Athens, Greece: Human Rights Torch Lighted To End the Persecution (Photos)

On the evening of August 9, 2007, the Global Human Rights Torch Relay was
launched on Syntagma Square, in front of the Hellenic Parliament buildings in
Athens, Greece. Representatives of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution
of Falun Gong (CIPFG) from four delegations in Europe, Asia, North America and
Australasia and other supporters from various organizations observed the grand
occasion at the birthplace of the Olympic movement, one year ahead of the Beijing
2008 Olympics. The ceremony launched the year-long journey of the “Global Human
Rights Torch Relay.”

On the evening of August 9, 2007, the “Human Rights Torch”
was lit in Greece

The CIPFG is composed of more than 300 international figures from
political, legal and medical professions, human rights and other non-governmental
organizations. Initiated by the CIPFG, the Global Human Rights Torch Relay will
travel through 100 cities around the world. Its purpose is to call on the international
community to focus on brutal violations of human rights and the Olympics spirit
by the Chinese Communist regime, in order to stop such crimes and not let the
2008 Olympic Games that symbolizes peace and freedom of humanity become the
“Bloody Harvest Games.”

Sacred Torch for Putting an End to the Persecution is Lighted

At the opening ceremony of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay, representatives
from different continents made speeches, condemning the Chinese Communist Party's
(CCP) persecution of beliefs and trampling upon human rights.

Leading CIPFG member and Secretary-General of Interfaith International headquartered
in Switzerland, Dr. Charles Graves gave the first speech. He introduced the
original intention of the Human Rights Torch Relay, and said that modern civilized
countries cannot repress the torch of religious beliefs and at the same time
hold the torch of the Olympics.


Secretary-General of Interfaith International, Dr. Charles
Graves gives a speech

The CIPFG announced over three months ago that if the CCP would not make a
satisfactory response regarding the three demands raised by the CIPFG by August
8, 2007, the CIPFG would gather all righteous strength around the world to boycott
the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The three demands included: First, stop the persecution
of Falun Gong immediately and release all practitioners incarcerated for their
faith. Second, stop the persecution of friends, supporters and defense lawyers
of Falun Gong practitioners, including Gao Zhisheng and Li Hong. Third, hold
discussions with CIPFG to arrange details of the opening up of forced labor
camps, prisons, hospitals and related secretive facilities for inspection by
CIPFG independent investigators.

As of today, the CCP has not made any explicit response regarding the three
demands; instead, it refused to issue visas for CIPFG members who wanted to
enter China to conduct an investigation. At the same time, the CCP has stepped
up its persecution of Falun Gong, other spiritual groups and human rights defenders.
Therefore, to fulfill its promise, the CIPFG launched the “Global Human Rights
Torch Relay” on August 9, in order to boycott the 2008 Olympics to be held in
China under the CCP's rule, because “The Olympics and Crimes against Humanity
Cannot Co-exist in China.”

In a statement from the U.K., Baroness Caroline Cox, President of the European
Delegation of the CIPFG, said that the day on which the International Human
Rights Torch Relay movement in Athens is launched will be the most important
day in human history. She hopes to raise the world's attention about the
persecution of Falun Gong practitioners happening in China. Through calling
for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, we can put an end to the persecution
soon, and safeguard the Olympic spirit and human dignity.

Support from People in Athens

On August 8 and 9, volunteers could be seen on the streets in Athens spreading
the information about the Human Rights Torch Relay and the facts about the CCP's
persecution of Falun Gong.

The People of Greece were shocked at the CCP's atrocities in persecuting
Falun Gong. They also enthusiastically supported the Global Human Rights Torch
Relay. Some people took the flyers and asked for more for their friends. Others
took the flyers and made a thumbs-up gesture to volunteers, while some patted
the volunteers on their shoulders and said, “Well done, you're working

After learning about the CCP's crimes, some overseas Chinese people passing
by asked the volunteers to help them quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations
on the spot. Twenty-seven year old Li Li is from Inner Mongolia of China. She
came to Athens to study after graduating from a university in China. She is
now working on advertisement designs. When she saw the logo of the Human Rights
Torch Relay on flyers, she walked up to talk to a volunteer. She said that she
saw the information about the Human Rights Torch Relay on TV the previous night.
She had learned about the CCP's tight blockade of information when she
was in Inner Mongolia. People living in Outer Mongolia can access over 100 cable
TV channels, but they could only access a few channels permitted by the CCP.
When asked if she knew that more than 24 million Chinese people had quit the
CCP and its affiliated organizations, Li Li asked the volunteer to help her
quit the Young Pioneers and Youth League on the spot. She also said that she
would inform her friends and relatives in China about the news.

The Human Rights Torch Relay activity calling for an end to the CCP's
persecution has also drawn attention from many media outlets in North America,
Asia and Europe.

Posting date: 12/Aug/2007
Original article date: 10/Aug/2007
Category: World News


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