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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kilgour's speech: China's most bloody harvest

The Honourable David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, gave a speech to the Stop Organ Harvesting ofFalun Gong rally on September 26 on Parliament Hill.

"Indeed, I'm delighted to inform you now that at the recent EU-China summit in Helsinki the organ harvesting issue was reportedly raised by direction of the EU troika leadership through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. An excellent source says that the European minister encouraged the minister from the Middle Kingdom to be proactively open about the matter, which was described as attracting much attention in Europe. The visitor was also urged to seek an independent study about the allegations being made about organ harvesting in his country.

(....)

This is encouraging, of course, but let me combine it with a chilling anecdote I recently heard about the world transplant congress, which took place this summer in Boston and attracted thousands of surgeons and other specialists from around the world. After the speech to delegates from Senator Hilary Clinton, there was a large reception. A medical doctor from Germany and his wife chatted with a surgeon from Tianjin, China, who proudly told them that several hospitals in the Tianjin region are now together doing 2000 liver transplants yearly (all the hospitals in Germany combined evidently do a total of about 700 per annum). At the end of the friendly conversation, asked who the organ donors are, the surgeon replied to the couple: “Ask the [Falun Gong] demonstrators outside this hotel”. Is that not as close to a “smoking scalpel” as we’re likely to get in this dismaying situation?"

THE GOVERNMENT OF CHINA'S MOST BLOODY HARVEST

This speech was also delivered to the Human and Religious rights in China Forum at the UN on Sept. 20, 2006.

Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

Edward McMillan-Scott, a vice-president of the European Parliament and a member of the Coalition, for one hoped to be with us all today, but was not able to re-arrange his schedule. He and other colleagues in the EU and some national parliaments on this continent have been very effective in pressuring the government of China on the issue of organ harvesting. Three others who have been especially helpful are MEP Simon Coveney of Ireland, Finnish MP Heidi Hautala and Swedish MP Goran Lindblad.

Indeed, I'm delighted to inform you now that at the recent EU-China summit in Helsinki the organ harvesting issue was reportedly raised by direction of the EU troika leadership through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. An excellent source says that the European minister encouraged the minister from the Middle Kingdom to be proactively open about the matter, which was described as attracting much attention in Europe. The visitor was also urged to seek an independent study about the allegations being made about organ harvesting in his country.

This is encouraging, of course, but let me combine it with a chilling anecdote I recently heard about the world transplant congress, which took place this summer in Boston and attracted thousands of surgeons and other specialists from around the world. After the speech to delegates from Senator Hilary Clinton, there was a large reception. A medical doctor from Germany and his wife chatted with a surgeon from Tianjin, China, who proudly told them that several hospitals in the Tianjin region are now together doing 2000 liver transplants yearly (all the hospitals in Germany combined evidently do a total of about 700 per annum). At the end of the friendly conversation, asked who the organ donors are, the surgeon replied to the couple: “Ask the [Falun Gong] demonstrators outside this hotel”. Is that not as close to a “smoking scalpel” as we’re likely to get in this dismaying situation?

Matas-Kilgour Report

Permit me to say a little now about the independent study on the allegations which the respected human rights lawyer, David Matas, and I completed earlier this summer. We did so at the request of the Coalition to Investigate the Perscution of Falun Gong. Here in financially conscious Switzerland, I hasten to say that we worked as volunteers.

Matas and I looked at every avenue of proof and disproof available to us. We were not permitted to enter China, although we sought visas unsuccessfully. All the evidence pointed in the same direction as our ultimate conclusion: the government of China in its hospitals, detention centres and other agencies in numerous parts of the country has over the past half decade put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Most of the victims never went near any court and were convicted of nothing; they were murdered by medical professionals.

Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas, were virtually simultaneously seized for sale at high prices, often to foreigners. Indeed, we recently learned from a good source that almost 85% of the organs transplanted in the Tianjin hospitals currently are now going to non-residents of China. Many of these patients probably hope they are getting an organ from a convicted murderer or rapist, who no longer needs it, but they should know that China has 68 offences for which one can be executed, including tax fraud. In reality, there is a good likelihood that the organ is coming from a young Falun Gong prisoner, whose crime was to believe in “truth, compassion and forbearance’ in a totalitarian governance system in which opposing values prevail.

As David Matas says, “We have a new form of evil in the world.” It makes “crimes against humanity” under the Treaty of Rome and the International Criminal Court look in some circumstances more like misdemeanors. The perpetrators of these deeds, including the doctors involved, should, of course, face the ICC as quickly as possible.

Time is short so let me mention only some of the avenues of proof we examined:

1-Inculpatory phone conversations: our callers got through to detention centres and hospitals in various parts of China, posing as family members of patients needing organs. In about 15 locations, those called indicated that they had Falun Gong practitioners available for organ harvesting.

