Finland: Falun Gong is Discussed in Parliament Members Question Time

Oulu 21.1.03

Under the election of Parliament in Finland there is often a questioning hour, when citizens can raise questions for the parliament members to answer. In the city of Oulu four members of Parliament were present to answer any questions people might ask. When the time came for the first question, the hall was filled with silence. Then a Falun Gong practitioner stood up and raised the first question. “According to reports from human rights groups, the situation of human rights in China is getting worse, especially in the case of Falun Gong, which is the largest group of people being persecuted very severely. The death toll is rising daily and by an alarming amount -- since November there have been over 20 verified reports of practitioners being tortured to death in the hands of the Chinese authorities. What is your opinion about the human rights situation in China and about Falun Gong?” She also asked whether the parliament members signed the appeal to Jiang Zemin in Parliament House last autumn, asking him to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and other groups immediately. One female MP was the only one who signed the petition, and she said that she has brought up the issue of Falun Gong on many occasions with Chinese officials. They had always refused to even talk about the issue with her. According to her, the persecution of Falun Gong is a "special issue" and she is very supportive of Falun Gong. After this question the atmosphere in the hall became more serene and relaxed.

After the event, practitioners talked with the Parliament members and gave them materials revealing the truth about the Jiang regime’s persecution. One man, who didn't give a supportive answer regarding human rights, felt a bit ashamed afterwards and asked for more material about Falun Gong. Practitioners told him about Falun Gong and gave him a good chance to learn the true situation.

Local newspaper "Kaleva" featured an article about this event the next day. They had a picture of the practitioner who asked the question and also mentioned the question about Falun Gong and human rights in China. The Parliament Member who said that she had signed a petition before for Falun Gong revealed how she believes that human rights are an essential part of Finnish Foreign politics,and issues concerning China have been observed in the human rights report of the Foreign Ministry. (Kaleva 22.1.2003)

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