Australia: MP Candidate Subjected to Threats and Harassment after Writing Letter to Chinese Ambassador Calling for an End to the Persecution of Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) Prior to the federal election, Dr. Patricia Petersen, independent candidate running for the federal seat of Warringah in New South Wales, wrote to the Chinese Ambassador in Australia, Zhang Junsai, calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong and the immediate release of illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners in China. She also stated that she would continue calling for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics unless China (the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP) improves their human rights situation. Two days after she sent the letter, Dr. Petersen was subjected to threats and harassment by people whom she believes were agents of the CCP.
During the pre-election campaign, Dr. Petersen learned that Hong Kong resident Ms. Zeng Aihua, the mother of Ms. Doris Chen, a resident in her district, had been imprisoned by the CCP for practicing Falun Gong and printing materials explaining the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution in China. After learning more about the persecution, Dr. Petersen wrote to the Chinese Ambassador on November 13, 2007, calling on the CCP to stop the persecution of Falun Gong.
The letter stated: "I respectfully request that you urgently attend to the following matter. Ms. Doris Chen's mother, Ms Zeng Aihua, a Falun Gong practitioner, was detained on 22 May 2006 in Shanghai on suspicion of printing and distributing Falun Gong materials. She is an elderly woman and on humanitarian grounds needs to be released immediately.
"I acknowledge that as a sovereign nation, the People's Republic of China is entitled to make and enforce its national laws. However, these rights are eclipsed by universal human rights.
"For more than eights years, China has sought to eliminate Falun Gong, which in 1999 had an estimated 70 million practitioners; it has likewise abused democracy activists, lawyers, human rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists, trade unionists, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighurs, 'unofficial' church members, and political dissidents.
"Communist China lost its bid for the 2000 Olympics because of its horrific human rights violations. Recognizing this concern, the Chinese regime explicitly promised to improve human rights in order to win the 2008 Olympics Games. Its subsequent record belies its empty promise. Human rights in China have not improved; they have grievously deteriorated.
"I shall be calling on the Australian Government to boycott the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing until such time as China addresses its atrocities, disregard for human values and its severe human rights violations.
"Specifically, to suggest that Ms Chen's mother is not relevant to me (as an electorate candidate) or the Australian government, as Ms Chen's mother is not an Australian citizen, is a moot point. Again, the People Republic of China, despite being a sovereign nation, is vulnerable to universal human rights law.
"Again, I request you ensure Ms Chen's elderly mother's safe and immediate release. To set her free would indicate a willingness on the Chinese government's part to address its human rights abuse issues, a commitment that China made in order to be able to host the Summer Olympics."
Dr Petersen has also written to Australian Prime Minister John Howard, calling on the Australian Government to boycott the 2008 Olympics unless the CCP stops the persecution of Falun Gong. At a public debate in Warringah District on November 17, 2007, when asked what she would do to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong, Dr. Petersen stated that she had written to Prime Minister John Howard. She also called on other candidates who were present, including current Minister for Health and Aging Tony Abbott, and the audience to work together to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She asked the audience not to buy cheap products that might be produced in the CCP's forced labor camps. She said that what the Australian Government is doing now is not enough.
At present, the "Human Rights Torch Relay," which calls for attention to China's human rights violations and to stopping the persecution of Falun Gong, is traveling through Australia. Dr. Petersen suggested using the upcoming 2008 Olympics as a way to bring the Falun Gong issue to the international level. She said in an interview, "Especially since we are carrying the Human Rights Torch, I think it is an appropriate time to come out for the government to do exactly what I said, and address the human rights abuses in China. The Chinese Government has no right to treat Falun Gong practitioners in this fashion. It is absolutely appalling, and given that its just about to be put on the world stage in terms of the Olympics, the Australians, and the Australian Government have the duty of caring for Falun Gong practitioners in China and to insist that the Chinese Government treat them with the respect they deserve. And this needs to happen especially now because of the torch."
Two days after she sent the letter, Dr. Petersen began receiving constant harassment. On November 15, someone broke into her residence, the address of which she had given in the letter, and left some threatening objects. The same day, she was followed by two Chinese people, whom she believes were specials CCP agents.
In the face of the threats, Dr. Petersen said "I won't be backing down from this issue. I will be very vocal and very public about it, and I know the threats and intimidation were to stop me from speaking out about the issue."
Dr. Petersen said she had no doubt about the CCP's infiltration. Several weeks ago, an MP from Victoria also became a victim of the CCP's interference.