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Archive for the ‘Human Rights Torch Relay’ Category

Vancouver Human Rights Torch Relay Highlights China’s Abuses

Posted by Author on May 29, 2008


By Joan Delaney, Epoch Times Canada Staff, May 27, 2008-

VANCOUVER— Bringing with it the message that the “Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Co-exist in China,” the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) arrived in Vancouver on Sunday.

Elected officials, democracy and human rights activists, NGOs and local musicians were joined by about 200 supporters at the Vancouver Art Gallery to welcome the torch.

(photo above: Taking part in the Torch Walk are (L-R) human rights lawyer David Matas, human rights activist and former Miss World Nazanin Afshin-Jam, founder of Canadian Students for Darfur Clement Abas Apaak, the HRTR Goddess of Freedom, chair of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong Clive Ansley and Green Party federal candidate Jim Stephenson./ The Epoch Times)

Initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), HRTR is a global grassroots campaign calling for an end to human rights atrocities in China before the Beijing Olympics in August.

Many supporters held signs and banners calling on the Chinese regime to stop abuses against such groups as Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, journalists, lawyers, democracy advocates, and others.

Several speakers addressed the crowd, but first a minute of silence was observed and a statement read to commemorate the victims of the cyclone disaster in Burma and the recent earthquake in Sichuan, China.

The human rights torch was presented by the Goddess of Freedom to MP Bill Siksay, the Vancouver ambassador for the torch, who spoke about trade with China. He stressed that Canadians “must not allow our economic interest or concerns for trade opportunities to trump our concerns about human rights.”

While occasions like the Olympics are important, said Siksay, “we must ensure our participation is measured and not exploited to goals contrary to our values and the values of such occasions.”

Host Clement Abas Apaak, founder of Canadian Students for Darfur and a member of the Simon Fraser University board of governors, said a lot of Chinese citizens “are not given the basic rights that should be accorded every human being.”

“The Chinese regime has made it a point to suppress and indeed persecute its own citizens and we just feel that this is simply not acceptable. Ultimately we want to bring about an inclusive and tolerant China where everyone can live with freedom, without fear of persecution or death, and explore its God-given potential.”

Apaak also condemned the regime for supplying arms to Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe and for supporting and funding “the Sudan government’s genocide against its own people in Darfur.”

Human rights lawyer David Matas said that although Chinese officials promised to improve human rights if given the Olympics, in fact the opposite has happened.

“The human rights situation in China has deteriorated since the awarding of the Olympic Games—in part because of the awarding of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games have created a new venue for Chinese discrimination against its chosen victims which would not have existed had the Olympic Games not been awarded to China.”

Matas and former MP David Kilgour published reports in 2006 and 2007 providing compelling evidence of the illicit harvesting of the organs of tens of thousands of imprisoned Falun Gong prisoners of conscience since 2001.

Matas said that despite a new organ-harvesting law in China, organ theft continues.

“Killing innocents for their organs is a crime against humanity. That means it is a crime not just against the victims—it is a crime against all of us…. Everyone engaged in the Olympics movement must do their part to end crimes against humanity in China. To fail to do that is to fail to be human.”

CIPFG chair Clive Ansley said that after the 1936 Berlin Olympics, people were appalled when the truth of Hitler’s atrocities finally emerged. Today, he said, “we know that Beijing is systematically murdering thousands, probably scores of thousands of human beings in order to harvest their organs for profit.”

“We’ve awarded the Olympics to the most chillingly brutal perpetrator of crimes against humanity on the planet. And history is not going to allow our generation to once more fall back on the excuse—if only we had known.”

Ansley also criticized the “derelict media” for under-reporting the persecution of Falun Gong, now in its ninth year.

“Over the last nine years the most barbaric atrocity in modern history has been going on systematically in China and it has provoked an absolutely thunderous silence on the part of our media and most of our North American politicians.”

Human rights activist and recording artist Nazanin Afshin-Jam outlined what it might be like for Canadians if they lived under such a regime as that in Beijing:

“Imagine one day you’re in your yoga class and a bunch of police officers come and arrest and torture you on the grounds that you are practicing a cult. Or imagine you criticize the Harper government and the next thing you know you’re detained and sent to a labour camp. Or yet imagine being told that in two weeks your home is going to be bulldozed to make room for the 2010 Olympics coming up here in Vancouver.

“These kinds of things are happening in China right now.”

Jim Stephenson, federal candidate for the Green Party, said that following the selection of Beijing as host of the 2008 Olympics, Amnesty International identified six practical and realistic steps that China should take in order to “bring government practice closer in line with international human rights standards and the ideals of the Olympic Charter.”

In its five “Olympics Countdown” reports reviewing China’s human rights situation issued since then, Amnesty concluded that China has made virtually no progress, said Stephenson.

“In fact, additional violations have occurred as a result of Olympics-related activities including assembling land for Olympics venues, enforcing Olympics security, and managing Olympics publicity.

“China has built dramatic new Olympic venues. China has supported and coached a new generation of elite athletes. China has organized an ambitious international torch relay. China has even taken radical measures to reduce its chronic pollution problems during the Olympic Games. But China has not honoured its commitment to respect and protect the human rights of its citizens.”

The rally included a public “torch walk” to the Chinese consulate through Chinatown and back to the art gallery. The afternoon continued with live music from local bands interspersed with speeches by representatives of Burma, Tibet, Darfur and Falun Gong.

HRTR began in Athens last August and has since traveled to over 30 countries on four continents. Vancouver was its last stop in North America.

– Original report from The Epochtimes: Vancouver Human Rights Torch Relay Highlights Chinese Regime’s Abuses

Posted in Activist, Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, China, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Vancouver Human Rights Torch Relay Highlights China’s Abuses

San Jose Mayor Welcomes the Human Rights Torch for China Relay to U.S.

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008


By Dean Tsaggaris, Epoch Times San Francisco Staff, U.S. Mar 30, 2008- San José mayor Chuck Reed welcomes the Human Rights Torch Relay to the United States on Saturday, Mar. 29. (Matthew Kang/The Epoch Times)

SAN JOSÉ—The Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) arrived from Argentina to San José, California on Mar. 29, 2008, after passing through 29 countries. This is the first stop of the torch in the U.S., part of an international campaign that seeks to bring an end to all human rights abuses against the people of China.

(photo: San José mayor Chuck Reed welcomes the Human Rights Torch Relay to the United States on Saturday, Mar. 29. / Matthew Kang, The Epoch Times)

The relay is sponsored by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), an organization which is dedicated to investigating and ending the Chinese communist regime’s eight-year-long persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The CIPFG’s message for the HRTR is: “The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China”

At 12 noon on Saturday, the torchbearer from Argentina entered the plaza filled with supporters in front of the San José Center for the Performing Arts, passing the torch to a woman dressed in flowing robes, symbolizing a Greek Goddess.

The Goddess then walked slowly toward Chuck Reed, the mayor of San José, igniting his torch and thus officially beginning the events in this city which is known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley.”

Mayor Reed has been a longtime supporter of human rights and spoke strongly against the crimes of the communist regime around the world.

“Today is a special day. We want to remind people, not everybody has freedom. The Chinese people today do not have freedom. They do not have freedom of belief,” said Mayor Reed.

The Mayor, known for his honesty and integrity, has an impressive resume. He graduated number one in his class at the United States Air Force Academy, followed by a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Princeton, and a law degree from Stanford. His service during the Vietnam War gave him a real taste of the nature of the communist party.

As he spoke at the HRTR rally, his words were warmly received by the Tibetans, South Vietnamese, and Falun Gong practitioners assembled there.

The Mayor even proclaimed Mar. 29 to be “Human Rights Torch Relay Day in the City of San José.” …… (more details from the Epochtimes)

Posted in Campaigns, China, Event, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, Social, Spiritual, USA, World | Comments Off on San Jose Mayor Welcomes the Human Rights Torch for China Relay to U.S.

Beijing Petitioners Welcome the Human Rights Torch Entering China

Posted by Author on March 30, 2008


All-China Alliance for Protecting Human Rights and Opposing Violence, via the Epochtimes, Mar 28, 2008-Beijing Petitioners Welcome the Human Rights Torch

Alongside Hong Kong’s ceremony to welcome the Human Rights Torch and pass it into mainland China, petitioners in Beijing have also begun to take action. Petitioners have been circulating yellow ribbons and the emblem of the Human Rights Torch bearing the slogan, “same world, same rights.”

