By Anna Bondi
In the media today, a lot of the focus is on refugees in the Middle East, and rightfully so. However, there is another group being persecuted that deserves attention as well. Those people are the practitioners of the Falun Gong religion in China.
These people are being oppressed by the Chinese government because their population of followers rival that of the Chinese Communist party. The Chinese government believes that the Falun Gong religion is filled with people who want to overthrow the government, promote evil ways, and harm society. This is completely unfitting as Falun Gong is a peaceful religion that combines qigong and meditation, as well as Buddhist and Taoist beliefs. It also has absolutely no political affiliations, and yet its followers are still being denied basic rights.
Since 1999, Falun Gong has been considered illegal and the government created the 6-10 office to eradicate the practice. Ever since, Falun Gong practitioners have been harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, the official press office for Falun Gong, human rights organizations have counted about “87,000 cases of severe abuse or torture of Falun Gong adherents. Of the more than 3,400 confirmed deaths of Falun Gong adherents in China, the vast majority came from torture.”
“Reeducation camps,” or concentration camps were also created to change the minds of these practitioners. These camps deny inmates basic human rights, as they were created to torture and kill prisoners, sometimes while turning a profit. The practice of organ harvesting is a major source of income for the government, and is widely used in these concentration camps. Some of these victims are alive and healthy before the surgery, and are killed after to hide the evidence.
In an interview with the Epoch Times, a former staff member of the Liaoning Provincial Thrombosis Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine in Sujiantun, Shenyang City said, “None of these people have come out [of the concentration camp] alive; three-quarters of these 6,000 people have died, having their hearts, kidneys, retinas, and skins harvested and their bodies disposed of. I think now about 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners are still in this hospital, and I am afraid now that the authority will destroy all evidence and kill them.”
However, this is not the only kind of torture implemented in these camps. Prisoners in these camps have no control over their actions or health. Sexual assault is one example of prevalent actions. As a result, imprisonment often leads to physical and emotional scars, as well as death.
The fact of the matter is that the Chinese government is committing genocide. Genocide is, by definition, “the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.” This overlooked tragedy is an unredeemable factor of China’s government. Yet, Western powers have not acknowledged these actions for what they are because of beneficial economic ties with China, as well as the necessity to interfere if identified as a genocide.
Due to the illogical fear that the Chinese government may be overthrown, the elimination of anyone who wishes to continue the practice of Falun Gong, a peaceful religion with no political inclinations, is taking place.
This issue is easy to overlook as many details are wiped away by the Chinese government, but it needs to come to the forefront of human rights issues. Thousands are being systematically tortured or killed for reasons that are perverse and plainly untrue. More attention and pressure placed on China is needed so these killings may come to an end.