Statement of Support from Mr Petr Pleva, Member of Parliament of the Czech Republic

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On the 26th of June 2004, United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims, Falun Gong practitioners in the Czech Republic held a press conference at Krizovnicke Square in Prague, to call for an end to the brutal campaign of torture waged against Falun Gong practitioners in China. The following is a statement of support sent to the press conference by Czech Member of Parliament Mr Petr Pleva.

Dear friends, Falun Gong practitioners,

Allow me to greet you this way at least. When I was thinking what to say about the problems of Human Rights and freedom, whether religious or personal, I have remembered Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. The book is introduced by a quote from John Donne’s poem: “No man is an island entire of itself....any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.“

I am convinced the same applies to freedom and human dignity. I am convinced that whenever someone’s dignity is trampled underfoot, someone’s freedom is restricted and someone’s rights are denied, my human dignity is also trampled underfoot, my freedom is also restricted and my rights are also denied.

Human freedom is indivisible and truly applies to all humanity. Even though it is often comfortable to close one’s eyes, stop one’s ears, harden one’s heart and tell oneself that this does not concern me, it concerns me more than I am willing to admit. If I do that, then I am already contaminated by the poison of ignorance and egoism, which slowly poisons my soul. And then I have changed myself from an unbiased observer to an accomplice.

Dear friends, I am glad that the words above do not apply to you. For already just with your presence here you are making it abundantly clear on which side you stand. Allow me to wish great success to your actions and allow me to greet you with latin sursum corda – rise your heart. Because our hearts, full of love and understanding for other people, are the most effective tool in the fight against all evil.

Mr Petr Pleva Member of Parliament of the Czech Republic

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