Hello, and welcome to the weekly FGMtv news review. I'm Susan Mitchell.
§ Here at FGMtv we focus on programs and news that illuminate the truth of Falun Gong, which is also known as Falun Dafa.
§ Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance.
§ The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout the country.
§ In 1998, a government survey concluded that the number of practitioners exceeded membership in the communist party.
§ One year later, dictator Jiang Zemin began a brutal persecution that violates not only the Chinese constitution, but also international treaties signed by China.
In this week's update from China…
§ 673 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have died from torture while in custody. Reliable sources inside China put the actual total death count in the thousands.
§ Torture reports in the last seven days have come in from 15 different provinces, and the cities of Beijing and Tanshan, and
§ Reports of 13 practitioners' deaths from mistreatment by Chinese authorities were received by the Falun Dafa Information Center.
§ 623 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:
Immigration officials in Thailand threaten to deport a Swedish Falun Gong practitioner so as to prevent possible embarrassment of Chinese officials during the Asian SARS summit.
And some of our other stories:
§ A Hong Kong legislator receives a Human Rights award from Uppsala University in Sweden
§ Memorial Service at Bondai Beach in Australia.
§ Peaceful activities in Israel.
First, our top story:
§ BANGKOK - While Thailand hosts the Asian SARS Summit, immigration officers took Mrs. Pirjo Svensson, a Swedish Falun Gong practitioner, into custody early in the morning of April 29.
§ Immigration police officers searched her apartment and confiscated books, VCD's, and other literature about Falun Gong. She was then taken to the Immigration Bureau and detained, without being informed of her rights or the nature of any charges.
§ A few hours later, officers told her husband that she was going to be deported because of the content of one of the VCD's. The VCD was an introduction to the Falun Gong exercises and factual information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Such VCD's are widely distributed and available in many countries in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America, and the material is also freely available on the Internet.
§ Mrs. Svensson had not committed any crime. Authorities implied that the real reason that she was taken from her home was that Chinese leaders visiting Thailand for an international SARS meeting might be embarrassed by information she was making available.
§ She is currently being held in the immigration Detention Center, and has decided to appeal the deportation decision.
§ "I have done nothing wrong. These charges against me are not right," stated Mrs. Svensson. "There is no evidence to justify any of the accusations they have brought against me, only that the VCDs contained the truth about the persecution of innocent Falun Gong practitioners."
China releases relatives of Yuzhi Wang
§ Last week, we reported that three non-practitioner relatives of Ms. Yuzhi Wang had been kidnapped by Chinese authorities, after Ms. Wang publicized facts of her torture in Wanjia Labor Camp. Ms. Wang had committed no crime. In violation of the Chinese constitution that allows freedom of belief, she was sent to the labor camp because she practices Falun Gong.
§ FGMTV is very happy to announce that just three or four days after the Ottawa news conference exposing the kidnappings, Ms. Wang's two sisters were released.
§ Her brother's whereabouts are still unknown.
Hong Kong Legislator Receives "Human Rights - Freedom of Expression Award" from Sweden's Uppsala University
§ On April 24th 2003, Hong Kong Legislator Emily Lau was presented with the "Human Rights - Freedom of Expression Award" at Uppsala University in Sweden.
§ Ms. Lau, who used to be a BBC journalist, was barred from entering mainland China, because she has enough moral courage to speak the truth.
§ At a press conference, Ms. Lau talked about the sharp decline in Hong Kong's human rights. She stated that if the Hong Kong people fail to fight for their own human rights, then these rights will be permanently lost.
§ Under pressure from Beijing, restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of belief have been imposed on Hong Kong society. On several occasions, Falun Gong practitioners have been denied entry there.
§ In Ms. Lau's opinion, Hong Kong is about to become another city under the autocratic power of China.
§ She concluded, "I hope that the Chinese government will become more open in their politics. If this was the case, there would not be the massive infection of SARS." Ms. Lau's speech earned thunderous applause from the audience in Uppsala University.
Pockets of Peace in the Middle East
§ Falun Dafa practitioners in Israel are providing welcome relief and opportunities to increase personal peace in the midst of their country's political turmoil.
§ Yediot Aharonot newspaper (one of two leading Israeli newspapers) recently published an interview with a Falun Dafa practitioner. His story touched many readers who then called practitioners to learn where they could find the book, Zhuan Falun – the teachings of the practice.
§ During April, the Israeli practitioners were also invited by organizers of different festivals to hold exercise demonstrations and workshops. The New Age Festival in Tel Aviv and the World Tai Chi Day celebrations in Jerusalem were two of the events.
Memorial Service at Bondai Beach in Australia
"Today we have many practitioners. Falun Gong practitioners from all over Sydney have come together on Bondai Beach."
