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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Ottawa Welcomes 'Race for Rights' Cyclist

July 30, 2008

By Cindy Chan
Epoch Times Ottawa Staff
Jul 28, 2008

Former Team Canada member and Pan American Games silver medalist
David Kay (centre) and former Secretary of State David Kilgour at a
welcoming ceremony in Ottawa as part of Kay's cross-country bike tour
supporting human rights in China in advance of t (Samira Bouaou/The
Epoch Times)
Mr. Kay, 28, a silver medalist in rowing at the Pan American Games in
2003, said he has completed almost 2,600 km so far, riding about 200
km a day. He plans to arrive in Victoria on August 24, the same day
as the Olympics' closing ceremonies in Beijing.

Kay is traveling solo without a support van, mostly camping along the
way. He said it's a "real struggle" that he sees "as a small symbol
of solidarity with the struggle that human rights activists are
currently facing in China."

Each provincial leg of Mr. Kay's journey is dedicated to a Chinese
human rights activist or victim of the recent suppression of Tibetans in China.

These include an unidentified Tibetan girl in Lhasa and two monks in
Sichuan province recently killed by Chinese police; Huang Qi, a human
rights website founder who was abducted in June reportedly as part of
the Olympics security crackdown; and human rights activist Hu Jia who
was convicted of "subversion" charges in April.

In Ontario, Mr. Kay is riding for Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen
and member of the Muslim Uyghur community who has been sentenced to
life imprisonment in China on terrorism charges.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Foreign Affairs Minister
Peter MacKay have spoken out "forcefully" on this issue, said Mr.
Kay, yet Mr. Celil continues to languish in prison "without access to
Canadian consular officials or lawyers for that matter."

The trip is "a humble, solitary attempt of what I can do, as a former
dedicated athlete in Canadian amateur sports, to show what concerns
Canadian athletes have for human rights," said Mr. Kay.

He expressed frustration that China has not fulfilled the commitments
promised to the International Olympics Committee in 2001 when it made
the bid to host the games.

After attending the Dalai Lama's public talk in Ottawa last
October,  "it really set in stone in my mind that I would do this
[trip] as a way to show my frustration with that and to celebrate the
continued activist work that human rights activists are doing in
China," Mr. Kay said.

The head winds have sometimes been very challenging, he said, and on
the way he's bought a small, half-size folk guitar to "blow off some
steam when I get stressed out."

"I spend a lot of my time on the bike in a cycling mode of
meditation. I would think any doubt I have in my mind as to my own
safety and riding solo is just completely overshadowed by the
tremendous work that other people have been doing," said Mr.Kay.

"It's the least I can do."

He is directing donations to his bike tour to the CTC as well as
other organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch. "It's not just a Tibet issue; it's a human rights issue in all
of China," he said.

The CTC said Canada cannot stand idly by while Tibetans are killed,
Chinese reformers are detained and tortured, and other activists are
rounded-up by authorities in advance of the Beijing Games.

"One missing Tibetan monk, one organ harvest of a Falun Gong
adherent, one jailed Chinese blogger is one too many," said CTC
executive director Dermod Travis in a news release.

David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) and former
co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, also spoke at the
welcoming ceremony.

In an interview prior to the event, Mr. Kilgour invited all those
concerned about human rights in China to join a rally being planned
at the Chinese embassy on August 7, the day before the opening of the
Beijing Olympics.

The event is the brain-child of Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an award-winning
international human rights activist and winner of the Miss World
Canada title in 2003. She was born in Iran during the Iranian
Revolution in 1979 and later immigrated to Canada with her family.

Mr. Kilgour also plans to speak at the rally along with Mount Royal
MP Irwin Cotler, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of
Canada and currently Opposition Critic for Human Rights.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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