Irish MEP Writes to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Regarding Recent Arrests in France

John Cushnahan MEP
European Parliament

3rd February 2004

Dear Minister Cowen,

I have recently received the enclosed letter from an Irish citizen, Donal Maddock, concerning the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in Paris at the hands of the French authorities. He alleges that 11 individuals from the USA, UK, Denmark and France were arrested simply for wearing clothing with "Falun Gong" or "Falun Dafa" written on it in the run up to the visit of the President Hu Jintao in January this year.

Could the Presidency call on the French authorities to clarify the arrest policy used during this official visit. Could the Presidency also urge the French authorities to respect the fundamental rights of all European citizens to the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly and freedom from arbitrary arrest.

I would be grateful for any comments you may have on this issue.

Best wishes,

John Cushnahan MEP

Dear John Cushnahan MEP,

I am writing to ask for your support regarding an outrageous incident that occurred in Paris last week during the celebrations for the Chinese New Year.

This year is the year of China in France and a huge celebration, co-organised by the cities of Beijing and Paris, and an accompanying visit from President Hu Jintao all took place last week. However, many practitioners of Falun Gong, both Chinese and westerners, have had their basic freedoms trampled on by the French authorities.

I believe that this incident is a brazen extension of the campaign of genocide instigated by the military leader and former chairman Jiang Zemin against Falun Gong practitioners into the heart of Europe. To date there are over 860 verified cases of practitioners having been killed from maltreatment in China’s labour camps. A number of court cases have been filed worldwide against Jiang Zemin for crimes against humanity and torture and genocide.

As you may be aware, Falun Gong is a peaceful practice that promotes better health and adherence to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. It was very beneficial to Chinese society since its introduction to the public in 1992 with over 70 million practitioners in Mainland China alone, according to a government survey in 1998. However, fearing anything which touched the hearts and minds of so many Chinese people other than the Communist Party, Jiang Zemin issued an order to completely eradicate Falun Gong in 1999 beginning a 4-year- long, brutal campaign of torture, propaganda, brainwashing and murder which has drained China’s economy and forced hundreds of millions of people to participate in this senseless campaign against their own consciences.

I am writing to invite you, as a public representative in Europe, to speak out against this injustice and call on the French authorities to make a full public apology regarding these events. As we both know France is a country that treasures human rights and it is extremely disturbing to see them bend to pressure from Beijing in such a manner. I am very concerned for the stain this incident will leave on the nation of France when this persecution in China comes to an end and history becomes the judge.

For your reference I include contact information for some of the French authorities; should you wish to voice your concerns directly please contact me again for more detailed information on this incident. I believe a letter from an MEP would provide a strong voice of support in this case and send out a clear message that Europe will not disregard its basic human freedoms to appease dignitaries from a totalitarian state.

With warmest personal regards,

Donal Maddock

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