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Archive for the ‘Athens’ Category

Chinese Embassy’s Interference Repeatedly Failed, Shen Yun Performances at Athens Go On

Posted by Author on June 8, 2010


By Joshua Philipp & Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times Staff, Jun 8, 2010 –

Seemingly wherever Shen Yun, a show of classical Chinese dance and music touring the world, appears, officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) seek to block it from performing. Nonetheless, nearly all of the hundreds of performances have taken place on schedule.

Cancellations have occurred in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union—Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, and Romania—or where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has strong leverage, such as in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore.

Two performances of the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts in Greece on June 4 and 5 nearly didn’t happen. The details are unique to Athens, but the story is similar to other venues.

On May 21, exactly two weeks before the first scheduled performance, the Falun Dafa Association of Greece, the sponsor of the show, discovered that the ticket sales for Shen Yun were disrupted. The Athens Music Hall did not inform them about stopping ticket sales, but the sponsor became suspicious when they were no longer getting daily updates.

Soon thereafter, the sponsor received a faxed message from the Athens Music Hall, saying that the shows had to be “postponed” due to technical problems at the venue, which could only be fixed between June 1 and 7—a period that included the days of the scheduled Shen Yun performances.

At first, the theater would not specify the “technical problem.” Later, they disclosed it as a ventilation problem. No explanation was provided as to why the alleged ventilation problem could not be fixed prior to the Shen Yun shows, as the theater’s calendar indicated several days with no scheduled performances beforehand.

It is not hard to surmise where the pressure to “postpone,” which would have meant canceling the shows, came from. Greece has been in an economic crisis with a $300 billion debt. On the day the sponsor of Shen Yun learned that their shows would be “postponed,” Reuters reported that China Ocean Shipping Group (COSCO) would go ahead with investments to modernize Piraeus Port as part of a 3.4 billion euro concession deal with Greece.

According to Greek media reports, the spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Greece said that COSCO’s president and senior managers met with Greek politicians at the theater on the same day, May 31.

In the end, the theater backed down, and the performances went on at the scheduled times. One of the dancers wrote to The Epoch Times that Shen Yun performers held a long meeting with the theater’s management, explaining in depth the role played by the CCP. After that meeting, the theater allowed them to proceed with the shows and indicated that they absolutely did not want to get involved in political matters. …… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Related:
– (video)  Shen Yun in Europe 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Arts, Athens, China, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Culture, Dance, Europe, Event, Greece, News, performing arts, Politics, Shen Yun show, Social, World | 1 Comment »

China’s Censorship in Greece: Journalists Barred From Accessing To the Acropolis in Athens

Posted by Author on March 31, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 30 March 2008-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Hellenic Olympic Committee’s decision to deny journalists access to the Acropolis in Athens when relay runners arrived there yesterday with the Olympic flame for an overnight stop.

“The media have never been excluded from the Acropolis in this fashion before,” the press freedom organisation said. “Even accredited journalists were unable to cover the Olympic flame’s arrival. The only footage of the event was to be provided by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. Chinese methods are rubbing off on Greece. It was probably the Chinese authorities who persuaded their Greek counterparts to act in this way. It is very regrettable.”

The flame, which was lit on 24 March in Olympia, is due to be handed over to Chinese officials at a ceremony in Athens today. A petition accusing the city authorities of “aligning with totalitarian China” has been signed by some 50 leading members of the Greek left, including many journalists, since 27 March.

The foreign press association in Greece and the Greek Union of Photographers said they were going to protest against this “censorship.”

– Original report from Reporters Without Borders: Chinese methods rub off on Greece as journalists barred from Acropolis for Olympic flame’s arrival

Posted in Athens, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Europe, Freedom of Speech, Greece, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, Sports, World | 2 Comments »

Video Review: Human Rights Torch Relay Begins in Athens

Posted by Author on August 26, 2007


NTDTV-

CHAN:

Hundreds of supporters from all over the world gathered at Syntagma Square in Athens to witness the inaugural launch of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay yesterday. This Torch Relay aims to remind the world of the true essence of the Olympic Games, and that the 2008 Beijing games should be boycotted, due to the Chinese Communist Regime’s past and current human rights abuses.

STORY:

The torch has begun its journey exactly one year prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was hosted by more than 300 members of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong or CIPFG.

The Human Rights Torch will follow the same path as the Olympic Torch, seeking to remind the world that the Olympic Games symbolize world peace and freedom, values unfortunately opposed by the Chinese Communist regime.

