A Cork based Chinese student, whose mother has been held in China since June due to her links with the Falun Gong movement, has appealed to Taoiseach Brian Cowen to raise the issue of her continued detention and the wider issue of human rights during his visit to the country this week.

The parents of Tang Liang, a food science student at University College Cork (UCC), were arrested in Henan province during a crack-down on Falun Gong practitioners in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. They had been distributing a DVD containing commentaries on China's Communist Party.

Mr Tang's father, Yu Lin Tang, was later released but his mother, Aiqin Wang, remains in detention.

"My parents have done nothing wrong," Mr Tang said at a press conference yesterday. "This is a good chance to ask the Chinese government for justice."

He was accompanied by Ming Zhao, a Falun Gong practitioner who was jailed by the Chinese authorities while enrolled at Trinity College Dublin, in 2000. He was released two years later, following intervention by then taoiseach Bertie Ahern and he returned to Ireland where he was granted refugee status.

"We believe if the Taoiseach intervenes on their behalf, the mother can be released and Tang Liang can continue his studies without worrying for his mother," Mr Ming said. "It is important that international voices speak out."

He added that the Irish Falun Dafa Association, which represents Falun Gong practitioners living here, also wanted the Taoiseach to highlight issues such as the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong members in China and the detention of lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has acted for the movement's practitioners in the past.

A number of Irish politicians have lent their support to the campaign, including senators David Norris and Joe O'Toole.


source: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/1021/1224454425841.html