Press Release Issued by UK MP: Falun Gong presents case to Parliament

27.02.02 Press Release

Falun Gong presents case to Parliament

Dr Stephen Ladyman MP for South Thanet today chaired a seminar in the House of Commons on human rights abuses in China. Falun Gong practitioners and supporters were able to tell MPs and peers first hand about their experiences of persecution in the People’s Republic and refute the Chinese Government’s assertion that Falun Gong is an [slanderous term used by Chinese government] that encourages its followers to commit suicide.

I am extremely concerned about reports I have heard today about the arbitrary arrest, sentencing without trial, and torture and death whilst in police custody of suspected Falun Gong adherents in China. Many of these reports are echoed by independent human rights organisations. This unfortunate response from the Chinese Government to Falun Gong has given rise to a situation where it is very difficult to get to the truth of the matter. This seminar gave Falun Gong members the opportunity to explain their movement and beliefs to the British people, a privilege that is not afforded to them in China.

Yesterday I met with representatives from the Chinese Embassy who expressed to me their shock and concern that this seminar was taking place. In response to their concerns, I have offered to chair a head to head debate between Chinese Embassy officials and Falun Gong. Falun Gong have accepted the invitation, I am now waiting for the response of the Chinese Embassy.

Oppression and human rights abuses have no place in modern societies anywhere in the world. The task of parliamentarians now must be to make clear to the People’s Republic and pressure the Foreign Office to make our own Government’s concerns clear.

Of course, Falun Gong is not the only group being persecuted in China and we must also campaign for Christians, Muslims and others in that country who are unable to practice their faith. But Falun Gong was not only accepted in China but encouraged before 1999, the Chinese Government could easily restore that position as a first step towards general liberalisation of its attitude.

-ENDS-

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