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Monday, January 30, 2006

Jailed Tiananmen protester release date approaches




UPDATE: Release Date Approaches For Imprisoned Tiananmen Protesters Yu Dongyue and Lu Decheng






April 12, 2006 - China e-Lobby reports that Lu Decheng is now safe in Canada: Tiananmen protestor Lu Decheng's delayed escape to Canada finally happened yesterday; an earlier attempt to leave Thailand was stopped when "Beijing applied intense pressure on the Thai government to keep him in detention" (CBC).

Chinese dissident arrives in Canada

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: 30 Jan. 2006 - Imprisoned journalist and Tiananmen democracy protest participant Yu Dongyue's sentence will expire on February 26, 2006, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, a U.S. NGO that advocates for prisoners of conscience in China.

According to PEN Canada, Yu, then a deputy editor of the Liuyang Daily, traveled from Changsha city, Hunan province, to Beijing on May 19, 1989. He was a representative of the Hunan Delegation in Support of the Beijing Students, which traveled to join the Tiananmen democracy protests. On May 23, Yu and two others - Yu Zhijian and Lu Decheng - threw paint at the portrait of Mao Zedong that faces Tiananmen Square from the Forbidden City. Police immediately arrested the three. Yu was tried on July 11, 1989, and on August 11, the Beijing Intermediate People's Court sentenced Yu to 20 years in prison and 5 years deprivation of political rights for "counterrevolutionary propaganda" and "counterrevolutionary sabotage and incitement," crimes under Articles 100 and 102 of China's 1979 Criminal Law. In 1997, authorities transferred Yu to Yuanjiang Prison in Hunan. According to the Dui Hua Foundation, Yu received a 2-year sentence reduction in January 2001 and a second, 15-month sentence reduction, some time in 2003.

Yu Zhijian and Lu Decheng, who were sentenced for the same act of paint throwing, were both released in 1998. Officials have offered no explanation for why they released them, but kept Yu Dongyue in prison. In December 2004, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that Lu visited Yu Dongyue in prison and said that he was "barely recognizable." Lu described Yu Dongyue as disoriented, with a visible head injury. Another prisoner told Lu that prison officials tied Yu to an electricity pole and left him outside in the hot sun for several days. The fellow inmate also said authorities kept Yu in solitary confinement for two years, and offered the opinion that this punishment is "what broke him." PEN Canada has expressed concern that Yu has suffered psychological trauma as a result of harsh treatment in prison.

According to a June 6, 2005, RFA article, Lu and Yu Zhijian have written repeatedly to central government officials in Beijing calling for the release of Yu Dongyue on medical grounds, but with no result. Yu first became eligible for medical parole in 1996, but a June 6, 2005, South China Morning Post article cited his mother as saying that when she submitted the application, prison officials told the family that political criminals could not be granted medical parole and that "he never admitted he was wrong." Article 3 of the "Measure on Implementing Medical Parole for Prisoners" only prohibits three categories of prisoners from eligibility for medical parole: (1) those serving sentences of death penalty with two year reprieve; (2) those whose crimes are serious and toward whom the people have great hatred; and (3) those who injure or incapacitate themselves in prison to escape punishment.

GOOGLE, GOOGLE. GOOGLE




Google, Google, Google
by M.Makina








Any idea what to do about this censorship saga besides writing letters, boycotting, or taking them to Congress (!?)

This is how one guy has been dealing with it for a while now. After moving to the US, Dynamic Internet Technology Inc. (DIT) founder, Bill Xia, wanted to help Chinese people access the web no matter what. So DIT came up with a secure Dyna Web proxy network to get around the great Communist firewall and enabled its users to access blocked websites. Quite a feat!

Last year DIT's effort has been noted in a testimony by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission for assisting Voice of America and Radio Free Asia with solving internet jamming problems coming from China. Meanwhile DIT has been successful in emailing over 2.3 million Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party from Dec 04-March 2005 inside China for the Epoch Times. This number has probably increased tenfold by now. Look here to see a detailed summary report of the 9ping/9 commentaries distribution initiative. Human Rights in China (HRIC) has also benefited from their technology. DIT's mission: to study how Communist China implements internet censorship and develop new technologies immuned to their stragegies.

