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Jun 12, 2006

Focus:Civil Rights
Action Request:Petition
Location:Canada

Support Falun Gong Peaceful 24-hour Appeal Site In front of the Vancouver Chinese Consulate

Add Your Voice to the Petition

Dear Friends:

On June 8, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan ordered local Falun Gong practitioners to dismantle the appeal site they've maintained outside the Chinese Consulate 24/7, rain or shine, for the past five years. Mayor Sullivan said the group's signs and booth erected by the consulate contravene a city bylaw.

The Falun Gong practitioners say they were initially given verbal permission to hold a constant vigil at the site in order to raise awareness of the persecution against Falun Gong in China, now in its seventh year.

They say the site bears witness to the thousands of practitioners who have been tortured and killed as a result of the persecution, and believe they should be allowed to remain until the persecution comes to an end.

Please sign the online petition at www.globalrescue.net/van.htm.

It would also be very helpful and much appreciated if you would write an email or letter to Mayor Sullivan asking him to re-think his stance on the bylaw, as the site is not a safety hazard, and previous city councils were not averse to it. Letters should be sent by Friday, June 16 which is the date the site is to be dismantled.

Contact information:

Email: mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca
Mailing address: 453 West 12th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V59 1V4

 



News Links


Epoch Times: Chinese Consulate Protest Display Must Go, Says Vancouver Mayor
http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-6-10/42569.html



Vancouver 24 Hours: Time to dismantle: Sullivan
Falun Gong protest By JOHN PIGEON, 24 HOURS
http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/News/2006/06/09/1622021-sun.html

According to Mayor Sam Sullivan, the Falun Gong protest stationed outside the Chinese consulate has to go.

"I had to be pretty clear that it was a [bylaw] violation and that there is sympathy to the issues of Falun Gong and we wish them well in their efforts to protest," he said.

The bylaw states that no structures may be built on public property.

"There's a lot of issues of public disorder that I think over time my plan is to every couple of months take on a new bylaw that needs attention," he said.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says the mayor has overstepped his boundary.

"The city has no rights here. They have a duty and an obligation to conduct themselves according to Charter values," said BCCLA associate policy coordinator Micheal Vonn. "The position of the Falun Gong would be 'the human rights issue hasn't gone away, so why should we?'"

Send your comments: news@24hrs.ca

 

CBC.ca: Vancouver mayor orders Falun Gong to end 5-year consulate protest
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/09062006/3/canada-vancouver-mayor-orders-falun-gong-end-5-year-consulate.html


Fri Jun 09, 11:50 AM - Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan has set a deadline for Falun Gong protesters to remove their protest wall from the sidewalk in front of the Chinese Consulate.

The group has erected a wall of photographs of its members who they say have been tortured by the Chinese government.

The group has also maintained an around-the-clock vigil in a small booth built on the sidewalk as part of the protest, which has been going on for the past five years.

The mayor said the group has until June 19 to take down the structures, as they contravene city bylaws. If they're not removed, the city will move in.

"I have expressed to the Falun Gong that I respect their issues with human rights, but I have told them that I expect them to adhere to the bylaws the way any other citizens would."

That prompted a demonstration by a group of Falun Gong practitioners at Vancouver City Hall on Thursday.

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says it's not up to the mayor to decide when a protest has gone on long enough.

"The mayor doesn't get to say when citizens have finished expressing
themselves," she said. "Certainly, the position of the Falun Gong would be the human rights issue hasn't gone away, and why should we."

The group said it's not going away, and intends to maintain the vigil
outside the consulate until the persecution in China comes to an end.

The Falun Gong spiritual movement was first introduced to the public in 1992, and now has an estimated 70 million practitioners in China.

It has been outlawed by the Chinese government, and the group says followers in China have been persecuted, with more than 2,800 people tortured to death.

Send your comments: http://www.cbc.ca/contact/index.jsp


News 1130: All new radio: Sullivan tells Falun Gong protesters to pack up

By: Claudia Kwan
http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article.jsp?content=20060608_173136_2392

June 08, 2006 - 2:31 pm - If you've driven past Granville and 16th in the past five years, you've seen them around the clock: Falun Gong practitioners protesting outside the Chinese consulate. Now, they say their right to protest is being affected by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. The mayor has personally intervened in what he's calling a bylaw issue. An enforcement order is now up at the protest site, ordering the removal of a hut which he says has been built on public property. The Falun Gong practitioners have been given until noon next Friday to comply.

The question becomes why now, and whether this is motivated by political pressure. Sullivan insists it's all about being equal with the way bylaws are enforced. The mayor admits this is a delicate situation and says he does sympathize with the Falun Gong cause. He says they will still be allowed to picket.

