Governor and Vice presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made some seriously bombastic promises, statements and claims in the past few months but one he made was that he would demand that China stopped persecuting the spiritual/religious faction Falun Gong.
Woah! Mr. Romney, calm down and back up. Read some literature, no president could do anything about this mess. It’s a mess, it’s a power struggle between two super powers and it’s something that won’t have anyone held accountable for. America is powerless against China on the issue of the Falun Gong, even after the Tiananmen Square massacre outrage didn’t lead to much accountability. The Chinese government arguably has even gone above that in atrocious behavior. Falun Gong has been labeled a cult, and after a vicious crackdown is still to this day being inhumanely shut down. How did this happen? What is the Falun Gong? Could the United States change China’s position?
I still couldn’t help but laugh at Romney’s demands. The atrocity has gone more under the radar then previous abominations involving superpowers, such as the Chechen wars involving Chechnya and Russia. What the Falun Gong crisis and the Chechen massacres have in common, is that they both involve the superpowers that are in some ways still at odds with the United States. Both were allowed, due to fear of political and international imbalance. Its preposterous and a complete shame, but that’s just the way it is.
What’s mostly the shame is that the most peaceful are the ones who are persecuted and beat down. Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (Great Dharma Wheel) combines the practice of meditation with slow exercise and moral philosophy. Falun Gong tends to emphasize morality and cultivation of virtue in it’s tenets, which are truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. It mixes elements from the Buddhist school as well as teachings from Taoist. The goal is to better health and ultimately in the long run spiritual enlightenment.
Falun Gong’s founder was Li Hongzhi, who spread the lessons through China in the 1980s and 1990s through extensive tours and lectures, went on to separate the Falun Gong from the Qigong movement in Deng Xiaoping’s administration as the Chairman of the communist party. Qigong was a movement in the 80s and 90s in China, which included the a form of enlightenment for the Chinese community, where they began to become more interested in the practices of aligning health, breathing techniques, movements with meditation. There were various individual techniques, and Li Hongzhi went on to criticize the movement he was an originally classified in, calling them “False teaching with frauds, greedy masters.”
Falun Gong had considerable and unprecedented support from the Chinese communist Party through the 90s, however as size grew and the outspoken leader Li Hongzhi continued to rise in prominence, the Falun Gong became seen as a serious danger to the country’s security and its control. So the Chinese government blocked all websites with Falun Gong information. On July 20th 1999, after tensions rose exponentially, crackdowns began. Military raided houses and sought out Falun Gong leaders for arrest. Li Hongzhi fled to the United States where he has found refuge ever since.
The Falun Gong faced detainment and propaganda from the government, whom declared them an illegal organization and elaborated in a statement stating the Falun Gong, “Engaged in illegal activities, advocating superstition, spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances and jeopardizing social stability.”
You can read that any way you want but none of its true, however the Falun Gong have a very strong willed mind, and aren’t willing to give up their beliefs due to punishment. The punishment usually is in the form of torture that is meant to re-educate the followers. The supporters are sent to concentration camps and labor camps, where they are subjected to extreme force feeding, immersing people’s heads in chamber pots full of feces and urine, long vicious beatings, hypothermia torture, extreme humiliation, rape, forced and violent abortions and various other inhumane and outrageous technique. However in pictures depicting the torture, the Falun Gong followers is always seen with a defiant, clear minded and strong willed facial expression. This represents the Falun Gong unprecedented belief in their way of life and spirituality.
This atrocity exhibition is one that isn’t often recognized, various Pro-Falun Gong groups have been reaching out to American officials and legislators. One in particular is the nonprofit organization Friends of Falun Gong which has insisted that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney watch a video detailing the Falun Gong’s struggle.
One instance of the complete lack of power of international forces was when Canadian secretary of state David Kilgour and Human Rights lawyer David Mates wrote an investigative report requested by Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) regarding allegations of Organ Harvesting. The conclusion was that “there has been, and continue today to be a large-scale organ harvesting seizures from unwilling Falun Gong followers.”
The problem was that the Kilgour-Matas Report relied excessively on logical inference, and presented barely any new facts or reports that were factual. There was a lack of independently-obtained testimony, And it was the United Nations Committee Against Torture who requested a “Full explanation of the source of organ transplants.”
Upon release of the report, Chinese officials simply slammed the report by saying it as smears based on rumors and false allegations. Without any direct or groundbreaking evidence, not even a dent could be put into the Chinese defense. And the logical inference makes so much sense due to all the overwhelming testimony from the Falun Gong members who have claimed to have been the victims of heinous torture. The State Department of the United states released a statement saying
“Independent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practioners and by reports of Organ Harvesting.” They went on to say, “US representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northern China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong members and harvest their organs.”
The international community has been able to do nothing, except for let China know that they are aware. When I first did a report on the Falun Gong, I was in sixth grade about seven years ago and there was little social media and there wasn’t any hope for Falun Gong. But as Falun Gong spreads to hundreds of countries with millions upon millions of followers, the movement has become bigger than ever expected. And if something like the Arab Spring could be struck so quickly and with such pace, there is little doubt that Falun Gong can in some way rise above and at least defeat the more open aspect of their persecution. When an outrageous event happens and is broadcast, it goes through homes worldwide, the attention is brought to the government and its leaders and their actions are condemned and often it’s a warning which is looked into. At this point it’s the best anyone can do.
This article leaves readers to think about some tough questions, should there be some form of a more competent intervention? What does the future look like for a group like the Falun Gong?
There is no question that what is happening is barbaric, but in the world of international diplomacy and politics, do right and wrong really matter sometimes?