Let's look at some alternatives shall we?

Have you tried the search engine: http://clusty.com? The buzz is that this search engine gives consistently BETTER results than Google. Believe it or not! It comes with a neat feature on the left side of the screen that gives links to search results clustered by common variables. Check out their privacy policy at: http://clusty.com/privacy

www.scroogle.org is another engine that deserves looking into. It "scrapes" (removes) the data collection and other privacy problems from google searches. Their servers are intermediaries to Google servers. The site will also "scrape" for yahoo searches. This website is run by a privacy watchdog group who have also made their source code public. Their service is available in 28 languages.

Metacrawlers was also recommended as an alternative which I haven't tested yet.

And there is more...

http://icerocket.com - "We don't censor anything" -- Blake Rhodes of IceRocket

http://digg.com - This is a search engine for technology information and news

http://blinkx.tv - This is a search engine for video content

http://gigablast.com

http://snap.com

http://mamma.com



ps - ... you better think twice before you go to Google somebody next time!







Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese lawyer hits out at Communist regime


Chinese Lawyer Hits Out at Regime

By Jonathan Watts





Rape is one of the 68 capital crimes in Communist China yet the 610 Office Staff is not punished for raping Falun Gong practitioners--go figure!

BEIJING (Guardian) 29 Jan. 2006 - France, Germany and other states that have coddled up to the Communist dictatorship in Beijing will one day have to answer to the Chinese people, one of the country’s leading civil rights activist has told The Observer.

Gao Zhisheng, a firebrand lawyer who has defended hundreds of victims of torture and persecution, said the Communist party was responsible for more deaths than the Nazis, but Western governments turned a blind eye because they were desperate to trade with the world’s fastest growing economy.

‘When the Nazis slaughtered Jews, the outside world condemned them,’ he said. ‘But the Communist party has taken the lives of 80 million people, 13 times more than the death toll among the Jews, yet the world says nothing.’

Gao’s comments are particularly remarkable because he still lives in Beijing, where he is vulnerable to retribution. He says his phone is bugged, his 12-year-old daughter is followed to school and more than 30 agents monitor his every move. Last month, his law firm’s license was revoked and last week he was warned he faces arrest. Ten days ago an unmarked car attempted to run him down. But he is defiant.

Already one of the most prominent lawyers of his generation, Gao, 41 has taken a public stand - via the internet - in favor of the most oppressed groups in China: democracy campaigners, victims of religious persecution, mine accident widows and peasants who have had their land seized by the authorities: ‘The Communist party has done too many evil and cruel things. So I must fight them.’

His office is a small, sparsely furnished flat in a giant residential complex in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, a familiar location to those in China with a cause or burning sense of injustice. So many come to him that the guards on the gate need no prompting to direct strangers to ‘that lawyer’. It is below zero outside, but Gao says that does not put off his state security minders. What does make them flinch is his video camera. ‘They bug me, but I don’t care. They are the ones who are afraid of exposure. When I point this camera at them, they try to conceal their faces. They know one day they will be called to account.’

Turning his enemies’ weapons against them is a typical Gao tactic, as is pushing a situation to its limits. Last year, he went to investigate the government’s confiscation of private oil wells in Shaanxi province. On the way, he heard the authorities were waiting to detain him, so he drove to the police station and confronted the commanding officer. ‘I told him I had saved him a lot of bother so the least he could do is pay for my transport costs,’ he says. ‘He reimbursed me my car rental fee and arranged for a police car to drive me home.’

His visits to China’s provincial badlands do not usually end on such a light note. Last month, Gao slipped his minders to investigate claims of police torture and sexual abuse in Changchun, the provincial capital of Jilin. The alleged victims were practioners of Falun Gong - deemed by the state an illegal religious organization. By the time, he arrived, Gao said many were already dead.

‘A mother and son died in police custody within 10 days of each other,’ he says. ‘Police told the boy’s father he had committed suicide by jumping from a window, but they wouldn’t let him see the scene of death or the body. They still have the corpse more than a month later. It is disgraceful.’

