Irish Press Release: SARS is Just the Tip of the Iceberg in Terms of What Jiang Zemin is Hiding - Irish Student Among Thousands still Detained without Cause

DUBLIN (IFGIC) -- In April, when Dr. Jiang Yanyong blew the whistle on the SARS cover-up in China, the international community hailed him as a hero -- one who put the lives and well being of the people before concerns for his own personal safety.

More than three years before, however, Chinese authorities arrested a Dublin college student, Mr. Feng Liu and placed him under house arrest after he tried to hand in a letter of appeal to the Chinese Premier concerning the persecution of Falun Gong.

Like Dr. Jiang, the Mr. Liu’s act was to save countless lives in China, and one that the Chinese leadership has gone to great lengths to cover up. To facilitate this act, Mr. Liu had to put the interests of others before himself and for this he has been arrested, detained and is currently being detained in a labour camp in China.

Details of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners being tortured in labour camps have already been received and these accounts paint a harrowing picture.

“Nobody should be maltreated as a result of their belief – this is stated in the United Nations Declarations of Human Rights” states Mr Brian Trought, a spokesperson for the Irish Falun Gong Information Centre. “But this is exactly what has happened to Feng Liu. He must be released – immediately and unconditionally.”

Irish Government Asks Questions

In a similar manner to appeal for the release of Zhao Ming from a labour camp in Beijing, the Irish people have again raised their concerns for Feng Liu; signatures have been collected, and Irish politicians have also raised questions relating to his detention in the Dáil. Among these, Olivia Mitchell asked “if [the Minister for Foreign Affairs] will continue to press the case of these two persons in order that they may return here to complete their studies; and if he will make a statement on the matter” [14851/03].

In response, the Irish foreign Minister, Mr. Brian Cowen stated: “My colleague, Deputy Kitt, Minister of State with responsibility for overseas development and human rights, yesterday met the Chinese Ambassador, and raised our concerns over these cases with him. Officials in my Department and in our embassy in Beijing will continue to monitor these cases, and I will keep the House informed of any progress made.”

Mr. Trought commented that “The Irish government must do more than just talk to Chinese representatives about stopping the persecution of Falun Gong, they have to place more pressure on China and ensure a quick and peaceful end to this persecution.”

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Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practise of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” It is a practise that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practises such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practised in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practising Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practise in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang’s regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practise while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practise it.

The Irish Falun Gong Information Centre has verified details of 720 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labour camps, typically without trial.

Brian Trought 0879911892 - Zhao Ming –0877842819- Gerald O’Connor 0863848719

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