2-The regime in China, for no apparent reason other than paranoia, sees Falun Gong as an ideological threat and since mid-1999 has made every effort to eliminate the community, which in the mid-90s numbered about 70 million across China alone. It now exists as a peaceful faith community in China and approximately 70 other countries. The government’s sudden demonization of Falun Gong in only one of these lands is all too similar to the ways the Interhamwe treated the Tutsi minority in Rwanda before and during the events there of April-June, 1994.

3-Only Falun Gong prisoners in China are examined medically on a regular basis. They are also tortured, overworked in labour camps and abused in other ways, so the tests are certainly not done out of concern for their health. More likely, it is for computer matching of their organs to patients seeking transplants. It’s of interest here that thousands of Falun Gong prisoners in the “re-education through labour” camps produce export products, including shoes, chopsticks, sweaters, Christmas decorations and promotional products for Nestle despite the fact that the World Trade Organization(WTO) of which China is now a member bans such exports.

4-Waiting times for organ transplants in China are incredibly short-often days or weeks-when everywhere else in the world they are measured in months and years, pointing to the existence of a large computer-assisted living organ bank in China.

5-The ex-wife of a surgeon in Sujiatin hospital in a remote region of China said that he confessed to her that he removed the corneas from the eyes of approximately 2000 Falun Gong prisoners during the two year period from the end of 2001 to Oct. 2003. For that, he was paid the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of US dollars. Her testimony was credible, but to be cautious we relied on it only when it was independently corroborated.

6-Chinese hospital websites host highly-incriminating information advertising organs of all sorts and available on short notice.

7-The Chinese government is one of the world’s worst human rights violators, thus making it harder to dismiss such allegations. The wide-spread corruption in the country plus the money to be made and the on-going vilification of Falun Gong practitioners are a deadly trio.

8-Allied to these factors is the reality that some hospitals appear to doing transplants in order to keep their doors open since their funding was cut. For example, $ (US)180,000 for a liver and kidney combination goes a long way to keep a rural hospital operating when it is threatened with closure.

It is easy to say that this or that element of proof in isolation is not determinative. It is their combination that drove us to the chilling conclusion we reached. This was re-enforced by the feeble response of the Chinese government. Almost a month after our report came out, it was unable to rebut its contents except to say-correctly-that we had placed two cities in the wrong provinces.

Our report has 17 different recommendations. Virtually no precaution to prevent the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners is currently been applied. If the government is serious, all of our measures should be enacted with all deliberate speed. The first recommendation, of course, is that the harvesting practice must stop immediately.

All of us—you, me and our friends and colleagues-can together raise the heat on the government of China, thereby saving innocent lives when the order to stop the killing finally goes out from Beijing. Remember the Land Mines Treaty signed in Ottawa some years ago. Jody Williams, on receiving the Nobel Peace prize for her contribution, said that victory for the land mines ban was really achieved through emails on the Internet. Please get your own email networks working now. Together we can stop this new crime against humanity long before the Olympic Games set for 2008!

Related post: Nowak, Kilgour highlight China's rights abuse at the UNHRC

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Organ harvesting and Local Government


MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
______________________________________________________________

What does organ harvesting have to do with local government?

An independent investigation recently conducted by former MP David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas came to a shocking conclusion: that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs are being extracted while they are still alive and sold to the highest bidder. The report stated that the heart, both kidneys, the corneas and the liver are all taken; the bodies are then burned in a crematory to destroy all evidence.

Organs are advertised as “fresh” on websites, and foreigners travel to China from all over the world for a transplant. The report found that an organ can be procured within a matter of weeks in China, whereas in the rest of the world it takes on average 3.5 years. Kilgour said Canadians are among those who have traveled to China for illicit organs.

The report states that the Chinese regime’s “policy of repression of Falun Gong means that they are in prison without rights, at the disposition of corrupt authorities. The incitement to hatred against Falun Gong and their dehumanization means that they can be butchered and killed without qualms by those who buy into this official hate propaganda.”

Sue Zhang, spokesperson for the BC Falun Dafa Association (BCFDA), says that while calling on international communities to urge the Chinese regime to stop these atrocities is the number one priority right now, local government can help by adopting a resolution.

“The BC Falun Dafa Association is seeking support from the three levels of government to implement some of the 17 recommendations made in the report,” says Zhang. “Vernon is leading the way with an outstanding resolution.”

Zhang says drafting a resolution is not a complicated procedure and can include any/all of the three following points: to urge the regime to immediately end the persecution of Falun Gong and release all Falun Gong practitioners; to discourage citizens of their city from traveling to China for a transplant operation; and to request the provincial government to prohibit any BC resident from receiving an illegal organ transplant in China.

