A respected healer told me today that the balanced energy of the universe can provide safety and comfort. I was seeking solace, and the healer was speaking about the practice of Qigong, an ancient Chinese tradition of breathing and movement. I know that sane, educated people believe in this type of what I would term "magical thinking" and find respite there. My cynical response was that the universe does not give a rat's ass about anything, and I based the certainty of my response upon the knowledge that evil does indeed triumph when good men and women sit idly by and do nothing. The universe does not think or act. It is up to us to find and create decency in our lives, if we can muster the fortitude to do so. Good "energy" does not exist.
Iraq is a total mess, FOX NEWS is beating the drums of war for Iran, refugees are flooding camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and yet another journalist was murdered in Africa today. Qigong would not save my soul, or anyone else's for that matter. As I was shutting down mind, body, soul and computer for the night, an email came in from the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group. Call it synchronicity, but Falun Gong is a type of Qigong, and the stunning connection to my early morning conversation with the healer caused me to sit back in my chair and take a deep breath myself.
Qigong History Lesson
The Chinese Communist Party's ruling of the mainland brought an abrupt end to the rich tradition of what was called "cultivation-exercise" in China. These practices were branded as "superstition" and brutally persecuted, much like the religious practices of the Native Americans were in the sorry history of genocide in the United States. During the first years of communist rule, an estimated two million people were executed in the name of "suppressing counter-revolutionary superstitious sects and secret societies." For the next four decades, no one dared to mention cultivation-exercise in public.
Poor government and lack of access to the basic necessities of life led to a health crisis in China. In the early 1970's, the ancient exercises were quietly introduced to the public under the name - Qigong - and gained popularity for seemingly miraculous health benefits. Reports surfaced that people also developed supernormal capabilities through qigong exercises, such as seeing through human bodies, reading with ears, and clairvoyance. For a hard-boiled, cynical journalist, this is impossible to believe-but the transformation of despair into hope is unmistakable and undeniable.
That is the brief history lesson, but what follows is taken from the urgent call to action by the Falun Gong Human Rights Group. This writer had tabled their requests for help earlier this year due to other commitments, but their story of persecution, horror and death requires action, compassion, and whatever help any one of us who has the power to fashion thought into word can muster. I was not aware of the following action by Congress, and as a journalist engaged in human right's issues I should have been so.
On August 3, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, the Ranking Member on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, introduced a House Resolution to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
He explained, "The Olympics represent the noblest elements of humanity and the Chinese regime represents the opposite. The Olympic torch is supposed to be a beacon of light shining upon mankind's higher aspirations in the world and it's a travesty to have that torch hosted by a regime that is the world's worst human rights abuser."
Brutality and Torture in China
Human rights activists charge that not only has China been bankrolling Darfur's Genocide for more than eight years, it has also sought to eliminate Falun Gong, which at one point had an estimated 70 million practitioners in China, through torture, abuse and murder.
In 2004, Asma Jahangir the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions stated, "The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China. Reports describe harrowing scenes in which detainees, many of whom are followers of the Falun Gong movement, die as a result of severe ill treatment, neglect or medical inattention. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description."
After the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, completed his fact-finding mission to China he issued a press release on December 2, 2005, detailing some of the alleged torture methods the Communist regime uses on its victims. The most evil include electric shock, cigarette burns, guard instructed beatings, submersion in sewage pits, exposure to heat or cold and deprivation of sleep, food or water. In March 2006, Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of the victims of alleged torture while in the Chinese government's custody.
Falun Gong Press Release on Organ Harvesting