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Friday, June 29, 2007

800 Falun Gong members denied entry at airport, leader claims

One country, two systems -- I think not! Update: Over 800 practitioners have been violently turned away. It is noteworthy the PLA police force was in full operation in the heart of the City (Vancouver Sun)

South China Morning Post - June 29, 2007 Friday ,Section News; Pg. 3 by Nick Gentle and Lawrence Chung in Taipei

More than 140 Falun Gong practitioners have been turned away from Hong Kong as the city prepares for the 10th anniversary of the handover, according to a spokesman for the movement.

The group, banned on the mainland since 1999 when Beijing labelled it an "evil cult", claims the decision to turn away practitioners arriving at the airport from Taiwan was a direct result of pressure from Beijing.

"This is the most severe case [of discrimination] we have ever had in Hong Kong," said Falun Dafa Association of Hong Kong's chairman, Kan Hung-cheung.

"As of this morning, more than 140 people were deported and the number keeps getting bigger every time a plane lands," he said.

Mr Kan alleged some practitioners had been subject to brutal treatment by airport police when they refused to board planes back to Taiwan.

He said there was no reason for them to be refused entry as they were coming to the city to take part in peaceful activities such as a rally and a parade. He said the organisation was considering legal action.

Practitioner and radio reporter Liao Shu-hui was among a group of 23 turned away from Hong Kong 10 hours after their plane from Kaohsiung landed in the city at 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Recalling her experience, Ms Liao said the group had been barred from entering the city when they arrived on Wednesday night.

They had not been given any reason for their denial of entry and were later taken away "by force" and placed in a detention centre, she said.

Ms Liao and fellow practitioners were speaking at a press conference about what she called their "inhumane" treatment by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

She stressed that the group had not been told why they had been denied entry.

They had staged a sit-in at the airport to protest against what they called mistreatment.

Chang Hsiang-hua, another practitioner, said the group had not been given anything to eat or drink when they were in the custody room while their baggage was being searched.

"We were finally put on the plane at around 10am and sent back to Kaohsiung," he added.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council yesterday expressed concern over the repatriation of the group, saying Hong Kong authorities should respect the human rights of others.

Meanwhile, the Falun Dafa yesterday filed a personal injury claim in the High Court in Hong Kong against former president Jiang Zemin and former vice-premier Li Lanqing and politburo member Luo Gan.

The suit alleges torture, false imprisonment, assault, battery, malfeasance in public office and a host of other wrongs were committed by the three men against two Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners, Chu O Ming and Fu Sin-mei.

LOAD-DATE: June 28, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

US asks Hong Kong to maintain freedom after Falun Gong incident

Hong Kong Marches for Democracy on July 1. One country, two systems? Hmmm! So far at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners have been sent back. A leaked document confirmed that they have been black-listed.

"We believe all individuals, regardless of their beliefs or affiliation, enjoy the right to legitimate travel and peaceful assembly," the US State Department said.

"We expect that Hong Kong would continue to uphold its high standards of personal and political freedom," it said. (more)

ET:... According to Chu, she has obtained a confidential document from a certain airline company, in which it is said that Falun Gong adherents are "unwelcome visitors" prior to July 1 and that the Hong Kong Immigration will provide a "blacklist" of Falun Gong adherents in Taiwan, who either would be refused entry to Hong Kong or should be refused by the airline company to board the plane. (more)

Taiwan Blasts HK for Barring Entry of Falun Gong Followers

TAIPEI, June 28 Asia Pulse - A government spokesman reviled Hong Kong authorities Wednesday for barring Taiwanese Falun Gong followers from entering Hong Kong even though they held valid travel documents.

Government Information Office Minister Shieh Jhy-wey lambasted Hong Kong immigration authorities as "absolutely wrong" for denying 12 Taiwanese Falun Gong adherents entry Monday in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule.

The 12 Taiwanese citizens were repatriated after being denied entry to Hong Kong because their visits were "not conducive to the public good."

Shieh said Taiwan -- a democratic country whose people fully enjoy freedom of religion and freedom of speech -- feels it is a pity that Hong Kong denied entry to the 12 Taiwan citizens.

He said the entry denial reflects the fact that Hong Kong's human rights and democracy have regressed to a level much lower than that enjoyed by Hong Kongers 10 years before under British colonial rule.

This latest incident should also remind the Taiwanese people that Beijing has been manipulating democracy and human rights in Hong Kong under the guise of the so-called "one country, two systems." (more)

PLA fields anti-terror team for Olympics

It sounds like they are on high alert. In fact, the most dangerous people there are themselves -- the Chinese Communist Party whose killing has gone unchecked for the last 60 years in power and is still going strong today - think Falun Gong.

Shanghai Daily: 2007-6-29 - THE People's Liberation Army has set up a special unit to provide security against possible terrorist attacks and other major disruptions at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a senior officer said yesterday.


A command center has been organized and team members from the army, navy and air force have been trained, said Tian Yixiang, director of the military bureau for the Beijing Olympics security command center.

The PLA security unit will deal mainly with non-traditional threats such as possible biochemical and nuclear terror attacks, Tian told 65 defense attaches from 54 foreign embassies in China who attended a briefing on PLA security preparations for the Olympics.

Under the games' security plan, the PLA unit will be responsible for protecting the airspace around all arenas and maritime safety in coastal venues.

The unit will help police forces prevent and deal with any terror attacks as well as rescue operations in disaster and accident situations.

The PLA will be responsible for managing border control and to stop East Turkistan terrorist organizations, Falun Gong adherents and Tibetan separatists from getting into the games.

It will also prevent disruptions by organizations wanting to pressure the Chinese government during the games.

Many PLA forces will remain on alert in the air and at sea to ensure the safety of the Beijing Olympics, Tian said. The military will also provide security for the equestrian arena in Hong Kong if the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government requests assistance.

"It is international practice for military forces to participate in security for Olympic games," Tian said. "The PLA has completed emergency plans for non-traditional threats."

The military bureau of the Beijing Olympics security command center sent delegations to learn from Australian and Greek military experts and observed security drills for the Commonwealth Games.

‘We need to speak out on that’: Rose Parade

Rose Parade float prompts council to consider official review of human rights abuses in China

An excellent piece by Joe Piasecki

utcry by local Chinese Americans voiced in this newspaper and at Monday's Pasadena City Council meeting over the entry of a Chinese government-sanctioned float into the upcoming Rose Parade has prompted city leaders to consider investigating claims of human rights abuses in China and perhaps speak out against them.

Practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement who have sought asylum in America from beatings and imprisonment under the authoritarian communist regime made an emotional appeal at City Hall, urging council members to take official steps toward asking for the float's removal from the parade or an official rebuke of Chinese government persecutions.

Last month, the Tournament of Roses announced that the annual New Year's Day parade would include a float designed to celebrate the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics as part of its theme, “Passport to the World's Celebrations.”

Yaning (Jenny) Liu, a member of Caltech's Falun Gong club, made perhaps the most striking statement. Her 64-year-old mother, Shuying Li, was seized by government agents in December on suspicion of practicing Falun Gong.

“I hope the Pasadena City Council will help rescue my mother,” she said.

