BBC Monitoring

Ottawa, 29 November: Two Canadians who took part in a peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square 20 November said Thursday [29 November] that the mainland Chinese authorities, and not the 30-odd foreign petitioners, broke the law and violated the country's constitution as well as several international treaties.

Zenon Dolnyckyj and Joel Chipkar held a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during which Chipkar distributed to the media film footage he shot of the Western Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful appeal in the heart of Beijing. They said that all of the practitioners were roughed up by police before being deported.

Along with Member of Parliament Scott Reid, the two Canadians condemned the mainland Chinese regime's violence against the 35 Westerners who made an appeal on the part of their fellow mainland Chinese practitioners. Beijing has outlawed the Falun Gong.

Chipkar said that mainland Chinese practitioners have not been breaking any laws. "What they have done is within the Chinese constitution, and within the international treaties that China has signed. If a Canadian (had) traveled to Nazi Germany in 1940 to peacefully appeal for the rights and lives of the Jewish people, he would have been considered a hero today by his country and the world," he noted.

However, Dolnyckyj said, because of the appeal he made in Tiananmen Square, the mainland Chinese police "broke my nose, detained and interrogated me, and beat and molested other (Western) practitioners in custody." "It is the mainland Chinese authorities who broke the law and violated their own Constitution when they stopped our legal appeal and beat a Canadian and other foreigners," Dolnyckyj said, adding that "if they treat foreigners this way, how do they treat their own people in labour camps?" Reid said "China has to accept a movement such as Falun Gong" because the People's Republic of China Constitution requires it and because international conventions mainland China has signed require it.

"And it has obligation to respect foreigners who come to China to engage in peaceful activities," he added.