Monday, June 23, 2008
Falun Gong is a spiritual or quasi-religious group. China's Communist Party -- which still runs the Chinese government -- banned the group in 1999, and has gone to genocidal lengths to persecute, eradicate, and eliminate the group. We are facing an example of international religious persecution. In its efforts to push back against the persecution, Falun Gong established print, radio, and television media of its own and then began the "Quit CCP" campaign, in which they have urged members of the Chinese Communist Party to resign from the party.
Their website has recorded nearly 39 million resignations from the Communist Party. In Flushing, NY, the Service Center to Quit the CCP has been running peacefully, without incident, since 2005. Recently -- after the Sichuan earthquake that hit China in May -- the CCP began to organize mobs that are causing incidents and making trouble for the Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, which is essentially a Chinatown neighborhood, near LaGuardia airport in New York City.
At the invitation of Falun Gong practitioners, on June 14, 2008, the China Support Network's John Kusumi gave the following speech to a rally in Flushing. The situation has drawn Congressional attention, and Kusumi also wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. (See http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-6-4/71377.html)
Hello, I want to thank the organizers and to thank the marching band -- I enjoyed their introduction.
And, I have previously expressed my sympathy, my condolences, and my best wishes to the people of Sichuan Province, where it's my hope that the next generation of buildings will be strong enough to withstand an earthquake. It's regrettable that there's been that tragedy in western China.
And, even when there is a tragedy or these large events in the news -- that is not an excuse to begin illicit or illegal activities in the United States. In other words, I am disappointed to see that the Communist Party has taken advantage of the earthquake --as cover.
It's like "Oh, great, this diverts people's attention. This gives us a great chance to fight with Falun Gong when no one is looking, or when everyone is thinking about the earthquake victims."
It's regrettable to use the occasion in a political way. And, I should say that I am not a Falun Gong practitioner. And so I don't speak from that standpoint, but it is amazing to me [that] those simple words, "Falun Gong" -- within the population of China, to some people that means very very good things. And then on the other side we hear that, "oh, that's a bad thing." There's conflicting thoughts about Falun Gong in the Chinese population.
And so I would recommend that we consider that the people with the "good" thoughts are probably right. In fact, I know that they are -- because Falun Gong is a group that cares about China, and cares about its history and its culture; but also the present and the future -- in other words 'Where is China going?' 'Will China have a better future?'
And, the people from Falun Gong care enough to become active. You know, to be politically active -- especially when there's this government with no political freedom -- it takes great courage. It takes great strength. These people are standing on their principles and their convictions, and they have admirable courage to say, "Yes -- Let's change China for the better." China could enjoy democratic values.
And I come from the United States here, where we have those values. And we know that it's your own business what belief you care to have in terms of religion, or on any political subject. We simply know that there is diversity. There is this pluralism. We expect to hear different opinions from different people.
And that's accepted! That's normal! --The differences do not require fighting in the United States. It does not require civil war; or even the types of tactics I think that we've seen in recent weeks with Falun Gong practitioners who have been assaulted; who have been intimidated; harassed; given death threats; subject to some forms of violence or the property damage; the theft; the vandalism.
And it's been regrettable to see that. I think that there are some people in the Chinese community, and perhaps they are following the Communist Party. But they really ought to learn the democratic value of tolerance.
It's time to understand that yes, you have your side of the matter. You may have your opinion; but that doesn't give you the right to attack the other side.
And I think that Falun Gong understands that. --You don't see them going out there and causing trouble to the members of the Communist Party. In fact, when this group finds a member of the Communist Party, we want to speak to that person. We want that person to understand the crimes of the Communist Party, and to quit the Communist Party!
And so, I think that it's a public service that the Falun Gong really engage in. It's a far better future -- for China and all the way around the world; we will all of us be better off without the Communist Party! --That's a group of basically thugs.
And I have said it before that they are communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs! And they are exactly the type of people whom America stood up against during the Cold War. If we remember the Soviet Union and the approach of Ronald Reagan -- he would never tolerate the Communist methods being applied, right here on the streets of Flushing.
And that is still unacceptable to this day. The consequences may still be enroute; the consequences are on their way. But we do not accept the use of those methods: Violence; the intimidation; the hate crimes; the-- it's like vandalism or property damage --the violence that's been directed to the peaceful Service Center that stands here in front of the library and that presents information to the passers-by.
