(Clearwisdom.net) On May 19, 2005, several members of the Cork City Council in Ireland took a stance against proclaiming Shanghai a sister city. Chris O'Leary, a Green Party member, thought that this might send the wrong message to China. To date, twelve Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death in Shanghai.

The Irish Times reported that four of the city councilors from Cork protested outside city hall against the Mayor's forming an alliance with Shanghai and ignoring China's poor human rights record. Local Falun Gong practitioners also participated in the protest.

Practitioner Mr. Zhao Ming, who was shocked with electric batons in a prison in China, also participated in the protest. While he was visiting China in 2000, he was illegally arrested and sentenced to two years in prison.

Mr. Zhao Ming said, "I am not opposed to Chinese-Irish friendship. However, when Chinese Communist Party officials visited here, they pretended that nothing was wrong in China. This is completely untrue, because more than 2000 Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death over the past several years.

Chris O'Leary, a councilor from the Green Party, was strongly opposed to accepting Shanghai as a sister city. He said, "The regime in China is very intolerant of those who practice different religions, those who have HIV, anyone who is outspoken, the rights of people to associate - and here we are signing a twinning arrangement with a Chinese city. I think it sends out the entirely wrong signal."

Let us take a look at the situation in Shanghai. Twelve practitioners are known to have been persecuted to death since Jiang Zemin's suppression of Falun Gong started in July 1999. The notorious Tilanqiao Prison is located in Shanghai. Prison officials often cruelly torture and brutalize practitioners. The prison guards and collaborators routinely beat and kick steadfast practitioners. Practitioners are often kicked in the genitals.

For example, practitioner Mr. Qu Yanlai, who graduated from the Engineering Department of Shanghai Jiaotong University, and won high awards at a national chemistry contest as well as in mathematics, is now being detained in the so-called "Youth Experiment Squad" in Section Two of the Tilanqiao Prison. He has been on a hunger strike to protest his brutal mistreatment at the hands of the prison guards since he was illegally detained more than 900 days ago. In order to try to destroy his will, the prison guards torture him while attempting to force-feed him. We learned in April 2005 that the prison guards vented their personal spite while taking him to a place where they could force-feed him with a tube. They intentionally dragged him over dozens of concrete steps, causing such severe abrasions of his legs that even the bones were exposed and he bled profusely. It was a brutal scene, which the prison guards totally ignored.

The inmates are forced to perform heavy labor in Tilanqiao Prison. Inmates have to work from about 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and sometimes even later with virtually no breaks.