[Martin Rubenis, Latvian Olympian]:

“Looking towards Beijing I cannot find a single reason why the Communist regime of China has a moral right to represent the ideals and highest principles of the Olympic moment.”

A chief investigator of human organ harvesting in China, Mr. David Kilgour was there to support the event.

[David Kilgour, Co-Author, ‘Bloody Harvest’ Report]:

“Independent international organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in China, have been saying in several years that human rights are not getting better in China, they are getting worse as the games approach. And contrary to what the government of China promised when they won the rights to host the Olympic games.”

A list of more than 10,000 supporters in China was presented, with their wish to have human rights in China before the Olympics.

Three Greek Goddesses of Freedom lit the torch, evoking a joyful moment of peace, equality and freedom.

Many people were moved to tears by the symbolic event, with warm embraces seen throughout the crowd.

In ancient Greece, fire represented the will of the Gods. And so it is hoped that the flame of human rights will remind peoples from across the globe the value of righteousness and propriety, as the Human Rights Torch Relay travels to 35 nations and more than 100 cities.

NTDTV, Athens, Greece.

Original report from NTDTV

Related:
Breaking the Darkness: Human Rights Torch Lit Despite China’s Pressure

Posted in Activist, Athens, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, ceremony, China, Europe, Event, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, People, Spiritual, Sports, Video, World | Comments Off on Video Review: Human Rights Torch Relay Begins in Athens

Breaking the Darkness: Human Rights Torch Lit Despite China’s Pressure

Posted by Author on August 15, 2007


By Chen Weijian, Boxun News, Via the Epochtimes, Aug 14, 2007-HRTR lit

ATHENS—The day of August 9, 2007 will be recorded in the respective histories of Greece and China. On this very day, in Athens, a human rights torch, symbolizing human rights and freedom, was lit in this world-renowned historical city.

As dusk fell, the Hellenic Parliament buildings at Syntagma (Constitution) Square in Athens, Greece were immersed in golden sunlight. The blue and white national flag of Greece fluttered in the wind. In front of the fountains at the center of the square, a stage was being built. The national flags of various countries were slowly raised, as were light stands.

Around the stage, members of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), coming members from four continents, pulled out their banners and flags. Written on the banners in both English and Greek was, “The Olympics and Crimes against Humanity Cannot Co-exist in Beijing.”

Another big white banner with red Chinese characters read, “All-China Alliance for Protecting Human Rights and Opposing Violence” came from mainland China and represented billions of people living at the bottom of Chinese society. As soon as this banner was opened it attracted a crowd of reporters eager to photograph this neer-before-seen message from the Chinese people.

After sunset two Masters of Ceremony stepped onto the podium, announcing to the crowd congregated in front of the podium that the event was officially beginning. First, the distinguished female Austrian singer Melanie Fleck mounted the podium to sing the theme song for the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR). Propelled by her voice the message glorifying human rights rang through the entire square.

Speakers

The Secretary-General of Interfaith International, Dr. Charles Graves was the first speaker. He explained the original intention of the HRTR: to stop the persecution of and the organ–harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Afterwards, a statement from U.K. Baroness Caroline Cox was read, in which she stated that the day on which the Global Human Rights Torch Relay movement is launched in Athens will be the most important day in human history. She hopes to raise the world’s attention about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners happening in China. “Through calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, we can put an end to the persecution soon, and safeguard the Olympic spirit and human dignity,” she said.

Ms. Emmy Pfister, a CIPFG member organizing he Australian leg of the HRTR, said that now is the time to let Chinese authorities know that human rights do matter. Ms Pfister said Chinese people had pinned their hopes on the Olympics to improve their rights and were waiting for the world to speak out on their behalf.

Leading member of the CIPFG and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region, Hon. David Kilgour, stated in his speech, “Independent international organizations and observers have been saying for several years that human rights abuses by the government of China are worsening as August, 2008 approaches, not improving as it promised in its successful bid to win the right to host the games … This is absolutely not what we expect from any government hosting the Olympics.”

Kilgour continued, “If the killing of Falun Gong practitioners across China does not stop immediately—and we’ll all know if it does—people of goodwill everywhere should call for a shunning/boycott of the ‘Bloody Harvest Games’ or the ‘Genocide Olympics’, as Mia Farrow termed them in connection with the government of China’s role in Darfur. ”

The next speaker was Mr. Pan Qing, an overseas spokesman for the All-China Alliance for Protecting Human Rights and Opposing Violence. In his speech he introduced the wish of ten of thousands of average Chinese people who signed their names on a petition, “We want Human Rights, not the Olympics.” This wish represents millions of people’s true desire. He described how the names on this petition were collected by Mr. Yang Chunlin in northeastern China. Walking in the deep snow, he collected the signatures one family after another, one village after another. Pan called Yang the Prometheus of China. Yang has been detained by the Chinese Communist regime.

