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In July 1999, the Chinese government, under the supervision of President Jiang Zemin, started what has become one of the most significant persecutions in modern times. Falun Gong (Falun Dafa), a peaceful spiritual practice consisting of exercises and meditation, was banned.
Its 70 million Chinese practitioners have suffered physical and mental abuse for having refused to abandon their belief in the principle of "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance." Since then, tens of thousands have been sent to labour camps and subjected to daily torture, hundreds have been imprisoned and others abused in mental hospitals, and over 131 have been tortured to death; this includes many university students and professors. These measures of repression violate the Chinese constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which China has signed.
The Team Canada trade mission is an ideal opportunity for Canada to prove its commitment to promote fundamental human rights for all. Is not the promise of a wonderful future in which Canada rejoices with the respect and recognition of the Chinese people at least as important as negotiating a few contracts with those who hold power in China? Is not preserving the tradition of helping the oppressed people of the world even more important to the Canadian people?
We ask you to remember the fundamental values which have given Canada its worldwide reputation. Help earn our country the continued respect and admiration of people all over the world. Help stop the persecution of Falun Dafa!
U2 student in Soil Science and other Falun Dafa practitioners at universities across Canada
Principal Bernard Shapiro and Concordia University rector Frederick Lowy are among the university representatives on the Team Canada trade mission to China organized by the federal government.