Speech by “Christians Against Torture and Capital Punishment”

This speech was given by a member of the “Christians Against Torture and Capital Punishment” group in Switzerland at a press conference in Zürich City Hall. The press conference was held because Dafa practitioners were handing over petition containing almost 21,000 signatures to the Zürich City Council. This petition requested the council to release a resolution asking the government of Zürich’s sister city, Kunming in China, to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. To read a detailed account of this press conference, please see www.clearharmony.net/articles/200212/9049.html.

“I am here today to speak as a member of “Christian Against Torture and Capital Punishment.

There are many organisations working hard on human rights; we are only one of them. We are particularly against torture and the consequences caused by it. We are also particularly against capital punishment as our organisation’s name suggests. Looking back at the history of Jesus being tortured and killed, we think that we must try our best to be against this kind of inhumane behaviour whether it is applied to Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Falun Gong practitioners or any other people.

In Item 3 of the UN Universal Human Rights Declaration it says, that everyone has the rights to live with freedom and personal security. In Item 5 it says that no one should suffer from torture or cruel, inhuman treatment. Although China has signed this declaration, we all know that China has been far away from the expected standards. Torture has been employed. Thousands of people have been executed for small matters and in particular for religious beliefs or other similar reasons. The Chinese Government is scared of peaceful religious people – scared of people in Tibet for over a decade and scared of Falun Gong practitioners for a few years. [please note – Falun Gong is not a religion – it has no membership or formal organisation and has no religious worships or rituals. For more information on the nature of Falun Gong, visit www.falundafa.org]

Do we still remember the punishment and killing of Jesus two thousand years ago and the killing of Baptists in Zürich four hundreds years ago? Dictators are always scared of people who peacefully live by their beliefs. A few days ago, there were some words in a Zürich Newspaper: “the Chinese party dictator uses a new idea, which is the same in principle, to continue its illegal dictatorship.” It is still the same as before and you have to be prepared for all consequences, primarily death, if you do not want to tow the same line as them.

I know that people have been executed and capital punishment exists in countries under dictatorships and regretfully even in some democratic countries where it seems that the majority of people can think freely, such as the US, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Jordan and other countries. But China takes first place.

As a person who grew up in Zürich and loves this city, I have been shocked that Zürich has supported Kunming for such a long time. We discussed whether we should provide loans to Kunming when there were many people being executed there. A Zürich newspaper reported that this financial support does not involve human right issues but if we think carefully this financial support is completely unnecessary. Since the money has been spent we must link it with human rights issues. I understand that talk is easier than action. Nevertheless, human rights issue must take first priority.

Therefore, I think that Falun Gong activities give responsible people, particularly politicians, a welcome and new approach. Today’s event is for Falun Gong. Of course, it is also for Kunming, as well as those people who live under the dictatorship in China, especially people in Tibet who have been expelled, tortured and killed.

Power, money and economy are treading on human rights. This vicious circle must be broken in as many regions as possible. A very good opportunity has been provided to Zürich – to highlight the issue of Falun Gong in China. Human rights have been squashed in China, especially issues of conscience and belief.

David Kuenzler
11 December 2002


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