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US House presses China on Falun Gong

Posted by Author on March 18, 2010

AFP, Mar. 17, 2010 –

WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives on Tuesday urged China to end its “persecution” of the Falungong and rejected Beijing’s charge that the banned spiritual movement is an “evil cult.”

In a nearly unanimous vote, the House called on China to free thousands of practitioners who are said to be imprisoned and to abolish an office tasked with fighting the Falungong.

The House expressed “sympathy to Falungong practitioners and their family members who have suffered persecution, intimidation, imprisonment, torture and even death for the past decade solely because of adherence to their personal beliefs.”

The resolution asked China to “immediately cease and desist from its campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison and torture Falungong practitioners.”

The measure expresses the sense of lawmakers but is not binding on Washington policymakers. China has bristled at previous resolutions on its human rights record, calling it interference in its internal affairs.

Falungong — a movement loosely based on Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophies that features spiritual exercises — enjoyed growing popularity among Chinese in the 1990s.

China’s communist government banned the movement in 1999 and later branded it an “evil cult” after thousands of practitioners silently converged in Beijing to air their grievances, showing their organizational might.

“Chinese authorities have devoted extensive time and resources over the past decade worldwide to distributing false propaganda claiming that Falungong is a suicidal and militant ‘evil cult’ rather than a spiritual movement which draws upon traditional Chinese concepts of meditation and exercise,” the resolution said.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who led the legislation, called China’s treatment of the Falungong “one of the most flagrant examples of systematic persecution against a particular group taking place in the world today.”

“The Beijing regime of today engages in the barbaric repression of some of its own people simply because they seek to practice a peaceful spiritual discipline,” said the Florida congresswoman, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ros-Lehtinen, a longtime critic of China, pointed to allegations that Beijing has harvested organs from Falungong prisoners.

“It seems incomprehensible that in the 21st century such barbaric acts could occur — a cruelty comparable to imperial Romans throwing Christian martyrs to be eaten by lions,” she said on the House floor.

“The stark reality which this resolution addresses gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Butchers of Beijing,'” she said……. (more details from AFP)

Related:
U.S. House Resolution Calls for End to Falun Gong Persecution in China
The complete text of U.S. House resolution 605: calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners in China

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