Falun Gong urges PM to raise human rights issue with China

March 20 AAP – Falun Gong practitioners are urging Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese government when he visits Beijing next month.

Around 30 members of the spiritual movement protested quietly outside the Chinese consulate in Melbourne today, calling for the release of almost 1,900 Falun Gong practitioners they claim were arrested in a recent crackdown by Chinese authorities ahead of the Olympic Games in August.

“We know Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be visiting China, we are trying to get a message across to him that he raises the issue of Falun Gong and the persecution of practitioners when he goes to Beijing,” protest organiser Ana Vereshaka said.

“Over 1,800 people have been arrested in China for being Falun Gong practitioners ahead of the Olympics. We are trying to raise awareness of this.”

Ms Vereshaka said the Falun Gong cause and other issues, such as the recent troubles in Tibet, were reaching a crescendo which China could no longer avoid in the run-up to the Olympics.

“The whole community is behind and supporting Falun Gong nowadays – it is coming to critical mass and I think this is a point everybody can feel there is something big that will happen before the Olympics.

“It’s not just us, it’s other groups. The fact is that everyone is standing up now – the Tibetan community has stood up – and I hope more people will speak up.

“This is the time to get the Chinese regime to act in an upright and dignified way and stop persecuting people.”


Posting date: 20/Mar/2008
Original article date: 20/Mar/2008
Category: Media Report


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