Protesters say removal of the hut will seriously affect their ability to continue their protest 24 hours 7 days a week, and they say they've been ambushed by this order. They are vowing to check out all their legal options before they comply. Sullivan refused to say what would happen if the hut isn't down by the deadline.


News1130 Listener Line
Hear something on News1130 you want to sound off on? If you want to share your opinion on one of our stories, leave a comment about our programming or respond to our web poll question, call us on our Listener Line at 604-877-6332.

Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun
BYLAW CRACKDOWN COULD END UP IN COURT: Falun Gong supporters line 12th Avenue outside of city hall to protest against removal of structures at the Chinese consulate.

Vancouver Sun: Mayor orders Falun Gong hut removed: Structure and sign outside Chinese consulate 'contravene bylaw'

Byline: Jonathan Fowlie, with a file from Frances Bula

Friday, June 9, 2006 - Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan has called for removal of a five-year-old Falun Gong protest structure outside the Chinese consulate, saying it contravenes a bylaw and must be taken down as soon as possible.

"We claim to be a nation that lives by the rule of law and if we want to be serious about that we have to enforce our bylaws equally," Sullivan said at a news conference Thursday.

"Nobody is allowed to build structures on public property and this is public property."Sullivan said that on Thursday morning, city staff posted an order on the large blue billboards and hut attached to the fence outside the Chinese consulate on Granville Street near 16th Avenue, demanding the entire structure be removed by noon on June 16.

Signed by city engineering manager Tom Timm, the order says the structures "encroach upon and obstruct the free use of the street and are illegal."Practitioners of Falun Gong are at the site 24 hours a day to protest what they say is China's persecution of followers. On Thursday, a sign at the site said members have been holding constant vigil for 1,754 days.Reacting to news of the order on Thursday, Falun Gong practitioners and other supporters gathered outside city hall to voice their opposition.

"The signs are not just signs. They are the voice of people and the image of people being persecuted," said Mansour Sedighi, who helped found the display in July 2001."This is how we can tell people what's going on -- the only thing we have," he added.

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said she believes Sullivan's decision was politically motivated and called on him to change his mind.

"It is a grand day for democracy when the mayor of Vancouver invokes the rule of law to shut down a peaceful protest against genocide," she said.

"This has been a five-year-long peaceful protest that the mayor is now saying is illegal because he won't issue a permit to allow it to continue."

Sullivan said the protest display has always contravened a city bylaw and he is moving on the issue now because it is finally within his power to do so.

"I'm the mayor now. I was sympathetic to them [when it went up] and I still am, but now that I'm the mayor I believe it's my role to ensure that our bylaws actually have meaning and that they are equally maintained by all groups," he said.

Former mayor Larry Campbell said on Thursday he agrees the Falun Gong installation violates the bylaw but he doesn't see a need to take it down.

"If Sam takes that down, they will be back every single day," Campbell said from Ottawa, where he is a senator.

"I agree that it is an infraction of the bylaw, but is this the best use of our police resources? There's bylaws being broken in this city every day."

Campbell said he was approached by the Chinese consulate on the issue during his time in office, but he never saw a reason to act. He said he doesn't necessarily agree with the protest.

At his news conference, Sullivan said he would have no problem with further protests at the site as long as the signs and hut came down. He also made it clear that his decision had no basis in politics, and that he was in no way influenced by the Chinese government or consul.

The mayor added this will not be an isolated case, and that he intends to personally tackle other bylaw infractions in future. "My plan is to every couple of months take on a new bylaw that I think needs attention," he said.

In an interview Thursday, Falun Gong lawyer Clive Ansley said he thinks Sullivan's decision goes beyond dutiful adherence to bylaw enforcement and is likely politically motivated."If you believe [Sullivan's explanation] you probably believe in the tooth fairy as well. I think he is being a bit economical with the truth," he said.

Ansley said he believes the city is acting in "bad faith" and that it should issue a permit to allow the structure to remain. He said he would like to negotiate a solution with Sullivan, but is willing to go to court. If it comes to that, he said, he believes Falun Gong will win.

"If [Sullivan] wants to make it a legal issue, then I think the law is quite clear that when it comes to permits, you can't exercise discretion in bad faith."

jfowlie@png.canwest.com


BANNED IN CHINA
A look at a practice that is banned in China.

What: Also known as Falun Dafa, Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that combines exercises, meditation and a moral philosophy based on truth, compassion and tolerance.

