On September 15th, 2007, Mr. Patrice Mugny, Mayor of Geneva, received the Human Rights Torch. The torch had just arrived from its last stop in Slovakia. In his speech, he voiced his support for Falun Gong practitioners. Mr. Mugny is a member of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) in Europe. Mr Mugny said that he came to know about the use of torture by the Chinese Communist Party in March 2006, from a report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. According to the report, two-thirds of torture victims in China are Falun Gong practitioners. An Amnesty International report last year pointed out the Chinese Communist regime's public campaign of slander against Falun Gong in order to incite hatred, and leading to violence against practitioners.
Mr. Mugny, who was formerly Chair of the Swiss Green Party, said, "I deeply adhere to freedom of belief, which every man and woman on this planet should possess. This is why I wanted to show my solidarity with the Falun Gong members who are today victims of repression in China. The Beijing Olympic Games must not conceal the reality that Falun Gong followers, like members of Christian groups not recognized by the State, are in the 'bad books' of the Chinese [Communist Party] authorities."
During a media interview, Mr. Mugny told reporters that the Torch Relay is a very significant event for the city of Geneva because it shows the world that the city cares about human rights. He told the audience that he doesn't consider the Torch Relay to be something against China itself, but rather a call for the Chinese regime to respect human rights and fulfill its promises as it becomes host of the Olympics.
Geneva is home to the United Nations Human Rights Council (formerly the U.N. Commission on Human Rights). Since the Chinese Communist regime started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Falun Gong practitioners have frequently visited Geneva to tell people the facts of the persecution through various peaceful means. People have witnessed the beauty of Falun Gong through peaceful exercise demonstrations, and have learned about the Chinese Communist Party's brutal persecution of Falun Gong from practitioners' exhibits and re-enactments to expose the persecution along busy streets. The practitioners have handed out leaflets and other information over a long period of time, to help people understand that practitioners only want to upgrade their morals, yet the Chinese Communist Party harvests organs from living practitioners for profit. In Geneva, many who walk by have already learned about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Geneva resident Monique said, "I know a little [about Falun Gong]. I think there is nothing wrong with their practice, they only seek to improve themselves, while hoping to help others. I don't know why the Chinese [Communist] Government wants to persecute them, I think their actions are very disappointing."
A passerby named Katline also expressed her interest in Falun Gong, saying, "I support the Falun Gong practitioners' activities in calling for an end to the persecution, and I hope it can stop soon." Her friend Denise also told Falun Gong practitioners, "I support you with my heart."
The Human Rights Torch soon reached the home of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Charles Graves, Vice President of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) and Secretary of Interfaith International, was interviewed by media in front of the IOC. He said, "Today we are here, with the aim of calling for the Olympics Committee to pay attention to the human rights violations still taking place in China, even in the year leading up to the Olympic Games." He said that it is difficult to understand why the Chinese Communist regime persecutes Falun Gong practitioners. "The Chinese Communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong is ridiculous. Falun Gong brings with it many traditional values. We cannot comprehend why the Chinese Communist Party persecutes Falun Gong the way it does. So we have come here to tell people what is now happening in China, especially regarding the persecution of Falun Gong."
As the Human Rights Torch relay continues, more and more people are learning the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong. An ever-increasing number of people are showing their support by signing petitions, taking part in various activities which expose the persecution, and calling for an immediate end to the persecution.
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