Radio France Internationale Interviews Falun Gong Practitioners

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This article is a summary from a voice recording of a Radio France Internationale Chinese broadcast to China and the Mandarin-speaking area of Paris on January the 10th.

Reporter: Good morning, everyone. My name is Wang Lu. At the turn of the year, the trump card for the “Year of Chinese Culture" was the parade float carried on the Champs Elysees in Paris, manned by five thousand Chinese people on January the 24th (January the 3rd in the lunar calendar).

In fact, this is not the first time that the Chinese held a parade on the Champs Elysees. A similar event occurred about fifteen years ago. However, that parade was very negative, there were no firecrackers, no gongs nor drums. That was July 14th 1989, the bicentenary of the French Revolution. The parade was held right after the unprecedented and bloody “Tiananmen Square Tragedy" of June 4th 1989, in which the Central Political Committee of the Chinese Communist government ordered the People’s Liberation Army to shoot citizens of Beijing, workers, and students who requested democracy and demanded punishment against corruption. Back then, the tanks were also ordered to roll over human bodies. In the festive programmes of the parade, a French artist named Mr. Goude organised a commemoration of the bicentenary of the French Revolution, a Chinese bicycle fleet was arranged to proceed solemnly and respectfully preceded by six big Chinese characters “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality". The scene aroused applause and tears from the audience.

Fifteen years later, Chinese people will hold an even larger parade on the Champs Elysees, together with five thousand attendees on January the 3rd of the lunar calendar. Many programmes have been organised that will radiate the “Year of Chinese Culture". It is said that a group of old Chinese ladies will come to Paris and perform a Chinese rural folk dance called “Transplanting Rice Seedlings". Assisted by enthusiastic patronage from wealthy Chinese overseas businessmen, the preparation for this grand parade has been almost completed. Many overseas Chinese associations have also grasped this precious opportunity to exhibit.

However, information has also shown that some overseas Chinese organisations have intended to enroll themselves in the activities but were rejected. Among them is the French Falun Dafa Association. Mr. Zhang of the French Falun Dafa Association accepted an interview with this reporter.

Mr. Zhang: According to our understanding, the situation is that the Paris city authorities proposed to hold the Spring festival parade on the Champs Elysees. This is an event related to Chinese culture, and is open to the general public. Since the French Falun Dafa Association is an organisation officially registered in France, and has received support from government circles, as well as human rights associations, we deem it to be our right to participate in the parade. We submitted an officially written application not so long ago, but this document was passed to the Chinese Embassy through an overseas Chinese organisation. According to our understanding, the only reason why the Chinese Embassy turned down the application was that the Chinese government is unjustifiably suppressing Falun Gong. Moreover, the Chinese Embassy doesn’t dare to issue a written explanation. What we would like to clarify is that our application was not rejected because the activities have been organised by the Paris City Authority. We are proactively contacting the Paris City Authority right now, and a date for discussion has been decided.

We also know the Chinese government applied pressure on the Paris City Authority. That is, they are doing the same thing as what they do in China. By this means, they are actually implementing the persecution against Falun Gong in a western democratic society, which by no means should be allowed. We also hope the French Government and the French public can make a right choice and stand up against the pressure imposed by Jiang’s group.

Reporter: Your application has been rejected by the Chinese Embassy. What would you do if it were also turned down by the Paris city authority?

Mr. Zhang: I think in a western democratic society, any organisation or any individual shouldn’t be discriminated against due to their belief, their viewpoint, religion, race or sex, etc. We think that we have the right to participate in the event. We would not like to see a western democratic society knuckle under pressure from a dictator.

Reporter: The Chinese Embassy has rejected your application because Falun Gong’s appeal for the parade doesn’t conform to the requirements set forth by the Chinese Embassy. Can you detail your main method of appeal?

Mr. Zhang: It has been mentioned in our written application that there will be between 500 and 1000 plus Falun Gong practitioners attending the parade. The programmes we offered included various traditional dances such as the lotus-dance, fan-dance and lantern-dance. In addition, there will be lion-dancing, floats and demonstrations of the Falun Gong exercises. All of these are culture-focused, so that the general public can enjoy them during the Spring Festival.

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