Over 20 current and former Australian MPs and senators are among 606 lawmakers from 30 countries who have signed a joint statement calling for the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong in China.
It is signed by current and former ministers, senators, members of parliament, members of congress, and state-level lawmakers from Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.
“The persecution of Falun Gong in China has been one of the harshest campaigns against a faith group in modern times,” says the joint statement. “Since July 1999, millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arbitrarily arrested and jailed without due process and many have been tortured and even killed.”
“We … urge the Chinese government to respect international norms and … to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and to unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.”
Australian Liberal Sen. Eric Abetz (Tas) was a signatory to the joint statement and spoke at a virtual rally on July 20 to commemorate the 21-year anniversary of the persecution.
He told The Epoch Times: “I encourage the practitioners of [Falun Gong] to never give in, [never] give up hope or forget that the freedom-loving peoples of the world stand with them in their fight for human rights and freedom.
“Embedded within every soul is the unquenchable desire for freedom. Many have died in its pursuit, including those in China, Hong Kong, and elsewhere,” he added.
Abetz called Falun Gong’s peaceful and non-violent approach to resistance “noble,” noting that while it may appear of limited effectiveness, it possessed “far more legitimacy than any means of violence or coercion.”
The persecution of Falun Gong and other religious movements in China, including Uyghur Muslims and House Christians, Abetz noted, shows that the regime feels threatened by systems of thought that don’t “rigidly adhere to its extreme communist dogma.”
Queensland state Liberal Member for Oodgeroo, Rev. Dr. Mark Robinson, also signed the joint statement.
He told The Epoch Times: “As a Member of the Parliament of Queensland and as a Christian leader, I stand with the members of [Falun Gong] and say that Australian Christians are concerned about what you have experienced in China and that we are standing with you in prayer and hoping for a more free and open China in the future for all people of faith.”
Robinson said that Australia’s economy and social society has benefited from its “core value” of freedom of religion.
“Religious freedom is not just a western ideal but a universal right for all people,” he said, citing Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “In my view, the government, economy, and people of China would benefit greatly from allowing increased freedoms to people of faith who commit to live peaceably.”
Craig Kelly, Liberal Member for Hughes in New South Wales said that for Falun Gong adherents, it has “been a long and difficult 21 years,” he told The Epoch Times.
“I would hope that the Chinese authorities realise that they have nothing to fear and everything to gain from ending the persecution,” he said. “We should also be very upset and concerned that groups like the United Nations and the World Health Organisation had a practice of ‘not upsetting China’ rather than acting in the interests of all people in the world.”
Liberal National Party MP George Christensen, who also spoke during the July 20 anniversary virtual rally, told The Epoch Times: “The Chinese Communist Party’s 21-year long persecution of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners shows that the regime is brutal and ruthless. They seek to snuff out anything they don’t understand or can’t fully control. And the forced organ harvesting that they’ve subjected Falun Gong practitioners to is a crime against humanity.”
Christensen echoed Abetz’s praise for Falun Gong’s peaceful resistance, saying they need to be “applauded.”
“They are an inspiration to so many others during this time when we all need to resist the ruthless, brutal, and evil actions of the CCP regime,” he said.
The global joint statement was signed by 24 current and former MPs from the Liberal and National Parties, the Greens, New South Wales Labor, Victorian Liberal Democrats, New South Wales State Christian Democratic Party, and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.
Australian signatories to the joint statement included Liberal and National Party MPs George Christensen, Craig Kelly, Ken O’Dowd, Mark Robinson, David Batt, Tanya Davies, Bernie Finn, Julia Finn, Edward O’Donohue, Liberal Democrat MP David Limbrick, Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile, Liberal Democrats Tim Quilty, former Liberal Party MP Peter Abetz, Greens MPs Larissa Waters, Caroline Le Couteur, David Shoebridge, Cate Faehrmann, Tammy Franks, Jamie Parker, and One Nation Party MP Robin Scott.
Australian Liberal Party Senators Eric Abetz, Alex Antic, and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells signed the joint statement as well.