Urgent Action: Shooting in South Africa sign now

Her Excellency H. E. Barbara Masekela
Office of the Ambassador
Embassy of South Africa
3051 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Madam Ambassador,

We are writing to you as students, faculty, school administrators, visiting scholars, researchers and other members of the academic community in the United States who are deeply concerned about the drive-by shooting that took place near Johannesburg on June 28. Five Australian Falun Gong practitioners were in a car that was sprayed with bullets. The driver, David Liang, was severely wounded in both feet and was hospitalized. The practitioners car was disabled, but the gunmen did not attempt to rob their victims.

Two visiting Chinese officials, Zeng Qinghong and Bo Xilai, have been accused by the victims of planning the shooting, which took place during their four-day trip to South Africa. This act of terrorism was the deadliest attack on Falun Gong practitioners outside of China to date. In the Mainland, Jiang Zemin began the brutal persecution of 100 million Falun Gong practitioners in July 1999; since then, there has been an escalating, worldwide pattern of violence and harassment against Falun Gong practitioners, often instigated by Chinese diplomats.

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice. Based on the universal principles of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance, Falun Gong includes study to increase virtue and five gentle exercises to purify the body. It is a completely peaceful practice: no practitioner has ever struck back at an attacker.

We respectfully request that your government conduct a full investigation into this shooting, which the police investigators have described as attempted murder. We understand that the two Chinese officials came to South Africa to participate in trade meetings. However, evidence compiled by Falun Dafa Information Center shows that they have orchestrated the murder, torture and persecution of their own citizens in China who practice Falun Gong. In addition, many products being exported from China are being made in forced-labor camps where practitioners endure horrific conditions.

David Liang and the other practitioners were in South Africa to serve Zeng Quinghong and Bo Xilai with a lawsuit charging them with genocide. They were also going to hold press conferences to inform the South African people about the persecution. The attempted murder of a prospective plaintiff in a genocide lawsuit is a serious obstruction of justice. We hope necessary measures will be taken to protect the victims and bring the assailants to justice.

We are also aware that China's Minister of Education, Chen Zhili, will visit South Africa from July 11 to 20. We solemnly ask that you inform Chen of our concerns for the students and scholars who are being persecuted in the Falun Gong suppression. In the past five years, conservative statistics confirm, case by case, that at least 61 students, professors, and scholars have been tortured to death for their Falun Gong beliefs. Thousands of students and teachers have been dismissed from school, sent to brainwashing camps, or forced into labor camps. Investigations show that Chen has been personally responsible for directing the persecution against our academic counterparts in China. Please let her know that we are all closely following the treatment of the academics in China and solemnly demand an unconditional end to their brutal persecution. A complete report on Chen's involvement is at http://www.upholdjustice.org/English.2/Education\%20Report\%20I\%20HC.doc

The road to justice has never been easy, as the long and difficult struggles against apartheid continue to remind, humble, and inspire us all. Yet, gross injustices continue into the 21st century. Tragically, for their unwavering beliefs in Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance, Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to a massive, Nazi-like campaign of torture, hate-propaganda, mass arrests, murder and genocide by Jiang Zemin and his group. To date, 1000 deaths have been verified as having resulted from torture, but this number is most likely much higher. The persecution seeks not only to suppress a popular meditation practice but also to brainwash the minds of its 100 million practitioners in China and the entire Chinese population through hate-inciting propaganda. Respected organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also reported findings that indicate how thousands of practitioners are routinely sentenced to labor camps and mental hospitals where they are tortured. Extraordinarily, Falun Gong practitioners continue to follow the difficult path of non-violence.

As a way to seek justice, practitioners have filed lawsuits against the perpetrators of such human rights abuses in hopes that court systems around the world will condemn their crime of torture and genocide. Just last week, a pivotal United States Supreme Court decision reaffirmed the right of foreigners in the United States to bring lawsuits against human rights violators under the Alien Torts Claim Act. Currently, Bo Xilai is being sued under this law, and if found guilty he could be barred from entering the United States as well as face serious consequences under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to which China is a party.

Democratic governments and people of conscience throughout the world, including civil rights leaders like Mrs. Coretta Scott King, are condemning the persecution of Falun Gong. We ask that you, too, keep in mind the hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who have been imprisoned for their beliefs and those of them who have been tortured to death.

With respect for South Africas name and international prestige, we hope you will ensure a thorough investigation of this shooting incident and bring the perpetrators to justice. We are certain that such a course of action will lead the South African people to a better, safer future.

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Latest Signatures

  • 18 October 2015200. Katrina E
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  • 15 February 2015198. Christina Garrett
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  • 29 September 2014194. Eric S
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  • 02 August 2014193. Suman S
    This is a shocking incident. I hope that the issue will be addressed soon and the perpetrators will be brought to justice Affiliated School, University, or Institution Research Student, University of Florida
  • 21 July 2014192. Katlyn M
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  • 18 June 2014189. Jerry Conrad
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  • 12 June 2014188. Pamela M
    We respectfully request a full and impartial investigation of what happend to David Liang and others in the car. I trust that the truth will come out. Thanks you.
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  • 18 August 2013179. Eric C
    Persecutuion should be universally condemned, the upholding of China's acts is the antithesis to South Africa's post-Apartheid policy of equality. Affiliated School, University, or Institution Washington University in St. Louis
  • 09 August 2013178. Eric Pcp
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  • 01 August 2013177. Nathan J
    Please let us all live in peace and respect each others beliefs. Stop the persecution of innocent people, whatever their beliefs are.
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Hattie GarrettBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
Ambassador of South Africa to the United States

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