Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Falun Gong persecution remembered

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Falun Gong practitioners enact a torture scene during a march yesterday in Taipei to protest China’s persecution of the group.

Photo: David Chang, EPA

About 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners yesterday marched in Taipei to commemorate fellow members persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since July 1999.

Falun Gong is a school of Chinese qigong that incorporates tenets of Buddhism founded by Li Hongzhi (李洪志) in China in 1992.

The march marks the 18th anniversary of China’s suppression of Falun Gong practitioners in 1999.

There are about 700,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan and about 100 million worldwide, Falun Gong Human Rights attorney group spokesperson Chu Wan-chi (朱婉琪) said.

China’s persecution of the practitioners could be compared with the genocide committed by German Nazis during the World War II, she added.

At about 3:30pm, protesters wearing yellow shirts gathered at Taipei City Hall before marching to Taipei 101 and back to the city hall.

They held banners that read: “CCP is not equal to China,” “Stop forced live organ harvesting in China” and “Prosecute the culprit [former Chinese president] Jiang Zemin (江澤民),” among others.

After marching back to city hall at about 6pm, the protesters sat down in front of the hall and practiced a 10-minute meditation before the ceremony started.

“If China is to embrace democracy, it can never ignore the [persecution] of Falun Gong,” Chu said.

She urged Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to prosecute Jiang who had ordered the brutal suppression of Falun Gong practitioners on July 20, 1999, and to close the nation’s 610 Office that is tasked with suppressing them.

She also called on Xi to reveal data relating to Falun Gong persecution since 1991 and to end the CCP’s authoritarian rule by allowing people to enjoy religious and expressive freedoms.

Falun Gong lawyers in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2015 initiated a petition calling for prosecution of Jiang, which has garnered more than 2.4 million signatures worldwide, Chu said.

“As seen in the cases of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) and the four ousted Hong Kong councilors, China’s strength might be contingent upon its suppression of human rights,” Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) said.

University of South Carolina Aiken associate professor Frank Tian Xie (謝田) said he has practiced Falun Gong for 20 years, and it has helped him cultivate a higher sense of morality through its principles of truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance.

Last year, he started a Falun Gong class at the university with about 30 students, he said, adding that it is expected to continue.

The gathering ended with a candlelight service accompanied by music.

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