Li, said Liu, was without benefit of public trial and sentenced to 30 months in a labor and re-education camp that is located directly adjacent to Xicheng, a district of Beijing that Pasadena adopted as a sister city in 1998.

Councilman Chris Holden was first on the council to speak up, saying the sister city relationship “would pull us into needing to take some kind of position” after further study of the issue.

“Maybe at this point there's an opportunity to use that relationship for good,” said Holden, who as mayor in 1998 voted against making Xicheng a sister city amid human rights concerns. “Because of our relationship with a portion of the Chinese community there, we need to take a position. We need to say that if something is being done that is creating a human rights violation, we need to speak out on that. I think it is important to fully understand what all the issues are and then at such a time take a position, whether in writing or some other way of communicating.”

Councilman Victor Gordo supported Holden's call, which Mayor Bill Bogaard recognized as evidence that the council should consider taking action at a later time. Any formal action, however, would require a scheduled public discussion.

“I do think we have a responsibility here to have our voice heard and to say something. The parade is viewed throughout the world, and the message that's going to be sent is it's the city of Pasadena that's inviting the Chinese government to have a float in its parade,” said Gordo.

Tournament of Roses President CL Keedy, who was traveling and could not be reached for comment, told the Weekly earlier this month that the Olympic float is sponsored by local business interests, including the Avery Dennison Corp. Although not directly funded by the People's Republic of China, the float was approved by its Olympics Committee, he said.

Jianzhong (John) Li, a Caltech laboratory technical aide and Falun Gong practitioner who sought asylum from the Chinese government after 1989's Tiananmen Square violence, said Tournament officials are already scheduling a meeting with him for July.

“We're looking forward to hearing what the comments are,” said Tournament Chief Operating Officer Bill Flinn on Tuesday.

Keedy previously said that the float was intended to be an apolitical nod to the Olympics and that he did not expect such strong reactions.

This isn't the first time, however, that the Tournament has become the focus of international controversy. In 1991, the selection of Cristobal Colon, a Spanish duke and a descendent of Christopher Columbus, to serve as grand marshal of the 1992 event was protested by civil rights groups who viewed Columbus and his crew as genocidal pillagers. The Tournament eventually chose Native American and then-Congressman Ben Nighthorse Campbell to serve as a co-grand marshal with Colon.

“I think the Tournament will take this very seriously and help respond to the questions that are being raised,” said Bogaard.

Although he has at times expressed reluctance to involve municipal government with international affairs and on Monday also urged careful deliberation, Bogaard said he felt Holden's statement was “a good one by taking into account the very strong views of those who are here tonight.”

A spiritual movement that involves exercise and meditation, the practice of Falun Gong was common in China until it was suddenly outlawed in 1999. Since that time, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned or put into forced labor camps, according to Amnesty International's Web site.

One of those imprisoned was Jie (Angel) Li, who became a member of the Caltech Falun Gong Club after she was granted asylum by the United States government.

She was joined at Monday's meeting by Wen Chen, a Caltech laboratory assistant, who wept openly as Rowland Heights

resident Liu spoke of her mother.

Rowland Heights resident Bin Li told council members that because of her beliefs she was forced into slave labor in China and at one point was beaten by men using electrified batons who demanded she renounce Falun Gong.

“This is horrible, genocidal persecution. Leaving China for America for me was an escape,” said Li.

Last year, the Falun Gong-owned newspaper Epoch Times published accounts that agents of the Chinese government had begun harvesting organs from jailed practitioners.

Although such claims were not vetted by a US State Department investigation, they became widely known after journalist Wenyi Wang publicly denounced Chinese President Jiang Zemin during his visit last year to the White House.

Human Rights Watch last year reported that government preparations for the Beijing Olympics have resulted in increased censorship of local journalists and the mass arrest of activists.

Also in direct relation to the games, the group wrote in December to the Beijing Olympics committee, hundreds of thousands of Beijing residents have been evicted from their homes.

Bogaard, who two years ago publicly condemned treatment of New Orleans residents following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, said the council should be cautious in making any rebuke of China.

“One of the challenges when we take up a factual investigation of this kind, of course it's in a foreign country and along distance away, and at the same time we're forced to look into the heart of our own country and raise the same questions about it that we raise about a country abroad. That sometimes causes us to be circumspect about our public statements about other countries because of our own long history, which falls short of perfection in regard to the recognition of human rights across the board and for all the great people of this country,” he said.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Exhibition of exploitation

ELAINE CATZ explains why she quit her job at the Carnegie Science Center after it decided to put human bodies on display

Post Gazette: Sunday, June 24, 2007 - The bodies are coming to Pittsburgh. "Bodies ... the Exhibition" features 15 human bodies and more than 200 additional organ and partial-body specimens. These are people who, after death, were "plastinated" in a factory, their bodily fluids replaced by polymers. At best, they died unidentified and unclaimed. At worst, they were victims of human rights violations. In any case, they never gave consent to be used in this way.


Elaine Catz was an education coordinator for the Carnegie Science Center for nearly 11 years until she resigned June 14 to protest the museum's decision to host "Bodies ... the Exhibition" (ehcatz@aol.com).


German anatomist Gunther von Hagens developed the plastination process in the 1970s to preserve cadavers for medical schools, but he soon found it more lucrative to exhibit the bodies and charge admission. To bring in crowds, he skinned, sliced and posed the corpses, billing them as art. Among his displays was a man carrying his own skin over his shoulder, another kneeling in prayer, his heart literally in his hands.

After touring Eurasia for a decade, Mr. von Hagens reframed his work as "educational" and brought "BODY WORLDS" to North America. Lured by high profits, others created their own touring-cadaver shows. Enter "Bodies ... the Exhibition," coming to Carnegie Science Center this October.

Promoted by Premier Exhibitions Inc. of Atlanta, "Bodies" is more science-oriented than "BODY WORLDS," but it crosses a line even Mr. von Hagens has avoided. "BODY WORLDS" specimens are volunteers. For "Bodies," Premier says it is renting cadavers from China's Dalian Medical University, which acquired the unidentified, unclaimed corpses from police.

Premier admits that none of the people in the exhibit gave consent to be plastinated or displayed after death. While this raises many ethical issues, even larger ones arise when one considers that the source of "Bodies" corpses is questionable.

Premier does not deal directly with any of the plastination factories that have sprung up in China. Last August, New York Times correspondent David Barboza interviewed Premier's chief executive, who stated that, while they have "traced the whole process," the company relies on a supplier to acquire the corpses. When Mr. Barboza went on to speak with officials at Dalian Medical University, he found that they had no record of Premier's supplier obtaining the bodies there.

The Chinese government is prone to arrest and execute its citizens. More than 60 offenses, including some that are solely political or economic, are punishable by execution. In the past few years, 80 percent of the world's government-ordered executions have taken place in China.

Organ transplantation is a huge industry in China, as well, and people from around the world travel there to purchase organs and undergo surgery. But China has no voluntary organ donation system. Tens of thousands of transplanted organs have come from unidentified sources.

At a surgical conference last Nov. 14, the Chinese deputy health minister publicly acknowledged that his country has a thriving illegal organ trade. He also said that most organs transplanted in China are taken from executed prisoners. To facilitate this process, the government has changed its preferred method of execution. Prisoners are put to death by lethal injection while on route to a hospital in a "mobile execution van." Once there, their organs are harvested.

