It’s been over two decades since the Chinese regime began its vicious persecution of Falun Gong, a popular faith rooted in ancient traditions of physical and spiritual cultivation.
Published in 2020 by Minghui.org, The 20-Year Persecution of Falun Gong in China takes readers on a comprehensive, on-the-ground journey through the repression faced by Falun Gong adherents in China, efforts by practitioners around the world to counter the persecution, and how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has extended the persecution to other countries through intimidation of foreign leaders and businesses.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a Chinese traditional spiritual discipline practiced by tens of millions of people in China and around the world since its introduction to the public in 1992.
The practice, with its emphasis on its guiding principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, focuses on improvement of the practitioner’s personal character during daily life and through interpersonal and social conflicts. The practice gained enormous popularity, garnering the support of over 100 million Chinese citizens, including countless professionals and even high-ranking Communist Party members.
In July 1999, the CCP began a massive campaign to eradicate the popular faith, incarcerating millions of people over the following decades. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have since died from torture and abuse, with the number still on the rise. Many Falun Gong followers have also been subject to relentless harassment, arrests and arbitrary imprisonment.
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Minghui, which documents the persecution of Falun Gong, recorded that 4365 practitioners were tortured to death throughout the course of the persecution. However, based on first-hand accounts from those living under perpetual harassment by the Party’s various security organizations, the practice’s adherents speculate the real number of deaths to be in the hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
Among those tortured to death, many were leading professionals in their field — including Chinese military officers, government officials, researchers, college professors, bank managers, engineers, accountants, lawyers and doctors.
The widespread campaign against Falun Gong covered all aspects of Chinese society, from practitioners being arrested by the thousands to round-the-clock propaganda broadcasts describing Falun Gong as dangerous and brandishing the practice as an “evil cult.”
Falun Gong followers have since faced all forms of repression — from being fired from their jobs to receiving heavy prison sentences and enduring unimaginable torture, such as force feeding, beatings, and sexual assault at the hands of prison guards and other inmates.
The 20-Year Persecution of Falun Gong in China provides a comprehensive account of the persecution up to 2019. It is the 2021 silver recipient of the annual Benjamin Franklin award, given by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) in the non-fiction category.
Killed and targeted for their organs
In addition to suffering widespread torture and abuse, Falun Gong adherents have also been routinely targeted and killed for their organs in a disturbing organ transplant trade worth over $1 billion a year in China.
According to findings by UK-based NGO, the China Tribunal, it investigated “reports of thousands of transplant tourists going to China to purchase organs,” and found that the Chinese transplant industry, together with other evidence, suggests that the CCP is involved in forced organ harvesting and selling for profit organs from murdered prisoners of conscience.
The main victims of the organ trade are members of groups arbitrarily detained by the government for political reasons — such as Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, and house Christians. The Tribunal’s findings also revealed that many Chinese state- and military-run hospitals across the country have been implicated in forced organ harvesting carried out under the CCP’s guidance.
Although China has had an organ transplant industry for decades, the volume of transplants increased exponentially in the early 2000s, coinciding with the timing of when the persecution of Falun Gong began.
While an on-the-ground investigation in China is hardly possible due to the strict oversight of the Communist regime, investigators have furnished a mounting body of evidence to verify the claims — these include statistical analysis of China’s growing organ transplant figures and extremely short wait times matched against the country’s underdeveloped organ matching system.
According to findings from the U.N., more than one million Uyghur Muslims remain jailed in concentration camps across remote parts of western China. Organ harvesting from practitioners of Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience also continues, aided in part by pharmaceuticals imported from the West.
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International media outlets turn a blind eye to China’s abuses
The Chinese regime has had a long track record of targeting religious faiths and minorities for violent assimilation to its atheist ideology since its inception in 1949. Because of how deep the CCP’s influence runs across the globe, this has allowed for its human rights abuses to continue virtually unchecked.
Studies have shown that 90 percent of American media outlets are owned by six corporations with deep business ties with China, resulting in reduced coverage of atrocities committed by the CCP.
Some of the world’s largest companies such as Apple and Cisco have come under increasing pressure to address Beijing’s “repression of human rights and democracy,” the Biden administration has warned.