On May 16th, 2008, the British Columbia Branch of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada held a press conference in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to protest the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s escalating persecution of Falun Gong in the name of the Olympics. The participants also called for rescue of the family members of a practitioner in Vancouver and condemned the CCP's violation of its promise to improve human rights before the Olympics.
|Photos of Falun Gong practitioners Gao Shuming and Gao Qinming, who were illegally arrested by the CCP|
On the morning of April 15th, fourteen police officers surrounded the home of Guangzhou practitioners Gao Shuming and Gao Qinming, ransacked it and took away their computers. The sisters' 83-year-old father was left at home alone without care after their arrest.
Vancouver practitioner Gao Xiaoming, the younger sister of Gao Shuming and Gao Qinming, said at the press conference, "One month ago, CCP police arrested my two sisters in the name of preparation for the Olympics. We still don't know their whereabouts. Since their arrest, I worry about my father, who is 83 years old. There is no other family member at home. He had early signs of stroke. Last November, he fainted and fell. Fortunately he recovered after a few minutes and my sisters took care of him at home."
She continued, "Since the beginning of this year, the CCP has started large scale arrests and killing of Falun Gong practitioners in the name of preparation for the Olympics. From the end of last year to this March, 1,878 cases of the CCP arresting practitioners unlawfully were reported and dozens have died while in police custody. On the same day when my sisters were arrested, twenty other practitioners in Guangzhou were also arrested.
"My sisters are law-abiding citizens. They were unlawfully taken away at the end of 1999, 2001, 2003 and imprisoned in Guangzhou's Chatou Forced Labour Camp. My elder sisters were tortured with burning cigarette butts, deprived of sleep for nearly 100 consecutive hours and beaten. Now they have been arrested again. They were not allowed to take any clothes from home when they were taken away. So far, no one has informed my family about their whereabouts. We worry that they may be suffering from torture again."
Ms. Gao said, "I strongly call upon the international community, the Canadian government, human rights organizations and all kind-hearted people to help rescue my sisters."
Ms. Zhang Su pointed out an Amnesty International report on how Zhou Yongkang, former Minister of Public Security, issued orders to "strike hard" against Falun Gong practitioners in order to successfully hold the Olympics. The new round of arrests is a systemic action across China. In many cities, local governments are posting high rewards for people to turn in Falun Gong practitioners.
The CCP's bloody suppression of innocent Falun Gong practitioners in the name of hosting the Olympics stands in stark contrast to the Olympic Charter, which states, "The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."
In China, Falun Gong is still being persecuted harshly. Mr. Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur, on Torture pointed out that torture cases of Falun Gong practitioners account for 66 percent of the China section in the UN report.
Mr. Nowak and Ms. Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion or Belief, together with Ms. Sigma Huda, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, transmitted their original communication to China on August 11th, 2006. Drawing on information submitted by individuals and volunteer groups, including the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group (www.falunhr.org), the Special Rapporteurs highlighted and raised questions about the identifiable sources of organs for transplantation surgery, the short waiting times for finding perfectly-matched organs, and the correlation between the sudden increase in organ transplants in China and the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Recently, once again they have asked the Chinese government to fully explain the allegation of taking vital organs from Falun Gong practitioners and the source of organs for the sudden increase in organ transplants that has been going on in China since the year 2000.
Vancouver practitioners called on the Canadian government to urge the CCP to immediately stop the unlawful arrest and killing of Falun Gong practitioners and to release Canadian citizen Ms. Gao's sisters.
After the press conference, the practitioners held up banners that said, "Protesting the CCP's escalating persecution of Falun Gong in the name of preparation for the Olympics" in Chinese and English and marched to the Chinese Consulate. They called for an immediate release of Gao Shuming and Gao Qinming.
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