Horrifying rumors circulated last year that China was harvesting organs from live Falun Gong prisoners to meet rising demand. Falun Gong, a banned practice in China, focuses on meditation exercises intended to improve physical and spiritual health.

Former Canadian parliamentarian David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas investigated the claims. They uncovered surgeons who bragged about having easy access to Falun Gong organs, Falun Gong prisoners who were regularly tested to determine donor matches and expatriate Chinese doctors who admitted harvesting organs from live Falun Gong prisoners, killing them in the process.

This evidence and more led to their July 2006 conclusion: "The government of China ... has over the past half decade put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Most ... were murdered by medical professionals for their vital organs."

What are the implications for "Bodies ... the Exhibition," for which all of the bodies and organs on display were "unclaimed and unidentified"?

Premier says that it has "[Chinese] government certificates that guarantee none of the bodies had been a murder victim, prisoner, mental patient or aborted fetus." But clearly, the Chinese government's integrity is questionable.

Premier is paying $25 million over five years for the bodies and organs it is exhibiting -- a deal that is as profitable for organ dealers, if not more so, than selling parts for transplants. Does this mean the "Bodies" exhibition itself has fueled black-market organ trafficking? Possibly. Might any of the bodies and organs it displays have belonged to a prisoner, executed or otherwise? Absolutely.

If this is the case, why use real corpses? Premier claims "Bodies" can teach millions about the importance of "healthy lifestyle choices." By viewing the intricate details of real bodies, visitors gain a better appreciation of their own, then decide to exercise more, eat more nutritious food or quit smoking.

Certainly, there are many other ways to accomplish these goals. There is only one purpose for using actual cadavers, and that is to drive up attendance numbers.

So, what is this exhibit really teaching millions?

It teaches that, once he is deceased, there is nothing wrong with taking a person's body without his consent (better if he is nameless and foreign), plastinating, skinning, butchering and posing him with a piece of sporting equipment, to be viewed by people of all ages.

It teaches that there is nothing wrong with exploiting the dead in order to make a profit, as long as it is in the name of science or education or art. It doesn't matter that a "specimen" might have hoped that her remains would be treated with reverence and dignity instead of being positioned by a designer to best reveal her internal organs to the world.

It teaches that it is incredibly easy to dehumanize others. Many exhibit visitors say that after a few minutes, they become so fascinated by the subject matter that they forget they're looking at real people. But when we dehumanize the dead, it becomes easier to dehumanize the living.

Every death, whatever the cause, is that of a human being who wished, in life, to be treated with respect. If we wish others to respect us, we must demonstrate respect for the humanity of all people, and of their memories and bodies after death.

The bodies are coming to Pittsburgh. What message is Pittsburgh sending the world if we welcome them in?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Falun Gong practitioner denied entry in Hong Kong


Although Falun Gong seems to thrive in Hong Kong -- it's not entirely through. Beijing's long arm is the culprit.

The Standard: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - Immigration officials blocked a Taiwanese supporter of the Falun Gong spiritual group from entering Hong Kong and sent her back to Taiwan Monday, the woman said.


Theresa Chu said by telephone from Hong Kong International Airport that officials stopped her as she tried to clear immigration late Sunday night.

Officials informed her that her visit was "not conducive to the public good," she said.

She was sent back to Taiwan about noon Monday, she said.

"They wrapped me with a blanket and put me in a wheelchair. They are very rude," Chu later said in Taiwan.

Chu's denial of entry came as Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the handover in 1997.

Falun Gong members have used such high-profile events in the past to stage protests against the central government, which has labeled the group an evil cult and banned it in the mainland.

The Immigration Department declined to discuss Chu's case.

"The government will not comment on individual cases," the department said.

Immigration officials have a history of blocking Falun Gong members from entering Hong Kong.

However, the group is not banned in the territory.

Chu acknowledged that she planned to attend a protest during the July 1 handover ceremony.

"The problem is they don't like me. I'm a human rights lawyer. Also, I'm a Falun Gong practitioner who will join the demonstration," Chu said.

Chu has been refused entry before in Hong Kong.

She was among some 80 Taiwanese followers who were stopped in February 2003 from attending a Falun Gong conference in the city. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sunday, June 24, 2007

SELF-CENSORSHIP: China has detained Hong Kong reporters on the mainland, while at the same time urging media barons to avoid controversial subjects

Taipei Times:By Max Hirsch; Sunday, Jun 24, 2007, Page 3

For Epoch Times reporter Cheryl Ng in Hong Kong, the steady decline in media freedom in her hometown was an abstract threat until four thugs showed her its personal, sharp-cut reality one night last February.

Armed with hammers, the gang stormed into Ng's office as her newspaper was preparing to go to press.

"They were looking for something," Ng said. "They were fast."

As seven employees watched in terror, the men smashed a hard drive containing a design layout, temporarily crippling the Falun Gong-linked newspaper, she said.

"They weren't trying to wipe us out," she said at a Taipei forum held to address Hong Kong's press freedom 10 years after the former British colony returned to China. "That would've been too obvious."

The attack, media experts say, is a violent example in a litany of clampdowns and control of Hong Kong press by Beijing, or its thugs. The ensuing erosion of freedom in the former British colony, they say, contains lessons for Taiwan amid Beijing's push to bring the nation into its fold under the same system it uses to rule Hong Kong -- "one country, two systems."

"Since China wants to rule you under [that system], you could learn from our experiences," said Woo Lai Wan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

"For the first two years after returning to China rule," Woo said, "everything was fine."

In 1999, however, then Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) began scolding Hong Kong media for sympathizing with Taiwan, Woo said.

Subtle changes in wording began to happen, such as references to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) quietly morphing from Taiwanese "president" to "leader," she said.

"The message from Beijing was clear -- ultimate power is theirs," Woo said.

Beijing's "muzzling" of Hong Kong media includes redirecting their scrutiny from the Chinese government to that of Hong Kong, political commentator Paul Lin (林保華) said.

"The media there can pan Hong Kong authorities, but not China; they can slam corruption, but not the party," Lin said. "Look at Hong Kong, look at Tibet, and then think about Taiwan."

The 2003 SARS epidemic underscored the consequences of Beijing's information lockdown for Hong Kong, where 300 people died of the virus, said Tung Li-wen (董立文), deputy director of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Enraged by Beijing's silence on SARS, which led to its spread beyond China, half a million protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong that year.

"The protest really scared China," Tung said.

Beijing-backed legislation in Hong Kong's parliament banning "leaking state secrets" was then shelved, while China sought subtler ways to influence media there, experts say.

While periodically detaining Hong Kong reporters in China "to scare the territory's media," China has also courted Hong Kong media barons to encourage self-censorship, said Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜), director of the Taiwan Association of Journalists.

"Beijing's message to Hong Kong reporters is, `Be obedient or go behind bars,'" Chen said.

When asked for her advice for Taiwan should the pan-blue camp mull unifying with Beijing under the "two-systems" system, Woo said: "Don't back down."

"If you back down, you'll end up losing all your press freedoms," she said.

