Hello, and welcome to the FGMtv weekly news review on February 24, 2003. With the current information blockade of Falun Gong in Mainland China, it sometimes takes months for reports to reach us, so what may seem like old news is actually right up to the minute!
I’m Susan Mitchell.
In this week's update from China…
§ 578 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have died from torture while in custody, with 6 death reports received in the last week. Reliable sources inside China, however, put the actual death count in the thousands.
§ In the last 7 days, torture reports have come in from 15 provinces, and the cities of Beijing and Nanjing.
§ 642 (-27+Monday) people declared as null and void, statements saying they will give up Falun Gong that were made while undergoing torture as they were the result of extreme coercion. They say they will continue practicing Falun Gong.
Our top story this week:
§ Discrimination hearing in Australia is settled in favor of Falun Dafa
And some of our other stories:
§ Committee is established to investigate crimes against Falun Gong in Chinese labor camps as belated news is received of another death from force-feeding in a Changchun labor camp
§ School books in China now contain propaganda lies to incite the children's hatred against the practice
§ Efforts continue around the world to rescue Dr. Charles Li and other practitioners illegally imprisoned by the Jiang regime in China
§ Falun Dafa events in Romania, India, Korea and England
§ Woman's tumour disappears after attending a Falun Gong conference.
Discrimination Hearing in Australia Settled in Favor of Falun Dafa
§ In many cities around the world, Chinese embassies and consulates have influenced Chinese business and cultural association to exclude Falun Dafa practitioners – who follow an ancient Chinese practice – from participation in cultural events.
§ On Friday, 21 February 2003, the discrimination complaint lodged by Dr. Michael Pearson-Smith on behalf of the Falun Fo Xue Association of Australia, following the exclusion of Falun Dafa from the Chinese New Year Festival of 2002, was resolved at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The Hearing, which began on Tuesday, concluded with a settlement that guarantees Falun Dafa participation in future festivals up to the year 2008.
Included in the terms of settlement are guarantees that:
§ The Federation Of Chinese Associations (Vic.) Inc. as an incorporated community organisation in Victoria will always abide by the requirements of the Equal Opportunity Act, including the requirement not to discriminate on the grounds of religious and political beliefs and activities.
§ The FCA agrees to provide Falun Dafa Association of Victoria access to a stall at the FCA Chinese New Year Festival in 2004 and in 2005-2008 if festivals are held in those years, and to permit Falun Dafa Assoc. of Vic. To participate at this above-mentioned festival under the same terms and conditions as other participants of the festival.
§ Dr. Pearson-Smith stated that: "This settlement is a positive outcome for all concerned. It means that Falun Dafa can take its rightful place in next year's China's New Year Festival. It shows that discrimination is not acceptable in Australia and that the system is working. I also feel that the Federation of Chinese Associations, as fellow Australians, will eventually realise that this result is actually in their interests as well."
Romanian Falun Dafa Association Officially Established
§ We are happy to announce that the Romanian Falun Dafa Association was officially established on February 18, 2003, after one year of following required processes.
§ Several practice groups have been formed in this small European country since the first Dafa workshop was held in 1998.
§ The books by Mr. Li Hongzhi containing the teachings of the practice, Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun, have also been translated and printed, and are available to the public.
Committee is created to investigate crimes against Falun Gong in Labor Camps in China
§ The recently established World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong has announced the creation of the Committee to Investigate the Crimes of Chinese Labour 'Re-Education' Camps in the Persecution of Falun Gong"
§ Since Jiang Zemin began his systematic and comprehensive suppression of Falun Gong in July 1999, in violation of both the Chinese constitution and international human rights agreements, several hundred "labour re-education camps" in China have imprisoned more than 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners, using brutal torture to the point of destroying them physically, breaking them down mentally, and subjecting them to economic blackmail.
§ Furthermore, the labour camps impose strict information blockades on their atrocities through such methods as bribing the victims' family members and transferring the staff members involved away from their posts, etc., in order to conceal these crimes and absolve responsibility.
§ Investigations will be immediately opened into the Wanjia Labour Camp in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, where at least 15 Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death, and the Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang City of Liaoning Province.
Belated News: One more practitioner dead from force-feeding
§ Dafa practitioner Mr. Wang Shouhui was tortured to death at the Third Detention Center in Changchun City, Jilin Province sometime around November 2002.
§ While in detention, Mr. Wang was subjected to inhumane torture. He resisted by going on a hunger strike. Authorities then force-fed him, which led to his untimely death.
Falun Gong Photo Exhibition Held at the Main Library in Oslo, Norway
§ From December 5 2002 to February 1 2003, the main library in Oslo, Norway held a Falun Gong photo exhibition. The pictures detailed the spread of Falun Gong to over 50 countries and the enormous benefits it has brought to over 70 million practitioners. They also showed the crimes against humanity that have occurred in China under Jiang's orders to persecute Falun Gong.
