Report from a press conference on the 18th of September, 2003
GOTHENBURG. On July 2nd of this year, the consul-general of the Chinese consulate held a personal meeting with the Station Manager and Deputy Manager for Gothenburgs Community Radio Association. The consul-general aimed to influence those responsible for the radio station to stop the programme Falun Gong Time, a community radio programme produced by local Falun Gong practitioners, which is broadcast in both Swedish and Chinese.
The Chinese consulate are now trying to stop our radio programme, and their aim is to limit our freedom of expression in Sweden, just as they do in China, where all media is state-controlled and where they simply silence everything that they do not want people or the rest of the world to know about, comments Yvonne Kleberg, producer of "Falun Gong Time".
During the meeting, the consul-general reportedly used covert threats to attempt to convince the Station Manager to change his views. He raised the issue that relations between China and Sweden could be damaged if the programme was allowed to continue. More specifically in this context, he mentioned Swedish-Chinese co-operation with the business venture The East Indiaman Götheborg [a replica of an 18th Century trading ship that will sail to China in the spring of 2004]. The consul-general also enquired about how the radio programme had received broadcasting permission and how the community radio association financed its broadcasts.
When I heard about this the day before yesterday, I became terribly angry, says Hans Hirschi, Chariman of the Board for the community radio station.
I, myself, have never before experienced something like this. You have to go way, way back in History to find something similar in Gothenburg, and that was when the Germans tried to stop the newspaper Trade and Shipping in 1941 [Handels - och sjöfartstidningen: a Swedish newspaper during World War II which took a stance against the Nazis.]. I´m very upset. This is the most awful thing that has happened to me. After all the things happening last week [i.e. the murder of Swedish Foreign minister Mrs. Anna Lindh] that has affected our democracy, I think this is really the last straw. This is very serious.
The consul-general also left a bunch of propaganda materials targeting Falun Gong. For example, the packet included a little blue book with the name The Truth which contains lies that aim to demonise Falun Gong, and in that way attempt to justify the persecution in China.
Some days later, the Station Manager of the radio association received a telephone call from the manager of the Sports and Association Administration of the local government [which is the Administration from which the radio association revieves most of its grants ], with questions about the broadcast permission of the programme. This means that the Chinese consulate had also enquired with the local government about how Falun Gong practitioners could have been granted permission to broadcast in the first place, as well as tried to influence them.
In this case, I believe that Sweden has to make a clear indication and say: we do not accept this. If we allow this, our children freedom of expression could become much worse, commented Chowa Choo, from the Swedish Falun Dafa Association.
This is not a simple question. China has become an important business partner around the world. It could easily happen that people sitting at negotiation tables with China would renounce certain fundamental democratic principles.
The Big Picture
In a recent press release from the Falun Dafa Information Centre, it was reported that 29-year-old Zhang Xiaohong died on the 4th of August as a result of almost two years of torture in a Chinese labour camp in Sichuan province, China. In 2001, he was detained because he delivered flyers to the public with information about the gross crimes against the Human Rights of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The torture of Zhang and thousands of similar cases in China during the last few years, are part of the former Chinese dictator's [Jiang Zemin] policy to eradicate Falun Gong. Outside of China, this policy has been carried out through Chinese embassies and consulates, pressuring governments as well as other parties, to spread lies and slander against this spiritual practice.
The Chinese consulates recent efforts in Gothenburg attempting to stop the community based radio programme about Falun Gong and the persecution in China, as well as its earlier efforts (year 2001) to attempt to affect the County Administrative Boards throughout Sweden so as to have Falun Gong banned, are clear examples of this policy.
Zhang Xiaohong was tortured to death because he wanted to expose the human rights crimes against Falun Gong practitioners in China. Here in the West, the government of China are trying, through consulates, to stop radio broadcasts that expose cases like the one of Zhang Xiaohong.
This incident received major coverage in the Swedish media, and a major Human Rights organisation issued a statement that was highly critical of the incident. This incident has been reported to the Swedish police, and it will also be used as evidence in the ongoing international efforts to bring Jiang to Justice.
The Radio Program Falun Gong Time
"Falun Gong Time" is broadcasted once a week in the Gothenburg area, and covers what Falun Gong is, the experiences of Swedish practitioners, the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, and some features about Chinese culture and history.
Listen LIVE to "Falun Gong Time" online!
Mondays at 6 PM (Chinese) and 7 PM (Swedish) Central European Time.
Internet: http://www.gnf.nu/ (choose frequency 103,10 MHz and press Lyssna Live!)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE SWEDISH FALUN GONG INFORMATION CENTRE
Contacts: Hans Bengtsson 070-210 55 06, Anders Måhlén 070-110 43 89
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