Falun Gong fails to gain cash or apology

27 May

Spiritual group Falun Gong has failed to get a public apology and cash payout after being banned from street parades by Wellington City Council.

The group was also unsuccessful in its attempt to take part in this weekend’s Chinese New Year Festival in Wellington.

The Human Rights Commission mediated a meeting last Thursday between Falun Gong, the council and festival organiser Asian Events Trust at which the issues were discussed.

It was seen as a way to stop Falun Gong taking High Court action against the council, which had barred the group from street parades because it considered it a political movement.

Falun Gong spokesman Chris Thomas and council spokesman Richard MacLean said the mediation was confidential and both refused to comment.

However, it is understood that Falun Gong asked the council to publicly apologise for the way it had treated the group.

It had also requested a cash payment from the council to help cover costs. The amount requested is unknown.

At the meeting, the Asian Events Trust told Falun Gong that it would not be invited to take part in this year’s Chinese New Year Festival, which includes a street parade on Sunday.

It is understood the trust was unconvinced that Falun Gong would contribute to the creative content of the event.

The trust also harboured feelings of distrust, hurt and suspicion linked to the behaviour of Falun Gong in previous events.

Falun Gong defied a ban two years ago when its float, decorated to look like a small boat, outmanoeuvred security guards and joined the tail of the parade.

The trust diverted inquiries to adviser Perry Walker, who works for the council as a stakeholder engagement manager.

“We were told that what went on in the mediation room was confidential … and I am not able to comment on the mediation itself,” he said. “But I do express some concern that somebody has.”

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/200902/t87440.htm

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