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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arctic Host, Icy Visit: China and Falun Gong Face Off in Iceland

by Herman Salton - Book Description

In July 1999, when the Chinese Government declared war on a peaceful spiritual movement called Falun Gong, few expected that a showdown would be taking place in one of the most remote countries in the world. Yet when President Jiang Zemin paid an official visit to Iceland in June 2002, the heart of the harsh struggle between these two antagonists moved to the Arctic. In contrast to the violence of the anti-Falun Gong campaign in China, one would have expected democratic Iceland to be even-handed and to allow peaceful protests against Mr Jiang. But the host was in no mood to tolerate dissent: it banned Falun Gong practitioners from the country; used a secret blacklist to identify actual and presumed members of the spiritual movement; ordered the national airline to deny them passage; and arrested those who managed to slip through the net. This book analyzes these little-known yet extraordinary events and argues that they are only one example of the multiple ways in which a rising China successfully manages to export its authoritarian methods abroad. For Beijing, the world has become a stage on which its battle against internal dissent is mercilessly waged.

About the Author

Herman Salton, PhD, was educated at the Universities of Trento (Italy), Auckland (New Zealand) and Oxford (UK). Dr Salton was also briefly a visiting researcher at Sciences-Po Paris and TUJ Tokyo; an officer at the Icelandic Human Rights Centre, Reykjavik, and an associate with the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Headquarters, New York. He is the author of 'Veiled Threats: Islam, Headscarves and Religious Freedom in America and France' (2008) and 'Arctic Host, Icy Visit: The Chinese President Visits Iceland" (2010). He is currently working on a third book ('Dangerous Diplomacy: Anatomy of the UN Failure in Rwanda') on the role of the United Nations during the Rwandan genocide. He is fluent in English, Italian, Spanish and French. He lives and works in the United Kingdom


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