Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vigil to remember Falun Gong followers

Will raise awareness of China's persecution

  • Print

A lot has changed in China in the 14 years since it outlawed Falun Gong, the mix of meditation, movement and philosophy that's drawn people from around the world.

Economic freedom has seen living standards rise while the ban on Falun Gong has kept many people down and left some dead, say organizers of a candlelight vigil at The Forks this weekend.

"We don't see there is any sign of a stop to the persecution," said Maria Cheung, a Falun Gong practitioner and one of the organizers of Saturday night's ceremony. She said it's being held to remember those sent to forced-labour camps, who've had their organs forcibly harvested and died in China during the last 14 years because of their beliefs. In 1999, as Falun Gong was gaining in popularity in China, the central government outlawed and vilified it.

Saturday's vigil is to remember those who've suffered and to raise public awareness, said the Winnipeg university professor.

Media attention is helping to draw awareness to the cause, she said.

The vigil begins at 7 p.m.

It will be accompanied by Chinese flute player Xiaonan Wang. The Chinese immigrant, who had his own struggle with Chinese authority, has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and in Guy Maddin's film The Saddest Music in the World. He was branded a counter-revolutionary while studying at the Chinese Conservatory of Music during the Cultural Revolution and sent to work in a forced labour camp. He immigrated to Canada in 1995.

Human rights lawyer David Matas has spoken out against the persecution of Falun Gong supporters, the forced harvesting of their organs and has co-authored a book on the subject, Bloody Harvest.

Two years ago, the subject made headlines when Cheung demonstrated downtown outside Bodies ... The Exhibition over concerns the cadavers on display had been Chinese political prisoners, including Falun Gong members.

At that time, only about 20 per cent of the people Cheung approached on the street were aware of the situation in China, she said.

This past Canada Day, Falun Gong supporters converged on crowded corners of Winnipeg with petitions calling for an end to forced organ harvesting in China. Close to half the people they approached knew about the persecution of Falun Gong supporters and forced organ donation in China, said Cheung. An international group of doctors started the petition asking the United Nations to fully investigate the issue and "stop the evil practice." A few hundred people signed the petition on Canada Day -- nearly 50 per cent of whom didn't need an explanation of what they were being asked to sign, said Cheung.

"I would see it as a positive sign," she said.

The number of organ transplants reported in China has dropped after international concerns about forced organ harvesting were raised, she said.

"Some people are saying 'What can we do? Why bother?' But I would say it's not totally hopeless. There is something you can do."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Grandmother of house fire victims shares memories of four boys killed

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060710 The full moon rises above the prairie south of Winnipeg Monday evening.

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the possibility of terror attacks in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google