BEIJING - Sitting lotus-style on an apartment floor, two women quietly rotate their arms in front of them -- a rare sight in China, where displays of Falun Gong meditation have all but disappeared from public view. The spiritual movement now is a shadow of its heyday in China, where the group once boasted more than 70 million followers before it was outlawed in 1999 giving police carte blanche to persecute members. But 20 years on, the group has remained stubbornly persistent, even as practitioners in mainland China continue to face arrests and torture, according to rights groups. Before the crackdown, Falun Gong members would congregate in parks in large numbers to practice qi gong meditation. Now they do their slow movement exercises behind closed doors.
The cavernous Long Beach Terrace Theater echoes with classical Chinese music as more than a dozen dancers expertly manipulate colorful fans that sweep like wind and snap like fire. In precise formation they coalesce into a river of dance inspired by Chinese history, legend, myth and literature. The performers are serious and determined. The only direction they receive comes from a calm woman dressed in black, standing near the theater's center. She speaks in Mandarin -- her words few, her manner direct.
LONDON - China is murdering members of the Falun Gong spiritual group and harvesting their organs for transplant, a panel of lawyers and experts said on Monday as they invited further investigations into a potential genocide. Members said they had heard clear evidence forced organ harvesting had taken place over at least 20 years in a final judgment from the China Tribunal, an independent panel set up by a campaign group to examine the issue. Beijing has repeatedly denied accusations by human rights researchers and scholars that it forcibly takes organs from prisoners of conscience and said it stopped using organs from executed prisoners in 2015. But the panel said it was "satisfied" that the practice was still taking place, with imprisoned Falun Gong members "probably the principal source" of organs for forced harvesting. Falun Gong is a spiritual group based around meditation that China banned 20 years ago after 10,000 members appeared at the central leadership compound in Beijing in silent protest.
CANBERRA – Two Canadian lawyers came to Australia's Parliament House on Monday to persuade lawmakers to pass a motion urging China to immediately end the practice of what they say is organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. David Kilgour, a former prosecutor and Canadian secretary of state for the Asia-Pacific, and David Matas, a human rights lawyer, have published evidence they say shows that China performs an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 transplants a year, with organs primarily taken from Falun Gong practitioners, Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Christians. China says it performed 10,057 organ transplants last year and has not harvested organs of executed prisoners since January 2015. The U.S. House of Representative passed a resolution in June calling on the State Department to report annually to Congress on the implementation of an existing law barring visas to Chinese and other nationals engaged in coercive organ transplantation. The resolution also condemns persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual group China calls a cult and has outlawed.
WASHINGTON – China is accusing the U.S. Congress of "groundless accusations" after the House passed a resolution calling on China to end alleged organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. The resolution passed Monday calls on the State Department to report annually to Congress on the implementation of an existing law barring visas to Chinese and other nationals engaged in coercive organ transplantation. The resolution also condemns persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group, which is outlawed in China. Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan said Tuesday that the allegations of organ harvesting were fabricated. He said Falun Gong is anti-China and urged Congress to refrain from supporting it.