Canada Concerned About the Persecution - House of Commons Discusses Granting Falun Gong Practitioners Special Visas

The persecution of Falun Gong by Jiang's Regime in China has been a concern of the Canadian Government ever since the persecution began. The Canadian government was the first to condemn the crackdown of Falun Gong in 1999 and has helped rescue several Falun Gong practitioners, returning them safely to Canada, including Mr. Kunlun Zhang and Mr. Shenli Lin. On October 24, 2002, the Canadian Parliament unanimously passed Resolution M236 initiated by Member of Parliament Scott Reid and supported by MP Stockwell Day. The motion requested Prime Minister Chretien to ask China to release all the Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China who are relatives of Canadian permanent residents or citizens.

On February 28, 2003, Parliament held another discussion about a slightly revised version of the Resolution. The members who initiated the Resolution suggested granting special visas to Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China. Parliamentary members from several major parties gave speeches, condemning the persecution of Falun Gong and expressing support for Falun Gong practitioners. MP Scott Reid, made the first speech. He pointed out that Resolution M236 had played a positive role in releasing three detained Falun Gong practitioners. It also led to improved conditions for other detained practitioners, and aided in rescuing Ms. Yuzhi Wang, who was nearly deported from United Arab Emirates and returned to a Chinese prison due to pressure from the Chinese government.

MP Reid mentioned that he had met some of the rescued practitioners in person, including Ms. Yu Zhi Wang. All of them had gone through incredibly brutal torture. He expressed appreciation for the support for the resolution from other Parliamentary Members. He also stressed not to forget about the practitioners who were still under detention and torture. He said that Canada should grant them special visas in order to rescue them from the persecution as soon as possible.

MP Irwin Cotler, an eminent human rights lawyer, said that the principle of "Truth-Compassion-Forbearance" that Falun Gong practitioners follow is a basic value that every man should follow. He said, "We are glad to see some people released with our help. However, we have to remember that those people should not have been detained in the first place. The persecution adopted systematic measures to persecute freedom of faith. " He also said that Canada should grant special visas to the persecuted. Another MP from Quebec agreed that Canada should grant the special visas. He said it was necessary to revise the resolution. Although trade with China was important to Canada, human rights and economy were equally important. Canada should not place trade over human rights.

MP Wendy Lill mentioned the case of a female Falun Gong practitioner persecuted in China. One of the events that depressed her most was that a female practitioner was detained for distributing New Year cards. She was beaten to death during the period of detention. Printed on the cards she distributed were only characters of "Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance." Ms. Lill said that every day there were reports like that. She also said it was improper for Hong Kong SAR to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners. From the videotape it could be told that the Swiss practitioners were very peaceful. They didn't have any conflict with the police. They only occupied a very small space. Their number was fewer than that requiring a permit. Still they were arrested and convicted. All this reflects the severity of the persecution.

In the end, Mr. Reid thanked everyone for their support of the resolution last time, which resulted in the release of three practitioners. He continued to say that their freedom was actually not real freedom. We should not forget that there were still practitioners detained in China, including Lizhi He, Xiuzhen Lu, and Xiuchao Huang. Many of them were good citizens in society. For example, Lizhi He, Li Zhang's husband, was an established engineer. Yueli Yang was a scientist of astronomy with great achievements. We would proudly welcome them to Canada. We have to pressure the Chinese government further till every one of those practitioners is released and joined with their family in Canada.

The discussion lasted over 50 minutes and it will continue after the parliamentary recess.

A transcript of the House Debate discussed above can be read here

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