Response from Swedish Foreign Minister to an MP’s Question about the Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners

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Stockholm, June 11 (Question 2002/03:1035)

Sven-Erik Sjöstrand has asked me, with regards to the Swedish citizen Pirjo Svensson’s arrest by the Thai authorities, what measures I intend to use in order to thwart the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Sweden and in Europe.

When it comes to the Chinese authority’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, we have, as I have mentioned on several earlier occasions, urged the Chinese government to stop its severe assault on Falun Gong practitioners’ human rights. This has been done in direct conversations and contact with the Chinese government, both bilateral and within the EU’s dialogue on human rights, as well as through addresses in the UN. We have also made it clear to the Chinese government that we will continue to monitor its treatment of Falun Gong practitioners and criticise the authority’s assaults on Falun Gong and other groups’ human rights.

Regarding the arrest in Thailand of the Swedish citizen Pirjo Svensson, Sweden acted with strength through our embassy in Bangkok and demanded at once, after the arrest on the 29th of April, an explanation. As we didn’t receive an explanation we officially staged a protest on May 13th against the arrest, where we demanded her immediate and unconditional release. Our Foreign Ministry also sent for a representative from Thailand’s embassy in Stockholm to repeat these demands.

Falun Gong is not banned in Thailand, and Pirjo Svensson has never, to our knowledge, agitated or demonstrated against Thailand or the Thai government. The Thai government’s looking upon Pirjo Svensson as an enemy of the state is hard to understand. In Thailand, the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of belief are protected by its constitution. Thailand is also tied to the UN’s convention on human rights. Therefore we hope that Thailand, as forerunners in Southeast Asia during recent years when it comes to human rights, shall also succeed in living up to its duty.

Translated from Swedish at

Chinese version available at

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