England: Bishop of Oxford and Member of the European Parliament Write on the International Human Rights Day in Support of Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) On December 10, 2004, the International Human Rights Day, the England Falun Dafa Association held a press conference in front of the Chinese Embassy in London, condemning the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Mr. Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, and Dr. Caroline Lucas, Member of the European Parliament, wrote letters to the press conference in support of Falun Gong. Below are the letters of support.
The Diocese of Oxford
Archdeaconries of Berkshire, Buckingham, Oxfordshire
From the Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Reverend Richard Harries DD FKC FRSL
08 December 2004
Dear Ms Yip
Thank you for your letter. I'm afraid I'm not able to be with you on 10th December but I'm happy for you to use the following message of support.
China is an ancient, great civilization. Many of us admire the progress it has made in recent decades to raise the standard of living of its poorest members. We are glad it is becoming a more prosperous country. However, at the moment, it is marred by its failure to offer the fundamental rights we all take for granted to its citizens. In particular I believe that freedom to follow one's religion, to worship, is basic to any civilised society. At the moment it is clear that a number of religious groups, including the Falun Gong, are having these basic rights infringed, sometimes in oppressive and brutal ways. The Falun Gong are no threat to the Chinese government. Its practitioners wish only to contribute to the peaceful development of their country. I call upon the Chinese government to offer full freedom of religion to practitioners of Falun Gong and other religions.
With all good wishes.
Member of the European Parliament
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
Thank you for your letter and invitation to speak at your press conference to mark your continued struggle for the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners in China on World Human Rights Day.
Unfortunately I am engaged on Friday with a number of meetings relating to European Parliamentary business in Brussels. I very much regret not being able to attend and I enclose below a statement of support, as you suggest.
"The struggle to defend human rights is more urgent than ever, with the so-called 'war on terrorism' and the ongoing pursuit of free trade and ever-greater profits taking precedence over upholding international law and human dignity in international relations.
"As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the world order has changed significantly. No longer are we concerned primarily with human rights abuses conducted by our supposed 'enemies' -- but by those conducted by our Governments and allies.
"It is vital that we do not allow our own governments to backtrack or their legal human rights obligations -- or continue to turn a blind eye to those governments of other states which treat human rights with contempt.
"China continues its bloody repression of the Falun Gong movement -- and its unlawful and vicious occupation and ethic cleansing of Tibet -- and yet EU foreign ministers are considering lifting the EU arms embargo on China this very week for the sake of improving trade relations with a fellow WTO member.
"Today especially, we must condemn human rights violations whenever they take place -- China, the UK, the US, the Palestinian occupied territories, Sudan, to name a few -- and re-affirm our commitment to the peace and security which comes from respect for international law, human dignity and the right to live a life with basic material needs met and free from persecution, discrimination and abuse."
I hope this statement of support meets with your approval and reaches you in time to read at your press conference, with which I wish you every success.
Caroline Lucas MEP
The Letter from Mr. Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford
The Letter from Dr. Caroline Lucas