From Bangkok, Thailand 22 May 2003

( May 24, 2003) I am innocent. I have never done anything against Thailand or any other country. Because of my husband's work I have been living in Thailand for quite a long time during the last three years. I have many good friends here, and Thailand is very dear to my heart.

It is not a coincidence that I was detained the same day that the Chinese Premier came to Thailand for a meeting. I have a very strong reason to believe that the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok is behind this matter. The Jiang Zemin regime in China has already pressured many countries on the issue of Falun Gong.

I have heard that someone was afraid that we would hold a demonstration when China's premier came to Bangkok on April 29. The day before, on April 28, my Thai friend in Bangkok received a phone call from someone who said they were from the office of the Thai Prime Minister. They were asking whether we were going to hold a demonstration. As my friend told them, we had no such plans.

In February of this year, one Chinese Falun Gong practitioner with UN refugee status was denied extension of his visa in Thailand. Now in May, three more Chinese practitioners, also with UN refugee status, have had the same thing happen to them. All of them are in a vulnerable position. So this is not just about me, it is about standing up for basic human rights.

To be sitting in detention in Thailand cannot be compared with what my Falun Gong practitioner friends in China have to endure. In China, you will be tortured, even to death. I am able to practise Falun Gong exercises and show them to any of the more than 100 other women detained in one room with me. The staff have generally been friendly to me in this detention centre.

The most difficult thing has been the heat, but I'm getting used to it. I am really thankful for all the help and support from the Swedish government, and especially from the Swedish ambassador in Bangkok. The ambassador, Jan Nordlander, has been personally engaged in my case and helped me a lot. As far as I know, the Foreign Ministry in Sweden demanded that I be immediately released on Wednesday May 14. I want to thank all my friends all over the world for the moral support and all the letters they have written to the Thai Government.

Thailand means "Land of the Free." I hope that the Thai Government will create a good future for its people through not giving in to the pressure from China and by preserving freedom for its people. I miss my family and they are worried for me, and my workplace needs me in Sweden. So I hope that the Thai Government can resolve this issue with justice and good will, as soon as possible.

Pirjo Svensson

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