Monsieur le President de la Republique
Palais de l’Elysee 55
Rue du faubourg Saint-Honore 75008
1st February 2004
Dear President Chirac
Human Rights Violations and Discrimination on French Soil
We were shocked to learn that a Western, democratic country founded on the principles of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” so blatantly violated the human rights of peaceful, non-political citizens and visitors.
It has been widely reported that during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to France, excessive and unreasonable measures were used to intimidate and harass practitioners of Falun Gong. Both Chinese and Western practitioners were arrested, simply because they wore yellow scarves or yellow sweaters with the words of "Falun Gong" or "Zhen Shan Ren" (meaning Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance). The French police told them that they were arrested because “Yellow was illegal in France”. Even people not wearing yellow, but just wearing blue scarves with the words “Falun Dafa” were arrested. Reports from those detained say that unnecessary force was used to place them in police vehicles and that no laws had been broken or cited by the arresting officers.
We know that France is a country, which prides itself on its independence of thought and will and does not easily bow to the demands of others. However, this incident clearly shows that the very integrity and self-will of the French nation has been violated and compromised. We are deeply concerned that the Paris police are, at the behest of your government and due to pressure from the Chinese government, has actively helped in the persecution of Falun Gong. France's constitution guarantees freedom of belief and assembly and yet these good people were illegally harassed for upholding their beliefs and clearly discriminated against.
France, as a member of the European Union, has also gone against the principles of supporting human rights in China by violating those very principles on its own territory. For example, in the Council of General Affairs' findings of 22 January 2001, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union stated their concern that, among the areas in which it would seek progress through Euro-Sino dialogue on human rights, would be the respect China shows towards fundamental rights of all prisoners, including those arrested for their adherence to political opposition groups, to non official religious movements or other movements such as Falun Gong.
It is clear that a choice was made to ignore the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners and to instead, support their persecutors.
We sincerely hope that France will refrain further from assisting the persecution of Falun Gong for the sake of trade agreements with China. Many have lost their lives and millions continue to be terrorized for their right to improve themselves physically, morally and spiritually.
We sincerely hope that “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance" are not illegal in France.
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