At approximately 11am on August the 5th 2004, a criminal lawsuit was filed in Greece against Jiang Zemin, Li Lanqing and Luo Gan for their Crimes of Torture. This was followed by a press conference in Athens to let the public know about this step towards bringing the chief persecutors of Falun Gong to justice. The press conference was attended by both Greek and international media, and featured 3 plaintiffs from this lawsuit as well as several experts in the field of law and human rights. The following is a statement sent to the media before this press conference.
Press Statement: Restoring Virtue. The Honour of Ancient Traditions
An International Call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong
ATHENS – The Chinese and Greek ancient cultures are two of the greatest cultures in the world. The teachings of Socrates in Ancient Greece and Lao Tze in Early China laid the spiritual and moral foundations for Western and Eastern Culture. The Olympic Games celebrate Greece's ancient cultural and moral traditions. As the Greek poet Pindar noted, the Olympic contester’s victory is based on the principle of the “KAIROS,” a principle of balance and harmony between the athlete, the gods, and nature. Similarly, ancient and contemporary Chinese self-refinement practises such as Falun Gong are based upon harmony between human and the divine.
We hold this press conference in honour of the spiritual traditions of the two nations, and in so doing, we urge the faction within the Chinese Government who are carrying out a systematic and brutal persecution of Falun Gong to stop and allow China to return to her true self – a nation and a people who, like the ancient Olympic athletes celebrated by Pindar, embrace balance and harmony between man, nature and the divine.
An ancient practice of exercise, meditation and teachings of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, Falun Gong was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China. Within a year, more than a million persons in China practised the five sets of slow and gentle exercise every morning before work. Members of the influential Politburo, high ranking government officials, academics and many others embraced the spiritual principles of Falun Gong. Like the disciples of Socrates, practitioners of Falun Gong look inward to improve both morally and spiritually, and cultivate their character to enlighten to spiritual truths.
Yet, as Socrates was denounced by narrow-minded persons in Ancient Athens, the practice of Falun Gong has been maligned by the former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, and the faction within the Chinese Government he controls.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, the U.S. State Department Country Reports, etc., have reported that since 1999 over 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to forced labour camps, jail, and mental institutions. According to some verified reports, more than 1,000 individuals have been tortured to death while in police custody, notwithstanding the prohibition against torture in Chinese law and international instruments ratified by China. The US Congress, European Parliament, and many governments have publicly condemned the persecution. Lawsuits have been filed in the United States, Europe, Asia and now Greece to bring those responsible for the atrocities to justice and put an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
The Olympic spirit, since its very beginning in Ancient Greece has promoted peace, harmony, fairness, justice, and humanity. There is no better venue than this event to highlight the importance of human rights and dignity in China especially, but also elsewhere around the globe.
CONTACT: Fotini Bakatsia +30 6973 57 99 32, Chris Cominos +30 697 489 9874 / +30 6993 91 75 72
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