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Chinese Govt Campaign Against Freedom

17 July

Removal Of Falun Gong Sign Is Participation In Chinese Government Campaign Against Freedom Of Expression

The removal of a sign advertising the Falun Gong, by Auckland Airport after requests from the Chinese Embassy, plainly contributes to a broader campaign denying freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

Such an action denies a fundamental right protected in both international and New Zealand law.

"It is surprising and appalling that any authority in New Zealand, public or private, is joining in a Chinese Government campaign against freedom of expression ? and are prepared to put this campaign above New Zealand's own Bill of Rights which protects freedom of expression", said Amnesty International NZ spokesperson, Rebecca Lineham.

The Chinese Government banned the Falun Gong in 1999 branding them as an "heretical organisation", as part of continued repression of spiritual and religious groups in China. Chinese Government authorities have been detaining members and suspected members of the organisation, and permitting the use of violence against practitioners. Reports of torture and deaths in custody have continually increased.

"At a time when Amnesty International is campaigning for New Zealand to be a country that speaks out bravely for human rights, it is imperative that basic rights are safeguarded here at home," Ms Lineham said.

Amongst the range of reported situations in which Falun Gong members have been arbitrarily detained without trial, or after unfair trials, the Chinese Government has never provided persuasive evidence to back up their allegations of Falun Gong misdeeds.


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