Treatment of Falun Going far from abstract
Kats got your tongue
Studying and discussing the work of theorists in class becomes
all the more frustrating when it is contrasted with reality,
in which the world seldom works by the idealistic outlines
On Monday, the Canada-Wide Falun Gong Car Tour for Justice
had a booth set up in the University Community Centre atrium.
Their aim was to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun
Gong practitioners, and as my awareness level was raised, I
was reminded of my classes exploring theories of how best to
secure human rights and international justice.
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice introduced in China in 1992.
According to Francis Madore, one of those touring to raise
awareness, Falun Gong is not a religion. It sprung up from
the Buddha school, but it is not a religious practice as Buddhism
is. It is a system for the cultivation of mind and body through
the three core concepts of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.
In 1998, the number of Falun Gong practitioners grew to 100
million in China and at that time the number of Communist Party
members was approximately 40 million. Madore says it is no
coincidence that in 1999 the systematic persecution of Falun
Gong practitioners by the Chinese government under Jiang Zemin
There is an abundance of information documenting the persecution
of the Falun Gong practitioners, yet the situation has only
grown in its brutality and its scope. Two Web sites, www.faluninfo.net
and www.falundafa.org, detail a wealth of information about
what Falun Gong is and what the Chinese government has done
to try to suppress it.
According to Madore, China now devotes 25 per cent of its
financial resources to the persecution of Falun Gong. An independent
entity was established by Zemin, called the 610 office, which
is established in every state in China and has authority above
the level of government to eliminate Falun Gong.
In addition to arresting and torturing Falun Gong practitioners
who refuse to denounce their beliefs, the 610 office also has
the authority to control how news and media outlets portray
Falun Gong. Thus, this peaceful spiritual practice is portrayed
in the media as terrorism or trouble-making. The 610 office
has also conducted a nationwide signature campaign (which includes
elementary school students) denouncing Falun Gong .
There are countless examples of the brutal torture of practitioners
and they do not only occur within China. There have been reports
of Chinese officials harassing and threatening Falun Gong practitioners
in other countries through Chinese Embassies and Consulates.
This has even occurred in Canada.
As I wade through readings for my classes on human rights
and international justice, I am stricken with the horror of
the Falun Gong situation. Yet, I strain my eyes trying to decipher
which theorists disagree with whom for whatever hopelessly
abstract reasons. This is frustration.