French Authorities Bow to Jiang Regime Pressure and Arrest Falun Gong Practitioners during Chinese New Year Event in Paris

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Over weekend of January 24th and 25th, 2004, France began the “Year of China in France" cultural event with a large parade and other similar events. During the activities, 20 Chinese and Western Falun Gong practitioners were arrested, simply because they wore yellow scarves or yellow sweaters displaying the words “Falun Gong" or “Zhen Shan Ren" (“Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance"). Practitioners were told by the French authorities that they were arrested because “Yellow is illegal in France".

The parade and associated activities during the weekend in France were held in close collaboration with the Chinese government, with many performers and supporters coming from Mainland China. Falun Gong practitioners had wished to participate in this event, as Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese form of self-cultivation. However, to the Jiang Regime in China, which uses the Communist Party to persecute Falun Gong and spread lies and deceitful propaganda about the practice, the presence and participation of Falun Gong practitioners was a frightening prospect. The regime put great pressure on the French authorities to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from taking part in the parade. The result was that the French authorities revoked their previous permission for Falun Gong’s participation in this parade. With the arrests over the weekend, the discrimination against Falun Gong practitioners went beyond excluding their participation to even excluding their presence at the event. Simply being identified as a Falun Gong practitioner because of wearing a yellow scarf was enough to be arrested.

To claim wearing yellow clothes is illegal or to have such a law in itself is clearly absurd, but the concerning issue is not simply the irrationality of the arrests. The arrests were actually carrying out the Jiang regime’s persecution of Falun Gong on French soil. It is well-known to anyone who is familiar with Falun Gong practitioners’ peaceful appeals and activities that they often wear yellow clothing. This has become characteristic of their activities. The colour Yellow reportedly became one of Jiang Zemin’s deepest fears when he went on overseas trips in the past, terrified of the sight of Falun Gong’s appeals. In the light of this, one can see that it is not about arresting people for wearing yellow, it is about arresting people for wearing anything which identifies them as a Falun Gong practitioner. In doing so, the French authorities have imported the persecution of Falun Gong at the will of the Jiang Regime from mainland China, where one can be stopped on the street, arrested and detained simply for being a Falun Gong practitioner. It is a true shame that the French authorities could not hold to the basic principles of freedom of belief and led the Police to go against their conscience to arrest practitioners.

All of the details of the arrests have yet to be collected and verified. Below are some of the details available at the moment.

On Saturday 24th January 2004, French police arrested 7 Falun Gong practitioners from the United Kingdom on the Champs Elysees: 1 Western UK citizen, 1 Chinese UK citizen and 5 Chinese nationals. During their arrest the practitioners were either walking or standing in a street near the Arc de Triomphe. Earlier they had given out a small number of leaflets to performers from Mainland China, detailing the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners that is taking place there. They were waiting for a French practitioner to bring more leaflets. When the French practitioner arrived, his car was sandwiched by two police cars and the driver was very violently pulled onto the police van without a single question being asked. A UK practitioner, Ms Yudong Gao, was also very roughly handled by two police officers when she was put into the police van. All eight were later taken to the 17th District police station where they were detained for over 4 hours, some of them in handcuffs.

A Danish practitioner, who was standing with his family on the Champs Elysees during the Chinese New Year celebrations, was approached by plain-clothes police and told to remove his yellow scarf or face the consequences. He was then arrested.

German and Swedish practitioners were also arrested over the weekend.

Photo 1 shows police searching through the bag of UK citizen Xiaoyan Fullerton (with her back to the photographer in a light brown jacket). She was arrested although they found nothing illegal and she had done nothing wrong. When Mrs Fullerton asked why she was arrested, a policewoman told her that they were simply carrying out instructions from their superiors.

Photo 2 shows a UK practitioner handcuffed to the seat in the 17th District police station.

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