昨天出板的 "澳洲人報"周未版(March 12 – 13)長篇幅刊登了一篇評論員文章，題為 "向中國叩頭"。並附帶一幅很顯目的漫畫，漫畫上的意思一目瞭然: 亞力山大外長在想方設法向中國叩頭, 背景是一個手舉 "法輪功" 牌子的人被強迫移走。
單看背景，人們很容易錯覺: "這一定是獨裁國家裡的 ‘內政’ 問題吧…", 不幸的是，這種事情，發生在澳洲。
這篇由" 澳洲人報"國事編緝麥克.吏達克提(Mike Steketee)所作的文章，比較深入的評論了’堪培拉橫幅事件’ 及由此引致的相關事情的一些細節。儘管其中對法輪功的認識還很膚淺甚至有誤，但吏達克提先生從民主理念的角度批評了亞力山大及政府在對待法輪功學員的請願權與政府一貫的民主理念相反： 在對伊戰爭中澳洲為了民主的理念不惜與美國一起去伊拉克與獨裁者兵槍相見，但為了向中共政權叩頭，這些理念已變得不再這樣重要了!
‘堪培拉橫幅事件’ 事由：BBC英國臺報道說， 在2002年3月19日, 中國外交部長唐家璇在澳大利亞首都坎培拉與澳洲外長唐納舉行會談時直接向澳大利亞當局施加壓力, 要求 "限制他所稱的法輪功成員在當地的’XX’活動"。 唐家璇以 "以免此事損害兩國之間的關係" 為由提出了要求, 他表示，"將這些法輪功成員從中國駐澳大利亞大使館門前驅離並非涉及人權或自由的問題"。 同時, 唐家璇還詆毀在中國駐澳大利亞大使館門前和平請願的法輪功學員, 把他們要求江澤民政府停止對法輪功的滅絕政策、停止虐殺中國人民視為 ‘在這裡惹事生非’ 或 ‘製造麻煩’ , 是 ‘真正的XX組織’。 顯然, 中國外交部長的施壓起到了作用, 澳洲外長唐納先生在 ‘證書’ 上把法輪功學員的"真善忍"之類的橫幅和請願活動用的展板說成是 "有損外交使團的 ‘尊嚴’ ", 並行使外交特權法, 持續每月續簽有效期30天的 ‘證書’，禁止法輪功修煉者在中國大使館前抗議活動中使用這種橫幅的權利，已近達三年之久, 至今從未間斷。
中共流氓成性，誰要與這個政權作交易，到頭來他必然頭破血流，就算能全身而退，也難保他人格還全。而為了要討好魔鬼，不惜壓制自己本國的民眾，就算是從一個商業性的 ‘純政冶家’的角度來說， 亞力山大先生畢竟難避有 "目光短淺" 之嫌了。
但是，亞力山大先生並非打壓人權的凶手，他也只僅僅是個受害者 – 在中共的高壓甚至恐嚇之下，很多時候他也是有苦肚裡嗯。但問題的關鍵是：路是自己走的。尤其在民主國家，絕沒有中共鐵權下奴民們的 ‘株聯九族’ 之懮。所以，為什麼一定要走這條黑暗之路呢? 為什麼不走一條堂堂正正的路呢?!
奉告大家二句: 見到亞力山大先生的時候，請鼓勵鼓勵他直起腰板走路，路會越走越直的; 你若遇到中共魔黨的時候，要遠之避之，不然到頭來 ‘吃不了兜著走’，幸運時只是少條手手腳腳什麼的，倒運時，性命有懮或人格無存 – 千萬小心。
如下是Mike Steketee 的 全文(jpg file), in English:
Kowtowing to China
Mike Steketee, National affairs editor
12 March 2005
Copyright 2005 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved
ONCE a month, Alexander Downer signs a certificate banning adherents of Falun Gong from displaying banners and making excessive noise outside the Chinese embassy in Canberra.
The Foreign Minister has been doing so for the past two years because, as his department explains it, he has determined that in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention, fixed banners or signs, including those on vehicles, together with amplified noise, "impair the dignity" of the Chinese embassy.
The real reason is that the Chinese, who call Falun Gong an "evil cult", complained about signs that read "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" and "Stop the Killing", as well as the playing of exercise music with a Chinese voice-over.
According to the group, Australia is the only democratic country to impose such restrictions on its members, or practitioners, as they prefer to call themselves — an assertion the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not challenge when it was put to it this week.
