Sunday, May 11, 2008

World Falun Dafa Day

Union Square on Saturday was once again the focus for exposing human rights abuses in China.

It was the World Falun Dafa Day celebration for practitioners of the meditation - also known as Falun Gong - that is banned in China. A day to explain the tenets of the meditation, whose key words are 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.' A day to appeal to the world to help stop China's persecutions, torture and murderous harvesting of organs for transplant from Falun Dafa followers. The horror of the organ removal is that 41,000 people have been killed in the last six years. Many of those had their organs extracted while they were still alive, people in Union Square heard.

Kip, a Chinese American living north of San Francisco, repeated a quote when he said, 'It's a new kind of evil on this planet. They (China) are good at dangling the economic carrot. We've forgotten about 1936.'

With a countdown to the Beijing Olympics in mind, petitions were in the square for people to register a protest. Around the square were pictures and posters of torture victims, and an exhibition of paintings that reflected both Falun Dafa practice and persecution from the Chinese government. There was also a programme of short speeches, dancing displays, music, singing and a demonstration of the Falun Dafa exercises.

China, explained one of the speakers, was against anything spiritual and Christians incurred some of the same problems as Falun Dafa followers. But the government stepped in to eradicate Falun Dafa because of it's rapid growth. Although it only started in public in 1992, by late 1998 it had attracted between 70 and 100 million practitioners. Opposition began in 1996, said the speaker, by government officials who specialise in propoganda: they create a problem in order to be seen solving it. But 10,000 petitioners took action in Beijing in 1999 and so the real crackdown started. Since then people have continued to stage peaceful protests in Tiananmen Square and so are arrested, imprisoned, tortured and have their organs harvested.

Another speaker was a medical doctor who spoke about the benefits of Falun Gong that he had experienced himself and seen in others, including stress reduction, health improvements and freedom from addictions. He went on to talk about the abuse of harvesting organs. Whilst he described organ donation as 'noble,' he expressed repugnance both at the practice of forcefully removing organs and the fact that it is being carried out by fellow doctors working for the Chinese government. Tests for tissue and blood types are carried out on thousands of prisoners in the labour camps, he said.

However, he also conveyed a small piece of more optimistic news that only last week the UN had confirmed that due to political action fewer people are travelling to China to purchase organs. 'So we ask for your help to stop the persecution and torture before the Olympics begin,' he said.

After the speeches and stage performances, watched by a small and ever-changing crowd of people winding across the square, the musicians, dancers and protesters formed a colourful parade and wound their way around Chinatown and back again.

An interview with a doctor persecuted in China as a Falun Dafa practitioner and who now lives in San Francisco will be posted later.

For further info on the campaign and news updates see

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