In response to a parliamentary resolution by Guðmundur Steingrímsson (pictured) and ten other members of Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, regarding the Falun Gong movement, Peder Giertsen and Þórdís Hauksdóttir, members of the Falun Gong Iceland Dialogue Committee, issued the following press release.
Open letter from Falun Gong
Falun Gong practitioners welcome and strongly support the resolution by Mr. Guðmundur Steingrímsson and ten other members of Alþingi, redressing the unfortunate actions against Falun Gong practitioners before and during the official visit of the Chinese head of state to Iceland in June 2002.
In May last year we received the good news that Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the chair of Alþingi, on behalf of the Icelandic government, had apologized to those Falun Gong practitioners who suffered unjust treatment in Iceland at that time.
Falun Gong practitioners view the resolution now before Alþingi as a valuable opportunity for Iceland to further redress those unjust and illegal actions against Falun Gong practitioners in Iceland or in airports around the world in June 2002.
A vast majority of the Icelandic people then did not approve of what happened, and many Icelanders were shocked and angry over the ban. Some thousand people marched in the streets in support of Falun Gong practitioners’ right to appeal.
International attention on the situation revealed astonishment, of which was to read in the US press; “Iceland kowtows to China”, and of which a US congressman asked, one word at a time: “Did Iceland really do that?”
Unfortunately, the persecution against Falun Gong in China is still on-going to this day, and our hearts are with those who now suffer intensified torture under a new three-year, multi-billion dollar campaign targeting Falun Gong practitioners across China, as is revealed by internal Communist Party documents, some of them posted online.
The persecution of Falun Gong has got international attention, and has been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations, Members of Parliaments, human rights organizations and others. Both the US House and the US Congress have on several occasions adopted resolutions against the persecution of Falun Gong.
In 2009 an Argentine judge ordered the arrest of Jiang Zemin (and other Chinese top officials as Luo Gan) for crimes against humanity and genocide of Falun Gong practitioners in China after four years of investigation.
Statements, verdicts and resolutions in support of human rights in the world are utterly important to those suffering inhuman persecution and torture—and to those being aware of it.
Iceland has a long tradition of democracy and human rights; of upholding virtue and doing right in the world. We believe that it is good for the people and their future to stay aligned with their proud values and international reputation of the past.
Supporting the resolution will be taking a stance according to the will of the majority of the people, according to the ruling of the Ombudsman and the Data Protection Authority, and in accordance with basic ethical principles and justice.
It will also be of great importance for all Falun Gong practitioners who were treated badly and suffered losses, in particular the loss of not being able to appeal for justice.
The undersigned encourage all members of Alþingi to support the resolution, that way making amends for the situation to the benefit of both Falun Gong practitioners and Iceland.
Peder Giertsen and Þórdís Hauksdóttir,
members of Falun Gong Iceland Dialogue Committee
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 through public lectures by its founder, Li Hongzhi. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with a moral philosophy, as stated on Wikipedia.
In January 2006, the Parliamentary Commissioner of Iceland decreed that the Icelandic government was not legally permitted to prevent Falun Gong members from entering Iceland and practice freedom of speech in June 2002, when Chinese President Jiang Zemin was on a public visit to Iceland.
According to ruv.is, Guðmundur and ten other MPs from the Social Democrats, The Movement, Left-Greens and independent MPs would like Alþingi to issue an official apology to Falun Gong and grant financial damages to its members.