Madam Speaker, I am rising today to follow up on a matter that has been before this House since October 2002.
On October 24, 2002, the House voted unanimously to support the following motion which I had placed before it:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Prime Minister should take advantage of his upcoming meeting with President Jiang Zemin of China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC] conference to privately raise the issue of the continued imprisonment in China of thirteen  Falun Gong practitioners who have close family ties to Canada and to emphasize that Canadians would be more willing to strengthen existing ties between Canada and China if these individuals...were reunited with their families in Canada.
The motion named the 13 individuals, one of whom, Mingli Lin, is the subject of my special concern today.
Following the passage of this motion, many of the prisoners were freed and were issued visas to join their families here in Canada.
One of the 13 was denied a visa. Mingli Lin was freed by the Chinese authorities in 2003. Since that time, however, our consulate in Shanghai has repeatedly denied him a visa to come to Canada. The reason offered for the refusal by the officials responsible is that Mr. Lin might wish to stay here permanently.
I cannot say whether he would want to stay permanently in Canada. Frankly, if I were Mingli Lin, I would certainly want to stay in this country until such time as the danger of persecution in my native country had passed.
I should mention that no other Falun Gong practitioner among the 13 named in the motion passed unanimously in 2002 has been denied entry into Canada on this basis.
I note that every single one of the practitioners who has been admitted to Canada has been a model citizen of this country. This includes Mingli Lin's brother, Shenli Lin, who is also a Falun Gong practitioner who was arrested and imprisoned in China and was admitted to this country nearly three years ago.
For this reason, I asked the former immigration minister in a letter last March and again in the House in November if she would consider issuing a ministerial permit to admit Mingli Lin to rejoin his family here in Canada.
Each time I asked her, she gave me a vague response and then did nothing. I note that the lack of compassion shown by the former minister, who resigned in disgrace two months ago, does not reflect the general will of her cabinet colleagues.
In a letter written in March 2003, the Minister of Canadian Heritage wrote:
--I would like to add my voice to...other Canadians from across the country who are demanding the immediate release of all Falun Gong prisoners in China, and decry the continuing violation of human rights that Mingli Lin's imprisonment represents.
In a speech before this House on February 28, 2003, the Minister of Justice said:
--I call upon the Chinese authorities: to release the...Falun Gong practitioners with a Canadian and family connection from their imprisonment, and permit them to be reunited with their loved ones here in Canada....
The irony here is that although Mingli Lin still lives in fear of the Chinese government in China, it is the Government of Canada that for the past two years has been responsible for putting him in harm's way, subject to ongoing persecution in China.
Let me read to you from a letter that was sent to me last month in which a friend outlines Mingli Lin's current state, as reported by his brother Shenli in Toronto: “Mingli is still in a very difficult situation. As you may recall, while he was incarcerated in the forced labour camp they ruptured his esophagus while trying to force-feed him. He endured a lot of suffering during the two years of incarceration he was forced to go through. After his release, he was still kept under constant surveillance, routinely harassed and intimidated by the Communist authorities. He has no personal freedom to talk about”.
Mingli Lin still wants to come to Canada. His family in Canada wants to be reunited with him. Parliament voted unanimously to bring him here. Ministers of the Crown have spoken in favour, in this House, of bringing him here.
Will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration do the right thing and issue a ministerial permit to permit Mingli Lin to rejoin his family on our shores?