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Dunne welcomes Falun Gong festivities

Monday, 19 November 2007

Dunne welcomes Falun Gong festivities

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has welcomed the decision by Wellington City Council to allow Falun Gong to participate in Sunday’s Santa Parade in Wellington, and has challenged Auckland organisers to follow suit and bring an end to their continued exclusion of the group.

“It’s great to see that Wellington organisers have finally seen sense and allowed what promises to be a bright and enthusiastic entry to the parade.

“If Falun Gong members are willing to give up their time to entertain the crowds, their contributions should be welcomed, not banned,” says Mr Dunne.

“Around the world the Falun Gong entries to similar parades win prizes for their loud, vivid and festive entries – it is exactly what parades like this are about and the kids will really enjoy it.

“It’s now time the Auckland Parade organisers reconsider their position.

“Falun Gong have said they will simply be parading and not making politics of the day – but it seems the Auckland Santa Parade Trust is not willing to do the same.

“In past months, there have been many examples where New Zealand politicians and community leaders have succumbed to pressure from Chinese officials.

“It undermines the New Zealand’s autonomy and those who refuse to bow to the pressure deserve praise,” says Mr Dunne.

Examples of people bowing to Beijing pressure include former North Shore Mayor George Wood cancelling his plans to see the Divine Performing Arts show in Auckland, after the Chinese Consulate rang him to say that Falun Gong was involved in April this year.

The Dalai Lama was also refused an official Government welcome on his visit this year, following vocal Chinese disapproval of the spiritual leader.

“National and local politicians should not be making decisions influenced by pressure from a foreign, undemocratic government with a terrible human rights record.

“On this basis, there is no good reason to exclude this community group from Santa Parades,” says Mr Dunne.

ENDS

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