Human Rights Day: Falun Gong Practitioners Raise Awareness Worldwide
Human Rights Day is an annual holiday that commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. Since 1999, however, Falun Gong practitioners in China have been persecuted for their faith, violating freedom of conscience and religion, and have been subject to arbitrary arrests and a multitude of dehumanizing tortures.
Preceding Human Rights Day this year, Falun Gong practitioners worldwide held events to raise awareness of the persecution of practitioners in China.
Government officials also expressed their support through speaking at rallies, sending letters of support, and championing legislation to combat organ harvesting.
As Canadian MP Garnett Genuis expressed in a video of support,
“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion.”
Below is an overview of events by continent.
Across Europe, events were held in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, and France.
In the United Kingdom, rallies were held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Parliamentarians also sent letters to express their support and highlighted actions being taken to end the persecution.
“Human Rights are universal and must be respected by all Governments around the world… There are many Members of Parliament who want to see the UK Government live up to that responsibility. All those demonstrating today, and all those marking International Human Rights Day, can be assured of our support and solidarity in the fight for freedom and an end to persecution.”
“The UK Government and other democracies must take whatever steps they can to identify and challenge those responsible for displacement, arbitrary arrest and detention, summary execution, and forced organ harvesting…We continue to monitor and review evidence relating to reports of forced organ harvesting in China and maintain a dialogue with leading NGOs and international partners on the issue.”
Milling also said, “We regularly raise our concerns about human rights with the Chinese authorities. The Foreign Secretary did so most recently in a telephone call with her Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on 22 October.”
On December 8, MP Chris Bryant also chaired a debate on the Magnitsky Act, which included the sanctioning of the perpetrators of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong and other human rights violations.
In Germany, practitioners held events in four cities, including Nuremberg, Berlin, and Frankfurt. Many people stopped by to learn more and signed petitions to end the persecution.
In Greece, practitioners set up an informational booth near the Acropolis Hill in Athens, holding events over three days from December 5-12. Practitioners’ serene music and exercise movements drew crowds of onlookers. Some took photos of the exhibition boards after reading them.
Practitioners held an Information Day at Place de la Republique in Paris. Many passerby stopped by to learn more.
Practitioners rallied in front of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna. Four Austrian parliamentarians also sent letters to express their solidarity with the practitioners.
“Depriving a person of his faith or persecuting a person because of his faith is a trampling on human dignity, and such violations are offensive. Yet, this happens on a large scale every day. …[Freedom of faith] is a major issue that concerns the entire human race, …[restricting it] is a serious violation of human dignity and freedom.”
“The rest of the world must not remain silent when authoritarian regimes like China ignore this inalienable universal right… “When non-political groups, such as those Falun Dafa practitioners, who only want to bring harmony to our souls, minds and bodies, are persecuted, we must unite and fight against [the CCP] in every way.”
The other statements can be read here.
Practitioners held rallies in Vancouver and Toronto.
The Toronto rally also featured guest speakers, such as former Canadian Senator Consiglio Di Nino. He said:
“We need to make our voices loud and clear, to tell the CCP that human rights violations are unacceptable.”
MP Garnett Genuis, the co-chair of the Friends of Falun Gong in Canada’s Congress, also made a video to show his support and talk about the cases of 12 Canadian practitioners who have family in China that have been detained. He said,
“Parliamentarians from every party have spoken out about the ongoing persecution of people who practice Falun Gong. We’ve called upon the government of Canada to deploy legal sanctions against perpetrators who, under the Chinese Communist Party, have orchestrated the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners. We requested the Canadian government to publicly call for an end of the persecution of Falun Gong.”
MP Judy Sgro, also sent a letter to Trudeau, raising awareness of the plights of two Canadian students whose parents in China have been detained for their faith.
The MPs statements can be viewed in full here.
Practitioners held activities in King George Square in Brisbane and were invited to participate in a rally commemorating victims of the Chinese Communist Party in Sydney.
As Professor Feng Chongyi, Chairman of the ANZ Alliance for Victims of the Chinese Communist Regime and longtime supporter of Falun Gong, said:
“Today is the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Falun Gong practitioners are entitled to enjoy their inalienable rights of freedom of religion, freedom of belief, and freedom of association. This is their sacred right. But it has been taken away by the Chinese communist regime. So they are the victims of this regime. That is why for all these years I have supported Falun Gong practitioners to fight for their inalienable rights.”
Japanese practitioners raised awareness of the persecution in front of the National Diet Building.
Practitioners in Indonesia peacefully protested in front of the Chinese embassies in Jakarta and Surabaya on December 11.
Despite the rainy weather later at both locations, practitioners persisted and many people stopped by to examine their eye-catching banners. Many drivers also honked their horns in support.
Based on reports from Minghui.org