Hello, and welcome to the weekly FGMtv news review. I'm Susan Mitchell.
§ Here at FGMtv we focus on programs and news that illuminate the truth of Falun Gong, which is also known as Falun Dafa.
§ Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation. Its principles are based on being good, true and enduring.
§ The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout the country.
§ In 1998, a government survey concluded that the number of practitioners exceeded membership in the communist party.
§ One year later, dictator Jiang Zemin began a brutal persecution that violates not only the Chinese constitution, but also international treaties signed by China.
In this week's update from China…
§ 725 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have died from torture while in custody. Reliable sources inside China put the actual total death count in the thousands.
§ Torture reports in the last seven days have come in from 17 different provinces, and the cities of Nanjing, Wuhan and Shanghai.
§ 494 people declared as null and void, statements saying they will give up Falun Gong that were made while undergoing torture as they were the result of extreme coercion. They say they will continue practicing Falun Gong.
Our top story this week:
§ Major media interest in the Bring Jiang to Justice crusade
And some of our other stories:
§ 180 Falun Gong practitioners accused of spreading SARS rumours and detained
§ Pirjo Svensson returns to Sweden after 37 days of illegal detention in Thailand
§ Christine Loftus interviews a Falun Gong practitioner from Sri Lanka
First our top story: Major media interest in the 'Bring Jiang to Justice' crusade.
§ The Washington Times this week reported that a former U.S. ambassador is calling on President Bush to denounce former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin.
§ Mark Palmer is one of the founders of the Friends of Falun Gong USA.
§ In a statement released by his organization, Mr. Palmer said, "Our problem is not with China or even the government of China. Our problem is with Jiang Zemin and those around him."
§ Mr. Palmer said denouncing Mr. Jiang would also help Chinese officials who want an "honest, accountable system" dedicated to the rule of law, "not the communist bosses."
§ And, as if in confirmation of concerns expressed by Mr. Palmer, at 10 AM Thursday, June 12th, the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, concluded its hearing and ruled to accept the Amicus brief signed and submitted by dozens of members of U.S. Congress. The lawsuit charging the former President of China with genocide and crimes against humanity will continue to proceed through the U.S. court system.
180 Falun Gong Practitioners Accused of Spreading SARS Rumours and Detained
§ Reuters newswire service from Beijing has advised that China's state radio announced the detention of 180 members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group for supposedly spreading rumours amid the SARS epidemic.
§ The practitioners were all arrested in the northern province of Hebei, it reported. Police officials were not immediately available for comment.
§ Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome emerged in southern China last November. The World Health Organization has cautioned about the reliability of China's statistics that list 5,329 people being infected and 336 dead from the illness.
§ Human rights groups said the government was taking advantage of the SARS crisis to start a particularly brutal crackdown on political and Internet dissidents, hoping the international community was distracted by the epidemic.
Death reports and worldwide appeals
§ On June 11th, the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York issued two media advisories. They contained names of fifteen more Chinese citizens who have been tortured to death for refusing to renounce their beliefs in the teachings of Falun Gong and their intention to do the Falun Gong exercises.
§ Practitioners in cities around the world have been holding hunger strikes to demand the release of American citizen Dr. Charles Li. Dr. Li was arrested on arrival in China in January. He is being held in Nanjing prison for supposedly preparing to tap into Chinese state TV to broadcast programs exposing the false propaganda of the Jiang regime.
§ The U.S. consulate in Shanghai advised Dr. Li's fiancée in California that Dr. Li has been beaten and force-fed.
§ In Tokyo, rescue efforts continue for Mrs. Yoko Kaneko, Chinese wife of a Japanese businessman, who was arrested in Beijing one year ago for distributing Falun Gong flyers. She has been severely tortured and hospitalized. The SOS on this green cloth, surrounded by signatures is urging the Japanese government to demand her release.
Ottawa Librarians Remove Hate Propaganda from their shelves
§ A short time ago, if you searched for Falun Gong books in the Ottawa central library catlogue, the first Chinese title that came up was one that translates as “Dissecting Falun Gong: An Overseas Student’s Perspective.”
§ Ottawa practitioners took the book out and discovered that it was hate propaganda. After two readings of the entire book, offensive passages were translated and the Ottawa Police Hate Crimes Unit was notified.
§ A practitioner explained to the acting head librarian that, in our opinion, the book was not an academic discussion but rather, incitement to hatred. She also advised that both municipal and federal police, the RCMP, had been notified.
§ The librarian offered to start a procedure called a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” which has several stages. In this case a translation would be needed and they had a Caucasian staff person who could do that.
§ Within just a few days the library advised that they had reviewed the book, and that although they carried both pro and anti Falun Gong books in their system, they agreed that the book in question was not a reasoned argument and had withdrawn it from their collection.
Iceland Justice Ministry is told it acted unlawfully against Falun Gong Practitioners ahead of Jiang Zemin's Visit in 2002
§ Agence France Presse reported from Reykjavik that the Icelandic government has been told it acted unlawfully when it blacklisted members of the Falungong spiritual movement ahead of the state visit of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin to Iceland a year ago.
§ The Icelandic Data Protection Authority has reprimanded the justice ministry following a complaint from a Canadian citizen who found he could not enter Iceland during the visit.
§ Human rights lawyer Ragnar Adalsteinsson, acting on behalf of Xun Li, a Canadian, told AFP he would ask the justice ministry to issue an official apology, or he would bring further legal action.
