The suppression of Falun Gong in Russia began several years ago, with Russian officials squashing the rights of anyone who practiced Falun Gong. Pressure on Russia came from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Moves by the CCP to persecute Falun Gong have extended outside mainland China, often using diplomatic channels.
The pressure exerted on Falun Gong in Russia is considered part of its campaign to eradicate the practice.
A group of Falun Gong practitioners was arrested in 2012 in Vladivostok in a local printing shop as they were picking up flyers to distribute to people to expose the persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP.
They also confiscated a copy of the practice’s main text, “Zhuan Falun,” which had recently been banned. This occurred just weeks before the city hosting an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit—top CCP officials had been invited.
“The effort to ban ‘Zhuan Falun’ in Russia sadly falls on the heels of dealings between Russia and China [the CCP]. We also have no doubt it has been encouraged during interactions with high-ranking Chinese officials who spearhead the brutal persecution campaign against Falun Gong inside China,” said Falun Dafa Information Center Executive Director Levi Browde at the time. “Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party is behind this—why else would Russia move so quickly to ban a book that teaches people to live according to truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance?”
The Falun Dafa Information Center urges Russian authorities to resist CCP pressure and other members of the international community to publicly condemn these actions to protect the freedom of religion and expression of Russian citizens.
The European Union raised the case with Russian authorities during bilateral human rights meetings.
“I am very concerned about the case of Falun Gong practitioners in Russia, as well as about the broader implications it entails,” wrote European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton in a February 2012 letter to members of the European Parliament.
The pressure on Russian authorities to condemn Falun Gong has continued.
On July 17, 2020, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom denounced Russia’s anti-cult ideology, reported Bitter Winter.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement on July 20, on the 21st anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, calling on the CCP to immediately cease “its depraved abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners.”
“Since 1999, the Communist Party of China has sought to eradicate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice originating in China and its peaceful practitioners and human rights defenders who have fought for their right to practice their beliefs. Extensive evidence shows the PRC government continues to repress and abuse this community to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands,” said Pompeo.
“Twenty-one years of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is far too long, and it must end, he added.”
The reaction from the CCP was to label Pompeo the “the worst U.S. Secretary of State in history.”
On the same day as the anniversary of the persecution in China, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office released a statement, banning seven NGOs that support Falun Gong.
The statement read: “As a result of a study of the materials received by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, a decision was adopted to designate the activities of the following foreign nongovernmental organizations as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation: World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong Inc. (WOIPFG, U.S.) Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (U.S.), Global Mission to Rescue Persecuted Falun Gong Practitioners Inc. (GMRPFGP, U.S.), Friends of Falun Gong Inc. (U.S.), Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH, U.S.), Dragon Springs Buddhist Inc. (U.S.), and The European Falun Dafa Association (UK).”
Included on the banned list is the very respected Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH.) Many of the doctors (not Falun Gong practitioners) from DAFOH are experts, and they all denounce illegal organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.
The China Anti-Xie-Jiao Association, an arm of the CCP, was very supportive of the decision and congratulated Russia.
Other nations have felt the attack on Falun Gong by the CCP. The Australian Broadcasting Commission recently began a series titled “Dark Karma,” using lies and biased reporting to slander the practice in Australia. Ties between the ABC and the CCP are being questioned. The ABC signed a deal in 2014 with the Shanghai Media Group, a CCP controlled media. The signing took place on June 4, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The CCP is big on anniversaries.