With hope for the Icelandic Government to Uphold Principles Falun Gong Practitioners File Ombudsman Complaint to Mark the Anniversary of the Unjust Ban
(June 11, 2003, Reykjavik) It has been a year since the Icelandic government barred the entry of Falun Gong practitioners into Iceland, marking the darkest days in Iceland's democratic history. This unjust action was most unfortunate, yet it is even more disheartening that it has not been corrected after one year, a year in which Falun Gong practitioners made numerous efforts to communicate with Icelandic authorities to uphold principles and request the restoration of justice.
But history will not forget.
History will not forget the Icelandic people's outpouring of kind and just support during the ban, especially the numerous apologies made on behalf of the citizens of Iceland to those adversely affected by the Icelandic government's decision. Neither will history forget one's admission of wrong and rectification of one's mistake. Falun Gong practitioners continue to wish for the best for Iceland and for the Icelandic government to demonstrate the strength and courage to take responsible action to uphold principles and restore justice.
Today, the Falun Gong -- Iceland Dialogue Committee (FIDC) filed a complaint to The Parliamentary Ombudsman concerning the Icelandic authorities' unjust actions towards Falun Gong practitioners to bar their entry to Iceland before and during the visit of former head of China Jiang Zemin to Iceland in June 2002.
To date, at least 231 Falun Gong practitioners adversely affected by the ban have been identified. Among them, 153 were denied boarding on Icelandair flights for which they had purchased tickets, over 75 were detained in Reykjavik, and 3 were deported. Coming from at least 10 countries, these practitioners were affected at 11 international airports in the U.S.A., U.K., Germany, France, Demark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.
A "blacklist" of names of Falun Gong practitioners was used to identify those to be barred from boarding flights to Iceland or barred from entering Iceland upon arrival. Together with the blacklist distribution was a letter from the Ministry of Justice that we consider to be defamatory toward Falun Gong and reminiscent of defamation spread by the Chinese regime to incite hatred against Falun Gong practitioners and justify the ruthless persecution that has persisted for nearly four years.
Despite the horrific persecution and malicious defamation by Jiang's regime, Falun Gong is well-recognized and commended around the world. Its principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" continues to shine, the hearts of Falun Gong practitioners remain strong, and their peacefulness, kindness and unwavering courage have withstood the most brutal atrocities committed by Jiang Zemin's regime.
A year ago, at least 447 Falun Gong practitioners had already died of torture while in custody in China. To date the confirmed death toll is 720, with internal Chinese government statistics of more than 1600. Tens of thousands are suffering atrocities in detention centres and labour camps across China day after day. We can only emphasize that China's dictator Jiang Zemin, the guest of the Icelandic government a year ago, is the person directly responsible for ordering their torture and killing. The persecution is condemned by governments, international organizations, and people of conscience worldwide.
On their own time and using their own funds, when Jiang visited Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland, and Lithuania last June, practitioners of Falun Gong around the world individually decided to travel to these countries to appeal for truth and justice and to uphold principles at the foundation of morality. They came on their own time, relied on their own funds, some feeling such a strong sense of responsibility that they borrowed money in order to make the trip. Their effort was not for themselves but to help rescue others from torture and death and bring the good principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to share with the citizens of these countries.
For such noble intentions, it is most unfortunate that the government of Iceland chose to assist the Jiang regime to silence the voice of justice. The Icelandic government's decision to bow to pressure from a foreign tyrannical dictatorship against the will of its own people set a dangerous precedent among democratic Western nations, doing dark harm to Iceland's reputation in the international community.
The lawsuit filed against Jiang Zemin in October 2002 in the U.S. for genocide, torture, and other crimes against humanity prominently mentions the human rights violations inflicted upon Falun Gong practitioners during Jiang's visit to Iceland last June. (Please see www.flgjustice.org, including the "complaint" text, for details.) In addition, a global coalition to bring Jiang to justice, with TRIAL of Switzerland (www.trial-ch.org/trial_eng.htm) taking the lead, is preparing multiple lawsuits in different countries against Jiang for genocide and crimes against humanity.
In this lifetime, everyone, from common citizens to presidents, will eventually face the consequences of their actions. Soon people will realize what kind of crimes Jiang Zemin has committed. The persecution of Falun Gong will ultimately come to an end. At that time, as occurred following the Holocaust, every person and every government will face their own conscience, yet the time is here and now to ask oneself what one can do to help end the horrific persecution.
During the APEC summit meeting in Mexico last October, a less-developed nation, despite having received pressure from Chinese agents and a blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners, Mexican authorities nevertheless admitted all Falun Gong practitioners through immigration control and gave their permission and support for various peaceful public appeals.
We would like also to address the visit of Jiang to Germany in April 2002, which has been given as an excuse for Iceland's treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. The State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Domestic Affairs stated on October 24 2002: "We can basically affirm that the gathering and parade arranged by Falun Gong practitioners during the State visit was peaceful and caused no disturbance." In addition, the Chief Officer of the Police Station and Ministry of Domestic Affairs in Berlin expressed his sincere apology to practitioners on December 20, 2002 for over-reacting, for officially forcing people away from certain areas, and for requiring that people have their belongings checked, etc.
Today, a year after the ban, the world's attention is again on Iceland, with the most sincere hope that the Icelandic government will make right its past wrong and uphold justice.
FIDC, especially after the decision rendered by the Icelandic Data Protection Authority (DPA), believes that taking a righteous and dignified course of action now in a public and formal way will restore the reputation and full sovereignty of Iceland. It will remove the blemish imprinted on the history of Iceland by the unjust decision in June 2002.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's former President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
For further information, Falun Gong-Iceland Dialogue Committee contacts:
Europe: Peder Giertsen 0047 930 87 548 Canada: Xun Li (Shawn) +1-613-852-7494 USA: John Nania +1-612-237-3232
Category: April 25 Events