Saturday 1ST September 2001

Today, six Falun Gong practitioners are commencing a 1086 km walk from Sydney to Brisbane.

This 34-day walk is part of the urgent Global SOS Campaign to immediately rescue those imprisoned in China following the [party name omitted] regime's persecution of Falun Dafa that began over two years ago on July 20, 1999. The walk is concurrent with other hunger strikes and walks occurring globally, across North America, Europe, and Asia.

130 Falun Dafa practitioners in Masanjia labour camp in China have been on hunger strike since August to protest being detained after their sentences were completed. Their lives are in immediate danger. The Masanjia labour camp is particularly notorious for its inhuman treatment of detained Falun Gong practitioners, who have been beaten, electrically shocked, and sexually abused.

Just yesterday, international news released that five more female Falun Dafa practitioners in China have been murdered by Chinese authorities. The victims died in police custody under suspicious circumstances, with multiple accounts pinning torture and beatings as the cause of death.

The known number of Falun Dafa practitioners murdered in China is now 272 since July 1999. And for this reason we must use all avenues to highlight the desperate situation of Falun Dafa supporters throughout China who stand to lose everything, including their lives, if they refuse to renounce their beliefs: Truth, Compassion, Forbearance. In free, civilized countries such as Australia, human rights must be upheld. To not speak up is to condone such horrendous persecution.

For this reason, the walkers will pass through many towns and cities, including Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and Surfers Paradise to raise public awareness of the urgency of this SOS campaign and reach out to the public for support, help, and better understanding of Falun Dafa from the Australian government and the Australian public.

At the end of the journey, they will deliver a message of appeal to 54 Commonwealth heads of state, the Prime Minister, and the Queen, urging them to send a clear message to Jiang Zemin to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and to release all those in China who are imprisoned or are being detained for practicing Falun Dafa.

A parade will soon begin from here, at the Chinese consulate, through the city, to the Rocks, where the walkers will begin the long walk to Brisbane. We all wish the walkers well in their journey, symbolic of the courage and determined efforts of thousands who have demonstrated in China. We also wish them the best circumstances to spread the urgent SOS message of appeal, to clarify the truth of Falun Dafa to the Australian government and the Australian public, and to help immediately end the persecution of Falun Dafa in China.