Canada: Members of Parliament Urge Prime Minister to Request Release of Falun Gong Practitioner Detained in China
(Minghui.org) Several Members of Parliament (MP) and human rights organizations took part in a press conference to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to request the release of a Canadian Falun Gong practitioner during his upcoming visit to Beijing.
(Left to right) Grace Wollensak and Xun Li of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler, MP Cheryl Hardcastle of the New Democratic Party, MP Michael Cooper of the Conservative Party, MP Elizabeth May of the Greens Party, Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, MP Peter Kent of the Conservative Party participate in a press conference calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, imprisoned in China.
Former Minister of Justice: The Chinese Communist Party Persecutes Innocent Falun Gong Practitioners
Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and MP, is acting as legal counsel for Canadian citizen Sun Qian, detained in Beijing for her belief in Falun Gong. Mr. Cotler stated, “Qian Sun has been arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained, tortured in detention, denied her fundamental freedoms to religion, expression, and association.
“We call on the Chinese authorities to honor their own rule of law, to cease and desist from persecution and prosecution, and to release Qian Sun unconditionally, and permit her to return to her family in Canada,”
He indicated that Sun is another victim of the CCP's persecution of innocent Falun Gong practitioners.
Back in the early 2000s, Cotler took up the case of another Falun Dafa prisoner of conscience, Mr. Zhang Kunlun, a former colleague of his at McGill University where both were professors. Zhang was detained in 2000 when he traveled to China, and was sent to a forced labor camp.
Thanks to Cotler’s efforts and a strong voice from other elected officials and groups, Zhang was eventually released in January 2001, just ahead of a trade mission to China by then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.
MPs and Human Rights Organizations Urge Prime Minister to Raise the Issue of Falun Gong and Request the Release of Sun Qian
Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Peter Kent, co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, said that while in China, Prime Minister Trudeau must “speak forcefully in support of Canadian citizens and the families of Canadian citizens who have been imprisoned and abused by Chinese authorities.”
There are currently 12 family members of Canadian citizens who are imprisoned in China—against the country’s laws—for practicing Falun Gong.
MP Kent stated, “The PM must speak publicly about the continuing deterioration of human rights and the rule of law. And, I hope that any eventual trade agreement with China will have a strong human rights chapter.”
MP Elizabeth May said, “Very appropriately, petitioners are asking this House to consider the plight of the practitioners of Falun Gong in China, particularly Canadian citizen Qian Sun who was illegally kidnapped. I hope the Prime Minister will indeed raise the issues of human rights in his upcoming visit.”
Conservative MP David Anderson stated, “We have a number of Canadians who are being held in China, of course. [Trudeau] needs to make sure he is representing Canadian interests first, prior to anything else.”
The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China, a group of 15 organizations that includes Amnesty International, released an open letter to PM Trudeau on Thursday, November 30, asking for the Prime Minister to “prioritize human rights concerns in all meetings and exchanges while you are in China.”
The coalition provided a list of prisoners “unjustly held in China, with a request that [Trudeau] press authorities for their release.” Among those on the list are 13 individuals, “whose plight is emblematic of the persecution faced by minorities and human rights defenders in China.” Ms. Sun was named as one of the 13.
Xun Li, President of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau, “The persecution of Falun Gong is a crime against humanity, against tens of millions of people for their spiritual belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.”
Li said, “I hope the Prime Minister will speak out for Sun Qian and the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in general, including 12 family members of Canadians.”