Saturday, December 04, 2004

Chinese repression... American Style

Click here for AmazonHow do you make the government of the world's most important rising power quake in fear? You hold a few signs, pass out brochures and engage in peaceful street theater half a world away.

That is what practitioners of Falun Gong have been doing in the streets of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities, protesting their persecution in China. The demonstrations have prompted the Chinese government to try to export as much of its ham-handed repression to our shores as possible. For a little whiff of the people's power revolution that is convulsing Ukraine at the moment, and has brought democracy to places as far-flung as the Philippines and Eastern Europe, consider a street corner in any American city where Falun Gong has set up shop. They aren't going to topple the Chinese government, but the theme is the same -- individuals confronting a brutal state in a nonviolent manner.

Falun Gong is a form of an ancient Chinese practice of breathing exercises, with elements of Eastern religion and some downright bizarre beliefs tossed in. It shouldn't be the least bit threatening to a rational government, but Beijing has a communist dictatorship's traditional distrust of any organization outside the control of the government. It is still on edge from a peaceful demonstration in 1999 that had 10,000 Falun Gong demonstrators suddenly show up one day outside the compound in Beijing where the communist leaders live...

Chinese repression... American Style

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