A report by the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, entitled “Forget Not the Beijing Olympics’ Victims,” urges readers to remember that despite China’s promises to improve human rights, the Olympics ended up serving as an excuse for the Chinese government to arrest and imprison thousands of people who had shown signs of opposition to the current regime.
According to the report, the Chinese government “used the Olympics’ security as a pretext to apprehend, torture, and murder people who had already suffered prolonged human rights violations in China.” It identifies Falun Gong practitioners as a “group of victims that the Chinese regime particularly targeted.” Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline, not a religion, that has frequently been dealt blows by the communist Chinese regime. After a ban on the practice in 1999, serious persecution began, as well as an anti-Falun Gong propaganda campaign.
The report includes a list of people who were arrested in connection with the Beijing Olympics, indicating where each person was arrested, and in many cases where he or she is being held. The list has the names of over 10,000 people, all of whom were arrested since 2007.
The report’s claim that these practitioners “have committed no offense” comes from the understanding that Falun Gong is not an organized group, but rather an ideology whose core beliefs (religion, idealism, and individualism) fundamentally oppose communism. The ideology is a threat to the Chinese regime because it threatens stability. It is an ideology that has spread quickly and has the potential to seriously harm Chinese legitimacy.
The main purpose of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group report was to “remind those who rationalized rewarding the Olympics to Beijing as an opportunity to help human rights in China that they have a responsibility to come to the rescue of those who suffered the consequences of their failed rationalization.”
This “rationalization” refers to China’s broken promises regarding human rights concerns. Not only did the regime arrest and imprison thousands, “large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners are still in custody, long past the Olympics.” Unfortunately, the international community has not found ways to punish China for these grave concerns, and has even rewarded the regime for empty promises, as in the case of the Olympics and in trade deals.
The report questions the wisdom of ever-strengthening ties between China and the U.S., especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim that we are “in the same boat.” The report read, “By repeating the same failure in China’s human rights and continuing to profit from these ‘opportunities’ for financial gain, the economic engagement policy has become modern democracy’s worst example of hypocrisy. The complete lack of accountability also makes it modern democracy’s worst example of irresponsible politics.”
It added, “it is sobering to see the top diplomat of the leader of the free world avow such a Faustian contract to rise or fall together with the most tyrannical regime of the world.”
Not only is it dangerous to ignore the tyranny of the Chinese regime in pursuing economic ties, the report concludes, it is hypocrisy to maintain relations with them while ignoring worsening human rights violations that directly violate pre-Olympics promises. “Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, and human rights lawyers and defenders have been victimized and lost their freedom because of their refusal to conform to the abusive regime,” the report ends. “But those who choose to be in the same boat and rise and fall with such an abusive regime have lost their conscience.”