Speech Given by the Head of the ISHR China Taskforce in Austria at the Opening Ceremony of the Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance Art Exhibition

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The cultural association ARS CARA (Austrian Association for Art and Cultural Exchange in China) held an exhibition with the title Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance at a café in Vienna’s 7th district.

A great number of people attended the opening ceremony on June 12th. Speakers at the ceremony were district director Blimbinger, and Leopold, head of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) China taskforce.

Leopold's speech is reproduced below:

Our organisation, the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) in Austria, was established in 1972. We operated mainly in the German speaking areas. We have consultant status at the Council of Europe and took on responsibilities over Southeast Asia and China in recent times.

The pictures represent a deep contradiction for me personally, given the way they present to my eyes today’s China. On one hand is the classical figure painting technique, which emanates much harmony and on the other hand, the scenes are very unsettling. China represents this dichotomy to the world today.
The picture China tries to present to the world, in everything that pertains to human rights, is a cover up, a glossing over what is going on, and a pushing to the forefront economic advantages, while murder is perpetrated throughout the country. There is a regime that stays in power through such methods, and continues to exist mainly because of support from the international community.

It is the intention of our organisation, as an arm of the ISHR, to bring the aforementioned to the forefront. For this reason, events such as todays are essential to alert society, to bring the awareness to the forefront that this is really happening. On the one hand one sees the Falun Gong adherents who can show what is going on through perfect artistic methods and on the other hand also bring to the forefront the persecution of the Tibetans and many other ethnic groups who are suppressed, including Christians, those Christians who follow Rome’s doctrines.

For the various groups to remain silent concerning a number of issues about human rights are useless in China. Yes, China has signed the UN convention against torture, but China continues to torture its citizens behind closed doors. China implements the death sentence in the extreme against critics of the regime. China puts its people into slave labour camps. Anyone can be taken for two years to a slave labour camp without having been sentenced by China’s court system. One can be imprisoned without having ever been before a judge.

All this happens today in a country that represents itself to the world as a great global power and a country to which many in the West are bootlicking. Alas, we forget over and over again, though not all politicians, but many and regrettably many of our politicians in top positions that the economy in a democratic environment would develop as well as that of the present regime. Therefore, I strongly believe that the main argument used by today’s politicians for remaining silent is pointless. The Chinese economy is not booming because of the present regime, a dictatorial regime that holds power, but it is booming because of the countries potentials and worth. The potential and worth of China can be seen in its art by just looking at the pictures of this exhibition.

The goal of our human rights organisation is to bring this to the forefront and make people aware of this. Therefore, we are very pleased about such exhibitions, which brings to the forefront in a different format the shocking happenings for the people to see.

Our intention as a human right organisation is to show this persecution and murder and make the international society aware of it. Therefore we are pleased that there are such exhibitions that will show another truth of China to the media. We are used to seeing torture pictures, in black and white, of bad quality, dull picture, which despite all give us an impression of what is going on. This today’s exhibition is totally different from anything we have seen before, and helps us to show our dismay.
Thank you for allowing me to speak to you.

Originally published in German at: http://www.clearharmony.de/articles/200606/32020.html

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