He has written a series of open letters to Chinese president Hu Jintao and the prime minister, Wen Jiabao. ‘I advised them to leave the Communist party. It is not capable of reform. History teaches us that no dictatorship can last forever. One day, those with blood on their hands will face a people’s trial.’

His grim analysis has a lot more takers now than in 2003, the year Hu and Wen took power amid hopes of reforms to bring the political system in line with the dramatic changes in the economy. But if anything, the crackdown on liberals, journalists, internet dissidents and lawyers has intensified since.

Many in the outside world argue that political liberalization will follow automatically with increased affluence. One is Tony Blair, who said there was ‘unstoppable momentum’ towards greater political freedom. Gao said such an argument was just an excuse for the west to trade with a human rights violator.

But he reserved his fiercest criticism for the two European countries that have done most to build close relations with Beijing: ‘Many Chinese people think the governments of France and Germany are as terrible as ours. They are only acting in their self-interest and making a fortune out of the misery of the Chinese people. There will be a price to pay one day for the so-called civilized foreign governments who are honeymooning with the Communist party. I want people in the outside world to understand the situation in China. We face a party with millions of troops. I have dozens of plainclothes police around my home. It is hard to use words like understanding and forgiveness with them.’

The fact that Gao is still free is perhaps the government’s best defense against the lawyer’s most strident accusations. Twenty years ago, such an anti-government tirade would have quickly resulted in imprisonment or death. Gao believes he has been left at semi-liberty because the authorities are worried about domestic protests and an international outcry if he is arrested.

‘They threaten to arrest me and I say, "Go ahead,"’ he says. ‘I am a warrior who does not care whether I live or die. Such a sacrifice will be nothing to me if it speeds the death of this dictatorship.’

Friday, January 27, 2006

China: Dogs can be a gourmet's best friend







YEAR OF THE DOG






And the good news is that the Year of the Dog focuses on humanitarian issues, civil rights and much more...

HONG KONG (AFP) 27 Jan. 2006 - The Year of the Dog dawns on Sunday, but it brings mixed fortunes for man's best friend in a culture where people increasingly keep canines as pets while others condemn them to the cooking pot.

Once banned as a bourgeois luxury, pet ownership is becoming big business in China and, with one in every nine Chinese now owning a dog, they are beginning to enjoy the status pampered pooches have in some other parts of Asia.

Owners from Taipei to Tokyo spend thousands of dollars on their furry friends at grooming parlors which offer pedicures, acupuncture and massages along with a more usual coat trim.

Dogs there even have their own cafes, funeral homes and schools.

But they remain the lucky ones.

Canines are still commonly eaten as a delicacy in China and Chinese communities around Asia. Others are skinned alive for their fur to make trimming for clothing and fashion accessories.

Up to 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year in China, many killed slowly and cruelly to supposedly enhance the meat's flavor, according to Jill Robinson, founder and chief executive officer of the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation.

"People's attitudes have been changing over the past 15 years, but China is still the world's biggest consumer of dogs," Robinson said.

In northern China large dogs such as St Bernards and Tibetan Mastiffs were being cross-bred with local dogs to create fast-growing, large meat dogs that could be slaughtered as young as four months old, she said.

Even in cosmopolitan cities such as Beijing, dog restaurants remain part of the cityscape, most popular in winter as dog meat is supposed to keep you warm and tastes like beef according to those who have tried.

Skinning of live dogs for fur also takes place in China, mainly because it helps preserve the skin of the canines, according to animal activists.

Yu Fachang, an official in charge of market order at the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, this month confirmed the practice was ongoing.

"Currently, in some parts of the country, in some animal markets, animals are skinned alive, like cats and dogs. It's individual cases taking place at individual markets," he said.

"We still don't have any laws on the slaughtering of ordinary animals such as cats and dogs, as they do not belong into the category of traditional food," he said, adding that regulation was being prepared.

Rock star Paul McCartney said last November that he would never perform in China after watching a disturbing secret video of dogs and cats in a market being slaughtered for fur.

