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What Supporters Had to Say at This Year’s Falun Gong Rally in Washington DC

A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights' related issues, politics, tech and society.
Published: July 22, 2022
Falun Gong adherents hold a rally outside the National Mall in Washington D.C. on July 21, 2022. (Image: via Leo Timm/Vision Times)

Since July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been engaged in a brutal persecution targeting adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual faith. 

Each year, disciples and supporters of the practice gather in Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the persecution and call for an end to over two decades of religious oppression in China. This year, over 1,500 people gathered on the steps of the National Mall on July 21 to mark 23 years since the persecution began. 

After partaking in a rally, high-profile speakers such as Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) brought renewed awareness into the practice of forced organ harvesting targeting Falun Gong adherents and other prisoners of conscience in China.

“Forced organ harvesting is one of the most barbaric practices in human history. And it’s past time for real accountability,” Chabot said, underscoring the importance for Congress to take “aggressive actions” against these crimes. “America is finally waking up to the threat posed by China. And we all need to hear your story, understand how brutal the CCP has been to you, and learn from your experience,” he added. 

MORE ON FALUN GONG:

Falun Gong, (法輪功) — also known as Falun Dafa (法輪大法) — is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline introduced to the public in 1992 by its founder Mr. Li Hongzhi in the northeastern city of Changchun.

Since then, the practice has been embraced by tens of millions of people in China and around the world and has garnered the support of many world leaders and politicians. On the day-to-day, the practice focuses on the improvement of moral conduct through interpersonal conflicts and highlights the importance of elevating one’s mind through its guiding principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance (真善忍).

Shortly after being introduced, Falun Gong gained enormous popularity — with over 100 million Chinese citizens embracing the practice at one point — including high-ranking members of the Communist Party. 

Undying resilience

On July 20, 1999, then-Party leader Jiang Zemin spearheaded a massive campaign to eradicate the faith after viewing the practice’s quick rise in popularity as a threat to the CCP’s authoritarian rule. For over two decades since, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong have died from torture and abuse — with the number still on the rise. 

According to Minghui, A U.S.-based website that documents the persecution of Falun Gong, over 4,365 practitioners have since died as a result of torture and abuse at the hands of Chinese authorities. 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.

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.” Many adherents as well as their family members have also been subjected to relentless harassment, arrests and arbitrary imprisonment.

In addition, Falun Gong practitioners have also been victims of an organ harvesting campaign spearheaded by the Chinese regime in recent years. 

According to multiple reports, the communist regime has been murdering thousands of jailees kept in concentration camps — most of them prisoners of conscience and other ethnic minorities, including Uyghur Muslims — in order to harvest their organs and sell them for high prices to local and foreign customers.

Murdered for their organs

Ethan Gutmann — senior research fellow on China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and co-author of “Bloody Harvest” and “The Slaughter” — told U.S. lawmakers in May that the CCP may be murdering as many as 50,000 concentration camp victims each year in order to sell their organs. Gutmann is widely considered a leading expert and authority in the field of organ harvesting practices in China.

In his research, Gutmann also noted that each healthy individual killed for organ extraction could yield two or three organs — suggesting that the Chinese regime could be selling as many as 150,000 organs from these victims each year.