We are marking today the twentieth anniversary of the start of the Communist Party campaign of repression of Falun Gong. The fact of the repression and its continuation for so long are tragic. It is a repression without rhyme or reason, without justification. The mental and physical wounds of the repression are beyond healing. Nothing can console those who have lost or suffered irreparable damage of loved ones.
And yet, the very fact that the repression has gone on for so long, has been so vicious and pervasive is a testimonial to the strength of Falun Gong beliefs. The repression has had a countervailing effect, the adhesion of practitioners because of the repression. I have met some who have become practitioners out of solidarity with the victims. I have met others who have become practitioners on realizing that the Communist Party demonization of Falun Gong is an elaborate, deliberately concocted, fraud.
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. Falun Gong became so popular in the 1990s precisely because it is a set of beliefs which resonated with the Chinese population. Communism in China is a strategy for maintaining power for those in the Party. But it is morally bankrupt and an ideological vacuum. Falun Gong filled the vacuum the Party had created. Falun Gong gave Chinese nationals something in which they could believe when belief in Communism became impossible.