The video, from the German branch of the animal rights group PETA, shows caged dogs in wire cages being hurled from the top deck of a converted double-decker bus onto a concrete pavement at a market in southern China.

Related Article:
Reuters: China pets face bleak start to Year of the Dog


Ditching the dictators: "Breaking the real axis of evil"





"Dictatorship itself should be recognised as a crime against humanity and we should gather the evidence against each one of the last, least wanted."
Ambassador
Mark Palmer








This comprehensive guide on how to ditch dictators gracefully is truly a gift that needs to resurface periodically as a kind reminder that an important part of humanity is waiting to exhale!

Epoch Times: 23 Sept. 2003 - Ambassador Mark Palmer introduced his new book, “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil—How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025.” The book is a “how-to” guide on bringing democracy to the world without the use of violence.

Driving out the world’s last dictators has been the latest focus of his work. Palmer, speaking to an audience said, that currently the most important dictatorship is China, since it is home to 60% of the world’s people but they do not live in the air of freedom.

Including Jiang Zemin of China, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Kim Jong-Il of North Korea, there are currently 42 dictators in the world. Eight of them live in Asia, in countries such as China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Bhutan. In the Middle East, Northern Africa and Western Asia, there are 23 dictatorships. Eleven dictatorships exist in Southern Africa, and three in Europe and the Americas, including Belarus, Cuba and Haiti. He believes that for reasons of both security and social justice, America and other democratic countries should bring about an end to the world’s remaining dictatorships.

Palmer designed a worldwide coalition that unites international political and military forces, democratic countries, human rights and democracy activists, various NGOs and individuals to open up countries that are currently closed to the world. He believes that the dictatorships of China, North Korea and other countries can be a threat to the entire world, while a democratic China will benefit the world tremendously. It is thus critical to inform the world’s people of the importance of a democratic China. Palmer said he read the “Tiananmen Papers” and realized its significance. He thought in 1989, China was not farther away from democracy than the Eastern European countries or the former USSR at that time. If it weren’t because of the one person at the top, democracy in China could have succeeded. But if it were possible in 1989, it should still be possible today. That’s why he has been actively supporting and participating in the demonstrations of Falun Gong [against the persecution of its practitioners in China].

Palmer believes although Falun Gong does not have any political agenda, the persistence of the movement will awaken in people, especially the younger generation, the concept of human rights and democracy. This might in turn influence the thinking of the Chinese leadership. Palmer considers it important to set a goal and an implementation schedule. He thinks that global democracy is achievable in 2025. For China, his goal is even more ambitious: democracy in year 2015.

Palmer thinks that people from all backgrounds should exert influences on the dictators themselves. Experts in academia and the diplomatic circles should help the dictators realize that they can’t hide behind the system and culture of a dictatorship forever; they must take responsibility for what they have done. Palmer used an example of an executive from a large petroleum company, who knows almost all the dictators and was even a personal friend of Lenin’s. The executive illustrated to Palmer that the dictators’ world was like a pyramid. When they climb up, they only fear the one person above them. But once they reach the top, they become fearful of everyone below, including their family and friends.

Palmer believes dictators such as Jiang Zemin are exactly like that. Even though they are despicable as a person, it is still important to have a dialog with them. They have fears and desires as well. When Palmer was interacting with the last dictator in Hungary, the dictator trusted Palmer even more than the people around him. Palmer believes that leaders of Western democracies should be in close contact with Hu Jintao, China’s new chairman, and discuss with him the true nature and full meaning of democracy, which goes much beyond elections. They should also tell Hu that all the people of China, all the people of the world, hope that he can return democracy and freedom to China and are willing to cooperate with him. However, it is imperative that there be a timeline and a strategic plan.

“Ambassador Mark Palmer’s democracy manifesto is a radical blueprint for democratic change everywhere dictators oppress their people, and an impassioned call for a foreign policy true to America’s founding principles.”Senator John McCain


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Europe: PACE strongly condemns crimes of totalitarian communist regimes







Human Rights Without Frontiers








Strasbourg, 25 Jan. 2006 – The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today strongly condemned the massive human rights violations committed by totalitarian communist regimes and expressed sympathy, understanding and recognition for the victims of these crimes.

