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Friday, November 23, 2007

Matas: Covering up slaughter, with a little help from the CBC

This is my letter to the editor: There is something I'd like to add to David Matas' excellent piece. It's actually a quote from Human Rights lawyer Clive Ansley (also in the film) in response to the allegations from the communist official that appeared in the documentary on Falun Gong almost every couple of minutes--and we know who added that part in there!

"Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as 'illegal' is a clumsy attempt to justify a program of government sanctioned violence and persecution, ” Ansley said, adding that there is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China. The only “legal” support for this claim is an arbitrary fiat from the central leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, declaring Falun Gong to be “an evil cult”.

So much for religious freedom of belief enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. This is the same China that calls the Dalai Lama evil and has branded Christians as evil cult members as well. Thanks to Peter Rowe and his well-intentioned documentary, now we all know what China has in mind for the Falun Gong group. The only thing left to do now is for the international community to step forward to try and help stop this genocide before it's too late.

David Matas, National Post

National Post: Published: Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey denies the Armenian genocide. Sudan pretends the ongoing genocide in Darfur is not happening. The Soviet Union maintained that there was no forced famine in Ukraine. Neo-Nazis claim the Holocaust never happened. The pattern is predictable. Genocide Watch has identified eight stages of genocide. The last is denial.

The massive crimes that China has inflicted on the Falun Gong spiritual group follow this pattern. David Kilgour and I have written a report titled Bloody Harvest in which we showed that China has been killing the Falun Gong by the tens of thousands since 2000 for their organs. The organs are sold for huge sums, mostly to foreign tourists, for transplants. Beijing denies it all.

Bloody Harvest has been supported by two independent researchers -- Kirk Allison at the University of Minnesota and U.K. transplant surgeon Tom Treasure. All the evidence on which we relied is independently verifiable and available on our Web site, organharvestinvestigation.net.

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Since the first version of our report came out in July, 2006, David Kilgour and I have been to over 40 countries publicizing its results. No one anywhere has refuted our report.

The Chinese government and its fellow travellers have responded with disinformation, denials and clumsy attempts at censorship. Beijing systematically tries to get our events cancelled. If that fails, it seeks to introduce its own propaganda into every forum to which we are invited.

When the CBC announced that it was broadcasting a TV documentary about China's persecution of the Falun Gong that featured our report, it was predictable that the Chinese censorship machine would get into gear. What was not predictable was that the CBC would pay attention to it.

Beijing leaned on the CBC and the network pulled the originally scheduled Nov. 6 broadcast. It was replaced with an old documentary on Pakistan because, so the CBC spokesman said, recent turmoil in Pakistan made the rebroadcast timely.

But timeliness was not the concern. The CBC went back to the documentary's producer, Peter Rowe, and asked for changes. The changes he made weren't enough. So the CBC made more changes on its own.

The CBC version of the documentary was broadcast on Nov. 20. Since the original version is now available on YouTube, it is possible to compare the two.

The CBC's deletions were telling. One expunged segment was the playing of tapes of telephone admissions from hospitals in China acknowledging that they were selling Falun Gong organs. (Chinese government denials remained in the CBC version.)

The additions were typical Chinese propaganda. The CBC on its own, for instance, added this screen to the documentary: "Amnesty International does not have conclusive evidence to back up the allegation the Falun Gong are killed for their organs." (It should be obvious that Amnesty's silence is not evidence of anything. The organization does not claim to be an encyclopedia of all human rights violations.)

The CBC claimed that the changes it made strengthened the documentary. But that is not what happened. Instead, the CBC has weakened itself.

-David Matas is a Winnipeg lawyer.

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