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European Falun Gong Adherents Protest Against CCP Suppression on UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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More than 150 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Strasbourg, France, on June 24 to draw attention to the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by China’s communist regime. The adherents gathered in advance of the United Nation’s annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which falls on June 26.

Strasbourg is located about two hours train ride southeast of Paris on the French border to Germany. The city is home to several important EU institutions, including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights, making it the second capital of the European Union after Brussels.

Falun Gong practitioners from France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Finland, Slovenia, and other European countries organized a range of activities in Strasbourg to protest against the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—a crime that has been ongoing since 1999.

The event won support from human rights activists, politicians, local people, and tourists.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional cultivation practice based on the moral principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It also has five gentle and slow-moving exercises that have significant physical benefits. Falun Gong became very popular in China in the 1990s, with some 70 million to 100 million adherents across the country by the end of the decade.

Feeling threatened by its popularity, the CCP began suppressing Falun Gong and its adherents in 1999. Since that time, Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to harassment, stalking, random detention, torture, imprisonment, and forced live organ harvesting in China.

‘Human Rights Have No Borders’: China Expert

The city’s biggest square, Place Kléber, is situated in the bustling commercial center of Strasbourg, where thousands of visitors pass daily. At the square, human rights activists voiced their support of Falun Gong practitioners and delivered keynote speeches addressing the human rights situation in China. They also shed light on the connection between the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and its impact on Europe.

Epoch Times Photo
Mr. Man Yan Ng gives a speech in Strasbourg on June 24, 2023. (Phuong Hoang/The Vietnamese Edition of The Epoch Times)

Mr. Man-Yan Ng, a Director at the Washington-based Asia Vision Foundation, said that the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is “a matter of human rights.” 

“Human rights have no borders,” Mr. Ng said. 

As an expert on China, Mr. Ng said that “They [the Chinese communist regime] have power all over China and they don’t respect human rights. They have persecuted Falun Gong practitioners and other groups. If that regime had global power, they would probably violate human rights globally.”

Human Rights Violations in China ‘Huge in Scope’: German Human Rights Activist

Mr. Hubert Körper, spokesman for the China Committee of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), told The Epoch Times that the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture is a “very important day to raise awareness of human rights abuses, especially the persecution in China—because China is the most populous country in the world.”

Epoch Times Photo
Mr. Hubert Körper delivered a keynote speech in support of Falun Gong practitioners at Kléber Square, Strasbourg, France, on June 24, 2023. (Phuong Hoang/The Vietnamese Edition of The Epoch Times)

“The persecution in China is huge in scope,” Mr. Körper said in an interview with The Epoch Times at Place Kléber. 

“The victims include Uyghurs, Tibetans, democracy activists, Christians, and people from Hong Kong who have been targeted under the National Security Law. And, finally, there is the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.” 

Mr. Körper also noted that the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, but has “completely disappeared from both Western and Chinese media”—despite the fact that “it is still ongoing and is now even more serious.”

‘Where Will Humanity End Up?’ Falun Gong Practitioner

Ms. Sandra Genin from the Falun Dafa Information Center (FalunInfo.net) was also present. 

Ms. Genin has practiced Falun Gong for 23 years. She explained a little about Falun Gong while she was speaking to an audience at the square.  

Epoch Times Photo
Falun Gong adherents hold a rally in Strasbourg, France, on June 24, 2023. (Phuong Hoang/The Vietnamese Edition of The Epoch Times)

“For the physical benefits, we do the 5 gentle exercises. As for the mind, we follow the moral principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance in our daily lives. Falun Gong teaches us to become better people by adhering to these universal principles,” she said.

Through this event, Ms. Genin said she wants to convey a powerful message to the world: “Our message is that everyone can see that in a world like this, where everything moves so quickly, there are people who are trying to be good people by practicing Falun Gong. But they are subjected to persecution and torture that too often results in their deaths.”

“If it goes on like this, where will humanity end up?” she asked. 

European Parliament Condemns Persecution of Falun Gong in China

The European Parliament has repeatedly condemned the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong in China. In the “European Parliament resolution of 12 December 2013 on organ harvesting in China,” the Parliament called for “the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience in China, including Falun Gong practitioners.” 

Epoch Times Photo
File photo of the European Parliament hearing on forced organ harvesting in 2016. (Minghui.org)

On May 5, 2022, the European Parliament adopted another resolution, the “European Parliament resolution on the reports of continued organ harvesting in China,” in which it “strongly condemns the ongoing practice of organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China” and emphasizes that “forced organ harvesting is a crime against humanity.” 

These resolutions are a clarion call to the CCP to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

In addition to condemning the persecution of Falun Gong, the European Parliament has also taken steps to raise awareness of the issue. In 2016 and 2021, the Parliament hosted hearings on organ harvesting in China. The hearings featured testimony from Falun Gong practitioners who had been victims of persecution as well as from experts on organ transplantation. 

The European Parliament’s condemnation of the persecution of Falun Gong is an important step in holding the Chinese regime accountable for its human rights abuses.

Passersby Oppose the Persecution

After learning that the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China has been going on since 1999, Ms. Tumelero Ilhem, a passerby, told The Epoch Times: “We were very shocked. We were shocked and saddened. We couldn’t believe something like this is happening in China.”

Epoch Times Photo
Ms. Tumelero Ilhem expressed her opposition to the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong in Strasbourg, France, on June 24, 2023. (Phuong Hoang/The Vietnamese Edition of The Epoch Times)

“We oppose this behavior. They need to stop doing this in China. We wholeheartedly support you, along with all Chinese people. We ask the head of the Chinese government to step in and ensure that there is no longer such ill-treatment of some of the prisoners being held, or of other Chinese nationals,” she said.

A young man from Cameroon, Christian (an alias), learned about the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong through flyers distributed by practitioners. He had studied and read about the history of brutality and suppression in his own country in the mid-20th century. 

“So when I look at this persecution [by the CCP], I know what it is. I oppose the persecution. No one has the right to persecute an individual,” said Christian. 

“That [the persecution] is to be forbidden because it is people like you and me [that are persecuted], who sat at the United Nations and wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every individual is free, no one has the right to persecute others,” he added.

He said he wanted to share his message with others: “We have to protest. We need to keep each other informed.”

The event received a lot of publicity in Strasbourg, with media outlets coming to cover the activities. The French newspaper DNA, which serves the Alsace region around Strasbourg, also reported on the event.

The organizers hope this protest reminds people of the physical and mental pain Falun Gong practitioners in China are suffering, while arousing in everyone’s heart a sense of appreciation for the values of kindness and goodness in life.

Fengong and Phuong Hoang contributed to this report.



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