Statement at Press Conference – 3rd July 2007
We are here today to announce the start of a global Human Rights Torch relay to protest against human rights abuses in China, in particular abuses against Falun Gong practitioners.
The torch will start on the 9th August in Athens and will then be carried through more than ten countries in Europe and then onto other countries around the world, in order to show the Chinese authorities the volume of support for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, and to demonstrate the strength of feeling amongst right-minded people that the 2008 Olympics cannot co-exist with a climate of intimidation and physical and mental abuse of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese government.
We hereby urge the Chinese authorities once again, to:
1. Stop the persecution of Falun Gong immediately and release all practitioners incarcerated for their faith
2. Stop the persecution of friends and supporters and defence lawyers of Falun Gong practitioners (e.g. Gao Zhisheng, Li Hong)
3. Hold discussions with CIPFG to arrange details on the opening up of labour camps, prisons, hospitals and related secretive facilities for inspection by CIPFG independent investigators
We have informed the Chinese government that those three demands should be met by the 8th August otherwise the human rights torch will go ahead. It is not unreasonable to hope that Falun Gong practitioners should be allowed to practise their beliefs freely, and we anticipate that other governments around the world will give their full support to the campaign.
Baroness Caroline Cox
Chair of CIPFG (Europe)
3rd July 2007
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