Practitioners of the Chinese spiritual meditation Falun Gong visited local councils and MP offices yesterday as part of a nationwide protest of the practice of forced organ harvesting of political prisoners in China.
A peaceful protest was held outside The Barossa Council, where meditative music played as practitioners completed their exercises.
It followed a visit to the office of Wakefield MP Nick Champion, who was said to have been “sympathetic” to the cause.
Spokesperson Sveta Mei said that the Barossa region was an important pitstop for the group as it was a popular destination for Chinese tourists.
“Barossa is a very big town and there is a lot of Chinese tourists here so the more awareness the better,” she said.
The topic of forced organ harvesting was put under the spotlight last year, as Australia moved to sign a free trade agreement with China as an investigation uncovered the harvesting of around 11,000 organs a year in Chinese hospitals.
Members of the Falun Gong movement are said to be targets for the practice, in which it was claimed organs were harvested after victims had been shot, but not killed.
One of the visiting practitioners, Linda Zhang, said she fled China after escaping imprisonment where she had allegedly been tortured and forced to undergo a myriad of medical testing.
“Another victim is my husband’s elder sister. I went to Beijing with her to appeal for justice to Falun Gong,” Ms Zhang said.
“But she has never returned and we are unable to access any information on her. These are only a very tiny part of the facts that Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted in China.
“I call on kind people here to stand up and stop this evil crime.”
Practitioners will travel to more than 200 regional towns and cities to promote awareness of forced organ harvesting.