Canberra: Australian Practitioners' Hunger Strike Continues after 145 Days
Today (Sunday 13 Jan. 2002) is the 145th day of Australian practitioners' hunger strike relay and appeal in front of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, which started on August 22, 2001. The local newspaper, Canberra Times, published a report today. The hunger strike was initiated to support the 130 practitioners' hunger striking in Masanjia Labour Camp and appeal to the Chinese government to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and release all practitioners arrested or detained in labor camps.
After the first week of the hunger strike by 14 practitioners, the protest turned into a hunger strike relay as more practitioners wanted to join.
The hunger strike has been well supported by the Canberra community. By now many Canberra residents are aware of what is going on in front of the Chinese Embassy in Australia. Some have made the effort to record the hunger strike on videotape to share with their families, friends/relatives, and even have sent tapes overseas.
The hunger strikers and their supporters are also met by many busloads of tourists from China every day. Despite some cold Chinese faces, who have apparently been brainwashed by the one-sided voice of the Chinese official media and government propaganda, many Chinese tourists are moved by the courage and persistence of Australian Falun Gong practitioners in their effort to clarify the truth. They get to know what the truth is when they see and talk to us.
Quite a number of tourists accept truth-clarifying materials from practitioners, although many are afraid to do so due to pressure from the government and fear of being persecuted when they return.
Despite many efforts to deliver appeal letters to the Chinese Embassy, they have maintained the same cold attitude with no response. This is a clear indication that they are afraid to face the practitioners. If a government cares about its people, it will not refuse appeal letters.
To condemn the Chinese government's continuing and escalating persecution of Falun Gong in China, and to commemorate the more than twenty practitioners who recently have died from torture in China, we held a candlelight vigil last night. Another one is scheduled for tonight as well.
The Australian practitioners' hunger strike relay will continue in front of the Chinese Embassy until Fa rectification is completed.
Category: Rallies & Protests