On a grey Sunday afternoon, a group of messengers in yellow gathered in the restful calm of Hong Lim Park. Amidst their tranquil ranks stood a large board with a deafening message, “Global Support for Lawsuits in China against Jiang Zemin’s Crime in Falun Gong Genocide”.
Genocide is a word that is easy to speak, but hard to comprehend. Genocide broadly refers to the intentional eradication of a group. Contrary to widely-held beliefs, genocide entails much more than the physical destruction of the bodies. Raphael Lemkin, the creator of the Genocide Convention, described the process of genocide as “the disintegration of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of the group, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and lives.” This may be a mouthful but every aspect is crucial. Destruction of the body alone may create martyrs and embolden the spirit. Even destruction of the spirit may be undone with time. True genocide requires not just killing, but also the destruction of the group’s ideology, spirit, economic existence and reputation simultaneously.
For more than a decade, Falun Gong practitioners have resisted the genocide by appealing for external support from the international community.
This concept of genocide is thoroughly played out in the religious persecution of Falun Gong, a form Chinese spiritual practice and meditation that rose to mainstream popularity in China in the 1990s. Under Jiang Zemin, the former chief of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s guiding policy, “tarnish their reputation, cut off their economy and destroy them physically”, the genocide proceeds in a systematic and thorough fashion with brutal torture, live organ harvesting campaigns, psychotic degradation at mental hospitals, forced labour, etc.
A new form of evil
Falun Gong practitioners are also subject to what has been described as “a new form of evil” in the world. A growing body of evidence shows that Falun Gong practitioners are being used as live organ banks for the diabolical practice of live organ harvesting where their organs are removed for sale. The entire process is conducted without aesthetic, while the victims are often fully conscious and alive. Their bodies are then immediately sent for cremation to destroy evidence. Eye witnesses have stated that “some of them were still alive when they were secretly burnt in the incinerator.”
According to “World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong”, organ harvest victims approximately number between two to six million.
Make no mistake, this is the second holocaust. In place of gas chambers in concentration camps are operation tables in State military hospitals. In place of uniformed soldiers are doctors in white coats. In place of gas is the raw excruciating pain of the surgical knife. The genocide of Falun Gong parallels the first holocaust in form, but it is unprecedented in cruelty.
More overlooked are the ideological and intangible aspects of the genocide. The CCP spent massive resources to demonize Falun Gong with propaganda, conduct ideological reprogramming on Falun Gong practitioners and nation-wide “ideological education”. The CCP also extends its influence overseas through diplomacy and foreign agencies such as the “Confucius Institute”. It is therefore not an accident that Falun Gong practitioners receive so little external support and are largely marginalized by the media and by the international community despite their dire conditions.
A new path ahead
For more than a decade, Falun Gong practitioners have resisted the genocide by appealing for external support from the international community. The new leadership under Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated for the first time that the road to the end of atrocity lies not just from without, but also from within. Under Xi Jinping’s rule, Jiang Zemin’s political circle within the CCP – the very group of people that are responsible for the genocide against Falun Gong, is systematically being dismantled in Xi’s bold anti-corruption campaigns. Xi also abolished the labour camp system that was one of the principal means to ideologically convert Falun Gong practitioners. Although the genocide still continues, these are important indications that the reversal of fortune is imminent for Falun Gong. Accordingly, in May this year, Falun Gong practitioners in China began filing criminal complaints at the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Prosecutorate against Jiang Zemin for crimes committed in the genocide of Falun Gong. There have been more than 180,000 criminal complaints filed thus far. In July, Falun Gong practitioners in Asia-Pacific initiated an international movement to invite regional participation in the criminal complaint against Jiang. The movement has yielded 770,000 signatures in 4 months.
Gathering at Hong Lim Square
Against this backdrop, Xi’s upcoming visit to Singapore on 7th November this year is an important event for Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore. Donned in characteristic yellow – the divine colour of the Buddhist tradition, Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Hong Lim Square on 2nd November, Sunday. Their purpose was two-fold, to call on Xi Jinping to end the genocide, as well as to invite public support for the criminal prosecution against Jiang Zemin.
The gathering has attracted many supportive onlookers. In an interview, a middle-aged couple from Australia named Lex and Barbara shared their thoughts, “This is a completely different world… it is so hard for us to imagine. You have done very well. Thank you for sharing this with us, I wish you good luck.”
An enthusiastic Singaporean called Kenneth was a new practitioner of Falun Gong. He joyfully shared his experiences, “I am excited to be part of this. It tells the world the truth of what is going on, and I feel it is very important.”
“I didn’t dare to approach Falun Gong in the past because there was just so much negative information about Falun Gong. However, I eventually decided to give myself and to give Falun Gong a chance. And what I saw was not the same as what I heard. Falun Gong is not like what they said. It teaches me how to be a good person and it teaches me to be compassionate.”
The 2 hours event yielded 89 signatures in total. These signatures will be delivered straight to the supreme judicial bodies of China. The act of signing may only take a second, but it has a lasting impact for both the writer and for the victims for whom he writes. As Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel wrote, “Indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor — never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. In denying their humanity we betray our own.”