Forum examines HK media freedom

SELF-CENSORSHIP: China has detained Hong Kong reporters on the mainland, while at the same time urging media barons to avoid controversial subjects

Taipei Times:By Max Hirsch; Sunday, Jun 24, 2007, Page 3

For Epoch Times reporter Cheryl Ng in Hong Kong, the steady decline in media freedom in her hometown was an abstract threat until four thugs showed her its personal, sharp-cut reality one night last February.

Armed with hammers, the gang stormed into Ng's office as her newspaper was preparing to go to press.

"They were looking for something," Ng said. "They were fast."

As seven employees watched in terror, the men smashed a hard drive containing a design layout, temporarily crippling the Falun Gong-linked newspaper, she said.

"They weren't trying to wipe us out," she said at a Taipei forum held to address Hong Kong's press freedom 10 years after the former British colony returned to China. "That would've been too obvious."

The attack, media experts say, is a violent example in a litany of clampdowns and control of Hong Kong press by Beijing, or its thugs. The ensuing erosion of freedom in the former British colony, they say, contains lessons for Taiwan amid Beijing's push to bring the nation into its fold under the same system it uses to rule Hong Kong -- "one country, two systems."

"Since China wants to rule you under [that system], you could learn from our experiences," said Woo Lai Wan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

"For the first two years after returning to China rule," Woo said, "everything was fine."

In 1999, however, then Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) began scolding Hong Kong media for sympathizing with Taiwan, Woo said.

Subtle changes in wording began to happen, such as references to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) quietly morphing from Taiwanese "president" to "leader," she said.

"The message from Beijing was clear -- ultimate power is theirs," Woo said.

Beijing's "muzzling" of Hong Kong media includes redirecting their scrutiny from the Chinese government to that of Hong Kong, political commentator Paul Lin (林保華) said.

"The media there can pan Hong Kong authorities, but not China; they can slam corruption, but not the party," Lin said. "Look at Hong Kong, look at Tibet, and then think about Taiwan."

The 2003 SARS epidemic underscored the consequences of Beijing's information lockdown for Hong Kong, where 300 people died of the virus, said Tung Li-wen (董立文), deputy director of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Enraged by Beijing's silence on SARS, which led to its spread beyond China, half a million protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong that year.

"The protest really scared China," Tung said.

Beijing-backed legislation in Hong Kong's parliament banning "leaking state secrets" was then shelved, while China sought subtler ways to influence media there, experts say.

While periodically detaining Hong Kong reporters in China "to scare the territory's media," China has also courted Hong Kong media barons to encourage self-censorship, said Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜), director of the Taiwan Association of Journalists.

"Beijing's message to Hong Kong reporters is, `Be obedient or go behind bars,'" Chen said.

When asked for her advice for Taiwan should the pan-blue camp mull unifying with Beijing under the "two-systems" system, Woo said: "Don't back down."

"If you back down, you'll end up losing all your press freedoms," she said.

Living Without Freedom in China and Confucius

An excellent piece by Edward Friedman. The threat is real. Look here and here for more on this topic.

"So what is growing in China is an authoritarian, patriotic, racially defined, Confucian Chinese project which is going to be a formidable challenge not just to the United States but, I think, to democracy, freedom, and human rights all around the world. China is going to seem quite attractive to many people. That is why it is so very important to understand what living without freedom really means."
Foreign Policy Research Institute Vol. 12, No. 20 June 2007 By Edward Friedman

Edward Friedman is professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.This essay is based on his presentation at Living Without Freedom: A History Institute for Teachers sponsored by FPRI’s Marvin Wachman Fund for International Education, May 5–6, 2007, held at and co-sponsored by the National Constitution Center and the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. FPRI’s History Institute for Teachers program is chaired by David Eisenhower and Walter A. McDougall and receives core support from the Annenberg Foundation; this program was supported by a grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

It’s not easy for American students to know what it means to live without freedom. They know all the bad things about their own country—Virginia Tech, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the Enron and Halliburton scandals, the LA riots, elections stolen, federal attorneys fired for pursuing criminals rather than a political agenda, etc. How democratic is America?, they cynically wonder. When you tell them how awful these other places are, they ask, aren’t you just whitewashing your own society.

The hardest place to understand what the lack of freedom means is China, which is nothing like the Stalin model or Cuba or North Korea. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a totalitarian society. In post-Mao China, Chinese travel abroad in huge numbers. The country has the fifth largest tourist population in the world, on its way to being number one. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students are abroad; in internet use, China is about to overtake the U.S. as number one in the world. It’s a market society, brutally competitive; the economy is less state-owned than France or Austria’s, for example. Life is not dominated by communist block units; you can buy your own house or car, there’s no forced labor. You can choose your physician freely; most young Chinese would say they live in a free, democratic society.

So what does it mean to say that Chinese people live without freedom? First, it is a brilliant system at making people complicit with the unfreedom. For days after the June 4, 1989, massacre in Beijing of democracy supporters headquartered in Tiananmen Square, there was great tension in the city between people who live there and the occupying army. How did the party respond? Teachers were ordered to teach their students a new song: “The Army loves the people, the people love the Army.” Parents couldn’t say the song was untrue lest their children repeat this back at school. You can’t bring up your children the way you want to.

This is true for many lies the Chinese are forced to let stand uncontested. There still are committees for the defense of the revolution. They have to make their own money and often turn into Avon ladies, visiting house to house, but you know that if you aren’t complicit, maybe you won’t get a passport. It may be held against your child when s/he applies for college. You and your family will be shunned in the neighborhood. You could be committed to a psychiatric hospital.

China is not the worst stable authoritarian regime in the world: a North Korean might consider it free. Even foreigners who go to North Korea and then come back to China feel they are returning to a free country. But you get faced every day with decisions that bring it home to you that you’re not. If your child is ill, should you go to the pharmacy and buy some medicine? Of course, but medicines are often frauds in China. There have been cases where baby formula is bogus and children have died from receiving no nutrition. China has a ruthless free market, no regulation, no safety standards, no FDA, no CDC, no NIH. It’s also the world leader for people dying in industrial accidents, and about 400,000 each year die from drinking the water, which is unpotable. A Chinese journalist recently went to 10 Chinese hospitals wanting to get his blood tested. So he complained of certain aches and pains that he knew would cause them to test his blood. But he didn’t give them his blood, he carried in a thermos with tea and poured that into the cups. Eight of the ten reported to him that he had the most serious blood disease and that it would cost them endless money for treatment.

China has people who see the problems of this corrupt, arbitrary society and try to do something about them. There are courageous lawyers and journalists. The leading political crime in China is land seizures. The economy is growing at a fantastic rate, which means that you can sell pieces of land to a developer for a lot of money. You don’t want ordinary people to get rich. All the goodies are grabbed as much as possible by the ruling group. Over 97 percent of all millionaires in China are relatives of the top party elite. There are those who complain and resist, who stick to their guns. Lawyers come in to defend them. Accordingly, China is first in the world in the number of lawyers, journalists and Netizens in prison.

These things are hard to see when one is visiting, but there are signs one can see if one looks hard. Go to the railroad station at midnight, and you will see tens of thousands of people sleeping in the street. It is probably the most unequal stable society in the world. Income in the poorest rural areas has been declining. There’s no union, with one exception: the government is now promoting getting unions into multinational corporations, but as an instrument of party control, not to help the workers. The Party doesn’t like foreigners doing things they don’t know about. They want their agents in the places where the foreigners are, to control things as much as they can.

