The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from continuing to harass, imprison, and kill practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a peaceful meditation and self-improvement practice centered on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It became popular in China in the 1990s, and the CCP began to persecute it in 1999, fearing that the enormous number of people practicing Falun Gong (an estimated 70 to 100 million at the time) would pose a threat to the CCP’s rule.
Since then, countless Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to unlawful imprisonment, torture, harassment, financial penalties, and even death at the hands of the Chinese communist regime.
According to Minghui.org, a website that reports on the persecution of Falun Gong, more than 15,000 Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted in 2020.
The Minghui.org report states that in 2020, at least 88 practitioners were persecuted to death, 6,659 were arrested and detained, 8,576 were harassed, 3,588 had their homes searched, and 537 were sent to political brainwashing classes.
The report also states that 1,188 of the persecuted practitioners were over 65 years old, and 17 of them were over 90 years old.
The numbers are likely to be incomplete due to the difficulty of getting information out of China.
The 2020 Annual Report by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China states: “As in previous years, authorities continued to detain Falun Gong practitioners and subject them to harsh treatment.”
However, the pandemic also has not stopped Falun Gong practitioners from raising awareness of the persecution, both in China and worldwide. Although the pandemic prevented large-scale gatherings in many places, Falun Gong practitioners held car parades with signs on top of the cars informing passersby about the persecution.
They also raised awareness on the internet as usual, through online petitions and information websites like Faluninfo.net and Minghui.org.
On Dec. 10, 2020, for the first time, the U.S. government penalized a Chinese official for persecuting Falun Gong, according to The Epoch Times. The official, Huang Yuanxiong, and his wife were barred from entering the United States due to Huang’s human rights violations, The Epoch Times reported.
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