Mr. Speaker, last October this House voted unanimously to instruct the Prime Minister to take advantage of the APEC conference to privately raise with the president of China the matter of the imprisonment by the Chinese government of 13 Falun Gong practitioners who are members of Canadian families.
As a result of this unanimous motion and follow-up work by our embassy staff in Beijing, 8 of the 13 were released. Some are now in Canada, where they are model citizens. Tianxong Peng, for example, was freed on Christmas Eve and now lives with his sister Helen here in Ontario.
Sadly, a year later, as the Prime Minister prepares for another APEC conference, the situation in China has become worse, not better. These few releases have been accompanied by the arrests of thousands of non-violent Falun Gong practitioners. Today, 17 individuals who are the brothers and sisters and the parents and the children of Canadians are imprisoned in China.
I therefore ask the Prime Minister to take advantage of the upcoming APEC conference to raise the issue of these 17 peaceful individuals so that they too may be allowed to come home to their families here in Canada.