Canadian Members of Parliament Discussed Falun Gong Many Times in 2003
(Clearwisdom.net) During the past four years, Canadian Parliament members have discussed Falun Gong many times. They have shown their support for Falun Gong practitioners and stood up for an end to the persecution. The most notable dialogue was on February 28, 2003, which lasted about 50 minutes1: In addition, member of Parliament Scott Reid (Lanark-Carleton, Canadian Alliance) initiated Motion No. 236 in October 2003 on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners. The following is a summary of the discussions about Falun Gong in the Canadian Parliament during the past year. Please refer to the Parliament Archive on the Internet for relevant English materials. [Please see the links following this article.]
On February 21, 2003, Canadian member of Parliament Val Meredith (South Surrey-White Rock-Langley, Canadian Alliance) read a letter from one of her constituents. The letter called upon Parliament to initiate a resolution with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, taking a stand against the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong. In the letter were also three requests to China's government: to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners; to unconditionally release all Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their beliefs, including 15 imprisoned family members of Canadians; and to allow the United Nations rapporteur on torture to carry out independent, third-party investigations of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners within China, with unrestricted access.
The same day, another Parliament member, Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, Canadian Alliance), asked the Canadian government to express serious concern about the persecution of Falun Gong to a visiting Chinese Religious Delegation, and to appeal to the Chinese government to stop the human rights violations and the persecution
In March 2003, Parliament discussed and recognized the technical issues concerning member of Parliament Robert Ander's cosignature initiative. He had asked his colleagues to cosign a letter asking Canada to initiate a resolution in United Nations Commission on Human Rights to condemn Jiang Zemin's regime's persecution of Falun Gong. More than 30 Parliament members cosigned the letter.
On May 16, 2003, member of Parliament Svend Robinson (Burnaby-Douglas, NDP) read a petition letter to rescue Falun Gong practitioners5. The letter stated that the relatives of Ms. Zhang Tianxiao of Vancouver were severely persecuted because they practiced Falun Gong.
On June 9, 2003, Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) read letters from some of her constituents,5 asking Canada to appeal for a stop to the persecution; an unconditional release of all Falun Gong practitioners, unrestricted access into China for the United Nations rapporteur on torture and to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
On October 6, 2003, member of Parliament Alan Tonks (York South-Weston, Lib.) read a petition letter asking the Canadian Parliament to initiate a resolution at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights that calls for the Chinese government to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and to free all Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned in China.
On October 10, 2003, member of Parliament Scott Reid raised the matter of Falun Gong twice before the Asia Pacific Economic Conference8. Mr. Reid said:
One year ago, the Canadian Parliament had used a resolution to ask the prime minister to ask the Chinese President to release the 13 relatives of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners. The resolution has generated a positive effect. During the past year, eight of those 13 have been released. Those practitioners are all model citizens. But on the other hand, the situation is getting even worse. Seventeen relatives of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners are still detained. So, I here raise the issue again; I hope that the prime minister would mention this issue at this year's APEC, and to allow them to come to Canada to be with their loved ones.
During 2003, the most notable event was a February 28, 2003 discussion, which lasted about 50 minutes1, regarding Motion No.236, which had been introduced by Scott Reid that past October2. Many members of Parliament from different parties spoke out to condemn the persecution of innocent practitioners of Falun Gong and praised the principles of "Truth, Compassion and Tolerance." They asked Canada to supply special visas to rescue practitioners, and pointed out that Canada has a responsibility to help end the persecution.
In the discussion, Mr. Reid made a speech that was close to 20 minutes. He pointed out that Motion No.236 had passed unanimously, with 300 Parliament members in attendance. Such an occurrence is rare. This resolution has helped persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. For example, several Falun Gong practitioners' relatives have been released, including photographer Qiu Bo and aerospace engineer Yang Yueli. Canadian diplomats in China played an active role; they mailed New Year's greeting cards to the detained practitioners, which showed that they were not forgotten by the Canadian government.
