The abuses taking place in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have been well documented. With forced labor and horrific stories of sexual abuse, the Uyghur story is an important one, and needs to be told.
Another important story that needs to be told involves the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Twenty-two years ago, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sought to eliminate the spiritual practice of Falun Gong in China. In an attempt to eliminate the peaceful practice, the Chinese regime launched a brutal campaign of religious persecution, one that continues to this day.
For more than two decades, Falun Gong practitioners have experienced unspeakable and intolerable acts of human rights abuses, with a number of practitioners being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, forced labor, and death threats. Thousands have died at the hands of the CCP. This short piece remembers the brave men and women who have been punished and beaten, persecuted and prosecuted. It also pays respect to those who continue to spread the gospel of peace, love, and unity.
Fallen but Not Forgotten
But first, we must ask: Why does the Chinese regime fear Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that involves slow-moving exercises and meditation and places great emphasis on the importance of human decency? In China, where tyranny and lies reign supreme, there’s little room, if any, for honesty, empathy, and tolerance. In other words, there’s no room for Falun Gong.
Since July 20, 1999, the CCP has launched countless smear campaigns against Falun Gong practitioners. In “Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China,” Ian Johnson wrote that the CCP’s claims against the group don’t carry any truth whatsoever. Contrary to the propaganda promulgated by the Chinese regime, Johnson sets the narrative straight. Falun Gong members “marry outside the group, have outside friends, hold normal jobs, do not live isolated from society, do not believe that the world’s end is imminent, and do not give significant amounts of money to the organization,” he wrote.
This, however, hasn’t stopped the CCP from spreading malicious lies about Falun Gong. As writer James Griffiths noted, since 1999, the CCP has launched a “concerted propaganda campaign” to portray the peaceful movement as an “evil cult.” Within a month of its ban, “almost 400 articles were published in state media attacking Falun Gong.” Of course, the response has gone far beyond harshly worded editorials.