wife and daughter. “When my child was born, my heart was filled with love for her. When I began to cultivate my inner self according to Falun Gong, a new feeling emerged: If I could love and care for other people just like I love and care for my daughter, an unconditional love, I would be getting closer to true mercy.” Dr. Wu also brings Falun Gong’s tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to his lecture hall and lab. Doing so, he says, has an almost magical effect on his sometimes overwhelming responsibilities. “I try hard to suppress my urge to handle some things only on the surface while focusing on other things. Instead, I try to deal with each issue patiently and on its own merit. When one thing is handled well, other things appear to be resolved.” COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019







A GREAT AMERICAN STORY Shen Yun Performing Arts





©Shen Yun Performing Arts

TANG IMPERIAL DRUMMERS Brave and disciplined warriors prepare for battle under the leadership of Emperor Tang Taizong at the dawn of the great Tang Dynasty.


t’s a familiar story and one we should celebrate. There’s a group of steady-handed folks—salt-of-the-earth types— whose values are rooted in tradition. They face severe persecution for their religious beliefs in their homeland as the political actors of their day vie for power and wealth. Their moral fortitude gives them the impetus to not give in nor to retaliate, but instead, to look to the horizon—to America’s shores. And, when they land with almost nothing, they get to work. And they work, and work, and work. Over the course of many years, nurtured by the liberty of their adopted homeland, propelled by their work ethic, and guided by the moral compass of their convictions, they build something truly groundbreaking–something worth sharing with the world. This is a quintessentially American story. This is the story of Shen Yun. The great experiment that is America, which has led the way for de72 |


mocracy and individual rights to lift hundreds of millions of people around the world out from under repressive and unjust rulers, has also been the incubator for countless other marvels. And so it is again, here in the verdant

A new generation emerged, having grown up in a time when only the most superficial facade of genuine Chinese culture remained intact. American Northeast, where the great incubator has given rise to another success story. And just like our forefathers, these folks fled repression in faraway lands, and built this marvel out of nothing but the traditions they carried with them.

China’s True Culture Bearers Consider China. The land that brought us Taoism as well as Confucianism. The land that brought us the Art of War, profound poetry, intricate and breathtaking architecture, and unparalleled subtlety through ink brush painting. China formulated one of the greatest merit-based civil service systems in recorded history, and did so a thousand years before democracy and capitalism yielded similar results in the West. For centuries, China was, quite simply, one of the most profound, richest, and most bountiful cultures in the world. That all changed in 1949 when communist forces seized power in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spent the next half-century systematically eviscerating traditional Chinese culture and anyone who stood firm to defend it. The CCP mocked and criticized the teachings of Confucius. It destroyed Buddhist monasteries. It THE FALUN GONG STORY

TRADITIONAL CHINESE CULTURE In Chinese cosmology, Buddhas and other heavenly beings are the guardians for spiritual seekers looking to transcend negative attachments such as greed, anger, and hate, and develop their altruistic side, or “Buddha nature.”

shut down institutions of learning and the arts. It banned and burned classic works of literature. It taught the people to “smash the old.” Mao and Marx were enshrined in their place. At times, it grew horrifically brutal. Young people reported their teachers and parents to authorities to be “denounced.” The entire society was turned upside-down by one upheaval after another. By the 1980s, over 70 million Chinese were dead amidst the chaos. Hundreds of millions more were thoroughly shaken to their core. And what of China’s great cultural roots? They were all but severed. A new generation emerged, having grown up in a time when only the most superficial façade of genuine Chinese culture remained intact. Unabashed consumerism replaced Confucian ideals of rugged simplicity. For most, hopes of lucrative careers replaced any lofty notions of enlightenment. It was amidst this “new China,” this pale shadow of the former Middle Kingdom, that Falun Gong was first introduced to the public. Although Falun Gong didn’t become known to the Chinese public until 1992, its pedigree reaches back far beyond its years. The most recognizable feature of Falun Gong—its trademark exercises—hark back to the earliest centuries of recorded Chinese history. Its meditative exercises 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

would be readily familiar in form, if not in detail, to denizens of Bronze Age China. And Falun Gong’s core teachings on integrity, compassion, and self-restraint have been echoed throughout the writings of China’s sages and literati from the earliest centuries. Its “self-cultivation” program is cut from the same cloth as early Chinese Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, while its orientation is similarly otherworldly—aspiring to a kind of harmony with the cosmos that can only be achieved through virtuous living, physical transformation, and deepening spiritual insight.

In a word, Falun Gong is thoroughly Chinese, and arose at a time when little else in China was. As tens of millions of Chinese people took up the practice in the 1990s, they were not just becoming physically and spiritually healthy, but were connecting with and understanding the deeper soul of their own culture and traditions. The wisdom of Confucius or poetic beauty of Li Bai struck a deep chord with those who were living by the principles espoused in these writings. If the flame of Chinese culture was to survive communist China, it would likely be practitioners of Falun Gong that would be the torchbearers.

“SMASH THE OLD” During China’s Cultural Revolution (1967 - 1976), the people were mobilized to destroy all remnants of traditional Chinese culture to pave the way for indoctrination of communist atheism. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



©Shen Yun Performing Arts

CELEBRATING THE DIVINE In this ethnic dance, Shen Yun captures the energetic hospitality and deep veneration of the Tibetan people who make their home amid the majestic Himalayas.

Finding Safe Haven In America While it was Falun Gong’s connection with authentic Chinese culture that resonated so deeply with the Chinese people, it was precisely this connection that troubled some leaders of the Communist Party. In 1999, with 100 million people around China practicing Falun Gong, Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a systematic persecution campaign to “eradicate” the practice. Under orders from Jiang, on July 20, 1999, Falun Gong practice site volunteers across the country were dragged from their beds in the middle of the night and taken into custody. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were taken into custody over the next several days, and the campaign of persecution against Falun Gong began. As hundreds of thousands of people throughout China were being taken away and many of them tortured, some were able to escape. Fewer still 74 |


made their way to America. A group of Falun Gong practitioners who were also elite artists—the torchbearers—came together in New York and founded Shen Yun Performing Arts. They were classical dancers

If the flame of Chinese traditional culture was to survive communist China, it would likely be practitioners of Falun Gong that would be the torchbearers. and choreographers, composers and instrumentalists, painters and sculptors. Some had been professors in their homeland, others had won competitions at the national level. Not only did the group stay firm in

their spiritual beliefs, but they were determined to not let authentic Chinese culture die. They began to create and perform works of art both celebrating their culture and shining a light on the plight of their fellow Falun Gong practitioners. Word spread, and many more accomplished, classically trained artists from around the world gravitated to New York to join the effort. At first, Chinese authorities, used to running above the law, or being the law, tried to stop them. Threats to theaters were made, Shen Yun bus tires were slashed, crude attempts to disrupt performances were even enacted. But in America, it never got very far. Shen Yun’s success only grew. Soon the technique and cultural depth of Shen Yun performers rivaled those of any other company or institution of classical Chinese dance in the world. And, as the brief history of America has shown, if you take a hardworking people with a great idea and give them freedom and space to create, something truly special emerges. THE FALUN GONG STORY

ENTHRALLED Members of the audience take in a Shen Yun Performing Arts show.

A Chinese Performance with a Universal Message In just 10 years, Shen Yun has gone from a performing arts start-up to a worldwide phenomenon. This past year, its six dance companies traversed the globe, covering more than 150 cities across five continents. What’s notable is the reaction from audiences themselves. Although the central art form of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, and the storylines played out on stage are often drawn from classical Chinese literature and lore, the message of the show resonates deeply with people from Los Angeles to London, from Portland to Prague. After seeing Shen Yun, Mr. Daniel Herman, the former Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic told a reporter, “There is a massive power in this that can embrace the world. It brings great hope.” Ms. Omega Medina, a former senior manager for the Grammy Awards, said after the show, “I feel blessed. I come away feeling like a better human being for having experienced this magnificent event.” How does a “Chinese” performance like Shen Yun uplift, inspire, and touch people across ethnic, religious, and geographical boundaries? The an20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

swer may lie in the union of two ideas: authenticity and profound culture. Dr. Arthur Waldron, professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania and one of America’s foremost experts on China, observes that Shen Yun has achieved a remarkable feat in capturing the real Chinese culture. After watching a Shen Yun performance in Philadelphia, Dr. Waldron was overwhelmed with emotion. He explained, “I’ve been a student of China for 40 years. This [performance] reminded me of why I chose that… This is the authentic treasure that Chinese civilization contains.” And what exactly is the treasure of Chinese civilization? It is traditional Chinese culture—something so profound and rich, it touches what is universal and connects us all. Therein lies the genius of Shen Yun: to reach into the past of Chinese culture, to possess the spiritual and intellectual depth to understand the values upon which it is based, and then to utilize exquisite art forms to present this to the world. And, in so doing, it moves the hearts of millions.

