“Respublica” Institute issues protest over banned Falun Gong demonstration

The “Respublica” Institute has issued a statement expressing concern over interference by the Chinese Embassy’s interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs and the resulting violation of freedom of assembly.

It explains that on 28 April 2010 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) informed the Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA) in Letter No. 630/36-994-138 which is stamped “For Official Use Only”. The letter states that the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine approached Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs over a planned protest march on 13 May by members of the Falun Gong in connection with the birthday of the association’s founder.  The Embassy asked the MFA and relevant Ukrainian bodies “to not allow the protest and to ensure the safety of the work of diplomats of the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine”.

“The MFA considers it advisable to refrain from providing permission to hold the protest march on 13 May this year with the participation of members of Falun Gong, as well as other protests in future with members of this organization”.

The Kyiv authorities accordingly approached the courts and the protest march was banned.

The “Respublica” Institute asks:

the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ukraine to stop interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs and in its activities to be guided exclusively by norms of international law;

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recall Letter No. 630/36-994-138 from 28 April 2010 and to stop carrying out inappropriate functions such as encouraging the local authorities to violate civil rights.

Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right and one of its important manifestations is in actions of international solidarity. Ukraine has up till now been a country where persecuted citizens of Russia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Iran, Palestine, and Chine together with Ukrainian nationals supporting them, could express their point of view which they were unable to do in their own country. This is regardless of how governments view this point of view. We hope that Ukraine will continue to be such a country.

The statement is signed by Volodymyr Chemerys, Member of the “Respublica” Board. 

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