Pan condemned the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for stealing the sacred flame of the Olympic Games, and turning it into a tool for the dictatorship to persecute people. He listed some of the people who are being persecuted in China: people who lost their homes because their houses were forcefully demolished, farmers who lost their land, and workers who lost their jobs and are living in misery. He hopes that the true spirit of the Olympic Games, represented by the Human Rights Torch Relay, can be passed on to China.

During his speech, Pan’s image was shown on a big screen at the square. His message, representing the lowest segment of Chinese society, was heard by the world for the first time, here in Athens, the birthplace of democracy and human rights. His speech was also broadcast into mainland China after breaking through the information blockade imposed by the CCP.

Following Pan were politicians and human rights activists from several countries. Every speaker received warm applause from the audience. After the speeches, the organizers released a flock of doves to symbolize peace.

CCP Tries to Suppress HRTR by Pressuring Greece

According to the event organizers, the CCP had lied and claimed that there were terrorists in their group. As a result, the square was surrounded by armed police. All vehicles on the square were searched, including outside broadcast vehicles. Event organizers had to use cell phones to talk directly with police.

The Human Rights Torch Relay is a direct challenge to the CCP and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The CCP has used all of its influence in the international political arena to dismiss the importance of the “Human Rights Torch Relay.”

The CCP pressured the Greek government to block all activities connected to the “Human Rights Torch Relay.” The CCP not only promised to offer Greece the preferential trade status, but also invited Greek government officials and business delegations to visit China.

The Royal Plaza Hotel, which is directly adjacent to the square, was designated as the site for a press conference. The CCP put pressure on the hotel manager to cancel the contract for the conference room to be used for the press conference. The hotel manager refused to bend to the pressure and honored the contract for the conference room.

The organizers said that they had gone through unbelievable difficulties in the process of applying for the human rights torch lighting ceremony at the square. The Greek government had been under intense pressure from the CCP to cancel the ceremony. Public appeals in favor of holding the ceremony have also been strong.

The Greek government finally agreed that the organizers could hold the event but lighting of the torch would not be permitted. The atmosphere at the square was very tense. Policemen in uniform and plainclothes were using cell phones and walkie-talkies to keep in touch with their superiors.

Just a little over one hour before the event was scheduled to start, the Greek government ordered it cancelled. Organizers told Greek government authorities that it would be impossible to cancel the event because the singer had already been on stage singing and the audience was already in front of the stage watching; in the fact the activity was already underway.

As the two parties continued to negotiate, police were standing-by, preparing to cut off power. The Greek authorities faced a difficult choice. If the event were held successfully, the Greek government would offend the CCP. Several news media were broadcasting the event live. All the media were waiting for the lighting of the torch.

All the preparatory activities were finished; however the organizers were still negotiating with the Greek officials. The event organizers had to ask the singer to perform one more song.

Breaking the Darkness

As time passed, the atmosphere in the square grew more and more tense. The organizers realized that they could not wait any longer. They decided to light the torch, even if the police cut off power and disrupted the event. A great moment had arrived because of the resolute decision by the organizers.

There was no announcement. Suddenly silently, the torch was lit. Four young maidensHR torch  lit representing the Greek goddesses of freedom, peace and justice walked toward the altar holding the torch.

Determination and peace could be seen on the maidens’ faces as they held the torch. The sacred flame was glowing in the night sky. At this holy and pure moment, many people in the square were moved to tears.

Then the European torch carrier, 2006 Winter Olympic bronze medal skier Martintorch lit (3) Lubinnishi from Latvia, lit the torch in his hand from the torch of the Greek goddesses at the altar. Cheers broke out from around the square. After he lit the torch, Lubinnishi ran around the square and lit the torches held by others surrounding the stage.

At this same moment, Mr. Pan Qing from “All-China Alliance for Protecting Human Rights and Opposing Violence” representing the Chinese people lifted up his torch together with the Greek goddess.

At this sacred moment, with the crowd cheering for the lighting of the Human Rightstorch lit (4) Torch Relay, people suddenly realized that the police were not carrying out their orders to turn off the power.

