“Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”1
– Elie Wiesel
Winston Churchill, in a live broadcast issued from London during the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941, was so horrified at the devastation inflicted on humanity by the invading troops that he described the barbarity of the Nazi occupation in these words: “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” World War II left the world dumbstruck upon witnessing how six million European Jews along with millions of Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and others were systematically and mercilessly exterminated. When the full impact of the Nazi atrocities finally came to light, there was simply no word in the human language that could fully describe it. Thus, a new word—genocide—was created.
Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer who grew up in Poland and had come to the United States as a refugee just a few months prior to Churchill’s broadcast, coined the word genocide in 1943. Throughout his life, Lemkin was deeply affected by the mass slaughters he read about or experienced in his time, especially the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks at the beginning of World War I and then the Nazi invasion of his homeland in 1939. He became keenly aware of the fact that outright killing was not the only method that could be employed to destroy people. Hitler’s goal of extermination was being carried out by other means as well, such as imprisonment, mandatory sterilization, and “forcibly resettling the population in ghettos or camps where people died rapidly through slave labor, starvation, exposure and contagious diseases such as typhus—living conditions designed to cause their destruction through attrition.”2
Lemkin was determined to find a way of preventing premeditated, systematic eradication of specific groups. Eventually, his determination and persistence over years of struggle culminated in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations on December 9, 1948.
Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide, committed during times of either peace or war, as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Unfortunately, the adage “history repeats itself” has proven true time and again. Since the United Nations adopted the Convention on Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and measures have been taken by the international community to ensure that such atrocities never again occur, the pattern of genocide has continued. The world has again witnessed systematic extermination on the basis of race, religion, or political views in countries such as Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.
Today, as this preface is being written and this book is being published, genocide is happening in the People’s Republic of China. The government is targeting for elimination people who believe in Falun Gong. An article published in Canada’s National Post, points out that the Falun Gong spiritual movement “is today to China’s masters what the Jews were to pre-war Nazi Germany: a convenient scapegoat used to explain away the failings and insecurities of the state and its leadership.”3 Furthermore, the Chinese regime is using methods eerily reminiscent of the Nazis to accomplish its goal: propaganda, imprisonment, slave labor, food deprivation, and psychiatric torture, among others.
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, was introduced to the public in 1992 by Li Hongzhi in the city of Changchun. People found it to be a quiet, peaceful system of self-improvement and exercise and began practicing it outdoors in parks. Practitioners soon began seeing improvements in their health and general well-being. Their attitudes, outlooks, and relationships at home and work also changed for the better as they began following the teachings in the books Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun and living according to three principles: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
It is not the purpose of this book to document the rise of Falun Gong and its popularity. There are many good sources available. However, as more and more people across China began hearing about Falun Gong and taking up the practice, even the government noticed the benefit of reduced medical expenditures. An official from the National Sports Commission, for example, was quoted in a February 1999 U.S. News and World Report article as saying that 100 million people practicing Falun Gong could save billions of yuan in healthcare costs.4
But due to the practice’s fast-growing popularity, and the large number of people who practiced it—which quickly exceeded the number of Party members—Jiang Zemin (China’s president at the time and now chairman of the Central Military Commission) began to plan the systematic elimination of Falun Gong in China. Several years before the practice was officially banned on July 20, 1999, police began monitoring practice sites and placing practitioners under surveillance. The book Zhuan Falun, a top-ten bestseller, was banned in China in 1996. Propaganda vilifying Falun Gong began to appear as well. In response to one particularly slanderous article published in Tianjin, practitioners wishing to discuss the situation visited the publisher’s office; they were arrested instead. When news of the arrests spread, approximately 10,000 practitioners (less than 1% of those who practiced) gathered on April 25, 1999, in Beijing to appeal on behalf of their fellows imprisoned in Tianjin. The Prime Minister at the time, Zhu Rongji, met with representatives from the group and the situation was resolved without incident. Jiang, however, became unsettled and subsequently wrote a letter to other Party officials, expressing his fears and concerns. A speech delivered on June 7 indicated that he was preparing to take full-scale action against Falun Gong. On June 10, he formed a Gestapo-like agency called the “6-10 Office” (named for its date of establishment) to handle all Falun Gong issues, and then formally declared Falun Gong illegal on July 20. Three months later, the regime retroactively passed “anti-cult” legislation to justify the persecution.
