Olympic-Size Violations

Beijing Tells Press of Intent to Bar Millions of Falun Gong,
Violate Olympic Charter

NEW YORK – Beijing Olympic organizers have openly expressed
a policy banning Falun Gong adherents from attending the 2008 summer Olympics,
the Falun Dafa Information Center reported Wednesday. Beijing's decision
stands in stark violation to Articles 35 and 36 of China's own Constitution,
which promise freedom of association and religious belief, as well as the International
Olympic Committee's bylaws, which prohibit any form of discrimination including
that religious or political.

The Falun Dafa Information Center condemns Beijing's decision,
and calls upon the international community to pressure China's communist
officials to reverse the unlawful policy.

“The Olympics must not be turned into a theatre of intolerance,
a celebration of communist machinations,” said Information Center spokesperson
Mr. Erping Zhang. “We're talking about tens of millions being barred from
the Games simply for who they are. This amounts to a violation of the Olympic
Charter on a scale nobody could have imagined.”

News of Beijing's discriminatory plans was made public
in a November 8 report from the Associated Press. The report indicates that
Beijing's new, allegedly-more-tolerant religious policies “do not apply
to Falun Gong,” and instead only reassert “China's determination to marginalize,
persecute and eradicate the spiritual movement.”

Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media center,
told AP that, “Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden,”
and that, “Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of
China.”

Beijing's explanation is not satisfactory, however, in
that the branding of Falun Gong as “illegal” was in contravention to the constitution
of the People's Republic of China, as well as numerous international rights
accords and covenants of which the PRC is a signatory. Article 35 of China's
own constitution, for instance, claims that citizens “enjoy freedom of speech,
of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”

Article 36 of likewise declares that citizens “enjoy freedom
of religious belief,” and that, “No state organ, public organization or individual
may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may
they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any
religion.”

The Olympics should hardly occasion an exception to such policies,
even if PRC authorities have flaunted them for decades. To the contrary, the
IOC had indicated that the Games would compel China's rulers to improve
the nation's abysmal human rights record. The Olympic Charter states clearly:
“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds
of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging
to the Olympic Movement.”

The IOC's regulations thus protect against the marginalization
of groups such as the Falun Gong, even if such discrimination is internally
legislated; the branding of Falun Gong as “illegal” does not change the religious
character, or rights, of the group, and only bespeaks of the willingness and
disposition of China's communist authorities to subordinate rule of law
to political caprice.

“Beijing's calling Falun Gong 'illegal' is a clumsy
attempt to justify what is a program of institutionally-sanctioned violence
and persecution. The fact remains: millions of peaceful, law-abiding citizens
who aspire merely to better health and moral living are being brutalized and
deprived of their rights by an authoritarian communist regime,” says the Information
Center's Zhang. “In all of the other 75, non-communist states around the
world where Falun Gong is found it is freely, legally, and openly practiced.
Only in communist China does it face relentless suppression.”

According to a 2005 report by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on
Torture, 66 percent of reported victims of torture in China were Falun Gong
adherents. In a 2006 report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture expressed
concern over increasing reports of systemic repression against the Falun Gong
saying, “reports of arrest, detention, ill treatment, torture, sexual violence,
deaths, and unfair trial of members of so-called 'heretical organizations,'
in particular Falun Gong practitioners, may reflect a deliberate and institutionalized
policy of the authorities to target specific groups such as the Falun Gong.”

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over
63,000 instances of torture, with over 3,000 deaths in custody. The actual death
toll is believed to be as high as 10,000 or more.

Beijing's latest statement follows a series of warnings
sounded by the Information Center. The Center anticipated such policies, and
has sought international support in preventing their enactment.

In 2005, for instance, the Center received credible reports
that PRC authorities were, in preparation for the Olympic Games and in contrast
to their promise to improve human rights, stepping up measures to “stamp out”
Falun Gong prior to summer 2008.

In May 2007, the Center reported on a secret directive from
the Ministry of Public Security, provided to the Center by sources in China,
that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred
from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

The Information Center is currently seeking statement from
IOC officials on Beijing's announcement, and seeks clarification of what
measures will be used to ensure that policies of discrimination are not carried
out, be it openly or covertly, by PRC authorities.

# # #

NEWS – Nov. 14, 2007
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net

 

Posting date: 20/Nov/2007
Original article date: 14/Nov/2007
Category: Media Release

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