Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement in commemoration of the fallen victims of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, who have been brutally targeted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 20, 1999. Falun Gong is a spiritual movement based on the teachings of its founder, Li Hongzhi, and traditional Chinese meditative practices called qigong.
Rubio is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“As we mark the 22nd anniversary of the beginning of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) brutal crackdown against the Falun Gong spiritual movement, I honor the lives of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, innocent Chinese who have been targeted because of their spiritual beliefs. The CCP has detained Falun Gong practitioners, and in some cases, multiple times, in “transformation-through-reeducation” centers – a preview of the ongoing mass internment and acts of genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang. CCP officials have subjected Falun Gong practitioners to physical and sexual assault, forced labor, and torture to make them renounce their beliefs. Even more disturbing are the credible allegations of forced organ harvesting.
“Unfortunately, the cruelty continues unabated to this day. For example, on April 23, 2021, security agents in Shandong province broke into the home of Zhou Deyong and detained him on the charge of “sabotaging the enforcement of laws by organizing and utilizing cult organizations.” Mr. Zhou was formally arrested on May 31 for possessing Falun Gong materials that belonged to his wife in the United States. In July 2016, security agents in Yuxi municipality in Yunnan province detained Deng Cuiping and four others for publicly distributing materials promoting Falun Gong. The Eshan County People’s Court tried the five in February 2017, and sentenced Deng to 6 years in prison. Deng served 3 years in prison from 2006 to 2009 as a result of her practice of Falun Gong. Countless others have suffered for their belief in Falun Gong.”
“I call on Beijing to stop undermining freedom of religion, and to once and for all end the ban on Falun Gong practice. The CCP must release all individuals and practitioners who are held in prisons and in various detention centers throughout China.”