November 27, 2008
Ombudsman, Services Français
CBC Societe Radio-Canada
Dear Ms. Miville-Dechene:
The Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC) respectfully submits this document as a continuation and more in-depth complaint of our initial submission sent to you on October 31st 2008 where we expressed grave concern regarding a program titled “Malaise in Chinatown” which aired October 30, 2008 on Radio
Geneviève Guay, Director of Complaints Handling, sent us a letter dated November 14, 2008. In this letter, Ms. Guay, on behalf of the programmers, replied to our list of specific concerns with a general reply that addresses none of our specific concerns and denies any and all errors on their part. It also reiterates some of the misleading information communicated in the program.
Ms. Guay argued in defense of the program on the following basis:
1. That Falun Gong and its activities are relatively unknown inside
2. That it is in the public interest to explore the structure, beliefs, funding and actions of Falun Gong
3. That "numerous" legal proceedings and "many calls to police" made interest in Falun Gong justifiable
She further asserted that the FDAC refused to be interviewed for their program on questions relating to "funding, media networks, legal proceedings, and some public protests."
In fact, the Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC) never argued that CBC did not have good reason to report on Falun Gong or that doing so was not in the public interest. As well, it is not true that the FDAC declined an on-camera interview on the basis that funding and media entities would be discussed. In fact, as explained later in this letter, Ms. Lucy Zhou of our association had a lengthy discussion with Ms. Miller during the preparation of this program in which she openly explained funding issues, including the founding of media companies, and even offered information on initiatives begun and funded by Falun Gong practitioners that Ms. Miller was not aware of and had not inquired about, such as efforts to break through the internet blockade in China. Ms. Miller in a follow-up email called the three hour meeting and discussion "quite helpful indeed."
Our refusal for an on-camera interview was not out of a fear of repeating these explanations before a video camera. Our refusal came only once it was clear that CBC would not provide the necessary context or objective coverage required for viewers to gain a fair understanding of our group or its activities. These concerns were expressed to CBC and were proven well founded by the broadcast that aired. No mention of these concerns was made in the broadcast.
Moreover, it is true that the lawsuits and other events that have unfolded in
Without such context, Falun Gong practitioners' exercising their basic right to peacefully protest injustice was portrayed more as an unprovoked disturbance to the community -- an impression exasperated by the prominent coverage CBC gave to unproven accusations and even groundless claims of possible criminal activity in the form of death threats.
In the same vein, CBC's "exploration" of Falun Gong's beliefs, which Ms. Guay argued was in the public interest, was not an exploration at all. Viewers were provided with a skewed attack on Falun Gong's teachings that provided no basic understanding of what Falun Gong's teachings promote or what practitioners believe. The program also included inaccurate information about Falun Gong's beliefs.
We maintain that their program unjustly misrepresented, demeaned, maligned and discriminated against the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, which is currently suffering a brutal and internationally recognized persecution at the hands of
The programmer’s non-specific response has shown they have not taken our concerns seriously, so we are contacting the Ombudsman once again. The programmer appears uninterested in receiving the more detailed complaint we promised, as Ms. Guay’s response letter asks us to direct any further concerns to your office.
1. Selective and misleading use of evidence and interviews
The program makes selective use of specific interview clips to present a one-sided perspective. This is particularly obvious in the segment addressing reports of organ harvesting committed against Falun Gong practitioners. Along with selective use, there is also selective omission of relevant and vitally important information and evidence.
The issue of organ harvesting is based on an investigative report written by former Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, David Kilgour who had also been a crown prosecutor along with internationally respected human rights lawyer, David Matas. The report addresses allegations that the Chinese regime has been involved in forcibly removing and selling the vital organs of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, bringing very large sums of money to the perpetrators.
Enquete portrayed the claims of organ harvesting as having been widely refuted and even as having been concocted in response to a setback in a legal case. In addressing our concerns with Enquete’s treatment of this issue, we believe it is essential to first relate some recent developments in which organizations and media have reached strikingly different conclusions when assessing the very same facts and documentation on organ harvesting available to Enquete.
In the concluding observations of its report on
“The State party [China] should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished."
