M Bert rand Delanoe

Mayor of Paris

Hotel de Ville

75196 Paris RP

Dear M Delanoe

Paris should not have yielded to Beijing!

I was saddened to learn that you yielded to pressure for the dictators of China and stopped the French Falun Gong practitioners from participating in the Chinese New Year parade in Paris.

France should have stayed true to European democratic and egalitarian principles by standing up to the pressure from China. China suppresses its own people and now France is allowing China to suppress the citizens of France from expressing their beliefs!

I can imagine that the dictators of China would not have been happy to have Falun Gong at the same ceremony. It happens everywhere in the world, The regime tries to exert pressure. If the democratic governments are not willing to stand up to evil wherever it exists, no one else will!

The image that the Chinese wish to present is one of a beautiful cultural show, friendship between nations ... but yet there is also a hidden dark side as many have been excluded from the festivities.

For example, the French Falun Gong Association requested to take part in the parade with performances of the Lion Dance, Chinese drummers, traditional dancing as well as presenting decorated floats. Such a presentation has already won the First Community Prize at the world renowned Edinburgh Festival Cavalcade. However, the Chinese Embassy threatened to cancel all of the festivities if the City of Paris allowed Falun Gong to participate. With less than a week to the event, the City Hall refused the application and, at first, vaguely implied that the registration date had not been met. The truth is that the documents were sent on time, back in October.

The French Flaun Gong Association was also not given authorizations for other activities during the festivity it had applied for, such as performing traditional Falun Gong exercises, and handing out information. They were sent from one department to another; Police Department, City Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs ... Other non-official voices, which the Chinese authorities have repressed, have also met with similar obstacles.

Will France, a land of freedom, allow a foreign regime to dictate rules on its own territory? Today, the Chinese regime exerts the pressure and interference in democratic countries. The more one yields to this pressure (in order to gain political and commercial benefits), the more the regime will impose its human rights abuses on his country.

Falun Gong, a traditional school of exercise and meditation, clearly belongs to Chinese culture. Apart from the tragic repression currently taking place in China, we wish to share the beauty and harmony of this culture, which is one of the treasures of China. And to wish everyone a happy new year filled with compassion and peacefulness. It's also an occasion to show to our Chinese brothers and sisters and the French public the peace and benevolence of Falun Gong in contrast to the demonisation by the Chinese state propaganda.

This ban on the participation of Falun Gong is all the more shocking as it strikes at a peaceful group which is respectful of the Law. Falun Gong is practised in over 60 countries and it has been exemplarily peaceful and has been awarded prizes and honours for its positive contribution to society. In China, despite the fact that Falun Gong practitioners face violent persecution and defamation, they have remained resolute and non-violent. The practice was introduced by Mr Li Hongzhi in 1992 and at the beginning it was supported by the Chinese authorities. The practice quickly spread by word of mouth with 100 million Chinese people practising it. This alarmed the former president Jiang Zemin who in July 1999 concocted the conspiracy plan to justify his order to ban the practice. He tried to discredit Falun Gong in the eyes of the Chinese people and the international community using smear tactics, while imposed extreme censorship by forbidding practitioners from speaking out. Falun Gong practice is free, entirely voluntary and open, with no political agenda. It focuses on self-development by applying traditional values of truth-compassion-tolerance. To a Western person, it's like an art of living, a philosophy of life. Practitioners are full and responsible members of society!

Where are you, who shouted at the top of your voice against the massacre of the students on Tiananmen Square in 1989? Today, Falun Gong is the target of one of the most vicious persecutions in the world since 1945. In China, millions of innocent people are being defamed, hundreds of thousands are arbitrarily detained There is torture, rape and brainwashing. Someone dies every day ... Such human rights abuses should not be tolerated anywhere. The Chinese regime's attempt to export its persecution of Falun Gong to Paris must be resisted.

I hope that the Mayor of Paris will apologise to the French Falun Gong practitioners for the shabby way in which they have been treated.

Yours sincerely

Marco Cappato