WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Global Human Rights Torch Relay was announced at a news conference outside the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on August 3. Just as in every Olympics a route is chosen for the torchbearers announcing the Olympic Games, the "Run for Human Dignity" will call attention to the Beijing Olympic Games and the much criticized human rights record of the host country.
The Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) begins in Athens Greece, August 9th, a year before the start of the Beijing Olympics. Then in a ceremony, HRTR will light its first flame. This torch acts as a symbol of the protection of human rights and respect of human life. The HRTR will end in Asia; the exact location is still being determined.
The torch will pass through five continents, and more than 20 countries and 100 cities. The message HRTR wants to convey is: "Beijing Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist." The HRTR is initiated by prominent members of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG).
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter spoke at the gathering on the Cannon Terrace and made clear his disapproval of China's communist regime. Rep McCotter spoke of every American as "a child of the American Revolution," who inherited the "legacy of liberty," and as such, it was the responsibility and duty of free Americans to stand with those who yearn to be free. He said that he would be joining Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in a bill asking for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in Beijing "until that tyrannical communist regime begins to recognize and respect the … God-given rights of their own citizens.".
"…if the U.S. persists and attends, despite the inhuman actions of that regime, then we will have betrayed our responsibility as free and sovereign citizens, as equal children of God, to stand with our brothers and sisters in their pursuit of justice and freedom. We must never allow the Olympic Games in Beijing to become this generation of America's version of the Olympic Games in Berlin," said Congressman McCotter.
CIPFG sent a letter on June 8 to heads of the Chinese communist regime, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, warning about a campaign to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing unless (1) the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners ceases; (2) all Falun Gong practitioners held in prisons, labor camps, and "re-education" centers are released; and (3) independent investigations of allegations of the harvesting organs of captive Falun Gong practitioners are allowed.
CIPFG is a global non-profit organization established in 2006. It consists of four groups or "delegations": the Oceania, Asian, European and North American, with a total of more than 300 members drawn from the legal, governmental, medical, and human rights communities.
Among the members of the HRTR include Lai Ching-Te, Taiwan Legislator, Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka, Chairman of the Kidney Foundation for Eastern Ontario, Baroness Caroline Cox, Member of the House of Lords in the UK, and Hon. David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asian Affairs. Two prominent former athletes support HRTR: Xiaomin Huang, Silver Medalist, Seoul Olympics 1988, and Martins Rubenis, Bronze Medalist, Torino Winter Olympic Games, 2006.
The Hon. David Kilgour mentioned above was the co-author and investigator of allegations of the CCP's harvesting of practitioner's organs for transplant and profit. The conclusion of the report, published July 7, 2006 and updated in January, was that the allegations are true, and were "a new form of evil on this planet."
The official website of CIPFG will have frequent updates of the torch relay route and schedule.