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Issue 14: The World Is Watching  
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The World Is Watching

By Shizhong Chen

"The world is watching" used to be powerful words, inspiring the oppressed and deterring tyrants.

Now they are reduced to a mere description.

On July 7, 2004, photos of a Chinese woman, Ms. Gao Rongrong, disfigured after two policemen shocked her face with three electric batons for seven hours, were published and publicized by Falun Gong practitioners around the world.

On May 7, 2004, in the Longshan Forced Labor Camp, two policemen handcuffed Ms. Gao Rongrong to a heating pipe and shocked her with three electric batons continuously for seven hours, burning her face to a crisp. This photo was taken 10 days later.

These photos were sent out of China at great risk to Ms. Gao and her fellow Falun Gong practitioners, who have endured nearly six years of barbaric persecution by the Chinese government.

In the past, shocking images like these would have caused outcry and indignation around the world. This time, the world simply watched.

On October 15, 2004, with the help of her fellow Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Gao escaped from police custody. The Chinese authorities issued orders to bring her in.

On March 6, 2005, the police captured Ms. Gao and several of the Falun Gong practitioners who had helped her.

Throughout all of this, Falun Gong practitioners around the world have displayed Ms. Gao's pictures at countless places and on countless occasions, and called for help.

The world simply watched.

On June 16, 2005, Ms. Gao Rongrong died in police custody.

Was the world even watching?

Many people, when informed, are outraged: "How come I didn't know?!" At the same time, they feel at loss for what to do.

We have some simple suggestions.

First, learn the truth.

Since the Chinese government launched the barbaric persecution against Falun Gong in July 1999, there have been numerous photos, testimonies, and reports on the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners. Facing the extreme violence, Falun Gong practitioners remain completely peaceful. Doesn't this in itself speak volumes about their conviction and the teaching that gives them such courage? Falun Gong is practiced by people in over 70 countries. Isn't there something universal about that?

Demonization has been a necessary ingredient of all persecutions of belief or religion in history, and the Chinese government's campaign against Falun Gong is second to none. Using its financial power, the Chinese government has exported its propaganda all over the world. However, even the best lies will be inconsistent with facts. Spend 10 minutes to examine the Chinese government's own video footage ( and you will see through the lies.

Knowing the truth is powerful. Talk to a Falun Gong practitioner, visit a Falun Gong website, and we trust that you will equip yourself with your own conclusion.

Second, demand the truth.

For their interest in gaining access to Chinese markets, some Western media have adopted a policy of self-restraint in reporting on the Chinese government's human rights violations. At the same time, many of their articles parrot the Chinese government's propaganda against Falun Gong. These irresponsible reports have furthered the harm and helped to isolate Falun Gong from world attention.

Third, spread the truth.

Those who know the truth have a responsibility to rectify the untruth. If you see an article lending justification to the Chinese government's brutality, remind the author that there can be no excuse for torture and killing. If you see a report portraying the Chinese government's violent persecution and Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful petition as a contest of two equals, remind the journalist of the vast difference between the oppressors and the victims.

The more you demand the truth, the less will the untruth be spoken.

Chances are that you have met people who shun "the nutcase Falun Gong" or claim that "there are no more than 5,000 of them in China." Share with them what you know, and how you came to know what you know, and encourage them to do the same. The more people know the truth, the less room there will be for the untruth.

Fourth, speak for the truth.

A closeup shot of Ms. Gao Rongrong's face disfigured by two policemen who shocked her with three electric batons for seven hours.

The media is not the only institution with public trust that has chosen interest over the truth. Just as Ms. Gao was being recaptured, the presidents of Germany and France were trying to lift the European Union's arms embargo imposed on China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The rationale? "The improvement of China's human rights conditions."

Another example is the US Senator Feinstein, whose husband has many business ties with China. In a recent reply to Falun Gong practitioners, she wrote: "It is my view that to have a positive effect on China in the areas of human rights, political freedom, and security issues, the United States must not call into question our longstanding bipartisan policy of engagement every time a controversial issue or disagreement arises."

Taking advantage of Western governments' wavering, the Chinese government has the Western governments agree to closed-door "bilateral human rights dialog." It is a win-win solution for governments: the Chinese government can hide behind the door, and the Western governments can show you the door and claim that they are doing something.

It is, however, a lose-lose situation for the victims in China and for the cause of human rights around the world: China's human rights conditions are getting worse and worse, and human rights groups are effectively kept at bay.

You can change this. Tell your government representatives that you know the truth; tell them that you know that they know about the atrocities in China; tell them to not keep the truth behind the door; tell them that human lives are more precious than airplane, oil, and other contracts with China; and tell them that you hold them to their greater responsibility for why the world is only watching.

Only when we, the people, together, speak for the truth will we restore the power to the once-powerful statement that "The world is watching."

