Speech by Canadian MP Mr. Irwin Cotler at the Press Conference in Support of Falun Gong
Speech (Transcribed from audio tape) by Mr. Irwin Cotler, Professor, Renowned International Human Rights Lawyer, and Member of Parliament of Canada at the
Press Conference in Support of Falun Gong, Marking Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's Departure for the APEC Summit in Shanghai, China
October 18, 2001, Ottawa - I would like to make a number of points here to summarize the condition of human rights and in particular, the Falun Gong.
Number one - that the persistent and pervasive assault on human rights in China in general has in fact intensified as of late. It was already the worst since the Tiananmen Square incident and it continues to intensify and escalate.
Number two - in particular, the assault on the human rights of the Falun Gong has taken on the character of a total onslaught against fundamental rights - the criminalization of innocence - an escalation in the persecution and prosecution of innocence.
Number three -- that their fundamental rights have been violated.
The case here of Shenli Lin is a case study of this violation of the fundamental rights of the Falun Gong. The violations include a denial of their freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of association and assembly, freedoms of expression and information.
And secondly a denial of their right to equality before the law, as it singles out the Falun Gong for differential and discriminatory treatment in China.
The denial of their fundamental rights of life, liberty and security of person. As in the beating, the torture, and indeed the deaths in detention, and otherwise, which amount to state orchestrated extra-judicial executions.
The denial of their legal rights including protections against arbitrary arrest and detention, protection against coercive interrogation and protection against cruel and unusual punishment, of which Shenli Lin is again a case study.
And finally, this total onslaught in singling out the Falun Gong not for what they do but for who they are. What we have here is the criminalization of a group that is nothing more than a spiritual, exercise, meditation group and [a government that] seeks to convert this group which espouses values of truth, compassion, forbearance and portray them as moral lepers in Chinese society. In effect what we have here is state-orchestrated attempt to put them beyond the pale, to deny them the right to protection against group vilification and hate. And I just want to say something because we sometimes forget it - that it is this promotion of hatred and contempt against a vulnerable group, which in cases like Bosnia and Rwanda ended up taking us down the road to ethnic cleansing and God forbid, genocide. So one has to sound the alarm when you've got this state-orchestrated prosecution and persecution.
I want to close by saying that I've asked the Prime Minister on the eve of his trip:
(1) raise the plight of the Falun Gong in all it's dimensions.
(2) to call upon the Chinese authorities to cease and desist from the policy and practice of persecution and prosecution, including state-orchestrated hate.
(3) to release Shenli Lin and others for doing nothing other than espousing the values of compassion and forbearance, which are basically the values of human civilization as a whole, and the basic fundamental values of the Chinese people in particular.
(4) to adhere to their international undertakings as they said they would in their meetings with the Prime Minister on the occasion of his trade mission to China in February, and to adhere to and respect their undertaking, the undertakings that the Chinese authorities made to us, Canada, that not only would they adhere to their international undertakings, but they in fact would respect the rule of law.
And that the test of their adherence to these international undertakings, the test of their respect for the rule of law, the test of the integrity of their bilateral relationships with us - let alone the test of the integrity of their membership in the international community - is the way they treat the Falun Gong.
Category: People in China Awaken to the Truth