Monday, December 10, 2007

Dream Run for Former Chinese Basketball Star

November 26, 2007

Dream Run for Former Chinese Basketball Star

Filed under: Australia & NZ, Headlines, Torch Relay News | November 26th, 2007

By David Rubacek
Epoch Times Australia

Former Chinese National Team basketball player Kai Chen during the final part of his run through Sydney. (The Epoch Times)

In an effort to raise awareness about human rights in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, former Chinese National Team basketball player Kai Chen, ran a 25km run through the heart of Sydney last Sunday.

Wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Olympic freedom slogans and images of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the 54-year-old’s journey began at Olympic Park and finished at Sydney Harbour.

Flanked by supporters at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair the Los Angeles-based author explained his dream of freeing the Chinese athletes from being pawns for a suppressive regime.

“I am here for my dream, that one day Chinese athletes will no longer be tools and lackeys for a government that suppresses their own individuality and freedom,” Mr Chen said.

As the 2008 Games approach Mr Chen said his conscience led him to embark on an “Olympic freedom” campaign and the promotion of his Olympic Freedom T-shirt during their travels to China.

“I hope more people will stand up and speak out”.

Mr Chen said he is appealing to all athletes and tourists that will visit Beijing next year during the Games to take some action to support Chinese people.

“I want to tell all the athletes that if and when you go to Beijing to attend the Olympics next year; remember to tell the Chinese people that the Tiananmen Square massacre indeed happened,” said Mr Chen.

“And make sure that you make some gestures, in any way you feel comfortable, to show that you stand with freedom loving people in China and not with the illegitimate and despotic government.”

The Beijing-born former national basketball star explained that his family was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970’s, because some of his relatives resided in anti-communist Taiwan.

During the 1980s he “escaped” to the US on a student visa and married an American.

Kai Chen released his autobiography this year entitled One in a Billion . It documents his rise to basketball stardom, tasting freedom while playing international matches and his family tragedies during the Mao era.

Mr Chen aims to continue the next leg of his Olympic freedom run in Taiwan.

His Olympic Freedom Run series began on August 5 in Los Angeles, US, and last week he participated in the Global Human Rights Torch Relay in Melbourne.


Kai Chen

Joined: 17 Apr 2006
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Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:44 am Post subject: Supplemental Article


Human Rights Torch Travels Through Melbourne

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 09:36:00


Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia lit up Friday evening as hundreds gathered on the terrace to witness the Victorian State launch of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay. The Relay is an international campaign that seeks to bring an end to all human rights abuses fueled by the Chinese regime.


The Global Human Rights Torch Relay is initiated by the CIPFG or Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong... a global coalition established in 2006.

Melbourne held a welcoming ceremony for the Torch Relay followed by a rally the following day. The Torch Relay has gained support from various Australian politicians, councilors, lawyers, celebrities and NGOs. The Burmese, Tibetan and Darfur communities are also supporting the relay.

One of the crowd favorites was Kai Chen, a towering former Basketball player from China's national team in the 1970's. Elizabeth Szczepanska, from the Australian Polish Historical Society and who is also an athlete, gave an account of her suffering at the hands of the Polish communist regime during the Cold War.

[Elizabeth Szczepanska, Australian Polish Historical Society]:
“I know how the life in a communist country looks like, I know the extreme sense of fear and hopelessness.”

Stephen Jolly, a councilor from the City of Yarra criticized both the Chinese communist regime for its abuse of various human rights, as well as Western governments for remaining virtually silent in the face of such abuses. Mr. Jolly has himself witnessed one of the most well known atrocities committed by the communist party in China.

[Stephen Jolly, Councilor Yarra City Council]:
“I was in China in June in 1989 and I saw the People's Liberation Army shoot the people. I saw the Chinese Communist Party kill their own people.”

Kai Chen, who also witnessed the Tiananmen Square Massacre, expressed his solidarity with Ms. Szczepanska's feelings towards communism and the dangers communist regimes pose to the world.

[Kai Chen, 1970s China National Basketball Player]:

"Sometimes I feel people live in a free society do not really grasp the severity of repression in a society without freedom. And the most damaging part of it is not the material, the most damaging part is to the human soul. And they confuse your mind, they brainwash you, eventually you cannot distinguish between right and wrong, truth and false, good and evil - this is what is so damaging to the entire world.”

When foreign media question Chinese communist officials on their extremely poor human rights record, often the response given is that “China is different” to other countries and that we shouldn't compare China with any other country on human rights. Kai Chen believes that some people have already bought into this mentality.

[Kai Chen, 1970s China National Basketball Player]:

“I want to tell them: do not confuse what is different and what is evil! And do not tolerate, tolerate evil! Tolerance of difference is a virtue. Tolerance of evil is beyond vice, because you are participating in evil... If we stand by letting atrocities happen in front of our eyes, we are equally guilty.”

Event organizers say the theme “Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China” is going over well with Australians.

The CIPFG aims to go to China and independently investigate the serious allegations of human rights abuses happening there, especially those of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

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