Rights Defenders, Hu Supporters Flood Canada Parliament Hill for Chinese Leader’s Visit
Posted by Author on June 25, 2010
By Arnaud Camu, Epoch Times Staff, June 25, 2010 –
OTTAWA— Some came to contest, some called for the end of persecution. Some were rowdy, and some came peacefully. This was the scene at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday as hundreds flooded the Canadian capital for the visit of Chinese leader Hu Jintao.
While rights defenders like Falun Gong practitioners as well as Taiwanese and Tibetan activists stood together, hordes of Hu supporters gathered together—the two were separated by fences on both sides of the Hill.
Despite heavy rain, many Falun Gong practitioners performed Falun Gong’s exercises in silence as a way to protest the Chinese regime’s persecution of the group in China.
“We are against the persecution, the human rights violations. We come here to give voice to people in China who have absolutely no voice. Millions of them. They are suffering in the labour camps, the jails, and from the tortures,” said Falun Gong spokesperson Grace Wollensak.
On the other side of the Hill, busloads of Chinese demonstrators celebrated Hu’s arrival by waving flags and playing Chinese communist patriotic music.
The Epoch Times reported that a Chinese Embassy official in Ottawa on June 18th ordered 40 to 50 Chinese students on state scholarships in Canadian schools to travel to Ottawa—all expenses paid—on what he called a “political struggle” against Falun Gong, Tibetan, and other rights activists.
Witnesses told New Tang Dynasty Television that at least twelve buses left Montreal’s Chinatown, less than two hours from Ottawa, at dawn. A Chinese individual who didn’t want his name revealed said they were told not to speak to Westerners in detail about the purpose or planning of their trip to the capital.
But the students’ hope of seeing the Chinese leader eventually proved to be in vain. Hu Jintao’s motorcade entered Parliament Hill from a side entrance and Hu entered a government building from a back door, leaving his supporters in the rain.
But the inclement weather did not deter the human rights defenders. Tens of them continued meditating peacefully on the grass.
“It’s really nothing compared to what people in China suffer,” said Wollensak. “We still have the freedom—that’s precious. To be in the rain is really nothing in my opinion.”
Albert Lin, a pro-Taiwanese independence supporter and Ryerson University Physics Professor said, “[The rain] is a good challenge, and yet we can see why Hu Jintao would not dare even to come out and say hello to people, to show how people feel about his administration. That is a head of state? What kind of head of state is that?”
Lin also voiced disappointment in the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.
“They are pursuing democracy and human rights and yet they don’t side with the people who are pursuing democracy and human rights […] They do not support it universally—the democracy movement, such as the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Taiwanese people.”
“I definitely see a trend of them completely going against what they’ve done before when they first came into power,” said Rignam Wangkhang, a student at Queen’s University who came to show support for the Tibetan cause.
“It’s pretty shocking the complete 180 that they’ve done in terms of human rights in general and Tibet as well.”
Upon assuming power in January 2006, the Harper government had made the promotion of human rights and democracy a priority in its dealings with China. Most notably, Harper stated publicly at the November 2006 APEC meeting in Singapore that the Canadian government would not trade human rights “for the almighty dollar.”
But with eight Conservative cabinet members visiting China in the last year, each saying little or nothing about the state of China’s oppressed, some worry Harper’s stance has softened.
However, during a conference call with reporters on Monday, Harper’s communications director, Dimitri Soudas, said the PM will raise the topic of human rights with Hu “in a frank and respectful way.”
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This entry was posted on June 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm and is filed under Canada, China, Event, Human Rights, News, Politics, Social, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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