Date: January 22, 2001
Contact: Joel Chipkar Toronto 416-622-1959, 416-709-8678 (cell)
Cindy Gu Toronto 416-494-6002, 416-419-9981 (cell)
Toronto, January 22, 2001 -- Professor Kunlun Zhang who was released from a Chinese labour camp last week and returned to Canada held a press conference at Queen's Park today. He gave a statement on his torture and the spread of defamation material against him in Canada by the Chinese Government. Mr. Rocco Galati, a respected constitutional and civil rights lawyer and counsel to Falun Gong practitioners in Canada, spoke on the hate propaganda spread by the Chinese Government here in Canada.
Professor Zhang stated, "I suffered brutal mental and physical torture", "I reject everything that was attributed to me during these weeks of intensive mental manipulation, deception and brainwashing. Only what I say as a free man represents my true feelings. I want to tell the world that Falun Gong is good. I will continue to practice Falun Gong for the rest of my life."
Mr. Rocco Galati, legal counsel to Falun Gong practitioners in Canada said: "On January 21, 2001, in Toronto, Chinese consulate officials participated, as primary speakers, at a public rally announced for the purpose of 'condemning' the 'rampant, anti-Chinese activities' and the misguided and 'evil' nature of Canadian practitioners of Falun Gong in Canada. This incitement of hatred by the Chinese government to have Canadian-Chinese citizens condemn another group of Canadians from exercising their constitutional rights in Canada is not only contrary to international law, but contrary to the criminal laws of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights."
Falun Gong spokesperson Jillian Ye said: "The Chinese Government continues to torture Professor Zhang even after his release and return to Canada by spreading propaganda material recorded during his severe brainwashing in detention to defame him and Falun Gong, to deceive the public and to hide their horrific abuses. This alone shows the vicious nature of the illegal crackdown by the Chinese Government".
Mr. Irwin Cotler, Liberal M.P., International Human Rights Lawyer and legal counsel to Professor Zhang, had a statement read on his behalf. He stated: "The persecution of Falun Gong is a case study of the persistent and pervasive assault on human rights in China today. Professor Zhang's release should not obscure the fact that thousands of practitioners of Falun Gong are still languishing in prisons and labour camps in China."
M.P.P. Mr. Rosario Marchese also spoke at the press conference.
Falun Gong is a peaceful exercise and meditation practice that focuses on morality and the principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance". It brings health and inner peace to people.
In July 1999, the president of China Jiang Zemin started an illegal crackdown on Falun Gong after his own survey indicated that the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded the number of communist party members.
Professor Zhang is one of the 50,000 Falun Gong practitioners who were unlawfully detained in the Chinese Government's illegal crackdown . To date, at least 122 people have died from result of torture in police custody. Over 10,000 have been sent to labour camps without trial.