Toronto Practitioners Hold Press Conference in Front of Icelandic Consulate and Call on Icelandic Government to Respect Human Rights (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) At 1:00 p.m. on June 13, 2002, Toronto practitioners held a press conference outside the Icelandic Consulate regarding Canadian citizens being barred from boarding flights to Iceland and called on the Icelandic government to respect human rights.
Canadian citizens were barred from boarding IcelandAir flights in the US and Europe because their names were on a "blacklist" provided by Chinese government. Multiple Canadian citizens were also barred from boarding flights to Iceland in London, Paris, Oslo (Norway) and Copenhagen (Denmark) airports.
Enclosure: Press Release
Apparent Lift on Ban Proves Untrue as Hundreds of Icelanders Join Falun Gong Practitioners in Appeal to Icelandic Leadership
TORONTO, June 13, 2002 - IcelandAir continues to screen passengers, including Canadians, who have been blocked from boarding their flights because their names appear on a list of Falun Gong practitioners provided to airlines by the Chinese government. This action comes as Chinese President Jiang Zemin is scheduled to arrive on a visit to Iceland.
After pressure from Members of the European Parliament, U.S. Congressmen and many Icelandic people who are outraged by their government's action, the Icelandic government made an announcement to the media that the ban had been lifted. However, since the announcement was made, Falun Gong practitioners, including ten Canadians, as well as Americans, Europeans and Australians have been refused boarding on planes heading to Iceland. Two Canadians on connecting flights from London, England, five in Copenhagen, two in Oslo and one in France have been denied boarding due to their names appearing on the blacklist.
Who Compiled this International List of Falun Gong Practitioners?
Falun Gong has no membership, participation is voluntary and free with no obligation of any kind and there are no lists of practitioners. This leads one to ask how the names of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world have been compiled and put on this "blacklist" provided to IcelandAir by the Chinese government. Canadian practitioners from all walks of life have been denied boarding because the Chinese government has somehow gathered private information about their personal spiritual beliefs and have documented their names on this list.
IcelandAir officials in Europe report their orders came directly from Iceland's Minister of Justice. It is doubtless that the Icelandic government is under immense pressure from China to bar Falun Gong practitioners from entering Iceland during Chinese president Jiang Zemin's visit.
Questioned About Spiritual Belief
Many practitioners who arrived in Iceland days prior to IcelandAir's use of the blacklists reported being questioned about their spiritual beliefs, and said they were asked to sign papers after boarding their flights indicating whether or not they are Falun Gong practitioners. They were also instructed to sign affidavits stating that they would not hold IcelandAir accountable for anything that the Icelandic Government might do to them upon arriving in Iceland.
Customs officials inside Iceland have employed blacklists over the past four days to screen and detain Falun Gong practitioners who arrive in Iceland.