By Chen Xinning
After traveling through the Australian cities of Sydney, Grafton, Lismore,
and Toowoomba, the Human Rights Torch Relay arrived in Brisbane (Queensland)
on November 3, 2007. The Torch Relay once again focused the Australian people's
attention on the persecution of Falun Gong.
Greek A Greek goddess lights the Human Rights Torch
Bishop John Parkes taking part in the Human Rights Torch Relay
Queensland State MP Ronan Lee in the Human Rights Torch Relay
Senator Andrew Bartlett urges the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) to stop persecuting Falun Gong
People from all walks of life in Brisbane gathered at the Old Mill, a famous
historical site near the city center. Mr. Pan Qing, one of the Ambassadors of
the Human Rights Torch Relay and spokesman for the Chinese Alignment to Protect
Human Rights and Resist Violence, passed the Torch from Toowoomba to the first
human rights ambassador in Brisbane. Ten human rights ambassadors held the Torch
as the relay team passed through various locations in Brisbane. A woman dressed
as a Greek Goddess received the Torch once it arrived at the rally venue.
Politicians and VIPs who attended the Human Rights Torch Relay event included
Senator Andrew Bartlett, Queensland State MP Mr. Ronan Lee, Green Party representatives
Drew Hutton and Larissa Waters, Democratic Party candidate Don Sinnamon, Queensland
Vietnamese community leader Dr. Bui, Burmese group representative Patrick Cho,
Professor of politics from Queensland University Qiu Chuiliang, Mr. Pan Qing,
spokesman for the Chinese Alignment to Protect Human Rights and Resist Violence,
Father Terry Fitzpatrick and Bishop John Parkes, Attorney Stefan Briggs, and
others. Popular Queensland singer Katie Noonan, her mother Maggie Noonan, and
others performed at the ceremony to show their support for human rights in China.
Senator Andrew Bartlett Urges the CCP to Stop Persecuting Falun Gong
Senator Andrew Bartlett said in his speech that the Chinese government has
not improved its human rights record before the 2008 Olympics as promised --
instead the situation is worsening. He said that with less than a year to the
Olympics, it is now time for the global community to increase its pressure on
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to tell the Chinese regime that it is
well past time to deliver on their commitment to improve the human rights situation
in China. Otherwise, the global community must in good conscience call for a
boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
Senator Bartlett also said that the CCP is using the Olympics as a propaganda
tool, just like the Nazis in Germany did in 1936. He asked Australians to consider
whether to attend the Beijing Olympics. "The opportunity is here and the
obligation is upon all of us, the global community, to speak out to say to China
no more, to stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, the people in
Tibet, to allow freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of belief."
Queensland MP: The CCP's Persecution of Falun Gong Should Not Be Acceptable
in a Modern Society
Queensland MP Ronan Lee said that he and every other member of Queensland's
State Parliament had received a letter from the Chinese Consul General saying
in "very strong language" that they "should not
attend the relay." MP Lee said, "The letter that [the Chinese consul]
wrote was very thinly veiled to suggest that there could perhaps be some trade
ramifications for members of parliament attending today. [...] I came here to
let you know that there are many members of the Queensland State Parliament
who share your views and your values and are great supporters of the work that
the torch relay has undertaken all over the world." MP Lee mentioned that
there were MPs from other areas of Queensland who joined the Human Rights Torch
Relay who were not present at the event.
In regards to the persecution of Falun Gong, MP Lee said, Anyone who has read
Amnesty International's 2007 Report on the state of the world's human rights,
couldn't be anything other than concerned about what Amnesty International has
to say about the persecution of people in China for their religious views. This
is not something that should be acceptable in a modern society. He appealed
to everyone to become aware of the current human rights situation in China.
Pan Qing: The Human Rights Torch is a Symbol of God's Decree
Mr. Pan Qing, spokesman for the Chinese Alignment to Protect Human Rights and
Resist Violence, and who has traveled the entire route along with the Torch
Relay, said that the Torch is a symbol of God's decree [against the crimes of
the CCP], and that the crimes against humanity committed by the CCP's political
regime have tarnished the Olympic spirit. He especially condemned the CCP's
crime of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, and the organ harvesting of living
Qiu Chuiliang: The CCP's Persecution of Falun Gong is More Cruel Than
Qiu Chuiliang, political professor from Queensland University, and former national
policy consultant for Taiwan, said that the CCP's trampling of human rights
completely violates the spirit of the Olympics and that it is a complete mistake
to let the CCP hold the Olympics, just like it was for Hitler in his time. Mr.
Qiu believes that the Human Rights Torch Relay will help the world to clearly
recognize the CCP's evil nature.
Vietnamese Community Leader: The CCP Must Stop Persecuting Falun Gong
Vietnamese community leader Dr. Bui is very concerned about the CCP harvesting
organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. He pointed out that if a prisoner
dies in prison, normally the body would be sent home. However, during the past
eight years, the CCP has not only illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners
in China, but also secretly killed them, and harvested their organs for profit.
