On April 25, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament, held an international hearing at the European Parliament. The hearing was concerned with religious freedom in China and the ten-year persecution of Falun Gong.
Those taking part in the hearing included Zhang Erping, Falun Dafa spokesperson, David Matas, human rights lawyer, Will Fautre, Chair of Human Rights Without Frontiers, Ethan Gutmann, author of the book Losing the New China, Zhong Weiguang, expert on totalitarianism, and Li Fengzhi, a former espionage agent from the China National Security Bureau.
|Hearing in the European Parliament on religious freedom in China and the ten-year persecution of Falun Gong|
|From left to right, Zhang Erping, Ethan Gutmann, Edward McMillan-Scott, David Matas, Will Fautre, Zhong Weiguang|
Edward McMillan-Scott has been very concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong. In 2006, he went to China to investigate the facts of the persecution and met with practitioners Cao Dong and Niu Jinping in Beijing. The two practitioners are still unlawfully imprisoned in China as a result of this meeting.
Mr. McMillan-Scott condemned the brutality of the Chinese authority and stated his stance on religious freedom in China. "To be precise, from then until today, I have been working on religious freedom in China. I am not religious but I grew up in a Roman Catholic family. I strongly believe everyone should have the right to believe in a religion and this is indeed what is written in China's Constitution. Unfortunately, freedom and independent religion are persecuted in China. The paranoid, brutal and arbitrary regime only allows certain religion and excludes others."
One reason for holding the hearing was that ten years ago in April, Falun Gong, a popular qigong practised by tens of millions of people in China caught the attention of the authorities. The brutal persecution of Falun Gong later started. At least three thousand practitioners have died from torture and abuse and tens of thousands have been imprisoned.
After the hearing, Mr. McMillan-Scott said that in 1942, a young Polish man, Jan Karski told people in the United States about what the Gestapo was doing in the concentration camps. Justice Franfurter, after listening to his testimony, said, "I did not say this young man is lying. I said I am unable to believe him. There is a difference." This is what is happening to Falun Gong in China.
The European Parliament has been most concerned about human rights in China. In February 2001, the Parliament passed a resolution on freedom of religion in China. In the resolution, it condemns China's violation of Falun Gong practitioners' rights to religious freedom and calls for the PRC government to allow Falun Gong practitioners to practice their fundamental right to freedom of conscience, expression, association and assembly in accordance with the PRC constitution. In September 2006, the Parliament passed a resolution to condemn the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners. The Parliament is especially concerned about the forced removal of organs from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, for sale for lucrative transplantation surgeries. It called for the Chinese government to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong and release imprisoned practitioners.
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