On the 30th of June 2004, a seminar about the persecution of Falun Gong was held in the Houses of Parliament in London and was attended by Lords, Members of Parliament and Falun Gong practitioners. Those who attended were able to gain a better understanding of the persecution of Falun Gong and the situation in China.
The seminar was chaired by a Member of Parliament who began by saying that in her own constituency industrial links are being forged more and more often with China. She commented that “with the opening of industry and links with China, comes the need to pay attention to human rights.” She said she had come to know the persecution of Falun Gong through a local constituent who practises Falun Gong and has kept her informed of the persecution over the last several years.
Lord Thurlow gave a wide-ranging speech in which he outlined the nature of the persecution, and emphasised that the supposed improvements in China’s human rights are just a façade behind which the persecution continues unabated. He talked about how the free world has become obsessed with China’s potential “economic muscle”, but that far from encouraging the regime to actually change its stance on human rights, they had actually got worse. Describing the nature of the persecution, he said, “The effect has been beyond words and beyond imagination. The size of the structure of the persecution outstrips anything that has been seen before in history.” He described how the structure of the persecution seemed to take Hitler’s Gestapo and Stalin’s regime as models, and how it had utilised “everything developed in the world of torture.”
Pinpointing Jiang as the person responsible for the persecution, Lord Thurlow outlined how the dictator turned the Chinese Communist Party and the nation against a traditional form of meditation and exercise. He pointed out that before the persecution of Falun Gong, there was widespread acceptance of the practice by the Chinese Government, and that it was embraced by Chinese society. The persecution had been carried out by Jiang, despite the fact that 6 members of the Politburo Standing Committee (China’s highest political office) were against the persecution of Falun Gong, as they had seen the benefits Falun Gong had brought to society.
The attending parliamentarians listened to Lord Thurlow’s speech intently, commenting afterwards on his thorough knowledge of the situation. One Member of Parliament echoed his colleague’s comments about the need to use the opportunity of increased trade to raise the issue of Human Rights more with China. At the end of the seminar, positive suggestions were made for the establishment of future concrete actions for the persecution of Falun Gong to be challenged on a governmental level.
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