Unfortunately, the Chinese do everything to impair the dignity of Falun Gong practitioners. Amnesty International says tens of thousands are being detained in China, mostly in "re-education through labour" centres but also in prisons and mental hospitals. It reports that total alleged deaths in custody had reached about 500 by the end of 2002.
The US State Department says that several hundred reportedly have died due to torture, abuse and neglect. Falun Gong claims to have verified 1423 deaths and that the total could be as high as 10,000. Whatever the figure, it is one of the worst examples of repression of Chinese citizens since the Cultural Revolution.
China cracked down on Falun Gong in 1999, after more than 10,000 people held a silent protest outside the main Chinese leaders’ compound in Beijing. It was the biggest challenge to Chinese authority since the mass demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The practice of Falun Gong is similar to tai chi and aims to improve the body and mind through special exercises and meditation. The Chinese Government regards it as a threat because it has spiritual elements and Chinese history is replete with political rebellions fuelled by religious movements. Falun Gong has some of the qualities of a sect, including its founder Li Hongzhi, now living in the US, and his teachings, which include that human intelligence and civilisation were brought to Earth by aliens from outer space.
Its literature includes criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s attack on traditional culture and references such as the "communist evil spectre" and that "the only way of saving oneself is to thoroughly discard the CCP".
But there is nothing to support the Chinese Government’s characterisation of Falun Gong as akin to dangerous cults such as the Branch Davidians, who committed mass suicide when raided by the police in the US in 1993, or Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo, responsible for the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.
Many Australians driving past the Chinese embassy and consulates in other cities have seen the Falun Gong in action, if that is the word. It is the epitome of passive protest. They are often sitting cross-legged, meditating.
Australian spokeswoman Kay Rubacek concedes there was one incident that broke from the group’s insistence on peaceful demonstration and was "a bit of a black mark used against us". Several years ago, some practitioners entered the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Melbourne and started holding a news conference. Most left when asked, but one person was removed by the police. Rubacek says it is the only incident of its kind in Australia.
You can draw your own conclusions why Australia finds it necessary, unlike other countries, to impose a statutory restriction on a group just because the Chinese say they are offended, as opposed to the police simply keeping an eye on members or responding to specific complaints about breaches of the law. This week the Government went further to please the Chinese by excluding Falun Gong from talks it convened in Canberra with non-government organisations on human rights in China.
These discussions are held as part of the input for the annual human rights dialogue Australia has with China. Haven’t heard much about those? That is because they are held behind closed doors. Even the NGOs participate in the preliminary talks only on the condition that they do not speak about them publicly.
Falun Gong was prepared to abide by these conditions but this week it was dis-invited to the talks. Why? Because it held a protest outside the foreign affairs department to coincide with the meeting. This included displays of information about Falun Gong and a demonstration of Chinese torture methods.
A foreign affairs department spokesman said Falun Gong members had been told their attendance might have to be reconsidered but they decided to go ahead with the demonstration anyway.
"We advised them formally on Tuesday, the day before the consultations, that their invitation had been withdrawn because the protest was not consistent with the co-operative spirit of the consultations," he added.
That certainly sorts out Australian priorities. Punishing people for engaging in peaceful protest is not consistent with democratic values. These are the kinds of values we hold so dear that we are prepared to go to war for them to see them blossom in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East — at least, that is our rationalisation after failing to find the weapons of mass destruction that were the original reason for falling in behind our other great and powerful friends, the Americans.
But these values apparently are not as important as kowtowing to the Chinese. The foreign affairs spokesman said the restrictions on Falun Gong activities outside the Chinese embassy should not be interpreted "as indicating any lessening of the Government’s concern for the rights of Falun Gong practitioners" and that these concerns had been raised at the last dialogue in October.
The annual dialogue is a means of quarantining human rights issues to a private meeting and is a substitute for public criticisms of China’s appalling human rights record, including in the UN Human Rights Commission. As Australian ambassador to China Alan Thomas put it last year: "I don’t get up with a microphone in Tiananmen Square and that is appreciated [by the Chinese Government]."
Australia argues that this approach is more effective, but the results are hard to find. Australia has raised a series of individual Falun Gong cases in the annual dialogues, including, in two consecutive years, that of the brother of an Australian citizen arrested in China for being a Falun Gong practitioner. "He still died in a labour camp," says Rubacek.
Yes, it is important to have good relations with China and not only because they buy lots of our goods. And no, we should not pretend that a country of our size is ever going to have a big influence on Chinese behaviour. But that does not mean we always have to bend over backwards further than any other country to find favour. That just means they don’t respect us in the morning.