Footsteps of Our Forefathers America, to a large extent, was built by underdogs and by those who had to overcome.

Fleeing the religious oppression of 17th-century England, Protestant Christians commonly known as Puritans first lived as refugees in Holland under difficult conditions before scraping together the means to make the arduous journey to America. After their arrival, they battled both disease and the elements as they struggled to build a viable colony for themselves and their faith. General George Washington, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, and one of the most under-equipped armies of the modern era suffered through terrible cold and hunger, with many dying not from war, but from exposure or disease, as they battled with the most powerful military in the world in a near-hopeless attempt to bring America into existence. Like our forefathers, the artists who began Shen Yun overcame unimaginable odds. Theirs is one of the great American stories, one in which an oppressed people found their footing, regained their lives, and gave back to the world community in spades. For themselves, they have secured their freedom of belief. For the rest of us, they have secured a wellspring of traditions and art that will inspire generations to come. Welcome, Shen Yun, to the land of the free and the home of the brave. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019





TODAY’S CHINA In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its then-leader, Jiang Zemin, unleashed a massive political campaign to eradicate a spiritual and meditation discipline practiced at the time by tens of millions of Chinese citizens. Today, although the harsh campaign continues to rage behind the scenes of contemporary China, Falun Gong rarely receives more than passing mention in mainstream media coverage of the country. However, the practice of Falun Gong, the CCP’s repression, and practitioners’ resistance are having an impact in China. A closer look reveals significant intersection with events and dynamics that routinely make international headlines.

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OPTIMIZED REPRESSION Chinese policemen push Uyghur women who are protesting in Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, on July 7, 2009. Hundreds of Uyghur people protested after their relatives were detained by authorities.


Testing Ground for Persecution The campaign against Falun Gong has served as an incubator of persecution tactics now being deployed against other targeted groups in China.

FOR 20 YEARS , CCP officials and

China’s security forces have pursued an aggressive campaign against tens of millions of spiritual believers throughout China. Cases of persecution, abuse, and even deaths from torture have been documented in every province. Various methods of physical and psychological torture have been tested and refined in an effort to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief and affirm their allegiance to the CCP in a process the Party euphemistically refers to as “transformation.” Trainings have brought officials together to share experiences, and “expert” committees have been formed to perfect abusive practices. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

Officials overseeing the persecution have been circulated and promoted throughout the country and party-state apparatus. Today, the lessons learned from these efforts are being applied not only to Falun Gong but also to members of other groups targeted for persecution. Torture methods like the “tiger bench” have appeared in Tibet and in the detention accounts by rights activists. Human rights lawyers have been disappeared for months at a time and threatened with the kind of abuse inflicted on their Falun Gong clients. Legal provisions used for sentencing Falun Gong practitioners are being applied to underground Protestants and other Christians.

Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in the current human rights crisis in Xinjiang, where over a million members of Muslim minorities are estimated to be held in re-education camps. In a February 2019 article in the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief, Freedom House researcher Sarah Cook relayed in detail how Communist Party officials have been applying lessons from prior “transformation” campaigns— most notably the assault on Falun Gong—to repression in Xinjiang. Cook states, “The terminology used in official documents and relayed by former detainees from the Party’s anti-Falun Gong repression is strikingly similar to what has appeared more recently in Xinjiang.” Moreover, she describes how four key officials influencing events in Xinjiang—at the provincial and national level—“gained first-hand experience with programs directed against Falun Gong earlier in their careers.” Included among these officials is the current Minister of Justice Fu Zhenghua, who previously served as head of the notorious 6-10 Office and visited Xinjiang in 2015 in that capacity. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




Purging Perpetrators

Top officials in the persecution of Falun Gong have themselves been purged and jailed on corruption charges since 2012

As part of Xi’s crackdown on corruption, several highranking ‘tigers’ who played a pivotal role in promoting and implementing the anti–Falun Gong effort have been purged and sentenced to prison.” FREEDOM HOUSE, FEBRUARY 2017

SINCE XIJINPING took over the lead-

ership of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, one of his political priorities has been to carry out an anti-corruption campaign. The effort has been unprecedented not only in its scale—over 1 million officials as of the end of 2018—but also in the seniority of the officials purged and punished. Some of the previously most influential officials in China are now sitting in jail. The anti-corruption campaign and its use as a political tool to aid Xi in removing rivals in the CCP has been widely reported. But little attention has been given to the fact that a large proportion of officials punished also played an active role in persecuting Falun Gong—a manifestation of their allegiance to former Party chief Jiang Zemin. By one count, within the first three years of the anti-corruption campaign, nearly 800 high ranking “tigers,” as they’re called, were indicted. Of them, at least 106 were known for their harsh actions against Falun Gong practitioners during their careers at the provincial or national level. In Heilongjiang Province, one of the deadliest in China for Falun Gong, at least nine high-level provincial officials had been indicted by 2016. Two particularly important examples of this dynamic are Zhou Yongkang and Li Dongsheng. As the country’s top security czar and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee during Hu Jintao’s leadership of the CCP, Zhou was one of the most 78 |


powerful men in China and is responsible for extensive human rights violations committed against Falun Gong practitioners and other CCP victims. Yet in December 2014, he was purged from the Party and was sentenced to life in prison on bribery charges six months later. Similarly, for over a decade, Li Dongsheng was the top official responsible for executing the brutal persecution against Falun Gong in his capacity as director of the 6-10 Office, an extralegal security agency charged with leading the campaign. But in January 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Since May 2015, large numbers of

Falun Gong torture survivors inside and outside China have tried to push Chinese prosecutors to take such accountability to an even higher and more direct level by filing criminal complaints against Jiang Zemin. More than 200,000 practitioners have submitted complaints to the country’s top court and prosecutors, who under new rules, cannot simply reject them automatically. The complaints recount in detail the severe abuses practitioners experienced or witnessed. The flow of filings has continued, in the hope of creating a historical record for future justice, despite some plaintiffs in China being jailed—and even killed—as retribution. CCTV VIA AP

SECURITY CZAR TAKEN DOWN Zhou Yongkang, former Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, sits in a courtroom at the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin, on June 11, 2015. Zhou was sentenced to life in prison. THE FALUN GONG STORY


Nurturing Thuggery

The Communist Party’s incentive system used in implementing the campaign against Falun Gong undermines good governance and societal morality RULE BY FIAT Yang Xueyan, a teacher in Qingdao City, was sentenced illegally to three years of forced labor for her faith in Falun Gong. Here, her mother is blocked from attending her so-called trial in Laoshan District on September 9, 2011.


tion-related crimes and the persecution of Falun Gong is not accidental. The campaign has had a profoundly corrupting impact on the CCP and Chinese society generally. Financial bonuses and promotional incentives have been a central part of the Communist Party’s assault on Falun Gong and a key way Jiang Zemin was able to push officials in the party-state apparatus to arrest, torture, and kill huge numbers of innocent people. Many officials throughout the CCP system saw opportunities for career advancement and financial reward by implementing the persecutory policy effectively. They were able to increase their political power and access new avenues for lining their pockets. By contrast, under the Party’s twisted incentive system, officials who refuse to persecute Falun Gong or simply allow local practitioners to practice their faith without interference risk halted career advancement, demotion, or even dismissal. Numerous regime websites and Party documents spell out the CCP’s policies regarding the persecution. These include quotas that dictate the number of Falun Gong practitioners that low-level officials must “transform,” notification that failure to stop Falun Gong human rights activism in a locale can forfeit career promotion, 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

and detailed schemes for awarding or reducing points based on the extent to which an agency crushes Falun Gong in its jurisdiction.

Officials who refuse to persecute Falun Gong or simply allow local practitioners to practice their faith without interference risk halted career advancement, demotion, or even dismissal. In one extreme case documented by The Wall Street Journal in 2000, the governor of Shandong Province fined lower-level officials who failed to sufficiently stem the flow of Falun Gong petitioners to Beijing, ultimately leading to torture and deaths in custody. In a more recent example, in October 2018, Bitter Winter, an online magazine monitoring religious persecution in China, published an article titled “Arrest Believers or Get Fired.” The piece details a 100-point evaluation system for police in Liaoning Province that assigns a score for each arrested believer depending on his or her faith. It states that the highest scores “are given to the most persecuted religious movements, such as Falun Gong.”

