(Clearwisdom.net) On May 25, 2008, the Human Rights Torch Relay, initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) arrived in Vancouver, Canada. Members of Parliament (MP), well-known international human rights lawyer David Matas, the former Miss Canada, and several non-governmental organizations participated in the rally and the torch relay. After the event, at least 42 media outlets reported on the Human Rights Torch Relay.

Canadian MP Bill Siksay accepts the Human Rights Torch (photo by Xiao Li)

A main focus of the rally was condemnation of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) nine-year persecution of Falun Gong and the CCP's atrocities of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in detention. MP Bill Siksay, human rights lawyer David Matas, director of CIPFG North America Clive Ansley, and former MP Simma Holt gave speeches condemning the CCP's escalation of human rights abuses. They called on the Canadian government to speak out against China's human rights situation and support the Human Rights Torch Relay.

In Mid-May, the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver sent a letter to the mayor that slandered Falun Gong. The Chinese consul put forward a request to the mayor "not to support Falun Dafa Month or the Human Rights Torch Relay and not to issue awards or show up in any related events," implying that doing so might affect the two countries' relationship.

Ms. Zhang, one of the organizers of the rally, said that Consul Yang Qiang violated diplomatic convention by sending this letter. She said that Yang Qiang was carrying out orders from Zhou Yingkang, Secretary of the Political and Judicial Committee of the CCP, trying to incite hatred of Falun Gong outside of China. It is believed that this new round of slander is a tactic to divert public criticism of the CCP's handling of the recent devastating earthquake in Sichuna Province. However, Ms. Zhang stated that such action is futile since Falun Gong's principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance have been well known in western society.

Ms. Zhang said that Yang Qiang's actions interfered with western democratic convention and went beyond his diplomatic responsibility.