Falun Gong is freely practiced in more than 50 countries around the world, but relentlessly persecuted in China. The peaceful courage of practitioners there has shocked their oppressors and moved the people of the world. While China continues to block all information, FGMTV brings you the stories you may not hear anywhere else.
Hello, and welcome to FGMTV on January 1st, 2002.
I¡¯m Susan Mitchell.
Our top story this week:
Falun Gong founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi traveled to Florida to deliver a lecture at the annual Experience Sharing Conference in Tampa
And some of our other stories:
In this week's update from China:
On Saturday, December 29th, 2001 Falun Gong founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi made a surprise appearance at the 2001 Florida Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference. Over 600 Chinese and Western practitioners from the US, Canada, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, UK and Germany had assembled in the Special Event Center of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Several of the Westerners who had gone to peacefully appeal at Tiananmen Square shared their thoughts on how the experience had strengthened their practice and increased their resolve to continue to clarify the truth of the persecution to people everywhere, but especially to the citizens of mainland China.
Mr. Li arrived early afternoon and addressed the audience, stressing the importance of studying the teachings of Falun Dafa, sending forth righteous thoughts, clarifying the truth to people in the world, and searching inward when encountering any problems.
Amongst the practitioners, there are many professional artists and performers. For the first time, the conference included a concert of classical music and dance, bringing the two-day event to a close with two recently composed choruses: The Fa Comes to Tiananmen and Falun Dafa is Good.
The Florida conference came just seven days after a similar conference in Taiwan. The 2001 Asia Pacific Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference was held at the Taipei World Trade International Conference Center.
As in Florida, six of the practitioners who had gone to Tiananmen Square recounted their experiences to the audience and also during a news conference.
Both the President and Premier of Taiwan sent telegrams offering their congratulations and wishing the conference success.
Clear Wisdom Net announces the official establishment of the Falun Dafa Association of Finland
On Wednesday, December 19th, 2001 the Finnish Falun Dafa Association was registered and established in the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland.
During the year 2001, many people throughout Finland started the practice of Falun Dafa. Finnish newspapers published many positive articles on Falun Gong, and a special documentary program was produced after the Western practitioners peacefully appealed on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
moving now to New Zealand¡
On December 7th, practitioners in Auckland, New Zealand participated in the Panmure Christmas parade. Two weeks later, they were surprised and delighted to receive a letter from the organizers advising that the Falun Dafa float had won 1st prize in the Christmas Religious category. Organizers also invited the practitioners to participate next year, telling them to be sure to mark the date on their calendars!
and now over to Australia¡
One of the false accusations leveled against Falun Dafa by the President of China, Jiang Zemin, is that overseas practitioners are "anti-China".
People around the world familiar with Chinese traditions know that 'presenting the dragon' at festivals is both a great honor and an ancient tradition signifying good luck.
On the evening of December 8, 2001, Maroochy Shire in Queensland, hosted a huge lantern parade to highlight the Centenary of Australian Federation celebrations. Falun Dafa practitioners were invited by the local council to have the honour of presenting the Chinese Dragon Dance -- the main attraction of the parade.
The dance organizer asked practitioners to wear identical clothing. When asked if Falun Gong t-shirts would be ok, she replied "Yes, sure! Wear those!" Onlookers, and particularly the children, were delighted by the lighted 40 meter dragon as it danced and weaved through the crowd. And everyone could see that not only the tradition of the dragon was alive, but from the "Falun Gong" on the backs of the t-shirts, people also knew that the ancient Chinese cultivation system of body, mind and spirit is thriving in Australia.
On December 26th, the Toronto Star carried an article titled "Cheap gifts made in China bear human cost."
The statistics are staggering:
Overworked, untrained workers lose limbs in unsafe machines. Teenage girls gluing soles onto shoes in unventilated workshops are poisoned by fumes. Workers locked into dormitories and factories are killed in fires. Chinese state media say that in the first six months of 2001, mine explosions, factory fires and other work-related accidents killed 47,000.
In a related story, The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia detailed the forced labour of 35-year-old Jennifer Zeng, a Falun Gong practitioner who was illegally detained for one year in Beijing's Xin'an Labour Camp. Jennifer was one of about 130 prisoners forced to work from 5:30 am to past midnight, 7 days a week, producing long-eared, buck-toothed toy rabbits, bearing the Nestl¨¦ brand.