The full report also addresses other abuses suffered by Falun Gong practitioners. It can be found at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.CHN.CO.4.pdf
Additionally, this week's edition of the respected
The contrast of objectively drawn conclusions by respected individuals and groups, when balanced against the CBC's biased and unsubstantiated portrayal of organ harvesting, is astounding. In addition to the widely accepted Kilgour/Matas report that Enquete so vehemently endeavours to discredit, is a petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians initiated by Dr. Gerry Koffman, the Canadian representative for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.
The March 11, 2008 edition of a reputable Canadian newspaper that serves the Canadian medical profession, The Medical Post, stated that Dr. Koffman, "established a petition urging the Canadian government to issue travel advisories warning people that organ transplants in
In a letter of September 27, 2007 to the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Bernier, wrote:
“In addition, since March 2006, the Government of Canada has maintained an active effort to seek verification and corroboration of serious allegations that Falun Gong practitioners have been targeted for illegal organ transplantation. Canadian government officials have, on a regular basis, been in contact with non-governmental organizations, like-minded countries, as well as with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, in order to share information.”
Mr. Bernier’s letter referred to the Kilgour/Matas report as, “useful in bringing together available information on this issue.”
There have also been significant international concerns and calls for investigation. In March 2007, Dr. Tom Treasure, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine,
Dr. Treasure wrote, “The numbers of organ transplants performed in
This information, as well as numerous other pieces of information supporting the credibility of the organ harvesting reports, was available to Enquete, but was alarmingly ignored in favour of a slant that distinctly supports the views of the Chinese communist regime on this grave human rights issue.
These several brief examples are provided to exhibit the seriousness with which this atrocity is being viewed by experts and authorities and will highlight Enquete’s misleading, irresponsible and dangerous portrayal of this atrocity on CBC, as detailed below. More comprehensive documentation of Canadian and international concern about this atrocity is included in our submission package.
The segment in Enquete’s program addressing organ harvesting included interviews or statements from four sources: David Kilgour, David Ownby, Amnesty International, and Harry Wu.
Two of these men, David Kilgour and David Ownby, have complained that their interviews with Enquete were edited in a manner that was not representative of their positions.
On organ harvesting, Prof. Ownby was quoted in the program as saying, “I have not seen proof that Falun Gong is a particular target.” This response from Prof. Ownby is in regards to the organ harvest report itself. However it gives the impression that Prof. Ownby is refuting the idea that Falun Gong believers have been subjected to organ harvesting in
This does not accurately relate Prof. Ownby’s entire position, as he outlined in his book, Falun Gong and the Future of China. In his book, Ownby is skeptical whether Falun Gong are specifically targeted for organ harvesting, but adds that “it seems likely that Falun Gong practitioners who are part of the prison population would be candidates for harvesting, in part because the movement has been vilified within China.”
He further adds, “In other words, it does not stretch the bounds of credibility to imagine that some imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have been targets for organ harvesting, and accounts of such are found in Falun Gong sources as early as 1999.”
However, as Enquete presents it, Professor Ownby appears to doubt the possibility that Falun Gong practitioners have been the victims of organ harvesting.
David Kilgour, who, together with human rights lawyer David Matas, has researched allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, also complained of the manner in which his interview with Enquete was portrayed.
After speaking with the CBC journalist for some twenty minutes about the evidence he had collected to support the claims of forced organ removals, the CBC program contained only two brief sound bites from Kilgour. Rather than include any of the substantial evidence in the Kilgour/Matas report, the program only shows Kilgour momentarily suggesting that people read the report. But it does not even give the name of the report or the website address where it can be found.
Commenting on the Enquete program in an Epoch Times interview, Kilgour stated, “David Matas and I have been in about 45 countries talking about this issue and I think I can say that I have never seen such an unfair representation of our position.”
The Kilgour/Matas report is comprehensive; it open-mindedly discusses the issues and evidence from opposing angles, something which is completely absent in the Enquete program. The report also provides 33 points of specific evidence including recorded phone calls with Chinese hospital staff who admit to selling Falun Gong organs. Official phone records, times and numbers substantiate these recorded calls.