Similar incentive systems stretch throughout professions and regions in China. Schools and universities are warned against hiring teachers who practice Falun Gong. Businesses are discouraged from using Falun Gong accountants. Law firms are expunged of attorneys who try to defend Falun Gong practitioners’ basic rights. Moreover, since 1999, a thorough purge of Falun Gong believers within the the party-state system, has resulted in large numbers of judges, military officers, and civil servants who had dedicated their lives to being honest, kind, and tolerant being fired and in many cases, jailed. These dynamics have undoubtedly contributed to the kind of rampant dishonesty, greed, and disregard for human life that concerns many in China today, particularly when such corruption manifests in tainted baby milk formula, pyramid schemes, and moldy school lunches. Even the Chinese regime has taken note of the lack of public trust, seeking to implement a high-tech “social credit system” to improve behavior on public transport and encourage payment of debts. Unfortunately, the system itself is based on the CCP’s own distorted incentives, such that citizens aspiring to moral virtue rather than CCP compliance—like Falun Gong believers—are more likely to be punished than rewarded. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




BIG BROTHER 2.0 Artificial Intelligence security cameras with facial recognition technology film attendees of the 14th China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2018. Such technologies deployed nationwide are likely to improve the Chinese police’s capacity to detect and arrest Falun Gong practitioners trying to expose rights abuses.


High-Tech Tyranny

Falun Gong practitioners are a key target of the Communist Party’s high-tech surveillance and censorship innovations


has progressively become a surveillance state. Tens of millions of video cameras have been placed on public transportation, crosswalks, residential complexes, and businesses. These cameras are increasingly armed with advanced technologies like facial, voice, and gait recognition, which supposedly enable police to identify criminals with incredible speed. However, these technologies are also used to monitor Falun Gong practitioners who peacefully disseminate information or speak to fellow citizens in an effort to counteract vilifying propaganda, expose human rights abuses, or encourage others not to participate in the persecution. Numerous observations by Falun Gong practitioners in China, accounts by security-service or tech-company 80 |


insiders, court verdicts, and leaked documents indicate that curbing the impact of Falun Gong practitioners’ grassroots public-education efforts is a key use of China’s advanced surveillance technologies. The CCP’s campaign against Falun Gong is also driving innovation in the realm of censorship. Falun Gong has long been one of the most censored topics in China, a fact reinforced each time a new study or leaked list of censored keywords is revealed. Beyond terms related to the practice itself or its founder, also targeted are the names of overseas media outlets, founded by Falun Gong practitioners, that broadcast uncensored news and words related to initiatives like the Tuidang movement. To take a current example, the Chinese company Tencent runs WeChat,

the mobile phone application that combines instant messaging services and Facebook-like content sharing. The application is ubiquitous in China, where international social media platforms are blocked. Several studies of WeChat censorship and its innovation have found that Falun Gong-related content is among the most tightly controlled. Websites related to the practice are blocked in WeChat’s internal browser. Blog posts with Falun Gong-related terms trigger automated filters, which prevent the article from being published. Using artificial intelligence, WeChat is increasingly able to identify and censor images with Falun Gong- related keywords. And in some cases, the Chinese characters for “Falun Gong” have even been filtered in one-on-one WeChat conversations outside China. In many instances, these mechanisms of censorship and surveillance have come together, resulting in people in China being harassed, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured simply for sharing information about Falun Gong on social media. In January 2019, for example, a court in the southern province of Guangdong arbitrarily sentenced 45-year-old professor Zeng Hao to three-and-a-half years in prison and fined him 10,000 yuan (US$1,500 ). His “crime”? Posting several images related to Falun Gong on Tencent’s QQ platform. THE FALUN GONG STORY


What Rule of Law?

Two decades of illegal arrests of Falun Gong practitioners have severely undermined the rule of law


persecution of Falun Gong has taken place outside of—and in direct violation of—China’s own laws and international human rights commitments. Practitioners have been detained and jailed without due process, access to a lawyer, or anything resembling a fair trial, with Communist Party agencies behind the scenes even dictating sentences. Millions have been held for weeks, months, or years at extralegal reeducation and “brainwashing” facilities. Horrific torture has been used systematically, and impunity has been the norm, despite China’s having ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture. The legal provision used to sentence Falun Gong practitioners to prison was even applied retroactively in a move Human Rights Watch referred to as “rule of law veneer.” As the CCP and agencies like the 6-10 Office have carried out the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, they have systematically disregarded any semblance of the rule of law. Police throughout China have been conditioned to torture detainees and prevent them from seeing relatives or lawyers, contrary to Chinese law. Judges have been forced to sentence innocent people to prison, lest they themselves be punished. Lawyers have been disbarred, tortured, and jailed for trying to do their job and defend Falun Gong clients, as top Chinese officials have openly declared lawyers who defend Falun Gong a target. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

Within months of a major detention of rights lawyers in 2015 known as the “709” crackdown, Meng Jianzhu, the former head of the CCP’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission gave a speech in which he congratulated officers of the 6-10 Office for cracking down on Falun Gong and “a few key lawyers” who had taken Falun Gong cases. The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission oversees all legal enforcement authorities, including the entire police force of China. This is one example of how vast amounts of financial resources, manpower, and political influence have been directed to the country’s security appa-

ratus, including billions of dollars specifically allocated for crushing Falun Gong. In this context, China’s prospects for becoming a rule-of-law society have become increasingly unlikely. With time and an expanding set of targets for repression, the manifestation of this dynamic has become more obvious. But so long as the anti-Falun Gong campaign continues, any genuine advancement toward the rule of law in the world’s second-largest economy will be impossible. Indeed, it is recognition of this fact that has motivated many human rights lawyers to take extreme personal risks to challenge the persecution and take on Falun Gong clientele. In the words of one such attorney, Ms. Liu Wei, whose license was revoked after representing a Falun Gong practitioner in court, “Through our profession as lawyers, we are striving to push the judiciary to have procedural fairness in court proceedings when dealing with these cases, and to defend [Falun Gong practitioners] adequately in trial. Today, Falun Gong is being persecuted, and I speak for them. I speak for Falun Gong today; in fact, also speak for my own future.”

ARRESTS WITHOUT LEGAL BASIS Han Jianping, a Falun Gong practitioner, is photographed while illegally detained in the Nong’an detention center, Jilin Province, on January 14, 2014. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



UNPRECEDENTED STAND More than 3,000 residents from Jianli County in Hubei Province, China, have signed their names and affixed their thumbprints to a joint criminal complaint against former CCP chief Jiang Zemin, who initiated the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners.


Standing Up To Tyranny

Tens of millions of ordinary Chinese— including people working in the party-state apparatus—have rejected the CCP’s violent assault on Falun Gong

AT FIRST GLANCE , it may appear as

if the CCP has succeeded in its campaign to eliminate Falun Gong, at least within China. But even a tentative look below the surface reveals that the opposite is true: Falun Gong remains a spiritual discipline practiced by tens of millions in China, and vast numbers of non-practitioners are joining efforts to resist the persecution. In fact, it is precisely Falun Gong’s incredible resilience in the face of horrific violence and the expanding support it is garnering from other members of Chinese society that is reinforcing the CCP’s sense of insecurity. The Party’s growing 82 |


insecurity is driving ever increasing levels of repression, censorship, and surveillance. Chinese people’s support of Falun Gong and rejection of the CCP’s persecution have taken many forms. Millions of people each month use tools developed by overseas Falun Gong practitioners to jump the Great Firewall and access uncensored news. Many leave messages thanking them. On major holidays—like Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, or the anniversary of Falun Gong’s public introduction—supporters from inside China send greetings to Falun Gong’s founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi. The greetings

are published on the Minghui website. Hundreds of thousands of villagers and urban residents throughout China have signed petitions urging the release of a neighbor arrested for practicing Falun Gong or for speaking out about it. Importantly, after two decades of Falun Gong activists reaching out to and calling the authorities—police, judges, and prosecutors—security agents in various locales have taken steps to protect local practitioners, allowing them to meditate in custody or quietly releasing them from detention. Perhaps the best example of the traction that Falun Gong-led initiatives have gained is the “Tuidang” movement and the more than 300 million people inside and outside China who have disavowed the CCP and its violent tendencies, including the persecution against Falun Gong. (See box for details.) Taken together, these efforts have had the practical effect of reducing the suffering of innocent people. They are also inspiring more Chinese to act according to their conscience, thus reversing a CCP-imposed culture of violent struggle and laying the foundation for a freer and more peaceful future China. THE FALUN GONG STORY


NOVEMBER 2004, the Chinese-

language Epoch Times published an unprecedented editorial series titled Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, which explained the history and inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since its founding. Elucidating the Party’s dark crimes, the series compelled many Chinese with the desire to dissociate themselves from the CCP and its affiliated organizations, the Youth League and the Young Pioneers. Inside China, the Nine Commentaries sparked an uproar. People began printing underground copies of the series and passing them on. Shortly after the publication of the Nine Commentaries, the “Tuidang” (“quitting the Party”) movement began and has led to over 330 million Chinese publicly announcing their desire to end all ties with, or quit, the CCP. The CCP considers such a withdrawal a dissenting act since the Party does not allow its members to leave. They can only be expelled by the Party.