When people turned around to thank the police who might face dismissal for disobeying orders, they discovered that the police also had tears in their eyes. One police officer said that he had heard about the difficulty that the organizers had faced in arranging the event. He discovered that the organizers were all kindhearted people, not the terrorists as had been described by the CCP. The police were deeply touched by the event and all that it symbolized.

The Human Rights Torch Relay opening ceremony held in Athens ended successfully. The torch will make its way through Europe, Australia, Africa, the United States and finally to Asia. It will also be passed to mainland China.

– Report from the Epochtimes : Breaking the Darkness, Sacred Flame of the Human Rights Torch Lit in Athens

Posted in Activist, Asia, Athens, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, ceremony, China, Europe, Event, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, People, Politics, Report, Special day, Sports, World | Comments Off on Breaking the Darkness: Human Rights Torch Lit Despite China’s Pressure

David Kilgour: One Torch, Five Continents, Many Cities, Many Peoples

Posted by Author on August 11, 2007


Speech, by Hon. David Kilgour, J.D., on Human Rights Torch Lighting Ceremony at Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, 9 August 2007-

One Torch, Five Continents, Many Cities, Many Peoples

by David Kilgour

Standing here at the Constitution Syntagma Square, I’m delighted to be in the city where the modern Olympics were founded in 1896. The Olympic Charter espouses “respect for universal fundamental ethical principles” and the “harmonious development of man with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

Virtually one year to the day before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, what is the state of dignity among the people of China for whom all of us here tonight and across the world have enormous respect?

Independent international organizations and observers have been saying for several years that human rights abuses by the government of China are worsening as August, 2008 approaches, not improving as it promised in its successful bid to win the right to host the games.

David Matas and I completed the revised edition of an independent study earlier this year, which concluded to our horror that since 1999 the government of China and its agencies in numerous regions of the country have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience (It is available in seventeen languages at organharvestinvestigation.net). Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers and corneas, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices and to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.

This is absolutely not what we expect from any government hosting the Olympics.

Should not the importance of saving human lives-in this case an exercise-spiritual community whose numbers were estimated by a department of the government of China to be in the 70 million range in the late 1990s-override any sporting event, including even the 2008 summer Olympics?

If the killing of Falun Gong practitioners across China does not stop immediately- and we’ll all know if it does- people of goodwill everywhere should call for a shunning/boycott of the “Bloody Harvest Games” or the “Genocide Olympics”, as Mia Farrow termed them in connection with the government of China’s role in Darfur.

In the meantime, I’d urge all of you to support the Global Human Rights Torch Relay of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG). One torch, five continents, many cities, many peoples, let us light the torch and let the bright light of justice all the corners of our world!

Thank you.

David Kilgour
9 August 2007

This speech available on David Kilgour’s website

Posted in Asia, Athens, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, China, Crime against humanity, David Kilgour, Europe, Falun Gong, Freedom of Belief, Genocide, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Religion, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on David Kilgour: One Torch, Five Continents, Many Cities, Many Peoples

Theme Song and Logo of ‘Human Rights Torch Relay’ Unveiled

Posted by Author on August 10, 2007


Epoch Times Staff, Aug 06, 2007-logo of Human Rights Torch Relay

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)— consisting of more than 300 public officials, lawyers, doctors, religious leaders, and human rights advocates— unveiled the logo and theme song for its “Human Rights Torch Relay.” The Coalition plans to ignite a human rights torch in Athens, Greece, on August 9, 2007.

(photo: Global Human Rights Torch Relay symbol- CIPFG)

Since CIPFG published an ad for a logo design and a theme song several weeks ago, it has received hundreds of responses, including some from mainland China.

The logo’s main component is a torch with a dove in front of it, representing freedom and a bright future. The background is a map of China outlined in barbed wire. The logo illustrates that China is a prison, and the torch of human rights will bring freedom and a bright future to the Chinese people.

The theme song is also refreshing and powerful. The composer is from Europe. The theme song is currently being recorded in multiple languages including English, German, French, Italian, and Japanese.

Listen to the theme song in Chinese by click on play button below:

The lyrics are as follows:

Human Rights Torch

The sacred flame of the Olympics is lit from Mt Olympia
The Olympic flag, a wreath of olive branches
Cooperation, teamwork, brotherhood and friendship
Honor, glory and dedication
Peace and justice
Freedom and Human rights
The heavens and earth, mountains and seas
The spirit soars and the heart calls
May the consecrated Olympic flag
Be forever raised on high

Beijing Olympics Year 2008
The scent of blood hangs in the air
80 million ghosts paved to prosperity
The blood and tears of hundreds of millions spawned
extravagant palaces

Stop the persecution
Give back our rights
Shackles cannot replace the Olympic wreath
Let the human rights torch
Kindle the whole world
Blood cannot taint the Olympics’ purity and sacredness

Wash clean the blood drenched stains and filth
May the Human Rights Torch of freedom, peace and justice
light up the world forever.

