Germany: Radio Network’s Report on Falun Gong Practitioners being Denied Entry into Iceland

The following is a radio item broadcast on July 5, 2002 from HR 1/Hessischer Rundfunk 1 (Radio Hessen 1) , and on July 6, 2002 from Bavarian Radio and many other broadcast stations throughout Germany. It talks about Falun Gong practitioners being denied entry into Iceland

‘Falun Gong practitioners wanted to protest during Jiang Zemin’s visit to Iceland, but international airports such as Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and New York had lists, distributed by the Icelandic Interior Ministry, to deny Falun Gong practitioners’ passage [to Iceland].

Representatives of the European Parliament protested, saying that “Iceland has become the long-reaching arm of Chinese interests.’

Mr. C.R. has lived in Germany for 14 years and, together with nine others, had planned to leave for Iceland from Frankfurt on June 12th. The purpose of the trip was a planned peaceful protest against Jiang Zemin during his state visit, a protest to commemorate the 429 Falun Gong practitioners in China who have died as a result of government-ordered torture. They also wished to inform people of these happenings.

Beginning at 12:00 noon, Icelandic Airlines no longer permitted anyone of Chinese appearance to check in at their counter. The practitioners were told that this decision came from the Icelandic Ministry of Justice. Individuals with German passports and passports from other nations were also screened and denied check-in, because the Chinese government had handed Iceland a long list of Falun Gong practitioners and others the Chinese government considers opposed to Chinese rule.

Mr. U.S. from Icelandic Air during an interview with a reporter from Hessischer Rundfunk 1:

‘We have received directives from the Icelandic government to deny flights to certain people, and prevent them from entering Iceland. Had we not followed those directives, we would have heaped problems on ourselves.’

Mr. C.R. said ‘the ticket counter agents from Icelandic Air were cordial but assertive. We had no choice but to return home.’

Mr. P.R., Sinology student from Frankfurt was immediately detained upon his arrival in Reykjavik: ‘After they had interrogated me for one hour and determined that I am actually not as big a threat as they had assumed me to be, they allowed me to enter Iceland. But then, after I had already retrieved my luggage and was waiting for the bus, the police arrived and took me back for a second interrogation. I was then informed that I was under arrest. They took away my money, ticket, cell phone, passport and other items. I was forbidden to contact my embassy or speak with the media and was told to wait. I was held in this room for a total of six hours. Representatives of the German Consulate expressed their consternation that a German had been prohibited from entering Iceland and they promised to hold a serious dialogue with their Icelandic counterparts regarding this incident.’

Mr. P.R.’s name was also on this blacklist, because he [along with others] practises the Falun Gong exercises in Frankfurt’s Grueneburg Park. He said, ‘Chinese individuals come by there regularly and video and photograph us.’

Approximately 100 Taiwanese were sent to a detention centre after their arrival in Iceland. That was the last straw for the people of Iceland and they themselves began a public protest, voicing their disappointment [in their government] and that this is no way to handle the situation, where peaceful people, trying to appeal, are being shut out by a democratic country. Icelandic citizens then took up Falun Gong banners and marched straight to the Chinese consulate where they expressed their anger in loud voices that one would never hear or see from Falun Gong practitioners.

In a letter to ”Hessischer Rundfunk 1,” representatives from the Icelandic Consulate in Germany stated that according to international agreements, the Icelandic nation is duty-bound to guarantee the safety of a visiting head of state, arguing that this was the reason the Icelandic government contacted security forces abroad and decided, according to the statutes of the “Schengener Agreement” to refuse entry into Iceland to any Falun Gong practitioner.

Delegates to the European Parliament countered by saying that “the Schengener Agreement” does not cover refusing entry into a country nor does it cover incarceration of individuals who, observing democratic principles, are intervening for victims of human rights abuses.”

A conclusion by Mr. P.R.: ‘I hope that this unpleasant incident has been a jolt for many people to wake up and realize the scope of the Chinese propaganda and the pressure the Chinese government is applying.’


(Original text in German)

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