UK: Practitioners held a Press Conference outside the French Embassy in London

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At 3:00pm on February 3rd, UK practitioners held a press conference outside the French Embassy in London and called upon the embassy staff to pass on the following message to the French government: During the official visit by the Chinese leader Hu Jintao on January 28th French police were poisoned by the Jiang regime’s relentless spread of its fabricated lies against Falun Gong and used excessive force to arrest and detain seven UK Falun Gong practitioners and practitioners from other countries. These acts of repression helped extend the Jiang regime’s brutal persecution of Falun Gong abroad and greatly tarnished France’s founding principles of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”. UK Falun Gong practitioners appealed to the French Government to initiate a speedy investigation of the incident and correct this mistake of grave human rights abuse so that the harm done to the Falun Gong practitioners can be healed as soon as possible and that the damage to France’s reputation in democracy and human rights can be restored.

In the press conference, former senior UK diplomat Lord Thurlow pointed out that France seriously abused human rights and freedom of belief in this incident, and that the French police’s explanation that they were under instruction to arrest anyone wearing yellow scarves or fleeces with Falun Gong on them is totally unacceptable in any democratic country. Vice Chairman of “European Friends of Falun Gong” Mr John Dee and chairman of the European Falun Dafa Association Mr Peter Jauhal also spoke afterwards. They stated that the French government, under pressure from the Chinese regime, had actively helped the persecution of Falun Gong. The action by the French Government, for the sake of reaching trade agreements with China, violated the guarantee of freedom of belief and association in France’s own constitution and the basic human rights principle. They felt regrettable that as a member of the European Union, France had 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 22nd 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. They concluded that “we sincerely hope that France will follow the principle of “human rights is above trade”, and will be brave enough to correct its mistake and join the efforts of the international community to help stop the evil action of China’s brutal persecution of Falun Gong.”

Finally two UK Falun Gong practitioners who are the victims of this incident in Paris read their personal statements about their ordeal. They described that upon being violently arrested, they were illegally detained for many hours, with some practitioners hand-cuffed to the chair the whole time. They noticed that police filled “no reason” in their record of arrest. Some police accepted that their behaviour was improper due to the instruction from their superior who felt the pressure from the Chinese government when considering France’s trade interest.

After the press conference, the Chairman of the European Falun Dafa Association delivered a letter to the French Embassy for French President Chirac.

During the press conference, a group of French students happened to pass by. A western practitioner explained to them, in French, about our activity. These students all felt that the French government’s behaviour was unreasonable and incorrect. They happily accepted the interview by Journalist for NTDTV. They were also a few French Embassy staff who accepted our materials about this incident while on the way out on business.

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