Around the world, Falun Gong held memorial services and vigils to commemorate the gathering of 10,000 at the Beijing Appeals Office near Zhongnanhai on April 25th, 1999. (continue footage from Bondai Beach)
"And let them know what Falun Gong is: simply Truth, Compassion and Forbearance."
Beijing Stages Show of Qigong Exercises
§ Recently, authorities in Beijing have invited the public to practice various Qigong exercises.
§ One coordinator revealed that this activity was directly targeted against Falun Gong. Each residential area has to send in people to attend.
§ It is not yet clear if this activity is being staged to support official claims that "the public has the right to practice qigong exercises" or if it is another way to try to force Falun Gong practitioners to practice a different Qigong method, a policy previously enforced in some labor camps.
Details of More Deaths Released by the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York
§ The Falun Dafa Information Center in New York has advised that inside sources in China have reported the deaths of 12 more Falun Gong practitioners.
§ This raises the total confirmed dead in the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong to 673.
§ With the regime's tactics of lying, made tragically clear to the world in its cover-up of the SARS epidemic, the true number of Falun Gong deaths is surely many times greater.
§ Individuals who have exposed the illegal detention, torture and deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese police custody have often been charged with "leaking state secrets," and sentenced to prison terms or held in detention and tortured.
§ Names of the latest 12 victims, and phone numbers of available names of those responsible for their deaths are available on the Info Center's Web site at www.faluninfo.net
FGMTV's Christine Loftus spoke with Joel Chipkar, one of Toronto's spokespersons for Falun Gong.
Christine: Hi Joel. Thank you for meeting with us today. I see that there are many Falun Gong practitioners gathered infront of the Chinese Consulate here in Toronto today. Could you tell us why they are all here?
Joel: April 25th marks the four year anniversary of the Zhongnanhai incident where in 1999, on April 25th, 10,000 practitioners gathered peacefully outside the Beijing compound to appeal for their legal right to practice Falun Gong. Later the Chinese regime lied about the appeal and made it out to be an attack on the government. We’re here today because China’s recent lies about SARS has recently killed 20 Canadians. China’s lies about Falun Gong has resulted in hundred’s of documented deaths. And now thirteen Torontonians have family members that are being persecuted and tortured inside labour camps in China. We want the world to know that only by publicly condemning China for their irresponsibility, will China bow. We’ve seen this happen with the WHO. China denied any problem with SARS until the WHO publicly condemned them and then they bowed to international pressure. We want the world, especially Canada here, to follow the WHO and speak loudly about China’s irresponsibility and have them stop the persecution of Falun Gong and stop their continuous policy of deceit.
Christine: Thank you Joel.
Thanks Christine and Joel.
A Village Woman Gives Up Practicing Falun Gong Under Pressure and Dies of Previous Illness
§ Over the last two years, we have told you about hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners who were tortured to death by the Jiang regime authorities.
§ But there is another insidious type of torture happening in China. It's the torture of being pressured by your government to stop doing the things that restored your health; pressured so that fear makes you give in to their unreasonable demands.
§ Hu Baolan, a village woman, had a stroke when she was 55 years old. She couldn't do any housework, had to walk with a cane, took lots of medication every day, and suffered much pain. In 1997, when she was 59 years old, she started to practice Falun Gong, and within 20 days, could walk without the cane. Her other illnesses started to improve, and she could once again do all her own housework and didn't need to take medicine any longer. She was telling everyone that Falun Gong is very good.
§ However, after July 20, 1999, police began to search practitioners' homes. They would arrest anyone who still practiced Falun Gong. Mrs. Hu stopped practicing saying, "I'm afraid that they're going to arrest me."
§ At the beginning of November 2002, she had another stroke and was admitted to the county hospital. She told her visitors, "Had I persisted in practicing Falun Gong, this wouldn't have happened." Mrs. Hu passed away on December 30, 2002.
§ There may be many more in China who have suffered the same fate.
People benefit by remembering that Falun Dafa is good!
§ Not all the news that comes out of China is unhappy!
§ In such difficult circumstances, it seems that people benefit even if they just have good thoughts about Falun Dafa.
§ We recently learned that after their children had clarified the truth to them, an older couple often read Dafa flyers and booklets.
§ They would pick up materials that others had thrown away, and they would also read the flyers to others. One day, the husband said he understood that Falun Dafa really is good; that the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance are good to follow.
§ Shortly afterwards, he and his wife found that their chronically severe stomach ailments had disappeared.
§ In another part of the country, a person had a terrible pain in his back. His coworker, who was a Dafa practitioner, told him, "You should remember that Falun Dafa is good." The person agreed that this was a good idea, and he was surprised when, before long, his pain went away.
Thanks for watching the FGMtv weekly news review.
I'm Susan Mitchell. See you next week!
Uppsala University, Sweden