(Clearwisdom.net) Statement from Friends of Falun Gong dated June 13, 2002:

Friends of Falun Gong USA expresses its utter disappointment in the recent actions taken by the government of Iceland to bar persons who practice Falun Gong from entering the country and holding peaceful demonstrations to bring attention to President Jiang Zemin's human rights abuses in China. Jiang is currently visiting Iceland.

So far, at least 70 Falun Gong practitioners were detained upon arrival in Iceland and denied entry. On June 11, IcelandAir began screening passengers in U.S., European, and Australian airports, prohibiting them from boarding if their names appeared on a blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners supplied by the Chinese government. Thanks to the support of the Icelandic people, however, the detained persons were released and allowed to enter the country, but travel to Iceland is still restricted as far as we know.

We can only surmise that the reason behind this unprecedented action on the part of Iceland's officials is the intense pressure exerted on this country by Jiang Zemin and his entourage. It is not uncommon for China to use economic leverage to avoid criticism of its horrendous human rights record. Chinese authorities are known to have used this approach at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Alan Adler, Executive Director of Friends of Falun Gong USA, stated, "It's sad to see a small democratic nation such as Iceland be bullied by a large communist nation such as China. The pressure on them must be huge. We hope they will turn around."

Falun Gong is a peaceful practice whose founder is a 3-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Even in the horrible environment of China's detention centers and labor camps, where they are abused and tortured, Falun Gong practitioners have not used violence in retaliation for the injustice served them. Those outside of China have staged peaceful appeals around the world to raise public awareness regarding these human rights violations and are often praised by police for their compliance with the laws and their gentle nature.

Friends of Falun Gong USA has received numerous messages from Icelandic citizens expressing their outrage at their government's recent actions. Many have said that they will raise the banner for human rights in the place of the Falun Gong practitioners who have been prevented from doing so. "Human rights have no borders!" exclaimed one Icelandic student. Icelandic human rights organizations and other NGOs have also offered their support in making sure that Falun Gong's message of peace, tolerance, and freedom of belief is delivered to the visiting Chinese president this week. Mr. Adler commented, "Friends of Falun Gong would like to express its sincere thanks to the people and the media of Iceland for their support. It has been truly heartening to see them stand up for others' freedom. Ultimately, in fact, it's about their own freedom."

Friends of Falun Gong USA