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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Falun Gong adherents barred from 2008 Olympics

Press Release: CIPFG
Press Release 22-11-07 For Immediate Release

CIPFG Condemns Beijing’s Olympic Ban
Falun Gong adherents barred from 2008 Summer Olympics

Scoop (Vancouver Island, Canada) On November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, News Director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, responded to Western criticism of religious restrictions made by Beijing, saying that the Chinese communist regime would allow athletes and tourists to bring religious objects for self-use during the Olympics.

However, this policy would not apply to Falun Gong practitioners: "Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden," and, "Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China." (AP)

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) is distressed at this policy which is in direct violation of article 5 of the Olympic Charter, which states that: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

As well, Article 36 of China’s own constitution declares that citizens "enjoy freedom of religious belief," and that, "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."

This lack of transparency in terms of regulations is posing serious obstacles to Falun Gong practitioners and other religious groups.

Not only does this latest order further demonstrate the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to fulfill its promise made in 2001 to the IOC of improving human rights in China, but also it is clear proof that any hope of bringing improvement to Chinese human rights through the Olympics is a hope not shared by the Beijing Government.

For instance, in April 2007, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Service issued a black list barring ‘antagonistic elements’ from attending the Games including adherents of Falun Gong, religious infiltrators and others.

Clive Ansley, Canada President of CIPFG said: “Li Zhanjun's response demonstrates that the Chinese government's policy of persecuting Falun Gong and its practitioners continues unabated. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overtly extended the regime's persecution of Falun Gong to the Olympics - a most noble institution that is respected worldwide. Such abuse and discrimination against the followers of a peaceful spiritual teaching not only trash the Olympic Spirit, but also constitute a spurning of fundamental morality and ethics in the international society. Having called upon the world not to politicize the Olympics, this is clear evidence that the CCP itself is doing so.”

The CIPFG calls on:

• the IOC to face up to and stop Beijing's severe breach of the Olympic Charter, re-consider the eligibility of the Communist regime to stage the Olympic Games, given the steadily worsening human rights situation in China today, and discuss the possibility of holding the Olympics in another nation;

• the international community and athletes from around the world to condemn Beijing’s trashing of the Olympic spirit and its scorn for the Olympic Charter;

• the Chinese regime to stop using the Olympics as a cover for launching a crackdown on peaceful people of faith both in China and abroad and to halt the persecution of Falun Gong and all Chinese citizens.

“The whole world is about to learn what religious repression ‘made in China’ means. Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as 'illegal' is a clumsy attempt to justify a program of government sanctioned violence and persecution, ” Ansley said, adding that there is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China.”

For more information, please visit: http://humanrightstorch.org

New Zealand CIPFG members include: Carole Curtis, Barrister and Solicitor; Richard McLeod, Barrister and Solicitor; Dr Cathy Casey Auckland City Councillor; Barry Wilson, Barrister and former President of the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties; Heval Hylan, International human rights lawyer; Pan Qing, Democracy advocate.

"The Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China" CIPFG - the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China

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