This is not just a federal issue, nor even a political issue, but a blatant attack on the moral conscience of all human beings. We must stand to protect our fellow world citizens in the face of persecution. There truly is no other choice we can make as human beings.” Zhang said.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline with roots in ancient China. Best known for its five sets of gentle, meditative exercises, Falun Gong emphasizes self-improvement through moral teachings based on the principles of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance. The nationwide systematic persecution of Falun Gong, initiated by Jiang Zemin in 1999, has as its aim the eradication of Falun Gong from Chinese society.

It is noteworthy the US State Department, in a world report to Congress, recently blacklisted China as a serious violator of religious freedom.

Related media reports can be found here and the KM report here.

Nowak, Kilgour highlight China's rights abuse at the UNHRC


The rapporteur on torture, Nowak Manfred, spoke at the UN Human Rights Council on September 20 about his 2005 investigation of China’s laogai. At that time he reported that Falun Gong practitioners, religious groups, human rights activists and dissidents are the main victims of torture in China. He added that torture is still widespread and rampant in China. It is anticipated that he will go back to investigate crimes of organ harvesting in the not-too-distant future.

"I was particularly concerned about the continuing practice of forced re-education of persons with dissident or non-conformist opinions, aiming at changing their personality and breaking their will, both in special re-education through labor camps, regular prisons, and even in pre-trial detention facilities," he said. (more)

The Honourable David Kilgour also testified at the Human Rights Council highlighting China’s bloody organ harvest targeting Falun Gong practitioners.

"I think momentum is growing. I think if all of us get on our Internet and on our computers and send emails by the thousands, we will reach the tipping point when the government of China will think if it doesn't stop this terrible [organ harvesting] its Olympic games might be affected. That's the thing, that's the tipping point, and we have to take advantage of that, to push and push and push, all of us." (more)

Falun Gong practitioners recounted the barbaric mistreatment they experienced at the hands of the CCP for not renouncing their faith.

"In court, I asked the prosecutor to produce evidence of my committing any crime," he said. To that the prosecutor replied, 'We know we don't have evidence. If we did, things would not be like this.'…They just ignored all the laws." On February 30, 2000, he was sentenced four years imprisonment.

Dai Ying, Li's wife, said she spent 17 hours per day sewing leather shoes for export of the US and Europe, as part of her labor camp experience. She has partially lost sight in one of her eyes due to electric baton torture. In her speech, however, she recalled a different aspect of her incarceration: Extensive physical examinations without any apparent purpose.

"We did not know the reason why only Falun Gong practitioners were physically examined, but one thing we did know: it was not done for care of our health," she said. Apparently, non-practitioners were not examined this way. After the organ harvesting allegations surfaced last spring, Dai began to suspect she had been assessed as a potential organ donor.” (more)

David Kilgour Testifies about Organ Harvesting Atrocities at UN Human Rights Commission

(Clearwisdom.net) On September 20, Manfred Nowak, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture, spoke to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and described what he sees as the widespread use of torture in the People's Republic of China (PRC). During the discussion time after Mr. Manfred's speech, David Kilgour, coauthor of the Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China," spoke to the audience and pointed out that the Chinese Communist regime’s brutal persecution of Falun Gong is appalling.

Kilgour spoke to U.N. Human Rights Council

Kilgour said: "Regarding whether or not the Chinese Communist regime has been harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners and then cremates the remains to destroy evidence, human rights attorney David Matas and I jointly released an investigation report in July. In our report, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true. We carefully assessed 18 different elements of proof or disproof."

Kilgour said that many Falun Gong practitioners detained in Chinese prisons have been subjected to blood tests and physical exam. Because they at the same time have been subjected to torture and slander, he pointed out that such physical exams are not prompted by the authority’s concern for practitioners' health.

Kilgour also highlighted the fact that the waiting time to obtain matching organs is extremely short in China: just a few days or several weeks comparing to several months or even several years in other countries. "This suggests that there is a large live organ bank in China," Kilgour said.

The Canadian independent investigation report has raised wide attention from the international community, and many human rights organizations and renowned public figures have expressed their support to further investigation into these atrocities.

Related Article:

Epoch Times: Beijing Under Spotlight at U.N. Human Rights Council

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Amesty slams Communist China over rights in Oympics run-up

Communist China has broken its Olympic promise...but not according to CCP officials--they are patting themselves on the back for a job well done!

"Qin stressed that China sees the respect and protection of human rights as a lofty target to which it dedicates unremitting effort. The Chinese government is committed to promoting democracy and legal systems, building up a country that is ruled by law and striving for a fair, just and harmonious society so as to realize the all-round development of its people." (more)

Letter by Joan Quain - An Amnesty International report just released criticises China's failure to honour human rights promises it made when bidding for the 2008 Olympics. With 687 days to go before the start of the Beijing Olympics, the report cited such "issues of concern" as: a lack of media freedom and free speech, the mistreatment and torture of human rights activists, lack of a fair trial for the 8 - 10,000 who receive the death penalty annually, extracting the organs of those who are killed by the death penalty, forced evictions for Olympic-related sites -- the list goes on.