The Chinese authorities’ fanatical arrests of petitioners and political dissidents has not died down since the last national congress. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has also tightened its control on Beijing since the Human Rights Torch entered mainland China. Currently, the number of troops stationed at Beijing’s seven “petitioners’ villages” is increasing exponentially. The Chinese regime is also sending secret agents into large groups of petitioners in an attempt to capture the organizers.

Beijing’s dissidents are also closely monitored. The internet police are further tightening their clutch. People who are maintaining contacts abroad are also receiving “special attention.” The CCP has cut off many overseas connections to the mainland.

Beijing citizens and petitioners from all over the country have refused to surrender even when faced with the CCP’s brutal totalitarianism. Although monitored by the Beijing police, the petitioners have still managed to circulate thousands of yellow ribbons and flyers regarding the Human Rights Torch throughout China. The news of the Human Rights Torch entering China is becoming increasingly well known!

Foreign reporters and officials in Beijing are becoming increasingly aware of the situation. The reporters are now launching “guerrilla warfare” with the Public Security Bureau by advancing deep into the centralized regions of petitioners to capture breaking news. The Chinese police are working frantically to control these reporters, but such “offenses” keep increasing. As the Olympic Games is drawing near and more voice their protests against tyranny, the authorities are becoming even more hysterical as they gradually lose control of the situation.

The Chinese citizens are placing high bets this time. Since the communists won’t allow the citizens a chance for freedom, the citizens aren’t backing down. Currently the most famous slogan in Beijing is “Screw the Beijing Olympics!” The citizens all spoke angrily, “The Olympics is but a pretense! Since when did the CCP ever treat the citizens right? As if the corrupt government has not exploited us enough, now they want to use the name of the Olympics to destroy us. This time, they will not have their ways.”

Report from the Epochtimes

Posted in Asia, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, People, Petitioner, Social, Sports, World | 2 Comments »

“The same world, the same human rights” Torch to Reach China At The End of March

Posted by Author on March 18, 2008


The Epoch Times, Mar 17, 2008-

The global “Human Rights Torch Relay” will reach China at the end of March, said a spokesperson of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), a non-profit organization that initiated the relay.

According to CIPFG, the Human Rights Torch Relay aims to urge Beijing to improve human rights conditions in China. If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues their human rights abuses, the relay will call for global boycott of Beijing Olympic Games.

After passing the torch to nearly 100 countries, CIPFG has lately announced that the torch will reach China at the end of March and it will be passed over many parts of the country. Meanwhile, other countries will continue the relay as well, said CIPFG.

On March 14, the organization first displayed the icon for the Human Rights Torch Relay in China and explained its symbolic meaning. According to CIPFG, the main part of the design uses the icon of global Human Rights Torch Relay with the map of China surrounded by barbed wire, symbolizing that China under the CCP’s control is like a big prison.

The peace pigeon and torch symbolize that the torch is to bring China peace and freedom. The upper part of the design is a half circle consisting of eight Chinese characters meaning “Human Rights Torch Transferring Globally.” The main slogan in the lower part of the design reads “The same world, the same human rights” in an allusion to China’s “one world” slogan.

Participants in China are encouraged to download and pass around the icon by passing out and posting flyers, sending e-mails and short messages, wearing T-shirts or caps with the logo, dispensing literature on human rights issues and hanging yellow ribbons in public areas, etc. The CIPFG advised participants to use the logo flexibly according to the basic principle of the Human Rights Torch Relay to achieve the goal safely and effectively.

The CIPFG expects the activity to build a platform for the people in China who are pursuing justice and human rights, and who are against the CCP’s suppression and corruption. The organization invites all individuals and organizations that agree with the purpose to “Demand Human rights and oppose persecution” to participate in the activity. More information is available at www.CIPFG.org.
Original report from The Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Event, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on “The same world, the same human rights” Torch to Reach China At The End of March

Human Rights Torch Arrives in Africa

Posted by Author on February 8, 2008


By Zoe Ackah, Epoch Times Staff, Feb 07, 2008- Members of the Kumasi Metropolitian Assembly Hon. Thomas Sakyi (left), Thomas Mullen (centre), and member of Ghana's Society for the Aged Ebenezer Wilson hold the Human Rights Torch, February 5, 2008 at the Kumasi Centre for National Culture. (Zoe Ackah/The Epoch Times)

KUMASI, Ghana— The Human Rights Torch Relay touched down in Kumasi, Ghana last Tuesday.

Ghana is having a stellar year, celebrating it’s 50th anniversary of independence in 2007, currently heading the African Union, as well as hosting the African Cup of Nation’s which will wrap up February 10.

(photo: Members of the Kumasi Metropolitian Assembly Hon. Thomas Sakyi (left), Thomas Mullen (centre), and member of Ghana’s Society for the Aged Ebenezer Wilson hold the Human Rights Torch, February 5, 2008 at the Kumasi Centre for National Culture. /Zoe Ackah, The Epoch Times)

The Human Rights Torch Relay took place amidst the Cup of Nations festivities, hosted in part by the Kumasi Sports Village, a venue set up as part of the celebrations surrounding the CAN.

The message of the torch relay was broadcast loud and clear: “Se fahodie nni Beiging a Olimpic akansie ho nhia : The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China.”

The HRTR’s Ghana welcome was an all day event, beginning with a march through Adum that ended at the Kumasi’s Centre for National Culture. The march was attended by the King Faisal Football Club, who acted as the Ghanaian athletic torch ambassadors. The Centre for Youth Empowerment and the Christ Power Ministry members held banners and handed out flyers along the parade route.

The torch was received at the Centre for National Culture by Kumasi Metropolitian Assemblymen Hon. Thomas Sakyi and Hon. Thomas Mullen.

When asked about his experience lighting the torch as the representative for Kumasi, Hon. Thomas Sakyi commented, “I was very, very delighted. It was very significant in my lifetime and it will be history in my lifetime. It will be a pleasure for our community to know that an assemblyman from our area has lighted the torch. It will be in the history book, Genesis upon Genesis. That message there must reach the whole world.”

The keynote speech was given by Director of Amnesty International, Ghana, Michael Brigandi. “China is the country that is hosting the Olympic games, and at the same time China is a country which is violating human rights—killing a group of people known as Falun Gong and removing their organs for sale, just as how in Ghana here you can dismantle a car and sell the parts. That is done to human being is this country (China),” said Brigandi.

“…and we are here today … to let the people of China know that what is happening there is not secret. The people of the world, including Ghana, are all aware that the government there is killing people…that is why Amnesty International in conjunction with world renowned human right organizations, like the Human Rights Torch … is campaigning and gathering signatures for the Chinese government, to drive the message home, that China may stop violating the rights or their citizens”

Habib Ali, Director of the Centre for Youth Empowerment (CYE), an Islamic youth group, addressed the audience and the International Olympic Committee, “I am very greatful to be here on behalf of CYE to be part of the fight against the torture of the helpless Falun Gong practitioners, the Uighurs Muslim of Xingjiang in China, and other members of the human family whose rights are still been abused around the world.”

Ali added, “41,500 organs were probably taken from the unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at the very centre where the greatest world sporting event, the Olympics, shall be held this year. In another unfortunate development, the Chinese government is directing a crush down campaign against some 8 million Uighurs Muslims of Xingjiang in China under the shadow of the worldwide campaign against terrorism.

“Chinese policy and law enforcement are denying these Muslims their right of religion as required in Islam. Celebrating religious holidays, studying religious text or showing one’s religion through personal appearance at state institutions are strictly forbidden, even in schools.

“Intensive surveillance machinery is imposed on mosques, and schools are purged of

Ghana Premier League football team King Faisal, including their coach Steven George Polack (fourth from left) before commencing a five-on-five soccer match played during events to welcome the Global Human Rights Torch to Ghana. (Zoe Ackah/The Epoch Times)

religious teachers and students. Clerical duties and what version of the Qur’an should be recited are supervised by the government! This is telling us that the Chinese communist government is unwilling to follow the Olympic charter as it hosts the event.”

