Sanction Persecutors of Falun Gong
July 20 marks the anniversary of one of the bloodiest, and yet widely unacknowledged assaults on religious freedom in the contemporary world, medieval in its violence. The terror continues and obligates national governments and civil society to defend its victims and sanction its perpetrators.
In 1999, the Chinese Communist regime began repression and persecution of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa). Falun Gog is a new religious movement, established by Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China. It is nonpolitical and total pacifist and teaches both a variety of traditional Chinese gymnastics and a spirituality rooted in the “Three Teachings,” a Chinese religion including Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, with some New Age variations.
Falun Gong was originally tolerated and even praised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a healthy practice that was good for citizens, but two elements eventually aroused concern among CCP authorities. As much as the regime tried to present it as a purely secular practice, its spiritual dimension could not be denied or removed. What is more, the movement rapidly grew in size.
Aaron Rhodes is a senior fellow at Common Sense Society, and president of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe. Marco Respinti is the director-in-charge of Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights.
Originally published in The European Times.