The Assembly – which brings together parliamentarians from 46 European countries – said in a resolution that these violations included individual and collective assassinations and executions, death in concentration camps, starvation, deportations, torture, slave labour and other forms of mass physical terror.

The peoples of the former USSR by far outnumbered other peoples in terms of the number of victims, the parliamentarians said.

They also called on all communist or post-communist parties in Council of Europe member states which had not so far done so “to reassess the history of communism and their own past […] and condemn them without any ambiguity”.

“The Assembly believes that this clear position of the international community will pave the way to further reconciliation,” the parliamentarians added.

The Council of Europe was “well placed” for this debate, the Assembly pointed out, since all former European communist countries, with the exception of Belarus, are now its members and the protection of human rights and the rule of law are the basic values for which it stands.

A draft recommendation calling on Europe’s governments to adopt a similar declaration of the international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

China's news crackdown hits popular weekly







China's news crackdown hits popular weekly

By Jason Dean







BEIJING (WSJ) 26 Jan. 2006 - Chinese authorities shuttered an outspoken weekly publication, in their latest effort to rein in the country's increasingly independent news media.

The Communist Party's propaganda department on Tuesday ordered the closure of Bingdian Weekly, an insert in the party-affiliated China Youth Daily newspaper. Bingdian editor Li Datong yesterday cited as the reason for the closure an article challenging the government's official history of a nationalist uprising of 1900 known as the Boxer Rebellion.

Bingdian's closure is the latest sign of Beijing's anxiety over news media that are increasingly driven by market forces and a burgeoning sense of professionalism rather than official propaganda directives.

Authorities have jailed several Chinese journalists in the past two years and moved to tone down feistier publications. Late last month, officials removed three top editors of a popular tabloid, the Beijing News, known for its aggressive reporting on sensitive issues. Reporters at the newspaper staged a temporary work stoppage in protest.

Since Mr. Li founded Bingdian in 1995, it has built a reputation for investigative journalism and liberal political commentary. Mr. Li's efforts to push the boundaries of official tolerance were especially noteworthy because his paper is controlled by the China Youth League, an influential arm of the Communist Party that was once headed by Hu Jintao, now China's president.

Bingdian was among a handful of Chinese publications to report on a violent clash in June involving hundreds of farmers resisting the use of their land to build a power plant. The weekly also ran political commentaries that subtly challenged official stances. In October, it published a lengthy interview with a South Korean scholar who argued that Korean soap operas -- wildly popular in China -- are superior to those produced in China because they are a product of Korea's democratic culture.

Mr. Li has won public battles with censors and conservative editors in the past. In August he posted an open letter on the Internet blasting China Youth Daily's editor in chief over a planned incentive system that would have rewarded reporters whose stories were praised by government officials. The plan was later scrapped.

Mr. Li has said in past interviews that he was able to push the envelope in large part because of growing competitive pressure on China's news media. The government in recent years has cut official subsidies to publications and reduced the number of mandatory subscriptions for government agencies, forcing media organizations to compete for readership.

China Youth Daily's circulation has fallen to about 800,000 from a peak of three million in the 1980s. Reader surveys consistently rated Bingdian as its most-popular feature.

The essay that triggered the closure, written by a Chinese professor, argued that official textbooks inaccurately depict the Boxer Rebellion, a nationalist uprising in which thousands of Chinese Christians and hundreds of foreigners were killed. The essay, published earlier this month, alleged that Chinese history books carried only material that cast China in a favorable light, "no matter whether true or false."

The propaganda department's closure order said the essay was inaccurate and had, among other offenses, "seriously hurt the national feelings of the Chinese people," Mr. Li said.

An official at the propaganda department declined to comment. A person who answered the phone in the office of China Youth Daily's editor in chief, Li Erliang, declined to make him available for comment.

Bingdian's Mr. Li yesterday remained defiant. "They want us to admit that we were wrong," he said in a telephone interview. "We aren't wrong. They are."