After the speeches, members of King Faisal football club and other members of the local sporting community played a mini-gala soccer match……. ( More details from the Epochtimes)

Posted in Africa, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Crime against humanity, Event, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, Rally, Social, Spiritual, Sports, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Torch Arrives in Africa

Resolution of City of San Jose Supports Human Rights Torch Relay for China

Posted by Author on February 8, 2008


Human Rights Torch Relay, February 3rd, 2008-Human Rights Torch Relay Resolution-City of San Jose

City of San Jose
Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Torch Relay Resolution

Whereas, The Chinese communist regime has been granted the honor of hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the provision that it improve its treatment of Chinese citizens; and

Whereas, Human rights violations have increased since this honor was granted;

Whereas, The Chinese regime imprisons millions of Falun Gong practitioners, democracy advocates, Christians, labor organizers and other innocent citizens in slave labor camps without trial;

Whereas, The Chinese regime illegally harvests organs for sale without consent from these prisoners of conscience;

Whereas, The Chinese regime continues to attempt to erase the cultures of Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs;

Whereas, The Chinese regime forces women to get abortions, even in the third trimester of pregnancy, to enforce the “Once Child per Family” rule;

Whereas, The Chinese regime is guilty of murdering more of its citizens than Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot combined;

Whereas, The Olympic Charter calls for the Games to represent “respect for universal fundamental ethical principles … the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity …Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”; and

Whereas, The CIPFG Human Torch Relay is dedicated to righting these wrongs, ending human rights abuses in China, and preserving the Olympic spirit;

Now, Therefore, San Jose Human Rights Commission hereby supports the aims and intentions of the

Human Rights Torch Relay

and invite all of our citizens to support this effort, and help stop human rights violations in China.

Ayes: 8
Noes: 0
Abstained: 0

Date: November 15, 2007

Original report from Human Torch Relay website

Posted in Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, Social, Sports, USA, World | Comments Off on Resolution of City of San Jose Supports Human Rights Torch Relay for China

Event: Reception of Human Rights Torch Relay in New Jersey, USA

Posted by Author on January 30, 2008


Human Rights Torch Relay website, January 27, 2008-

Reception, Human Rights Torch Relay

Unmovable
Location: The Paterson Museum, 2 Market St., Paterson, NJ 07501 (on the corner of Spruce and Market; turn by the old locomotive.)

Date/Time:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm

Contact: Nelly Au, (732) 710-2545

The reception will introduce the Human Rights Torch Relay to the public and to potential participants in the campaign, aiming to build working relationships in advance of the Torch’s arrival in April. We’d like to provide a platform to help participants relay their message, and a vehicle for the public to understand the breadth and scope of China’s human rights crimes, and how they can help.

Our participants include government officials, NGOs, religious groups, reporters, athletes, lawyers, doctors, authors, Tibetans, Burmese, Darfurians, and concerned people inside and outside of China.

(Photo above: painting– Unmovable , from Truth Compassion Tolerance Arts Exhibition)

In 1936 the world’s silence permitted the Nazi regime to use the Olympics as a PR event, to convince the press and the public that it was a friendly and open country. China is trying to do the same now and must be required to adhere to uphold the Olympic Charter, which it pledged to do when given the role of Olympic host. Instead, as reported by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, since then the situation has drastically worsened.

We invite you to come and learn about the HRTR campaign, and be part of this exciting moment in history. During the reception, there will be a brief ceremony and presentation, and guest speakers will discuss their groups’ special areas of concern and action.

On view at the museum will be the Truth Compassion Tolerance International Fine Art Exhibition, which features works by artists depicting inspiring stories of Falun Gong adherents’ courage and dignity in the face of repression. Some of the artists will be at the reception, and some themselves endured persecution in China and were freed following an outpouring of international support.

Original report from Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted in Artists, Campaigns, Culture, Event, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, People, Social, Spiritual, USA, World | Comments Off on Event: Reception of Human Rights Torch Relay in New Jersey, USA

Humna Rights Torch Relay to Enter China In The Spring of 2008

Posted by Author on January 3, 2008


Press release, CIPFG, Jan. 1, 2008-

As part of its ongoing efforts to end the Chinese government’s brutal treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) has begun a campaign to secure one million signatures on a worldwide anti-persecution petition. The signatures will be gathered ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and will be presented to the International Olympics Committee, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, international human rights organizations, and various governments and parliaments around the world.

The global anti-persecution petitions will demand that the Chinese Communist regime immediately stop its persecution of Falun Gong, unconditionally release all Falun Gong practitioners in detention, and end suppression of righteous individuals who support Falun Gong, such as human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

Since CIPFG was established in 2006, it has continuously exposed, on an international level, the Chinese Communist dictatorship’s contravention of various international human rights conventions – such as the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and its severe lack of respect for human dignity. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ruthlessly persecuted and deprived the Chinese people of their fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of belief. Despite promises the CCP made when awarded the 2008 Olympics, these violations have not improved in the least, but instead have worsened.

Throughout the last eight years, the CCP has committed chilling crimes against Falun Gong practitioners throughout Mainland China, including unscrupulous arrests; sentencing practitioners to forced labor camps; torture; murder; and organ harvesting from living practitioners. The persecution of Falun Gong is the most severe human rights disaster in China today.

In response to urgent requests from Mainland Chinese, the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) flame will enter China in the spring of 2008. HRTR will then relay throughout China, which means there will be two Human Rights Torches relaying around the world simultaneously. This will allow the Chinese people who participate in this endeavor to voice their heartfelt calls for support to the international community.

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong invites people of good will around the world to join us in bringing an end to the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. For information about how you can help, please contact http://www.cipfg.org

Original report from the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) website

Posted in Asia, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Crime against humanity, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Humna Rights Torch Relay to Enter China In The Spring of 2008

Human Rights Torch First to See Sun in 2008

Posted by Author on January 2, 2008


By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times Staff in Gisborne, Jan 01, 2008-Gisborne District Councilor Andy Hall receives the Human Rights Torch for Gisborne on Monday.

The Human Rights Torch has come to the end of its journey in New Zealand, ushering in the New Year in style in Gisborne – the first city in the world to see the sun.

The Torch arrived in New Zealand on December 16 and travelled from Auckland to the Bluff, even travelling up the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Gisborne District Councilor Andy Hall received the torch on behalf of Gisborne (photo at right). He thanked the organizers for the opportunity to stand up for human rights and freedom.

“We are standing up for those who don’t have the ability to stand up tall in their own country,” he said.

Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) member, and Auckland barrister, Kerry Gore said the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese regime extend outside of China to other countries.

Burmese democracy advocate Naing Koko said the Chinese Communist Party continues to affect countries like Burma, Thailand, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

“While people are celebrating the New Year we should not forget about the people suffering in the third world, particularly China,” he said.

He was particularly concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong.

Gisborne Christian Kahan Payne said he could not support the Olympics being held in China when so many human rights abuses happen there.

“There are many, many thousands of Christians in China being persecuted and robbed of their humanity, their organs being taken,” he said.

Waka Toa director Paku Kingi said she hopes the Human Rights Torch will encourage the Chinese regime to improve its human rights record.

“We hope that this will bring about some changes that have been promised to the people of China.”

Musician Cherry Gemstone played Ring of Fire and Diamond in the Rough for the crowd of about 200 people at the ceremony.

“There shouldn’t be an Olympic Games in a place where they are killing people like they are in China, it’s just so wrong.

“Killing is not a sport,” she said.

The torch started its global tour in Athens, Greece on August 9, one year out from the Beijing Olympics. It was launched by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong to highlight human rights abuses in China, and particularly the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

The Torch now heads to Africa via Los Angeles.

Original report from The Epochtimes

Posted in Activist, Australia, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, New Zealand, News, People, Social, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Torch First to See Sun in 2008

The Mayor, a Town in Australia and The Human Rights Torch for China

Posted by Author on November 29, 2007


By Philippa Rayment, Epoch Times Melbourne Staff, Australia, Nov 27, 2007-

Portland is a vital deep water port yet manages to preserve its harmony with nature. Since its beginning, it has always been a place where industry and natural beauty coexist. This week it opened up its heart and stepped forward to stand up for human rights in China when it welcomed the Global Human Rights Torch Relay.

The wind was blowing straight off the Southern Ocean as Mayor of Portland, Councillor Gilbert Wilson, along with the Global Human Rights Torch Relay team, boarded the town’s vintage tram to make a symbolic journey of welcome.

In spite of the wind, the Torch burned unfaltering during its visit to this town, which is the oldest European settlement in Victoria.

On the steps of the Portland council offices, Councillor Wilson, resplendent in his mayoral robes, officially welcomed the Torch.

“I think it hugely important for the community to send a strong message back to the Chinese [regime] and to tell them what they are doing is not right,” Councillor Wilson said.

“Human rights should be upheld for everybody no matter how high or low we are in human society, from the poor who are usually downtrodden to the wealthy. We should all enjoy equal rights,” he said.

Councillor Wilson said it’s important to speak up for others’ human rights because “we enjoy a very good country with freedom of speech and freedom of owning property.”

