London, England: Press Conference Held to Announce the Launch of the Human Rights Torch Relay
(Clearwisdom.net) On July 3, 2007, the European branch of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) held a press conference in London to announce the launching of the Human Rights Torch Relay. The purpose of the relay is to expose the brutality and crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to call upon the international community to prevent the Olympic Games, which is the symbol of peace, from becoming the "Bloody Harvest Games."
Baroness Caroline Cox, a cross-bench member of the British House of Lords and the chair of CIPGF in Europe, announced the launch of the relay at a press conference. Other speakers included John Dee, the vice chair of CIPFG in Europe; Wilbert Stuifbergen, a famous poet from Holland; Charles Graves from Interfaith International; and Lucy Jin from the Democracy Association in England.
The Human Rights Torch Relay is very important in the struggle to free Falun Gong practitioners.
John Dee stated at the press conference:
"Today's announcement of the start of a human rights torch relay from Athens next month is a highly significant moment in the struggle to free Falun Gong practitioners from the chains of persecution.
"No world event symbolizes peace and harmony among the people of the world more than the Olympic Games. Besides the significance of Greece being the site of the first Olympics, both ancient and modern, it also hosted the last games in 2004, when all the nations of the world were united in the spirit of fair play.
"If China is allowed to host the next Olympics without first ending its morally corrupt human rights abuses, especially the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, it will be a sad indictment of the moral standards of the world as a whole.
"We know that China has invested huge amounts of resources into ensuring, as far as they can, that their athletes--particularly their rowers and swimmers--will virtually sweep the medal board next year and thereby promote China as a world force not only in sport, but also in terms of its economy.
"We believe that China has no moral right to take credit for these achievements while at the same time torturing thousands of prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners, in prisons and forced labor camps. These two diametrically opposed positions cannot be allowed to coexist, and so we call upon the Chinese government to end the persecution immediately and to release all those practitioners currently held in prison."
Martins Rubenis, an athlete from Latvia and a Bronze Medal winner at the 2006 Winter Olympics, will be the ambassador for the relay. He sent a written statement to the press conference in which he said:
"It comes from my heart to say that we have reached one of the most important thresholds in human history, when each and every action taken and each and every word said leaves a permanent message and carries a heavy responsibility for the whole of humanity.
"There were times when the degeneration of society's moral norms led to acts of global purification, such as wars, epidemics, natural catastrophes, and other disasters, which should have served as a serious warning for the next generations to come.
"In my belief the Olympic Games have always been a symbol of high moral standards founded on human beings' natural striving for the harmony of physical strength and spiritual force. Historically the Olympic Games are also the indisputable symbol of peace, which has a power to unite all the nations of the world.
"Looking towards Beijing, I cannot find a single reason why the Communist regime of China has a moral right to represent the highest principles of the Olympic movement. The Chinese Communist Party, in the face of the whole world, has not fulfilled its promise to improve its human rights situation and moreover is committing genocide within its own boundaries by building enormous factories of violence and lies.
"As an athlete I could never feel the deep fulfillment and satisfaction of a job well done while standing on a podium built at the cost of of thousands and thousands of people's lives.
"Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let us give the world another chance to rise by lighting this torch of true human nature not only here, but also in our hearts."