§ The pictures were displayed on the third floor of the library and illustrated the introduction of Falun Gong to the public, the efforts to rescue fellow practitioners in China and support from government officials and organizations such as Amnesty International.
Hindi Version of China Falun Gong Released in India
§ NEW DELHI, India – On February 15, 2003, the premiere release ceremony for the Hindi version of China Falun Gong by Mr. Li Hongzhi, was held at the International Conference Center in New Delhi, India.
§ Specialists and scholars from different social strata and Falun Gong practitioners were invited to attend the ceremony hosted by Dr. Wade.
§ At the end of the ceremony, practitioners demonstrated the five sets of Falun Dafa exercises.
§ China Falun Gong had already been translated into 28 languages. The new Hindi version is the 29th. Hindi is one of the major official languages in India, so the new book will be a big help to Indian people who are interested in learning the practice.
Chinese students are forced to buy books slandering Falun Gong
§ The Jiang Regime is now printing lies in children’s school books to justify the illegal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
§ Using thousands of words, the book Political Education for Second-Grade Middle School Students (I) from the series "The Best Design -- For Synchronous Test and Measurement in Middle School," distorts the facts and slanders Falun Dafa and Mr Li Hongzhi, its founder.
§ In the "Hot Topics" section of The Essential and Comprehensive Manual of The Political Course Open Book Exam for the Enrollment in Technical Schools, exercise questions slander Falun Dafa.
§ Taking advantage of young students' lack of ability to differentiate between fact and fiction, the government forces all students to buy these books, planting the seeds of hatred toward Falun Gong in their innocent minds.
Practitioners Participate in an Event Celebrating Multicultural Heritage in Albany, New York
For the second year, Falun Dafa practitioners joined New York’s African American and Puerto Rican communities at the Multicultural Heritage event in Albany NY. In addition to introducing Falun Dafa, practitioners explained the urgent need to rescue US citizen Dr. Charles Li who was imprisoned in China on January 22nd, 2003 when he returned to visit his family.
Practitioners handed out information, answered questions about Falun Dafa, clarified the truth about the persecution and demonstrated the exercises.
As people watched the peaceful beauty of the exercises, they expressed their disbelief and anger at the Jiang regime's brutal persecution. Many signed the petition to free Dr. Li.
"Rescue Our Relatives" campaign event in Cambridge, England
§ Cambridge, England bustled last weekend with the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese arts. Onlookers were entertained with performances by Falun Gong practitioners including a Fan Dance in traditional dress of the Tang Dynasty. Western and Chinese practitioners sang a song composed by practitioners and offered a demonstration of the five Falun Gong exercises.
§ The purpose of the event was to gather signatures and appeal for the release of practitioners imprisoned in China, Ms. Bao Lian Zhu and Ms. Yongjie Zhu. The practitioners’ plight came to life with a piece of street theatre written and directed by a local playwright. Two of the actors played themselves. Ms. Zhu’s brother, Mr. Bao Sheng, and Mr. Weiguo Xie, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Manchester.
§ BBC radio interviewed the two and was moved by their story. The interviewer promised to broadcast their conversation that very day. The Cambridge event in the historic marketplace garnered many signatures.
Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference Held in Taejon City, Korea
§ On February 15 and 16, the 2003 Korean Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference was successfully held in Taejon City.
§ The main conference speeches energized attendees so much that many held discussions through much of the night, to take advantage of the rare opportunity to speak with people from different cities.
§ The next day began with exercises on the playground followed by small group discussions. One 93-year-old gentleman told how started to practice Falun Dafa after overcoming many tribulations. He said that he now lives a happy and rich life and feels like a healthy young man.
Woman's Tumor Disappears After Attending a Falun Dafa Conference
§ In the Spring of 2002, practitioners in China held two Falun Dafa conferences in a city in Henan Province. One of the attendees at both conferences was a woman who had been fined by authorities and forced to turn in her Falun Dafa books when the persecution began on July 20th of 1999. Afraid of being further persecuted she retreated from the practice.
§ After awhile, she found a tumor behind her right knee, which was growing and getting ever more painful. Doctors at three different hospitals advised that she needed surgery, which would cost 3000 Yuan. She was a farmer who earned very little money. Reluctant to spend that much on herself, she held off on having the surgery.
§ Three days after attending the second Falun Gong conference in April of 2002, she discovered that her tumor had disappeared!
§ Her husband was so inspired by her miracle cure that he began to practice Falun Gong also.
§ And, when the word spread, other practitioners in her town who had given up practicing after July 1999, regained their confidence and also began to practice again.
When people love someone or something, they often write songs to express their feelings. Christine Loftus recently spoke with a Falun Gong practitioner from North Carolina named Drew who has done just that.
And, thanks for watching the FGMtv weekly news review.
See you next week!