Members of Congress Rally for Falun Gong Freedom
Senate resolution supports “Tuidang" CCP withdrawal movement
speaking at a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC,
Thurs. July 14, said “the persecution of Falun Gong
must end, and it must end now." (Shaoshao Chen/The Epoch Times)
Over a thousand Falun Gong practitioners and supporters gathered on Capitol
Hill today in Washington to mark 12 years of persecution of the peaceful
spiritual practice also known as Falun Dafa (also known as
Falun Gong), in China.
A Senate resolution introduced July 13 is calling
on the Senate to mark the official anniversary of the day the persecution of Falun Gong by the
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began. It also calls for the CCP to “cease and
desist” from its persecutory campaign.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
said during a speech, “The persecution of Falun Gong must end, and it must end
“I find it deplorable that the government of the People’s Republic
of China only protects citizens’ freedom of religion and spiritual practice if
they submit to the authority of the Communist Party—and if they do not, as in
the case of Falun Gong, orders an intensive and unforgiving campaign against
them that includes abduction, detention, and torture for refusing to recant
their practice,” said Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), co-sponsor of S. Res. 232, in a
Falun Gong espouses a teaching of the universal principles of
truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. The practice involves a set of
slow-moving exercises and meditation believed to improve health and well-being,
according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, an official
source of Falun Gong.
The resolution is the first to be introduced in
the Senate, and also the first U.S. government resolution to recognize Tuidang,
a growing peaceful movement of Chinese people who are withdrawing from the
Communist Party. This year’s rally, held annually, celebrates the approaching
milestone of 100 million Chinese who have renounced the Communist Party since
Persecution of Falun Gong in China," displays a sign depicting forms of torture
inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party. The rally
was held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC, Thurs. July
14. (Dai Bing/The Epoch Times)
The Tuidang movement began after the
publication of an editorial series in the overseas Chinese language newspaper
Dajiyuan, (Chinese language Epoch Times). The series detailed the history of
CCP, with a particular focus on its human rights record, and past campaigns
targeting the Chinese people, such as the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen
Soon after the editorials’ publication, the Dajiyuan
website began receiving letters from readers renouncing their affiliations to
the CCP. Those letters, including from prominent intellectuals, teachers, and
plainclothes police, speak of the suffering endured under communism. The
newspaper began compiling the statements; word spread, and the movement grew
larger day by day.
“It is a massive, peaceful, nonviolent movement
happening in China; It is the awakening of the conscience, and morality in China
that is irreversible,” said professor Sen Nieh, spokesperson for the D.C. Falun
Dafa Association, and one of the organizers of the rally.
“The seeds of
reform are being sown by this wonderful movement,” said Congressman Chris Smith,
“Tuidang is about building a movement that begins to
undermine the Communist Party from within. It is kind of like the sinkhole
mentality, where there is nothing under it, and pretty soon the ground just
sinks,” said Smith.
“This resolution will further empower the Chinese
people to break away from the shackle of CCP’s despotic rule and eventually
obtain the most deserved freedom,” said Rong Yi, president of the Global Service
Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, headquartered in Flushing, New
Smith, chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and
Human Rights, said that he planned to introduce a similar resolution in the
House of Representatives.
slow-moving exercises on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC, Thurs.
July 14. The practitioners were part of an annual rally marking the 12-year
persecution of Falun Gong in China, and calling for its end. (Shaoshao Chen/The
“We, as human beings, must stand together. The good
people of this world must stand together against the type of tyranny, injustice,
and the human suffering that has been brought about by this dictatorial regime
in China,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
“This fact is so important for the
Americans to understand—that that force in the world—if you allow an evil force
like that to continue without being challenged that evil force will someday
affect us here,” Rohrabacher added.
Smith said he was encouraged by the
possibility that China could actually become a democracy through the power of
the Tuidang movement.
“If China is a democracy, there is no global
threat—they are not going to invade Taiwan, threaten the islands, or any other
ASEAN country, or anything else, because they are a democracy,” he said.
Jin Pang, daughter of a Falun Gong practitioner detained in China since
before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said she was only 15 years old when the
persecution began, but she can still remember every minute of it.
not only my family, but my mom, my aunt, and the people that I know every day
who were persecuted to death—there are still thousands and millions of Falun
Gong practitioners detained.”
Pang says she feels fortunate to be able to attend
such a rally with so many VIPs and members of human rights organizations
supporting Falun Gong.
“I believe that their voices are very encouraging
to the people that are suffering there, like my mom,” Pang said.
Scott Flipse, deputy director for policy and research with the U.S. Commission
on International Religious Freedom, and a number of prominent NGOs, including
Amnesty International and Hudson Institute, spoke at the event.
Gunawardena-Vaughn, senior program manager with Freedom House, co-sponsor of the
rally, said “Freedom House remains deeply concerned about the ongoing human
rights abuses committed against adherents, their families, and increasingly,
Vaughn said, “Over
the past twelve years, Falun Gong practitioners and their families have suffered
greatly at the hands of the Communist Party, simply for exercising their
fundamental rights to freedom of belief and peaceful expression of their views.”