Taiwan Writer Criticizes China Paper Supplement Shutdown

TAIPEI (AP) 25 Jan. 2006 - China risks alienating Taiwan's people with its recent shutdown of a newspaper supplement known for reporting on sensitive issues, a respected Taiwanese art critic warned Thursday in an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Lung Ying-tai, an influential essayist with a wide audience in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland, said the shutdown of China Youth Daily's weekly Bing Dian supplement crushed the last hopes of many Taiwanese that Hu would allow a more open society.

"People once thought that as a figure of the new era, your mindset and vision would be deeper and more open than your predecessors," Lung wrote in a half-page commentary Thursday in Taiwan's China Times newspaper.

But the incident this week revealed Hu had allowed officials to monitor and suppress the educated elite "with whips and rulers," wrote Lung, whose popular column on culture is carried in many newspapers on the mainland.

"There are many Taiwanese who still deeply love, and love unconditionally, the land of China, and how would you discuss reunification with them without being cursed or sneered at?" she asked.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, but political tensions linger. Most Taiwanese don't want to unify with the mainland, fearing the move would force them to lose their freedoms and economic prosperity.

However, travel and trade have thrived between the communist mainland and self-rule, democratic Taiwan, and China's recent economic clout has attracted many Taiwanese to work or study on the mainland.

Bing Dian, or Freezing Cold, was among Chinese media outlets that have been publishing the limits of official tolerance in part to capture greater market share.



China to "strike hard" against rising unrest



China to "strike hard" against rising unrest

By Chris Buckley





Obviously another attempt to sweep up the undesirables under the rug before the Olympic Games of 2008

This excerpt from the 7th Commentary on the Communist Party (CCP) is certainly an eye opener considering the present campaign of terror that was just called --

(5) Killing people in order to cover up the truth

The people’s right to know is another weak point of the CCP; The CCP also kills people in order to block information. In the past, “listening to the enemy’s radio broadcast” was a felony that was punished with prison terms. Now, in response to multiple incidents of the interception of the state-owned television system to clarify the truth of the persecution of Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin issued the secret order to “kill instantly without mercy.” Liu Chengjun, who carried out such an interception, was tortured to death. The CCP has mobilized the ‘610 Office’ (an organization similar to the Gestapo in Nazi Germany that was created to persecute Falun Gong), the police, prosecutors, courts and a massive Internet police system to monitor people’s every action.

BEIJING (Reuters) 26 Jan. 2006 - China is preparing to "strike hard" against rising public unrest, a senior police official said according to state media on Thursday, highlighting the government's fears for stability even as the economy booms.

An unnamed top official of China's Ministry of Public Security told a Wednesday meeting that China faced a long period of dangerous social discontent, Xinhua news agency said.

"For a considerable time to come, our country will be in a period of pronounced contradictions within the people, high crime rates, and complex struggle against enemies," the official said.

"Contradictions within the people" is a Maoist term used to describe domestic social unrest.

China was suffering many "major sudden incidents" -- a term Chinese officials use to cover riots, protests and accidents -- the official added.

"Unpredictable factors affecting social stability will increase, and trends in protecting social stability don't allow for optimism," said the official.

He also said that "terrorism is a real threat against our country" and urged officers to guard against attacks.

China says that its biggest terrorist threat comes from Xinjiang, the far western region dominated by the largely Muslim Uighur people who share a language and culture similar to Central Asian countries.

Uighur groups have campaigned for independence from China, and a few have had links with Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Last week, China's Ministry of Public Security put the total number of "mass incidents" -- riots, demonstrations and smaller protests -- at a total 87,000 last year, up 6.6 percent from 2004.

The latest unusually grim police diagnosis of China's social strains comes less than a week after Premier Wen Jiabao was reported as warning that corrupt land seizures in the countryside were stoking protests and riots.

"Some locales are unlawfully occupying farmers' land and not offering reasonable economic compensation and arrangements for livelihoods, and this is sparking mass incidents in the countryside," Wen said in a speech published on Jan. 20.

Wen said the continued "reckless occupation" of farmland threatened "the stability of the countryside and whole economy and society". He promised stricter land controls and improvements to farmers' rights and income.

HARSH RESPONSE

But the police official promised a harsher and more traditional remedy.

