Blue Flower

Written by Admin   
Dec 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Dear Friend,
       After months of testimony and after his own Commission on Human Relations recommended that the City of Pasadena make a strong statement about China's human rights violations and China's involvement in Burma's human rights abuses, the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard, wrote a letter to the Sister City in Beijing calling those testimony from actual victims and from  international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders based in Paris, as simply "allegations of human rights violations in China".
  See attached.
       One cannot believe that a Mayor of a city in the United States of America with her own Constitution championing human rights would be so absolutely callous.
       Ann Lau

Follows is reported in the front page of Pasadena Star News.

Human Rights Day declared Mayor Bogaard responds to critics of China float in Rose Parade By Kenneth Todd Ruiz, Staff Writer Article Launched: 12/11/2007 10:45:19 PM PST
PASADENA - Without mentioning the bitter debate over Beijing's Olympic Rose Parade float, Mayor Bill Bogaard followed through with the city's response to critics by declaring this past Monday Human Rights Day in Pasadena.
"I have the pleasure of issuing on behalf of this City Council a proclamation that, for the first time in Pasadena, celebrates and spotlights the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted on Dec. 10, 1948, 59 years ago," Bogaard said at Monday's City Council meeting.
The proclamation, an idea introduced by the mayor at an Oct. 29 meeting devoted to complaints about the float, followed a letter he sent to Pasadena's sister cities in response to hours of public testimony at council meetings on Chinese human-rights abuses.
The mayor's letter explains the council decided to endorse the U.N. declaration in response to "comments from various persons ... that the presence of a float celebrating the Beijing Olympics 2008 would potentially embarrass Pasadena because of the frequent allegations of human rights violations in China...."
Because Bogaard helped bring the float to the parade, those who lobbied the council for a stronger statement said they were disappointed by the letter.
"Pasadena used to set an example for others to follow, but as I look at this letter, it doesn't say anything," said former Councilman Bill Paparian, who also served as mayor during his time in office.
Paparian, a lawyer, has supported a coalition of disparate human-rights groups and local individuals who feel China's worsening human-rights record - as reported by the U.S. State Department - is antithetical to the ideals of the Olympics.
For months, they've lobbied the City Council to use what leverage Pasadena may have as parade host and sister city to send a signal to Beijing.
"Here's a situation where Mayor Bogaard had a hand in bringing the float to Pasadena, and now he's reluctant to say anything untoward about the float or China," Paparian said.
Bogaard did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Ann Lau, who chairs the Visual Artists Guild and is one of the leading float critics, gave the mayor's letter a "zero."
The report says little about the council's position on human rights, she said, and only references "allegations" of the Chinese government's abuses.
"It's more than allegations. These are actual people who suffered these atrocities, and they heard testimony from these people in person," Lau said. "It's unbelievable the mayor would believe that was all made up for him."
Last week, Lau's group funded a provocative billboard by Reporters Without Borders on Arroyo Parkway at Del Mar Boulevard.
It's designed to call attention to journalists and Internet critics jailed by the Communist government.
The letter makes reference to a failed motion by council members Chris Holden and Jacque Robinson, who voted for a resolution addressing China's record.
On Saturday, the Pasadena Coalition for Human Rights - formed in opposition to the China float - exhibited photos of its campaign at the Jackie Robinson Center.
Urging residents to "turn their backs" on the Beijing float come New Year's Day, Paparian gave Lau the two parade tickets he receives as former mayor.
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