Bulgaria: Economic Interests Lead to Disrespect for Human Rights

Recently, Bulgarian Falun Dafa practitioners were invited to a meeting with Mr. Krasimir Stefanov, Director of the Directorate of Asia, Australia and Oceania in the Foreign Ministry of Bulgaria, with Mr. Zdravelin Georgiev official in charge for China, and with one more official of the Ministry. The meeting was requested by the practitioners after a letter sent by the Ministry to the Sofia Municipality, in which Mr. Stefanov stated that a peaceful appeal by members of Bulgarian Falun Gong Association in front of the building of the Chinese Embassy in Sofia is inexpedient. The reason mentioned was a potential threat to the diplomats of China.

The request for organising the appeal with candle vigil was to celebrate International Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

The meeting was informal. During the conversation, the practitioners explained that the goal of all their activities is to stop the brutal persecution against the Falun Gong practitioners in China, which have been effected for more than seven years now by the Communist regime. Bulgarian Falun Gong practitioners stated they would use all legal means to reveal the facts of the inhumane situation with the human rights in China, including the allegations of organ harvesting from living practitioners making huge profits on the international transplant market.

Practitioners put emphasis on the fact that they don’t aim at generating conflicts with Chinese diplomats or harming the relationships between Bulgaria and China; that practitioners are no threat to anyone on the contrary there are many cases around the world where representatives of Chinese Consulates and Embassies have physically or mentally attacked Falun Gong practitioners.

From the conversation with the officials in the Foreign Ministry, practitioners received the impression that representatives of the government are aware of the real facts of the persecution, about what Falun Gong really is and that they have a positive attitude towards the practice and its adherents. Also, the practitioners obtained the picture namely that, unfortunately, economic interests stand before human rights and because of economic benefits, that Bulgaria is waiting to receive from China in the form of investments, Bulgarian politicians neither have the courage to bring up the issue of human rights, nor to give a green light to activities, which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Bulgaria as basic rights of its citizens.

This is happening despite the fact that in many European countries Falun Gong practitioners hold regular peaceful appeals in front of the Chinese Embassies and Consulates and receive official support by governmental representatives.

Practitioners pointed that the economic prosperity in a country goes hand in hand with respect for human rights and freedoms and not restraining them. Also, the economic situation in Bulgaria was far better in the 1930s of the last century, when the morale of people was also higher than it is now.

During the conversation the practitioners found out from the representatives of the Ministry that the general policy of the European Union, whose full rights member is Bulgaria, is a policy of soft pressure on China regarding human rights, due to economic interests. This was so despite the Resolution adopted by the European parliament on the 7th of September 2006, where numerous economic restrictions are imposed on China and where the persecution of Falun Gong is specifically condemned.

One day before the meeting with Foreign Ministry officials, the practitioners met with the Deputy Mayor of the capital Sofia Mrs. Julia Nenkova. She confirmed that the Municipality would not obstruct any activities of Falun Gong in Bulgaria, unless the Foreign Ministry had a negative opinion. In the meantime, the Ministry representatives promised to give positive opinions for Falun Gong activities, unless they are to be held in front of the Chinese Embassy.

The practitioners declared before the Ministry officials that such restrictions issued by the Municipality of Sofia for organising peaceful appeals in front of the Chinese Embassy is a direct violation of the Constitution of Bulgaria. After a legal consultation with human rights lawyers, it became clear that the ban of such events can be resolved in court; thus, practitioners will seek their rights through legal channels, should these bans continue.

Bulgarian Falun Gong practitioners stated their resoluteness that, no matter how hard the interference from the Chinese diplomats might be, they will continue to make efforts for stopping the persecution of Falun Gong in China and to put an end to the killings of innocent people who follow the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance”. They also expressed their hope that with the ever bigger support from governments in Europe and around the world, Bulgaria politicians will have more courage to resist the serious human rights violations in China and to officially support Falun Gong.

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