Italy: Practitioners’ Presentation at the 2002 “Hands Off Cain” Report on the Death Sentence

Rome, 28 June 2002

Presentation of Hands Off Cain’s 2002 Report The Death Penalty Situation Worldwide in Rome

On Friday 28 June, Human Rights Group Hands Off Cain presented their 2002 report on "The Death Penalty Situation Worldwide" in the seat of Via Torre Argentina, Rome. Sergio d'Elia, Hands Off Cain's secretary, spoke with the 2002 report's editor Elisabetta Zamparutti, Radical Party Leader and author of the report's preface Marco Pannella, Foreign Office secretary Mario Baccini, columnist Idris Sanneh and Falun Gong practitioner Mrs. Jane Zhizhen Dai.

Foreign Office secretary Mario Baccini, 2002 report's editor Elisabetta Zamparutti, Hands Off Cain's secretary Sergio d'Elia columnist Idris Sanneh Falun Gong practitioner Mrs. Jane Zhizhen Dai and Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang

Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang briefly explained the repressive situation in China and thanked Hands Off Cain "for inviting us to this press conference, giving an opportunity to millions of Chinese people to freely reveal the truth here in Italy. While in every democracy there is freedom of information, in China the voices of tens of millions of practitioners have been banned from the government-controlled media". D'Elia said "fighting against the death sentence is fighting for democracy". In this respect 98% of the 4,700 executions of 2001 happened in totalitarian and dictatorial countries. For Hands Off Cain the final solution to this problem resides in those countries themselves and for the death sentence it is a matter of democracy, human rights and first of all religious freedom.

Erping Zhang, Falun Gong spokesman with Mrs. Jane Zhizhen Dai, her daughter and Anna Zammit (co-editor)
Erping Zhang's speech

At the press conference there was also Idris Sanneh, the popular columnist and sports journalist, previous regular guest of the TV show "Quelli che il Calcio". Idris said that he has always been a supporter of Hands Off Cain and its campaign against the death sentence: “It is our duty to be present as testimonial against all the injustices such as the one against Falun Gong in China.”

Speech of the columnist Idris SannehElisabetta Zamparutti's speech
Speech of Sergio D'Elia
Jane Zhizhen Dai (38 years old, Australian citizen, degree in economy and a two year old daughter) was next to speak and told the audience about the persecution inflicted on her and her family by Jiang Zemin’s vicious regime. Mr. Chengyong Chen, her husband, was born in China in 1967, where he lived in Haizhu, Guangzhou City district, Guangdong Province. He was an electrician in a paper factory but lost his job because he went to Beijing to peacefully appeal for Falun Gong. In November 2000, to avoid brainwashing, he had no choice but to leave home. In January 2000 he was sent to jail for 15 days in Guangzhou City because he practised Falun Gong. In July 2000, police kept him for 3 weeks. He was in jail again in Beijing because he had displayed a Falun Gong flag in Tiananmen Square on 31 December 2000. Mrs. Jane Zhizhen lost contact with him on 10 January 2001. In July 2001 his body was found left in a suburb of Guangzhou. Jane Zhizhen came to know about her husband's death through news issued on a Falun Dafa website.

Jane’s sister-in-law identified Chen’s body and she found it in a state of decomposition, meaning that the police waited before informing the family of the death. Therefore, nobody knows the exact date of his death. Following this, the sister-in-law was sentenced to 2 years in a forced labour camp without trial. When Jane’s father-in-law came to know about the death of his son and the sentence against his daughter, he was so shocked that he had to be rushed to hospital and he died a little later.

Jane Zhizhen Dai with her daughter Fadu talks about the persecution Falun Gong practitioners suffer at the hands of the Chinese authorities.
Jane Zhizhen Dai interviewed by the French journalist Nicole Martiche from Agence France Press (AFP)

The Australian government helped Mrs. Zhizhen retrieve her Husband’s ashes from the Chinese authorities. “My husband died just because he was a Falun Gong practitioner,” says Jane, her thin body and trembling voice portraying the persecution she has had to suffer.

Among the public sit the former Culture Minister Giovanna Melandri (first lady on the right) and Ugo Papi, Minister responsible for the DS party
...and also many people from different embassies

Different television teams are present (here RAI 1 e TG5)Two journalists from Chinese press agency XINHUA are here too
The public listen attentively


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