Ottawa urged to sway China on Falun Gong policy

VANCOUVER — Followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement say Canada could be doing more to stop China’s persecution of those who follow the group.

Three Vancouver residents held a news conference Thursday to say Chinese police have arrested their relatives. Two years ago Michelle Zhang’s sister vanished when she was picked up by Chinese police after handing out flyers about the Falun Gong.

“The Canadian government has adopted a behind-closed-doors policy when talking about human rights in China,” she said.

“It’s not that effective.”

Zhang said the Canadian government is more worried about trade with Chinese than talking about human rights violations.

She said her brother-in-law was tortured to death in a Chinese labour camp in November 2000.

She said her only sister was also abducted by Chinese police.

Raymond Zhang, no relation to Michelle, told the news conference his mother has been arrested three times because as a physician she talks to her patients about Falun Gong.

He said his mother was picked up by police after officers broke into her home, ransacked it and abducted her.

He said his mother shouted “Falun Gong is innocent” as she was being led away.

His sister was later arrested, though she was released on bail, Zhang said.

Falun Gong is based on the 1992 teachings of a Chinese man, Li Hongzi. It uses meditation and gentle exercises to enhance well-being.

The practice has spread to millions of people in countries around the world including Canada, although the largest group of adherents remains in China.

The Chinese government, however, branded Falun Gong – also known as Falun Dafa – a dangerous cult that threatens the country’s security.

Five years ago, Jiang Zemin, the Communist leader of the country ordered a crackdown.

Zhang said the Canadian government should make it easier for people like his mother to immigrate to Canada.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Canadian Press, Canada
June 18, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday June 18, 2004.
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