UK Members of Parliament Support Falun Gong Motion

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UK Member of Parliament Patsy Calton tabled Early Day Motion (EDM) 389 to support Falun Gong in the UK House of Commons. The tabling of an EDM is a device to draw attention to an issue, and to elicit support for it by inviting other Members of Parliament to add their signatures to the motion. 97 MPs signed this Motion to show their support and it has one of the highest numbers of signatures among the 1012 open Motions.

Early Day Motion 389 states: “That this House calls on the Chinese Government immediately to release from detention and incarceration all Falun Gong practitioners held for the peaceful practice of their beliefs, to permit the resumption of public and private Falun Gong practice, to remove all mention of superstitious sects, secret societies and evil religious organisations (Article 300) from the PRC Criminal Law, to abolish the inherently arbitrary re-education through labour system and to allow anyone who has been deprived of his liberty the right to a court hearing and process; further calls on the Chinese Government to re-issue invitations to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom to visit China on terms consistent with their mandates, to permit domestic and foreign observers to attend all trials including those of Falun Gong practitioners as provided for under international human rights standards, and to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture; and urges the Chinese Government to revise regulations that effectively censor the media and the internet and that interfere with the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information in accordance with international human rights standards.”

Many MPs also sent letters to Falun Gong practitioners to show their support. For example, Dr. George Osborne MP wrote, “I would like to assure you that I have very serious concerns about the human rights abuses against Falun Gong adherents in China. Reports suggest that thousands of followers have been imprisoned, ill-treated, fired from their jobs, ridiculed, locked up in mental hospitals, beaten and “re-educated”, all of which are not acceptable.

“It is important to recognize the right of individuals to enjoy life’s freedoms without fear of persecution or violation of basic human rights, The Conservative Party does not condone the oppression of individuals on the grounds of political or religious belief. Individuals who practise their beliefs in an acceptable manner, showing respect and tolerance of others, who are likewise entitled to engage in their own chosen faith, should be free to practise their beliefs unhindered.

“The British Government, I believe, has voiced its concerns over this matter with the Chinese Government, but unfortunately, the situation does not appear to be any better. The Government must push for a more robust and effective approach and we will continue to put pressure on the Government to do this. I shall be forwarding a copy of your letter to the Foreign Secretary for his comments.”

Many MPs directly questioned the UK Government for further action. For example, Anne Campbell MP from Cambridge tabled the following Parliamentary Question to the Foreign Secretary: “What assessment he has made of the persecution of the Falun Gong in China and what action the Government is taking to draw attention to their plight?” Bill Rammell MP from the Foreign Office replied: “We have serious concerns about human rights abuses against Falun Gong adherents in China, and we regularly raise these concerns with the Chinese Government. At the most recent round of the biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue held in London in May, we again noted our concerns about the mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners in detention and handed over a list of individual cases of concern which included Falun Gong prisoners. I also recently raised the issue of human rights with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui during my visit to China in July.”

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