And so, that's the kind of activity that's allowed; and it's legal; and in America we value -- things like that Service Center with all of the information. That's fair -- that's allowed and that's legal in a democracy. And when China itself changes to be a free nation, then the very same activity WILL BE allowed -- WILL BE legal, and WILL BE welcome in the democracy of the future free China! Thank you!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
19th anniversary, as delivered on June 1 2008, calls for IOC action
By John Kusumi
(video version on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwQnhPFE-k8 now)
Thank you, Ciping.
--Well, I know that Sichuan province has experienced a tragedy. And the residents there have all of my good wishes and my hopes. It is important to mourn for the dead, but it is also important to care for the living. I hope that Sichuan province will return stronger than ever. It's a strong community. We have begun to see the humanity of Chinese people reaching out to help other people who may in fact be strangers. But everyone's hearts go out to the victims of the earthquake. And I hope that the next generation of buildings in Sichuan province will be strong enough to withstand an earthquake.
--I will also say that there are some errors of reasoning that have made their way into the news media. There may be some wishful propagandists on behalf of the Communist Party who think, "You know, gee, there's been an earthquake and now we have all of the world's sympathy and so that means there is no more human rights problem. Or that there is no more public relations problem."
That is a flawed and faulty line of reasoning. The existence of an earthquake or any news event does not erase what came before.
You can imagine, for example, if someone was a bandit or a murderer and stabbed someone to death, and he's caught by the police and he's put into the jail and he's waiting for his trial; And then, an earthquake happens and it shakes up the jail. Well, two weeks later maybe the prisoner goes on trial and stands before a judge to answer for his crime.
If the prisoner makes a plea for leniency and tries to say, "Well, your honor (to the judge) I am 'not guilty by reason of earthquake,' which -- this terrible thing happened to me." That's not an excuse. The judge would not accept that. That man could be laughed out of court.
It's true that Sichuan province has an enormous tragedy. And yes, we want the improvement of that situation in that province. But this does not excuse the Communist Party from the wider questions of human rights. Questions that are raised when we think about the June 4 massacre: the victims whom we are here to commemorate tonight.
These questions about human rights are raised when we think of the Falun Gong persecution that has continued now for far too long: nine years of deadly persecution.
The questions of human rights come up when we hear about the Tibetan uprising, as it just happened two months ago.
These issues do not go away based on one event in the news. The freedom fighters do not go away based on one event in the news. The cause, the movement, the issue in general -- of Chinese democracy and freedom and human rights for the entire region -- that is a very strong cause. That could surprise some observers for being a stronger cause with more staying power than it is sometimes credited for in the news media.
And so I regret to see faulty news reports that suggest 'the Communist Party is off the hook and there's no remaining problem about the Olympics.'
--I know well that there's a problem about the Olympics; I have been putting together the Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition. And that is a group, you just heard the theme song [which] was played by our rock band here, Light Club. [* Performance on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qU-mkCKV58 now] And we have put this together to say, 'No, you cannot have the Olympics without freedom.'
And the Chinese people themselves ought to stand up and say the same thing to Beijing: that they want freedom first, and Olympics second. It's very important. It matters greatly. It would mean much to China; to history; and to future generations. And so we continue to call for the International Olympic Committee to do the right thing and remove these Olympics from Beijing.
Alright, there's one more meeting: on Wednesday, on June 4; the IOC will be meeting. And they still have the power to change the venue of these Olympics.
They could put the Olympics into Athens. Athens is a city which had the Olympics four years ago. That means that they have enough stadiums; they have enough hotels; they have the capacity in Athens to hold the Olympics.
And I hope that the IOC will at last arrive at having a conscience, and an awareness, and [will] admit that there is a problem. And to hold off from holding the Olympics in Beijing China unless and until China has become free and democratic and extends human rights to all that are under its rule.
And so that's the message from the Coalition. I thank you on behalf of myself; on behalf of the Coaltiion; the China Support Network; and the rock band Light Club.
Thank you folks; I value your presence and I will be back here with you next year. We will observe the 20th anniversary of the exact same massacre, unfortunately. Thank you; good night now.