CBC, Beyond the Red Wall and Falun Gong
By Clive Ansley, guest contributor
MWC: On Tuesday, November 6, CBC television was scheduled to show a documentary entitled “Beyond the Red Wall”. This film focuses on the vicious persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, highlighting the illegal nature of the persecution, the use of torture, and the horrific fact that Falun Gong practitioners are today being slaughtered on demand to facilitate theft of their organs and resale of those organs to foreign “organ tourists”.
David Kilgour, co-author of the comprehensive report which sets out the evidence of this “new form of evil on the planet”, is interviewed on the film. Also featured are Zhang Kunlun, a McGill University professor and Canadian Citizen who, on a visit to China, was thrown into a Labour Camp and tortured for three years, solely because of his Falun Gong beliefs.
Former Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, is also described as “speaking passionately” about the persecution of Falun Gong. I am also interviewed in this film on the subject of the Chinese “judicial system”, or lack thereof, my call for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics, and the collaboration of the Chretien and Martin governments with the perpetrators of the worst atrocities the world has seen since the days of the Third Reich in Germany.
CBC had purchased this documentary from its producer, Peter Rowe, last March. Subsequently, it required Rowe to edit the film, primarily to delete certain charges against the Chinese government and to allow more extensive comment on Falun Gong by Chinese diplomatic officials.
Rowe complied and CBC management gave final approval to the edited version last spring. For weeks, CBC had been promoting the film. Hours before it was to air, CBC pulled the film and replaced it with a re-run whitewash of Pakistan’s dictator.
All contract issues between him and CBC had been finalized long ago. If there is a contractual issue, it consists solely of the fact that CBC has the Canadian contract for televising of the “Bloody Harvest Olympics” in Beijing next year.
There is little doubt that Beijing threatened our national broadcaster with loss of this contract in the event that CBC were to allow Canadian audiences to view “Beyond the Red Wall”.
A second version was that the crisis in Pakistan pre-empted Peter Rowe’s film and that Pakistan was of immediate topical interest. That lie is particularly transparent. The crisis in Pakistan was almost a week old. Urgent up to the minute coverage could have been injected at any time.
The film shown hardly touched the current crisis; it was an old film, essentially covering a dinner party conversation in which the dictator’s mother enthused about how he had always exhibited “leadership qualities”, even as a child, and the dictator himself was allowed to praise his own benevolence without challenge.
The truth is that Chinese diplomatic officials had contacted CBC, and had employed at least one long known Chinese Communist Party Agent to orchestrate a campaign against showing the film, which they denounced as “all lies”. How they could know this is unclear since no one has yet seen the film.
CBC itself has acknowledged the intervention by Beijing, but has said only that it decided to ask for further editing after “it had become clear over the last 24-36 hours” that there was a great interest in this film.
It is common knowledge that China’s media is totally controlled by the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party. For the past 8 years the Communist Party has used its media monopoly to vilify Falun Gong; Falun Gong practitioners, in contrast, have been totally stifled and have never had any means of replying to the spurious charges of the Beijing dictatorship.
The Chinese media has regularly charged that the teachings of Li Hongzhi, founder and leader of Falun Gong, have led to widespread crimes by Falun Gong adherents in China, including murder, mass murder, suicides, infanticides, and rape.
But strangely, the teachings of Li Hongzhi would appear to have these toxic effects exclusively on disciples resident in China. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and other countries of Asia. But for some strange reason, the only Falun Gong practitioners ever charged with “crimes” outside of China are three women practitioners convicted in Singapore of passing out literature without a permit.
Human rights advocates the world over lament the Beijing government’s consistent suppression of accurate news reports in China, and its determination to ensure that Chinese citizens never receive fair and accurate information about Falun Gong.
Now it is apparent that Beijing has the power to approve or disapprove what is broadcast by news services in democratic countries. CBC is apparently quite comfortable with the idea that what Canadians are allowed to see or hear should be determined by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.
Clive Ansley is the China Country Monitor for Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada and President of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)