Origins: The Falun Gong has roots in ancient Chinese culture and was first introduced to the public in China in 1992.
About the protest: Practitioners of Falun Gong have been outside the Chinese consulate in Vancouver seven days a week, 24 hours a day for about five years. They are attempting to publicize the persecution of Falun Gong members in China. They say that as of March 2006, more than 2,800 practitioners have died as a result of torture. Members are protesting in other Canadian cities as well, including Toronto where they continue to stand in front of two large wooden signs erected in front of the Chinese consulate.


The Province: Falun Gong told to move along
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=02aec55a-e353-4462-9fec-9ceac4550c69

John Bermingham, The Province
Published: Friday, June 09, 2006

After five years, Falun Gong protesters on Vancouver's Granville Street have been told by Mayor Sam Sullivan to pack up.
The city has ordered the group to remove its protest hut and sign from outside the Chinese Consulate by next Friday, saying the protesters are breaching the streets-andtraffic bylaw.

But the meditation group says it will stay there. It has been staging a round-the-clock protest at Granville and 16th Avenue since 2000 to protest persecution by the Chinese government.

"After five years, it's time they adhere to the bylaw," Sullivan said yesterday. "The point has been made."

Sullivan said the Chinese government and the federal government have previously requested that the city take action, but he's doing this on his own.

He met the protesters May 25 and told them the structures must come down.

They will see this is clearly against the law, and they, I think, will voluntarily take the signs down," added Sullivan.

Falun Gong spokeswoman Sophia Bronwen said Sullivan is caving into pressure from
senior governments.

"I think it has to do with the trade with our sister city of Guangzhou," said Bronwen.

"It's the economic factor that is at play, because everyone is trying to make a buck in China."

In a letter to the city, the group's lawyer said the "exhibit" was erected with permission and added that the issue is headed for the courts.

"When we started there, we said we were not going to leave until the persecution stopped," said Bronwen. "And it hasn't stopped yet."

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said the Charter of Rights carries more weight than a city traffic bylaw.

"Clearly, this is a freedom-of-expression issue," said Vonn.

"It's obviously a very grim day for Canadian democracy when the mayor of Vancouver tries to involve the rule of law as an excuse to shut down a protest about human-rights violations."

Chinese radio talk-show host Ronald Leung said his callers oppose the Falun Gong protest.

"They are quite annoyed by having this permanent protest demonstration-camp in our streets," he said.

Vancouver police spokesman Const. Tim Fanning said: "We haven't had any problems with the Falun Gong people."

jbermingham@png.canwest.com



Victoria Times Colonist: Vancouver mayor demands end of Falun Gong protest

DATE: 2006.06.09; VANCOUVER -- Mayor Sam Sullivan has called for the removal of a five-year-old Falun Gong protest structure outside the Chinese Consulate, saying it contravenes a city bylaw and must be taken down as soon as possible.

"We claim to be a nation that lives by the rule of law and if we want to be serious about that we have to enforce our bylaws equally," Sullivan said at a news conference Thursday.

"Nobody is allowed to build structures on public property and this is public property."

Sullivan said that on Thursday morning, city staff posted an order on the large blue billboards and hut attached to the fence outside the Chinese Consulate on Granville Street near 16th Avenue demanding the entire structure be removed by noon on Friday, June 16. Signed by city engineering manager Tom Timm, the order says the structures "encroach upon and obstruct the free use of the street and are illegal."

Practitioners of Falun Gong sit at the site 24 hours a day to protest what they say is persecution in China.

 

Metro: Falun gong Rally puts focus on consulate hut
by Jeff Hodson

Vancouver: 09 June 2006 - Falun Gong practitioners rallied outside city hall yesterday, protesting the city's demands to dismantle a protest hut that has stood outside the Chinese Consulate for the past five years.

While sympathetic to the Falun Gong 's protest, Mayor Sam Sullivan personally intervened to have the hut removed. because it violates a bylaw prohibiting structure from being built on city lands.

Sue Zhang, a Falun Gong practitoner since 1998, accused the Mayor of bowing to political pressure from the Chinese government.

While the Chinese government had appealed to past administrations to have the protesters removed, the mayor was adamant that there was no such pressure.

"I have met with the Chinese consul General and it never came up in conversation...It has nothing to do with the Chinese government, the Chinese consul "Sullivan said.

The group has protested alleged human rights abuses outside the consulate 24 hours a day for the past five years.

The group is still free to protest outside the consulate, Sullivan said.
Additional reports from Talent TV News and Global TV

NTDTV News
http://ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/aReadArticle.jsp?id=45371

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Monday June 12, 2006, 9:24 pm
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