After learning that the European Parliament would be voting on a resolution regarding the Article 23 legislation on December 19, Dafa practitioners from all over Europe travelled to Brussels to talk about the damaging effects of Article 23 to the MEPs there. Dafa practitioners also took part in a seminar discussion on the Article 23 legislation held by the European Parliament.
One week later, practitioners travelled to Strasbourg in France to continue clarifying the truth to MEPs from all over Europe. This was where the vote was to take place. Furthermore, a two-day rally was held on December 18th and 19th outside the Europe parliament. Over 50 Dafa practitioners from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Britain, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Ireland, Hong Kong and France took part in the peaceful appeal. They practised the Falun Gong exercises and sent forth righteous thoughts [thinking pure and upright thoughts to purify oneself and ones surroundings]. The peaceful rally enabled MEPs from all over Europe to understand the nature of Falun Gong, the harsh persecution by Jiangs regime and the damage that would be inflicted by the passing of the Article 23 legislation.
In the meantime, many MEPs and parliament staff looked out of their windows at the peaceful exercises of Falun Gong and the appeals written on the banners against the Article 23 legislation. One MEP even said to practitioners, You are introducing Falun Gong inside (the parliament) and demonstrating the exercises. Your methods are very good, and we should learn from you.
Another MEP told the practitioners, Some countries may appear to be economically and militarily strong, but in reality they are quite weak. Some persons are being persecuted and appear weak, but they are spiritually powerful. Today its my pleasure to meet so many spiritually powerful people and I must take a photo with you. The MEP continued; The Chinese authorities (Jiangs regime) will die one by one, but their souls will not rest peacefully because of the crackdown.
Still another MEP commented that what Jiang fears the most is to give his people freedom. He wants to suppress freedom because he knows that if people were offered freedom, no one would elect him.
One MEP enquired about the damaging effects of the Article 23 legislation. He was told that if it were enacted, Jiangs regime could use it to arrest any person supposedly guilty of subversion against the mainland government or anyone who hears of any subversion matters but does not report this to the government. A practitioner said, Even foreigners will face the same risk when entering Hong Kong. For example, if you listen to Falun Gong practitioners telling the truth about the persecution, which has been classified as subversion by the Chinese government, and you do not report it to the government, then you might take the risk of being arrested if you visit Hong Kong. The MEP immediately came to realise the true nature of Article 23.
One of the journalists from New Tang Dynasty Television said that they planned to interview one MEP, but he was too busy to be interviewed. However, when they encountered each other in a coffee shop, the MEP greeted the journalist saying, I have two minutes now for the interview. Therefore, the MEP faced the camera and stated, I am responsible for fisheries business, seemingly irrelevant to human rights. However, I have to say that economic development is closely related to human rights and freedoms. If Hong Kong peoples freedoms were at risk, then so would be its economic prosperity.
Outside the parliament, many MEPs and parliament staff were attracted to the peaceful exercise demonstration of Falun Gong and to practitioners appeals against Article 23. They asked for materials revealing the truth about the persecution. One of the TV stations interviewed practitioners.
Two Vietnamese people came to our peaceful rally and greeted practitioners just like old friends. We are a global Vietnamese group. We made contact with Falun Gong practitioners in many countries. You are really terrific. Yesterday was the anniversary of the joint signature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Now we are going to see the Foreign Affairs Consultant of the President of the European Parliament. If you want to make any appeal, we can inform the consultant of it. Do you want to come with us to see the consultant? Several French practitioners went with the Vietnamese people to meet the Foreign Affairs Consultant. The practitioners and their Vietnamese friends introduced Falun Gong to the consultant and informed him of the persecution of Falun Gong by Jiangs regime and the damaging effects of Article 23. The Foreign Affairs Consultant said that they had made efforts to support Falun Gong and took the initiative to enquire about how to support Falun Gong more effectively. In the end, the consultant, the Vietnamese people and the practitioners expressed their willingness to cooperate together. A photo was taken as a souvenir.
At 11 A.M. on December 19th, when the European Parliament was going to vote on the resolution against Article 23, Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference outside the parliament building. A spokesman from the European Falun Dafa Association read out a statement against the Article 23 legislation. Other speakers were practitioners from Ireland, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland and Hong Kong who have suffered persecution from Jiangs regime. They used their own experiences as examples to call on all governments to ensure the Jiang regimes reign of terror would not be extended from China to Hong Kong. Mr. Roger Helmer MEP from Britain and also a member of the European Parliaments inter-parliamentary delegation to Southeast Asia, attended the rally to voice his anxious concerns over the Article 23 legislation that might be used by the Chinese government to crack down on Falun Gong and to suppress democracy and freedom.
Unlike the freezing and windy weather of December 18th, December 19th was a sunny day. At 5:40 P.M. the resolution passed by a margin of 59 to 1, with 1 abstention. The resolution calls on the Hong Kong government to ensure that Article 23 will not be used to silence opposition, restrict freedom of speech, of the press and of publication, freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, the right and freedom to form and join trade unions and to strike, and the right to engage in academic research, literary and artistic creation and other cultural activities. The resolution emphasises that the development of future relations with China hinges on a respect for the full autonomy of Hong Kong.
The activities outside the European Parliament demonstrated the successful efforts of Falun Gong practitioners from all over Europe to deny the persecution of Falun Gong. The meaning of the activities outside the European Parliament served not only to voice practitioners opposition to Article 23 legislation but also to lay a deeper foundation for revealing the truth of the persecution all over Europe.
Translated from Chinese at
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