13 November 2001
Two Swiss practitioners attended a briefing session, given by Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to prepare for her visit to China on 8 November.
The meeting we attended took place at the Palais Wilson. Representatives from several NGOs (non-governmental organizations) had also been invited and were there to present further information on human rights abuses being perpetrated in China.
We were able to offer our comments and elaborate on what we had written in our letter. In submitting the latest facts to Mrs. Robinson, we took the opportunity to say that it was evident that China was making no effort whatsoever to improve its human rights policy, given the atrocious accounts of torture we continue to receive. We also expressed our scepticism of the establishment of cooperation with a country that makes no attempt to demonstrate an improvement in its human rights policy. On the contrary, numerous abuses continue to take place even when Mrs. Robinson is in China.
We requested to her that, in the forthcoming negotiations, to exact proof of China’s good will and to ask for the release of Zhao Ming and Dr. Teng - their freedom being our priority - as well as for the official and immediate closure of the 610 Office [specifically set up to carry out the persecution against Falun Gong]. We reminded her that we had already spoken of this perverse body from which all the directives regarding Falun Gong are issued
Mrs. Robinson was moved by the account of the practitioner who had been thrown out of the window and she recalled the case of Zhao Ming. She explained to us that throughout her last visits to China she always spoke of Falun Gong and emphasized that “no matter what the ideology, human rights must above all be respected”.
We were surprised on this occasion to see that all the NGO members present spoke of Falun Gong:
The representative of Human Rights Watch stated that a report on Falun Gong would soon be available and asked Mrs. Robinson to take into consideration the abuses perpetrated against Falun Gong practitioners. The representatives of FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights) and Amnesty International also emphasized this point.
Finally, before leaving, we shook hands with Mrs. Robinson, while giving her a file containing our letter and some documents. The latter were distributed in the room before the meeting and a copy of the letter was given to Mrs. Robinson’s two assistants.
Reported by Swiss practitioners
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