Forced or­gan har­vest aware­ness visit

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - RICHARD MAYS

Tears glis­tened in the eyes of An­gela Huang as she re­counted her two years of im­pris­on­ment with­out trial in China from 2001 to 2003.

Huang said her de­ten­tion, along with ex­tended pe­ri­ods of sur­veil­lance and ha­rass­ment, was be­cause she was an ad­her­ent of Falun Gong, a Bud­dhist-based spir­i­tual prac­tice also known as Falun Dafa.

She was in Palmer­ston North last week dur­ing a na­tional tour rais­ing aware­ness about forced state-sanc­tioned or­gan har­vest­ing of Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers in China. The move­ment had grown dur­ing the 90s to have as many as 100 mil­lion ad­her­ents.

With sim­i­lar­i­ties to tai chi and yoga, fol­low­ers said the tra­di­tional Chi­nese med­i­ta­tion prac­tice was based on the prin­ci­ples of truth­ful­ness, com­pas­sion and tol­er­ance, with ex­er­cises to pu­rify body and mind. How­ever, its grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity was re­garded as a threat to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

On the Chi­nese Em­bassy web­site, Falun Gong is de­scribed as an ‘‘anti-so­cial’’, ‘‘an­ti­hu­man­ity’’ and ‘‘evil’’ cult.

With help from trans­la­tor Daisy Lee, Huang told how the per­se­cu­tion and im­pris­on­ment cost her job - 18 years work­ing for a Shang­hai tele­vi­sion sta­tion - her free­dom, her mar­riage, and sep­a­ra­tion from her 13-year-old son.

Es­cap­ing home in se­cret, she even­tu­ally claimed refugee sta­tus in New Zealand in 2007, where she was re­united with her son, who is here as an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent.

Lee said oth­ers on the tour had also been ‘‘de­monised’’, beaten, il­le­gally im­pris­oned, and forced to un­dergo ‘‘brain­wash­ing’’. The New York-based Epoch

Times claimed that up to 1.5 mil­lion or­gan trans­plants, largely from non-con­sent­ing pris­on­ers of con­science, may have taken place in China since 2000.

‘‘Chi­nese peo­ple don’t make [many] or­gan do­na­tions. It’s a cul­tural thing. So where does China get to be the biggest [in­ter­na­tional] or­gan trans­plant cen­tre?’’ Lee asked.

The US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Euro­pean Par­lia­ment passed res­o­lu­tions con­demn­ing the prac­tice ear­lier this year.

It was the sub­ject of Ethan Gut­mann’s 2014 book The Slaugh

ter, and sev­eral films, in­clud­ing 2005 doc­u­men­tary Hard to Be­lieve, and this year’s award-winning hu­man rights drama The Bleed­ing Edge.

‘‘Chi­nese peo­ple don't make [many] or­gan do­na­tions. It's a cul­tural thing.’’ Daisy Lee

PHOTO: RICHARD MAYS/FAIR­FAX NZ

Falun Gong’s Daisy Lee and An­gela Huang in The Square dur­ing the SOS Car Tour.

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