Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chinese Embassy- Falun Gong Protest

Sue is a professional pavement sitter.

At 79 years of age she has spent part of every week for the last eight years sitting on a pavement outside the Chinese embassy.

She unrolls a little mat and together with a few friends sits in meditative silence. It is a quiet, persistent protest against the cruelties of the Chinese government especially as wrought on those who practice a meditation known as Falun Gong or Falun Dafa.

Sue - an Anglicisation of her Chinese name - said the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners inside China had risen hugely in the run-up to the Olympics.

'The Olympics is too terrible. Everywhere is the policemen,' she said in her broken English. 'They don't like us. Over several months they arrest us... just because of the Olympics.'

She is not against the Games themselves. 'The Olympic Games is good because the idea is good. But China are changing the original idea because of who controls it, just like in 1936 in Germany. Hitler do the same thing.

'They (China) promise to change human rights but it (the abuse) is more serious, more worse,' she said.

She is handing out a newspaper, Falun Gong Today, which publishes horrific articles documenting evidence about the harvesting of donor organs from living prisoners, and imprisonment, torture and abuse of people.

In one article it says that the president of Beijing's Olympic Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, was found liable for torture by the District Court in San Francisco in 2004.

Under a legal system that allows victims of torture to bring their cases to a US court, Liu was sued by two Chinese nationals, two Swedes, one French woman and a dual US/Israeli citizen, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting,

The court held Liu liable for 'torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and arbitrary detention.' This despite the fact that Liu made no response and the Bush administration urged the court to dismiss the case, said the report.

Nearly all of the group with Sue are over 60 years of age, with one man aged 80 years and another of 85 years. This is because, said Sue, younger people are at work.

They were sitting almost beneath the balcony where the protester with Students for a Free Tibet had fallen controversially last week after rappelling down the wall. They used to sit across the road, but after three years the residents there, although friendly, had had enough of listening to the meditation music and having to negotiate their way round the group into their homes.

So the police found them some spots alongside the embassy, a move that was strenuously opposed by embassy officials. 'But this is America!' said Sue.

They also have a poster site in China Town.

She was once asked by a passer by if they were paid for sitting there. The offense of the question rankles as strongly now as it did then.

'I am very sad to think just money on their mind! Our friends in China suffer so much we have the responsibility to come out to stop the persecution,' she said.

Pics show Sue, top lt in brown jacket; front entrance of Chinese embassy; Shao, who has protested for six years

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