Falun Gong is freely practiced in more than 50 countries, 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 information about the persecution, FGM TV brings you the stories you may not hear anywhere else.
Hello, and welcome to the FGM TV weekly news review on November 19, 2002
I'm David Tompkins
In this week's update from China…
The number of Falun Gong practitioners verified to have died while in detention is 513, with confirmation of 2 more deaths received in the past week. Reliable sources inside China, however, put the actual death count in the thousands.
In the last 7 days, reports of persecution have come in from 12 provinces and from the cities of Beijing, and Shanghai.
184 people declared as void all statements they had made under torture and at times when their minds were not clear. They said they intend to continue to practice Falun Gong.
Our top story this week:
A survivor of China's Wanjian Labour Camp Lands in Toronto after an around-the-clock rescue effort.
And some of our other stories:
Two men plead guilty to assault and battery of a Falun Gong practitioner in a Chicago courtroom
Lengthy prison sentences are given to seven practitioners in China
Amnesty International calls for the release of a Japanese resident from a Chinese Labour Camp
A rural woman dies from brutal torture at the hands of local police
100 academics in Hong Kong join a campaign calling for more consultation on the proposed Article 23
Falun Gong is introduced at a Health Fair in Spain, and at a festival in Thailand
Ms. Yuzhi Wang, a survivor of the WanJian Labour Camp in China, arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Monday, Nov. 18th.
Ms. Wang was imprisoned three times in China and physically tortured.
While visiting the Middle East, Ms. Wang faced deportation back to China.
She told an FGM reporter that at the request of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners, the Canadian government issued her a special visa in two days.
She said, “I thank the Canadian people, Canadian Government, and the members of Parliament for rescuing me. I also thank Canadian FLG practitioners for their help. Canada is a free country; I'll try my best to contribute to the well-being of Canada.”
When asked how she was tortured in China, Ms. Wang said that the cells in WanJian Labor Camp for Falun Gong practitioners are terrible, and inhuman.
She said, “We were given very little food. When we went on hunger strike, we were force-fed violently. Physical abuse almost made one of my eyes blind.”
On November 13, 2002, Zheng Jiming, admitted in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago to assaulting a Falun Gong practitioner in early September 2001 in front of the local Chinese Consulate.
The state prosecutor stated that he and his accomplice assaulted and battered Falun Gong practitioners.
Zheng pled guilty and implicated his accomplice Weng Yujun, whose case will soon be tried before the court.
They were both arrested in the early morning of November 5 in Chicago's Chinatown.
A year ago, this incident caused a sensation in the local area.
At the beginning of September 2001, Chicago Falun Gong practitioners started a peaceful 10-day relay hunger strike appeal in front of the Chicago Chinese Consulate to protest the Jiang regime's murdering female Falun Gong practitioners.
On September 7, 2001 three men in a new black sports utility vehicle verbally abused the Falun Gong practitioners who were on hunger strike.
They taunted practitioners with insults and death threats. The two men who were arrested beat a practitioner when he took a picture of them.
In the northwestern Gansu Province the Chenguan District Court, in late October, handed down lengthy prison sentences to seven practitioners who broadcast a program about the facts of Falun Gong on cable TV.
Three of the practitioners were given 20-year sentences. The other four were given sentences ranging from 10 to 19 years.
In mid-August, programming on cable TV channels in several cities in Gansu Province, including Lanzhou, Tianshui and Baiyin, were intercepted and programs about the truth of Dafa were broadcast.
They included "History Will Judge" and "Witness."
The court did not notify any of the defendants' relatives about the trial.
As a side note: Practitioners in China began using cable tv to broadcast videos clarifying the truth about Falun Gong in an effort to counter act the constant bombardment of lies and slander Chinese people are forced to listen to.
Amnesty International recently issued a report on human rights abuses in China and called for the release of Yoko Kaneko, a Chinese citizen with permanent residency in Japan.
Ms. Kaneko was detained while passing out truth clarifying material to passers-by in Beijing on May 24th 2002.
She has been sentenced to one and a half years of forced labour.
Reports from family and friends indicate that she is enduring brutal torture, and that her life is in great jeopardy.
The report pointed out that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners continue to be detained in China where they are at serious risk of torture or ill treatment, particularly if they refuse to renounce their spiritual beliefs.
The vast majority of them are believed to be held in forced labour camps, which is a form of administrative detention imposed without charge or trial.
Those accused of being Falun Gong leaders or organizers have been sentenced to prison terms, while others have been held in psychiatric hospitals.
Li Fenghua, was a 44-year-old woman from Jiangnan Village, a rural community in Heilongjiang Province. She died as a result of torture earlier this year that she received at the hands of local police.
She practiced Falun Gong and believed in it’s guiding principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.
In October 2001 she was sent to the Xigemu Forced Labour Camp in Jiamusi City for one year, where she endured brutal torture.
Her older sister, Li Fengrong, could not bear the grief of knowing what Ms. Li was enduring and she passed away on May 8, 2002.
Ms. Li was released shortly thereafter and she was devastated even more when she learned about her sister's death.
