Australia: Practitioners Hold Press Conference Regarding Lawsuit against Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Downer

Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Zhang Cuiying and Ms. Jane Dai, two plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and Australian federal police, held a press conference in front of the Australian Capital Territory's Supreme Court in Canberra on June 10, 2005. Mr. Yuan Hongbing, former professor of law in China addressed the conference as a witness.

Reporters interviewing Ms. Zhang Cuiying Ms. Jane Dai and her daughter Fadu

According to New South Wales Falun Dafa Association spokesperson Kay Rubacek, on March 16, 2002, the day before Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan visited the Australian capital, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Alexander Downer first issued certificates which prevent the use of banners and amplified music within 100 meters from the Chinese Embassy in Canberra. Australian federal police implemented Minister Downer's order and forcefully removed practitioners' banners appealing against the Chinese communist regime's persecution, and the amplifiers which they had used in peaceful appeals in front of the Chinese Embassy for nine months.

The confiscated banners included ones reading, "Falun Dafa is Great", "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance", "Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong", and "Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice". This certificate can only be valid for 30 days. However, since March 2002, Minster Downer has issued 38 certificates in succession, each for the maximum period of 30 days, under the 1992 Diplomatic Privileges and Immunity Regulations.

Numerous media outlets attend the press conference. Numerous media outlets attend the press conference.

Falun Gong practitioners' attorney Mr. Bernard confirmed on June 9 that the Australian Capital Territory's Supreme Court accepted Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Zhang Cuiying and Ms. Jane Dai's complaint against Minister Downer. They are seeking an injunction from the Supreme Court to prevent Mr. Downer from abusing the Foreign Affairs Minister's power to prohibit Falun Gong practitioners from unfurling banners and playing music in front of the Chinese Embassy.

Plaintiff Ms. Zhang Cuiying wore a T-shirt which is full of Chinese characters. She recounted to media the persecution and threats she experienced in China and in Australia from the Chinese communist regime. When giving the interview, she said that she believed Australia's law is supposed to protect citizens' legal rights. The reason she introduced her experiences here today was to let people know that the ongoing persecution against Falun Gong practitioners should not be covered by economic interests. She said that filing the lawsuit against Minister Downer is for the purpose of stopping the persecution of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance as soon as possible and allowing more people to understand the viciousness of the CCP and its attempt to manipulate Australia.

Another plaintiff, Ms. Jane Dai and her five-year-old daughter Fadu, held in their hands the only family photo they have. Ms. Dai said that it was because of the CCP persecution of Falun Gong that her husband went to Tiananmen Square to appeal. There, he held a banner with the words, "Falun Dafa is great". As a result, police arrested him and six months later, he died from the persecution. Now, Ms. Dai and her daughter want to appeal for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. Unfortunately, because of Minister Downer's certificates, she is unable to unfurl banners in front of the Chinese Embassy. She said that her daughter Fadu lost her dad. In China, numerous children lost their fathers, mothers or even both parents just like Fadu. Those orphans are in a really miserable situation. Ms. Dai hoped to call upon more people to pay attention to this persecution. However, Minister Downer's actions exactly assist CCP to persecute Falun Gong practitioners in Australia. These kind of actions must be stopped.

Some reporters asked, "Why didn't you take legal action until today after the certificates have been issued for three years?" Ms. Day answered, "Over the past three years, we have tried different ways to tell Minister Downer that these certificates not only hurt our Falun Gong practitioners but it also harms Australian people. We even went to his election district to talk with him, and peacefully appealed and distributed related materials outside the Foreign Ministry. However, all these efforts obviously did not have the desired effect. Mr. Downer has still continuously issued the certificates every month and he did so again last month. Under this circumstance, we have to take legal actions to stop him from continuing this kind of illegal actions.

Former university professor of law in China, Mr. Yuan Hongbing, currently a refugee in Australia said in his speech, "I come here to bear the witness that in China there is indeed a fascist organisation - '610 office'. Australia should not assist the tyrant to do evil..."

Falun Gong practitioners' attorney Mr. Bernard Collaery expressed, "The Australian Government's response to the persecution of Falun Gong has been disgraceful. The desire to advance bilateral relations with China including economic relations has resulted in a supine position on human rights and is a national disgrace."

Many major media outlets in Australia including Channel 9, Channel 10, ABC, SBS, NTDTV, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, AAP, and Sound of Hope Radio Network came to cover the event.

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