(Clearwisdom.net) During the Swiss parliamentary session of June 2005, Mr Luc Recordon, a national deputy, raised the question of the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese authorities as well as the case of Mrs Qiu Minghua, mother of a Chinese student in Switzerland who was arbitrarily arrested and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Below is the official response of the Swiss Federal Council of 24 August 2005.

Switzerland pleads in favour of ending the repression of which members of some religious or spiritual groups are the victims, in particular the Falun Gong movement.

It is unacceptable, therefore, that it should be hindered in the exercise of freedom of opinion and of expression. It is even more shocking that its members are subject to arbitrary arrest, to ill-treatment and often to torture, that would be the same in the case of an organization infringing the Chinese legislation.

The Federal Council is familiar with the problems of Falun Gong in China. This movement, the ideas of which Switzerland does not judge, has been prohibited in China since 1999. Thousands of its practitioners have been imprisoned as a result of this prohibition and many of them are held in administrative detention centres. The Federal Council is aware that serious charges of torture are being brought against China. The Federal Department for Foreign Affairs has on different occasions expressed its concern to the Chinese authorities.

Miss Wang Xiaoyang, the daughter of Mrs Qiu Minghua, has corresponded with members of the Federal Council. She has been received by representatives of the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs who also recently received a petition. Her mother's case is, therefore, known to the authorities and Switzerland is following closely the development of this situation. Alongside the visit of Federal Councillor Deiss, the Swiss Ambassador in China met the authorities of Suzhou - where, according to our information, Mrs Qiu Minghua is imprisoned - to express Switzerland's concern for this person.