July 20 marked the 8th year of the Chinese Communist Party's despicable persecution of Falun Gong in China. Since 1999, at least 3024 practitioners have been confirmed dead and untold thousands have been illegally arrested and detained, with many being sent to labor camps and detention centers; others have been brutally murdered and robbed of their organs at state-sanctioned facilities.
Commemorative Activities in the Nation's Capitol
Thousands of Falun Gong adherents convened in Washington, D.C. throughout the week of July 20, traveling from Australia, Canada, Russia, India, France, Israel and elsewhere among the 70 nations where they are free to follow the spiritual practice. Others came from Mainland China, where the practice is still very much alive. Many of the practitioners met with their government officials to remind them about the persecution and urge their support for bringing it to an end. A July 19 rally on Capitol Hill, sponsored by FoFG, included members of Congress and representatives of human rights organizations who denounced the Chinese government's inhumane treatment of Falun Gong. On the 20th, a large scale parade and demonstration was held in front of the Chinese Embassy.
Student Groups Increase Harassment
The increasingly bold and threatening activities of several Chinese student groups based at U.S. universities was the topic of a forum
also held July 20th. Speakers revealed how Chinese college students are briefed on how to act before going abroad and that some are even recruited for espionage work, in direct violation of the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. Recently, the Chinese student organization at New York's Columbia University attempted to disrupt a public forum on organ harvesting in China and raised the specter of a physical confrontation with students who practice Falun Gong.
Tainted Products Backlash
In the wake of continuing revelations about dangerously tainted products coming from China, the Wall Street Journal
points out that "deadly products are not news" within China. The article poses the question: "Why would so many people be willing to cut corners to make an extra dollar, even at the cost of human lives?"
On July 17, Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf delivered scathing remarks
on the floor of the House of Representatives. The Congressman linked China's unscrupulous business practices to its horrendous human rights record and urged American consumers to be "vigilant about protecting the values that we hold dear."
Pressure on Hong Kong
In early July, the government of Hong Kong denied entry to more than 800 Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners. The Falun Dafa Information Center reports
that the government issued secret instructions to bar them from activities marking the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China. The order to bar Taiwanese practitioners reportedly came from a high-level Chinese official.
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