Kilgour and Matas have impeccable records of integrity throughout their long careers and have substantiated and corroborated all evidence published in the report which has been supported by the experts in the medical field mentioned above as well as many others.
Not one point of evidence from their report is mentioned in the program.
There are also seven separate corroborating studies clearly listed on the report’s website. They include reports by The United Nations Human Rights Council, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on International Relations by the U.S. House of Representatives and Kirk C. Allison, PhD, MS, Associate Director, Program in Human Rights and Medicine,
Not one point from any of these corroborating studies is mentioned in the Enquete program.
The Kilgour/Matas report has also stood up under the scrutiny of the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, who included the allegations in his human rights report on
None of this is mentioned in the Enquete program, despite the fact that Ms. Miller was given the web address to the organ harvest report by Mr. Kilgour when she interviewed him, which Ms. Miller related to Ms. Zhou when she interviewed Ms. Zhou the same day she interviewed Mr. Kilgour.
Instead, Enquete chose to give substantial weight to one dissenting voice, that of Harry Wu.
The editing of the documentary made it appear that Wu was refuting Kilgour and Matas’ findings about organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners when Wu is quoted in the program as saying ”It’s just a lie”. But in reality, if consistent with his past comments, this comment from Wu is only in reference to a single hospital to which Wu claims to have sent investigators. However, there are multiple facilities accused of participating in this extremely lucrative undertaking and Mr. Wu’s investigation cannot be considered conclusive even for that one facility.
This “lie” as presented in the CBC program would suggest that Falun Gong practitioners are liars. It would also make liars of those who have reached the same conclusion in independent corroborating studies. It would make liars of Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas, who would have had to have inexplicably risked their decades of impeccable reputations in publishing and standing behind a report for which they were not paid and which was sure to face enormous scrutiny.
In fact, Mr. Wu has never specifically addressed the content of the Kilgour/Matas report. In March of 2006 Wu expressed skepticism about the claims of two Chinese individuals who were said to possess knowledge of a specific hospital near
In fact, Wu has actually stated that he believes it is possible Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to organ harvesting. In an interview with CBS 11 News on Feb 26, 2007, Wu doubted Falun Gong is specifically targeted, but said: "I don't deny that Falun Gong could be killed and organs could be donated."
Enquete leaves the audience with the impression that Wu had investigated and discredited all allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, when in fact he was referring to investigations he claims were undertaken at a single Chinese hospital.
It should also be noted that David Kilgour and David Matas interviewed Wu before they published their findings in the report. On weighing the evidence presented by Wu against other evidence they had collected, (see Appendix 16 “Sujiatun”), Matas and Kilgour concluded that Wu’s attempts to invalidate the allegations even in the one hospital, Sujiatun, were deeply flawed, and did not in any way amount to disproof of forced organ removals from Falun Gong practitioners even in that hospital. This opposing perspective by Matas and Kilgour is not presented by CBC, despite Kilgour having been personally interviewed by Enquete or the fact that this is discussed in the organ harvest report.
Amnesty International is also shown in the program saying they have not found definitive evidence to support the organ harvest claims. It is well known that the Chinese regime completely bans Amnesty International from entering
Based on the biased and misleading perspective presented by Enquete, viewers of the program would likely conclude that the organ harvesting allegations have no concrete evidence and have been thoroughly discredited, and that the international community has not regarded the allegations seriously. This is a negligent and misleading presentation by Enquete and highly irresponsible, given what is at stake in terms human life being taken through this horrific crime. The one-sided indication given in this CBC program that these claims are “a lie” is also damaging to the reputations of those mentioned in the program who have investigated and corroborated these claims.
To understand the extent of the bias, the selective use of quotes, and misrepresentation of the organ harvesting from the CBC, we feel it is incumbent upon the Ombudsman to read the organ harvest report titled “Bloody Harvest” including Appendix 16, “Sujiatun” found at: www.organharvestinvestigation.net.
The distortions in the segment on organ harvesting exceed what has been discussed here and are addressed further in sections five and six. As well, section eight deals with the CBC's treatment of organ harvesting in prior CBC reports and programs, which is also extremely concerning.
