The persecution of Falun Gong is pervasive, reaching into every aspect of society. Hundreds of thousands, likely over a million, Falun Gong practitioners are unlawfully held in detention centers, labor camps and prisons around the country at any given time, making them the largest group of prisoners of conscience in China, if not the world. Once every three days a new case of a Falun Gong practitioner being killed from abuse is reported, but this is just a drop in the bucket. According to international investigators, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed to extract their vital organs and sell them to fuel a lucrative organ transplantation business in China. But here’s an important consideration: the victims are not just Falun Gong. They are the prison guards pressured to torture practitioners, the factory managers who must identify Falun Gong workers for brainwashing (which leads to certain torture), the husbands forced to divorce their Falun Gong practitioner wives or lose their job. Millions upon millions of Chinese have been coerced into betraying their conscience and becoming minions of the regime’s campaign against Falun Gong, or have been persecuted themselves for refusing to.
Is it, therefore, really possible for China to move towards better human rights or the rule of law when these atrocities are happening on such a massive scale? Indeed, it is precisely the Falun Gong persecution that puts a strangle-hold on freedoms throughout China. Furthermore, we know from years of heart-breaking experience that the Chinese regime does little when faced with generalized criticisms or criticisms reserved for closed-door talks. It is only specific, public statements that spur the regime into real action.
Lastly, we feel now is a critical time for the Senate to voice a stance on Falun Gong because over the past few months, a growing wave of discontent over the Falun Gong persecution is sweeping across China. Common villagers are standing up to sign petitions, with their real signatures afixed, calling on authorities to cease abducting and harassing Falun Gong practitioners in their midst. That is, despite years of vilifying propaganda against Falun Gong, Chinese people are putting themselves at risk to call for an end to the persecution. Now is the time to stand with them
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