Hungarian police have banned protests planned by Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) practitioners in connection with the visit of the Chinese regime’s premier, Wen Jiabao. An open letter issued by the president of the Hungarian Falun Dafa Association asserts that the banning of the protests is due to pressure from the Chinese regime.
Wen is scheduled to visit Hungary on Friday and Saturday, with a meeting on Saturday with Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Wen’s visit comes amidst an economic crisis affecting the Eurozone and hopes that China can help Europe through investment and the buying of European debt.
The Hungarian Falun Dafa Association informed the Hungarian National Police of their intention to hold peaceful protests in Budapest on both days of Wen’s visit.
According to the open letter by Fricskó Sándorné, president of the Hungarian Dafa Association, the police on Wednesday afternoon informed the association they would bar the protests and required the association to withdraw its request. If the association did not withdraw its request, all future requests by the Association to demonstrate would be denied, according to Sándorné’s letter.
The denials are unconstitutional, according to the letter. The Hungarian Constitution specifies two causes for denying a request to demonstrate—jeopardizing the operations of the government or blocking traffic—and neither of those applies.
The letter asserts that “the police are under pressure to abuse the law of this country.” And links the Hungarian case to “a trend in which the Chinese Communist Party forces other nations to break their own laws and to deny citizens to exercise their freedoms in their country.”
The ongoing economic crisis in Europe reached a crisis recently, with fears that Greece would default on its debt. The crisis gives the Chinese regime leverage during Wen’s visits.
The Chinese regime began a campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong in July 1999. According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been detained and those who are detained are routinely subjected to torture and brainwashing. The Information Center estimates tens of thousands have died from torture and abuse.
Since 1999, when Chinese delegations have come on state visits, in several instances host governments have tried to stop, hide, or limit the scope of Falun Gong protests.
The most heavily publicized case is one in which the Chinese regime attempted to bar protests by Falun Gong practitioners in connection with the visit to Iceland of China’s then-paramount leader Jiang Zemin, in June 2002.
Icelandic air, using blacklists provided by Chinese regime’s security agencies, stopped Falun Gong practitioners from flying to Iceland. In Iceland, several individuals identified as practitioners were detained without cause. The case was documented extensively in Herman Salton’s book, Arctic Host, Icy Visit.
These measures were deeply unpopular with the people of Iceland. On May 27, Iceland’s foreign minister formally apologized during a meeting of Iceland’s parliament.