"We were told that the money received for each rabbit was the equivalent of about six Australian cents," says Ms Zeng. "The labour camp took it all. We received nothing."
Apart from being allowed to sleep only 3 or 4 hours between shifts, Jennifer said she was also subjected to beatings and being shocked with electric clubs.
A statement issued to the Sydney Herald by Nestl¨¦'s head office in Switzerland confirmed that the company placed an order with an established Beijing-based toy manufacturer, Beijing MiQi Toys Co Ltd, for 110,000 plush rabbits for a Nesquik promotion early in 2001.
"In line with the Nestl¨¦ Corporate Business Principles, Nestl¨¦ does not buy products or materials from companies or institutions that use forced labour or involuntary prison labour," the statement said.
Jennifer Zeng has completed a detailed description of the toys she says Falun Gong prisoners were forced to make under inhumane conditions - toys she subsequently identified on several Nestl¨¦ Web sites.
Ms. Zeng said, "I wish to ask related organizations to conduct independent investigations into the matter and prove to the world that Chinese labour camps force people to produce export products."
It's very hard for North Americans and Europeans to imagine the pain that is being inflicted on millions of innocent people in China. These people simply want to nurture goodness in their lives, read the writings of Falun Dafa founder Mr. Li Hongzhi, and practice their exercises in parks as Chinese people have done throughout history.
Artists in Hong Kong have created computer simulations of the types of torture being endured at this very moment in China.
They include being handcuffed in difficult positions for long periods of time; being hung up with the toes almost touching the floor; strapped to horizontal boards, benches or chairs and locked into small cages where they can neither stand nor sit because of being handcuffed to the bars. Some practitioners have been kept in small cages for months at a time with barely any food, no light and without being allowed to take a bath or shower. We have received many, many reports of people's skin being covered in painful and itching rashes and scabies.
Separate Journeys to Beijing to Appeal for Falun Gong Meet With Fatal Ends
On December 31, 2001 the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York reported that three female Falun Gong practitioners from Northeast China died after being tortured in custody, according to sources in China familiar with the cases.
Ms. Wang Kefei, 34, from Changchun City, Jilin Province practiced Falun Gong since June 1994. Because she went to Beijing to appeal for the freedom to practice Falun Gong multiple times, she was arrested and detained in the Heizuizi Female Labor Camp in Jilin Province. After enduring torture there, she was sent to Tiebei police hospital on December 20, 2001 and died on the same day. The official cause of death is still under investigation.
Ms. Chen Sulan, 53, from Fushun City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on December 1, 2001 en route to Beijing, also to appeal for the freedom to practice Falun Gong. Two days later, she was taken to the Fushun City Gaowan Economy District Police Substation and then detained in the Fushun City Shizilou Detention Center. A week later, sources say, she was beaten to death by the police.
Ms. Qu Junli, 28, had worked at the Jilin City Chuanying District Qiguan Heat Electricity Plant, and was about to start a new job at a department store in Jilin City before being arrested in October, 2000. Sources familiar with her case say she had a 4-year-old son and a harmonious family life. These sources say she was arrested on Tiananmen Square on October 27, 2000 while trying to appeal for Falun Gong. She was arrested again in Beijing on December 2000, during a similar appeal effort, and was tortured to death three days later. Family members have since retrieved her ashes and brought them home, these sources say.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified particulars of 334 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. News of the last of the three cases has taken one year to make its way out of China. This illustrates the difficulty of knowing the full magnitude of the persecution campaign. According to inside Chinese government sources, at least 1,600 practitioners had been killed as of October 2001.
When you don't see your teacher very often, how do you wish him a Happy New Year? You get together, make a short video and post it on the Internet !
Hundreds of practitioners from many places met in Niagara Falls during the holidays to wish their Teacher, Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong a Happy New Year! They came with enormous banners, enormous smiles and enormous gratitude in their hearts. Those who are working very hard to stem the flow of persecution in China stood next to one of the seven wonders of the world and above the thunder of the Falls, happily shouted out their New Year Greetings.
Thanks for watching FGMTV, dedicated to breaking through China's information blockade, revealing propaganda, and bringing you the truth of Falun Gong.