Finland: Falun Dafa Association held a Press Conference in Helsinki to Highlight the Violation of Human Rights in China

On the 13th of May 2004, a press conference was held in Helsinki discussing the human rights situation of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The press conference was opened by a representative of the Finnish Falun Dafa Association. He talked to the attending media briefly about the background of the guest speakers and talked about the several human rights seminars that were held in Scandinavia in May. The guest speakers were also set to meet the Finnish Foreign Ministry the same day.

Journalists attended from several newspapers - Aamulehti, Huvudstadsbladet, Iltasamomat - and from a radio station and Finnish TT News Agency.

Dafa practitioner Jane Dai, along with her little practitioner daughter 4-year old daughter Fadu, discussed how her family suffered from the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Her husband was tortured to death in a Chinese prison and she learned about her husband’s tragic death from a Falun Dafa website. Her daughter was only 8 months old at the time. When her sister went to identify the body she was also arrested and sent to a labour camp. Jane Dai´s father-in-law, grieving terribly, died shortly afterwards. “My family just fell apart due to the persecution,” Jane Dai said. Since this tragedy, Dai has been tirelessly travelling around the world with her daughter to inform people about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. "There are thousands and thousands of families in China who suffered just like mine" said Dai. She concluded with an appeal to all mothers in the world to help stop the cruel persecution in China.

Erping Zhang from the USA, who is Executive Director of an independent research organisation called the Association for Asian Research, talked about the Internet blockade in China, known as the 'Golden Shield', and its severe consequences for the Chinese people who cannot access outside information. Mr Zhang also spoke about how the government of China supported Falun Gong before 1999. Mr. Zhang used to work for the Chinese Government and he explained how Falun Gong's founder Master Li Hongzhi was invited to the Chinese embassy in the US and Sweden, and how the Chinese Government wanted to arrange Falun Gong classes. However, as Mr Zhang pointed out, Jiang Zemin launched a brutal and wide-reaching campaign of persecution against the peaceful practice in July 1999 after the number of practitioners reached 100 million.

Harry Wu, who was a political prisoner in China for 19 years, spoke about his experience in a labour camp and about the Laogai (slave labour camp) system. Harry revealed how forced labour is used to make products for international export. "Today there is much discussion about the changing China," said Mr. Wu. "Of course there is change, in development and economy, but much remains unchanged. Laogai is still the same system as it has always been, but with a rise of new categories of prisoners, such as Falun Gong, Tibetans, Roman-Catholics and Internet criminals."

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