Amnesty has sent the report to the International Olympic Committee, which has said it would act if human rights commitments are not met by Beijing. This, together with the Kilgour/Matas report on the rampant illegal harvesting of the organs of Falun Gong practitioners that has been going on for the past six or so years, should be enough to prompt the IOC to withdraw the Olympics from China altogether -- no compromises.

It's a travesty that China, with its abysmal human rights track record, was granted the honour of hosting the Games in the first place. It's not too late to remedy that.

Amnesty accuses China of breaking Olympic promises Ewen MacAskill

Olympic boycott call over organ claims


Monday, September 18, 2006

Taiwan, Taiwan, Taiwan


Hat off to Don Feder who has done a fabulous job at illustrating the merits of the democracy of Taiwan (reprinted below). Now that the UN has slapped Taiwan in the face once again and sided with China on this issue, one can only wonder if Taiwan will be on China’s menu as an après-Olympics delicacy or as an appetizer (avant-Olympics) with 500,000 Taiwanese Falun Gong flambé for desert? Hmmm...it sounds ridiculous but pay close attention--the red dragon’s appetite is out of control these days and the UN is not far behind it … we wouldn’t want to embarrass Communist China would we?

Human Events, DC: UN Again Slams Door on Taiwan by Don Feder

Sep 18, 2006 - Last week, for the 14th year in a row, the United Nations again slammed the door on Taiwan. The General Committee refused to put Taiwan’s application for membership on the agenda of the General Assembly.

On September 7, some of Taiwan’s allies in the United Nations openly challenged Communist China, the only obstacle to the Republic of China’s rejoining the world body.

Commenting on a report by Secretary General Kofi Annan (‘Prevention of Armed Conflict’), Gambia’s UN Ambassador Crispin Grey-Johnson observed: ‘It is unfortunate that none other than the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a respected member of the Security Council, the custodian of international peace and security, is itself engaged in threats to international peace and security by expanding its already huge military arsenal in readiness for an invasion of Taiwan.’

'Internal Affair'

Beijing responded predictably: ‘The Chinese delegation wishes to reiterate that there is but one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inseparable part of it,’ said Chinese diplomat Li Junhua. Parroting the Communist Party line, Li added, 'I wish to emphasize that the Taiwan question is entirely an internal affair of China and bears no relation whatsoever to the prevention of armed conflict.’

Such is the air of unreality that pervades Babel on the East River -- especially when the issue is Taiwan.

Article 4 of the UN Charter invites all peace-loving nations to participate in its deliberations. Well, not quite all.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations in 1948) calls on nations to protect freedom of speech, press, religion, the right to property and the right to a fair trial. Each of these rights is secure on Taiwan, which is rated one of the two freest countries in Asia by Freedom House. Each right is non-existent in mainland China, which remains what it was at its inception -- a brutal, totalitarian dictatorship.

So naturally, China is not only a respected member of the United Nations but has a permanent seat on the Security Council, while Taiwan is a pariah. More than anything else, this underscores the UN’s hypocrisy.

Ignoring Taiwan takes a sustained act of will. Andorra, with its 54,550 citizens, is a UN member. Taiwan, with a population of 23 million (making it more populous than 60% of UN member states), is not. Liechtenstein, which covers a land mass of 160 sq. kilometers, has a vote in the General Assembly. Taiwan, which comprises 36,000 sq. km (roughly the size of the Netherlands), does not.

It's not easy to pretend that Taiwan isn’t there. The economic dynamo has the world’s 17th largest economy, 16th largest volume of trade and third largest foreign-exchange reserves. Its IT industry has the largest share of the global market for notebook computers, motherboards and LCD monitors.

While only 24 countries recognize the reality of Taiwanese sovereignty, Taipei has a diplomatic presence in more than 100 nations. If you want a visa to visit Taiwan, you go to one of its representative offices abroad -- not to a Chinese embassy. Citizens of Taiwan travel on an ROC (Republic of China) passport, not one issued by the PRC.

Article II of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which sets forth the definition of a nation-state for purposes of international law, declares, ‘The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by other states.’ In 1776, no one recognized the fledgling United States of America, formerly colonies of Great Britain. Our national existence was a fact before any other country acknowledged same.

Since the end of China’s civil war, now almost 60 years ago, the People’s Republic of China has not exercised control of Taiwan for a single day.

Settled by Mainlanders in the 16th Century, for most of its existence Taiwan had only a tenuous connection to the Middle Kingdom. Since 1949, Taiwan has developed a national identity of its own, one which would make integration into the People’s Republic impossible -- other than by brute force.

The Taiwanese are increasingly Westernized and forward-looking. They have a vigorous independent press, as well as the other institutions of a free society.

