Falun Gong followers protest 10 years of persecution in China
(TibetanReview.net, Apr 28, 2009) — On the 10th anniversary Apr 25 of their ban and persecution by the Chinese government, followers of the Falun Gong spiritual group stage massive protest rallies in many cities across the world, although they were notably inactive in China itself. The largest of the protest rallies were held in Taiwan’s capital Taipei and in Hong Kong.
In Tapei, over 1,000 followers stood in front of a huge banner bearing the words “Falun Gong Is Good”. In total silence, they performed meditation rituals. "We hold this rally to call on the world's people to urge China to halt its suppression of Falun Gong and persecution of Falun Gong members," DPA news agency Apr 25 quoted Chang Ching-hsi, head of the Taiwan branch of Falun Gong, as saying.
In Hong Kong, the group said in a statement on the day, reported by the AFP Apr 25, "Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – remain unlawfully imprisoned in Chinese labour camps and prisons, the largest single population of prisoners of conscience in the country."
On Apr 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong members surrounded the Zhongnanhai, Communist Party headquarters in central Beijing, to stage a silent protest, which took the Chinese government by surprise and totally unnerved it. A ban was imposed on the group, which was declared an evil cult. China called it the biggest threat to the party's rule since the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests. The group accuses China of jailing and torturing its members, killing many of them and harvesting their vital organs.
Before the crackdown, the group boasted up to 70 million followers in China, including Communist Party members and government officials.
The group first emerged in 1992 behind charismatic leader Li Hongzhi, who preached "truth, compassion and forbearance," while promising better health through group meditation and traditional breathing exercises. His ideas were loosely based on Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophies. However, China accuses Li of spreading superstition and plotting to overthrow the Chinese government. Li fled to the United States after the 1999 crackdown.
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Last updated on Apr 28, 2009 14:42:13