Every day, volunteers throughout China risk their lives to tell Chinese citizens about the Tuidang movement and help them record their “quitting” announcements. The volunteers primarily spread awareness via face-to-face interactions and making phone calls to CCP members. Others find ways to secretly hang banners and posters in public spaces so that more Chinese citizens can get the message. Tuidang Center volunteers around the world have also set up booths at major tourist attractions where mainland Chinese are likely to visit, in order to tell them about the Tuidang movement. Taiwan has over 40 Tuidang sites, including at popular sightseeing locations such as the National Palace Museum, Sun Moon Lake, and the Alishan National Scenic Area. The United States alone is home to 26 Tuidang sites in 12 cities. Tuidang centers also have a presence in Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Turkey, and Malaysia.

A FREE CONSCIENCE Mr. Li, who was visiting the United States from China, decided to renounce his ties to the Chinese Communist Party after seeing a “Tuidang” (“quit the Party”) rally in Flushing, New York, on April 28, 2012.






THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY’S ‘WAR ON FALUN GONG’ OUTSIDE CHINA Beijing’s attacks target the conscience of public officials, organizations, and supporters


hen the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began its persecution campaign against Falun Gong in July 1999, Chinese authorities quickly made it clear that Falun Gong practitioners were not safe anywhere. Ms. Gail Rachlin was a volunteer spokesperson for Falun Gong in the United States. Starting in 1999, Chinese agents broke into Ms. Rachlin’s New York City apartment five times—a fact that was documented by the U.S. House of Representatives. But the CCP’s attempt to stop Falun Gong outside China is not limited to Falun Gong practitioners. Chinese authorities have used their embassies and consulates to exert a systematic pressure campaign against government officials, organizations, and even ordinary individuals who express support for Falun Gong practitioners. No target is too big or too small. In November 2000, Mayor Stan Bogosian of Saratoga, California, issued a proclamation honoring Falun Gong’s contribution to the community. The Chinese consulate wrote to Mayor Bogosian and urged him to retract the resolution. Local officials across the United States have reported similar pressure tactics from Chinese diplomats. 84 |


The purpose of the CCP’s actions is clear: to export their persecution of Falun Gong overseas, they must convince foreign officials and organizations to comply with their oppressive policies. At a time when Western democracies are waking up to the CCP’s propaganda campaigns within their own borders, it is crucial to examine how the Chinese regime has repeatedly violated diplomatic norms to target Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters in other countries. CHINESE DIPLOMAT EXPOSES GLOBAL PLOT AGAINST FALUN GONG

Mr. Chen Yonglin, the former first secretary of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia, was the first to reveal the full scope of the CCP’s actions. Mr. Chen defected to Australia in 2005. He testified before the U.S. Congress that the top daily priority of every Chinese consulate and embassy around the world is to systematically “wage war” against Falun Gong outside China. Chen testified that each consulate and embassy has a “Special Anti-Falun Gong Working Group” that works closely with the United Front Work Department, an organization under the CCP. The United Front uses the overseas Chinese diaspora, including students,

CHINESE DEFECTOR Former Chinese consular official Mr. Chen Yonglin defected from China in 2005, bringing with him a wealth of evidence that Chinese officials around the world target Falun Gong as a top priority.

The United Front uses the overseas Chinese diaspora, including students, businesspeople, media, and so-called Chinese community groups to influence, manipulate, and pressure foreign citizens, politicians, and business leaders to toe the Party line on Falun Gong.” MR. CHEN YONGLIN

former Chinese diplomat who defected in 2005



businesspeople, media, and so-called “Chinese community groups” to influence, manipulate, and pressure foreign citizens, politicians, and business leaders to toe the party line on Falun Gong. Chen notes that each Chinese consulate or embassy implements many tactics to block support for Falun Gong, including: WIDELY SPREADING antiFalun Gong hate propaganda in host countries to demonize Falun Gong; FUNDING AND OTHERWISE CONTROLLING Chinese-language publications within the local Chinese community; USING CHINESE IMMIGRANTS and students to monitor and report on Falun Gong activities in local communities and on campuses; PRESSURING LOCAL OFFICIALS and subjecting them to economic threats or incentives. This includes 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

writing letters demanding that officials not support Falun Gong and to exclude their constituents who practice Falun Gong from all civic activities, including parades, holiday celebrations, press conferences, and academic events. The following are only a few of the innumerable cases that have happened worldwide over the past 20 years. CITY COUNCILLOR MONITORED, THREATENED

Mr. John Hugh, a Chinese-Australian city councillor in Parramatta, a suburb of Sydney, was due to travel to China in 2014 as part of a government delegation. But as reported in The Australian, prior to his trip, Mr. Hugh was invited to the Chinese Consulate and asked about his friendly association with Falun Gong. Chinese officials then demanded that he not attend an upcoming performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese

dance show presented by local Falun Gong practitioners. Mr. Hugh refused. Consulate officials then visited the Parramatta mayor’s office to express their concerns about Mr. Hugh. They presented documents showing that they had been monitoring Mr. Hugh at Falun Gong events and demanded he be removed from the delegation. The mayor refused to comply. Mr. Hugh was then summoned to the consulate for a second time and asked to sign a statement that he would not support Falun Gong, would not watch Shen Yun, and would not attend events that publicized how the CCP harvested organs from Falun Gong victims in China. Mr. Hugh again refused. In the end, Mr. Hugh received a visa and the delegation went ahead, incident free. CALIFORNIA STATE RESOLUTION RETURNED AFTER THREAT

According to a Freedom House report, on August 29, 2017, the judiciary committee of California’s state senate COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



SUPPORT William Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, speaks at a rally in support of Falun Gong in Washington, D.C., on July 18, 2013. Signs in English and Chinese call for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

unanimously approved a resolution condemning the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong. But on September 1, the state senate unexpectedly voted to return the resolution to the rules committee, essentially blocking it from coming to a vote. The delay was related to a series of letters sent by the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to members of the state legislature threatening that passage of the resolution “may deeply damage the cooperative relations between the state of California and China” and “sabotage the friendship… between California and China.” CANADIAN MAYOR CHANGES STANCE AFTER CHINA TRIP

In May 2010, The Ottawa Citizen reported that the Mayor of Ottawa, Mr. Larry O’Brien, upon return from a business trip to China, refused to issue a proclamation to recognize Falun Dafa Day as he had done in previous years because he said he “made a commitment” Representatives of the local Falun Gong group later learned that Mr. O’Brien had made that commitment due to a request from the Beijing Mayor during his visit 86 |


to China. The Ottawa City Council later bypassed the mayor to issue a proclamation for Falun Dafa Day. Government officials in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, and Europe have expressed concerns over Chinese officials’ interference in their countries. U.S. CONGRESS CALLS ON BEIJING TO STOP INTERFERENCE ON FOREIGN SOIL

In 2004, U.S. Congress House Concurrent Resolution 304 (H.CON.RES.304) unanimously passed. The resolution stated that CCP affiliates have “pressured local elected officials in the United States to refuse or withdraw support for the Falun Gong spiritual group.” The resolution called for the Chinese government to “stop interfering in the exercise of religious and political freedoms within the United States, such as the right to practice Falun Gong; cease using diplomatic missions in the United States to spread falsehoods about Falun Gong; release prisoners of conscience; [and] end the harassment, detention, physical abuse, and imprisonment of individuals.”


