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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baird's trip to China coincides with 13th year of persecution of Falun Gong

Ottawa – As Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visits China during the 13th anniversary marking the start of the violent state-sanctioned repression of Falun Gong, the Falun Dafa Association of Canada joined by the Hon. David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia–Pacific), and Mr. Lizhi He, torture survivor and former prisoner of conscience, held a press conference on Parliament Hill earlier today. The message was clear—to urge Minister Baird to seek end to the Chinese regime’s atrocities against Falun Gong.  Mr. He’s brother, Lizhong He, is one of the eight Canadian family members imprisoned in China now and is currently serving a 3-year jail term.

“We believe it is the best opportunity for our Foreign Affairs Minister to make a statement on the rights of Falun Gong practitioners during his visit to make Canada’s position on human rights and religious freedom clear.  We appeal to Minister Baird to call for an end to the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, which remains the largest scale modern-day atrocity against a group of innocent people for their spiritual belief in Truth-Compassion-Forbearance” said Lucy Zhou, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.  “With a stronger voice to end the persecution of Falun Gong at the transition of the leadership in China, our voice to support justice now can make a huge impact on the future of China that should take pride in placing herself on the right side of history.”

“I hope Minister Baird will extend his helping hand to Falun Gong practitioners, including my brother Lihong He and other seven imprisoned Canadian family members”, said Lizhi He, who spent 3.5 years in a Chinese prison for practicing Falun Gong and was later rescued to Canada and re-united with his wife in 2003.

According to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Mr. Nowak, while “torture is systematic and widespread,” Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody. The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released last month stated “Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-through-labor camps, while the real number could be even higher.”

Hon. David Kilgour and David Matas, renowned human rights lawyer, released an investigation report in 2006 revealing that a large-scale organ harvest of practitioners is happening in China and described it as a “new form of evil on this planet”.

The then-UN special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak and UN special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom both questioned the Chinese party-state about the issue.  “Nowak concluded in March 2007 that the chain of evidence Matas and I were documenting provided a ‘coherent picture that causes concern’. In late 2008, the UN Committee against Torture indicated its concern and called for further investigation.” said Kilgour. “We are at an historical moment, when the Chinese people as a whole and some Chinese leaders appear to be seeking to end the persecution of Falun Gong, the international voices of elected officials such as John Baird can be extremely important.”
  
More: Canada Free Press

Related:

Baird’s Visit to China Rare Chance to Push Rights, Says Group

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