(Taunus is a mountainous region in the German state of Hessen/Germany)
KOENIGSTEIN. When Mr. Zhao Ming, a member of the Falun Gong spiritual movement went to the authorities in Beijing in 1999, to exercise his constitutional right and lodge a plea, they confiscated his passport and arrested him. The now 31 year-old had to spend the next 22 months in Forced Labour-and-Re-education Camps. With outwardly calm demeanour but with perceptible inner panic, the media graduate student told his story at the IGFM-Meeting over the weekend. He spoke of brainwashing, electro-shocks, sleep deprivation lasting days on end and other physical and psychological horrors committed against him during his incarceration. Not until March 12th of this year did the Chinese authorities release him, and only after numerous international appeals.
Mr. Zhao Mings fate is representative of countless others, but basically the same, as it is happening in the Middle Kingdom. Exact numbers are guesses at best. But because Mr. Zhao Ming and others are relating their factual experiences, they give a concrete face to abstract stories of human rights abuses and let us come to believe the brutality of abuses that we could not fathom before. Mr. Michael Wichman, chairperson the German section of IGFM, had this to say at their yearly convention at KTC, The International Association for Human Rights (IGFM), since 30 years ago at its inception, has made it her mission to bring any kind of human rights abuses to the public, to be spokes medium and helping hand for those who are unjustly incarcerated and those who are tortured.
Prior to Jiang Zemins visit in Germany, the IGFM had appealed to the German government to address these massive human rights abuses in China. Sad to say, though, the IGFM had received no reaction. It seems that economic interests carry more weight than preserving human rights, observed Mr. Wichman critically, citing the high number of deaths in Chinese detention centres and prisons.
According to the organisations internal statistics, Mr. Gerhard Loewenthal, a TV journalist, founded the IGFM in 1972 in Frankfurt am Main/Germany. It has expanded to include 25 sections, with a membership of 350,000. Mr. Hafen related that several projects are in the planning stages. The organisation is sponsoring human rights contests, seminars for school students and also awards scholarships. Besides all that, we are planning a decade-long effort against slavery He said further, we have to remain realistic, though, because it is easier to make demands than to be successful with those demands.
(Original text in German)
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