HONG KONG—On the afternoon of July 19, the Human Rights Torch Relay successfully concluded its global tour in Hong Kong.
The Human Rights Torch Relay is a global campaign initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) to raise awareness and stop the human rights violations in China before the Beijing Olympics. The torch relay embarked from Athens, Greece, on August 9, 2007, and toured 168 cities in 39 countries within one year.
Mr. Szeto Wah, the vice-chairman of CIPFG Asia, hosted the Human Rights Torch Relay in Hong Kong, at the Cheung Sha Wah Playground.
Mr. Wah said, "After returning to Hong Kong, [I realized that] freedom, human rights, and rule of law are threatened. Therefore, it has special significance for Hong Kong to be the last stop [of the Human Rights Torch Relay]. This not only supports human rights in China, but also awakens the people of Hong Kong to maintain our freedom, human rights, and rule of law."
After speeches from honored guests, the human rights torch was lit. Immediately after the lighting ceremony, Mr. Wah read CIFPG's statement for the completion of the global relay.
According to the statement, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not only ignored international appeals to end its human rights abuses, but has used the Olympics as an excuse to intensify its human rights violations, particularly worsening its persecution of Falun Gong.
Statistics shows that since December 2007, at least 8,000 Falun Gong practitioners, from 29 provinces, have been illegally arrested. At least 130 practitioners have been persecuted to death, with some even tortured to death within days of their illegal arrest.
Although the Human Rights Torch Relay has completed its overseas tour, the Beijing Olympic torch was passed to mainland China in March, and is still touring throughout the mainland.
After the conclusion of the lighting ceremony, a procession of more than 400 people marched down Nathan Road in Kowloon.
The parade attracted many tourists, including numerous mainland Chinese, who expressed that they would tell their friends and relatives back home about the Human Rights Torch Relay.