(Minghui.org) Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, issued a statement to mark the 21stanniversary of Falun Gong practitioners protesting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution. He commended the practitioners’ courage and perseverance in their efforts to end the persecution. 

The CCP’s Persecution Must End

He stated, “If ever it was apt to refer to an anniversary as somber, this was such a time. It marks twenty-one years of unrelenting, cruel, and systematic human rights violations by the Chinese government against practitioners of Falun Gong and their family members.

“Over those years I have frequently joined Falun Gong practitioners in Canada, who have gathered on Parliament Hill and in front of the Chinese Embassy here in Ottawa, to draw attention to this cruel, unending human rights crackdown. 

“I have stood with numerous family members here in Canada, gravely worried about the fate of loved ones imprisoned in China.

“The range of human rights violations is expansive and heartless: religious persecution, freedom of expression, arbitrary arrest, unlawful imprisonment, unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment, and the right to life. And it must end.”

Human Rights Must Come First in Our Relationship with China

He pointed out that the Canadian government must work both bilaterally and multilaterally to intensify the pressure on the CCP government to relent. 

“That means that human rights must come first in our relationship with China, central to all of our engagement, across the entirety of government and all business dealings,” Neve stated. “Human rights cannot take a back seat to trade and investment, as they have for far too long.”

“That also means intensified efforts within the international community, working with a broad array of governments, to make it clear that China’s atrocious human rights record cannot stand. 

“Twenty-one years of the Falun Gong crackdown, the current Uyghur crisis, the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong, continuing abuses against Tibetans and constant repression of human rights lawyers, advocates, and activists. It is time for the world to find its voice with respect to China’s abysmal human rights record.”

Practitioner Sun Qian’s Case Must Get Attention of High Level Canadian Officials

Neve noted, in particular, the very worrying situation of Canadian citizen and Falun Gong practitioner Sun Qian, unjustly imprisoned and almost certainly subject to torture, ill-treatment, and harsh prison conditions for close to three and half years. 

“Sun Qian was suddenly convicted to an 8-year prison sentence late last month, based on a confession almost certainly the product of duress, an unfair trial, and including a supposedly voluntary decision to renounce her Canadian citizenship,” Neve stated. 

“There is, as we all know, considerable strain in the relationship between Canada and China at this time, when it comes to concerns about prisoners. The Canadian government has, importantly, given much attention to efforts to secure freedom for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have languished in detention in clear retaliation for the extradition proceedings brought against Meng Wanzhou.”

Neve indicated that Sun Qian’s case must similarly receive consistent, priority attention at the highest levels of the Canadian government, including from the Prime Minister.

“Lastly, it is worth noting that the repression against Falun Gong practitioners extends to Canada as well. In May, on behalf of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China, Amnesty International issued a report documenting the harassment, threats, interference and violence against human rights defenders in Canada, including Falun Gong practitioners, who draw attention to China’s worsening human rights record. 

“It may not always be straightforward to end human rights violations on the ground in China, but that cannot be the case here in Canada. The Canadian government must take up our Coalition’s recommendations for action, to ensure that Falun Gong and other human rights defenders working here in Canada on Chinese human rights concerns, can do so safely.

“A mournful anniversary, yes, but also a time to honour the remarkable strength, perseverance and courage of Falun Gong practitioners and family members, in China and around the world, who refuse to give in, refuse to accept this human rights crackdown and who show us a remarkable resilience that must inspire all of us to follow.”