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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Czech Vice Premier Supports the Human Rights Torch Rally

by Epoch Times Staff

Miss Xinxia Jiang receives the torch from Martin Bursik Minister of Environment while MP Katerina Jacques look on. (The Epoch Times)
Miss Xinxia Jiang receives the torch from Martin Bursik Minister of Environment while MP Katerina Jacques look on. (The Epoch Times)

PRAGUE—Many distinguished politicians, athletes and artists from the Czech Republic came out to Prague's Old Town Square to support the global Human Rights Torch Relay.

Martin Bursik, Vice-Premier of the Czech Republic and Minister for the Environment, carried the torch directly to the stage in the Old Town Square. There he passed the torch to Ms. Xinxia Jiang, a Falun Gong practitioner who was brutally tortured in a Chinese Communist Party labor camp. "Rather than talking about my feelings I want to talk about the human rights situation in China," said Mr. Bursik in answer to the moderator's question about how he felt after running with the torch. He also gave a short interview to The Epoch Times on the spot.

ET: During your coming discussions with the Chinese representatives will you mention the kind of things we have just heard from you on the stage?

Martin Bursik: Absolutely. When we hoisted the Tibetan flag in front of the Ministry of Environment in Prague, the Chinese ambassador immediately called me for a talk. At that time I was very busy for several weeks. But now they have again asked me for a meeting and I have confirmed the date. I will meet madame ambassador next week and I discuss those issues. Why? I'm concerned and very clear and they come straight from my heart. I'm sure this time there is more time to discuss human rights issues and I am sure the talks about the human right are going to be more open then before.

ET: Will you also mention persecution of the Falun Gong meditation practice?

MB I will. I have met David Kilgour in Prague (editor's note: former Canadian Secretary of State, investigator of organ harvesting in Chinese prisons) and I listened to his report in the Czech Parliament, where he described the appalling circumstances of forced organ harvesting. That is one side of the issue—the indirect evidence, transcripts of phone conversations with hospital staff, etc. On the other side there is the commonly known fact that Falun Gong is persecuted in China—there is no doubt about that. So of course I will talk about this matter.

Runners Ondrej Liska, MP and Martin Bursik, Minister of Environment, bring the torch to Prague 's Old Town Square. (The Epoch Times)
Runners Ondrej Liska, MP and Martin Bursik, Minister of Environment, bring the torch to Prague 's Old Town Square. (The Epoch Times)

ET: Are the Chinese representatives planning a state visit to the Czech Republic?

MB The earliest opportunity I will meet the Chinese Minister of the Environment will be during my visit to Bali. There will then be discussions about new commitments in the area of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases and it is very important for the world to know how China will stand to this matter. This Chinese Minister is known to be one of the "reformists" in today's China and I intend to schedule bilateral talks with him.

Lukas Pollert, Olympic gold medal for whitewater canoeing, carried the torch together with actor Jan Budar on the next stretch to the Chinese Embassy. He briefly addressed the matter as a sportsman and an Olympic medallist.

ET: Do you think it will help the chilling situation of human rights in China, if the athletes will not go to the Olympics?

LP That is not a solution. During the Olympic Games in Moscow 1980, when "half of the world" did not attend, it was shown that this approach does not pay off. When a sportsman goes to a competition, he's in fact going to compete with his friends, as sport is entertainment and not politics; it is entertainment. But from their position, the athletes should call attention to human rights abuses—in addition, as persons of note, they can do it very effectively. For example, they can talk to the reporters before they depart for Olympics and also in China itself. One's conscience is a part of the sport and sportsman should know what kind of country it is he's going to compete in and what are the problems there.

ET: Do you believe the Global Human Right Torch Relay is the very thing that can make a change?

LP As a punk-rocker before the year 1989 [Editor's Note: In 1989 the communist regime in Czechoslovakia fell.] I participated in completely "hopeless" protests. And I would have never dreamt any change would come. And indeed it did come. Even small protests are worthwhile, although it takes painstaking effort and a lot of time.

Eva Kacanu, Czech representative in the shot put, spoke on behalf of paraplegic Olympians. She described experiences from her recent competition in Taiwan, when the communist regime in mainland China prevented her fellow competitors from attending. She described her prescription for improving the human rights situation in China: "The athletes who are to go to China, should go there in any case and raise there, on the spot, their voices for human rights. If the Olympians and Paralympians unite on that, there's nothing they can't achieve."

Jan Ruml, prisoner of conscience, former Minister of Interior, MP, vice-chairman of the Czech Senate and the current head of the Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) speaks in support of human rights at the ceremony at Old Town Square in Prague. (The Epoch Times)
Jan Ruml, prisoner of conscience, former Minister of Interior, MP, vice-chairman of the Czech Senate and the current head of the Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) speaks in support of human rights at the ceremony at Old Town Square in Prague. (The Epoch Times)

Jan Ruml, prisoner of conscience, former Minister of Interior, MP, vice-chairman of the Czech Senate and the current head of the Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country), was also one of those who wished luck to the Torch Relay: "The Olympic Charter emphasizes respect for the individual and the harmonious development of human personality and upholding of human dignity. None of this is happening in today's China. Thus I think China does not qualify to stage the Olympic Games. I consider this torch to be the sole, correct and proper Olympic Torch and I wish it as much sunshine, as we have today here in Prague."

A number of artists and musicians also made their comments on the stage about human rights abuses in China.

Pepa Nos, songster said: "The ideas of communism were perverse already from their very origin and everyone knows that. But harvesting organs from people who practice Falun Gong meditation ... to dismantle a person for parts and then to sell them ... that is a beastliness that goes beyond the framework of even the communist ideology."

Ridina Ahmed, singer, asked for "Human rights in China, human rights everywhere."

Matej Ruppert, singer for the band Monkey Business, said, "Communist China can never comply with the ideals of the Olympic movement."

Lesek Semelka, also a singer, opined, "Communists said that music with a big beat undermines socialism and in fact it ultimately turned out to be that the big beat music has really contributed to the fall of communism in our country. Artificial songs created by the order of the government could always be recognized by the absence of artistic quality. Good music can help a good thing and I believe in the curative, purifying power of a good song. Even though my songs do not address the question of human rights in China, I'm here because I feel a certain moral obligation. When we had communism here, surely there were demonstrations in many democratic countries to help us all the same, and many people attended them."

During the ceremony at the Old Town Square, various notables read letters of support to the Human Rights Torch Relay including the ex-president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, Defence Secretary Vlasta Parkanova, Vice-Premier for European Affairs Mr. Alexandr Vondra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Karel Schwarzenberg, Bishop Monsignor Václav Malý, silver Olympic silver medalist Adolfina Tacova and Bishop Monsignor Vojtech Cikrle.

posted by Yaning Liu @ 12:48 AM   

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