Toronto, Canada: Elected Officials Support Falun Gong Practitioners in Their Commemoration of the April 25 Appeal
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto normally hold a series of events to mark the anniversary of the April 25 appeal on that day every year. Many elected officials also normally come to speak at these events and express their support.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, the annual rally could not be held. Elected officials, however, continued to express their support by accepting online interviews and writing emails.
April 25, 1999
On April 25, 1999, an estimated 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to request the release of 45 practitioners who were being detained in Tianjin, a city about 60 miles east of Beijing.
They also requested permission to publish Falun Gong books and a reasonable environment to practice their spiritual belief. The petition demonstrated the peaceful, rational, and courage of practitioners to safeguard justice and conscience.
Unfortunately, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. The Party also rewrote the history of the appeal to defame practitioners for their spiritual belief.
Former Senator: I Am Prepared to Stand with You
Former Senator Con Di Nino founded the Friends of Falun Gong in the Canadian Parliament. He normally participates every year in commemorations to mark the April 25 appeal.
He said the persecution of Falun Gong was wrong, unlawful and inhumane. He has supported Falun Gong for many years and said he believed that change would come to China.
“I am prepared to stand with you, in front of you, behind you, wherever you put me to make sure that you get the rights that you are entitled,” Mr. Di Nino said in an online interview.
“Fundamental rights are a principle that all nations must respect. There is no other value on this earth, there is no other value in this world other than fundamental rights to be who you are. And people must respect that as long as you obey the laws, and Falun Gong certainly has.”
“All of those courageous men and women in China who face discrimination, jail, and sometimes disappearance: You know that you are not alone, the world is watching, particularly now.”
“I repeat, that you are not alone,” he said.
Mr. Di Nino said he had so much respect for the people in China who have the courage to speak out when they know they are going to be persecuted or prosecuted. And indeed some of them have disappeared.
“So today I say, good for you, well done, and keep going. You are not alone. We are here to support you.”
He said so many articles and statements have come out recently about the CCP’s lack of transparency about the pandemic.
“From all over the world, they criticize China for a) not telling the truth and b) indeed persecuting those who do that. My reason for being here is to give courage to those incredibly large numbers of men and women who themselves have the courage to be able to stand up against the Communist Party of China.”
He said that when the vast majority of Chinese people start to say they need to fight for their rights and freedoms, there will be a free and democratic China. Mr. Di Nino said that is what he would like to see.
Member of Parliament: Hoping to Hear Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance on Tiananmen Square
Conservative MP Peter Kent is co-chair of Friends of Falun Gong in the Canadian Parliament. He expressed his support for the April 25 commemorations during an online interview.
“It’s always been an honor to stand with you [Falun Gong practitioners] together on the anniversary of that peaceful gathering,” he said.
“We’ve seen that over these 21 years, the Communist Party of China has been brutally repressive and has violated the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners.
“It’s important that we mark this anniversary, even though the world is preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is important that we remember many of the elements that have made this pandemic so serious, tragically deadly, are a result of the same repressive, cruel, deadly, brutal policies of the regime in Beijing.”
He said that the importance of the anniversary of April 25 was to remind the regime in Beijing that many millions of people around the world support those who suffer continued persecution and injustice in China.
He reminded people to remember April 25 and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Millions of people are persecuted, have disappeared, and are tortured in China. Forced live organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience is state-sanctioned by the communist regime.
The regime suppresses and clamps down on free spirits, free speech, free association, and all of the rights that are taken for granted in Canada.
“We must still look for the day when China and the people of China will have a government that respects the rule of law, democracy, and all of the rights that we take so for granted here in Canada,” He said.
“We must continue to dream of the day when the tenets of Falun Gong can be spoken out loud on Tiananmen Square - Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”
MP Commends Falun Gong Practitioners for Safeguarding Universal Values
Liberal MP Judy Sgro, Co-Chair of Friends of Falun Gong in the Canadian Parliament, emailed a letter of support ahead of the April 25 commemorations.
“I stand in solidarity with Falun Gong practitioners on the occasion of 4.25,” Ms. Sgro wrote.
“I am disheartened that during such a difficult time that the persecution continues to occur when the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping across the world.”
“I commend the Falun Gong practitioners for their unwavering commitment to safeguard the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”
Conservative MP: We Continue to Speak for Falun Gong
“We continue to be deeply concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China,” MP Garnett Genuis said. “And the terrible record in general of the communist party when it comes to the freedom of people to practice their faith.”
“I will continue to speak out about these issues and continue to champion a stronger response in Canada,” he said. “And I included the passage of legislation that would address the issue of organ harvesting. We need to make it a criminal offense for Canadians to be involved in any way.”
He said that engagement with the Chinese government needs to keep human rights on top. He indicated that human rights are the foundation, are about the rights of an individual, about the freedom of belief and the freedom of religion, but are not in the narrowly economic sense that the CCP would mostly talk about them.
MP: Bring Those Involved in Live Organ Harvesting to Justice
MP James Bezan, the official Opposition Critic for National Defense, expressed his support for the April 25 events via the internet. He said he strongly supported Falun Gong practitioners who pursue freedom of belief, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech.
He said that he stood with them against the CCP’s persecution. He indicated that based on the Magnitsky Act, those CCP officials abusing power and infringing on human rights would be held accountable for their wrongdoing. Canada is not a safe haven for the CCP officials and their family members to stay and hide their wealth.