OTTAWA, May 31 - Today, a Canada-wide campaign to free Ms. Ying Zhu and Mr. Shenli Lin was launched by a "cross-party coalition of MPs," Amnesty International of Canada and Falun Gong practitioners.
Ying Zhu, a Canadian landed immigrant and a practitioner of Falun Gong, was arrested by Chinese authorities on her way to visit her husband and ailing mother in China. Shenli Lin, husband of Canadian citizen Jinyu Li, has been suffering in a Chinese labour camp for the past 16 months for practicing Falun Gong.
Falun Gong practitioners and concerned people across Canada are gathering every day in front of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa in Canada to demand the release of Ying, Shenli and all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners. This nation-wide campaign is just part of a global campaign joined by practitioners and concerned people world-wide, including US, Australia, France and Ireland.
Encouraged by the concerted efforts to rescue Professor Kunlun Zhang, this Canadian campaign is unprecedented for Falun Gong: MPs from all parties, including Mr. Irwin Cotler, Mr. Scott Reid, Ms. Francine Lalonde, Ms. Libby Davis and Mr. Bill Casey, Secretary General Alex Neve from Amnesty International of Canada and Falun Gong practitioners participated during the press conference held at Parliament Hill. MP Yvon Charbonneau and Svend Robinson also filed formal statements to support this campaign.
"I think it's encouraging to see that today for the very first time, we have all party support behind the cause of human rights and Falun Gong practitioners who are being persecuted in China." said MP Mr. Reid, who also made many efforts to make this cross-party coalition possible.
"The ongoing criminalization of this spiritual movement Falun Gong (is) itself for nothing else than espousing the ancient Chinese and indeed the Canadian values of "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance". The arrest, detention, beatings and imprisonment of thousands upon thousands of Falun Gong practitioners must come to an end." said MP Mr. Cotler.
"We are here to add our support to the call for the Chinese Government to release Ying Zhu and Shenli Lin. For myself I will be asking for a meeting with the Ambassador from China." Said MP Bill Casey. "We certainly are asking our government and Chinese government to act quickly on this very inappropriate action on behalf of the Chinese government."
"With regards to Mr. (Kunlun) Zhang, it took the Minister's personal involvement to have him released, I ask the MFA to intervene personally with his Chinese counterpart in this case." added MP Ms Lalonde.
"We know that pressure can make a difference - we witnessed that in the release of Canadian citizen Professor Kunlun Zhang. Now it is not the time for silence. Now it is the time for rights." said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International of Canada.
MP Yvon Charbonneau added his personal touch since he had met Ying Zhu several times in Montreal: "We were extremely shocked to hear of her arrest. I wholeheartedly support the campaign demanding her immediate release and return to Canada and have already spoken to the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Prime Minister in this regard."
In a statement, MP Svend Robinson said: "The systematic repression of the fundamental human rights of the practitioners of Falun Gong cannot go without condemnation. Our government, after failing to co-sponsor a 'China' resolution at this year's United Nations Commission on Human Rights, must show that it is willing to put the promotion of the basic human rights ahead of the pursuit of profits in its diplomatic relations with China."
"It's imperative that the Canadian government show leadership on this issue. Human rights is the primary issue that we have to stand in solidarity with around the globe." concluded MP Ms. Libby Davies. "We are also calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to personally intervene in this situation to ensure these Canadian residents are not harmed, they are released and their human rights are not violated."
Sent by Free Ying Zhu and Shenli Lin Volunteer Team