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Friday, July 10, 2009

Falun Gong in Tokyo


Walking through Tokyo’s Sumida ward last weekend, I happened upon a brass band parade livening up the gray, rain-soaked streets. I changed course and followed it out of curiosity, and soon discovered that it was a demonstration by the Falun Gong, a religious group famous for being outlawed in China.

The group uses the transliteration “Falun Dafa” rather than Falun Gong – a title that appeared on their banners and the backs of their jackets: “Falun Dafa is Good: Truthfulness, Forbearance, Benevolence.”

I was approached by a member of the group who talked with me at length as we followed the parade, and supplied me with some of the group’s literature.

According to the Falun Dafa, their members are subject not only to simple brutality, but are targeted as unwilling suppliers of body parts to others in need of them and who can afford to pay for them. As such, the body parts are allegedly removed while the victim is still alive to ensure their efficacy for the recipient.

Gruesome posters carried by the marchers were displayed as witness to the alleged acts of persecution.

Whether such alleged practices are the result of Chinese government policy or not, I don’t know. The recent Sanlu milk powder scandal suggests that much of what happens in China happens at the local level and is either ignored by the central government or invisible to it. (Due to local official corruption and connivance, it took a formal diplomatic approach by the New Zealand government to the highest echelons of the Chinese government to get the Sanlu milk powder affair recognized and resolved.)

Whatever the economics and politics behind the problems allegedly faced by the Falun Dafa, they are real enough to their Japanese counterparts to put their all into exposing it.

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