Chinese Embassy Attempts to Prevent Rally During Xi Jinping Visit in Paris
Practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been subjected to severe persecution in China for the past 15 years, had to resort to an appeal to the Paris Administrative Court to stage a peaceful protest and rally in front of the Chinese embassy in Paris, France during Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit last week.
Due to pressure from Chinese embassy officials, the Paris Police Department turned the rally application down on March 26, one day before the event.
The Falun Dafa Association in France made an urgent appeal to the Paris Administrative Court (Tribunal Administratif de Paris), who subsequently held a hearing on the afternoon of March 26.
According to a report on Minghui.org, a website maintained by Falun Gong practitioners, Judge Doumergue ruled that the ban issued by Paris Police was illegal, and violated freedom of expression and assembly. She ordered that the police department withdraw the ban, and pay 1,500 Euros to the Falun Dafa Association of France.
Practitioners thus held their rally in front of the Chinese Embassy on March 27, 2014 and explained to passersby the details of the persecution against them by the Chinese authorities.
Call to End Persecution
Mr. Alain Tang, president of the Falun Dafa Association of France, said the rally in front of the Chinese Embassy during Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping’s visit to France has a great deal of significance.
Tang said the identities of at least 3,745 Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of persecution, have been confirmed by Minghui, while hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been detained in prisons, mental hospitals, labor camps, and brainwashing centers.
“We call on Mr. Xi to bring to justice the main perpetrators—Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, Zeng Qinghong, and Li Lanqing—and to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China,” Tang said.
“The CCP exerts pressure on Western countries through economic and diplomatic means to avoid condemnation of its crimes against humanity,” he added.
Dr. King said that almost all organs for transplants in China are from prisoners, many of whom are prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.
Attorney Gabard, legal counsel for the Falun Dafa Association of France, said he welcomed the ruling. He said the rally was not a protest against Xi Jinping, but against the policy of persecuting Falun Gong, and that it was not appropriate for the Paris police to treat the rally as an event hostile toward Xi.
Deals and Diplomacy
Deal-making and commemorations of a half-century of French diplomatic ties with Communist China were the declared focus of Xi’s three-day visit to France according to media reports. About 50 commercial deals were signed worth an estimated 18 billion euros ($24.8 billion).
During a ceremony on March 27, French President Francois Hollande told Xi: “Welcome to France, Mr. president. You are here in a friendly country.”
“He didn’t mention human rights or media freedom issues that activists hoped he would raise,” an Associated Press report remarked.
While visiting Germany on March 28, deepening business ties also took center stage during Xi’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, including a deal between the countries’ central banks to allow yuan-denominated payments to be settled in Germany’s financial center, Frankfurt.
However, Merkel, who is known for her outspokenness, reminded Xi of the importance of free speech. According to the Associated Press, Merkel said she had made clear that “broad and free expression of opinion is of course a very important element to advance a society’s creativity.” Xi didn’t respond to that, the report said.