Thank you all for making this trip to our nation’s capital to be part of this annual rally. I am sorry I cannot be here in person to wish you well, but I am glad that Colorado’s Falun Gong practitioners are part of this rally and that I have a chance to share my thoughts with all of you.
I remain a strong supporter of your efforts to speak out against the religious persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Over the last 11 years of the ban against practicing Falun Gong in China, we have seen persecution against Falun Gong intensify, including an increase in censorship of websites, television stations, and other forms of media sympathetic to Falun Gong.
And as you are well aware, reports indicate that thousands of those in Chinese “re-education through labor” camps are Falun Gong practitioners who are sentenced to these camps based solely on the basis of their beliefs. There are also troubling allegations of Falun Gong practitioners subjected to physical and psychiatric abuse and forced “conversion” and studies that indicate that hundreds of practitioners, if not thousands, have been killed in police custody.
Falun Gong practitioners believe in the three principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. Your wish is merely to have the opportunity to peacefully practice your beliefs without fear of torture or imprisonment. I believe that your ability to practice both in China and in countries around the world should not be obstructed.
I know my colleagues in the Senate join me in supporting Falun Gong and its practitioners’ quest for peace and tolerance. Thanks to all of you for your relentless fight for religious freedom in China.