Open letter to Canadian Prime Minister from 16 Non-Governmental Organizations
The Right Honorable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
309-S, Center Block
House of Commons
February 7th, 2001
Dear Prime Minister,
We are deeply troubled by the severe and unabated persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
"Reports of the arrest, imprisonment and torture of a Canadian Citizen, Kunlun Zhang, in China have drawn nation-wide attention and concern; starkly bringing home to Canada two of China's most pressing human rights issues: the ongoing, serious persecution of Falun Dafa followers, and the widespread useof torture throughout the country." (Amnesty International)
The Chinese government outlawed the practice of Falun Dafa in July 1999, and since then has detained, imprisoned, and tortured more than 50,000 practitioners. Most detainees were sentenced to prisons and labor camps, and many were unlawfully sent to psychiatric institutions. In all cases, reports of torture (resulting in over 130 deaths to date) are pervasive despite the fact that the Falun Dafa movement is explicitly apolitical and poses no threat to Chinese authorities. Its members seek only to cultivate truth, compassion, and tolerance through lifestyle, meditation, and exercise.
Mr. Zhang's release demonstrated the effects of international pressure on the Chinese authorities. However, he is just one of millions of Falun Dafa practitioners who are suppressed by the Chinese government. Significant and continued international pressure must be brought to bear on China, whose unwillingness to ensure the basic fundamental human rights of its citizens is a tragedy. Canada cannot remain silent in the face of suffering on such a large scale. We cannot avoid our moral duty any longer.
If the protection of human rights is to remain a priority for the Government of Canada, we request thatthe human rights situation in China, in particular the persecution of Falun Dafa, be added to the Team Canada trade mission agenda during meetings with China.
We urge you to convey to the Chinese government, in the strongest possible terms, our desire for the Chinese authorities to release all Falun Dafa practitioners and to stop the persecution of Falun Dafa,and to initiate a resolution, in bodies such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, dealing specifically with China's disastrous human rights record.
Amnesty International, Regina, Canada
Vancouver Association of Chinese Canadians
The Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture
Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
The Canada Tibet Committee
College of Santa Fe Students for a Free Tibet
Seva Service Society
Association for Awareness and Networking
Olive Branch International
Canadian Center for Victims of Torture
Student Environment Center
Buddhist Social Action Network
Category: Voices of Support Worldwide