He said the CCP must immediately stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners,
and he urged Australians, who live in free country, to step out on behalf of
victims of persecution.
Attorney Stefan Briggs: Everyone Should Have a Right to Practice his
Attorney Stefan Briggs, human rights ambassador and a representative from the
legal field, is concerned about the current persecution of human rights in China.
He said, "I have an interest in human rights in China, and I'm very concerned
about the situation there and the human rights abuses that are ongoing, and
I'd just like to indicate as an Australian lawyer, that there are people in
Australia who are very concerned about the situation in China."
Briggs is concerned about the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners
and of well-known human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. He said, I think that people
have a right to practice whatever religious or spiritual beliefs that they choose
to and I think Lawyer Gao is merely representing his clients' rights in those
regards, and any repression from the government for him doing so is completely
Renowned Australian Singers Call for Conscience
Famous Australian singer Katie Noonan and her mother Maggie Noonan used their
songs to express their concern about China's human rights situation and to support
the Global Human Rights Torch Relay.
Maggie Noonan said her great-grandfather is Chinese, and therefore they are
concerned about what is happening in China. "The Chinese race is such a
fascinating wonderful race of people, and they've had this wonderful heritage
and understanding of the mind and the body. For these things, these atrocities
being performed at the moment, it's just heart-breaking and our hearts go out
to the people of China, particularly the Falun Gong followers. I mean, it is
just so wrong, it is so wrong, and we are so blessed in this country. I'd like
them to know we are here for them and that's why we are supporting [the Torch
Ms. Noonan also said that the Human Rights Torch is traveling around the globe
in a peaceful way. It is a very good activity, which helps people around the
world to think about the significance of holding the Olympics, and about what
the Chinese government is doing now. Through the Torch Relay, many Australians
are able to step out to support the activity, and eventually help to stop the
CCP from persecuting Falun Gong.
Katie Noonan also said that she would try her best to pay attention to China's
human rights situation.
Bishop Parkes: Freedom to Express One's Faith is a Very Central Thing
Bishop John Parkes of the Brisbane Catholic Church stated that China's economic
development is meaningless, without the assurance of human rights. He said,
"Religious freedom is at the heart of what we in western democracy hold,
and freedom to worship, freedom to express one's faith is a very central thing,
and I would hope that as the new China emerges, that freedom will be recognized
as life giving and not subversive."
Queensland Young Democrats Representative: Human Rights Torch Brings
Hope to China
Queensland Young Democrats representative Vicki Stocks said she emphasized
the severe human rights persecution in China in the Queensland Young Democrats
report, such as organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners, and called
for re-consideration of whether the current Chinese government can hold next
year's Olympic games.
She said, "I really enjoyed my time, carrying the torch, and it was really
great to see the amount of public acknowledgment as we walked down the road,
it was great. My biggest message to Chinese people on the mainland is to have
hope. There seems to be more and more people getting involved. So I would say
to the people in mainland China, have hope, I think that change is coming."
Burmese Community Representative: Human Rights Torch Relay Helps to
Stop CCP From Persecuting Falun Gong
Burmese community representative Patrick Cho said, "I am very concerned
about the persecution of human rights issue. I came from Burma, and have a deep
understanding of despotic dictatorship rule." He said the Torch Relay activity
would help to stop the CCP from persecuting Falun Gong.
People Together Give Voice to Counter the Persecution
A new immigrant from the UK said she once read about the CCP's persecution
of Falun Gong, and when she heard about the Torch Relay, she decided to participate
to show her support. "I felt that I should participate, show support for
the activity. I am willing to help people [who are] suffering persecution."
Public servant Lily said she knew a lot about the CCP's atrocities, and hopes
that more people will support the Human Rights Torch Relay.
A man from Taiwan and his three children also joined the Torch Relay. He said,
"For human rights, we think it is necessary to come out and support this
activity." Many people also expressed their concern about China's human
rights by signing a petition. The Human Rights Torch Relay activity in Brisbane
also attracted the attention of many local media. ABC, AAP, 4KQ Radio, NTDTV,
Sound of Hope, and The Epoch Times reported this activity. Sound of Hope International
Radio did a live broadcast of the event for listeners inside China.
The Global Human Rights Torch Relay was initiated by CIPFG (the Coalition to
Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong). The torch was first lit in Athens,
Greece on August 9, and will travel to over 100 cities in 30 countries throughout
Europe, America, Asia and Australia. Several thousand Members of Parliament,
lawyers and human rights activists around the globe will participate. The one-year-long
Human Rights Torch Relay aims to urge the world's people to pay attention to
the human rights issue in China, and to stop the CCP from persecuting Falun
Gong and other groups. The Human Rights Torch Relay will continue to travel
to other cities in Australia.
Posting date: 17/Nov/2007
Original article date: 8/Nov/2007
Category: Australia News