According to The Epoch Times, in January 2019 Chinese Ambassador to Spain Lu Fan admitted in a recorded phone call that he made a personal visit to the general manager of the Royal Theater in Madrid to pressure him to cancel an upcoming show from Shen Yun Performing Arts, or face losing China’s business. Lu boasted that he came up with the plan for the theater to use “technical reasons” as their cover. The theater cancelled the show despite the contract having already been signed. In 2016, KBS Hall in Seoul, South Korea, cancelled four Shen Yun performances. Local organizers for the Shen Yun show took the issue to the Seoul Southern District Court. The judge considered the case and decided that the arguments for canceling Shen Yun did not hold and that Shen Yun should be allowed to perform. However, just two days before the performances, the same judge overturned his previous decision and issued a ruling canceling the shows. The new ruling cited threats from the Chinese Embassy THE FALUN GONG STORY

ATTACKS IN NYC Flushing resident Edmond Erh is assaulted by a mob while volunteering at a table for the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party in Flushing, New York, on July 10, 2008. During that spring and summer, Falun Gong practitioners were repeatedly attacked by pro-CCP Chinese within the largely Chinese neighborhood in Queens.

to Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), the owner of the theater. The court said that if China retaliated by not allowing KBS to show their Korean dramas in China, KBS would incur heavy financial losses. Under pressure from the Chinese communist regime, South Korea’s judicial independence, rule of law, and democracy have now been stained. Theaters in countries around the world, including Australia, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Brussels, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel, New Zealand, Moldova, Argentina, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, and cities across the United States have reported similar attempts by Chinese officials trying to stop Shen Yun from performing in local theaters. Chinese diplomats have also written letters to government officials and local organizations to pressure them to not attend Shen Yun performances. FAKE EMAILS TARGET WESTERN OFFICIALS

To further build on the defamation 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

campaign against Falun Gong, the CCP then deployed an elaborate email campaign to manipulate Western officials around the world. These officials have received bizarre, offensive, and sometimes threatening emails from unknown individuals impersonating Falun Gong practitioners in an apparent effort to discredit Falun Gong. Past emails have been traced to IP addresses originating in China. One email sent to a U.S. senator’s office claimed to be from a Falun Gong spokesperson in January 2011. Following a brief introduction thanking the senator for his past support, the note then made a series of unusual demands, including that the senator and his family should openly practice Falun Gong. It then ended with a threat that if the demands were not met, Falun Gong practitioners would be mobilized to ensure the senator did not win re-election. The email was traced to an IP address in Hubei province, China. After the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, elected representatives in New Zealand received emails from someone impersonating a Falun Gong practitioner. The emails stated that the 159

people known to have died “got what they deserved.” Dr. Cathy Casey, an Auckland councillor who recognized the emails as a hoax called the emails “shocking” and “reprehensible.” Mr. John Hugh, a City Councillor in Parramatta, Australia, received a suspicious email from “Amanda Chin,” who falsely claimed to be a Falun Gong practitioner and asked for him to attend an event. When he replied that he could not attend, Amanda wrote back, “STUPID! This was the last chance for you to be saved. Waiting for you will be a THOROUGH ELIMINATION!” In Canada each year, rounds of similar emails are sent to Members of Parliament around annual Falun Dafa celebrations. The emails appear to be inviting MPs to attend events, but then turn into bizarre threats. Ms. Judy Sgro, co-chair of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, is one of many MPs who repeatedly receives these types of messages. In one such email in 2018, the sender framed a picture of Ms. Sgro on an inappropriate backdrop and stated that it would be posted everywhere to show that she supports Falun Gong. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019




THUGGERY IN ARGENTINA The president of CASRECH (the Chamber of Supermarkets and Self-Service Restaurants owned by Chinese residents in Argentina) threatens a Falun Gong practitioner in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 19, 2014. Members of local Chinese associations attacked Falun Gong practitioners who were protesting the visit of Chinese head of state Xi Jinping.

“It’s really an attempt to disparage the Falun Gong’s followers,” said Sgro. VIOLENT ATTACKS ON FALUN GONG IN NEW YORK

In the spring and summer of 2008, Falun Gong practitioners in New York City became the targets of sustained violence within the largely Chinese neighborhood of Flushing, Queens. Mobs of Chinese reportedly surrounded, berated, punched, assaulted, and threw rocks at Falun Gong practitioners, leading to multiple arrests. Peng Keyu, the Chinese consul general in New York, was secretly recorded saying he “encouraged” so-called Chinese community organizations operating under the CCP’s United Front Work Department to attack Falun Gong practitioners. U.S. lawmakers cited these attacks as a clear violation of the right to religious freedom in the United States. To the present day, Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing still endure 88 |


discrimination, harassment, death threats, and violence on a daily basis as they try to simply exercise their freedoms of belief and speech. In 2015, a lawsuit was filed against a Queens New York organization called, the “Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance” (CACWA) for intimidating and making death threats against Falun Gong practitioners in New York City. The suit details how CACWA is effectively an overseas branch of a similar Chinese Communist Party organization, which works closely with the 6-10 Office, a Gestapo-like security branch created with the mandate of eliminating Falun Gong. Assaults to Falun Gong practitioners have also occurred in other cities and countries. CHINESE COMMUNITY GROUPS: A MAGIC WEAPON

In 2017, Professor Anne-Marie Brady from New Zealand published a report titled, “Magic Weapons: China’s

political influence activities under Xi Jinping,” which extensively details how local Chinese community groups under theguise of “friendship” or “overseas Chinese” organizations are actually working as agents of the CCP under the United Front Work Department and playing an important part in Chinese foreign affairs and defense. She writes that with the exception of organizations created by opponents of the CCP, like Falun Gong, Tibetans, democratic groups, etc. almost all overseas Chinese associations are controlled by the CCP to influence Chinese policy in other countries. “STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS” IN THE UK TRY TO SILENCE MISS WORLD CANADA

According to former Chinese diplomat Mr. Yonglin Chen, the main task of the Chinese diplomatic mission’s Education Department is to control and manage overseas students in order to help the consulate suppress organizaTHE FALUN GONG STORY


tions and individuals targeted by the Chinese regime. He adds that groups like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) in particular are extensions of CCP agencies overseas. At Durham University in early 2017, the CSSA notified the Chinese Embassy about an upcoming appearance by Chinese-Canadian human rights activist and Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin. Miss Lin speaks openly about the human rights abuses happening to Falun Gong practitioners in China. The Chinese Embassy warned a student debating society at Durham against giving a platform to Miss Lin, a vocal critic of Beijing, because it would threaten UK-China relations. The CSSA also filed a complaint with the student organization that Miss Lin was in “violation of the belief and feelings of Chinese students.” Despite efforts by Chinese students to block access to the venue, the debate went on as planned, and Miss Lin was able to participate. In 2010, the Epoch Times published a recording that showed Chinese Embassy officials in Ottawa giving instructions to students on how to prepare for “a battle” to block human rights protesters, including Falun Gong practitioners, in preparation for the visit of then-Chinese leader Hu Jintao to Canada. The recording stated that all expenses for the students would be covered. During the protest, cases of harassment and assaults on Falun Gong practitioners were reported. SPYING ON FALUN GONG AROUND THE WORLD

According to Mr. Chen Yonglin, one of the functions of each Special Anti-Falun Gong Working Group is to compile a complete list of all Falun Gong practitioners in local areas and collect as much information as possible about them so that the consulate or embassy could assign Chinese students and CCP supporters in the local Chinese busi20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE

ness community to maintain surveillance on their movements. Mr. Chen testified that Chinese consulates and embassies all around the world spy on Falun Gong practitioners. Professor Clive Hamilton, author of Silent Invasion, China’s Influence in Australia, told the story of a retired businessman who saw a Falun Gong practitioner collecting signatures for a petition while walking with one of his Chinese student lodgers. She begged him not to engage with the practitioner, and walked away while he signed the petition. Two weeks later, the Ministry of State Security contacted the student’s parents in China and warned them that their daughter was causing trouble in Australia. Professor Hamilton wrote, “Think about that. Chinese authorities in Australia are monitoring Falun Gong practitioners on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, photographing anyone who interacts with them. They can identify any ethnically Chinese person and put them on a watchlist.” CHINESE AGENT CONVICTED FOR SPYING

In 2011, Chinese agent John Zhou was convicted and sentenced for spying on Falun Gong practitioners in Germany. Investigations found he had been working with Chinese consular officials in Berlin and also with the 6-10 Office, a secret task force with sweeping powers set up by the CCP to persecute Falun Gong. In another case in 2006, Wang Pengfei, a second secretary at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, had his diplomatic visa renewal refused after he incited Chinese students to gather information on Canadian Falun Gong practitioners, according to multiple media reports ICELAND APOLOGIZES FOR C O M P LY IN G W ITH C C P

In June 2001, at the request of Chinese officials, Icelandic authorities

denied entry to Falun Gong practitioners who came to Iceland to protest the visit of CCP leader Jiang Zemin. Using a blacklist provided by the CCP, the national airline turned away hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners at airports around the world. Those who managed to make it to Iceland were detained by the government. The government’s actions created a backlash in Iceland, with Icelandic citizens and members of parliament protesting in the streets. In 2011, Iceland’s foreign minister issued an apology for violating Falun Gong practitioners’ freedom of expression and movement during the incident. THE VIENNA CONVENTION FORBIDS THESE ACTIONS

These are just a few examples of how the Chinese regime is threatening democratic values and principles in countries around the world. The Chinese regime’s use of its embassies and consulates to spread their oppressive policies abroad cannot be ignored. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states that visiting diplomatic officials have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs in host countries. The CCP’s ongoing actions in host countries against Falun Gong are a blatant violation of the Vienna Convention and an abuse of diplomatic privileges, and diplomats spurring such activities should be expelled. But while the CCP has managed to pressure some officials, organizations, and ordinary citizens to turn a blind eye to human rights atrocities in China and beyond, many are still standing strong and upholding their integrity. Governments around the world must take a closer look at the CCP’s actions within their own countries and stop this abuse. The CCP cannot be allowed to take advantage of democratic freedoms to further their own ends. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019







people performing Falun Gong’s meditative qigong exercises were a fixture in parks across China. Today, the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign against Falun Gong remains one of the largest and most severe instances of religious persecution in the world. The campaign has fueled the expansion and growing sophistication of the country’s security and censorship apparatus, undermining a host of other rights and governance priorities like building rule of law. Falun Gong practitioners’ resilience in the face of such pressure and their successes countering persecution are an equally important element of the story of contemporary China. In recent years, a number of scholarly, think tank, and human rights group studies have documented and analyzed these dynamics, while major media outlets have reported on its developments.