Freedom means the ability to hold your government accountable. There is no way to do this in China, and people die. China is said to have 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, and some would say it would be 20 out of 20 if they didn’t lie about the other four. Everything is corrupt. The only way you can get anything done is through corruption. This creates a sense of no morality. But people want meaning in their lives. So there’s a tremendous religious revival. All over China, all religions are reviving. The Party fears it. How does it respond? It crushes Christian house churches, it doesn’t like Lama Buddhism, it’s careful about Hui Muslims, but beyond that, it’s pushing essentially its own state religion, a combination of Han chauvinism, in which Chinese worship the yellow emperor, and an authoritarian Confucianism. The state is building Confucian temples. The vision is that China is going to explain its extraordinary rise to its own people and to the world as the result of its unique ethical religion, its Confucianism. It’s going to spread Confucian societies all around the world, it’s going to teach everybody that China produces a better quality of people because it has this moral authority and all others are inferior. Confucianism is the only way to raise people, and the world is properly hierarchically ordered with Confucian Chinese at the center of it.

China is a superpower. Its economy is rising, its military is rising, and Chinese people in surveys are more popular in most countries of the world than are Americans right now. China’s going to be using this money to serve certain purposes. Among them are undercutting the power of the United States, democracy and human rights and supporting authoritarian regimes. Whether it’s Sudan or Nigeria, they can buy up the oil and governments don’t have to listen to any kind of international pressure about conforming to human rights. China has already defeated the international human rights regime.

China’s rise means that freedom is in trouble. The era we’re in is very much like the era after WWI. Authoritarian models are rising and are becoming more attractive. I can imagine a future in which unregulated hedge funds lead to an international financial crisis and this is seen as coming out of the Anglo-American countries, London and New York being the two centers of these monies. But China regulates capital, so these things are not allowed in. The Chinese model may yet look even more attractive than it does now.

In describing this Chinese rise and how I believe it has the potential of being a threat to freedom in an extraordinary way that we haven’t seen since the end of WWI, I am not trying to suggest that Chinese don’t care about freedom; people do not need a Greek-Roman Christian heritage to care about freedom. That kind of claim is parochially and culturally very narrow. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with its beautiful preamble, is a Mencian document (Mencius is one of Confucius’ disciples). The word “individual” never appears in the document. The language was shaped by the philosophy of Mencius because one of the crafters of the Universal Declaration was a Chinese gentleman named P.C. Chang. Of course this is December 1948, the day after the Genocide convention was passed. The communists didn’t come to power for another year.

There is no trouble in understanding freedom and human rights in any culture in the world. People living in tyrannies may in fact have a better understanding of what freedom is about than American teens, who think it’s just that you get your driver’s license in your late teens. The Chinese regime has fostered a nationalism to trump democracy. People are taught that they are threatened by democracy, that democracy would make people weak. Party propaganda has it, “How did Rwanda occur? Because they tried to build a democracy. If the Hutus had simply imposed their will, they never would have had that problem. If it moves in a democratic direction, China is going to fall apart; it will be like what happened to Russia, to Yugoslavia. Do you want to end up like Chechnya and Bosnia? That’s what the Americans really want. You are fortunate to be a Chinese living in an ethical, authoritarian system.” The TV will show pictures of say the Los Angeles riots, the Sudan, and people are made frightened and confused. They’re proud to be Chinese and want to raise ethical kids. They want a country they can be proud of, certainly not like American kids. The Chinese are taught that American youth are smoking at an early age, use pot, have babies in their teens, watch pornography on TV, spread AIDS, get divorced, and don’t care what happens to their elderly parents. Why would you want to live in such an immoral way? This propaganda seems to work with many Chinese.

So what is growing in China is an authoritarian, patriotic, racially defined, Confucian Chinese project which is going to be a formidable challenge not just to the United States but, I think, to democracy, freedom, and human rights all around the world. China is going to seem quite attractive to many people. That is why it is so very important to understand what living without freedom really means.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Canadian Group Denies Being Front For Chinese Regime

Jason Loftus's excellent piece illustrates in-depth the Chinese espionage problem we face in Canada.

Epoch Times: TORONTO—Chen Yonglin came to Canada with a package of secret government documents and some shocking allegations.

Canada, he said, is beset with Chinese spies, informants, and front organizations that do the bidding of the Chinese communist regime on Canadian soil.

Chen's statements, made during a nine-day visit to Canada that ended last week, ruffled the feathers of one organization in particular: the National Congress of Chinese Canadians.

According to Chen, who was the first secretary at the Chinese consulate in Sydney until he defected in 2005, the NCCC is at the top of a pyramid of groups set up by the Chinese embassy and consulates in Canada. Their goal, Chen says, is to control and influence the Chinese community and the Canadian government.

The NCCC regularly lobbies the Canadian government; its leaders campaign for chosen candidates in elections, and the organization has sought large government grants.

Not surprisingly, the NCCC did not like being labelled a front for a foreign communist power.

After Chen returned to Australia, the NCCC sent a strongly worded statement to Chinese-Canadian media denying Chen's claims.

It accused Chen of "making untruths, creating hatred, and damaging the peace of Canada's Chinese community." It also threatened to sue The Epoch Times, which reported Chen's comments in its Chinese-language edition.

But Chen has stood by his comments, and research by The Epoch Times suggests there may be a basis to his claims about the NCCC.

Leaders with Connections

Speaking Wednesday with The Epoch Times, NCCC executive secretary David Lim denied he had a close relationship with the Chinese authorities.

"I've been in Canada for over half a century. I know a lot of people. I don't have close relationships with any group," Lim said.

He said claims that he is one of the Toronto Chinese consulate's most-trusted supporters were just "rumours."

Yet Lim is the Canadian representative for the overseas edition of the People's Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.

Lim's own Toronto-based Chinese Canadian Post is a single sheet that wraps around the weekend edition of the People's Daily and regularly echoes its views.

For example, the March 4, 2006 edition of the Chinese Canadian Post included on its single sheet 10 articles criticizing Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian and the Taiwanese independence movement, along with a full-page ad from National Defense Canada.

Lim is one of three high-profile leaders of the NCCC. The others are executive chair Ping Tan and national co-chair Hughes Eng.

Tan owns Bond International College, a boarding school in Toronto that promotes itself as a "major training base" for visiting Chinese officials. The school boasts that it has a special designation allowing it to receive officials from China's Shanxi Province and has hosted officials from the Chinese human resources ministry, education ministry, and Supreme Court. It also houses a large number of students from Mainland China.

Tan, who is also involved in joint-venture schools in China, regards the Chinese consulate as his main client, says one former employee. Consular officials regularly come to give speeches at his school and Tan hosted a going away party for the previous Chinese consul general Chen Xiaoling at the institution.

Hughes Eng, 79, is seen in the Chinese community as one of the Chinese consulate's go-to guys. According to a glowing biography of Eng found on a Chinese communist regime's website, Eng's grandfather settled in Canada in the late 1800s. However, Eng has kept ties in China. His brother, a former sports official in the Chinese communist regime, received Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1973 when he visited China and opened relations with the communist regime.

The NCCC claims it was founded in 1991 with the purpose of "helping resolve the 'head tax' issue, fighting to get equal social status for Chinese, and speaking for the Chinese community."

