Sweden Responds to Chinas Pressure on Thailand
LOS ANGELES (FDI) – As part of its worldwide campaign to persecute Falun Gong, the Chinese regime is exerting pressure on the Thai government to deport a Swedish Falun Gong practitioner living in Thailand.
The April 29 detention of Mrs. Pirjo Svensson came on the first day of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Thailand. She is “suspected” of planning to tell people about China’s persecution of Falun Gong.
“I have done nothing wrong”, says Mrs. Svensson, 50, who has been living in Thailand with her husband for two years. She was detained after VCDs were found in her apartment. These VCDs are compact disks with videos that can be viewed on a computer and contain documentary footage from China.
Practitioners in numerous countries distribute these VCDs in order to expose the human rights abuses against Falun Gong in China. According to Mrs. Svensson they contain “the truth about the persecution of innocent Falun Gong practitioners.”
Because of this persecution campaign, former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, is being sued for torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide in several countries. One such lawsuit is proceeding in a US district court in Chicago.
The Swedish Embassy in Thailand quickly demanded “an immediate explanation” from the Thai Foreign Ministry. The Embassy has also helped Mrs. Svensson with the paperwork for an appeal and is advising her through the process. The Embassy has offered to pay Mrs. Svensson’s bail in order to expedite her release from detention.
Thailand’s immigration officers indicated that a “special request” from “high above” was received for her incarceration, and that it was done out of consideration for Thailand’s relationship with China.
This is not the first time that the Swedish Government has come to the aid of Falun Gong practitioners. After the November 20, 2001 arrest of six Swedish practitioners in Beijing, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Ms. Anna Lindh stated: “I think this is totally unacceptable. Yet unfortunately it is so common when it comes to China that, despite the fact that they signed the UN’s conventions and said that they would follow human rights, we see that the persecution of Falun Gong, amongst others, is getting worse.”
The coercion from China came at a time when an emergency conference on SARS was being held in Thailand.
“The regime in China lies to the world and then expects everyone to toe its line”, says Falun Dafa Information Center spokeswoman Ms. Gail Rachlin. “It doesn’t want people in other countries to recognize how it persecutes innocent people and even exerts pressure to enlist other countries’ assistance in doing so.”
The Chinese regime has repeatedly pressured governments of many nations to prohibit appeals to the international community on behalf of Falun Gong. In spite of the threats and lies from the Jiang Zemin regime, many of the countries have remained true to their own constitutions and permitted such appeals to take place. Moreover, Falun Gong’s appeals have gained a worldwide reputation as being completely peaceful.
Ultimately, police of many countries where appeals took place despite pressure – such as Iceland, Germany, and Mexico during Jiang’s visits in 2002 – complimented Falun Gong on its peaceful, orderly, and noble conduct.
“It is admirable and beneficial to the world that someone like Mrs. Svensson would peacefully stand up and say ‘no’ to persecution,” says Jillian Ye, a Falun Gong practitioner and software engineer from Toronto, Canada. “It is a righteous action that should be supported and encouraged by all governments.”
“Thailand is an independent, democratic country strongly rooted in religion and freedom of belief,” said Alan Adler, Executive Director of the NGO Friends of Falun Gong USA. “It is our sincerest wish that Thailand stand up for the principles of freedom and justice that it embraces and not condone or allow itself to be pressured by the Chinese government.”
Despite the illicit pressure from China, the Thai government has yet to deport Mrs. Svensson. Deporting her could be seen as taking sides with Jiang regime’s persecution, a persecution that is genocidal in nature and implemented through torture, defamation, and brainwashing that has been denounced by the media, governments, and human rights organizations worldwide.
“Thailand has a long history of independence and charting its own course,” says John Nania, a Falun Gong practitioner who taught in Thailand’s public schools. “We urge Thailand’s government to release Mrs. Svensson. This demonstrates support for universal principles of morality and human rights, and shows the world that the nation does live up to the name ‘Land of the Free.’”