Thank you for your letter of 9 September in which you notified me of the cancellation of a proposed performance by Falun Gong practitioners during the Asia-EU summit.
As you are no doubt aware, the European Resolution on the Freedom of Religion in the Peoples Republic of China of February 2001 calls expressly for the rights of Falun Gong members to freedom of religion and belief to be fully guaranteed, together with the exercise of the associated rights of freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. I share your deep concern that a proposed performance might have been excluded from the Asian Comments art programme and have contacted the Danish Mission and the co-ordinators of this event, the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, to convey my reservations.
Given the continued human rights abuses in China and, as you note, the EUs democratic tradition and way of life, it is of prime importance that Falun Gong practitioners be given every opportunity to perform and to be allowed to demonstrate their grievances. I sincerely hope that, despite this setback, [practitioners] will take the opportunity to participate in this weekends events.
In the meantime you have my assurance that I and my colleagues will continue to urge the Chinese government to respect the human rights of ethnic and religious groups in the PRC, and in particular reconsider their treatment of Falun Gong practitioners.
Phillip Whitehead MEP [signed]
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