Statement at Press Conference – 3rd July 2007
Today’s announcement of the start of a human rights torch relay from Athens next month is a highly significant moment in the struggle to free Falun Gong practitioners from the chains of persecution.
No world event symbolises peace and harmony amongst the people of the world more than the Olympic Games. Besides the significance of Greece being the site of the first Olympics, both ancient and modern, it also hosted the last games in 2004, when all nations of the world were united in the spirit of fair play.
If China is allowed to host the next Olympics without first ending its morally corrupt human rights abuses, especially the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, it will be a sad indictment on the moral standards of the world as a whole.
We know that China has invested huge amounts of resources into ensuring, as far as they can, that their athletes, rowers, and particularly swimmers, will virtually sweep the medal board next year, and promote China as a world force not only in sport, but also in terms of its economy.
We believe that China has no moral right to take the credit for these achievements while at the same time torturing thousands of prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong practitioners in prisons and labour camps. These two diametrically opposed positions cannot be allowed to coexist, and so we call upon the Chinese government to end the persecution immediately and to release all those practitioners currently held in prison.
John Dee (Vice-Chair)
3rd July 2007
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