But former diplomat Chen Yonglin tells a different story.

According to Chen, after the student massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989 many Western governments froze diplomatic relations with China, and in response the Chinese regime helped found community organizations in those countries to get its message across.

"Organizations like the National Congress were founded based on issues that Chinese Canadians care about, and using the name of unity," says Chen. "But the real purpose was to further the interests of the Chinese regime in Canada and to lobby the Canadian government."

NCCC denies this and says it is "absolutely is not controlled by any party or political force."

The organization has said that it speaks for the Chinese community and as recently as 2005 it claimed to represent 300,000 Chinese-Canadians—about 30 per cent of Canada's Chinese population. It says it is an umbrella organization of many Chinese groups.

But other members of the Chinese community have disputed NCCC's claims. And a survey of more than 1,000 Chinese-Canadians in 2005 found that less than three per cent said they were represented by the NCCC.

NCCC leaders have also refused to provide lists of the 280 organizations it claims to represent. When reached Wednesday by The Epoch Times, two NCCC leaders were unable to answer how many groups the organization currently represents.

"Usually it is just a handful of people running these organizations and working with the Chinese mission to achieve the mission's goals overseas," says Chen. "Some organizations have fewer than 10 real members."

Combining smaller groups – many with overlapping members and embellished membership totals – under an umbrella group makes it sound credible, Chen says.

Whom the NCCC represents was called into question during the most recent federal election campaign that ended on Jan. 23, 2006 with a win for Stephen Harper's Conservative Party.

The hottest issue in that campaign in the Chinese community was redress for the discriminatory "head tax" that was charged to Chinese immigrants to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

While other Chinese community groups had long been calling for an apology and compensation for the surviving victims of the tax, the NCCC came onto the scene and said neither was necessary.

Before the election, NCCC leaders reached an agreement in principle with the then-Liberal government of Paul Martin to forgo an apology and compensation and instead set $2.5 million toward a new foundation headed by NCCC leaders. That foundation would then be responsible for allocating a further $10 million to projects highlighting the contribution of Chinese-Canadians.

During the campaign, Stephen Harper promised to compensate the head taxpayers directly. In an editorial published in English on the front page of his Chinese Canadian Post, on June 3, 2006, Lim pleaded to Harper not to cancel the agreement in principle and said it was the best way to redress the head tax injustice. However, the deal appears to have been scrapped.

Advocates

While there may be questions over the NCCC leaders' sincerity in advocating for the interests of the Chinese community, there is no disputing their earnest efforts to press issues that are dear to the Chinese authorities.

At a state-organized "friendship conference" of pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) overseas Chinese and leaders of some overseas Chinese organizations held in Beijing in October 2003, Hughes Eng told a crowd of about 300 overseas Chinese organization leaders and Chinese regime officials how the NCCC had convinced the Toronto Sun newspaper to apologize for a cartoon it published that was critical of the Chinese regime.

The cartoon, printed during the SARS outbreak, implied that SARS was "made in China."

Eng said that the NCCC, together with the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations (an organization of which Eng, Tan, and Lim are also executives) had written letters and organized protests against the cartoon, even rallying Chinese to boycott the paper. "The Chinese consul general in Toronto expressed indignation at the Toronto Sun's intention to discredit the Chinese government," Eng said, adding that, "the whole world admired and praised the Chinese government for its effort in fighting SARS. There was no such thing as a deliberate cover up."

Eng boasted that after members of his organization met with the Sun's editorial board, the paper agreed to print an apology.

But Chen Yonglin says the Chinese regime's main goals overseas are not merely saving face. He says the priority is to discredit and intimidate five target groups: Tibetan exiles, Taiwanese, Uighur Muslims, democracy activists, and most of all, adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, banned by the communist regime since 1999.

Chen headed up the Sydney consulate's political department, which was responsible for taking the lead to combat the five groups. He presented internal documents showing how Chinese organizations in Australia were used to target the five groups. The NCCC appears to have been doing similar things in Canada. In 2001, NCCC organized a public rally to "condemn Falun Gong" in Toronto's Chinatown. The event was advertised in David Lim's Chinese Canadian Post . Hughes Eng hosted and Ping Tan delivered a speech, as did the Chinese consul general at the time, Zhou Xingbao.

The same year, the NCCC wrote to then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien calling on him to put a stop to Falun Gong protests outside the Chinese consulate. The letter said the protest damaged the Canada-China friendship.

Chen Yonglin says that letter was actually drafted by the Chinese consulate and given to the NCCC to present to the prime minister. Chen's Sydney consulate was forwarded the letter, where it was held up as an example to learn from.

In 2002, Ping Tan and Hughes Eng were co-chairs of a Chinese regime-sponsored China Tibetan Culture Week event featuring Tibetan films, photos, religious art, song, and dance, according to a report about the event in the official People's Daily.

Both the Chinese ambassador at the time, Mei Ping, and the Chinese then-consul general, Sun Shuxian attended, as did some Canadian officials.

The only guests apparently left out were members of Toronto's Tibetan exile community, who were relegated to protesting outside.

In 2004, when a Toronto city councillor put forward a motion to honour a Falun Gong Week (Falun Dafa is another name for Falun Gong), Eng wrote to the mayor and councillors urging them to vote the motion down. So did the Chinese consulate. David Lim was seen onsite the day of the voting, directing a small crowd of Chinese waving banners decrying the motion. The council voted to not even discuss the matter.

When a Chinese-language television network that frequently reports critically of the Chinese regime applied for a license to broadcast in Canada, the NCCC wrote to Canada's broadcasting watchdog, CRTC, to oppose the move.

A report written in March 2005 and leaked to The Epoch Times from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa by another defector showed that the embassy was planning on directing Chinese organizations to write similar letters to the CRTC.

The NCCC has also earned praise from the Chinese consulate for its efforts to discredit the Taiwan independence movement. Reports about the NCCC's work in this area have been posted on the website of the Toronto Chinese consulate, and on China's foreign affairs website.

When asked if the NCCC has ever taken a position that diverged from the Chinese regime's line in the last 2 years, Lim said he could not remember any.

CSIS Sounds Alarm on Chinese Spies

Concerns over the Chinese regime's ability to influence Canadian society and policy were brought out in April when Jim Judd, the head of Canada's spy agency, CSIS, broke with the policy of not naming countries and revealed that nearly half of CSIS's counter-intelligence resources were being dedicated to Chinese spies in Canada.

Michel Juneau-Katsuya, the former CSIS chief for Asia Pacific says there are at least two dozen front organizations controlled by the Chinese regime operating in Canada.

Among them, Chen Yonglin says, are a number of Chinese student groups and professionals organizations. While most members of these clubs are oblivious to the connections with the Chinese consulates, their leaders operate under the directives of the Chinese regime.

Juneau-Katsuya recognized the NCCC immediately when asked but said he could not comment on whether it is an organization CSIS would be interested in.

"CSIS's responsibility is to protect Canadians and the government of Canada. Any organizations perceived as acting on behalf of foreign government to do political or other forms of interference is and will be investigated by CSIS."

Juneau-Katsuya also raised an alarm that such efforts may increase, owing to an increased budget for the Chinese regime's United Front Work Department, which manages such efforts overseas.