“The Games should be about the participation, joy of all nations,” he said. “I find it very, very disturbing that it is going to be painful for a lot of people in China that have just been tossed aside [in preparation for the Olympic Games].”

Rikki Nicholson, a Portland resident at the Torch welcoming ceremony, said he thought the mayor made a good speech.

“It is good, we shouldn’t be scared of speaking out as we can still do business with people. The Chinese people need to be supported in their wish for freedom from destruction. My great, great grandfather was Chinese in the Gold Rush days in Bendigo and my great grandmother was half Chinese. My family and I put on the T-shirts ‘The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist’ and we were proud to wear them through the town.”

The relay is traversing 37 countries and hundreds of cities around the world seeking to bring an end to all human rights abuses fuelled by the Chinese regime.

Mayor Wilson is a descendant of an Irish family who came to Portland in 1856 and is well versed in local affairs and passionate about his town.

“My father was on the Portland City Council for 27 years so as a young boy I grew up with local government,” he said.

He is a bricklayer by trade, but works for a local manufacturer of wind towers and manages to juggle his mayoral duties with his work.

Speaking about the future, Mayor Gilbert says it is very bright for Portland. There will be about 1000 new jobs in the blue gum industry to harvest the wood chips. “We are pro-industry, but keep in mind our heritage and the environment – we are very keen to keep those two aspects,” he said.

And to prove the point, the modern council building and the heritage town hall sit happily side by side.

– Original report from The Epochtimes: The Mayor, a Town and The Torch

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Australia: Human Rights Torch Relay Arrives in Sydney

Posted by Author on October 27, 2007


News.com.au, Australia, October 27, 2007-

A TORCH relay aimed at pressuring China on human rights ahead of the Beijing Olympics has arrived in Australia.

The year-long Global Human Rights Torch Relay will visit 100 cities on five continents before the 2008 Games, in a campaign which calls for an end to China’s human rights violations.

The relay started in Athens, where the torch was lit on August 9, before travelling through Europe and the UK and arriving in Sydney at 10am (AEST) today.

It will travel around Australia over the next two months, before continuing its world tour in Africa.

In Sydney, the torch was welcomed by a couple of hundred people with a ceremony at Town Hall.

Dr Sev Ozdowski, Australia’s human rights commissioner from 2000 to 2005, said the torch relay was a reminder the Olympic spirit had long been linked to human rights, civil liberty and peace.

He highlighted China’s persecution of journalists, human rights activists and Falun Gong practitioners and its actions in Tibet.

“The human rights torch relay is about people’s power,” he said at the welcoming ceremony.

“Not that long ago people power crumbled the Berlin Wall and brought an end to the Soviet empire.

“So let us ensure that the Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist together in China.”

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle was the first person to run with the torch on its way through Sydney.

She said Australia needed to use its strong trade relationship with China to send a strong message about humam rights abuses.

“It’s a message with the Olympic spirit of people working together,” Senator Nettle said.

“It’s a message the Chinese government needs to hear loud and clear.”

After the ceremony, a series of runners then took the torch down George Street to First Fleet Park at Circular Quay.

It was taken to the Opera House before being ferried across Sydney Harbour to Manly on a yacht.

The torch relay will now head to Brisbane, arriving on November 3.

– Original report from News.com.au : Human rights torch relay arrives in Australia

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Global Torch Relay for Human Rights in China Arrives in Australia

Posted by Author on October 27, 2007


Press Releases, CIPFG, Australia & NZ, October 26th, 2007-HRTR

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) will arrive in Australia on Saturday 27th October 2007, with Sydney the first stop in the national tour. The Torch will be handed over from the UK, the last destination of the two-month European passage.

Inspired by the Olympic torch, the HRTR is an international campaign that seeks to put human rights on the Beijing Olympic agenda. The 12-month global relay calls for an end to all human rights violations supported by the Chinese regime. It highlights the persecution of Falun Gong, the most severely persecuted group in China today, the plight of Tibetans, Christians, democracy campaigners, outspoken lawyers and reporters, as well as the fueling of oppression and slaughter in Darfur, Burma, Zimbabwe and North Korea.

During the run up to the 2008 Olympics, the HRTR will visit more than 100 cities on five continents to publicise its founding premise: The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China.

Date: Saturday 27th October

10:00 am Town Hall, welcome ceremony with Australian Torch Ambassadors
10:30 am (estimte) George street, Sydney City relay from Town Hall to Circular Quay

11:00 am Circular Quay, live performances, speeches, waiting for the torch’s arrival
12:30 pm Walk relay to the Opera House
13.00 pm Opera House, photo shoot
13:30 pm Man O’ War steps, Sydney harbour relay
16:00 pm Manly, welcome ceremony and relay

The HRTR flame was first lit in a torch-lighting ceremony in Athens, Greece on August 9, 2007.

Important media information: A full media briefing will be held next week.

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:

Selected Australian Torch Ambassadors

Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM, Human Rights Commissioner (2000-2005)

Noel Everson, world champion rower. Mr Everson was chosen to be a torch bearer for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has now chosen to step forward personally and as an athlete to express his concern with the human rights situation in China in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics by supporting the Global Human Rights Torch Relay.

Torch Australia MEDIA CONTACTS: Teresa (02) 9712 1096, Colleen 0410 562 499

Website: http://www.HumanRightsTorch.org

Main organisers:

The HRTR is initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) which consists of over three hundred legislators, religious leaders, lawyers, medical doctors and human rights advocates from Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania.

Established in 2006, its aim is to go into China to independently investigate the persecution of Falun Gong, especially the reported crimes of organ harvesting:
http://www.cipfg.org

The HRTR is sponsored and supported globally by Asia-Pacific Human Rights Watch Charitable Trust and All-China alliance for protecting human rights & opposing violence, and in Australia by Free China, Darfur Australia Network (DAN), Democracy for Burma (D4B), Tibetan, Vietnamese and many other community groups and organisations as well as the Chinese pro-democracy movement.

Original report from HRTR website

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Global Human Rights Torch Relay for China to Arrive London on 25 October 2007

Posted by Author on October 24, 2007


Press release, CIPFGHRTR

This global event covers some 100 cities in 25 countries on 5 continents. It started on 9 August 2007 at Syntagma Square in Athens. After running through Berlin, Munich, Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Timisoara, Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Geneva, Lausanne, Paris, Vilnius, Riga, Brussels, Antwerp, Den Haag, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Dublin in 17 countries its last European stop will be London before it continues to Australia, South and North America ending in Asia in August 2008.

“The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China!”

UK part of Global Human Rights Torch Relay is supported by:

Chris Hamilton, 100 metre sprinter, Ghefari Dulapandan olympic swimmer
Xu Jian, Human Rights lawyer in China
Ma Jian famous Chinese writer
Roger Helmer, MEP
John Bowis MEP for London
Liz Lynne MEP
and others.

UK NGOs:

All-China Alliance for Protecting Human Right Opposing Violence
Burmese Muslim Association
Federation for A Democratic China UK
Federation of Saying Good-bye to CCP (UK)
London Law School
The Burma Campaign UK
Tibet vigil

European NGOs:
International Society for Human Rights
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Society For Threatened Peoples
Federation For Democratic China
German Association for Culture and Human Rights
German Association for Art and Human Rights
Amnesty Dublin Central Group
Interfaith International
Human Rights Commission in Geneva
Federation for Democratic China
Support for Human Rights (Sweden)
Doctors Against Organ Harvesting
…… and others

Press Conference: 3 pm Thursday 25 October 2007
At: Music Room, Foreign Press Association, 11 Carlton House Terrace
Chair: Lord Avebury All Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
Speakers: Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP Vice president of European Parliament; Brian Colman, Chairman of GLA; Baroness Caroline Cox, Chair of European CIPFG; Lord Hylton; Dr Xu Yi, UCL; Tinch Minter, playwright; Lucy Jin, Federation for a Democratic China UK; Ghefari Dulapandan, olympic swimmer; Chris Hamilton, 100 metre sprinter,MyoThein,BurmaCampaignUK;KyawZwa, Burmese Muslim Association;Robert Evans,MEP;Annie Yang,torture victim.

Press Conference will be followed by a torch lighting ceremony at Trafalgar Square North Terrace at about 4pm where a programme of music and talk will be running from 3pm. Then the torch will run via Regent Street and Oxford Circle to Chinese Embassy in Portland Place by about 6pm. Runners will include MPs, MEPs, Olympic medallists, VIPs and Human Rights activists. There will be more speakers, a candle light vigil till 9pm at the Embassy and then the torch will depart for Australia.

