April 19, 2014
James Lunney is calling upon the Chinese government to immediately release a Falun Gong practitioner who is on Day 31 of a hunger strike in the Asian country.
Lunney, MP for Nanaimo-Alberni, wrote China’s Canadian ambassador Zhang Junsai asking that his government immediately intercede on behalf of Chinese citizen Yinghua Chen, 41, who has been incarcerated without charges at a detention centre in Shijiazheun, approximately 300 kilometres from Beijing.
Lunney was writing on behalf of Chen’s Canadian brother Yingyi Chen who lives in his riding.
In his letter, Lunney said that on March 12, Yinghua Chen was supporting a friend, Xiaohui Bian, who was trying to visit her father in prison and was holding a banner outside the facility that said “I want to visit my father.”
Lunney said both were arrested and incarcerated without charges being laid.
He said in the letter that Ms. Chen is a Falun Gong practitioner and poses no threat to China or its government.
“She is a peaceful person and since being incarcerated, she has refused to eat until she is released,” Lunney wrote.
“Her family is not permitted to see her, but her lawyer visited her in jail on April 13 and said Ms. Chen is very weak and close to death and her condition continues to deteriorate. Your Excellency, I am asking you to intervene in this matter and have Ms. Chen released from prison. She is a mother, daughter and a sister and her family is extremely concerned for her well-being. Please do everything in your power to ensure she does not perish in jail for no reason.”
Calgary Centre MP Joan Crockatt, who represents Chen’s father who lives in his constituency, also asked the ambassador to intervene in the case and to immediately release Chen so her medical needs may be attended to.
“Chen’s father, a Calgarian and a Canadian citizen, was turned away from seeing her (on April 15) at the Shijiazhuang Detention Centre and he is desperately concerned over her safety, as am I,” Crockatt said.