DUBLIN (IFDIC) – On Monday February the 9th, councillors representing Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will vote whether to accept a motion to condemn the persecution of Falun Dafa Practitioners in China. The motion urges the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen to demand that Dun Laoghaire students Liu Feng and Yang Fang are permitted to return to Ireland to continue their studies during the Human-Rights Dialogue with China held in Dublin on the 26th and 27th of February.
Liu Feng and Yang Fang are students registered in Dublin Colleges. When they saw the persecution of Falun Dafa break out in China they bravely returned home to tell the government of their positive experience with the practice and urge former Chairman Jiang Zemin’s regime to end the human rights abuses against Falun Dafa practitioners. They were both detained and their passports were confiscated. Both were later released but their passports were not returned.
In 2002 the two students successfully regained their passports and gained an Irish visa once again, but sadly Yang Fang was detained as she boarded the plane to Ireland and Liu Feng was kidnapped by police while shopping with his father. Liu Feng was subsequently sentenced to two years in the notorious Dalian Labour camp. Yang Fang was released from detention after a successful hunger strike.
During 24-year-old Liu Feng’s detention he became critically ill and was released one year early for “humanitarian reasons”. Both students are no longer detained but their passports have not been returned.
IFDIC spokesperson Gerald O’Connor said “The EU-China dialogues have been completely fruitless over the past years because the EU has failed to publicly disclose the results of the talks, thus failing to create public pressure and international pressure which would force Jiang Zemin’s regime to respect human rights. Instead under the veil of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue business is booming between China and Europe. Some China Analysts estimate that one quarter of the Chinese budget is spent persecuting Falun Dafa practitioners. How much of this money comes from Europe? Councillors representing half a million Irish people are asking for strong action from the European Parliament and the Irish Government to end the human rights abuses in China. Now it is time to answer to the public and put pressure on China to respect the human rights of its citizens”
The press is invited to Council Chamber, City Hall Swords 3:45 pm Monday the 9th of February to witness the vote of Fingal County Council on this motion. Three Falun Dafa practitioners will also be present and available for interview:
- Zhao Ming: Trinity College student Zhao Ming spent 22 months in a Chinese labour camp, where labour camp officials ruthlessly tortured him to force him to give up his belief in Falun Dafa. He was released due to public and international pressure placed on the Chinese government.
- Gerald O’Connor: Gerald was involved in the campaign to rescue Zhao Ming and is now volunteering to help rescue Liu Feng and Yang Fang. Gerald travelled to China to help Ming return to Ireland in 2002; he was arrested in China for appealing for an end to the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners. He was beaten by Chinese police before eventually being deported.
- Donal Maddock: Donal is a Masters student from DCU who volunteers his free time to organise classes where people can learn the Falun Dafa meditation practice free of charge.
NEWS – Feb. 06, 2004
Irish Falun Dafa Information Centre, www.clearharmony.net
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.” Practiced in over 50 countries worldwide, Falun Dafa has roots in traditional Chinese culture. With government estimates of as many as 100 million practising Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report). Since that time, 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 Dafa Information Centre has verified details of 890 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Dafa in China began in 1999. In October 2001, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now 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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE IRISH FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTRE
Gerald O’Connor 0863848719 or Zhao Ming 0872980324
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