A Chinese Falun Gong practitioner, who was detained and tortured in China in attempts to force him to betray his conscience and renounce Falun Gong, recently spent several days in Scotland. This visit attracted significant media coverage, including a supportive and in-depth account of his experiences in The Herald, Scotland’s best selling quality daily newspaper. He also gave a number of presentations to Scottish human rights groups, who were very supportive.
One event, a film and presentation, was organised in association with Edinburgh Peace and Justice Resource Centre. This agency campaigns against torture and abuses of human rights. The event, entitled “Torture in China”, was very well advertised on posters throughout Edinburgh, including in locations that would be very visible to Chinese people. The posters displayed photographs and a brief account of the persecution Falun Gong in China, as well as statistics about the number of people killed and incarcerated. The evening was also advertised free of charge in Edinburgh’s Evening News (the city’s main newspaper). Included in their notice was a brief statement referring to Falun Gong and the torture in China. The advertising was as much of an opportunity to let people know the facts as the event itself.
The evening was very successful. It was held in a large community café that has the facility for films and talks. As the film started, the room suddenly filled up at what turned out to be a very well-attended event. The film about the persecution of Falun Gong was entitled “An Appeal to China, an Appeal to the world.” This was followed by the practitioner delivering a very moving and in-depth account of the benefits he has received from practising Falun Gong, how and why the persecution actually started in China, and harrowing details of the torture and brainwashing he was subject to whilst in detention. This was followed by a question and answer session, as well as a discussion involving several members of the audience and practitioners.
At the end of the evening, most of the audience signed a petition calling for the release of family members of UK residents, who are currently detained in China. Information was also given about the weekly free Falun Gong class in Edinburgh.
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