Summoning harsh rhetoric that has languished in recent years while the government promoted "rule of law", the official promised to "strike hard against all sorts of terrorist activities and resolutely protect state security and social stability".

During the 1980s and 1990s, regular "strike hard" campaigns were used to fight crime and threats to order by mobilising police and courts to catch and quickly try and sentence many thousands of citizens.

In recent years, legal reformers have criticised such campaigns as contrary to China's official embrace of rule of law and human rights.

But on Thursday, a meeting of law and order officials announced a new campaign against the "sabotage activities of cult organisations", Xinhua said in a separate report.

China calls the Falun Gong, a spiritual sect banned in 1999, a "cult" that threatens the government.

The meeting also called on officials to "strictly prevent destructive activities by terrorist forces and domestic and foreign hostile forces and elements," the report said.

Xinjiang authorities arrested more than 18,000 people there for crime, including national security offences, the region's official newspaper said last week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ontario: Tribunal finds Falun Gong a protected creed under OHRC



Tribunal Finds Falun Gong a Protected Creed under Ontario’s Human Rights Code





Toronto, 25 Jan. 2006 – In a decision released on January 18th, 2006, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that the Ottawa Chinese Senior Association discriminated when it terminated the membership of one of its members because she practises Falun Gong.

The Complainant, Daiming Huang, a seventy three year old Canadian citizen who emigrated from China later in her life, filed her complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission in August 2004. Following its investigation, in December 2004 the Commission decided there was sufficient evidence to warrant referral of the case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for a hearing.

The Tribunal found that the Association had repeatedly confronted the Complainant about her beliefs in Falun Gong, publicly revoked her membership (a decision subsequently reconfirmed by the Association’s new Council), participated in organizing petitions against her practices during Association events, and subjected her to demeaning comments about her beliefs. The Tribunal also determined that these discriminatory acts exposed the Complainant to contempt and a loss of standing and isolation within her own cultural community, and were an affront to her dignity.

Following a review of all the evidence, including expert evidence on the history of popular religions in China, the Tribunal found that the practice of Falun Gong constitutes a form of creed, a protected ground within the meaning of Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Furthermore, in this case, it forms the deeply and sincerely held personal beliefs of the Complainant about her own spirituality.

The Tribunal has ordered the Association pay to the Complainant $10,000 for loss of dignity and $8,000 for mental anguish caused by the infringement of her rights. The Association was also ordered to take a number of measures to achieve compliance with the Code including: immediately allow the Complainant and any otherwise eligible Falun Gong practitioners to become members of the Association; amend the Association’s Constitution to incorporate anti-discrimination provisions; and, implement an anti-discrimination policy that specifically addresses the issue of creed.

Commenting on the case, Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall stated, "This decision confirms that the ground of creed encompasses more than just institutionalized faiths or traditional religions. Individuals have the right to their sincerely held beliefs and should be treated with dignity and respect and not be confronted with discrimination because of their particular faith or practices."

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario a judicial body independent of the Commission. Decisions of the Tribunal are binding in law and may be appealed to a higher court. For background information on the decision, or to view the Commission’s Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances, visit the Commission’s Web site at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/. To obtain a copy of the full decision, visit the Web site of the Tribunal at http://www.hrto.ca/.

All American Patriots (press release), Sweden: Canada: International Religious Freedom Report 2006

More Propaganda Phone Calls from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Made on Falun Gong








by M. Makina









The CCP is harassing practitioners one more time...


Victoria, 25 January 2006 - More harassing phone calls, undoubtedly from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have been made to Ontario and Quebec practitioners so far as we are getting closer to the Chinese New Year. The CCP usually strikes hard (overseas and in the mainland) around sensitive dates such as New Years, National Holidays, April 25th (Zhongnanhai), June 4, (Tiananmen), July 20 (Falun Gong) and the Mid Moon Festival. These activities will be further investigated. The last wave of calls was around December 31, 2005.
Similar calls are frequently made to Europe and the US. In Washington Falun Gong has sued the Chinese Government: they want authorities from RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) to get the phone companies to trace these calls back to China.

China: Google "Don't Be Evil"!






