Saratoga, CA issued Falun Dafa Week proclamation last year. Here we come across the following in the "Letters & Opinions" Section of "SARATOGA NEWS".

[January 10, 2001] Falun Gong proclamation protested by consulate

I recently read that the mayor of Alhambra, succumbed to pressure from the Chinese government and apologized for his proclamation recognizing Falun Gong (San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 12). On Nov. 15 while still mayor, I issued a similar proclamation on behalf of the people of Saratoga, and shortly thereafter was contacted by the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco requesting a meeting.

On Dec. 15 the city manager and I met with the Chinese representatives at city hall. They were not pleased with my proclamation, and among other things, handed me a letter from the Chinese Consul requesting that I rescind the proclamation.

My proclamation simply stated the health and psychological benefits of Falun Gong, and that practitioners of Falun Gong should have the right to freely assemble anywhere in the world. Interestingly, the People's Republic of China was the only country to take exception to my proclamation.

In fact, not only has the Chinese government banned Falun Gong, it has yet to provide the rest of the world answers to serious allegations of brutality and torture of Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong.

In both 1996 and last November, I was elected to the council with a strong record of support for participatory democracy. I have opened up the process at city hall by making our government accessible to all citizens. Whether Falun Gong is a cult, as the Chinese government asserts, is not the issue here. The issue is the systematic attempt by a foreign government to interfere with the exercise of free speech in our country through intimidation.

My proclamation was an affirmation of the basic human right to peaceably assemble, which is a fundamental building block of a strong democracy. It was offered in the same spirit as my proclamation honoring Family Week, which, coincidentally, was also issued on Nov. 15.

Instead of tracking all the various proclamations in support of Falun Gong and attempting to intimidate the elected officials who issued them, the Chinese government should be seriously studying our democracy and borrowing its strengths to apply at home. It might begin with the right to peaceably assemble and freedom of speech.

Stan Bogosian,

Council member [former mayor of the City of Saratoga]

[January 17, 2001] Bogosian supports rights people to express beliefs

Several weeks ago, Saratoga Mayor Stan Bogosian issued a resolution supporting the rights of Falun Gong practitioners to peaceably assemble and to exercise their free speech wherever they live. In the Jan. 10 issue of the Saratoga News, Bogosian told us of the attempts by the Communist Chinese government to get him to withdraw his resolution on the Falun Gong.

I am pleased Bogosian informed us about his visit from the Chinese government and their systematic program to put pressure on cities to withdraw similar Falun Gong resolutions. I also appreciate Stan's spirit in standing up and supporting the rights of all people to peaceably assemble and express their beliefs.

For those interested, the Falun Gong resolution is available to the public by calling the Saratoga city clerk at 408.868.1269.

Jack Mallory

Former Saratoga City Councilman

[January 24, 2001] Falun Gong proclamation human rights statement

In response to the letter from City Councilman and former Mayor Stan Bogosian in the January 10 issue of the Saratoga News, it was a great pleasure to read of Stan's proclamation recognizing Falun Gong in China on behalf of the people of Saratoga!

Saratoga has an international presence, in a sense, with its sister city relationship with Muko-shi, Japan. However, I hadn't imagined a way for our city to make a statement on an international human rights issue before now. Stan has done just that, and I applaud him for doing so.

His action is an example of a way to "think globally, act locally." Our right to freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment is indeed something we must cherish.

Brian Berg