In September, local police again kidnapped her, saying "The Sixteenth Party Congress is about to open, and the provincial government is arresting all Falun Gong practitioners. If you don't want to go to jail, your husband and daughter will have to take your place."
The police held her as a hostage for two months.
She was tortured so severely that she was barely skin and bones.
When her family visited her they condemned the abuse at the city police department and the detention centre. The officers were all reluctant to talk about what had happened and tried to escape blame.
On November 8, Ms. Li passed away.
When her family tried to file a lawsuit, the court rejected their request.
When Ms. Li's body was sent to the hospital for examination and sent to the crematory, plainclothes police followed her hoping to arrest her husband and daughter.
In Mainland China, hundreds of thousands of families have been broken up. Some people have suffered so severely they have become disabled and others have even died from the brutal torture.
They live in an atmosphere of daily terror.
The dictator Jiang gave a vicious order to "cut them off financially, destroy them mentally and eliminate them physically." Jiang also gave the "implication policy" in which family, friends and work units are punished for the practitioners' belief in Falun Gong’s principles; they are "guilty by association."
According to a recent report in the South China Morning Post, more than 100 academics have endorsed a campaign calling for a thorough government consultation on the proposed Article 23 in Hong Kong.
The new security law is seen as threat to teaching and research.
The academics, from various disciplines and institutions, say there are extensive grey areas in the proposals released in late September for public consultation.
Article 23 of the Basic Law requires the government to legislate on security matters. But as proposed, the spreading or mere possession of materials inciting others to commit treason, sedition, secession or subversion could also be an offence.
Dr Timothy Wong Ka-ying a research officer at City University of Hong Kong's Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies said self-censorship in academia would increase if the proposals are adopted.
Barry Sautman, of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who specializes in ethnic politics, fears scholars who work on controversial issues such as the Falun Gong or Tibetan issues might be shunned by universities. He said, "It will be a liability for institutions to have such people attached to their staff.”
Meanwhile, the Professional Teachers' Union has called on its 70,000 members to join a protest march on December 15, organized by more than 30 groups opposed to the legislation.
A statement carried in the union's newsletter said the proposed laws would seriously constrain freedom of information, impose interference in education, and research work, and undermine teachers' autonomy.
During the Spain Health Fair, Falun Gong was named the most outstanding exhibitor.
The fair was held over four days, and each day 100 to 200 people attended the introductory seminars.
One gentleman said of the exhibit, "I have never experienced such a strong energy field."
Many people learned the exercises during the exhibition, and many too signed up for the 9-day classes.
Spain's TV station reported on the health fair, and especially on Falun Gong.
After the exhibition, practitioners held a 9-day Falun Gong seminar series. About 150 people attended.
The classroom was packed with people and many had to sit on the floor.
Still many people could not get into the classroom.
In the town of Richmond Hill, about 20 minutes north of Toronto, the annual Santa Claus Parade took place on Sunday, November 17th, and Falun Gong practitioners joined the celebration.
Even though it was a cold and snowy day, about 20 practitioners joined the parade.
Everyone got very wet, but there was a large and enthusiastic crowd.
And even though it was a little early in the year yet, Santa Claus came to wish everyone a happy holiday.
In the Thai calendar, on the full moon of the 12th month a famous festival is held in Thailand called the Floating Man Made Lotus Festival, and once again practitioners introduced Falun Gong at a practice site in central Bangkok.
The festival has been a tradition for about 1000 years, and this year it was held on November 19th.
On this day, Thai people make lotus flowers from banana leaves or paper and float them on the river to pay respect to the goddess of water.
Both Thai people and foreigners go out in the evening to celebrate.
This year, about 10 practitioners from Thailand and 5 practitioners from Indonesia went to the Queen’s park practice site and held activities from early evening until midnight.
They took turns showing the exercise movements and giving out brochures.
While demonstrating the exercises, people stopped and watched.
A group of Chinese teenagers walked past and seemed amazed. They looked at the banners behind the practitioners saying “Falun Dafa in Thailand”.
They took flyers and materials, and practitioners told them that Falun Gong is legally practiced around the world.
A lot of people visited the park, and since it is so small it was very busy, but the atmosphere at the practice site was serene.
And finally, a Chinese farmer writes about his experience in practicing Falun Gong:
I'm 51 years old. In 1996 I suffered from a certain type of liver illness and all my family members worried about my health.
The suffering made me depressed.
Hospitalization, injections, medicine, folk prescriptions, and seeing many different doctors did little to help me while my illness continued to get worse.
I felt that my death was drawing near, and I almost could not survive the excruciating pain.
Within this two-year period, the expenses to treat my illnesses cost me a small fortune.
The economic burden strained my family's finances to the utmost.
In July 1998, I began to practice Falun Gong. After reading Teacher Li's Zhuan Falun, I understood the principles of being a good person.
Teacher Li requires us to be a good person in society, according to "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance."
I practiced the exercises and read Zhuan Falun.
Less than one month later I went to the hospital for a check-up.
The incurable liver disease had disappeared.
My family was very happy to know that I had totally recovered. My relatives and friends were all shocked at my recovery through practicing Falun Gong.
Falun Gong gave me a new life.
Thanks for watching FGMtv…
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