Since 1987, Taiwan has moved from martial law (rule by a geriatric oligarchy of Mainlanders who arrived in ‘49 with Chaing Kai-shek) to a nation with a popularly elected president and legislature and an independent judiciary. The year 2000 saw the peaceful transfer of power from the ruling Nationalists (KMT) to the Democratic Progressive Party -- a party which was banned and whose leader was in jail only 20 years earlier.

Despite its remarkable economic growth, the People’s Republic is among the most dismal of dictatorships -- economically capitalist and politically Stalinist -- witness the persecution of the Falun Gong, the home-church movement and political dissidents.

What makes the refusal of the international community to grant standing to Taiwan so dangerous is that China intends to achieve ‘reunification’ by force -- Tiananmen Square on a grand scale.

In March 2005, the National People’s Congress (a rubberstamp for China’s Communist Party) passed an ‘Anti-Secession Law,’ which provides a rationale for aggression. In it, China’s rulers gave themselves the authority to use force whenever Taiwan takes unspecified steps toward ‘independence.’

Beijing has also hinted that maintenance of the status quo isn’t enough. Taiwan’s failure to surrender in a timely fashion will also provoke the military option. Its campaign of military expansion is geared toward that end, as well as to counter potential U.S. interference. China now has 800 medium-rage ballistic missiles just across the Taiwan straits. This force is augmented at the rate of roughly 100 a year.

Encouraging Aggression

In 1995-96, in an attempt to intimidate the Taiwanese in the midst of their first presidential election, the People’s Liberation Army ‘test-fired’ missiles in the direction of Taiwan. A U.S. Defense Department report, released in July, ominously notes: ‘ The threat against Taiwan is further reinforced by the deployment of the most advanced systems and military capability in the region directly opposite Taiwan.’

In a speech in Singapore last year, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noted: ‘China’s defense expenditures are much higher than Chinese officials have publicly admitted. It is estimated that China’s is the third-largest military budget in the world, and now the largest in Asia.’ Then, Rumsfeld asked rhetorically, ‘Since no nation threatens China, one wonders: Why this growing investment?’

Beijing will brook no interference with its expansionist plans. In 1995, Xiong Guangkai (now deputy chief of the PLA general staff) told a former Pentagon official who was visiting Beijing that America should worry more about seeing Los Angles disappear in a cloud of radioactive dust than saving Taiwan.

Last year, another Chinese general told a group of journalists from Hong Kong that if the U.S. interferes with a forcible annexation of Taiwan, ‘we will be determined to respond.’ Just to be sure his point wasn’t missed, the general added that Beijing was prepared to lose every city in central China in a nuclear exchange, but that America must be willing to sacrifice ‘hundreds of cities.’

As long as Taiwan is outside the United Nations, it remains beyond the protection of international law. This is an unmistakable signal to Communist China that the day it sends an amphibious force steaming toward Taiwan, the international community will not interfere with the PRC’s internal affairs.

By ignoring Taiwan, the United Nations is encouraging aggression, thus defeating its ostensible raison d’etre.

Mr. Feder is a former syndicated columnist for the Boston Herald and author of Who's Afraid of the Religious Right? (Regnery) and A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America. He works as a freelance writer and media consultant and serves as the president of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation.

Related Posts:

Standing to a United Front

Any China crisis will have impact on Taiwan

Taiwan: Democracy a slap in the face for the power mad




Sunday, September 17, 2006

Communist China and religious freedom--an oxymoron

In the department's annual report to Congress on religious freedom around the world, the US has blacklisted China and seven other countries as serious violators of religious freedom, namely Iran, Myanmar, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam.

This a huge step backward for Communist China that should be focusing on improving its rights record, if only to preserve its image in the run-up to the Olympics. To illustrate the gravity of the situation, one only has to remember the three murder attempts made on Gao Zhisheng, a human rights defender for the Falun Gong and Christians, and his arrest of August 15—the word is that he has been tortured. It is clear that the present law on religious freedom does not protect believers but does quite the opposite. For example a single complaint about noise or whatever is enough to get a church raided and shut down. The five main religions in China--Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism--are not even recognized by the law. As if thiswasn't enough, I ask you what to make of this:

"Latest batch of Chinese spies wear the collar of Catholic priest ... there can be little doubt that Liu, likely also believes that the Bible authorized Chinese authorities to remove organs from living victims, too."

But this time again, Falun Gong practitioners who are defiant and fear not fight for their rights were hit quite hard. For example, we have all heard about the recent reports of organ harvesting from living practitioners in China and killing them in the process--the new form of evil on the planet. This is just one example adding to the long list of persecutory methods used on the Falun Gong.

Even though China revised its rules on religion last year, "the government's respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience remained poor," the State Department said Friday.

