Speech by European Friends of Falun Gong on International Human Rights Day

This speech was delivered by a representative of European Friends of Falun Gong on International Human Rights Day, 10th December 2005 at a protest outside the London Chinese Embassy. European Friends of Falun Gong is a non-governmental organisation of people who don't practise Falun Gong but support freedom of belief for practitioners.

Today is a highly significant day in the history of Human Rights. It is a day when the world is encouraged to think for a while about the many groups of people who are suffering persecution by their own governments for their political, religious or other beliefs.

In particular our thoughts turn to the many millions of Falun Gong practitioners who are being subjected to some of the worst persecution in the history of mankind at the hands of the Chinese government. Nearly 3000 practitioners have so far been killed at the hands of the government since July 1999, under the auspices and direction of the Chinese Communist Party. Many thousands more still languish in prisons and labour camps across China with little hope of release.

2005 began with many members of the CCP renouncing their membership after the publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, which told in great detail the real story of the Party’s violent past since it was formed in 1949. A long catalogue of atrocities involving mental and physical torture against anyone who does not toe the party line has now taken in Falun Gong as its main focal point.

Several high profile defections have added momentum to the renunciations, including embassy officials in Australia and Canada. We have also recently seen discussions between George Bush and Canadian PM Martin with Chinese President Hu Jintao, during which the subject of the human rights record of China was brought up. These are encouraging signs at least.

However Hu Jintao’s discussions with Tony Blair during his visit to the UK last month highlighted the fact that many governments still take the persecution too lightly. We have heard today how many British politicians and MEPs have added their voice to the growing concerns over human rights issues in China, with very eloquent speeches from Mr John Grogan MP and MEP Dr Charles Tannock. However the British government still fails to put sufficient public pressure on China to change its stance on human rights, out of fear of upsetting the largest growing economy in the world, with the subsequent loss of future business for UK companies trading with China.

Our hope for the next year is that this situation will change. It has to change. The west cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the continuing torture and murder of innocent people in China. We must carry on putting pressure on our politicians to make Hu Jintao realise that Falun Gong practitioners do not pose any threat to his power, in fact quite the opposite, if they were allowed to live and practise freely they would only be of benefit to the society as a whole.

We urge President Hu Jintao to release all Falun Gong practitioners currently being held and to end the persecution immediately.

European Friends of Falun Gong, December 10th 2005

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