§ At the time, the "blacklisting" of supposedly peaceful protestors was harshly criticized by Icelandic human rights activists, who accused Icelandic authorities of cooperation with the Chinese regime.
§ The United States also complained to Reykjavik last June after five of its US citizens were among a group of some 70 Falun Gong followers who were detained.
§ Adalsteinsson told AFP that "If the Icelandic governent doesn't react to this decision by an Icelandic Authority, by accepting it was mistaken, my client will take this case further. Many people were deprived of their freedom," he said, "and some of them suffered financial damages. They are still seeking a peaceful but a just solution."
Pirjo Svensson returns to Sweden after illegal detainment in Thailand
§ After being detained for 37 days by the Thai government under pressure from the Chinese government, Swedish Falun Gong practitioner Mrs. Pirjo Svensson arrived at Landvetter Airport at 11:00 a.m. on June the 6th.
§ She was warmly welcomed by her husband, parents, Falun Gong practitioners, human rights organizations and media.
§ In her statement, Mrs. Svensson said, "Although the Thai authorities wrongfully detained me for 37 days, I still care for and respect Thailand and the Thai people very much. In fact, it is for their sake that I stayed in detention and appealed the decision to revoke my visa and deport me.
§ During this time, through the efforts of many people, including my friends all over the world, who have written to and called officials in the Thai government, people in Thailand have had a chance to understand the true situation of Falun Gong."
§ In a written statement, Sweden's Ambassador to Thailand said, "Thailand's decision to revoke Mrs. Svensson's visa is regrettable. The Falun Gong Movement and its information materials are not prohibited in Thailand. According to our knowledge, Mrs. Svensson has never acted in such a way as to disturb peace in the Kingdom of Thailand nor against the Thai government. The opinion of the Thai authorities that Mrs. Svensson constitutes a risk to the country's security is therefore hard to comprehend."
An unfortunate incident leads to good fortune
§ A person by the name of Guangren recently wrote to the MingHui Web site saying, "This is a true story that happened to me:
§ One morning this January, as I drove to a street corner, I suddenly saw a three-wheeler standing on the left side of the road. I turned to the right in a hurry but, due to my oversteering, I drove too far and people on both sidewalks shouted out, "You have hit and killed someone!" I stopped quickly, got out of my car, and saw an old man lying on the ground.
§ The front wheel of my car had rolled over his right ankle. Seeing this, I was scared and shaking. The onlookers said, "Why are you standing there, send him to the hospital for emergency treatment!" As if awakening from a dream, I went up to the old man.
§ He waved his hand and said, "Nothing wrong with me, I don't want to go to hospital."
§ "No, you must be taken to a hospital." A young man pulled up a three-wheeler taxi, put the old man in it and we went to the hospital. He was immediately examined and X-rayed. There was only a bruise above the ankle and a small scrape that bled just a little and there was no damage to his brain.
§ He turned to me and said, "Don't worry. Just be careful in the future when you are driving."
§ My wife and I didn't sleep well that night. The next day, we went to visit the old man. Arriving at his house, I saw that it was full of people. On seeing us, he stood up to welcome us, and asked us to come in.
§ We tried to give him two thousand Yuan for his medical expenses. He said, "You young people are hard to handle. Look, am I not completely fine? Why should I need treatment? I can accept this fruit to show my appreciation for your kind heart. Other things should not be discussed. You two may stay here to have dinner with us and we will be friends from now on."
§ I looked at the warm-hearted old man and at the people sitting around and I was moved to tears. My wife and I bowed to everyone and said, "Old gentleman, you really have good fortune!"
§ "It is you that really has good fortune!" said everyone to me with one voice.
§ "Do you know? He is a Falun Gong practitioner. You have met a good person, a Falun Gong practitioner. Isn't it you that really has such good fortune?"
FGMTV's Christine Loftus recently interviewed Lishanthi Caldera, a young woman from Sri Lanka:
CHRISTINE: Hi Lishanti
LISHANTHI: Hi Christine
CHRISTINE: Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today.Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
LISHANTHI: Sure. My name is Lishanthi. I'm from Sri Lanka. I've been in Canada for about five years now, and I've been a practitioner for two and a half years.
CHRISTINE: What type of benefits have you received from practicing Falun Dafa?
LISHANTHI: Mostly health. I used to take quite a lot and I used to go to the doctors but didn't even know what was wrong with me. And I also notice that I've become a peaceful person. I really notice my internal changes quite a bit. And it's interesting… my name in my language means 'a peaceful woman' and I think I'm becoming a way more peaceful woman by practising Falun Dafa!
CHRISTINE: So I also understand that you've been using some skills that you've gotten either from your job or from your education. And you've been using these skills to try to contribute to bring about an end to the persecution in China. Could you tell us a little more about this: what do you do and how are you using your skills?
LISHANTHI: Yes. I'm quite good at computers. I've been using computers since I was about thirteen years old, so one day one of the practitioners called me and asked whether I can do an on-line petition. I thought that was a great idea, because I teach Web page designing as well, and I used to update that site, so I was able to bring those skills and what I did was we created an on-line petition. This is a petition for City Councillors of Toronto in support of Falun Gong.
CHRISTINE: That's great! So, do people access this on the Internet to sign it? Or how does it work?
LISHANTHI: Yes, the first time it went on-line, about a week ago I noticed there are 72 signatures already. So, I thought that was really great!
CHRISTINE: That's great! Thank you Lishanthi.
LISHANTHI: You're welcome.
Thanks for watching the FGMtv weekly news review.
I'm Susan Mitchell. See you next week!