Media contact: Zek Halu tel 020 8699 2066 mobile 07910 785 079 zekhalu@talktalk.net
On behalf of organizers of Human Rights Torch Relay in London

The International Olympic Committee awarded Beijing the 2008 Olympic Games in 2001 expecting the Chinese Communist regime to address its appalling human rights record. Instead the situation grows worse daily and Chinese government uses the Olympic Games to further arrest and persecute Christians, human rights activists such as Gao Zhisheng and Falun Gong practitioners, supports killing of monks and other peaceful Burmese, oppresses Tibetan people and sabotages efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch websites reveal a litany of human rights violations; with further restrictions on both foreign and domestic press, in spite of recent Chinese regime’s statements that state the media control has been lifted. China is expected to abide by human rights principles; yet it has shown no indication that it is willing to do so. Olympics in Beijing cannot go ahead while these atrocities are taking place. It would be a mockery of the Olympic spirit and of the Olympic Charter, which encourages, “the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with preservation of human dignity”.

For more information about the Relay: http://www.humanrightstorch.org & http://www.cipfg.org

Original report from HRTR website

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BEIJING GAMES, HUMAN RIGHTS TORCH RELAY AND DEMOCRACY

Posted by Author on October 21, 2007


Speech by Hon. David Kilgour, Dublin, Ireland, October 17, 2007-

BEIJING GAMES, HUMAN RIGHTS TORCH RELAY AND DEMOCRACY

Address by Hon. David Kilgour, Dublin, Ireland, October 17, 2007

The human rights torch relay is already having an impact on the Government of China because of its concerns about the success of its Beijing Games next summer.

All of us involved with the relay are asking the party-state to:

  • End the persecution of Falun Gong immediately and release all practitioners,
  • Stop harrassing the friends, supporters and lawyers for Falun Gong victims, such as Gao Zhisheng, Li Hong and Li Heping, and
  • Hold discussions to open up forced labour camps, prisons,hospitals and related facilities for inspection by independent organizations.

David Matas and I of Canada have done an independent report into allegations of organ pillaging from Falun Gong practitioners. We looked at 33 avenues of proof and disproof. For example, we interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon, who told us he removed the corneas from about 2ÖÖÖ anaestesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in Shenyang city during a two-year period before October, 2ÓÓ3. Her testimony was credible to us.

It’s easy to take each piece of evidence and say that this or that one does establish the case conclusively, but it was the combination of all of them, each pointing in the same direction, that led to our chilling conclusion that over six years”the government of China and its agents killed a large number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and sold their vitals organs for high prices often to organ tourists. Virtually no independent reader of our report we know has not been been convinced of the validity of our conclusion, which can be accessed in 18 languages at organharvestinvestigation.net.

This new crime against humanity is incompatible with the Olympic Charter and Olympic movement. It also violates the UN Universal Delaration of Human Rights and many other international instruments dealing with human dignity.

If the role of the government in organ pillaging had been known by the International Olympics Committee when it awarded the 2öö8 Games to Beijing, I choose to believe that no such choice would have occurred. Similarly, the activities of the same government since both domestically and abroad, particularly in Sudan/Darfur, Burma and Zimbabwe, and in its ongoing abuses of China’s natural environment, should also disqualify it.

If anyone is not persuaded that the efforts by many across the world on the particular issue that brings us here today are not paying off, consider some recent media reports. One of them in the Sydney Morning Herald on Oct. 1Öth was headed, ”Olympic jitters behind China’s organ pledge.” The first part of the article reads: ”China has conceded that international pressure before the 2ÖÖ8 Olympic Games is behind its latest pledge to crack down on illegal organ transplant.”

The vice-chair of the Chinese Medical Association, Chen Zhonghua, is quoted in the article saying that ”huge international pressure” led to the latest commitment. He added to the South China Morning Post,”China is worried that if it doesn’t take a stand on this, some countries may use this issue as a pretext to boycott the Games”. In short, the torch relay is taking China’s government in a human rights direction.

This verbal undertaking by the Chinese Medical Association must now be followed by deeds because there have been similar promises in the past. When will it take effect? Does it apply to military surgeons, who are now doing so many of the transplant operations in both civilian and military hospitals? Matas and I are told they are not included.

Governance Reform Needed

Permit me to add some thoughts about related issues of governance in China. Why does the Hu-Wen regime not allow open political competition? Why not respect basic liberties for all the people of China? Why does it still imprison more journalists than any other government on earth? Why does the rich-poor gap continue to widen across the country? What kind of ‘harmonious society’ has a penal code which prescribes capital punishment for 65 offences, including ‘undermining national unity’? Why does the legal system regularly use torture to induce confessions? Why is there no such thing as independent judges and the rule of law anywhere in China?

Tibetan Buddhists, Muslims and Christians face frequent harassment and sometimes much worse. Thousands of North Koreans refugees who manage to enter China are sent back to face arrest, torture and sometimes death.

Over the past weekend, the new figure on the EU trade deficit with China was released: 185 billion dollars for only the first nine months of 2OO7. If this trend continues, will any European have a good job with good wages twenty years from now? We have, of course,a similar challenge in Canada. For example, Goodyear Tire put 85O employees out of work near Montreal about five months in order to move production to China. We’ve since seen our neighbour recall large numbers of tires made in China for safety reasons…… ( more details from David Kilgour’s speech)

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No Human Rights, No Olympic Games in China: Speech by David Matas

Posted by Author on October 7, 2007


China and the Olympic Games

 

Speech to a public rally Dam Square, Amsterdam, Netherlands
By David Matas, October 4, 2007David Matas

David Kilgour and I have written a report which came to the conclusion that there is widespread organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioner in China. Falun Gong practitioners are killed for their organs which are sold for large sums to foreign transplant tourists. Our report is on the internet for anyone to see. All our sources of evidence are set out in the report and our independently verifiable.

The Falun Gong are a group of innocents. Falun Gong is an exercise regime with a spiritual dimension. Yet, China is afraid of anyone who believes in anything besides the absolute rule of the Communist Party. China has unleashed the full force of state brutality against these innocents.

Whatever you may think of our report, it is incontestable that there is systematic persecution of the Falun Gong. The Falun Gong have been arbitrarily detained in the hundreds of thousands, brutalized, tortured, and killed in the tens of thousands. They are by far the biggest victim group in China.

China has prohibited the participation of the Falun Gong and many other groups in the Olympic games. China has even prohibited the attendance at the Games of Falun Gong practitioners and many others.

The Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter state:

“1 … Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on … respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

2 The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

4 The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind …

5 Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

Jacques Rogge, the Belgian head of the International Olympic Committee asked people not to politicize the Olympic games. Politics is a matter of opinion about which people can reasonably differ. Respect for human rights is not a matter of opinion. There is no reasonable voice which can justify violations of human rights.

Demanding Chinese respect for human rights does not amount to politicizing the Olympic games. It amounts only to asking for respect for the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter.

The Communist Party of China has used the awarding of the Olympic games to justify its own hold on power in China. Now, that is a politicization of the Olympic Games.

Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer, in a letter to the United States Congress dated September 12, called on the Government of China not to use the Olympic games to legitimize its own hold on power. For this letter, Gao was arrested and has since disappeared.

I call on China, the International Olympic Committee and the Dutch Olympic Committee to respect the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter. The way China is behaving now is incompatible with the Olympic movement. I say that the International Olympic Committee should insist, if the Games are to continue to be held in China, that:

1. China should allow every person to compete in the Olympic games regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs.

2. China should allow every person to attend the Olympic games regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs.

3. Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China must stop.

4. The persecution of Falun Gong in China must stop.

5. Gao Zhisheng must be released.

I say to the International Olympic Committee to respect your own Charter and tell China: no human rights in China, no Olympic games in China.

David Matas is a lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Original article from David Kilgour’s website

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Torch Relay to Arrive Netherlands To Support Human Rights in China

Posted by Author on October 3, 2007


Press Release, CIPFGHRTR

Hague, Netherlands – On October 3rd and 4th, 2007, the Global Human Rights Torch Relay, an activity to support human rights in China, will be held in the Netherlands. This activity is launched and sponsored by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG).

Human Rights Torch Relay was lit up in Athens, Greece, on August 9th. 2007. Its goal is to appeal to the international community to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the motto “The Olympic Games and the crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China”.

David Matas, Canadian lawyers and the author for the book “BLOODY HARVEST“, will be in Holland on a special trip to participate in the activities of Human Rights Torch Relay and give a speech on October 3rd and the 4th.

