(Clearwisdom.net) On the morning of April 19, 2006, Ms. Zhou Lei, Chief Editor of the Epoch Times in Europe, went to the Chinese Consulate in Berlin to apply for a visa to China. She planned to undertake an investigation on the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Her visa application was rejected. Following Xu Lin, a reporter of Sound of Hope in Australia, Zhou was second overseas reporter whose visa application was rejected, even though the CCP openly invited investigators.

Falun Gong practitioners protest against the Chinese Consulate's rejection of Ms. Zhou Lei's visa application.

Ms. Zhou Lei is one of the five representatives of the first team of investigators for the "Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong" (CIPFG) from North America, Europe and Australia. On March 28, at a press conference, Qin Gang, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied the existence of concentration camps and invited members of the media to come to inspect places that are suspected of having built concentration camps. The five ethnic-Chinese reporters applied for visas to China from their countries.

On April 7, CIPFG publicized the first list of parties to obtain evidence from. It involved forced labor camps, jails and hospitals suspected of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in 31 provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government.

According to the evidence that CIPFG found from several hospitals in China, the CCP is hastily eliminating eyewitnesses and victims of underground concentration camps prior to May 1, 2006. Therefore, the investigation is very urgent.

Ms. Zhou said the visa department of the Chinese Consulate in Berlin rejected her visa application within 15 minutes and refused to give any explanation. "They said 'you should know the reason.'" Ms. Zhou told the reporter. A normal rejection process usually takes one or two weeks.

As a Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Zhao said, "The CCP's brutal persecution of Falun Gong has been going on for seven years. I clearly know their consistent hooligan conducts and deception. But to go to China for investigation wasn't a rash decision. First, anti-persecution actions have to be taken as a moral obligation. Second, as Falun Gong practitioners, we have the most responsibility and capability to do it. Our fellow practitioners are being killed and tortured. It is our responsibility to do this. We have been investigating and collected more evidence than any other organization or government over these years. We take this matter as our obligation."

Ms. Zhou commented on the rejection of her visa application, "Rejecting our visa application is a piece of evidence itself that points to the CCP lying when they told the international media to do an investigation in China. The CCP regime has lost its courage to face the facts."

Ms. Lilge-Stodick, Chief Editor of the Epoch Times in German, attended the press conference. She told the reporter after the conference, "Overseas Chinese Falun Gong practitioners can find out facts of the persecution. Because they came out of the CCP's social system, they can see through the CCP's tricks better than we westerners. Nazis used to invite reporters to their concentration camps and deceived the whole world with their fabricated peaceful scene. That's how so many Jews were massacred. We can't allow such things to happen again!"