Report from the Epochtimes :
‘Human Rights Torch Relay’ Logo and Theme Song Unveiled

Posted in Asia, Athens, audio, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Europe, Event, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, News, Social, Sports, World | 3 Comments »

Human Rights Group Lights Torch For Beijing Games Boycott

Posted by Author on August 10, 2007


By Karolos Grohmann, Reuters, Aug 9, 2007-

ATHENS (Reuters) – Hundreds of human rights activists from across the world gathered in central Athens on Thursday to launch a global torch relay urging the boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics over China’s human rights record.

Beijing has been under fire for what groups say are extensive human rights violations, including against the spiritual group Falun Gong, ahead of next year’s Games.

China classified Falun Gong as a cult and banned it in 1999. Since then the group has campaigned from abroad against what it says is brutal persecution of its followers in China.

Organizers of the event in the central Syntagma square, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), said Beijing was involved in systematic “organ harvesting” from jailed Falun Gong members and other dissidents.

“We want to put enough pressure on China to stop killing its people and selling livers and kidneys to people around the world,” former Canadian junior foreign minister David Kilgour told Reuters.

Kilgour, co-author of a report on Chinese “organ harvesting,” said the International Olympic Committee was turning a blind eye to violations of its own charter.

IOC President Jacques Rogge on Monday fended off criticism saying the Games were a force for good but were no panacea.

“That’s garbage,” said Kilgour. “Jacques Rogge should know what the Olympic charter states. It talks about human dignity.”

The global human rights torch relay will stop over in 25 countries and more than 100 cities in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, organizers said.

Among the speakers were former Olympic athletes, including the 2006 Olympics luge bronze medalist Martins Rubenis from Latvia.

“The Chinese Communist Party has not fulfilled the promise to adjust the situation of human rights,” Rubenis said.

Beijing marked the one-year countdown to the Games on Wednesday with spectacular celebrations in Tiananmen Square.

Original report from Reuters

Posted in Activist, Asia, Athens, Australia, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, ceremony, China, Crime against humanity, David Kilgour, Europe, Event, Genocide, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Sports, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Group Lights Torch For Beijing Games Boycott

Video living Broadcast: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted by Author on August 9, 2007


Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay:


Address
: Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece
Time: 20:30 pm – 22:00pm
Date: 9th August 2007
Sponsor: CIPFG

Video broadcasting online now:

http://www.youmaker.com/video/bv?id=djy20080809athenshrtorch

– Website for the event:
Global Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted in Athens, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, ceremony, China, Crime against humanity, Europe, Event, Genocide, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, Sports, Video, World | Comments Off on Video living Broadcast: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay

Press Release: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay on August 9

Posted by Author on August 9, 2007


Press Release, http://www.nieuwsbank.nl, 09-08-2007-

 

Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist In China

ATHENE, 2007/08/08 — Initialized by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) and supported by many organizations and individuals, the Human Rights Torch Relay will officially have its opening ceremony to light the first flame on August 9, 2007 in Athens, Greece.

More than 100 cities from 30 countries will join the torch relay after the ceremony, calling on the international communities to focus on brutal violations of human rights and the Olympics spirit by the Chinese Communist regime, in order to stop such crimes and not let the 2008 Olympic Games become “Bloody Harvest Games”.

For years, the Chinese Communist regime has been persecuting people in China, such as Christians, Catholics, Tibetans, and Falun Gong practitioners. The crimes of torture and genocide they have committed against humanity have been condemned worldwide. The 2008 Olympics were offered to Beijing for the regime to improve its crude human rights record.

However, instead of stopping its persecution, the regime has made use of the Olympics to further repress people in China, damaging the Olympic spirit of peace and human dignity.

Moreover it also supports crimes outside China, particularly the genocide in Darfur, which has been well exposed by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actress Ms. Mia Farrow, who consequently dubbed the 2008 Olympics the “Genocide Olympics”.

