Bulgaria: Gathering Signatures on International Human Rights Day to Condemn the Persecution of Falun Gong in China

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Bulgarian practitioners distributed flyers with information about the persecution of Falun Gong, about the torture and violation of Falun Gong practitioners' human rights in China and about organ harvesting from living people.

In the period of a few hours practitioners gathered around 150 signatures on a petition calling for an end to the persecution in China.

Practitioners demonstrated the five Falun Gong exercises and attracted the attention of many passers-by despite the cold weather. Many young people signed the petition, as well as one of the most popular human rights activists in Bulgaria, who had previously signed the petition on the Internet.

Many people understood why the Communist party in China started to persecute practitioners in 1999, when it found out that practitioner’s numbers became almost twice as many as the party members and readily gave their signature protesting against the ideology of Communism and its repressive system. Some of the young people signed because they thought that the rights of citizens should not be violated in any place in the world. Some of the people were shocked to learn the facts that the Communist party tolerates organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners for profit. Many wanted to learn the exercises and read the books of Falun Gong.

Several days earlier, practitioners applied for permission from the Sofia Municipality, to organise a peaceful candle-light vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy to mark International Human Rights Day. The Municipality administration rejected the request and didn’t give permission for the event, declaring as a reason a letter by the Foreign Ministry, in which it was said that there is a potential threat of incidents against Chinese diplomats. This is the second rejection by the Mayor’s administration due to pressure from the Chinese Embassy, though exercised through the Foreign Ministry. Bulgarian practitioners sent a letter to all the media, political parties, NGOs, public activists; in which they described the violation of their rights and asked the public for help and support them on the International Human Rights Day. Two national newspapers reported the incident; several media contacted practitioners and published information on the issue.

Practitioners sent 850 signatures, gathered in Bulgaria since April 2006, to the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Committee for prevention of Torture in the Council of Europe, as well as to the President, the Premier and the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria.

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