Reyes: CNMI, China not colluding against Falun Dafa

28 Jul

PRESS Secretary Charles P. Reyes described as “preposterous” the notion that the CNMI is in collusion with the Chinese government regarding the activities of Falun Dafa practitioners on Saipan, sources from Marianas Variety on March 17.

Reyes said this allegation is in violation of the Covenant.

“We are in compliance with Section 104 of the Covenant, which places foreign affairs under the responsibility of the U.S. government,” he said.

Falun Dafa is banned in China.

Mark B. Hanson, lawyer for the Falun Dafa Association of Saipan, said the Office of the Governor didn’ t response to his Open Government Act request inquiring whether the local and Chinese government had an agreement in dealing with Falun Dafa.

But Reyes said he didn’ t believe that such records exis.

The governor’ s office, he added, is not responsible for the records of every branch or agency of the CNMI government.

“I suggest that the request for such documents be directed to the other government agencies,” Reyes said.

The Falun Dafa Association of Saipan has been conducting its activities on Banzai Cliff in Marpi for many years now but recently the Department of Public Lands ordered the practitioners to stop using the public land in the area for their gatherings.

DPL refused to allow the Falun Dafa members to publicly display their posters and banners, and to hand out booklets and pamphlets in the Banzai Cliff area.

“This is an illegal content restriction,” Hanson said.

Reyes said that any individuals or private groups may use public lands according to CNMI law, rules, or regulations.

However, he added, there’ s no absolute right for any group to use public lands without restriction, regulation, or compensation to DPL.

“The freedom to peaceably assemble is covered under our Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. We are in compliance with this constitutional mandate and the Falun Dafa group often peacefully assembles at the Garapan Street market on Thursdays,”  he said.

Last week, local artist and Falun Dafa practitioner Chen Xiao Ping again applied for a DPL permit, but had not received a response as of press time yesterday.

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