2. Misrepresenting and stigmatizing Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s beliefs
Enquete presents Falun Gong as a weird, secretive and suspicious practice. They consistently mischaracterize and also sensationalize Falun Gong’s beliefs while failing to provide viewers with a basic understanding of what Falun Gong is and why practitioners engage in public activities, protests, and appeals. However, contrary to these accusations of secrecy, comprehensive answers to these questions can very easily be found at two websites: www.falundafa.org and www.faluninfo.net. Both sites appear in the top three matches on the first page of a Google search for “Falun Gong”.
Enquete portrays Falun Gong believers as strange and possibly even dangerous, describing them as “militant,” and having “imposed” themselves on Canadian communities, and engaging in bizarre, threatening, and possibly illegal acts. In actuality, Canadian Falun Gong practitioners are members of society in a vast range of professions, many with advanced degrees in education and are law abiding and responsible citizens.
Professor David Ownby states in his research on Falun Gong:
“In sum, Falungong as practiced by Chinese in
“My impression after spending considerable time with Chinese-Canadian practitioners is of innocence. These people have discovered what is to them the truth of the universe. They have arrived freely at this discovery, and, if they change their mind, they are free to go on to something else.”
The practice of Falun Gong has been favourably commented on by Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Members of the Provincial Legislatures of Canada. To date, there have been more than seven hundred awards, proclamations, and recognitions issued to Falun Gong and its founder from governments and organizations around the world, including over one hundred proclamations issued by mayors across
Member of Parliament, Scott Reid, tabled a motion which passed unanimously, to rescue persecuted Falun Gong practitioners with Canadian ties. Mr. Reid commented: "I note that every single one of the practitioners who has been admitted to
Numerous practitioners have won awards for positive contributions to their communities and for raising awareness to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong in
A recent example is Falun Gong practitioner Ramachandran Vaidyanath, who this past September won the Ottawa Civic Appreciation Award for Humanitarianism, a recognition from Canadian society for his efforts to raise awareness and call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.
Some additional awards:
· On November 17, 2003, Montreal Falun Gong Practitioner Chen Ruqing received an Outstanding Citizen Award issued by the Immigration Department inside the Quebec Parliament for saving a young girl's life
Ms. Michelle Courchesne,
· In 2002, Ms. Dai Gongyu (English name Grace Wollensak) was recognized by the Canadian government at National Volunteer Week for, “the vital contribution volunteers make to our communities and to the values of our country” for her volunteer work for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada. In 2004, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Cindy Chan received a similar recognition.
· Mr. Xun Li, received Ottawa Civic Appreciation Awards for Humanitarianism in 2005; Ms. Lucy Zhou received a similar award in 2004.
· In 2006, Falun Gong practitioner Kathleen Gillis received a Distinguished Civic Award in the Arts and Culture
· In 2002, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Zhang Zhaojin and Ms. Zhang Tiejun were among 66 people who received awards for their outstanding community volunteer work, issued by the president of the Toronto Canada Day Celebration Council.
· In 2003, Mr. Zhang Zhaojin received the Canada Day Achievement Award.
Ottawa City Councilor Jacques Legendre commented on an appeal site set up by practitioners to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Gong: “I personally pass the spot of the demonstration very frequently. The situation I always see has been one of good order all the time. I think the group is the model of that good order".
Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of
“Indeed, what we are witnessing today in China is the ’criminalization of innocence’ – the criminalization of a spiritual meditation exercise group – thereby subjecting all its members to intimidation, prosecution, persecution, and imprisonment, for no other reason than that they espoused the basic, fundamental values of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance”.
The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi has been formally nominated for Nobel Prize Peace Prize four times. In 2001 CNN reported that he was one of the frontrunners.
In 2001, Mr. Li. was nominated by 28 members of the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In March 2001, Freedom House honoured Mr. Li and Falun Gong with an International Religious Freedom Award for the advancement of religious and spiritual freedom at a ceremony in US Senate.
Mr. Li has also received numerous other awards, including from the Chinese regime. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Hongzhi
Yet Ms. Miller presents a sensationalized description of Falun Gong: “Li Hongzhi thinks that the human race has been contaminated by aliens who created modern science and medicine. To cure his followers, he installs a wheel in their belly.”
