22 May, 2001
Dear Prime Minister
Thank you for your letter dated 18 April 2001 passing on representations made by your constituent, Ms Serene Luo, of Marsfield, NSW, about Falungong.
As you would know, we take no position on the teachings or practices of Falungong. We are concerned, however, about the human rights aspects of the Chinese Government’s treatment of Falungong practitioners in China.
I deeply sympathise with the plight of Ms Luo and her family. The apparent refusal of the Chinese Government to allow her mother to exit the country is a breach of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. China has signed, but not yet ratified the latter. As my Department has received other reports of the Chinese Government failing to allow relatives of Australian citizens to exercise this internationally recognized human rights, officers of my Department will raise this issue with the Chinese soon.
Please thank your constituent, Ms Luo for her letter.
30 May 2001
Dear Ms Luo
Thank you for your letter of 9 March 2001 about your family’s involvement in the Falun Gong movement. I regret the delay in replying.
I regret to read that your family was unable to be together for the birth of your baby. I want to assure you that my government is very concerned by China’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners and has raised these concerns with representatives of the Chinese government. Senior Australian officials have expressed unequivocally the government’s concern to Chinese representatives, including during our bilateral human rights dialogue with China in Canberra in August last year.
My government is also seeking to help China improve its approach to human rights through a technical assistance programme. This programme is focused on delivering practical and real changes to China’s handling of human rights cases, including those related to Falun Gong practitioners.
Australia will continue to urge China improve it s approach to the Falun Gong at every appropriate opportunity.