Finland: Falun Gong Activities at Finland’s Annual “Global Village” Festival

On May 24th and the 25th, 2008, the annual "Global Village" festival activities were held in Kaisaneimi Park in Helsinki. More than 200 NGOs from all over the world took part in the activities. China's human rights issues were high on the agenda during this year's activities.

Finland's "Global Village" festival was first held in 1995, from 2005 it become an annual event. This festival is a gathering place, its mission is to turn the world a more tolerant society, the theme of activities include the environment, human rights, tolerance, development, multi cultural and various aspects. A reporter gathered news from several participants.

The famous Finnish athlete Wilson Kirwa also came to the venue; he took part in the World Athletics Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and won fourth place in world 800-metre run. He will represent Finland to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Being in the "Global Village" activity, Wilson Kilwa called on the CCP to improve its human rights record. He said that since it was empowered to hold Olympic Games, China should honour its promise to improve human rights.

Mr. Wilson Kirwa was interviewed by a journalist

Wilson Kilwa said, "I know what Falun Gong is, I have read in the newspapers and seen the television, they have no freedom in belief. When the world gave China the power of holding the Olympic Games, China should show its respect for human rights. This is what they should do. The Chinese Government must respect human rights and I hope that my voice will be transmitted to China. I want to tell the Chinese leaders that change is a good thing; it will bring freedom to human beings."

Mr. Wilson Kilwa printed his name on the signature form of “Millions of petition signatures in 2008". The event is sponsored by CIPFG, whose main mission is to ask the Chinese Communists to put an end to the persecution of Falun Gong and re-convert to human rights and dignity of Falun Gong practitioners in China before the opening of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Ms Li Jianhong, a writer from Shanghai, a member of China Independent Pen Association, who was suppressed and prosecuted by the CCP due to the publicising of the articles criticising the government, also attended the event. She told the reporters regarding to China's human rights issues: "(I am concerned about some of) social injustice phenomena such as some Shanghai people’s experience of being forced to leave their home due to house demolition. There are also some cases with regard to the CCP suppressing freedom of speech and belief, including some people who were shut in prison because of freely writing and making speeches, for instance, the Chinese Government is now detaining Shi Tao, Hu Jia and Guo Feixiong who all are my good friends, I have had some contacts with them, after they were arrested by the government without good cause, I am sure I wrote some articles to support them. Regarding the issue of Falun Gong, I have some views, of course, I am not a member of Falun Gong, but I think other people should be allowed to have belief and freedom of doing the exercises; they should not be oppressed and suppressed in such a cruel way."

A representative from Amnesty International said, "We have no objection to China. Let them hold the Olympic Games, but at the same time it must improve its human rights record. We do not want to say something bad about China, this is not the practice. We want an open manner to do things. So we need an open dialogue".

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