Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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Ms Chunmei Ma appeared to push back tears as she recited for reporters at the National Press Club in Washington DC, 17 August, the horrors of her treatment at a Chinese labor camp before fleeing to America four years ago. She was one of three Chinese women who spoke. The others were Ms Terri Wu and Ms Crystal Fang.

Falun Gong Candlelight Vigil at United States Capitol, 16 July 2009 (Photo: Edward Dai, Wikemedia Commons)The occasion was a press conference of Falun Gong, founded in China as 'a traditional Chinese self-cultivation practice that improves mental and physical wellness'. Its ranks grew so strong so fast that the government, which approved it in 1992, became fearful of its strength, even though Falon Gong says it is 'based on the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance'.

Given those aims, it attracted millions of Chinese, including Ms Ma. But once the government reversed its view of the movement, it began clamping down on its members. One result is that many, like Ms Ma, escaped to other countries, including not only the US and Canada but many more. Ms Wu said there were 3,500 FG members in jail in 1999, when the clamp began, and 20,000 in 2005.

A Falun Gong spokesman said 10,000 are in the US, 200 in the Washington DC, area. He said there are 750 million FG practitioners in China whose population is 1.3 billion.

The treatment Ms Ma received in that labor camp was probably typical for many. She said she was tortured, 'kept awake for three days and had a dirty rag stuffed in my mouth ... there were electric shocks, I passed out ... I had vomiting, etc.' Finally she said she went on a hunger strike and managed to escape.

The Epoch Times, which circulates in 35 countries and in 19 languages, covered what it reported was the more than '1,000 Falun Gong practitioners from around the country and around the world' on the West Lawn of the Capitol 12 July, 'to mark the 13th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of the Falun Gong'. Members of Congress from both parties attended the event and urged China to stop the persecutions.

Ms Fang called attention to China's 'organ harvesting'. She said doctors are against it.

In a new book, State Organs, Dr Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, co-founder and Executive Director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, cites a 2006 investigative report, Bloody Harvest, in which he says 'we learned about significant evidence that practitioners of the spiritual movement, Falun Dafa (Chinese spelling) had become the main target for this pool of living organ donors. Subject to persecution and torture since 1999, Falun Dafa practitioners are being illegally held in detention in the hundreds of thousands, marginalized and dehumanized by the Chinese communist party.'

Falin Gong campaigns to get China to cease its international traffic in body parts. The Epoch Times publicized that traffic in 2006.