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Falun Gong should be able to Celebrate

Falun Gong should be able to Celebrate the 2008 Chinese New Year

Tariana Turia, Ethnic Affairs spokesperson for the Maori Party

Friday 8 February 2008

Tariana Turia, Co-leader for the Maori Party and Ethnic Affairs spokesperson, has spoken in support of the rights of the Chinese spiritual movement, Falun Gong, to be able to participate in the 2008 Chinese New Year Festival.

“We have been very concerned to hear that the Falun Dafa Association has been excluded from participating in the Wellington street parade and festivities to signal the start of the Year of the Rat” said Mrs Turia.

“We support the rights of the Falun Gong as a distinctive group, to practice their beliefs, to be able to celebrate their faith and to enjoy freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act” said Mrs Turia.

“What is the rationale for banning this group – and who is calling the shots?” asked Mrs Turia.

“Is it a directive on high from the Chinese Government or is it our own Government which is restricting the rights of this community?” asked Mrs Turia. “And if it is our own Government, are we prepared to stand by and see human rights as secondary to economic relationships?”

"New Zealanders have the right to know, why discrimination is being practised in this country when it is not part of the ethos of Aotearoa” said Mrs Turia.

“People who come to this country must hold fast to the essence of who they are, but also respect the cultural values of this land” said Mrs Turia.

“We have been advised, previously, by members of the Taiwanese community, that they have experienced a similar fate, in that it appeared our Government bowed to the demands of China in denying Taiwan participation in the World Health Organisation” said Mrs Turia.

“The economic relationship with China appears to be determining the ways in which various communities can participate in this land” said Mrs Turia.

“I understand that rats are a symbol of good luck and wealth” ended Mrs Turia.

“As we enter the Year of the Rat, I wish us all the good fortune to embrace the rich diversity of relationships that make our nation so strong”.

“There is no place for exclusion or marginalisation of cultural groups” said Mrs Turia.

“Indeed, we will all be truly wealthy if we can appreciate the rights of all citizens to have the benefit of freedom of speech, and to share and value the distinctive cultural heritage of all peoples”.

ENDS

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