The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released a statement on July 20, 2019, urging the Communist Party of China to halt its ongoing persecution of Falun Gong.

“For the past twenty years, Falun Gong practitioners have experienced appalling and unacceptable human rights abuses in China,” the statement said.

This statement was issued by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair of the CECC, and its co-chair, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is composed of meditative exercises and a set of moral teachings guided by the principles, truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The discipline became widely popular in China in the 1990s, with 70 million to 100 million people practicing by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.

Since the Chinese Communist Party started to suppress Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, many Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, forced labor, and constant harassment.

Falun Gong practitioners and supporters held a rally on July 18, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, calling for an end to the 20 years of persecution in China. Twenty-two U.S. representatives sent letters of support to the rally.

The statement added, “On this sad anniversary, the Chinese government should end the persecution of Falun Gong and allow an independent and transparent U.N. investigation into the human rights abuses suffered by Falun Gong over the past two decades.” 

The statement cited two cases in which practitioners are currently jailed for their belief.

“We also urge the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Deng Cuiping, Zuo Hongtao, and numerous other Falun Gong practitioners, and respect the freedom of all Falun Gong practitioners to hold their beliefs and their right to practice in accordance with those beliefs as guaranteed under international human rights standards and China’s own constitution,” the statement said.

Minghui.org, a website dedicated to cataloging the persecution of Falun Gong, has verified the names of more than 4,300 practitioners who died in torture, although the actual figure is believed to be much higher due to the difficulty of obtaining information from inside China.

Minghui.org reported:

Ms. Deng, a 52-year-old resident in Yuxi City of Yunnan Province, began to practice Falun Gong in 1997. Her insomnia went away, and she started to live by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Because of her belief, however, her employment was terminated and she was taken to a brainwashing center. Shortly after her younger sister was arrested for practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Deng was also arrested and detained in late 2000 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong.

As Ms. Deng continued to tell people about Falun Gong and the persecution, she was arrested again in 2006 and sentenced to three years in prison. She was arrested on July 24, 2016 and sentenced to six years in prison in February 2017.

Mr. Zuo, 44, a practitioner from Qinhuangdao City of Hebei Province, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in January 2019. His wife, not a practitioner, was also detained for 19 months (from June 2017 to January 2019) for supporting Falun Gong.

The CECC was established in October 2000 by Congress to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China and to submit an annual report to the president and Congress. It includes senators, House representatives, and senior administration officials appointed by the president.

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