The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has entailed exorbitant fines, extortion, dismissal from school and jobs, detention, rape and torture. To avoid abuse and arrest, families have had to flee their homes. Family members, friends, neighbors, employers, and colleagues are implicated by association and are interrogated, fined, or detained as well. Children are taken from parents and placed in orphanages or left alone in empty houses when their parents are forcibly removed by police. As people continue to resist, using peaceful means such as appeals and hunger strikes, the scope and intensity of the persecution has continued to escalate. Sustaining this nationwide campaign to eliminate Falun Gong has required massive diversions of China’s resources. Substantial funds have been allocated to producing propaganda, building brainwashing centers, expanding labor camps, implementing surveillance equipment, paying individuals to participate in the persecution, and extending the persecution beyond China’s borders through Chinese embassies and consulates abroad. The persecution permeates all aspects of society. Employers, including foreign companies doing business in China, have been pressured into requiring that their employees sign statements denouncing Falun Gong. And material denigrating Falun Gong has found its way into textbooks, tests, andcollege entrance exams.
No one is spared—from China’s elite scholars and experts to pregnant women, infants, the handicapped, and the elderly. The flow of information is strictly controlled by the regime, and orders are to cover up atrocities at all costs. Police are ordered to treat deaths from torture as suicides and cremate the bodies immediately. Falun Gong practitioners held in labor camps are often isolated and hidden from visitors, and those who still do not renounce their beliefs are often sent to psychiatric facilities for further persecution. Attempts by third-party organizations, such as the World Psychiatric Association, to conduct independent investigations have proven futile. Foreign correspondents have even had their cameras or film confiscated. As a result, the international community as well as Chinese citizens themselves are completely unaware of the true nature of the persecution and its magnitude.
By all definitions of the word, what is happing in China to people who believe in Falun Gong is genocide. The intent of this book is to provide in-depth investigative reports and documentation as evidence of the Jiang regime’s systematic plan to eliminate a portion of China’s population. These investigations are carried out by dedicated volunteers in North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, as well as China where their lives are at risk. This book presents only a partial collection of the investigative reports and testimonies that WOIPFG has received and published. To ensure the safety of those involved, the sources for references in some reports have been withheld.
Hindsight, as the saying goes, is always 20-20. Throughout history, as the events leading to genocide present themselves and we ignore the signs, we look back in horror and discuss what we should have done—when it is too late. WOIPFG intends to break this cycle of history and stop genocide in its tracks. WOIPFG was founded in January 2003 upon witnessing the bravery and steadfastness of Falun Gong practitioners, and their commitment to peaceful protest in the face of unimaginable violence. Its mission is to investigate the criminal conduct of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the persecution of Falun Gong and to bring such investigations to full closure in order to exercise the fundamental principles of humanity and to restore and uphold justice in society. Conscience and morality do not allow us to stand aside and we will persist until justice is served. It is our sincere hope that the international community, upon reading the information presented in this book, will realize the truth and be moved to take action before it is too late and we all look back, as we have in the past, with regret.
1 The Nobel Acceptance Speech Delivered by Elie Wiesel in Oslo on December 10, 1986, The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity (http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org).
2 James T. Fussell, “A crime without a name,” Prevent Genocide International (http://www.preventgenocide.org)
3 John Turley-Ewart, “Falun Gong persecution spreads to Canada,” National Post, March 20, 200 (http://www.canada.com).
4 Bay Fang, “An Opiate of the Masses?” U.S. News & World Report, February 22, 1999.