Washington, D.C. – At a rally earlier today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called on the Obama Administration to confront the Chinese leadership on its terrible human rights record, including its oppression of Falun Gong practitioners. Ros-Lehtinen delivered the following remarks at the rally:
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“As many of you know, I have addressed this peaceful gathering of Falun Gong activists for several years now, yet sadly, things appear to have worsened for our brothers and sisters in China. The leaders in Beijing have continued their brutal post-Arab spring crackdown, fearing that it could be the Chinese people who could rise up next to confront their captors. These Communist thugs have a particular interest in repressing Falun Gong practitioners who pursue of ‘truthfulness, compassion and tolerance,’ the antithesis of what China’s rulers stand for.
“The Six-Ten Office, established in 1999 to carry out the repression of Falun Gong, is eerily similar to the Gestapo and the KGB in its propaganda and ruthless methods. Indeed, Falun Gong adherents have been systematically arrested, tortured, sent to forced-labor camps for ‘re-education,’ placed in mental institutions for brainwashing, and subjected to organ harvesting. This abhorrent policy has resulted in over thirty-four hundred deaths, and to this day, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong followers are held in labor camps.
“The peaceful men and women of Falun Gong are among the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the world. These murders, kidnappings and other egregious human rights abuses serve as a reminder of the lengths and depths the cruel old men in Beijing will go to in order to retain their bloody grip on power. Authorities have imprisoned anyone willing to speak out to defend victims of these heinous acts, including human rights lawyer Mr. Gao, who remains incarcerated at a remote facility and unable to regularly contact his family.
“The cowards in Beijing are so scared of Falun Gong’s tranquil teachings that their internet censors have blocked Chinese citizens from searching for it or even discussing it in web chats or via email. This loathsome persecution of Falun Gong must stop and it must stop now! It is essential that the people of China continue their struggle for democracy and human rights. It is essential that friends and supporters of democracy and human rights continue to show their solidarity and support, by speaking out against these abuses and by embracing such courageous figures of conscience as the Dalai Lama.
“China’s rise as a global power has made people hesitant to criticize the regime, fearing economic repercussions. President Obama must do what is right and not be timid in the face of Chinese bullying and threats. It is up to the United States, as a symbol of liberty, to confront the immoral Communist leadership in Beijing and speak out for the human rights of the Chinese people.
“This means urging the old men in Beijing to stop repressing Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, all other Chinese as well as North Korean refugees. It means not allowing ownership of America’s debt to be synonymous with ownership of America’s values. It is our responsibility to be that shining city on a hill, to be a beacon of freedom, liberty and hope for the entire world to see!
“America must stand with Falun Gong and all the repressed! Beijing must release Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, immediately. Set China free!”