Mr. Reid also noted the important role Canadian diplomats and the immigration minister had in the rescue of Ms. Wang Yuzhi. He emphasized that the ways to guarantee the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners are to be vigilant, to raise this issue with the Chinese government, to show their concern and to be prepared to offer special visas to the persecuted, enabling them to become assets of Canadian society. Finally, he reminded his colleagues that the persecution is still going on, giving examples: Ms. Zhang Tianxiao's relative has died from persecution, and Mr. Zhang Yunhe still being imprisoned. As he has stated previously, Mr. Reid mentioned that practitioners of Falun Gong practitioners are beneficial to China, so he believes that the Falun Gong practitioners rescued with Canadian special visas will be beneficial to Canada.
Member of Parliament Aileen Carroll (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.) said that Canada has been paying attention to the human rights violations in China. She also said that human rights could not be sacrificed for trade.
Member of Parliament Stephane Bergeron (Vercheres-Les-Patriotes, BQ) made a speech. First, he thanked Mr. Reid for drawing the House's attention to the very disturbing situation of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He said:
Through the special cases listed today, we gained awareness of the dangerous situation of Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong brings "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance" to the world, so to let people getting close to the nature of universe and be harmonious. The reason behind Jiang Zemin's regime's persecution of Falun Gong is worth noticing. They took Falun Gong as a religious movement, and as it's well known, communist countries have been persecuting all forms of religious movements.
Then, new democratic member of Parliament Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP) pointed out that on March 14, 2002, four Swiss citizens and twelve Hong King citizens were assaulted and arrested by police while peaceful appealing outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong. They were appealing to raise awareness of Jiang's escalating persecution of Falun Gong. Hong Kong law states that if number of demonstrators is less than fifty, no permit is needed for a gathering. As video evidence clearly attests, the demonstration was small, unobtrusive and completely non-violent, yet the police used violence to disrupt the event and abduct the participants.
She also said that during the prior week four more deaths were reported. One was a 37-year-old woman who had been arrested for distributing New Year's greeting cards with the words "Truth, Compassion and Tolerance" written on them. Her husband was not informed of her death until 10 days later.
Amnesty International and The Human Rights Watch reported that many thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured, murdered, raped, forced to have abortions and arbitrarily imprisoned in psychiatric facilities, labor camps and penitentiaries. Furthermore, the central government of the People's Republic of China has been conducting a massive public campaign to breed hatred and discrimination against Falun Gong practitioners. Member of Parliament Lil said:
I cannot think of any reason that any human being should be subjected to the kind of abuse that the Chinese government has put upon the Falun Gong. The persecution of the Falun Gong violates China's own constitution as well as the international covenant on civil and political rights and the universal declaration of human rights. China is a signatory to both.The Chinese efforts to persecute the Falun Gong go beyond the Chinese borders. In Canada, adherents have been victims of death threats, vandalism, harassment, cyber-attacks and other forms of intimidation and discrimination. Falun Gong related websites were hacked. I think in this case Canada has a responsibility to encourage the Chinese government to stop these attacks and respect international law.
In July 2002, the U.S. Congress a passed a resolution that urged the Chinese central government to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, domestically and internationally, and to release all imprisoned practitioners, respecting international human rights laws. Canadian protests also do make a difference, as Canadian Lin Shengli was recently rescued.
In her summation, Ms. Wendy Lill added, "I raise both of my hands to support this resolution. Canada has the responsibility to end all of this."
The last speaker was Freedom Party member of Parliament Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.) He gladly supported Mr. Reid's motion. He summarized the persecution of Falun Gong in one sentence, "to declare innocent people guilty, to intimidate, harass, arrest, detain, interrogate, torture and jail people who believe in the Chinese, as well as universal, value of "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance." He also said:
We are encouraged by the release of some of these relatives, but I wanted to point out that they should not be persecuted at all. We should realize that not only innocent Falun Gong practitioners are arrested, all people's consciences have been persecuted. We should pay attention to the fact that the persecution of Falun Gong is still escalating, and should appeal to the Chinese officers to stop the persecution immediately.
References: links to documentation of Canadian Parliament discussions about Falun Gong: