Denmark: Speech by Former Danish MP at a Press Conference in Copenhagen

Above: Viggo Fischer, a former (Conservative) Member of the Danish Parliament

The persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Government authorities is one of the worst human rights problems in Asia today.

Numerous reports since the ban of Falun Gong in 1999 have illustrated how the Chinese Government disregard their international human rights committments, in its attempt with brutal, means to crush a movement which is characterized by peaceful, non-violent behaviour.

Information from the American Congress, House of Representatvies indicates that as of July 2002 more than 400 adherents of Falun Gong so far have died from torture while confined to labour camps, prisons and mental hospitals and hundreds of thousands have been forced to attend brainwashing classes.

Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2002 describes how the Chinese Officials in its campaign to eradicate Falun Gong have imprisoned thousands of practitioners and used torture and psychological pressure to force recantations. Just a few days ago, according to the BBC, 15 Falun Gong followers have been sentenced to between four and 20 years in jail for [tapping] into a television network to show videos - an offence which in the free world would most likely have been settled with a fine.

We, who are gathered here today can use our freedom of expression to protest against the persecution of Falun Gong and to demand that these transgressions of elementary human rights come to an end. We can use our freedom to encourage people who are concerned with human rights; politicians, NGO's, researchers and media people to focus more intensely on this outrageous development in China. To demand that the authorities in Beijing stop these transgressions, and to remind the Chinese Government of the internationl commitments which China has undertaken.

In the Viennna declaration and programme of action as concluded at the UN World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993, the participating nations, including China stated that "human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of governments.

The conference was very specific concerning the condemnation of torture, "Freedom from torture is the right which must be protected under all circumstances".

In fact, China voted for the following:

"The World Conference urges therefore all States to put an immediate end to the practise of torture and eradicate this evil forever through the full implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights..."

The reports concerning the harassment of Falun Gong by the Chinese authorities again and again mentions extensive use of torture against people who have joined the movement.

The House of Representatives in the concurrent resolution - unanimously passed, on July 24 2002, characterises the policy of the government of the P.R. of China in relation to Falun Gong as violating the Chinese Constitution as well as the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

If Chinese Communist authorities think that they can exploit the serious new international situation [on terrorism], which has arisen after Sept 11, 2002, to try to suppress the Falun Gong movement and to do so with impunity, because the world attention is focused on other issues, it is all the more necessary that people who are concerned with human rights use their freedom of speech and focus more strongly on the persecution so that this plan shall not succeed.

Evidently President Jiang Zemin, when he really wants to impress Western political leaders, quotes the famous Gettysburg address from November 19, 1863 by the American President Abraham Lincoln, the address ends with the strong committment to "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

President Zemin's credibility in this context is not impressive however, because his (is a) government [leader] which has never faced a free election - and cannot be characterised as a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Governments of the people do not deny people their freedom of expression. Do not use torture against peaceful demonstrators. Do not abuse psychiatry to crush opponents.

Viggo Fischer, September 23rd 2002

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