San Gabriel Valley Tribune (California): Lead-up to the Olympics Puts the Spotlight on CCP Human Rights Abuses Inside and Outside China
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported on July 8, 2007 that "A representative of the Chinese government called Rep. Adam Schiff several years back and asked him to pull a few strings and prevent the Pasadena Civic Auditorium from being leased by members of Falun Gong."
The report cited Adam Schiff, "It really betrayed a lack of understanding of how our government operates to make that call, to really think I, or any member of Congress, would deny the right of any American to do such a thing."
"Schiff said he told the official to take a hike and over the years has signed on to nonbinding resolutions condemning the persecution of Falun Gong by the People's Republic of China."
"Last month's announcement that the Rose Parade - iconic American event that it is - would include a Chinese entry was not the first time the city drew complaints from China critics, who have spoken up in the past after Pasadena adopted Xicheng, a Beijing district just west of Tiananmen Square, as its fifth sister city in 1999, the same year the PRC began its crackdown on Falun Gong."
The report said, "China has further been criticized for violating human rights and jailing journalists to quell discord in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics next year, and in that context, just as its government has frequently pressured U.S. lawmakers to distance themselves from Falun Gong, the outlawed group is amplifying its calls for those same officials to take issue with China's human rights abuses."
The report said, "Members of the Caltech Falun Gong club have added their own compelling stories of persecution to those efforts, coming before the Pasadena City Council in recent weeks with accounts of detention, abuse and of missing family members."
"Xicheng district lies just west of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square;Yaning Liu and Jie Li know it for the Xicheng Detention Center. They say that's just one of the many camps and jails Liu's mother and Li herself were held for years after their Feb. 4, 2000, arrest for practicing Falun Gong. According to reports from Falun Gong's extensive media operations, many of its adherents have been held in Xicheng."
"Li, a resident of Rowland Heights, says she was jailed at the age of 23 for five years before her release and subsequent flight to the United States. Liu, who until recently lived just up Wilson Avenue from Caltech, found out in January that her mother, who had just purchased tickets to join her, had been arrested again."
"Hongwei Lou, also of Rowland Heights, says she has had no contact with her husband, an employee of the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation, since his arrest in May of last year."
"I don't know his situation," she said. "All the reports of abuse make me feel so horrible. Sometimes the horror is unbearable."
"Those three, along with Caltech employees and Falun Gong practitioners Wen Chen and John Li, have asked Pasadena to do something."
"I love China and it deserves to host the Olympics," John Li said. "But not at the same time they refuse to improve human rights, and not at the same time they are arresting so many people and Falun Gong practitioners."
"And next week, officials with the Tournament of Roses have agreed to meet with John Li to discuss his concerns."
"Nevertheless, some on the council said they were moved by the accounts they've been hearing and want to do more."
"My mom used to say, 'Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are,'" Councilman Victor Gordo said. "I don't want anyone to get the idea we, or our friends, are accepting or approving of taking away the human rights of anyone in the world."