The Australian: Falun Gong to cover APEC summit

Sian Powell | August 31, 2007

THE APEC taskforce has accredited journalists from a Falun Gong-aligned newspaper
in a move certain to infuriate China on the eve of President Hu Jintao’s visit
to Sydney.

The accreditation was considered at the highest levels of the Australian Government
and granted in the knowledge that China would be angered by the inclusion of
reporters from a movement abhorred by the Chinese Government.

China’s APEC external media liaison officer, Liu Jin, refused to comment yesterday.
But it is understood China has already expressed its displeasure to the Australian

Journalists from the Falun Gong-aligned Epoch Times weekly newspaper, a global
title that carries reports critical of China’s human rights record, have been
banned from APEC summits in the past — notably in South Korea in 2005.

Sydney-based Epoch Times national reporter Shar Adams confirmed she had been
accredited to cover the APEC summit, which will begin in Sydney this weekend.

"We will be going to as many events as we can," said Ms Adams, a
Falun Gong follower. "We have a strong interest in China — everybody knows
that. I can’t see any problem with us covering the news from APEC."

Falun Gong has planned several protests for APEC leaders’ week, including possibly
stringing banners along the motorcade route from Sydney Airport to the CBD,
a candlelight vigil in Hyde Park and an all-day display and rally in Belmore

They say the protests are an attempt to draw attention to the incarceration
and torture of Falun Gong followers in China. Falun Gong followers also asked
for permission to string a banner in front of Sydney’s Wentworth Hotel, where
they believe Mr Hu will be staying, but their request was turned down by NSW

"We’re not protesting against APEC, we’re not protesting against the Howard
Government, we just want people to realise thousands of Falun Gong people are
held in camps in China and they’re killed for organ transplants," said
Falun Gong spokeswoman Kay Rubacek.

"We’re really just saying stop the killing."

The colour yellow is associated with Falun Gong, and the movement’s followers
will wear it as much as possible, said John Della, another spokesman associated
with Falun Gong.

He said he hoped all APEC leaders, including John Howard, would raise the Falun
Gong issue with Mr Hu.

Mr Della said Falun Gong followers hoped world leaders would follow the lead
of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is also coming to Sydney for
APEC. Mr Harper’s spokeswoman reportedly said on Wednesday that he "wouldn’t
be afraid" to raise the Falun Gong issue.

Posting date: 01/Sep/2007
Original article date: 31/Aug/2007
Category: Media Report


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