"The United Front Work Department has been extremely active in supporting financially and logistically many of the organizations of this nature as front organization to promote Chinese interests and to spy on Canadians and Chinese abroad," he said.

Juneau-Katsuya cited a Chinese newspaper report indicating that Chinese Communist Party's central committee had dedicated an additional $3 billion to the Foreign Affairs Department and United Work Department to "embellish" the Chinese regime and China abroad for the next fiscal year.

"They have at their disposal of phenomenal amount of resources to use front organizations and people supporting their activities," says Juneau-Katsuya.

"Any organization that is used by a foreign entity to do such activities here is judged to be unacceptable."

Additional reporting by Anna Yang.

Chinese Embassy is behind Overseas Chinese Student Associations, Says Ex-Embassy Staff

A former staff of Chinese Embassy in France tells SOH about the influence of Chinese Embassy on overseas Chinese organizations

Sound of Hope via Epoch Times: France—On June 21, Sound of Hope (SOH) interviewed Ms. Chen Ying, a former staff of the Chinese Embassy in France. Chen revealed how the Chinese communist regime manipulates the overseas student associations and turns them into spy agencies.

"The education section in the Embassy is responsible for overseas student-related work. Many student associations and some scholar associations were established under the direction of the Embassy's education section. Those organizations are actually the communist regime's organizations," said Chen.

According to Chen, in France, those organizations include the Chinese Scholar & Student Union of France (Union Des Chercheurs et des Etudiants Chinois En France—UCECF), The Association of Chinese Scientists and Engineers of France (Association des Scientifiques et des Ingénieurs Chinois en France—ASICEF), The Association of Chinese Jurists and Economists of France (Association des Juristes et des Economistes Chinois en France, — AJECF), to name a few.

"Those associations were established and developed under the direction of the Embassy's education section." said Chen.

Besides these organizations, there are also other associations directly organized by the Embassy education section. Although students participate in these associations, these organizations are in fact branches of the communist regime, only they take on the form of a student organization, Chen said.

"The Chairmen of those student associations are normally government funded students. The regime supplies money for them to study abroad; there are many requirements and restrictions in place for them." said Chen.

"The Chairmen are appointed by the embassy, normally funded by the Overseas Student Service Centre, or Committee of Overseas Student Foundation. They have to sign a contract. The embassy believes those students are more reliable and have 'party spirit' to some degree. They need to follow the regime's requirements. The regime specifies how they [should] behave to comply with regime's standard of how overseas students should be."

Whenever there is an important activity, the diplomats from the Embassy education section would contact the leader of the student association to arrange activities to cooperate with the Embassy's deployment.

"In general, the order is passed down level by level, from the central regime to the embassy, then to the education section, then to those leaders of the student association, then to the rest of the student members," said Chen.

As an example, Chen explained how the Chinese Embassy in France carried out the policy of persecuting Falun Gong when the regime started the persecution in 1999.

"As I recall, when I was still in the Embassy, the persecution had just started. The regime was busy arresting Falun Gong practitioners in the mainland. The central regime passed down many policies particularly targeting diplomats and overseas students. The embassy immediately called meetings with embassy staff and student leaders, told them to stay away from Falun Gong, and organized them to watch video tapes defaming Falun Gong. All student leaders were made to make their attitude clear towards Falun Gong and to criticize Falun Gong."

"Those students actually became the regime's stick, a tool. This is something not very convenient for diplomats to do, but the student association could do it and (since it) has some influence on the society, so many important projects would be done by those students. After accomplishing the task, they (students) would receive benefits...they are seduced by interests." said Chen.

"Inside the communist regime's system, one could be fully controlled but still be unaware of it," Chen said.

"Since the regime funds you to study abroad, they control you financially. Besides, students as such need to report to the Embassy in ten days after arriving at a foreign country. At the surface, it seems like they are caring for the students, but in reality, it is monitoring and control."

Please lookout for SOH's follow up report.

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Letter: Spy agency issues 'bizarre' report on (Metro) Confucius School

Times & Transcript (June 20, 2007) Confucius Institute to open in Metro this fall, promoting Chinese culture and N.B.-China business links - Look here and here for more on this topic.

My humble opinion in response to this piece - Confucius Institutes are a national security concern! Unlike Humphrey, I seriously have to question why Confucius has suddenly become Communist China's new poster boy. Apparently, by 2010 there will be 500 Communist party culture schools in the world including four in Canada. That’s no small feat. They are being set up in 36 countries, even in Rwanda.

One may only wonder what the Beijing political elite is really up to, knowing full well that they don't cherish the Confucius teachings of virtue and free speech. What Reichert said really worries me: "It's a win-win, on one hand the Chinese do, through things like the Confucius institute, raise awareness in Canada about China, and that's their objective; but on the other hand, the benefit is for Canadians who are interested in doing business in China."

Another major concern is this stipulation on the Hanban's websites stating: "Overseas Confucius Institutes must abide by the one-China policy." Knowing this, Reichert’s remarks suddenly appear short of reassuring. How will we know if the textbooks are to be filled with anti-democracy, anti-Falun Gong material glorifying the party, complete with slogans of "Peaceful development road" and "Harmonious society"? I don't mean to sound xenophobic but we should be on guard. The Chinese recently announced that they are going ahead with the revision of their history textbooks to reflect a flawless China, discarding historical facts harmful to the nation's image.

I completely agree that China's genuflecting to Confucius is just another tool to wield soft power abroad, spread the Communist values that are completely opposite of ours and I won’t even mention espionage—the CSIS folks made is clear that those communist schools pose a national threat to our nation. For the Ministry of Education et al to be so coy as to give them carte blanche is laughable. Seeing no evil is an immoral policy when it comes to engaging with Communist China.

Times & Transcript (Moncton, NB) Published Wednesday June 20th, 2007 Appeared on page A1

'Ignore China at your own peril' resounds as one of the most repeated mantras of the 21st century. And no matter whether their keen interest in the red giant and its Confucius Institute is driven by geo-political or economic motivations, it appears that both Canada's spy agency and Metro Moncton are heeding the caveat.

But the Department of Education says New Brunswickers shouldn't be concerned by a secret report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service which paints an oddly suspicious portrait of the Chinese educational institute -- a brainchild of China's Ministry of Education- that will open its doors in Moncton this fall.

The report, which was obtained through the access to information legislation and which features several passages that are blacked out, states that the Confucius Institute's mandate to teach Chinese language and culture beyond the Chinese borders may be part of a larger scheme to help the communist country win the hearts and minds of the world as it emerges as a global superpower.

"For China to achieve its goals, people must admire China to some degree," the CSIS report says, alluding to a concept known as "soft power."

"While academics debate the relative importance of hard power -- tanks, missiles, guns and the like -- versus soft power, the People's Republic of China (PRC) government views the soft power concept as useful," the February intelligence report indicates.

Also listed in the report as other examples of China's efforts to win over the world through "soft power" are next year's Beijing Olympic Games, NBA Star Yao Ming, and the Gao Xingjian's 2000 Nobel Prize for literature. Citing a 10-year relationship of business and student exchanges that has built between the individuals behind the institute and the Atlantic Educational International Inc. (AEI), an affiliate of the Department of Education, department spokesman Jason Humphrey said the concerns expressed by the report are not shared by either AEI or the Minister.

