Epoch Times: Embassy in Prague Tried to Pay Human Rights Defenders to Stop Protests during Chinese PM's Visit

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Dec 12, 2005

Falun Gong practitioners meditate during a vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. In Prague, while protesting the persecution of Falun Gong in China, practitioners were asked by a group of Chinese to stop their protests, and were even offered money. When the Falun Gong practitioners refused, the group of Chinese tore down their signs and pushed the practitioners away. (Manny Ceneta/Getty Images)
During Wen's visit to the Czech Republic, local followers of Falun Gong organised a few protests. The protests met with opposition from a group of Chinese organised by the Chinese Embassy in Prague, who first tried to persuade the Falun Gong practitioners that Wen would not pass near their banners. Then the embassy group offered them money (up to $1500 USD), if they left the spot. Finally, as the embassy group saw that they could not change the Falun Gong practitioners' determination to protest, and with Wen's car approaching, they surrounded the protesters and tore down their banners. They violently pushed the Falun Gong practitioners aside and took the banners away to the Hilton hotel where Wen and his delegation were staying. The police later recorded the entire story.

This was not the only incident. A similar one occurred on Friday at Prague Castle, where Chinese students attacked Falun Gong followers and broke the bars on which their banners were hanging.

On December 8th, 2005 the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in the Czech Republic. It is the third country he has visited on his European tour. It was not his first visit: he was one of the communist officials who visited former Czechoslovakia in 1987, when it was under communist rule.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek welcomed Wen Jiabao in the garden of his government office. The ceremony was attended by many foreign journalists.

Falun Gong practitioners started at noon a 24-hour protest in front of the Chinese Embassy against the persecution of their friends by the communist regime in China. The Chinese Prime Minister, however, avoided them and arrived at the residence of the Czech Prime Minister through a side entrance, similar to other visits.

One subject of the meeting between the Prime Ministers should have been human rights and their violation in China. The Chief of Government Office, Mr. Ivan Prikryl, suggested that a paragraph in this regard should be placed in the common declaration, which Paroubek and Wen sign at the end of negotiations. Amnesty International and the international committee Olympic Watch both requested that Mr. Paroubek raise the question of human rights. According to them he should ask about the international pact about civil and political rights, which was signed by Beijing 7 years ago, but has not been put it into practise since then. Similar requests were addressed to the Czech Prime Minister by students of Karl's University, which would like to know when the incident on Tiananmen in 1989 will be clarified.

All major media in the Czech Republic reported about human rights abuses in China and about peaceful protests from Falun Gong practitioners. Czech television offered the footage they took in front of the embassy to be used for police during investigation of the Chinese students.


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