Ottawa Practitioners Call For Public Apology to Falun Gong Practitioners in Hong Kong and Withdrawal of Charges
[Editor's note: This report was written before the verdict.]
On March 14, 2002, Falun Gong practitioners in Canada and Hong Kong participated in similar appeals involving sit-ins and hunger strikes, in order to raise awareness about the persecution and put an end to the Jiang regime's order to "kill without pardon." Although similar in purpose, form, and execution, these peaceful appeals were received quite differently.
In Canada, many members of Parliament and their staff members were deeply touched by the peaceful appeal and hunger strike by over one hundred Falun Gong practitioners. They condemned the persecution against people who practice "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance" and the order to "kill without pardon." Many members of Parliament came to support or sent letters of support. High-ranking officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with Falun Gong practitioners to express the support of the Canadian government to Falun Gong and the concern of the Canadian government towards the persecution.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, while appealing peacefully and legally on the same day, 16 practitioners were arrested due to pressure from the Chinese Liaison Office. For putting aside their self-interest in the name of safeguarding "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance," the practitioners were falsely accused of "obstructing traffic" and "assaulting police" by a handful of Jiang's followers.
"Such sharp contrast shows what it truly means to be a democratic country," a practitioner from Ottawa pointed out, "Ignoring the persecution of Falun Gong by Jiang's regime is already regrettable, but even more unforgivable is to follow Jiang in persecuting those who cultivate 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.' Hong Kong should make a wise choice on something that directly impacts their future."
Several members of Parliament expressed their disappointment at the Hong Kong incident and called on the Canadian government to issue a statement regarding the persecution of Falun Gong by Jiang's regime. They expressed their willingness to work with Falun Gong practitioners to end the persecution. Mr. Svend J Robinson, MP, said in a letter to the Minister of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "As video evidence clearly attests, the demonstration was small, unobtrusive, and completely non-violent. And yet the police used violence in disrupting the event and taking the participants away." Mr. Robinson also asked that the Canadian government communicate with the Hong Kong government to express deep concerns of the Canadian people for the protection of the democratic freedoms of the defendants, and of all people in Hong Kong.
A Canadian NGO has utilized its web site (http://dawn.thot.net/fofg/actionalert2.html) to collect signatures for a petition letter requesting withdrawal of the irrational charges, which will be sent to the government of Hong Kong.
The supporters of Falun Gong in the Ottawa area held an appeal in front of the Chinese Embassy on Tuesday, the evening of August 13. They held a press conference with members of Parliament at Parliament Hill on the morning of August 14. They sent out an urgent appeal to Hong Kong, demanding the withdrawal of the politically motivated charges filed in response to pressure from Jiang's regime, and public apologies to the 16 innocent Falun Gong practitioners.