Human Rights Groups Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI) first began researching and reporting on the persecution of Falun Gong in the days immediately following the ban on the practice on July 20, 1999. Since that time, abuses against Falun Gong practitioners have been a regular feature of the China section of AI’s annual report and periodic special reports, like a 2013 study relaying how Chinese authorities have continued to detain Falun Gong practitioners even after abolition of the “reeducation through labor” camp system. Thanks to multiple Urgent Actions that have been issued for adherents in imminent danger of being tortured, thousands of AI members have written to the Chinese authorities on behalf of practitioners and, in several instances, contributed to better treatment or early release. FALUN GONG practitioners continued to be

subjected to persecution, arbitrary detention, unfair trials and torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International 2017-2018 Annual Report POLICE STRAPPED her to an iron chair in a

“brainwashing centre”, an arbitrary detention facility set up to get Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief, from 17 June to 16 July 2016 and did not allow her to sleep for 30 days. Amnesty International Urgent Action for Ms. Chen Huixia, August 2017

Freedom House Since 1999, Freedom House has been one of the most consistent international voices in support of Falun Gong practitioners’ right to practice their faith without fear of persecution. In 2000, Freedom House included Falun Gong practitioners in its delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In March 2001, the organization awarded Falun Gong founder Mr. Li Hongzhi and the Falun Dafa Association its International Religious Freedom Award. Freedom House reports have regularly referenced the human rights violations suffered by practitioners in China and senior staff have repeatedly spoken at annual Falun Gong rallies in Washington DC. In 2017, Freedom House published a large study of religious revival, repression, and resistance in China, which included a detailed chapter on Falun Gong, the most comprehensive analysis of its kind by an international human rights group. The report estimated that a minimum of 7 to 10 million people in China continue to practice Falun Gong. FALUN GONG practitioners across China are

subject to widespread surveillance, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and torture, and they are at a high risk of extrajudicial execution. Freedom House independently verified 933 cases of Falun Gong adherents sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years between January 1, 2013, and June 1, 2016, often for exercising their right to freedom of expression in addition to freedom of religion. Freedom House report 2017

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Governments U.S. House of Representatives U.S. government officials at all levels have publicly condemned the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, expressed solidarity with Falun Gong torture survivors, and called for the release of prisoners. Since 1999, the State Department has designated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” for violations of religious freedom, in part due to the Communist Party’s ongoing campaign to eliminate Falun Gong. WHEREAS FALUN GONG is a traditional

Chinese spiritual discipline founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992, which consists of spiritual, religious, and moral teachings for daily life, meditation, and exercise, based upon the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance; Whereas Chinese authorities have devoted extensive time and resources over the past decade worldwide to distributing false propaganda claiming that Falun Gong is a suicidal and militant “evil cult” rather than a spiritual movement which draws upon traditional Chinese concepts of meditation and exercise.” House Resolution 605 With 81 cosponsors, H.Res.605 passed the House nearly unanimously (412 : 1) on March 16, 2010


persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.” House Resolution 343. With 185 cosponsors, H.Res.343 passed the House unanimously by voice vote on June 13, 2016


U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China AUTHORITIES ALSO persisted in their

crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners, subjecting them to abusive treatment, especially when in custody. Human rights organizations and Falun Gong practitioners documented coercive and violent practices against practitioners during custody, including physical violence, forced drug administration, sleep deprivation, and other forms of torture. Annual Report, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State IN CHINA , the government tortures, detains,

and imprisons thousands for practicing their religious beliefs. Dozens of Falun Gong members have died in detention.”

Rex Tillerson, comments on 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report (August 15, 2017)

Canadian Government WE REMAIN CONCERNED that Falun Gong

practitioners and other religious worshippers in China face persecution, and reports that organ transplants take place without free and informed consent of the donor are troubling.” Canada Statement at the Interactive Dialogue on Freedom of Religion at the U.N. in Geneva on March 12, 2014

END PROSECUTION and persecution on the

basis of religion or belief, including for ... Falun Gong... ” China’s Universal Periodic Review at UNHRC, November 6, 2018





International Media IN THE EARLY DAYS of the Chinese Communist Party’s cam-

paign to persecute Falun Gong, the story made front page news around the world, including images of police rounding up meditators and assaulting peaceful protestors on Tiananmen Square. After the CCP pushed its abuses of Falun Gong to less public venues like labor camps, prisons, and mountainside torture chambers and practitioners

THE BBC BBC reporter Michael Hill filmed Chinese transplant officials slipping away from pointed questions. He talked to preeminent experts from the U.K., U.S., Israel, and the UN who have been sounding the alarm on this for years. Falun Gong practitioners give Hill their testimony about undergoing bio-medical profiling while incarcerated. All of the evidence in the report points to, that political prisoners, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, are the source of healthy, coveted transplant organs as a form of state execution, and in large numbers. “Is it all about money?” Hill asks researcher and Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Ethan Gutmann. “No,” Gutmann says. “It’s about the state destroying its enemies.” “China’s Organ Transplants,” October 2018


shifted the focus of their quiet outspokenness to fellow citizens, the story faded from the daily news cycle. Nevertheless, over the past 20 years, most major media have at one point or another reported on the harsh realities of the persecution in China, including award-winning investigative journalism. The following are a small sample of these reports from both the early years and more recently.

CNN AFTER MONTHS of searching, through a

trusted source and with some good luck, CNN found the man who says he wrote the letter that [an American woman] found in her Halloween decorations… ‘Mr. Zhang’ — as he would be called — is a follower of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. He claims he was detained by police several months before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and sentenced to two and a half years in the Masanjia labor camp in northeastern China. Zhang recounted the systematic use of beatings, sleep deprivation and torture, especially targeting those like him who refused to repent. ‘Making products turned out to be an escape from the horrible violence,’ he said. ‘We thought we could protect ourselves, and avoid verbal and physical assaults as long as we worked and did the job well.’” “Chinese labor camp inmate tells of true horror of Halloween ‘SOS’,” November 2013

government began repressing Falun Gong, a crusade that human rights groups say has led to the imprisonment of tens of thousands of practitioners and claimed at least 2,000 lives, the world’s attention has shifted elsewhere. But 10 years on, the war on Falun Gong remains unfinished. In the past year, as many as 8,000 practitioners have been detained, according to experts on human rights, and at least 100 have died in custody.”

engaged in the widespread and systematic harvesting of organs from prisoners, and says that people whose views conflict with the ruling Chinese Communist Party are being murdered for their organs. So who is being killed? The authors say mainly imprisoned religious and ethnic minorities, including …. practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.”

“China Still Presses Crusade Against Falun Gong,” April 27, 2009

“Report: China still harvesting organs from prisoners at a massive scale,” June 2016

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A NEW REPORT claims that China is still





In 2001, The Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson won a Pulitzer Prize for 10 articles that uncovered the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Johnson detailed the brutal ramping up of the Chinese regime’s violence toward practitioners, as well as its propaganda campaign worldwide. Since then, The Wall Street Journal has continued to publish news related to the persecution of Falun Gong for its business-focused readers.

The Washington Post was the first media outlet in the world to report that officials in China had received explicit orders to torture and maim Falun Gong practitioners who did not abandon their beliefs. Before the publication broke this news in 2001, practitioners had been dying at the hands of police for nearly two years already, but the exact lengths Beijing was willing to go to had not yet come to light. In early 2001, The Post’s Phillip Pan also authored a pivotal exposé of two of the participants in the “self-immolation incident,” a false “protest” the communist regime staged in Tiananmen Square in January 2001. The incident was scripted by the CCP for the purpose of villainizing Falun Gong practitioners in the eyes of the Chinese public. Pan was the first to uncover evidence that the immolators were not Falun Gong in his article “Human Fire Ignites Chinese Mystery.”