Greece, as the origin of Olympics, will receive many politicians, human rights organizations and Olympians as well as representatives of Chinese human rights defenders to attend the press conference and/or the ceremony, including:

Mr. Martins Rubenis, Mrs. Jan Becker, Olympic medal winners;

Hon. David Kilgour, former Canadian Parliament member and one author of the investigation report, which verifies ongoing organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China;

Mr. Michael Ghiolman III, Ghiolman Yachts Travel Aviation, President of Environmental – Ecological – Cultural and Development Society, whose grandfather and grandfather’s brother helped to organize the first Olympic Games in 1896;

Mrs. Melanie Fleck, Austrian Singer;

Dr. George Karahalios, prominent Mass Media Communicator & Lobbyist;

A Traditional Greek Music Band

Press conference:
King George II, 3 Vas Georgiou A’ St 105 64, Athens
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm, 9th August 2007

Opening Ceremony:
Syntagma Square, Athens
Time: 20:30 pm – 22:00pm 9th August 2007

Background:

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) is an international non-government organization established in 2006 when the brutal crime of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China was exposed to the public. It consists of over 300 members from four continental delegations around the world, from politicians to doctors, from lawyers to religious groups.

The European delegation is chaired by Baroness Caroline Cox, member of the House of Lords (UK).

CIPFG since its set up has been requesting the Chinese regime to stop the persecution of Falun Gong, and allow the independent investigation by the international community inside China. However no response from the regime has been received.

On May 30, 2007, CIPFG announced in Canada the statement-Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist In China.

On June 8, CIPFG wrote to the Chinese leaders Mr. Hu Jintao and Mr. Wen Jiabao, to ask them to stop the persecution by August 8, 2007, otherwise CIPFG would call for a worldwide boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

The Human Rights Torch Relay, initialized by CIPFG, has been widely joined and supported, by for example Network for Human Rights in China (Denmark), International Society for Human Rights (Germany), Doctors Against Organ Harvesting (USA), Canadian Students for Darfur, and especially large numbers of people in China who recently sent out the message to ask for “No Human Rights, No Olympics”.

Contact Greece:
Fotini Bakatsia, Tel +30-6973 579932,
Kostas Tsolis, Tel +30-6947 421621
Email: cipfg_greece@cipfg.net

Contact Holland:
W. Stuifbergen, Tel 070-3456851 fax: 010-4613979
Dhr. M. `t Hoen, Tel 06-44173026 fax: 010-4613979
Email: olympischespelen@cipfg.nl

Internet
:
www.cipfg.org
www.boycottccpolympic.org/ol/en/ol2.jsp

– Original report from http://www.nieuwsbank.nl : Global Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted in Activist, Asia, Athens, Athlete, Australia, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, Catholicism, Celebrity, ceremony, China, Christianity, Crime against humanity, David Kilgour, Europe, Event, Falun Gong, Genocide, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Religion, Social, Sports, Tibetan, World | Comments Off on Press Release: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay on August 9

Human Rights Challenge to Beijing Olympic Games Heats Up

Posted by Author on August 9, 2007


Glen McGregor, CanWest News Service, Via Vancouver Sun, Canada, August 08, 2007-David Kilgour

OTTAWA – At the birthplace of the Olympic movement, a former Alberta Liberal MP will ignite Thursday what he hopes will become a global movement to boycott next year’s Summer Games in Beijing.

Calling the 2008 Games the “Bloody Harvest Olympics,” David Kilgour is inviting the media to Athens to cover a Global Human Rights Torch Relay. Once lit in Athens, the torch will travel through 100 cities around the world.

The year-long relay is designed to draw attention to allegations of crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government against practitioners of Falun Gong.

The relay comes as China faces increasing scrutiny over human rights in the runup to the Olympics.

On Wednesday, China expelled three Canadians who had been detained after unfurling a banner on the Great Wall in protest over the occupation of Tibet.

Canada’s Green party called on the government to exert diplomatic pressure on China to keep the Games from being tarnished by human rights violations.

While Thursday’s torch-lighting is unlikely to spark a widespread boycott of the Games, it will help establish Kilgour’s reputation as a leading voice for Falun Gong practitioners in their campaign against the Chinese government.

Followers describe Falun Gong as a peaceful belief system that preaches compassion and tolerance. China considers it a dangerous cult that has led devotees to resist needed medical attention and, in rare cases, to self-immolate in protest.

CanWest News Service

Original report from Vancouver Sun

Posted in Asia, Athens, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, ceremony, China, David Kilgour, Europe, Event, Falun Gong, Genocide, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Challenge to Beijing Olympic Games Heats Up