Quebec Government Unanimously Passes Motion Supporting Falun Dafa Practitioners
On the 9th of April 2002, the Quebec National Assembly -- the provincial government of Quebec, second most populous province of Canada -- unanimously passed a motion supporting Falun Dafa practitioners' right to practice Falun Gong in a free and dignified manner. The motion is presented below, and following it is a transcript of the meeting minutes that led up to the adoption of the motion.
Mr. Bordeleau (Acadie) moved:
THAT the National Assembly, in its concern about the Chinese Government's actions with regard to those who practice Falun Dafa, invite the Canadian Government to increase its representations to the Chinese officials in order that they respect section 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulating the respect of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
By leave of the Assembly under Standing Order 84, a debate arose thereon.
The debate being concluded, the motion was passed.
Mr. Bordeleau: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. Now, Mr. President, I solicit consent from the members of the National Assembly to present the following unannounced motion:
"That the National Assembly of Quebec, concerned by the actions of the Chinese government towards Falun Dafa practitioners, invites the Canadian government to increase its dialogue with the Chinese authorities to the effect that they respect Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stipulating the respect for freedoms of thought, conscience, and religion."
Vice-President (Mr. Beaulne): Thank you, member. Is there consent to debate this motion?
Mr. Boisclair: There is consent, Mr. President. One statement representing each side.
Vice-President (Mr. Beaulne): Go ahead, then, member.
Mr. Bordeleau: Thank you, Mr. President. Well, several days before Easter, Mr. President, the practitioners of Falun Dafa held a press conference in front of the Quebec parliament, with the aim of denouncing the repressive actions of the [Jiang regime] towards them, and also to solicit the support of Quebecers. It is in this spirit that the National Assembly of Quebec is called upon today to debate on this motion.
Falun Gong, also known under the name Falun Dafa, is a meditation and exercise practice with teachings based on the universal principles of "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private over thousands of years before being brought into the public in 1992. Falun Gong thus has deep roots in the traditional Chinese culture, yet it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the Buddhist and Taoist religions.
Since its introduction in 1992, Falun Gong has spread very rapidly across China and is now practiced in over 50 countries. According to certain estimates, there were over 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China. Disturbed by the size of the movement, the [Jiang regime] banned this peaceful practice in 1999. Unable to crush the spirit of millions of people who had come to know better health and positive changes in their lives thanks to Falun Gong, the regime intensified its propaganda campaign aimed at turning public opinion against this practice, and in imprisoning, torturing and even killing its [practitioners].
The Falun Dafa Information Center estimates that over 375 people have died in China since the beginning of the persecution against Falun Dafa, that is, since 1999. Over 10,000 practitioners have been arrested and more than 20,000 were sentenced without trial to sentences in forced-labor camps, among these certain Canadian citizens of Chinese origin, notably Mr. Shenli Lin who has just been released after over 18 months of imprisonment, thanks to, among others, the dialogue of the Canadian governmental authorities.
Amnesty International has had the opportunity on many occasions to express its concerns regarding the treatment reserved for Falun Dafa practitioners. In a recent statement, Amnesty International mentioned, and I quote, "Dozens of people suspected of being [practitioners] of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have been detained, during the strengthening of security in the city of Changchun." Amnesty International believes that there are serious risks of torture or abusive treatment.
As to the American President, Mr. George W. Bush, he recently wrote to a member of Congress, Mr. Ben Gillman, that there is no justification for the brutal repression of Falun Gong, and that his administration would do all that is possible to advance the cause of human rights in China.
This attitude, Mr. President, is the same as that adopted by the Canadian governmental authorities who do not miss a single opportunity in raising this unacceptable situation during each of the meetings with the Chinese government. Moreover, this movement has also received the support of numerous Canadian political authorities, notably the Governor-General of Canada, Ms. Adrienne Clarkson; the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Ms. Lise Thibault; federal MPs Mr. Herb Gray, Ms. Anne McLellan, Stephane Dion, Sheila Copps; of the Alberta Prime Minister Mr. Ralph Klein. What's more, some members of this Assembly have recently met with and been informed about the repression and the discrimination that Falun Dafa practitioners are living through in China.
This is, thus, Mr. President, the reason why the Quebec National Assembly is called upon today to show, in the context of respect for fundamental human rights, its solidarity and its support to all of our fellow citizens who practice Falun Dafa, whether they are in Quebec or elsewhere in the world. Thank you, Mr. President.