1,600 dead and still counting
(Amnesty International update)
By Bryan Shanafelt
The practice of Falun Dafa (pronounced Falun Gong) exploded in popularity in the 1990's. This meditation, much like Tai Chi, is preformed very peacefully. At the height of its popularity, millions of practitioners lived in China. This is when the government of China had deemed it, on July 20th 1999, "A threat to the authority of the president," and therefore outlawed for 70 million people. The man responsible was Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. Shortly thereafter there was an appeal by practitioners at a government building; the demonstration was the biggest since the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
This is when the police started to get violent. Police have detained hundreds of thousands of people. When in detention, police are very liable to torture their victim. This includes beatings and degradations of all sorts. The current death tool is 1600. Most practitioners that are detained are sent to mandatory classes which torture the Falun Gong right out of them. People have been forced into mental hospitals and labor camps. This is much too harsh of a treatment for a practice that is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
There is much you can do to get involved; for starters you can come to an Amnesty International meeting. Contact Bryan Shanafelt for details. You can also visit fofg.org.