Falun Gong asks for support to end persecution
A small group of protesters stood in front of the Haliburton public library branch with a banner denouncing the Chinese government and its former leader Jiang Zemin under a cloudy sky, wearing yellow shirts and baseball hats with the words truthfulness, compassion and tolerance embroidered with the three main tenets of the spiritual practice known as Falun Gong.
The group of five Toronto residents were in Haliburton as part of Falun Gong’s (also Falun Dafa) one-day SOS Car Tour with four stops that started in Lindsay, followed by Minden, Haliburton and Bancroft.
The group’s spokesperson Kevin Mo, 17, implored area residents to help them end the human rights violations and illegal organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
“We call on our fellow Canadians and government officials to take a firm stand on the right side of history, the side of righteousness, and publicly call on the Chinese regime to end the persecution of Falun Gong,” he said. “Your principled stance will leave a legacy that Canadians can truly be proud of.
We call on every Canadian resident to spread the news to 10 friends and neighbours and ask them to do the same. Call or write your local MPs, mayors and city councillors. Ask them to stand up for Canadian conscience.”
He added residents can write about concerns to the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, and he reminded Canadians going to China for an organ transplant that someone might have been killed for their organ.
This is part of Falun Gong’s national campaign where practitioners and supporters visited close to 250 communities across the country, hoping to gain support for their fight against the Chinese government.
It coincided with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to China. He landed in Beijing on the same day as part of a visit to improve relations.
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline in the Buddha School tradition followed by millions, who use the combination of meditation and philosophy to live a life based on values of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. In 1999, the Communist government led by former leader Jiang Zemin banned the practice and then imprisoned thousands.
Since this banning, transplant tourism has exploded in China, according to the group. They said this illegal harvest was highlighted in the Globe and Mail newspaper article, "Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs," published on June 22. The article focuses on the release of a 698-page report by a human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian MP David Kilgour and journalist Ethan Gutmann alleging the country is systematically killing imprisoned people as a pool for illegal organ transplants, which is used by the top echelon of Chinese and for foreigners willing to pay lots of money.
A team of researchers, which includes two Canadian human rights activists, Matas and Kilgour, discovered a discrepancy by looking at hospital records, doctors' accounts, press clippings and public statements that reported numbers are between 60,000 and 100,000 organ transplants a year.
This is a stark contrast to what Chinese officials say. They reported 7,785 organs were transplanted last year from 146 approved hospitals for transplants. The researchers estimated there were more than 6,000 transplants from one hospital alone.
Matas acknowledged illegal organ transplants are not exclusive to China, but there “it’s state run, it’s party directed.”
The two Canadians and Gutmann have published work in the last decade that said China is using not just Falun Gong practitioners, but also Christians, Tibetans and Uyghur Muslims.
The Chinese government has refuted the recent report and the work of the Canadians.
An award-winning documentary, Human Harvest by Leon Lee was also cited by the protesters. The film follows Matas and Kilgour’s investigation. In 2015, it was given the Peabody Award.
The group was also seeking signatures for a petition (www.bit.do/stop-organ-harvest) and made attempts to speak with local politicians to garner more support for their cause during the tour.
Close to tears, Mo’s mother, June Zha, a practitioner since 1994, spoke just before the rally with the Echo about how she felt forced to leave after being repeatedly persecuted by the police because of her attempts to defend her friend, who was imprisoned for practising Falun Gong, she said.
“I tried to speak for him and the police tried to put me into jail,” she said.
Her uncle subsequently got her out. Without any feeling of safety, she and her husband looked for work in Hong Kong, finding it and then from there immigrated to Canada. Zha then returned for her young son, who had remained behind and lived with family.
The police were waiting for her.
They took her and interrogated her, asking what she was doing in Canada and the names of other practitioners. She was eventually released and left with the motivation to sound the alarm about what is happening in China.
“If this continues to happen I need to do something to help the people still in China,” she said.
Her friend is still in prison, which followed one term of three years and his wife is serving a five-year term now.
The couple had visited Zha when she had her son in 1999. She remembers them saying, "Oh, the baby is so cute. We want to have a baby."
“But they never had a chance to have a baby,” she said. “This kind of story happens every day in China.”
For the past 17 years, Zha has worked tirelessly to bring light to this dark time.
“We want everyone in the world to stand up with us to speak out. Then the persecution can end soon,” she said.
For more information, visit www.faluninfo.net and www.dafoh.org, “EndOrganPillaging” on Facebook, or follow
@OrganCoalition on Twitter.