The activities of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay will be held in two cities in the Netherlands: Hague (October 3) and Amsterdam (October 4).

The arrangement of the activity is as follows:

  • October 3, 13.00 -15.00: Hague – Congress Plaza (Plein) (assembly, speech). Torchlight will arrive at the Peace Palace of the International Tribunal.
  • October 4, 16.30 -18.30: Amsterdam – Dam Plaza (assembly, speech). Torch Relay will go through the city centre and return the Dam Plaza in the end.

Original report from HRTR

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Torch for China Human Rights Reaches the Heart of the EU

Posted by Author on October 2, 2007


Epoch Times Belgium Staff, Oct 01, 2007-The Belgian Human Rights Torch Relay Ambassadors assemble on stage.

BRUSSELS, Belgium— After a morning of pouring rain, the skies cleared for the welcoming ceremony for the Human Rights Torch relay at Schumann Place in Brussels, Belgium. Members of almost all the parties in Belgium’s Parliament supported the event.

The Human Rights Torch, which started its five-continent trek in Athens, Greece on August 9, arrived in Brussels, the administrative capital of the EU, on September 28. Brussels is the Torch’s twelfth stop. The torch brings with it the message that human rights violations cannot continue in China if the Chinese regime will be allowed to host the Olympic Games.

The Torch Relay was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG.) Many think the persecution of Falun Gong, affecting one hundred million practitioners, and involving torture, murder, and organ theft, is the worst human rights violation happening in China. CIPFG started the Torch Relay to tell the world about the persecution of Falun Gong, Christianity, Islam, democracy and freedom of belief, assembly and expression by the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr. Petitjean, local CIPFG representative, said in the opening speech: “The 2008 Olympics are less then 12 months away while according to reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGO’s, the Chinese communist regime has stepped up measures to further silence anyone suffering repression under their rule.”

He added “The torch relay is aimed at urging the international community to boycott the Olympic games in Beijing as we believe hosting the Olympics in Beijing would be a travesty of the Olympic spirit and a direct violation of the Olympic Charter”.

One of the Belgian Torch Relay ambassadors, Senator Vankrunkelsven, who carried out his own investigation into illegal organ transplanting in China in 2006, stressed in his speech the ongoing human rights violations in China. “The Chinese regime will use the Olympics for their image, while we should not cease to use this opportunity to expose the real situation in China,” Vankrunkelsven stated.

The ongoing persecution in China was sadly illustrated by this week’s arrest of renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in China, because of his open letter to the U.S. congress. Therefore the participants of the Torch Relay in Belgium wore yellow ribbons to show their support for lawyer Gao. “We have great appreciation and admiration for Gao’s determination and courage in issuing this open letter at a time when he was placed under extensive surveillance and subject to severe coercion from the Chinese regime”, as one of the speeches mentioned.

The list of support statements from political and cultural personalities presented at the ceremony was extensive. “I hereby announce that I will support CIPFG’s Global Human Rights Torch Relay. We will join all those who stand up for justice, and together we will light the torch and let the brightness of justice illuminate all corners of our world,” one of the Belgian mayors wrote.

– Original report from the Epochtimes : Human Rights Torch Reaches the Heart of the European Union

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Worldwide Torch Relay for Human Rights in China Visits Belgium

Posted by Author on September 28, 2007


Press release, CIPFG, published on HRTR website-HRTR logo

Brussels – The Worldwide Torch Relay for Human Rights in China is sponsored by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG). CIPFG welcomes all people and organizations to jointly spread the message “The Olympic Games and Crimes against Humanity cannot coexist in China.”

The Worldwide Torch Relay for Human Rights in China started on august 9th 2007 in Athens and will visit more than 100 cities in more than 35 countries throughout Europe, Asia, North-America, and Australia.

The worldwide Torch Relay will be in Belgium from Friday 28th September until Monday 1st October 2007.

Friday, 28th Sept., Brussels

12:00pm-1:00pm: Opening Ceremony at Schuman (EU headquarters)
2:00-3:00pm: Torch Relay will arrive at La Bourse

Politicians, athletes and human rights movements will support the start of the Torch Relay in Brussel.

A speech will be given by:

– senator Patrick van Krunkelsven
– human rights lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier
former IBF boxing champion and Parliament member of the French speaking community Bea Diallo
– spokesperson for Human Rights Without Frontiers Paolo Barabesi.

Moreover, the chairman of the Belgian CIPFG Mr. Jan Loones, Flemish minister Mr. Geert Bourgeois, the Dardenne brother filmmakers, Interfaith International, Les Amis de Tibet and Gaia will support the event by either being present or having their letter of support to be read.

Some of the speakers will not only encourage other people to run in the Torch Relay, but will also join in themselves to bring the Human Rights Torch into Brussels.

Saturday, 29th Sept, Antwerp
  • 1:30pm start from Sint-Jan square
  • 2-3:00pm Torch Relay will arrive at Astrid Square with speeches by MEP mr.Bart Staes and others
Sunday 30st Sept, Oostende
  • 1:30pm start at Wapen Square
  • 2-3:00pm at the “Drie Gapers”(end of Koninginnelaan) with speeches by MP Mr. Wouter de Vriendt and Flemish parlement member Mr. Gino de Craemer
Monday 1st Oct, Sint-Niklaas
  • 9:30am Torch Run at the Grote Markt (Grand Place)
  • 10am official reception in the city hall

In all cities various Belgian politicians and NGO’s will support the event by either being present or having their letters of support to be read out loud.

More information:

Yves Vanderhoeven 0476/50.49.54 – 0479/50.48.74 – hr-torch@skynet.be

Original report from HRTR website

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Rescue of China Lawyer Gao Zhisheng is In Your Hands, CIPFG Tells U.S.

Posted by Author on September 27, 2007


Press release, CIPFG, 2007-9-24-Yellow ribbon

  • CIPFG asks the U.S. Senate and House of Congress to help rescue Gao Zhisheng
  • Yellow ribbon to be added to Human Rights Torch in Belgium

CIPFG’s Statement

Gao Zhisheng, a renowned human rights lawyer in mainland China and a member of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), was secretly detained on September 23rd by the Chinese communist regime because he sent an open letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Congress. His current whereabouts are unknown and his wife and children have been intimidated, harassed, and illegally placed under house arrest. The family’s contact with outside sources has been lost.
We strongly condemn this abominable conduct of the Chinese regime and demand that it immediately release Gao Zhisheng and stop persecuting his family.

In a recent open letter, Gao Zhisheng called upon the U.S. to take into consideration the ongoing human rights abuses in China, where the communist regime has been brutally repressing the Chinese people. He called upon the U.S. to halt the regime’s barbaric crimes against humanity.

We have great appreciation and admiration for Gao’s determination and courage in issuing this open letter at a time when he was placed under extensive surveillance and subject to severe coercion from the Beijing regime. It is clear that he cared only about the Chinese people’s suffering and disregarded his own safety, demonstrating his firm belief that morality and conscience will triumph.

At this point, we would especially like to remind the representatives at both the US Senate and House of Congress that Gao trusts your collective moral conscience and your courage to safeguard human dignity; hence he wrote you the open letter. Yet writing that letter has prompted the regime to arbitrarily arrest more Chinese dissidents, again showing their tyrannical nature.

Therefore, we feel the rescue of Gao is in your hands. Since the U.S. is known for its role as a human rights leader, this is an opportunity to demonstrate America’s sense of justice and fairness.

To support Lawyer Gao’s rescue, to help the international community become aware of Gao’s position, and to demand his release, at the next relay station of the Human Rights Torch Relay in Belgium, we plan to add a yellow silk ribbon to the torch. All participants attending the relay events will wear a ribbon as well. This indication of support for Gao will continue until his freedom is secured. The “Human Rights Torch Relay,” sponsored by the CIPFG, was launched on August 9th with a purpose to end communist China’s persecution of Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s supporters and to end all other human rights abuses in that country.

We call upon each and every country around the world to become informed about China under communist rule and to address the human rights abuses occurring in China. Ignoring the atrocities being perpetrated on the Chinese people is not an option.

We firmly believe that if the Olympics proceed in China along with the current crimes against humanity occurring there, it is a degradation of the Games and an insult to all well-meaning people everywhere.

In closing, we reiterate Gao Zhisheng’s challenge in his open letter:

“Is today’s humankind able to confront the crimes against humanity and genocide that have been veiled under the state power?”

