How the Chinese Consulate in Italy Has Violated the Civil Rights, Laws and Sovereignty of Italy
(Clearwisdom.net, November 24, 2003) In Italy, reports have indicated that Chinese consulate officials have been instigating public hatred towards Falun Gong practitioners. Practitioners are being threatened and harassed. As overseas nationals and residents, practitioners' legal activities have also been interfered with by the Chinese consulate. Apart from this, the Chinese consulate has imposed pressure on foreign organizations and communities. The following are some cases in this regard.
1. Spreading Slanderous Propaganda Within the Community, the Chinese Consulate and Chinese Embassy
On December the 14th, 2001, a photo exhibition to defame Falun Dafa was displayed in the Chinese Embassy in Rome. The exhibition was organized by two Roman-registered newspapers Xinhua Shibao and Ouhua Shibao. The ambassador, Cheng Wendong also delivered a speech defaming Falun Gong at the exhibition.
In March, 2002, another photo exhibition to defame Falun Dafa was held in the Chinese consulate in Milan.
2. Slanderous Propaganda Through the Media
On December the 18th, 2001, Xinhua Shibao and Ouhua Shibao reported on the defamatory photo exhibition that was held in the Chinese consulate in Rome. In the reports that were displayed on their front pages, the Chinese officials' slanderous remarks against Falun Gong were quoted in their entirety.
3. Tapping Phone Lines and Threatening Practitioners
Around March 2002, a Chinese Falun Gong practitioner in Italy received two calls from a male with a Chinese accent, saying, 300,000 Chinese in Italy will never spare you. Be careful of your life.
Another practitioner also received a call from a male with a Chinese accent, scolding him and warning him to be careful.
4. Harassment of Practitioners and Physical Attacks
The Chinese embassy in Milan had called the police many times, referring to Falun Gong practitioners that were peacefully demonstrating outside the embassy as dangerous people. The Italian police arrived to investigate and came to the conclusion that practitioners were only holding a peaceful demonstration.
On November 10, 2001, when practitioners were demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises amongst the Chinese community in Milan, some Chinese consulate officials were sitting in a Chinese restaurant near the practice site. All of a sudden, several of the restaurant staff came out to clean the windows and asked the practitioners to move. The restaurant staff then poured dirty water on the street in an attempt to prevent the exercise demonstration. As a result of this, the restaurant staff was fined by the police. A reliable source stated that a staff member of the Chinese consulate bullied the proprietor of the Chinese restaurant into this. Chinese consulate officials together with some others also took photos of practitioners and recorded their conversations with the passersby. During a ten-minute absence of the police, one man who called himself the Chairman of the chamber of commerce hysterically attempted to expel the practitioners from the place they were demonstrating. The same source reported that this person was paid to do what he did. After the police came back, the alleged chairman just vanished mysteriously.
On the afternoon of November the 28, 2001, practitioners were demonstrating the exercises when the owner of the Chinese restaurant called the Italian police. The police confirmed that the practitioners were guaranteed permission by the Milan Police Station to practice the exercises there, and they stayed near the practice site to protect the practitioners until they had finished. Later, the owner of the Chinese restaurant admitted that Chinese consulate officials pressured him into calling the police. One of the policemen said that on one weekend night he received a phone call from an official of the Chinese consulate, saying that overseas Chinese people had complained to the consulate about the practitioners' exercise demonstration. The policeman said that the Chinese consulate official was called Liang Haitao.
On March 25, 2002, Liang Haitao (who has since returned to China) denied two practitioners' applications for passport renewals, refused to write certificates for practitioners and refused to return their application forms, which had photos attached.
5. Italian Government Pressured into Interfering with Falun Gong Activities
In May 2002, during Li Langing's visit to Florence, Italian practitioners were guaranteed permission to appeal by police. But under Chinese pressure, the Italian police asked practitioners to move to a place that was out of sight of the Chinese delegates.
6. Italian Administration Forced to Deny Falun Gong Practitioners Their Rights and Services
The Italian Avvenire Newspaper reported on May the 18, 2001: The New Religions Research Centre in Turin held a seminar on Falun Gong on Wednesday, May 16. On Tuesday afternoon, the Chinese consul in Milan visited the research centre in Turin and asked that the seminar be cancelled; the seminar, however, was held as scheduled.
7. Blacklist Used to Prevent Italian Falun Gong Practitioners From Traveling to Other Countries
On November the 13, 2001, two Italian practitioners arrived at the Chinese consulate in Milan to apply for a passport renewal, while another practitioner served as their translator. The consulate staff asserted that the two practitioners' cases were special, asked them to wait for a phone call from the consulate, and refused to answer any question about their respective cases. On December 14, 2001, they again went to the Chinese consulate to request additional information. Liang Haitao asked them to write a guarantee statement not to practice Falun Gong or else their applications for a passport renewal would be refused. Later, Liang called them, saying, "I can do nothing about it. My superior said that if you don't write the guarantee statement, your applications will be refused."
Alfredo Fava, a businessman and Falun Gong practitioner living in Biella, Italy used to run a company with 35 staff in Shanghai, China. His visa and residency permit were supposed to be valid for one year and was to expire in 2002. On October 8, 2001, after arriving at Pudong International Airport, he was stopped and detained by two customs officials in the customs office. Here a female official told him that he was not welcome in China. Mr. Fava was informed that he on the blacklist. His plane ticket was confiscated and the date of his return trip was changed; he was later deported back to Italy. On October 10, the Italian Stampa Newspaper reported: "Alfredo Fava, an Italian businessman, was expelled from China because he was a Falun Gong practitioner. On September 25th he participated in the National Mobilization Day activities in Italy organized by the Falun Dafa Association and the Radical Party that aimed to expose China's persecution against this non-violent movement.
On October 31st, Mr. Fava told the media: with the negotiations of Italian MPs, MEPs, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Italian embassy in Beijing, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified him via a written document that China had lifted the restriction on his entry to China. After that, Mr. Fava stayed in China for three weeks, during which time he was continually monitored and followed by a police car.
From April 15th 2002 to July 2002, the Chinese consulate in Milan denied Mr. Fava a visa three times.
The blacklist has produced the following results. First, because the Chinese consulate denied Mr. Fava a visa, he has been unable to run his business in China for 16 months. Secondly, the 610 Office [an organization specially set up to persecute Falun Gong] sent police to harass Mr. Fava's customers. As a result, the size of his business has dropped dramatically and Mr. Fava was forced to sell his company for a relatively low price.
8. Using the Internet to Interfere with practitioners
In 2000, Alfredo Fava received large amounts of junk mail, which rendered his e-mail account useless. Other Falun Gong practitioners have also been targeted with virus infected emails. These emails are doctored to appear as if they were sent by practitioners.
These examples show that China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have overstepped their boundaries and have violated the civil rights, law, and sovereignty of Italy. We hope that this information can help the public to understand the situation and serve as evidence for future legal action.