Time: Tuesday the 21st of September, 2004, 01:00 p.m.
Place: Mynttorget, Stockholm
Swedish Falun Gong practitioners together with their lawyer Peter Bergquist are preparing a lawsuit in Sweden in co-operation with international human rights lawyers Georges-Henri Beauthier of Belgium and William Bourdoun of France. The lawsuit charges Jiang Zemin, former Head of State in China, and other responsible perpetrators in the persecution of Falun Gong for crimes of murder, torture and abduction.
A live anti-torture exhibition is arranged in conjunction with the press conference. Actors will depict the abuse that Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to in labour camps and prisons.
The anti-torture exhibition takes place between 11:00 a.m. and 05:00 p.m.
There will be opportunities for interviews with lawyer Peter Bergquist and other participants in connection with the press conference at 01:00 p.m.
Peter Bergquist: 08-798 62 00, mobile 070-438 74 38
Malin Nordstrand: mobile: 073-590 11 29
Katarina Hall: mobile: 070-325 54 13
Chowa Choo: 031-40 59 98, mobile: 070-540 59 98
Background: The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China has continued for more than five years now, with terrible consequences for millions of innocent people whose sole wish is to be able to practice Falun Gong in peace.
Falun Gong is a fast-growing movement with its roots in traditional Qigong. At the end of 1998, it was reported by Chinese Government-controlled media that the number of practitioners amounted to between 70 and 100 million people, which exceeded the number of members in the communist party. The then Head of State, Jiang Zemin, irrationally considered this as a threat against his authority and consequently banned Falun Gong in July of 1999. In the capacity of Head of State, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Secretary-General of the Party Committee, he has planned, ordered and carried through a campaign with one aim: “eradicate Falun Gong”.
Jiang established a Gestapo-like organisation, the so-called 610 Office, in order to terrorize innocent people, their friends, colleagues, employers and acquaintances, by means of coercion, force and intimidation. Women have been subjected to rape and forced abortions. Children have been deprived of their parents and the right to education, and many have been forced to become homeless. Legal protection does not exist for Falun Gong practitioners in China. The entire legal system in China is affected by the persecution. Defence lawyers, as an example, are not allowed to engage in cases where Falun Gong practitioners are involved – they would also be exposed to persecution if they did.
The persecution is still going on and the number of documented death cases is 1047 persons. However, several thousand people have been killed according to unconfirmed sources. Hundreds of thousands have been sent to labour camps and detained without trial. Thousands of people have been confined in mental institutions, similar to what occurred in the former Soviet Union.
The legal process is prepared in order for the persecution to come to an end. Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to tremendous suffering. Those who have been killed can never regain their lives, but we want the perpetrators to at least be aware of their wrongdoing. Sweden is not the only country to take legal action in this case. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Germany, France, Finland, Belgium, the US, Spain etc.
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