- Frank Wilkie

Sunshine Coast practitioners of Falun Gong yesterday urged Premier Peter Beattie, who is in China with a business delegation, not to ignore the Asian giant's atrocious human rights record in the chase for trade dollars.

Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of the date Chinese officials declared Falun Gong illegal and began imprisoning and torturing to death those who practice the health-giving series of slow movements.

Peregian's John and Amanda Dowie said they were continually appealing to politicians to apply pressure to end the human rights atrocities outlined by aid agencies and escaped Chinese nationals.

In June 2002, the couple were in Canberra presenting a petition believed to be the largest ever tabled in Federal Parliament -- with just under 100,000 signatures -- calling for the government to do what it could to stop China's abuses.

"Human rights groups have confirmed 1000 Falun Gong practitioners dead through torture, but we've heard unofficial reports of many thousands," Mr Dowie, 52, said.

"We know hundreds of thousands are incarcerated. Those in labour camps are making Chinese goods that are sold in Australia and all round the Western world," Mr Dowie said. "That's a tremendous free work force, 6.8 million in 1100 labour camps. Who can compete with that?"