In an annual report of the state of religious freedom, the department cited violence against believers and people the government considers cultists, especially members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Most of the repression targeted worshippers and practitioners in organizations not registered with the authorities.

"Falun Gong practitioners continued to face arrest, detention and imprisonment, and there have been credible reports of deaths due to torture and abuse," the report said.

People who refuse to give up their belief can receive harsh punishment, including being sent to prison or being re-educated at labor camps, the report said.

"The government tends to perceive unregulated religious gatherings or groups as a potential challenge to its authority," the report said, "and it attempts to control and regulate religious groups to prevent the rise of sources of authority outside the control of the government" and the Communist Party. (more)

US Department of State: International Religious Freedom Report 2006: China [Excerpt]

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and the freedom not to believe; however, the Government seeks to restrict religious practice to government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship and to control the growth and scope of activities of religious groups. The Government tries to control and regulate religion to prevent the rise of groups that could constitute sources of authority outside of the control of the Government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Nonetheless, membership in many faiths is growing rapidly.

During the period covered by this report, the Government's respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience remained poor, especially for religious groups and spiritual movements that are not registered with the Government. Unregistered religious groups continued to experience varying degrees of official interference and harassment. Members of some unregistered religious groups were subjected to restrictions, including intimidation, harassment, and detention.

[...]

Falun Gong practitioners continued to face arrest, detention, and imprisonment, and there have been credible reports of deaths due to torture and abuse. Practitioners who refuse to recant their beliefs are sometimes subjected to harsh treatment in prisons, reeducation through labor camps, and extra-judicial "legal education" centers, while some who recanted returned from detention. Reports of abuse were difficult to confirm within the country and the group engaged in almost no public activity within the country. Overseas Falun Gong practitioners claimed this was a result of the harsh government campaign, which began with the 1999 crackdown against the group. There were continuing revelations about the extra-legal activities of the Government's 610 office including torture and forced confessions, a state security agency implicated in most alleged abuses of Falun Gong practitioners.

[...]

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

During the period covered by this report, government repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement continued. Membership in the Falun Gong [...] was illegal. Distributing Falun Gong literature or encouraging others to join the spiritual movement was punishable by criminal and administrative sanctions, including reeducation. As in past years, foreigners who distributed Falun Gong materials were expelled from the country, including an Australian expelled in October 2005 after attempting to distribute the book Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. In January 2006 the Government released U.S. citizen Charles Lee after three years of imprisonment for Falun Gong-related activities.

[...]

Abuses of Religious Freedom

[...]

There were credible reports of torture and deaths in custody of Falun Gong practitioners in past years and overseas Falun Gong groups claimed that such incidents continued.

In December 2005 a Beijing attorney sent an open letter to President Hu Jintao highlighting abuses of Falun Gong practitioners. The letter described the electric shock torture of Zhang Zhikui, a Falun Gong practitioner arrested for repeated petitioning in Beijing, and the October beating death in Changchun, Jilin Province of Liu Boyang and his mother Wang Shouhui. The letter, and a similar open letter sent by the attorney in 2004, referred to the extra-legal activities of the 610 office, reportedly involved in many of the abuses of Falun Gong. In 2005 the Government revoked the attorney's license to practice law, and the attorney has claimed repeated government harassment, including an automobile accident that he publicly described as an "assassination attempt." Foreigners attempting to meet with the attorney have been detained and harassed.

According to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States, since 1999 more than 100,000 practitioners have been detained for engaging in Falun Gong practices, admitting that they adhere to the teachings of Falun Gong, or refusing to criticize the organization or its founder. The organization reported that its members have been subject to excessive force, abuse, rape, detention, and torture, and that some of its members, including children, have died in custody. NGOs not affiliated with the Falun Gong documented nearly 500 cases of Falun Gong members detained, prosecuted, or sentenced to reeducation during the period covered by this report. Credible estimates suggested the actual number was much higher. In November 2005 police at the Dongchengfang Police Station in Tunzhou City, Hebei Province, reportedly raped two Falun Gong practitioners. Reliable sources indicated that Zheng Ruihuan and Liu Yinglan were detained in Shandong Province in July 2005 for practicing Falun Gong. In May 2006, Yuan Yuju and Liang Jinhui, relatives of a Hong Kong journalist who works for a television station supportive of Falun Gong, were sentenced to reeducation [...] relating to their distribution of Falun Gong materials. Some foreign observers estimated that at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country's reeducation-through-labor camps were Falun Gong adherents. Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher. Hundreds of Falun Gong adherents were also incarcerated in legal education centers, a form of administrative detention, upon completion of their reeducation-through-labor sentences. Government officials denied the existence of such "legal education" centers. According to the Falun Gong, hundreds of its practitioners have been confined to psychiatric institutions and forced to take medications or undergo electric shock treatment against their will.

CHINA: Would a religion law help promote religious freedom?

