On July 25, 2008, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) handed over letters that were collected from political leaders, Members of Parliament, lawyers, and doctors in the "Millions of Signatures Global Campaign" to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). These letters expressed support for the global campaign to expose and end the persecution of Falun Gong and requested the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to stop the persecution.
1,215,793 signatures from 131 countries, photos of signature collection events across the world, and a letter to IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge requesting his signature were handed over to the IOC as well. The letter will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The letter describes the global signature collection campaign, asking for support for Falun Gong practitioners, and expressing the hope that the United Nations, governments of the countries of UNHRC members, and human rights organisations will effectively help stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The CIPFG hopes that Mr. Jacques Rogge will express his support for the signature campaign by signing the letter.
Mr. Bachmann, representative of the global signature campaign, handed over the materials and more than seven thousand signatures collected by the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) to the IOC. The IGFM signatures request that the IOC take action to improve China's human rights situation and urge the CCP to stop the persecution of Falun Gong. Since IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge is currently in China, Tony Burgener from the Communications Department accepted the materials from Mr. Bachmann and expressed clearly that he understood the CIPFG's hope for a quick response from Mr. Rogge.
While the materials were being delivered to the IOC, CIPFG members held banners worded "The IOC knows that more than 1.2 million people from 131 countries call for an end of the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong" and, "Support Chinese People by Holding an Olympics without the CCP," as well as photos of signature collection events across the world.
Stopping the persecution of Falun Gong is a strong wish of people
Mr. Bachmann said, after handing over the materials, "Nearly 80% of those people who were asked signed the petition. This indicates that stopping the persecution of Falun Gong is a strong wish of many people. It is time for the government to ask the CCP to stop the persecution! It should not be the case that economics are viewed as more important than human rights."
Mr. Bachmann said, "The Olympic charter includes respect for human rights. In 2001, when Beijing won the bid to host the Olympics, it promised to improve human rights in China. But this has never been realised. On the contrary, China's human rights situation is deteriorating. The CCP escalates the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and attempts to eliminate Falun Gong under the banner of preparation for the Olympics. The million signatures will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, other UN organisations, governments of each country, and various human rights organisations, to request them to urge the CCP to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong!"
Persecution escalating in the run-up to the Olympics
IGFM has been paying attention to the persecution since it began. Mr. Fedier, a representative for the IGFM, said, "Since the beginning of 2008, the number of Falun Gong practitioners unlawfully imprisoned has increased tremendously. It is reported that the number of Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted in Olympic contest locations is higher than other areas."
As early as in 2005, Liu Jing, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Public Security, was appointed to eliminate Falun Gong before Beijing Olympics. The order was also issued to the Departments of Public Security in each area.
In March 2007, Zhou Yongkang, former minister of the Ministry of Public Security, issued a new order to severely suppress Falun Gong. Large-scale arrests and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners followed in many areas.
In February 2008, the CCP issued a new, confidential document that emphasized the persecution of Falun Gong more severely.
Under the name of preparation of Olympics, the Chinese Communist Party escalated the persecution of Falun Gong. As of June 30, 2008, based on incomplete statistics, 8037 Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally arrested since the end of last year, in over 29 provinces. In some areas, practitioners were arrested and sentenced to prison without due process of law to a term until the end of the Olympic Games.
Several practitioners were tortured to death after being arrested. On January 26, 2008, practitioner Yu Zhou and his wife Xu Na were stopped and arrested in Beijing on their way home. Police took them to Tongzhou Detention Centre. On February 6, Yu Zhou's family was informed to go to Qinghe Medical Emergency Centre to see him. When his family members arrived there, Yu Zhou was dead. His family members asked for the cause. Doctors initially said it was due to a hunger strike, and then said diabetes. However, Yu Zhou was healthy prior to his arrest, and had never had diabetes.
Stop the persecution in full force
Seventy-four-year-old Ms. Chablais and her 78-year-old husband participated in the signature collection. As a Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Chablais said, "We think that the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is unfair and brutal. It should be stopped completely." Ms. Chablais was acquainted with many Falun Gong practitioners in China. Some of her friends were tortured to death in the persecution. She has been working hard to stop the persecution. "If we were Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted in China and if we knew that people were protesting the persecution and working hard for us on the other side of the world, we would be encouraged. In China, one may be imprisoned for clarifying the truth. Thus, it is our responsibility to protest and work hard to stop the persecution."
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