SINCE THE BEGINNING of the year 2000,

when police killed a 58-year-old retiree, at least 10 more Weifang residents have died in police custody, according to relatives and a human-rights monitoring group. All were practitioners of the spiritual group Falun Dafa.” “Death Trap—How One Chinese City Resorted to Atrocities to Control Falun Dafa,” December 26, 2000

AFTER A YEAR and a half of difficulties in

THE EPOCH TIMES The Epoch Times is one of the international media outlets that has most consistently investigated the CCP’s harsh persecution against Falun Gong, in some cases winning awards for its reporting. The following is from a series of articles exposing the use of torture by the Chinese regime. DESPITE TORTURE being officially

forbidden in China, it is widely and systematically used across the country’s vast prison system, human rights organizations say. A big part of the brutality is sexual torture, which alone is known to be especially effective in humiliating victims and breaking down their defences.” “Sexual Torture in Chinese Prisons: ‘No Limits to the Perversion’” February 22, 2019

THE ECONOMIST YET DESPITE a relentless 20-year

crackdown, Falun Gong has survived… every few weeks Chinese-language media still report on newly nabbed Falun Gong practitioners, perhaps indicating a surprising resilience.”

suppressing the movement, the government for the first time this year sanctioned the systematic use of violence against the group, established a network of brainwashing classes and embarked on a painstaking effort to weed out followers neighborhood by neighborhood and workplace by workplace.” “Torture is Breaking Falun Gong,” August 2001


prominent Canadian human-rights activists, has sifted through a huge number of hospital records, accounts from doctors, press clippings and public statements to tabulate numbers of Chinese transplant-centre beds and doctors – and from that has calculated how many transplants take place. By their count, Chinese surgeons are transplanting between 60,000 and 100,000 organs a year, a number they say far surpasses the volume of kidneys, livers and hearts available from voluntary donors.” “Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs,” June 2016

“What is Falun Gong?” September 2018 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE





Experts and Lawyers AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS of persecution, Falun Gong

survives in China: millions of Chinese still practice the discipline, including hundreds of thousands who have published online statements rescinding denunciations made under torture during ‘transformation’ efforts.”


persecution and mental torment are not only the tens of millions of Falun Gong believers and their families. All the people of China, and even all the people of the world, are victims. It is a type of intangible injury sustained from being on the receiving end of all the lies used to bolster the persecution.”

GAO ZHISHENG Renowned Chinese human rights lawyer, author of A China More Just 2007


are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, and there is no excuse for the human rights violations they have endured. The charge that Falun Gong threatens the stability of China does not hold up. Its claim that belief in Falun Gong is a public health menace is equally bogus. The danger to health comes from the treatment its practitioners receive at the hands of the police and prison officials.” ALLEGATIONS PERSIST

that the Chinese government continues to forcibly harvest organs from prisoners held on account of their faith, like Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs. Data from brave, persistent researchers raise concerning questions regarding the organ transplantation system in China, with voluntary donations unable to meet the demand. This is the truly horrifying prospect.” 94 |


SIDNEY JONES executive director Asia division, Human Rights Watch, 2002

SAM BROWNBACK, U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, March 2019

SARAH COOK Senior Research Analyst for East Asia, Freedom House 2019


furnace of communism, destroying so much that was once the proud and morally admirable Chinese civilization, slowly dribbles a stream of liquid metal melted out of the wreckage—a metal that is an alloy that is so hard, owing to the heat in which it was created, and when forged so sharp— that it can cut through even the thick armor of communist disinformation and intimidation. We have seen that same process of evil processes producing the heroes who will put an end to them, in the West in a Solzhenitsyn or a John Paul II, both tempered by the horrors of Nazism and Soviet communism, and both historically decisive. People made of similar stuff [Falun Gong practitioners] are now being produced in China.”

ARTHUR WALDRON Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, 2007 THE FALUN GONG STORY



persecution of the Falun Gong in China, in a word, the criminalization of innocence that finds expression in the intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention, coercive interrogation, torture, beatings and imprisonment of people for doing nothing other than espousing ancient Chinese values, which are also universal values, of truth, compassion and tolerance.”


practitioners across the country have noticeably increased recently, and I think this deserves attention. Freedom of religious belief is being violated even more severely during such a special period [of the Olympic Games], and citizens’ constitutional rights and universal values are under attack in China.” I DEFENDED MORE

IRWIN COTLER former Attorney General of Canada, renowned international human rights lawyer

than 20 cases involving Falun Gong practitioners. Physical torture was quite common. After their arrest, they were often beaten to the point of being paralyzed or [dying].” WE CONDEMN JIANG TIANYONG Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer subsequently jailed in China

this continued practice of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. This sickening and unethical practice must stop, especially harvesting organs from non-consenting individuals. We cannot allow these crimes to continue.”

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R-Fla.) Former Congresswoman, former chair of U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee speaks at a rally calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, on Capitol Hill on June 20, 2018. 20 YEARS OF PERSECUTION & RESILIENCE




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Since Xi Jinping came to power, he’s ousted many members of his rival’s faction, people whose political stars rose under Jiang Zemin. Jiang is the main perpetrator of the persecution of Falun Gong. These disgraced officials have been formally indicted for “corruption,” but there’s one trait that 138 of these purged officials all have in common— they’ve personally persecuted Falun Gong adherents in China. TAIWAN BANS PERPETRATORS OF FALUN GONG PERSECUTION December 2017

Taiwan “has denied entry to at least three Chinese nationals and groups that were found to have

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persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China,” according to the Taipei Times. This is a diplomatic first and a welcome, positive step in the eyes of the worldwide Falun Gong community and human-rights defenders. Falun Gong practitioners have endured arbitrary detention, brutal torture, and organ harvesting in China for 20 years for their beliefs, and they commend Taiwan for taking a clear and correct stance toward the perpetrators. The government’s actions are also a response to the recent sentencing of Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che in Beijing.

CAPITAL PARADE Falun Gong practitioners march through the streets of Washington, D.C., in July, 2017. ples—truth, compassion, and tolerance. May 13 is also the birthday of Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong. Washington, D.C., has played host to 10,000 or more attendees at conferences, rallies, and parades. At these events, practitioners share how they’ve persevered despite the worldwide persecution and how the practice has benefitted them mentally, physically, and spiritually. They also introduce the practice to the public.


Each year, Falun Gong practitioners mark May 13 as World Falun Dafa Day, a date celebrated for two reasons: The numbers 5, 1, 3 represent Falun Gong’s five gentle exercises, its one principal book, and its three guiding princi-

CELEBRATION Falun Gong practitioners in traditional attire celebrate World Falun Dafa Day in San Francisco.

Andrew Wilson, mayor of Parramatta, Australia, welcomes Falun Gong practitioners. HIGH TIDE OF CHANGE: MORE THAN 300 MILLION PEOPLE QUIT THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY

est day of his life. On March 18, the chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, Wu Chi-wai, who is also a Legislative Council member, said that 300 million Chinese people having withdrawn from the CCP’s organizations indicates people’s dissatisfaction with the CCP’s authoritarian rule.

May 2018

Ever since 2004, the groundbreaking book The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party has been sending shock waves throughout the Chinese-speaking world and inspiring those who once pledged their lives to the Communist Party to sever ties with it and free themselves of its doctrines. World-renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng said the day he quit the Party was the happi-

FREEDOM FROM COMMUNISM The Epoch Times editorial series Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party sparked the Tuidang or “Quit the Party” movement that has swept China.




Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin made headlines after her beauty pageant win sparked harassment from China. CENSORED IN AUSTRALIA? June 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) cancelled an interview with former Canadian beauty queen and human rights activist Anastasia Lin, who is a vocal supporter of Falun Gong and is outspoken against the Chinese regime’s abuses. Ms. Lin says an ABC producer cited Lin’s “affiliations” in the decision to cancel the interview and that the order came from “higher ups.” ABC claims the cancellation was a standard editorial decision, but Lin recorded the exchange and holds that the cancellation held fingerprints of communist China’s influence. Lin made headlines in 2015 when she was dramatically barred from attending the Miss World pageant in China. She has been an international spokesperson for victims of China’s forced organ harvesting and persecution ever since.

Over 200,000 Falun Gong practitioners in China have submitted criminal complaints against Jiang Zemin, who began the persecution when he overrode the advice of his standing committee in 1999. Chinese law allows for citizens to be plaintiffs in criminal cases, and many practitioners are now exercising that right to file criminal complaints against the former dictator. The lawsuits have been accepted by the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Around the world, 2.6 million people have signed a petition urging China’s highest courts to heed the lawsuits and bring Jiang Zemin to justice.



Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong held a grand march and rally to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the peaceful resistance against the persecution in China. Thousands of tourists and passersby stopped to take photos and speak to reporters. “It is true that many people are deceived by the government, but many know the truth, and they condemn the persecution,” one observer said. Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wang from Shandong Province were surprised: “We didn’t know there were

HONG KONG PARADE Falun Gong practitioners march through Hong Kong. The large characters on the banner read “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.” so many Falun Gong practitioners outside of China. Nobody dares to talk about it in China.” Prominent Hong Kong citizens spoke at the rally in support of Falun Gong

and against China’s persecution. In Hong Kong, communist factions have attacked practitioners.

