Ireland: Initiation of the "Rescue Our Family and Friends in China" Campaign on International Human Rights Day (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) December 10 is International Human Rights Day. At 1:00 p.m., Ireland Friends of Falun Gong, Amnesty International and Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference and peaceful gathering in front of the Ireland parliament building to call upon the international community to pay attention to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. They also appealed to the Irish government to help rescue family and friends in China, including two Chinese students so that they may return to Ireland to continue their studies in Dublin.
|Dai Dongxue narrates the persecution her family members suffered in China|
|Senator David Norris||Ms. Rosemary Warner, representative of the Dublin Central Amnesty International|
|The assistant principal at Senior College Dun Laoghaire, Mr. Gerard Craughwell||Mr. Gerald O'Conner, spokesman of Ireland Falun Dafa Association|
Two Chinese students, Mr. Liu Feng and Ms. Yang Fang, were refused by China to go back to Ireland to complete their studies. The schools where the two students were studying at sent representatives to support the appeal. The assistant principal at Senior College Dun Laoghaire, Mr. Gerard Craughwell, said in his speech, "We have no political opinions; however, as a caring College our interest is to ensure that our student is returned to complete studies with the college. Obviously as a professional teacher working in this area, I would have an interest in the overall welfare of the student, not just her educational welfare." These two Falun Gong practitioners, who were studying in Ireland, were detained in China for going there to to appeal for Falun Gong in 1999. Their passports were taken away, making them unable to go back to Ireland. In June of this year, they obtained their passports and Irish visa. However, Ms. Yang Fang was intercepted while boarding a flight to Ireland and her passport was taken away again. Mr. Liu Feng was arrested for no reason while shopping before picking up his visa. He is still imprisoned in Yaojia Detention Center, Dalian City, Liaoning Province. No relatives have been allowed to visit him.
Ireland Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Dai Dongxue narrated the brainwashing and persecution that her two sisters, her brother and herself suffered in China. Ms. Dai was detained for one week at the end of 1999 for returning China to appeal for Falun Gong. Later she was deported to Ireland. Her third elder sister Dai Qiuxia was sentenced to a three-year term in forced labour camp in December 2001. Her second elder sister Dai Xialing jumped from the third floor of a building while being pursued by police. Her back was injured, but a kind-hearted neighbour rescued her. She was forced to stay away from home for over half a year, until she was arrested and sent to labour camp in August in 2001. Her mother could not bear the pressure of her children being persecuted and passed away in October of last year. Ms. Dai Dongxue's two sisters were not allowed to even attend their mother's funeral. Ms. Dai Dongxue could not return to China to attend the funeral because the Chinese Embassy in Dublin refused to renew her passport. One of her sisters was released in September of this year, but the other is still being imprisoned in labour camp.
Senator David Norris and Ms. Rosemary Warner, a representative of the Dublin Central Amnesty International, made speeches. Senator David Norris highly praised Irish Falun Gong practitioners for not forgetting family and friends being persecuted in China. He expressed his concern about the persecution of Falun Gong in China and that he could not understand why the Jiang regime is afraid of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance." Ms. Rosemary Warner expressed her concern about the two Chinese students, especially Liu Feng, that are being imprisoned in labor camp. Both of the speakers also expressed apprehension about Article 23 in Hong Kong and the possible effect it may have if it is implemented. They said the proposed legislation is to restrict human rights under the name of law and to ban groups like Falun Gong in the future.
Mr. O'Conner, spokesperson for Ireland Falun Dafa Association, made a speech and called on the Irish government to understand the severity of the persecution of Falun Gong in China and to continue its efforts to rescuing practitioners like Zhao Ming. He appealed to the Irish government to represent the Irish people to help end the persecution and rescue the two Chinese students.
Ms. Elizabeth Drew, former member of the "Friends of Zhao Ming" rescue team and former President of the Graduate Students Association in Trinity College, Dublin, is also participating the rescue campaign.