Google: China entry raises issues of morals vs. money

By Mike Langberg






Reporters Without Borders, which tracks the activities of Western technology companies seeking to do business with repressive regimes, condemned the Google-China deal as "hypocrisy" and called it "a black day for freedom of expression in China" in a statement published on its Web site.


Mercury News (Ca.) 24 Jan. 2006 - Now is the time for Google to change its motto from the overly ambitious "Don't Be Evil'' to the more realistic "Don't Be More Evil Than Necessary".

You can't live in the real world without making compromises, as Google is now tacitly admitting by launching its first Internet search operation based in China.

To run an Internet business in China, companies local and foreign must sign an agreement to effectively censor themselves -- removing or blocking any information China's repressive government might find objectionable.

Google has now signed that agreement. The search service it will run within China won't point to Web sites of dissident groups such as Falun Gong, or sites advocating independence for Taiwan. And the service certainly won't offer reports on how Chinese police recently responded to unarmed protesters in small villages by shooting them.

There's also more than a little irony in Google announcing the move this week, after the company got headlines last week for defying U.S. government requests to hand over information about its users' online behavior. Such defiance wouldn't be tolerated for a minute in China; Google would get immediately booted out of the country.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page were idealistic young Stanford University graduate students when they started Google in 1998. Much of that idealism still survives.

In April 2004, they wrote a "founder's letter,'' included in the documents for Google's initial public stock offering, where they cited "Don't Be Evil'' as a corporate goal.

"We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served . . . by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short-term gains,'' the pair wrote. "We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place.''

I believe Brin and Page, now both 32, have largely succeeded. Google has certainly made my life better -- I use it dozens of times every day to quickly find information that would otherwise take me hours to track down.

But I also believe the Mountain View company will tie itself in knots unnecessarily if it doesn't acknowledge the ambiguities in managing a multi-billion-dollar corporation operating all around the planet.

Andrew McLaughlin, a Google lawyer, tackled those ambiguities in a prepared statement released Tuesday.

"In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn in response to local law, regulation or policy,'' McLaughlin said. "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information . . . is more inconsistent with our mission.''

In other words, the lesser evil of knuckling under to China's odious censorship rules is outweighed by the greater good of providing Google to China's population of 1.3 billion.

McLaughlin further said Google will introduce other services in China, such as e-mail and blogging, "only when we are comfortable that we can do so in a way that strikes a proper balance among our commitments to satisfy users' interests, expand access to information, and respond to local conditions.''

My translation: Google doesn't want to respond to a search warrant from China's police, as Yahoo did last year, only to discover it has caused a political dissident to be packed off for a long prison sentence.

Sooner or later, though, Google will encounter a stark choice between money and morals if it keeps doing business in China. The same will be true in many other countries whose governments don't believe their citizens deserve unfettered access to information.

Only by abandoning the first blush of youthful certainty will Google be able to tiptoe through this minefield. I hope Brin and Page, who retain tight control over Google, have the wisdom to distinguish between doing the best job possible and doing only the right thing.

Here's one example of a translated result you would get from China-Google...pretty distorted from the truth!

Excerpt from CNN Student News by Monica Lloyd:

CHINOY: Even before Google's move, Beijing had constructed what's been dubbed the Great Firewall of China, to keep sensitive information out. So this is how it works. On this computer, I've brought up Google.com and I'm going to put in the name of one of the Chinese organizations the government hates the most: The Falun Gong spiritual group. There are 4,390,000 entries. The first one is Falun Gong's own homepage. There's another that's about Falun Gong's leader, further down others that are supportive of Falun Gong -- one from religioustollerance.org.

Now I'm going to put the same name in at the Google.cn Web site that's designed just for China and see what we get. This time there are 11,000 entries, but of a very very different character. The first one, Falun Gong

practitioners jailed for libeling the government, another outlawing the Falun Gong cult, another the Falun Gong's anti-humanity, anti-science anti-society nature; all parroting the Chinese government's line. A dramatic example of an American company is helping the Chinese authorities control the message that goes out to their people. Read more...


Related Article:
Timesonline (UK): Critics Attack Google's 'Black Day' in China