Olympic Watch Issues Press Release on World Falun Dafa Day

Prague, March 19th 2004 – On the occasion of Falun Dafa Day, Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) has issued a statement today, condemning religious persecution in the People’s Republic of China. “Olympic Watch condemns the ongoing violation of rights of Falun Gong practitioners, as well as of Tibetan Buddhists, Chinese Christians and followers of other spiritual movements. On this day, our thoughts go to all those who are being detained, tortured and otherwise persecuted for their peaceful activities,” reads the statement signed by Jan Ruml, Chairman of Olympic Watch.

The Beijing government continues to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. They are subject to detention and torture, often even resulting in death. Dozens of Falun Gong practitioners are currently imprisoned for merely peacefully publishing their beliefs on the internet. Olympic Watch sees their persecution as one of the clearest manifestations of the abhorrent situation in China.

Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) was established in Prague in 2001. Its mission is to monitor the human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and to campaign to achieve improvements in the lives of the people of China.

Journalists are welcome to inquire about Olympic Watch at press@olympicwatch.org or +420-608-560-503. More information is also available at http://www.olympicwatch.org/.

As people around the world celebrate the Falun Dafa Day today, Olympic Watch calls on the government of the People’s Republic of China to stop the persecution of peaceful believers in China.

Olympic Watch condemns the ongoing violation of rights of Falun Gong practitioners, as well as of Tibetan Buddhists, Chinese Christians and followers of other spiritual movements. On this day, our thoughts go to all those who are being detained, tortured and otherwise persecuted for their peaceful activities. The fate of Falun Gong practitioners is a clear example of the horrific situation in China: people are punished for peacefully practicing their beliefs or expressing their opinions. Large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners daily face persecution and after detention are often subject to torture. Several Falun Gong practitioners have also been persecuted for peacefully promoting their beliefs on the internet.

During its bid for the organization of the 2008 Olympic Games three years ago, the Beijing government promised that the organization of the Games will contribute to human rights improvements in China. Thus, on Falun Dafa Day, we call on them yet again to start taking clear steps by respecting the freedom of speech and of religion and by refusing the abhorrent practices of torture and ill-treatment.

Prague, May 13, 2004

Jan Ruml
Chairman, Olympic Watch


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