Ukraine News Media Exposes Chinese Diplomats’ Interference with Falun Gong

Dumskaya is an online news media based in Odessa, the third largest city in Ukraine. It recently reported on a Chinese diplomat’s interference with Falun Gong activities.

In this article published on July 23, 2014, pictures were included to show the peaceful meditation by practitioners, as well as posters that exposed the brutal persecution in China. The article also concluded that Falun Gong activities in Ukraine should not be suppressed.

The original article was in Russian and below is the English translation.

“Documents have clearly shown that the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had exerted pressure to Odessa city officials and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. The purpose of these Chinese diplomats is to hinder the activities of Falun Gong and even ban Falun Gong, an officially registered public organization in Ukraine.”

“The movement of Falun Gong appeared in China in the early 1990s. It is a spiritual practice based on Chinese Qigong with elements related to Buddhism, Taoism, and folk beliefs. Founded by Master Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong promotes basic principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance and offers five sets of powerful exercises.”

“This movement quickly spread in China and overseas. Master Li Hongzhi received awards from the PRC governments as well as international prizes. By the late 1990s, the number of practitioners exceeded one hundred million. Because of its popularity, the Chinese Communist Party considered it a threat.”

“Exactly 15 years ago, the communist party banned Falun Gong on July 22, 1999, and announced it as a sect. This was followed by severe persecution, both inside China and abroad.”

“Even Odessa was not spared. The local Falun Dafa Association, a group of about 30 citizens including some Chinese, hold activities from time to time to raise awareness [of the persecution], especially in July of each year, the anniversary of the persecution. As it has been reported, this group constantly experienced resistance, which comes from the Consulate General of the PRC and its associated organization—The Chinese Cultural Centre of National Mechnikov University in Odessa.”

“The Consul General of China gave the mayor’s office a note on June 16, 2014. This document, named 030/2014 requested the mayor’s office to stop Falun Gong activities.”

“Maybe we should remind the consul the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations regarding this issue. Clearly, this was not the first time for such cases to occur. As early as in 2010, administrative staff confirmed that a Shen Yun performance, which had some programs exposing the persecution of Falun Gong, was forcibly cancelled as insisted by the Chinese Embassy staff.” [The text was in bold in the original article]

“Consulate General of the PRC also sent a letter to Internal Affairs of Ukraine, demanding to ban further Falun Gong activities. Diplomats said the event planned on June 15 was anti-China and it would ‘interfere the normal development of Sino-Ukraine relations.’”

“In addition, the Department of International Relations of the city government wrote a letter to the mayor on July 7, 2014, requesting to cancel Falun Gong activities for the protest against Chinese officials…”

“As we know, Ukraine guarantees its citizens the freedom of belief, religion, and the right to form social organizations. When a Ukrainian court receives such complaints from foreign agencies, court officials are often in a difficult situation. However, by the constitution, court officials should be guided exclusively by the laws of Ukraine, not letters from consulates from other countries. We may consider the ‘level of cooperation with China’. But the question is, which one of these two is more important: the rights of Ukrainian citizens or certain requests from foreign consuls?”

“It should also be noted that, neither the municipality nor the police cannot prohibit the activities of a non-government organization. Justice only resides in the law and the court system. Therefore, such prohibition has no legal ground. But Chinese partners refused to keep their hands off this matter, so the Ukrainian officials became those who hinder Falun Gong practitioners. According to Article 170 of the Criminal Code, however, anyone impeding the lawful activities of public organizations is subject to up to three years of imprisonment.”

“Falun Dafa Association requested gatherings next to the Consulate General of the PRC on both July 23 and July 24. It is estimated that all 30 members of the organization will participate in the events.” “However, the city authorities proposed to ban these activities because some Kiev justice officials allegedly prohibited certain Falun Gong activities.”…

“But this time, justice officials did not yield. After careful examination of the situation, including the unstable political situation, apolitical nature of Falun Dafa Association, and the number of practitioners, they decided not to ban the activities. Officials also noted that Master Li Hongzhi was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and the European Parliament urged Chinese authorities in 2001 to respect people’s rights to practice Falun Gong.”

In the end, practitioners from Ukraine and Russia held the events at Odessa on July 23 and 24 as scheduled. They demonstrated exercises, displayed posters to expose the brutal persecution, and collected signatures calling to end the severe human rights violations. Many pedestrians were impressed by the peaceful nature of Falun Gong and signed the petitions to support.

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