(Below) MARCHING BAND Falun Gong practitioners’ Divine Land Marching Band participates in July 4, 2017, parade, Washington, D.C.




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BBC News is among the major media outlets that recently covered forced organ harvesting in China. MEDIA COVERAGE REACHES A NEW HIGH-WATER MARK October 2018

In October 2018, BBC World Service and BBC Television dove deep into the topics of forced organ harvesting in China with a multipart report. Reporter Matthew Hill confronted Chinese officials and interviewed Falun Sun Yi’s desperate SOS note, hidden in a box of Halloween decorations exported to the U.S. from a Chinese labor camp, hinted at the horror he endured. STORY SECRETLY FILMED IN CHINA BECOMES A GLOBAL SUCCESS September 2018

When Julie Keith, a mother of two in Damascus, Oregon, found an SOS note from an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner inside a made-in-China product from Kmart, she had no idea it would lead to the abolishment of China’s labor camp system nor to a a critically acclaimed film by a Peabody-winning director. The feature documentary Letter from Masanjia (2018) uses secret camera footage taken by dissidents inside China who risked their lives to tell the story that the BBC

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calls “an astonishing sequence of events.” The New York Times praised the film, and the Los Angeles Times described it as “a powerful tale of human suffering, compassion and perseverance.” The film garnered more than a dozen film-festival awards worldwide and became a 2019 Oscar contender, bringing the plight of Falun Gong to the forefront.

The entrance to the notorious Masanjia labor camp, known for rampant torture, rape, and killing.

Gong practitioners to find out how there can be so many transplant surgeries in a country with so few donors. Since then, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Korea’s TV Chosun, South China Morning Post and other notable media outlets around the globe have run exposés on the issue with a feeling and frequency not seen before.


In June 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Res.343, which condemns the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. In 2017, 24 U.S. senators proposed a bipartisan resolution supporting Falun Gong practitioners’ appeal for peace and freedom in China and condemning the practice of nonconsenting organ harvesting. In October 2018, the

U.S. Congressional-Executive Committee on China released its annual report that expressed “concern over reports that numerous organ transplants in China have used the organs of detained prisoners, including Falun Gong practitioners.” In March 2019, Samuel Brownback, the U.S. ambassador for International Religious Freedom,

David Kilgour, a Nobel Peace Prizenominee and former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia Pacific), receives The Friends of Falun Gong Human Rights Award in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2018.

stated in a speech in Hong Kong: “We will continue to advocate for the Chinese government to end abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners. … [Organ harvesting] is the truly horrifying prospect.” That same month, the formation of the Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China (CARFC) was announced. Falun Gong practitioners who endured torture for their faith were invited to join and to speak at its inaugural event. Since 2017, the U.K., Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic introduced legislation aimed at halting forced organ harvesting in China. THE FALUN GONG STORY





The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported on an interim judgment from an independent people’s tribunal held in


London in December on China’s criminal practice of forced

organ harvesting. The tribunal concluded that Falun Gong practitioners are a main target of organ harvesting in China. Former English judge Geoffrey Nice QC, the tribunal’s chair, said after three days of testimony and hearings on the evidence, “We, the tribunal members, are all cer-

tain, unanimously, beyond reasonable doubt, that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time, involving a very substantial number of victims … by state-organized or approved organizations or individuals.”

A world-first study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that organs taken from prisoners of conscience may have been used in studies published in international peer review journals, and that the

transplant community worldwide is not adhering to its own standards of ethical oversight, especially in light of evidence that China kills tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and other minorities as part of a lucrative

organ trade. The study, which called for the retraction of all papers that lacked proper consent for organs, was reported by The Guardian, The Australian, The Independent, Fox News, and other news outlets.

Former English judge Geoffrey Nice QC.


The nearly 70 Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted to death in 2018 in China experienced illegal imprisonment, illegal detention, slave labor, harassment, intimidation, forced administration of unknown drugs, and torture. Many of these men and women held important positions in Chinese society, from small business owners and professors to engineers and military veterans. They are a fraction of the 4,236 cases that can be verified. Many times more are feared dead from organ harvesting and state-ordered disappearances.

TORTURE One common torture practice is to restrain practitioners in excruciating positions for long periods, sometimes leaving them permanently disabled.





HOW YOU CAN HELP “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

YOU CAN SPEAK UP for persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China in ways they cannot. Here are several things you can do today to stand up for human rights and stand against the Chinese regime’s worldwide repressive tactics.

Join Fr iends o f Falun Gong Friends of Falun Gong is dedicated to defending the right to practice Falun Gong freely and openly and with dignity in China. A registered American non-profit, Friends of Falun Gong advocates for legal redress and prevention of human rights violations through public campaigns, legal actions, creative competitions, student activities, and more. Visit and click “Act Now.”

Wr it e a L e t t er t o t he E dit or Op-eds and letters to the editor are important platforms for diverse voices everywhere. People in China do not have the freedom to express themselves, but you do. Why not exercise your voice and spread the word about this underreported issue?

A sk Your Elec t ed O f f icials t o Take Ac tion Call or write to your representatives in government, and tell them you’re concerned about the plight of Falun Gong in China. Visit the following sites to contact the correct representative in your country. The Falun Dafa Information Center would be happy to email you a letter template that you can simply personalize. Email us at contact@ to request one. United States: | United Kingdom: | Canada: | Australia:

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Tell Your P r e siden t or P r ime Minis t er Americans can let White House staff know that they are concerned about the persecution in China and the Chinese regime’s growing influence in the United States. You can demand U.S. foreign policy that aims to end rights abuses. Email or call 202-456-1111. Citizens in other countries can contact their premieres and presidents, too.

S tay In f or med . S ubs cr ibe t o Our New sle t t er Knowledge is a potent weapon against tyranny. Stay up-to-date on Falun Gong by sharing this publication and by subscribing to the Falun Dafa Information Center’s newsletter. Email with a request to join, or visit our website:

Credit and Special Thanks Compassion was researched, written and edited by the Falun Dafa Information Center's editorial committee members. Please direct questions and comments to: Unless otherwise noted, photos in Compassion Magazine were used with permission from, Taste of Life Magazine, and The Epoch Times, with special thanks to Edward Dai, Benjamin Chasteen, and Si Gross.

The Falun Dafa Information Center would like to give recognition to the following organizations for their contributions to Compassion reporting:, NTD TV, The Epoch Times, China Uncensored, Taste of Life Magazine, International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, Friends of Falun Gong.





Falun Gong by Mr. Li Hongzhi

Falun Dafa Information Center |

The Slaughter by Ethan Gutmann

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient discipline that improves mind, body, and spirit. At, Mr. Li Hongzhi’s complete teachings and instructional exercise videos are available in over 40 languages, free of charge. The official press office for Falun Gong as well as a primary resource for information about the human rights abuses Falun Gong practitioners face at the hands of the Chinese communist regime. Facebook page: Research Center:

Minghui is dedicated to providing up-to-the-minute reporting on the Falun Gong community worldwide, with a focus on first-hand reports from across China.

Friends of Falun Gong |

The nonprofit organization Friends of Falun Gong is a vanguard of activities and campaigns in North America to support Falun Gong practitioners’ freedom of belief.

An introduction to the basics of Falun Gong, including elaboration on truthfulness, compassion, tolerance, other principles of the universe, and Falun Gong’s exercise instructions.

The inside story of China’s organ transplant business and its macabre connection with internment camps and killing fields for arrested dissidents, especially adherents of Falun Gong.

Bloody Harvest by David Kilgour and David Matas

A groundbreaking, seminal investigation into allegations of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party by The Epoch Times editorial board

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting

A detailed analysis of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mass killing, tyranny, propaganda, persecution, and censorship over half a century, including insight into the Party’s diabolical motives and goals. Thanks in large part to these commentaries, more than 330 million people have renounced the CCP and its affiliated organizations, fostering a peaceful movement for transformation and change in China.


Hard to Believe

An organization of medical doctors who aim to provide objective data about unethical and illegal sources of internal organs. DAFOH reports on China’s forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners.

Human Harvest

Flying Cloud Productions Winner of the 74th annual Peabody Award, the documentary Human Harvest follows two Canadian Nobel Peace Prize nominees as they investigate the mystery behind China’s illegal organ trade.


Swoop Films It’s hard to believe that doctors would kill for profit, and that major media are not investigating this. Hard to Believe gives award-winning insight into why the world is ignoring China’s mass-market sale of human organs. COMPASSION MAGAZINE 2019



FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER News and analysis about Falun Gong inside China and around the world

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