United Kingdom: Press Conference Held in London to Announce the Launch of the Human Rights Torch Relay

On July 3rd 2007, the branch of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) in Europe held a press conference in London, announcing the launch of the Human Right Torch Relay. The purpose of the relay is to expose the brutality and crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and call upon the international community to prevent the Olympic Games, which is the symbol of peace, from becoming a Bloody Harvest Games.

Baroness Caroline Cox, the cross bench member of the British House of Lords and the chair of CIPGF in Europe, announced the launch of the relay at the press conference. The speakers at the conference include John Dee, the vice chair of CIPFG in Europe; Wilbert Stuifbergen, a famous poet from Holland; Charles Graves from Interfaith International, and Lucy Jin from the Democracy Association in England.

The Human Rights Torch Relay is very important in the struggle to free Falun Gong practitioners

John Dee stated at the press conference:

“Today’s announcement of the start of a human rights torch relay from Athens next month is a highly significant moment in the struggle to free Falun Gong practitioners from the chains of persecution.

No world event symbolises peace and harmony amongst the people of the world more than the Olympic Games. Besides the significance of Greece being the site of the first Olympics, both ancient and modern, it also hosted the last games in 2004, when all nations of the world were united in the spirit of fair play.

If China is allowed to host the next Olympics without first ending its morally corrupt human rights abuses, especially the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, it will be a sad indictment on the moral standards of the world as a whole.

We know that China has invested huge amounts of resources into ensuring, as far as they can, that their athletes, rowers, and particularly swimmers, will virtually sweep the medal board next year and promote China as a world force not only in sport, but also in terms of its economy.

We believe that China has no moral right to take the credit for these achievements while at the same time torturing thousands of prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong practitioners in prisons and labour camps. These two diametrically opposed positions cannot be allowed to coexist, and so we call upon the Chinese government to end the persecution immediately and to release all those practitioners currently held in prison.”

Martins Rubenis, athlete from Latvia, the Bronze Medal winner at the Winter Olympics 2006, will be the ambassador of the relay. He sent a written statement to the press conference, in which he says:

“It comes from my heart to say that we have reached one of the most important thresholds in human history, when each and every action taken and word said leaves a permanent message and carries heavy responsibilities for the whole of humanity.

"There were times when the decadence of moral norms of society led us to the processes of global purification such as wars, epidemics, natural catastrophes and other disasters, which should have served as a serious warning for the next generations to come.

"In my belief the Olympic Games have always been a symbol of high moral standards founded on the natural striving for the harmony of physical strength and spiritual force of human beings. Historically the Olympic Games are also the indisputable symbol of peace, which has a power to unite all the nations of the world.

"Looking towards Beijing, I cannot find a single reason why the communist regime of China has a moral right to represent the highest principles of the Olympic movement.

"The Chinese Communist Party, in the face of the whole world, has not fulfilled the promise to improve the human rights situation and moreover has transformed it into the genocide of its own nation by building enormous factories of violence and lies.

"As an athlete I could not feel the deep fulfillment and satisfaction of a job well done while standing on the podium, built over the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

"Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past and give the world another chance to rise by lighting this torch of true human nature not only here, but also in our hearts.”

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