 

Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)
2007-9-24

Original article from HRTR website

Related:
China: Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Seized by Secret Police After Writing To U.S. Congress, Sep 24, 2007

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Do Not Compete For the Blood-soaked Medals From Beijing Olympics: Chinese medallist

Posted by Author on September 22, 2007


Speech by Huang Xiaomin, Chinese silver medal winner at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, September 16, 2007, in Paris, France, published on Human Rights Torch Relay website

Please do not compete for the blood-soaked medals from the Beijing Olympics

 

Huang XiaominHuang Xiaomin

Hello, ladies and gentlemen,

On the 9th of September a Human Rights Torch was lit in Athens marking the start of a global relay. Today, this torch comes to France. Because of my engagement with our team at a competition game, I cannot personally join the activities of the Relay. Please could all those friends attending accept my apology. I wish the activities of the Human Rights Torch Relay in France a complete success.

May I take this opportunity to appeal to all my colleagues working in the sports industry throughout the whole world. I say to you all, please do not join the Beijing Olympics under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) tyranny. Please do not compete for these medals. They are soaked in blood. An Olympics hosted by the tyrannical CCP is against the spirit of the Olympic Games and is a taunt to human justice.

The CCP has claimed that the Olympic movement in both a social and in a cultural context, is the soul of the Beijing Olympics. It has also claimed that it is a movement of culture based on humanity. However, the CCP’s actions and behaviour have been severely violating this same Olympic Spirit. Under the CCP’s tyranny, people have no freedom of speech, media, belief and assembly. They have no access to information or freedom of thought. Under the CCP’s control, China is in fact the largest prison in the whole world. It is worth paying special attention to the fact that the CCP is responsible for harvesting the organs of live Falun Gong practitioners. This has been exposed and verified. The CCP has refused to allow members of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) entry to China for the independent investigation of evil crimes that are unimaginable to human beings.

The CCP has shown no respect to the Olympic spirit. It has not changed its horrible human rights records even after it was given the authority to host the Olympic Games in Beijing. Rather, it has accelerated the persecution of human rights activists and continued to arrest Falun Gong practitioners on a vast scale. An Olympic Games run by the CCP therefore, will be an imprisoned Olympics, soaked in the blood of its victims. It will be an outright abuse of the Olympic spirit.

Dear colleagues in the sports industry, please do not ignore the CCP’s crimes. These include the genocide of millions Falun Gong practitioners. Do not strengthen the power of the CCP, which is the most evil regime in human history. Please do not compete for the blood-soaked medals from the Beijing Olympics.

I want to also appeal to the Chinese people to be clear-minded about the real consequences of the Beijing Olympics. After the Games in Beijing, can the huge population of unemployed Chinese people find jobs? Can those innocent children living in poverty return to their education? Can your family’s income be increased? Can those people whose houses have been forcibly demolished to make way for this sham obtain justice?

The answer is no, they cannot! The CCP’s 86-year history proves that it has never, ever considered the interests of our country and those of its people. Everything, including running the Olympic Games,that the CCP has done in its 86-year history is for hijacking and maintaining its own power. It can never, ever truly respect or promote the Olympic spirit. I therefore suggest that we wait until the CCP no longer controls China and to when the Chinese people have real equality, freedom and basic human rights. Only then can Beijing host the Olympic Games nobly and in fulfillment of the high aspirations of the real Olympic Games.

My appeal is for people with righteousness and justice in their hearts throughout the whole world to get together. Use this platform of the Global Human Right Torch Relay, which is launched by the CIPFG, to stop a repeat of the shame of 1936. An Olympic Games should promote peace, friendship, love and dignity. It should not let dictators polish themselves up to cheat the world and strengthen their dictatorship. What the CCP has done to the Chinese people is what it intends to do to all people throughout the whole world.

The Olympic Games can never co-exist with the crimes against humanity within China!

Friends who are involved in the Global Human Rights Rorch Relay, please give your best effort!

Huang Xiaomin,

Seoul Olympic Silver medallist (of Chinese woman swimming team)
& (Current) Sports coach in South Korea

16 September 2007

Original report from HumanRightsTorch.org 

Posted in Athlete, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Communist Party, Crime against humanity, Europe, Genocide, Huang Xiaomin, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Politics, Report, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on Do Not Compete For the Blood-soaked Medals From Beijing Olympics: Chinese medallist

“Hand in Hand” with China, Canada Promotes New Version of 1936 Berlin Olympics: CIPFG President

Posted by Author on September 21, 2007


By Clive Ansley, letter to Media With Conscience, September 18, 2007-

Canada/China Hand in Hand Olympic Countdown

Clive Ansley

While China has recently been the target of severe criticism, not only because of its unsafe exports, but also for its appalling human rights record, I would like to draw your attention to an atrocity still little publicized in this country.

I refer to China’s well-hidden eight-year persecution of Falun Gong — an atrocity unmatched even by the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. Mia Farrow and others have dubbed the 2008 Beijing Olympics the “Genocide Olympics” because of Beijing’s support for the genocide being perpetrated in Darfur by the Government of Sudan. While I do not quarrel with Mia Farrow’s stance, the supreme irony is that while she criticizes Beijing for the indirect support of genocide internationally, Beijing has been directly conducting a campaign of genocide against Falun Gong in China for the past eight years.

To date, three independent studies have determined that large numbers of Falun Gong prisoners are kept alive as unwilling organ donors, then killed on demand so that their organs may be harvested for international sale to wealthy patients in need of organ transplants. Killing on demand for organ theft is only one, though admittedly the most horrific, component of the genocide, which has been implemented against Falun Gong practitioners over the past eight years.

A massive propaganda machine supported by Communist Party controlled media, harsh internet censorship, a sham legal system, a network of prison and slave labour camps, abusive psychiatric hospitals, a Gestapo-like agency with unlimited power to oversee the persecution, and huge financial resources have enabled the Beijing Communist regime to continue its persecution unabated. These human rights violations are well documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in China, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the UN and others.

A 2006 Amnesty International report raised concerns that, “the official campaign of public vilification of Falun Gong in the official Chinese press has created a climate of hatred against Falun Gong practitioners, which may be encouraging acts of violence against them.” This is but one of many eerie parallels to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It is clear that China has not lived up to its promise to improve human rights when awarded the Olympics in 2001. In fact, the situation is substantially worse today than it was then.

To date, we have failed to persuade the Chinese regime to stop the persecution and free all prisoners of conscience; we therefore wish to focus the international Olympics spotlight on China’s own genocide by calling for a boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. We hope that the alternative global human rights torch relay that we launched on August 9 in Athens will provide the international community with the opportunity to join us in this Olympic boycott effort. (http://www.humanrightstorch.org/)

When the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald were exposed in 1945, decent people everywhere opined that the 1936 Olympics should never have been awarded to Berlin. “If only we had known!”, said many. Today, though there has been a regrettable lack of mass publicity to date, the knowledge, the research and the evidence is available. This time the world will not be able to say, “We had no idea that this regime we were showering with glory was contemporaneously implementing genocide and mass murder for the purpose of organ theft.”

It is most distressing that Canadian governmental bodies and other organizations are fully supporting the promotion of the 2008 Olympics right here in Canada through a series of cultural performances co-hosted by CCTV, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mouthpiece, and the CBC. Previous Olympics devolved into propaganda bonanzas for dictatorial hosts, such as the Nazis in 1936 and the Soviets in 1980, rather than promoting the universal celebration of peaceful competition and sport for people of all colours and creeds in accordance with the Olympic ideal.

Steven Spielberg announced recently that he’s considering quitting his advisory role in the Olympics if Beijing doesn’t soon address the issue of its support for the Sudanese government.

It’s not too late to join the chorus of voices calling for a boycott. Beijing cannot possibly expect to freely continue with rampant political oppression, mass executions, forced abortions, illicit organ harvesting, religious persecution and a slew of other human rights abuses. Perhaps with our combined efforts we can bring the true Olympic spirit to the Chinese people.

Sincerely,

Clive Ansley
CIPFG President
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong

– Original from Mwcnews.net : Canada/China Hand in Hand Olympic Countdown, hint by CIPFG

Posted in Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, China, Crime against humanity, Event, Falun Gong, Genocide, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Report, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on “Hand in Hand” with China, Canada Promotes New Version of 1936 Berlin Olympics: CIPFG President

Slovak Figures’ Words of Support For the Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted by Author on September 15, 2007


(excerpt) Human Rights Torch Relay Website-

Mons. Frantisek Tondra, slovak bishop biskup a chairman of the Slovak Bishops Convention

I join all the participants and sympatizers of the “Human Rights Torch” and support all other events aimed at removing the suffering of innocent victims in China. Religion and civic freedom are two terms of the same category, which cannot be separated from each other. So I wish the Relay success, so the Olympics games in China could fulfill their message.”
———————————-

Pavol Hrusovsky, chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement

Since I have always been caring about the human rights being upheld and respected, I declare my support to your initiative. I believe, that also this impulse will initiate positive changes in China and the the representatives of the chinese government will realise, that in the country, where the human rights are violated, the games based on the educational value shouldn’t be held.

