Rally in Vienna Calls for an Immediate End to the Persecution of Falun Gong

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On the afternoon of the 19th of June 2004, tourists and citizens of Vienna were deeply touched, and some moved to tears as they listened to speeches at a rally exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. The rally was part of a programme of large-scale events held by several hundred European practitioners to help more people understand the campaign of genocide initiated by Jiang Zemin, which has been unfolding behind the closed doors of Jiang’s information and media blockade.

As the rally took place, by the side of the podium a few practitioners enacted a typical scene of torture from a Chinese labour camp, where innocent victims are handcuffed, tied up, beaten and shocked with electric batons. The spectacle brought home the reality of the suffering to the onlookers, who were both transfixed and horrified by the sight of what happens every day under Jiang’s brutal regime.

As the speeches were given, a hundred or so Falun Gong practitioners sat peacefully in meditation or listened quietly, their still posture and quietness sharply contrasting with the violent images often described by the speakers. Many people stopped to listen, having to look over each others shoulders to get a view. Some stayed for some time, to listen to the speeches in full. Others listened for a while, then took materials and stood reading and listening.

The first speaker was Head of the Austrian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee Ms. Terezia Stoisits. Ms. Stoisits stated her opinion that any type of persecution, torture or violations of people’s human rights should be eliminated no matter where it happens. She said that although human rights in Austria are good, the people there still have a responsibility to speak up for those who are persecuted. Ms Stoisits also said that she has met Falun Gong practitioners and been left with a deep impression of how they follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance in their lives.

A statement by Austrian Member of European Parliament Ms. Ursula Stenzel was then read. Lord Francis Thurlow, a 93 year-old former diplomat, followed with a powerful speech calling on the nations of the free world and the people of Austria to help end the persecution. He pinpointed Jiang Zemin as the chief instigator of the persecution, describing how he gave the orders to destroy Falun Gong practitioners physically, ruin their reputations and bankrupt them financially. Lord Thurlow likened the persecution of Falun Gong to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire.

Lord Thurlow’s speech was followed by Ireland student Zhao Ming who spoke of his experiences at the hands of the Jiang regime in a Chinese labour camp, where he was detained for over one and a half years. As he described the horrors of sleep-deprivation, systematic beatings and electric shocks, many of the audience were moved to tears. Zhao Ming said that he is often asked by journalists why the regime in China tortures and persecutes Falun Gong practitioners. He described his reply: “I have been tortured! Why should I explain why they persecute me? They should explain why they torture me! They should explain why they commit all his persecution against innocent people! They cannot tolerate any other ideology.”

The next speaker was Daniela Luschin from the Austrian branch of the Society for Threatened Peoples. She was followed by President of IGFM (International Society of Human Rights). People cried as they listened to Australian practitioner Jane Dai’s simple words, as she described how her husband was persecuted to death for practising Falun Gong. Standing with her four-year-old daughter by her side, she herself struggled to overcome her own tears, as she recounted how she does not know what to say when her daughter asks, “Where is daddy?” The final speaker was Monika Weiss, representative of the World Organisation to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong.

Two musical performances by practitioners followed the speeches. The first was a song in English called “Walk On” performed to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar by the lead singer of Swedish group “Yellow Express.” The second was a piece of flute music by Dafa practitioner Chen Guohua.

President of the International Society of Human Rights Katharina Grieb

Daniela Luschin of the Society for Threatened Peoples Terezia Stoisits, Head of the Human Rights Committee of the Austrian Parliament WOIPFG representative Monika Weiss
Zhao Ming Jane Dai and herdaughter Fadu Lord Thurlow

Lead singer from Yellow Express Dafa practitioner Mr. Chen Guohua

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