February 7, 2004
TORONTO - Coming off a victory in a libel lawsuit against a Chinese diplomat, local practitioners of Falun Gong will head to the Ontario legislature this week to demand that Pan Xinchun pay up and then be expelled from Canada.
Joel Chipkar said Saturday that last week's Ontario Superior Court decision means it is time for Canadians to firmly dismiss the Chinese government's claim that the Falun Gong movement is a threat.
"Right here in Ontario, not to mention Canada, the Chinese consulate officials have pressured our members of provincial parliament, they've sent them hate letters about Falun Gong, they've asked them not to support their own constituents," said Chipkar.
"Right now in the Ontario legislative building there is hate propaganda put there by the Chinese consulate as reference material for our members of parliament and we want that removed."
Falun Gong practitioners, who follow the 1992 teachings of a Chinese man, Li Hongzi, use meditation and gentle exercises to enhance a sense of well-being.
The practice has spread to millions of people in countries around the world including Canada, although the largest group of adherents remains in China.
No one represented the Chinese diplomat in court on Tuesday when Justice Harvey Spiegel ruled that Chipkar, a Toronto realtor and Falun Gong practitioner, was defamed when Pan called him a member of a "sinister cult" designed to "instigate hatred."
Pan has been ordered to pay Chipkar $1,000, plus $10,000 in legal costs.
As Pan chose not to defend the case, the allegations became accepted as admissions by the court.
Since Pan was not acting in an official capacity at the time, he could not be granted diplomatic immunity, Spiegel ruled.
"Visiting officials should not be free here to attack Canadians on Canadian soil," said Chipkar. "This is not China, this is Canada."
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