If we begin to do that, Ms. Gao and 2,612 other Falun Gong practitioners will not have died in vain.

Dr. Shizhong Chen is a founder of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group and a longtime human rights activist.

Do Away with the Evidence

These two photos show the same woman, Ms. Gao Rongrong, before and after two policemen shocked her face with three electric batons nonstop for seven hours.

Ms. Gao was a Falun Gong practitioner, and that was the only reason why the policemen cruelly disfigured her on May 7, 2004.

Since July 1999, the Chinese government has categorically denied using torture and killing in its persecution of Falun Gong; that is why the Chinese authorities were so shocked when Ms. Gao, with the help of fellow Falun Gong practitioners, escaped from police custody on October 5, 2004. Luo Gan-the head of "610 Office," the Chinese Communist Party's extrajudicial organ for eradicating Falun Gong-stated that the exposure of Ms. Gao's pictures and her escape "have grave international repercussions" and must be "handled well." The Ministry of Public Security set recapturing Ms. Gao as a top priority. The authorities even used public radio to solicit information to aid their search.

On March 6, 2005, the police captured Ms. Gao and those who had helped her. The Chinese government was not to let Ms. Gao live and be evidence of its barbarity; she was secretly detained in the infamous Masanjia Labor Camp. Her parents tried for several months to locate her, but were given the runaround. Not until June 12, 2005, when Ms. Gao had lost consciousness and was on the verge of death, were her parents notified to see her in an emergency room in a hospital. Even in her parents' presence, the police repeatedly asked the doctors "when can she die."

Ms. Gao died on June 16, 2005, at the age of 37.

Gao Rongrong's Last Words to the People of the World

"My bitter experience is only the tip of the iceberg of how millions upon millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted. More tragedies are still covered up and not known to people. Torture and killings happen every hour in the evil labor camps, prisons, detention centers, brainwashing centers, and mental hospitals.

From the beginning of the persecution, [former Chinese president] Jiang's regime has never treated Falun Gong practitioners according to the law. On the contrary, Falun Gong practitioners are deprived of rights guaranteed by the constitution and laws, including the right to appeal, the right to freedom of belief and speech, and even the right to life. More than one thousand people have been tortured to death, and countless others have been imprisoned, tortured, and mentally devastated.

This calamity has brought upon Falun Gong practitioners and their families enormous suffering that defies description. The persecution of Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance is the most vicious trampling of humans' benevolent nature and a ravaging of world justice and legal sanctity. Every human being with a conscience has the responsibility to speak out for the everlasting existence of justice and morality in the world.

I sincerely ask all righteous organizations and individuals throughout the world to pay attention to the persecution of Falun Gong happening in China, help stop the torture and killing, bring the criminals to justice, and restore justice to humanity."

A Brief Chronology of Ms. Gao's Suffering under the Chinese Government's Persecution

  • July - December, 1999: Arrested five times in Shenyang and Beijing for petitioning the government to stop persecuting Falun Gong. Suffered beating and force-feeding in jails.
  • February 2000 - January 2001: Arrested and detained in Masanjia Labor Camp. Suffered various tortures.
  • June 20 - July 7, 2003: Arrested and detained in Shenyang Detention Center. Suffered electric baton shock, beating, and forced-feeding.
  • July 8, 2003: Sentenced to three years of forced labor in Longshan Labor Camp. Suffered various tortures.
  • May 7, 2004: Handcuffed to a steel pipe and shocked on the face by two policemen with three electric batons for seven hours. Face was disfigured.
  • July 7, 2004: Ms. Gao's photos were published on a Falun Gong website (
  • May 8 - October 4, 2004: In police custody at a hospital.
  • October 5, 2004: Escaped police custody.
  • March 6, 2005: Rearrested.
  • June 6, 2005: Sent to a hospital's emergency room.
  • June 12, 2005: Parents informed to come to the hospital.
  • June 16, 2005: Died in the hospital.

For more information regarding Ms. Gao's case, please see pages 114-137 of:

Many people who had helped Ms. Gao are in police custody. As witnesses to Ms. Gao's case, their lives are in great danger. They are:

  • Ms. Dong Jingzhe
  • Ms. Zhang Lirong
  • Ms. Ma Xiaolian
  • Ms. Dong Jingya
  • Ms. Xui Hua
  • Mr. Sun Shiyou
  • Mr. Feng Gang
  • Mr. Liu Qingming
  • Mr. Ma Yuping
  • Mr. Wu Junde

How you can help:

To sign the online petition:

To learn more...

What is Falun Gong?
Why the persecution in China?
Current Situation of the Persecution in China

Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group
9974 Scripps Ranch Blvd. #228, San Diego, California, 92131, United States
Phone: 619-280-5177, Fax: 619-280-4931, E-mail:,

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