Mr Dr. Walter Rothensteiner
Honorargeneralkonsulat von Singapur
Am Stadtpark 9
Vienna, 03 Mai 2005
Your Excellency Dr. Rothensteiner,
Austrian Falun Gong Practitioners would like to inform you of an urgent case concerning Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore and we respectfully request your help.
On April 27th 2005 in Singapore, two Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Cheng Lujin were convicted of "Assembly without a Permit", "Possession and Distribution of VCDs without a Certificate" and six other charges placed on them in May 2004.
Their “crime”? Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Cheng Lujin were handing out materials to passers-by in a public park that document the human rights atrocities inflicted upon those who practise Falun Gong in China. These same materials are handed out to the public on a daily basis in nearly every major city across North America, Europe, and Australia, as well as parts of the Middle East, South America, Africa, and also in Austria.
After a trial that lasted nearly a year, on April 27th 2005, the Singapore court convicted the two practitioners. Ms. Ng was fined 24,000 Singapore dollars, and Ms. Cheng was fined 20,000 Singapore dollars. The two practitioners refused to accept the verdict and said that they would file an appeal. They were taken to the Changi Women's Prison at 6:00 p.m. that same evening, where they may be jailed for up to 24 weeks. Ms. Cheng has a six-month-old baby who needs to be taken care of, but her request to have her baby with her was turned down by the Singapore police. The two women are currently on a hunger strike in jail to protest the court's incorrect verdict.
A few days ago, only authorities in China would punish people for distributing these materials. Unfortunately, Singapore's justice system is following China’s footsteps by punishing people for speaking the truth.
We appeal for your help, to call upon the government of Singapore to reverse this decision and handle this case justly in accordance with the law. No government should sacrifice freedoms and liberty for the mere purpose of currying favour with the Communist regime in Beijing. Any short-term benefits such actions would reap are vastly overshadowed by the damage done to Singapore's rule of law, its reputation in the international community and the well-being of its people.
Thank you for your consideration. We are looking forward to your response.
Austrian Falun Gong Practitioners
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." Practised in over 60 countries worldwide, Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture. With government estimates of as many as 100 million practising Falun Gong, China's Communist leader Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999. Since that time, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practise it. The Falun Dafa Information Centre has verified details of 1,933 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labour camps, typically without trial.
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