Statement of Rep. Christopher H. Smith
Chairman, Subcommittee on International
Operations and Human Rights
November 18, 1999
Statement of H. Con. Res. 218 - Falun Gong Resolution
I rise in support of H. Con. Res. 218, a resolution I introduced two weeks ago - which already has more than 70 bipartisan cosponsors - condemning the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement by the government of the People"s Republic of China. The version we are considering today incorporates minor changes suggested earlier this week by Mr. Bereuter, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
The atheistic regime of the PRC has long been brutal in its suppression of religious practice that is not state-controlled...(注：此处提及某些宗教名称的一句话为编者所略。) In recent months, that government has embarked on a new campaign: An attempt to (in its own words) "smash" Falun Gong, a peaceful and nonviolent form of spiritual practice.
A meditative spirituality that blends elements of Buddhism and Taoism, Falun Gong has millions of adherents in China and elsewhere. Since the group was banned in July of this year, thousands of ordinary citizens from all over China have been jailed for refusing to give up their practice of Falun Gong. There have been many credible reports of torture and inhumane treatment of detained practitioners, including a report that a 42-year-old woman was tortured to death by Chinese officials. Numerous practitioners have been sentenced to labor camps without trial, and thousands have lost their jobs or been expelled from schools.
The Chinese government has also enacted new laws criminalizing Falun Gong. This past Friday, after a single, seven-hour hearing closed to the public, China handed down the first sentences against Falun Gong practitioners. Three men and one woman received sentences ranging from 2 to 12 years for "using an evil cult to obstruct the law." It is feared that those were only the first of what will become many show trials aimed at stamping out the practice of Falun Gong. According to press reports, China will begin a new series of approximately 300 trials, starting on Sunday with the trial of a 63-year-old schoolteacher.
The fact that this rash of trials follows so closely on the heels of the Beijing visit of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan demonstrates the failure of his visit to advance the cause of human rights in China. I couldn"t believe my eyes, reading yesterday"s press reports of the Secretary General"s remarks on Tuesday. Mr. Annan stated that China"s Foreign Minister had given him "a better understanding of some of the issues involved" in the Falun Gong crackdown. He also parroted China"s official line, stating that: "In dealing with this issue, the fundamental rights of citizens will be respected, and some of the actions they are taking are for the protection of individuals." Certainly Mr. Annan cannot be ignorant of the credible reports to the contrary that have been pouring out of China in recent weeks. I fear that the Secretary General"s failure to call a spade a spade, his willingness to give the Chinese oppressors the benefit of an unjustified doubt, has only emboldened them in their efforts to crush Falun Gong.
The suppression of Falun Gong is China has been brutal and systematic, and it continues as I speak. Two days ago, during the Secretary-General"s visit, Chinese authorities arrested about 20 Falun Gong practitioners who were meditating in Tiananmen Square. The police used force against the group, reportedly kicking and jumping on the peaceful protesters before removing them from the Square in a van.
In response to this further suppression of fundamental rights by the Beijing regime, H. Con. Res. 218 expresses the sense of Congress that the government of the People"s Republic of China should stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and other religious believers. It expresses our belief that the United States Government should use every appropriate forum to urge the PRC to: (A) release all detained Falun Gong practitioners; (B) allow those practitioners to pursue their beliefs in accordance with the Chinese Constitution; and (C) abide by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Given this chamber"s commitment to freedom of conscience and the undisguised severity of the persecution against Falun Gong, I expect that this resolution will merit the unanimous support of my colleagues. I urge you to join us in making this appeal for freedom to the government of China.