President Donald Trump’s administration has call the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to stop 21-yearlong persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual practice originating in China that the CCP has sought to eradicate since 1999.

“We call on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government to immediately end its depraved abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday, July 20.

The U.S. top diplomat also urged the CCP to release those imprisoned due to their beliefs and address the whereabouts of missing practitioners.

“Twenty-one years of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is far too long, and it must end,” Pompeo said.

In his statement, the secretary said that there is extensive evidence shows the CCP continues to repress and abuse this community of peaceful practitioners to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands.

Pompeo retold the story of Dr. Zhang Yuhua, who is one among many Falun Gong survivors of the CCP’s campaign of persecution. At the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the State Department last year, Zhang said she survived what she described as torture while in a labor camp and a prison in China. She now advocates on behalf of her imprisoned husband, Ma Zhenyu, who has endured months of torture because he refuses to renounce his Falun Gong beliefs.

Zhang was one of 27 survivors of religious persecution who met President Donald Trump in July 2019 in the Oval Office where she told the president that forced organ harvesting still exists in China.

The statement from the Trump administration comes two days after 606 lawmakers from 30 countries and across party lines issued a joint statement calling on the CCP to immediately stop the “systematic and brutal campaign” to eradicate Falun Gong, according to Falun Gong information center.

The lawmakers said, “The persecution of Falun Gong in China has been one of the harshest campaigns against a faith group in modern times. Since July 1999, millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arbitrarily arrested and jailed without due process and many have been tortured and even killed.”

“We… urge the Chinese government [CCP] to respect international norms and … to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and to unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience,” they said.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient meditation practice based on the three principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. The practice attracted around 100 million practitioners before then-CCP Secretary General Jiang Zemin, a Marxist atheist, launched a campaign to repress the faith practitioners from July 20, 1999.

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