Member of European Parliament: "Falun Gong followers remain at the sharp end of Beijing’s repression"

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Liberal Democrat MEP for London, Baroness Sarah Ludford has written to the non-governmental organisation European Friends of Falun Gong about the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China and has expressed concern about human right abuses. Below is her letter. 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.

Dear Friends of Falun Gong,

Persecution of the Falun Gong in China

Thank you for your letter highlighting the ongoing persecution of members of the Falun Gong belief, in light of the visit of the Chinese President to the UK.

The European Parliament is aware of the increasing violations of human rights in China and has passed several resolutions on the issue. I have enclosed a copy of the most recent (8th September 2005) highlighting concerns over the growing number of religious based persecutions currently being reported. The EU is engaged in continuous dialogue with the Chinese authorities, designed to encourage the transformation towards an open Chinese society based on the rule of law and continues to raise areas of concern. Falun Gong followers remain at the sharp end of Beijing’s repression, with a reported 200,000 people interned in labour camps.

There have been small but encouraging signs of further openness amongst the Chinese authorities. At a recent press conference held by Tony Blair, Commission President Barroso and Premier Wen, the latter chose to directly answer a challenging question on political representation and choice in China. The recent success of the NTDTV campaign to remain on air, despite government attempts to persuade the French provider to cancel broadcasting rights, is also encouraging.

I agree that continued efforts are required to ensure the Chinese authorities fulfil their international obligations on fundamental rights and am glad to see you campaigning to bring this to people’s attention at the time of President Hu Jintao’s visit to the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP
Liberal Democrat MEP for London

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