Belgium: Global Human Rights Torch Relay Reaches Brussels

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After its launch in Athens, the Human Rights Torch arrived in Brussels on the 28th of September 2007 after passing through over ten cities in Europe. The torch will continue its journey to other European cities. Belgian senators, athletes, representatives from human rights organisations and citizens gathered at Schunman Square near the European Union to greet the arrival of the Human Rights Torch and witness this historic moment.

The Human Rights Torch Reaches Brussels.

Member of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) and Belgian Senator Patrick van Krunkelsven personally made phone calls to hospitals in China last year to confirm the existence of the atrocity of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. Later the Senator initiated a bill forbidding Belgian citizens to have organ transplants in China. He thinks that the Olympic Games symbolise many beautiful things such as equality and cooperation between people around the whole world. But it is being used by the Chinese Communist regime to put on a false show of harmony. The Olympic Games is a great opportunity to let the people of the world see clearly that in China there is no democracy, no freedom of speech, no freedom of belief and no freedom of culture. The Human Rights Torch Relay aims to show these to the world and to support people who strive to help China’s current situation.

Belgian Senator and member of CIPFG Patrick van Krunkelsven

Bea Dialllo is a six times winner of the international boxing competition in the middleweight class. He is now a member of Belgian Parliament for the French-speaking area. Today he attended the Human Rights Torch Relay as an athlete. He said that from a very young age he wanted to contribute to human rights and justice. The Olympic Games is to be held in China: “The Olympic spirit is to have a fair competition for athletes from all continents. When mentioning China, we mostly talked about its economical development. Many people went there to invest. Reports in the media also said China is developing and is formidable. But behind these things, the first thing we must request is that people have to have dignity. Human rights are seriously abused there. We must use the opportunity of the Olympic Games to expose these things and hope that the human rights situation there can be improved. Today I stand here as an athlete, not as a political figure because my athletic career helped me to understand that human rights is the most important thing. I am willing to become an Ambassador for guarding human rights. Today I want to use the opportunity of the Olympic Games to help improve human rights in China because many innocent people are being killed there.”

Belgian MP and boxing champion Bea Dialllo.

Representatives from the renowned human rights organisation “Human Rights without Borders”, whose headquarter is located in Brussels, appealed to the Belgian Prime Minister and Royal family, European Parliament and various organisations to reject the invitation by Beijing to attend the 2008 Olympics. A representative said, “This regime does not respect human rights, does not allow freedom of association and does not allow its citizens to have freedom of speech and belief. It does not allow political diversification and a multi party political system.”

Some politicians and NGOs who couldn’t attend the activity sent letters to express their support, including Belgian senator and Head of CIPFG’s Belgium branch Jan Loones, renowned human rights lawyer George Henry and the Olympic Judo silver medallist Gella Vandecaveye, President of the Animal Protection Association Michel Vandenbosch.

Starting from Brussels, participants of the Human Rights Torch Relay will wear the yellow ribbon to appeal to rescue the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng who was secretly arrested by the Chinese Communist regime recently.

At the 12:45, the torch for the Ambassador of the Human Rights Relay was first ignited, and he then ignited the torches of the other four Ambassadors. The five burning torches symbolise peace, justice and freedom in five continents. Lead by ambassadors of the human rights torch relay, several dozen people held banners and ran to the busiest part of the Brussels city centre at the Stock Market Exchange.

Participants of Human Rights Torch Relay.

The Human Rights Torch attracted many people at the Stock Market Exchange Square. Many of them joined the activity by wearing symbols of the Human Rights Torch and yellow ribbons. The also signed the petition to show their support.

After Brussels, three more cities in Belgium will greet the arrival of the Human Rights Torch. They are Antwerp, Ostend and St. Nicolas. It will then be passed to The Hague in Holland.

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