CHINA: Despite new Regulations, religious policy still under strain

China (includes Taiwan only): International Religious Freedom Report 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Urgent action needed to stop organ harvesting targeting Falun Gong

As you are aware, the Honourable David Kilgour, former MP, and human rights lawyer Mr. David Matas concluded in their “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China” that “there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.” The report can be found here.

The widespread killing of Falun Gong practitioners for profit to provide organs for transplants is “so shocking that it represents a new form of evil in the world,” Mr. Matas said.

The report stated, “The policy of repression of the Falun Gong means that they are in prison without rights, at the disposition of corrupt authorities. The incitement to hatred against the Falun Gong and their dehumanization means that they can be butchered and killed without qualms by those who buy into this official hate propaganda.”

We call on all Canadians, elected officials, and NGOs to speak out against these atrocities and to take immediate action with regards to the recommendations in this report.

To this end, we invite you to attend a rally on September 26 on Parliament Hill: “Together Let's Stop Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.”

Meanwhile, please contact the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs today and request that they do everything in their power to:

  • condemn the Chinese Communist regime for its persecution of Falun Gong and such atrocities as organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners; urge the CCP to end the persecution and release all Falun Gong practitioners immediately;

  • urge the Chinese regime to open, for international inspection, all detention facilities holding Falun Gong practitioners, including prisons, forced labour camps, detention centers, and hospitals;

Prime Minister's Office:
Phone: 1-866-599-4999 (ask to be connected to the Prime Minister's Office)
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Honourable Peter MacKay
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade:
Phone: (613) 996-9707
Fax: (613) 996-9709
Email: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

Sample letter

Re: Urging the government to take imperative action to stop organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China

(suggested salutations)

Dear Right Honourable Stephen Harper:

Dear Minister MacKay:

On July 6, the Honourable David Kilgour, former MP, and human rights lawyer David Matas concluded in their “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China” that “there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.” The findings in the report are extremely disturbing. I call on our government to take serious action in respect with the recommendations in this report.

After assessing 18 elements of evidence that the authors submitted were “verifiale and in most cases incontestable,’ the report stated that the horrific organ seizures represented a grotesque form of evil that is new to this planet. They considered that ‘organ harvesting of unwilling donors where it is either systematic or widespread is a crime against humanity.”

The report further noted that the Chinese government policy on Falun Gong has been to “defame their reputation, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.” The policy of repression of the Falun Gong means that they are in prison without rights, at the disposal of corrupt authorities. The incitement to hatred against the Falun Gong and their dehumanization mean that they can be butchered and killed without qualms by those who buy into this official hate propaganda.”

This chilling report is consistent with abundant other information documenting the Chinese regime’s severe human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners that has persisted for seven years.

This report tells the world that it must no longer underestimate and ignore these crimes against humanity. They are an attack on the moral conscience of all human beings. Canada needs to end its policy of appeasement in the face of Communist China’s human rights atrocities as soon as possible.

I urge the Canadian government to condemn this atrocity and take urgent measures in conjunction with the UN and other international bodies to further investigate and intervene.


Related Articles:

National Post: China's bloody harvest by David Matas
Waiting times for organ transplants in China are a matter of days. Everywhere else waiting times are measured in years

CBC/CP: Report claims China harvests body parts from Falun Gong for transplant Report claims China harvests body parts from Falun Gong for transplant

National Kidney Foundation Statement about Alleged Human Rights Violations in Organ Donation

Globe and Mail: Shadow falls on 41,500 transplants Report by Canadian lawyers alleges China is killing Falun Gong members for organs by JEFF SALLOT

OTTAWA July 7, 2006 - An estimated 41,500 transplant operations in China were probably performed using organs of imprisoned Falun Gong members killed by Chinese authorities, says a report released yesterday by two prominent Canadian lawyers.

There is no other possible source for the organs used in transplants between 2000 and 2005, says the report by David Matas, a Winnipeg human-rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former prosecutor who was also a federal Liberal cabinet secretary for Asian affairs.

"Where do the organs come from for the 41,500 transplants? The allegation of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners provides an answer," the report says. The authors say they ruled out all other sources, including the relatively small number of other Chinese prisoners executed for crimes.

A new Chinese law governing organ transplants came into effect last week after reports in Western news media that Chinese hospitals were advertising on-line that they had fresh kidneys, corneas and other organs for foreign customers frustrated with long waits.

The law limits transplant surgery to a relatively small number of Chinese hospitals that must certify that the organs come from "legal sources." Hospital ethics committees must approve all transplants.

The authors say they welcome the new law, but wonder whether it is simply window dressing. Chinese authorities routinely ignore human-rights laws and are known to torture prisoners, Mr. Matas said.

The widespread killing of Falun Gong members for profit to provide organs for transplants is "so shocking that it represents a new form of evil in the world," Mr. Matas said.

