FDI: Iceland Citizens Rally Around Falun Gong
Icelandic Organizations Plan Activities During Jiang's Visit to Give Voice for Falun Gong Practitioners Barred from the Country
"We will take the place of those who are not allowed to visit Iceland and protest the violation of human rights." - Iceland Citizen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 11, 2002 [ http://www.faluninfo.net/
LONDON, June 11, 2002 (European Falun Dafa Information Centre) - The people of Iceland have showed tremendous support for the practitioners of Falun Gong after the Iceland Government, in a bizarre and unprecedented decision, barred all Falun Gong practitioners from entering Iceland during the visit of Chinese president Jiang Zemin this week.
"It's the talk of the town...the whole country is behind Falun Gong," says Joel Chipkar, a Falun Gong practitioner from Canada who has been in Iceland for several days. "Every media outlet, every TV station, every radio station, every newspaper...it's been the top story here."
On June 9, a large group of Icelanders joined Falun Gong practitioners in the park to learn the Falun Gong exercises and express their concern regarding the situation. "I stand with you," offered one man, and added with a smile, "If the Chinese delegates try to shoot you, they have to shoot me first."
One woman interviewed on the street outside a department store in Reykjavik stated, "All the people are against this ban. Everyone I speak to supports Falun Gong." Another woman passing by was asked, "how do the people in Iceland feel about the barring of Falun Gong practitioners?" "Terrible," she replied. "The people are upset...they want to stop this."
"We've been getting a steady stream of supportive e-mails and phone calls from the Icelandic people," said Falun Dafa Information Centre spokesperson Peter Jauhal. "We are all touched and encouraged by the outpouring of support."
Most of the letters express outrage at the Icelandic government's banning of Falun Gong practitioners during Jiang's visit. Many offer to hold peaceful appeals against the persecution of Falun Gong in China in the place of those people who have been denied entry.
One woman writes, "I am a resident of Iceland and I would just like to say that I (and probably nearly everyone in Iceland) do not agree with how the government has handled this matter. It's not democratic or fair."
Says a 33-year-old Icelandic man, "I would like to congratulate your organisation for your effort in the fight for more human rights to all! I think it's a disgrace that supporters and members of your organisations are not allowed into Iceland by our government officials to demonstrate and urging president Jiang Zemin to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China."
"To whom it may concern," writes one student, "We will take the place of those who are not allowed to visit Iceland and protest the violation of human rights. Human rights have no borders!"
Another student writes, "I just want to say that most Icelanders are disgusted by the way our government has chosen to invite a criminal to visit our country and at the same time stop Falun Gong members from coming and peacefully objecting?People I have talked with are abhorred by this."
Icelandic human rights organizations and NGOs have also offered their support in making sure that Falun Gong's message of peace, tolerance and freedom of belief is delivered to the visiting Chinese president this week. One organization has begun plans for large-scale activities, stating they: "would like to carry out or join in any demonstration that Falun Gong had planned while the Chinese president visited Iceland ... promoting any such protest ... carried out in a peaceful manner."
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Centre has verified details of
over 422 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999.
Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is
well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being
sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.
FOR MORE INFO, CONTACT THE EUROPEAN FALUN GONG INFORMATION CENTRE - English: Peter Jauhal +44 799 054 1284, Additional contacts: http://www.falungonginfo.net/europe.htm Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.clearharmony.net
Category: Falun Dafa in the Media