I wish to both you and ourselves, that the next Olympics games will be a demonstration, a symbol and a proof of respecting the basic ethical principles in the country of their organizers as well.”
_________________________

Milan Lasica, actor and humorist

“Olympics games and violation of the human rights, they don‘t fit together.”
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Milan Markovic, moderator, humorist and satirist

“Of course, I identify myself with the ideas of the Relay (…) Despite of physical achievements, I always understood the Olympics games as a celebration of the greatness of the human spirit. It’s important, that this will be the understanding of the organizers as well.”
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Eduard Chmelár, peace activist and publicist

” welcome the global Relay with the Olympics torch of the human rights and identify myself with this noble idea. Let’s don’t allow the enthusiasm of the sport fans to just make backcloth for the regime, which not only uses the most brutal means to silence freedom-loving people, but by their shameful support to Sudan government takes co-responsibility for killing 200,000 people in Darfur. I join the voices which challenge China to fulfil their international obligations. Olympics games are not only about medals, fun and profits. Olympics games do have their idea. Without it’s fulfillment, they are useless.”
———————————-

Matej “Sajfa” Cifra, popular moderator

“When I was young, my parents explained me many times, that in my life I’ll encounter many things, which I should just take sportfully („sporty way”). Like Olympics games, for example. But under circumstances existing in the communist China, it would be negligent to take them sportfully („sporty way”) only!”
______________________________

Joseph M. Burza, writer and president of the Canadian-Slovakian Chamber of Commerce

“I express my unambiguous support to the ideas of the World Torch Relay. Only the international pressure can change the demagogy of the Olympics Games 2008 in Beijing and force the chinese government to fundamentally and relevantly improve the protection of the human rights in China. It is neccessary to take an active stand and protect the main ideas of the Olympics games.”
———————————–

Jan Budaj, former politician and dissident

“I believe, based on our experience from the totalitarian times, that the international opinion do have an influence on the politics of the chinese communist government. Your initiative is important also because those, who suffer and are intimidated in China, are isolated dissidents. Oftentimes, governments of the free world close their own eyes about that situation. And the general public lives with the false sense, that the cold war with their dictatorial regimes is a concluded thing of the past. But that’s not how it is (even here in Europe). The freedom remains a permanent challenge. So I support the Relay, which reminds chinese authorities about their obligations they took together with the organisation of the Olympics games.”
———————————–

Monika Hilmerova, actress

“I join the support for the Realy, which aim is to remind Chinese government their obligations in the area of respecting human rights. I am glad, that the world behind the Chinese great wall is not negligent about misuse of the Olympics games for propagandistic goals. Tradition of the modern Olympics games is based on humanism and friendly co-operation between nations. It’s contradictory that the Olympics games are held in the country, where authorities roughly violate human rights.”
———————————–

Petra Polnisova, actress

“I consider the methods and atrocities, which are happening in China, as a heavy crime. It is therefore unethical, that the Olympics games will be held in the country, which even to this day is not able to respect their duties and obligations, taken during their olympics candidacy. I join your initiative, since torture and persecution for expressing one’s free opinion is not only against the principles of the Olympics games, but mainly against humanity itself.”
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Maria Batorova, Slovak P.E.N. Center

“Persecution of the Falun Gong, human rights violations, imprisonment, maltreatment and torture of their own citizens is against the Olympics Charter and it’s main principles. Together with other people, I express my protest and support to World Human Rights Torch Relay.”
———————————–

Adela Banasova, moderator

“Let’s imagine, that the soccer would be played on the crooked playground and every participant would pretend that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable, when the ball will always turn to one direction. Sport is a fair play, so also in this olympics extent, it should be held on the fair sport “playground”, where every “participants” do have dignified conditions.”
———————————–

Patricia Garajova – Jariabkova, actress and moderator

“I join the declaration. Nothing is holy to us humans anymore. That’s one more reason it is necessary not to be quiet. In order so as much people as possible will know about and step up against the crimes, executions, organ harvesting, and concentration camps in communist China. Olympics games on the one side, and arrogant monstrous violation of the human rights on the other, that’s mutually exclusive.”
———————————–

Beata Dubasova, singer

“Violations of the human rights on the one side, and the main idea and mission of the Olympics games on the other side, thats unequivocally mutually exclusive things.”
———————————–

– Original report from Human Rights Torch Relay: Olympics and crimes against humanity can’t coexist in China: World Olympic Torch Relay for Human Rights on its trip around the world comes to Bratislava, with Supports from the Slovak figures

Posted in Activist, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Celebrity, China, Crime against humanity, Dissident, Europe, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Religious, Report, Social, Speech, World, writer | Comments Off on Slovak Figures’ Words of Support For the Human Rights Torch Relay

Human Rights Torch For China Relays to Slovak

Posted by Author on September 14, 2007


Press release, HumanRightsTorch.Org, September 13,2007-

BRATISLAVA — Human Rights Torch Relay, lit up in Athenes on 9th. august 2007, will come to slovak capital, Bratislava.  It`s its 7th stop on a journey through more than 25 countries and more than 100 cities of Europe, Asia, both American continents and Australia.  The main goal is the call to improve the situation of human rights in China with motto “Olympics and crimes against humanity can’t coexist in China at the same time.”

The Relay will come to Bratislava on the Hlavné námestie (Main Square) on Friday, 14th of September, where at 10:00 am the main ceremonial, passing of the torch to slovak V.I.P`s-runners will happen.

Runners will pass a symbolic length along the Danube river under the Devín castle. After 10 km, the Torch will finish near the Memorial of the communist regime victims, where it will be passed to the representative of Switzerland, where the Torch Relay will continue.

The following speakers will give their speaches on during the ceremony:

* Peter Osusky, vice-chairman of the Slovak Olympics Committee and vice-chancellor of the Comenius University in Bratislava
* Pavel Petrik, chairman of the Green Party
* Peter Tatar, chairman of the Civic Conservative Party
* Ladislav Svihran, anti-totalitarian writer
* Dorota Nvotova, slovak singer
* and others

From 7.pm, several music bands supporting the Torch Realy will perform on the Main Square: O.B.D., Smola a hrušky, Hvozd, Sako, Cliche and Vetroplach.

Human Rights Torch Relay is organized by CIPFG (Coalition to Investigate the Persecution on Falun Gong). The goal of the coalition is to unite all interested parties to conduct a thorough and independent investigation, to uncover the truth about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong, in particular the harvesting of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners, in secret concentration camps, prisons, labor camps, detention centers, brainwashing centers, psychiatric hospitals, hospitals and all other relevant facilities.

Main contact:
Marek Tatarko, organizer of the Torch Relay in Slovakia
Mobile photo: +421 902 050 420
email: marek.tatarko@nextra.sk

Event schedule:

10:00-11:00 – Official ceremony, speeches, reading of the support declarations. Main Square (Hlavne namestie), Bratislava

11:00 (approx.) – The beginning of the run with the Torch. All VIP’s runners will run together, making one or two circles around the Main Square. Then the Torch will continue towards the destination, while the main VIP’s should stay on the square for media inquiries.

between 12:30 – 13:00 (approx.) – The run will finish in Devin (around 10km from Main Square) near the Memorial of the Communist regime victims. Short speech will be given, then the Torch will be passed to Switzerland

19:00 – 22:00 – Benefit concert to support the Torch Relay. Six bands will perform: O.B.D., Smola a hrušky, Hvozd, Sako, Cliche and Vetroplach.

About the Torch Relay destination in Devinphoto of the memorial

The memorial in Devin (photo right) was built for remembrance of the men and women, who were killed during their run to freedom from the communist regime in Slovakia (Czechoslovakia at that time).  The place is on the confluence of the rivers Dunaj and Morava, near the boundary between Austria and former Czechoslovakia. Many people tried to run to West, attemting to swim through the river.

The inscription on the memorial reads:

Communist regime shooted, with mines and electric wire killed and using other means murdered, during their attempt to run through the “Iron Curtain” on the czechoslovakian boundaries in the years 1948 – 1989:

< followed by the long list of names>

Report from official website of  Human Rights Torch Relay

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