"It's hard for anybody in this room to believe it. It was hard for us to believe," Mr. Kilgour said during a news conference.

Yet after a two-month investigation of the available evidence – much of it admittedly circumstantial -- the two men believe the allegation to be true based on a civil-law standard of "balance of probability."

They acknowledge that they have no direct evidence, but say that putting together the pieces, it is hard to come to any conclusion other than that healthy Chinese are being killed to harvest their organs.

The Washington-based Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong commissioned the report. Other international human-rights groups have said they are concerned by the reports of forced organ-harvesting, but do not have the evidence to prove prisoners are executed for this sole purpose.

Mr. Kilgour said he was shaken after listening to the in-camera testimony of a Chinese woman who said her husband, an eye surgeon, had participated in the harvesting of corneas from about 2,000 anesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in China during a two-year period ending in late 2003. The woman was interviewed in the United States, where she now lives. She does not want to be identified for her own safety.

The report acknowledges the difficulty corroborating the woman's story.

The authors also heard tapes and read transcripts of translated telephone conversations with Chinese medical officials who told Falun Gong members posing as patients that fresh organs were available on short notice at their hospitals.

The pretext calls were made over the past few months. In one call to a hospital in Wuhan, the caller asked whether the kidney suppliers are alive, saying: "We're looking for live organ transplants from prisoners, for example, using living bodies from prisoners who practise Falun Gong. Is it possible?" The hospital official replied, "It's not a problem."


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Victoria, rights defenders, and organ harvesting

CW: Recently Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference in front of the British Columbia Parliament Building in Victoria, announcing the start of a van tour through the area to clarify the truth about the persecution. During the van tour, practitioners visited government officers and called upon every Canadian to condemn the crimes of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. The Martlet reported on this event as follows:

Falun Gong practitioners protest in Victoria Chinese members alleged victims of organ harvesting

The demonstration to raise awareness of China’s alleged persecution of Falun Gong members by Alex Gillett

The Martlet: 07 September 2006 -Recently a small crowd gathered around posters displaying gruesome images of bloody, dismembered people at the steps in front of the legislature.

A handful of Victoria Falun Gong practitioners organized the demonstration to raise awareness of China’s persecution of human rights lawyers and the alleged harvesting of human organs from imprisoned Falun Gong members there.

Guo Ting Guo, the first Chinese lawyer to openly defend practitioners of Falun Gong (a spiritual movement banned in China since 1999), was present at the small demonstration.

He has been living in Canada as a refugee since late 2005, after his home was raided and his law firm was taken away by Chinese officials, he said.

“We have done nothing wrong,” Guo said, referring to himself and other Chinese human rights lawyers who are finding themselves under attack from Chinese authorities.

“Lawyers are being told not to defend Falun Gong,” said Marie Beaulieu, a local Falun Gong practitioner. “If even lawyers cannot defend those people, where can they go to appeal for justice?”

Westerners need to be aware of the slaughter that is occurring in China, said Beaulieu, as she motioned towards gory pictures of what she maintains are tortured Chinese Falun Gong practitioners.

A report released in July, composed by former Liberal MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas, supports Beaulieu and other protesters’ claim that China is harvesting the vital organs of persecuted Falun Gong members for sale overseas.

The report concludes, “We believe that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners. The allegations, if true, would represent a grotesque form of evil, which, despite all the depravations humanity has seen, would be new to this planet.”

Kilgour said China should put an end to organ harvesting immediately, or it will risk jeopardizing the success of its Olympic Games in 2008.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, however, has denied the allegations. On their website, the embassy states, “The so-called ‘independent investigation report’ made by a few Canadians based on rumours and false allegations is groundless and biased. … We hope that the Canadian people will not be deceived by the disguise of the Falun Gong, and more people will be aware of the nature of ‘Falun Gong’ as an evil cult.”

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was first taught publicly in China in 1992. It combines meditation with Tai Chi-like exercises. The discipline has spread quickly in China and in other parts of the world.

In 1999, the communist Chinese government declared Falun Gong illegal.

“Chinese tourists walk past our display quickly to avoid it,” said Beaulieu. “Because in China people are told by the propaganda machine to persecute Falun Gong.”

Both Beaulieu and Guo hope to see Canada’s government take a firm stance against China’s human rights abuses.

Related Articles:

Times Colonist: Lawyer denounces China's tactics

Comox Valley Record - Courtenay: Fact or fiction?

Cowichan Valley News Leader: Island tour raises profile of Falun Gong

Nanaimo Daily News: Reports of torture pique MP's interest: Falun Gong

Cowichan Valley News Leader, Canada: Island tour raises profile of Falun Gong

Victoria News: Our View: Probing needed Leadership needed

Campbell River Mirror, Canada: Chinese persecution protested

Victoria News: Organ harvest allegations made public