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Taiwan/US: John/Jane/Sharon/Yaning

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Human Rights Torch Continues on to Vienna

By Florian Godovits
Epoch Times Germany Staff

Ricardo Leppe carries the torch of the
Ricardo Leppe carries the torch of the "Global Human Rights Torch Relay" through the streets of Vienna. (The Epoch Times)

VIENNA—"The world should know what's happening in China", explained Ricardo Leppe, 17, who carried the torch of the "Global Human Rights Torch Relay" through the streets of Vienna on Tuesday, September 11th. He and his schoolmates from a high school in Wiener Neustadt/Lower Austria all ran "to stop the Olympics 2008 in Beijing," as one of Ricardo´s schoolmates put it.

A sudden rain shower poured down when the torch was handed over to the Austrian MP Alfred Steinhauser, Judiciary speaker of Austria´s Green Party, on Michaelerplatz in Vienna´s inner city area. Next to him, soprano soloist Melanie Fleck sang the waltz-intro of the song "Human Rights Torch in Beijing" in Chinese when the torch was handed from Steinhauser to Leppe, to then make its way through the inner city area of Vienna.

"The weather doesn't support us, but many people do", said the President of the Austrian section of the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM), Katharina Grieb. The IGFM is among many other human rights organisations like CIPFG (Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong) or Save Tibet who support the human rights torch-relay.

Members of all parties in Austria supported the event, but not a boycott of the Olympics in Beijing. Artists and athletes also spoke out at the event which was followed by a nearly 4 hour long concert in front of one of the most visited sights of Vienna, the former Habsburg-residency Hofburg.

Austrian MP and Green Party spokesperson Alfred Steinhauser receives the Human Rights torch from Romania on September 11th at Vienna´s Michaelerplatz. (The Epoch Times)
Austrian MP and Green Party spokesperson Alfred Steinhauser receives the Human Rights torch from Romania on September 11th at Vienna´s Michaelerplatz. (The Epoch Times)

"Torture, executions, organ-harvesting, persecution of various religious and ethnic groups – you name it. China breaks each and every article of the 30 articles of the UN´s Human Rights Declaration", Grieb said. This would disqualify China as a host for such a big event like the Olympic Games.

"We have to use the higher exposure of China to public awareness during the Olympics", said MP Steinhauser. "In a country like China, where cruelty and disrespect against human beings are shown so much, we have to think of other opportunities than just dialogue. But at the moment I think we should talk".

"Those athletes going to China must be aware that they are supporting a system of oppression" said high-school athletics coach Peter Steinwender, who accompanied the torch on its 4-kilometer-path with his students "For sure, I think a boycott of the Games in Beijing is the right thing", he added.

China-born Australian citizen Jane Dai arrived with her seven-year-old daughter Fadu who lost her father through the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Ms. Dai's husband, Fadu's father, was tortured to death in a labour camp. She appealed "to all mothers on earth" to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Children like her own, said Dai, would ask us in the future, "What did we do about this matter?".

posted by Yaning Liu @ 12:55 AM   

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