Canada: Letter from Falun Dafa Association of Canada to French Officials Regarding the Mistreatment of the Practitioners in Paris

January 28, 2004

Ambassadeur de France au Canada

Monsieur Philippe Guelluy,

The Falun Dafa Association of Canada is writing to express our deep distress concerning a series of wrongful arrests and detentions of Falun Dafa practitioners in Paris over the last three or four days, including reports of rough treatment by police. We understand that these practitioners from several different countries did nothing illegal but were arrested simply for wearing Falun Dafa clothing or being with other Falun Dafa practitioners. We are stunned by this serious and flagrant violation of people's rights. We request that this unacceptable treatment be stopped immediately, and we ask for an explanation and apologies from the French authorities.

The practice of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a peaceful spiritual practice that consists of gentle, meditative exercises and a set of moral teachings centring on the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance." It has received numerous commendations and support from around the world, including in Canada, for its benefits to people's physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing. We enclose a congratulatory letter to our Association from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, on the 9th anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction to the public.

Tragically, as you are aware, practitioners of Falun Dafa have suffered a brutal persecution in China for over four years, forcibly instigated in 1999 by former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin in direct opposition to most of the other government leaders. Despite peaceful appeals and broad condemnation by governments and human rights organizations around the world, Jiang's dictatorship has persisted in escalating the persecution in China and has even extended it to other countries. Its associated massive propaganda campaign has been exported via Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide to turn public opinion and incite hatred against Falun Gong. Other contemptible tactics being used against the citizens and officials of other nations include threats, intimidation, blacklisting, and diplomatic and economic pressure.

In response, Falun Dafa practitioners have persevered in their peaceful appeals worldwide. To coincide with a visit to France by the new leader of China, President Hu Jintao, practitioners from different countries travelled to Paris on their own initiative to appeal for an end to the persecution, as well as to participate in the Chinese new years celebration in Paris prior to his visit. Their unjust treatment by police was totally unexpected. In particular, we point out that during a similar visit to Ottawa, Canada by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2003, nearly 200 Falun Dafa practitioners peacefully performed their exercises and displayed their banners at several locations visited by Premier Wen, including his hotel and Parliament Hill, without incident and with official permission from our local police. Practitioners' messages to Premier Wen were simply to extend their welcome to him, to tell him that Falun Dafa is good, and to ask that Jiang be brought to justice for his crimes. We attach a media report of these activities for your information.

According to an Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun article on Jan. 21 2004, titled "Chinese officials on RCMP watchlist", it said, "The RCMP is keeping a watchlist of 15 high-ranking Chinese officials, accused of torturing and oppressing members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. If any of the officials sets foot in Canada, the RCMP will "look into" their alleged criminal actions, Constable Nathalie Deschenes said, "Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, applicants cannot be admitted to Canada if there are reasonable grounds to believe they have perpetrated a crime against humanity." "The list of accused includes Jiang Zemin, the 72-year-old former president of China and now chairman of the country's Central Military Commission, and Liu Qi, the mayor of Beijing." We enclose the article.

As Canadians we greatly value our connection with the people of France and are grateful that both our peoples are fortunate to live in just and democratic societies that cherish and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. Therefore, we were gravely shocked and disheartened to learn of the recent arrests of our fellow practitioners in Paris. They were innocent people detained without cause, and we are particularly dismayed by one of the reasons reportedly given by police, that wearing the colour yellow is illegal in France.

We have no ill feeling toward the French government, but we ask that you not forget the countless practitioners of Falun Gong who are suffering atrocities in labour camps, mental hospitals, and detention centres across China. We are concerned for France that these wrongful arrests have brought your country one step closer to the stark reality and practice of persecution and injustice in China. We urge you to take immediate measures to rectify this wrong and to prevent greater damage to the dignity and reputation of your country within the international community.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your dignified and upright response and action on this serious matter.

Sincerely yours,

Grace Wollensak
On behalf of Falun Dafa Association of Canada

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