"It's really hard to explain a concern because we've never really had a concern or seen a concern."

Speaking on behalf of AEI, which will share quarters with the Confucius Institute, Humphrey says the institute's presence in New Brunswick means greater access for Canadian business people and students into the country's gargantuan markets and rich culture.

Dr. Jim Reichert is vice-president research and international at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), which has hosted Canada's first Confucius Institute since 2005.

He sees the CSIS report as a bizarre take on the type of promotional activities many countries have undertaken to increase their international profile.

"The implications mentioned in the report suggest there is somehow something subversive going on but that's the farthest thing from any reality that's going on at the Confucius Institute," Reichert said.

"There is nothing particularly subversive about it, but when you put the label soft power on it begins to sound subversive."

However, Reichert doesn't mind having BCIT named in the same light as the Olympics and Yao Ming.

"It's kind of interesting because nothing gets the public's interest like being mentioned in a secret CSIS report," he said.

"On the positive side, it's actually given us a tremendous opportunity to talk to a pretty broad audience through the media about some of the programs we are delivering."

Included in those programs are part-time courses to help business people navigate the ins and outs of doing business in China, from business practices to social protocol, and basic language classes.

Reichert was quick to note, however, that each institute shapes its own programs, although AEI officials have indicated that the Moncton location will have a business focus that will also help draw immigration and international students to the province.

"It's a win-win, on one hand the Chinese do, through things like the Confucius institute, raise awareness in Canada about China, and that's their objective; but on the other hand, the benefit is for Canadians who are interested in doing business in China."

Humphrey names the Moncton Flight College as an example of the type of success story the province banks on the Confucius Institute to help multiply.

"If we don't have a Confucius Institute or an opportunity for our business people in New Brunswick to understand the culture and the language, we can't expand like that.

Humphrey said that although the institute begins offering a full slate of programs this fall, it has already offered 30 students introductory classes.

There are also Confucius Institutes open or ready to open in Waterloo and Montreal, and over 100 in total across the world.

CSIS draws analogies between the Confucius Institutes and the German Goethe Institutes, the Spanish Cervantes Institutes and the French Alliance Francaise.

Confucius was a fifth-century Chinese philosopher and teacher whose thought shaped traditional and modern Asian culture.

With files from the Canadian Press.

Confucius Institutes: Critic

CBC: The Current: Part 3 - June 15, 2007. Look here and here for more.

If you pay close attention to security matters, you may have noticed that Canada's spy agency has been paying awfully close attention to one country in particular these days: China.

First, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service revealed that about half of its counter-intelligence work focuses on monitoring suspected Chinese operatives in Canada. In April, CSIS Director Jim Judd appeared before a Senate committee to answer questions about foreign spies working in Canada, and he talked about China.

And now there's even more evidence that CSIS is preoccupied with China. Two weeks ago, a CSIS report was released under the Access to Information Act, and it noted that China is establishing a network of Confucius Institutes around the world, including a handful in Canada, to teach people about its language and culture, and to enhance its so-called soft power.

The report identifies the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the current focus of the soft power push, but it also says that once the Games are over, Confucius Institutes will "take a more prominent place in China's efforts to increase its standing in the world.”

CSIS is not alone in scrutinizing these Confucious Institutes. CSIS did decline our request for an interview, but now we're going to speak with someone who shares their suspicions. Chen Yonglin is a former Chinese diplomat who was posted in Australia before he defected in 2005. And he joined us in our Toronto studio.

Confucius Institutes: Director

Canada's first Confucius Institute opened its doors two years ago just outside Vancouver at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, or BCIT. More Confucius Institutes are being established at the University of Waterloo in Ontario; at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec; and in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Jim Reichert is the vice president of Research and International for BCIT, and he oversees the Confucius Institute there. We reached him in Burnaby, B.C.

Confucius Institutes: Prof

Confucius once counselled, "Study the past if you would define the future." And China is indeed working hard to redefine itself these days. For some more perspective on what this means, and how the Confucius Institute relates to that, we were joined by Wenran Jiang. He's the director of the University of Alberta's China Institute, where he also teaches political science. And he joined us from our studio in Edmonton.

Listen to The Current:Part 3

CSIS say: Confucius part of Chinese bid to win over western hearts

Besides teaching mandarin, the communist schools will serve a couple of shady purposes - to fool the world by turning on the charm is number one - spreading communist values and espionage. To think otherwise is to believe in the tooth fairy. Look here and here for more.

OTTAWA (CP) May 28, 2007- Canada's spy service believes China has enlisted Confucius, the master of enduring wisdom, in its drive for global dominance.

A newly declassified intelligence report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service says Beijing is out to win the world's hearts and minds, not just its economic markets, as a means of cementing power.

The secret CSIS brief, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, points to the creation of more than 100 Confucius Institutes around the world, including one at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver.

The Confucius Institutes, the brainchild of Beijing's Ministry of Education, primarily promote Chinese language and culture.

"In other words, China wants the world to have positive feelings towards China and things Chinese," the CSIS report says.

"For China to achieve its goals, people must admire China to some degree."

CSIS director Jim Judd recently acknowledged the agency devotes considerable effort to keeping an eye on monitoring Chinese operatives.

China denies allegations it schemes to pilfer Canadian military and industrial technology.

The CSIS report, portions of which were blacked out, paints the spread of Confucius Institutes as a calculated use of the discipline known as "soft power."

"While academics debate the relative importance of hard power - tanks, missiles, guns and the like - versus soft power, the People's Republic of China (PRC) government views the soft power concept as useful," the February intelligence report says. "PRC officials refer to China's quest for soft power in the official media."

The spy service notes analogies have been drawn between the Confucius Institutes and the German Goethe Institutes, the Spanish Cervantes Institutes and the French Alliance Francaise.

Since the opening of Canada's first Confucius Institute in Vancouver last year, agreements have been struck to create institutes in Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Moncton, N.B.

The website of the Confucius Institute at the B.C. Institute of Technology says it aims to provide "market-driven programs and services that will serve the needs of the local community and promote culture and business ties for economic developments between China and Canada."

Allison Markin, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Technology, said the school was unaware of CSIS's interest.

"We're an educational institute, so it's not something we look at in a political vein, or any sort of security vein," she said Monday. "What we're doing really is delivering education for people."

Robin Yates, a professor of East Asian studies at Montreal's McGill University, said China is trying to play catch up with Taiwan, Korea and Japan, which have been more aggressive about forging cultural ties with the West.

"China, with its burgeoning economy, has failed rather miserably in its efforts at projecting its interests."

Zhai Jianjun, first secretary for education at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, stressed that the priority of the Confucius Institutes is to bring the Chinese language and culture to different corners of the world.

Modern China has begun to penetrate the Canadian consciousness, CSIS notes.

"Evidence of the increasing appeal of Chinese culture in Western society is all around us," the intelligence report says

The growing popularity of Chinese films, the emergence of NBA star Yao Ming, Chinese manned space flights and the coming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing "all suggest at least a modest rise in Chinese soft power."

CSIS says once the Beijing Olympics are over, the Confucius Institutes will "take a more prominent place in China's efforts to increase its standing in the world."