By nature, spiritual practices and religions include elements of the supernatural. To selectively extract those that sound most sensational while ignoring their context or any of the broader context of the belief system will of course present the belief as bizarre and strange, especially when the belief itself is not well known within
In the same vein, Enquete could have described Christianity to those unfamiliar with it as a religion that teaches that burning bushes can talk, seas can part, virgins can give birth, and that a saviour rose from the dead and flew up to heaven where he keeps watch on the believers’ every thought, while omitting any mention of Christianity’s emphasis on love and charity.
Presented to a public that knew little or nothing of Christianity’s beliefs, this would obviously stigmatize Christianity and misrepresent it without a broader understanding of the teachings. This would be unfair to Christianity and would be misleading and inappropriate. This is the manner in which Enquete has presented Falun Gong.
In fact, when put into its proper context of qigong, the planting of a wheel in the abdomens of practitioners is consistent with the evolution of energy mechanisms in all Chinese qigong systems and is easily understood in its appropriate context. Enquete’s sensationalized comments provided no context at all.
The letter we received from the programmer in response to our specific concerns also stated that the program aimed to “explore the… beliefs”. There was no exploration whatsoever other than a one sided, stigmatizing, unresearched, inaccurate and again, misleading, portrayal.
Although Professor Ownby is generally informed about Falun Gong, he erred in one comment, which contrary to the programmer’s response letter, was not “checked several times”.
Professor Ownby was quoted to say that the teacher of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi: “He considers himself as a Buddha, but according to the Buddhist tradition, there may be a lot of Buddhas. He also compares himself to Jesus Christ.”
Such comments could of course be offensive to Christians and Buddhists. In fact, both of these statements are simply not true. Mr. Li has never compared himself to Jesus Christ or called himself a Buddha and has specifically asked Falun Gong practitioners to not call him a Buddha.
Although the program found the time to highlight “sensational” aspects of Falun
Gong’s beliefs, scant mention was made of the practice’s core tenets, which emphasize morality. The simplest representation of Falun Gong’s teachings is the phrase Zhen-Shan-Ren, or “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.” The phrase appears no less than 30 times in Falun Gong’s central book, Zhuan Falun, and is directly eluded to dozens more times. It is the single most important concept in the practice – the characteristic which Falun Gong practitioners use to measure their every action and thought.
In fact, the “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” principle is so pervasive in Falun Gong materials - on flyers, in websites, books, articles, etc., - that mentioning it only once in passing at the start of the program, but leaving it out of the section which briefly addresses Falun Gong’s beliefs would indicate that the programmer’s understanding of the most basic aspects of the subject matter they were broadcasting was extremely limited, or they had intentionally excluded it because it did not fit Enquete’s denigrating characterization of Falun Gong as a “bothersome religious movement” which “creates uneasiness.” Considering that Ms. Miller’s research was fairly extensive as aided by Ms Zhou (which we address later), the latter appears to be more likely.
In short, the Falun Gong believer as presented by Enquete is someone who is different from you or me. Someone who is not “normal”, given what is presented in the program as a bricolage of bizarre beliefs as practiced by what is incorrectly portrayed to be a secretive and media averse group. In light of the persecution that practitioners in
3. Suggestions of Falun Gong’s “secrecy” and aversion to the media
A recurring theme in the program suggests that Falun Gong is a secretive organization that is also media-averse. Many who have some knowledge of Falun Gong and its practitioners, would know just the opposite to be true.
In reference to Falun Gong, Ms. Miller states, “We have tried to find out who they really are. We know little of it.”
This is a stunning statement. Falun Gong is far from an underground movement. As mentioned, to find out who Falun Gong “really” is, one needs look no further than the first page of search results on Google.
There one finds websites such as www.clearwisdom.net (www.minghui.org in Chinese), where dozens of Falun Gong practitioners every day share their personal stories of practicing Falun Gong principles in their daily lives, the persecution they suffer or have suffered in China, or activities they organized overseas to let people know about the practice and the repression in China.
Another website, www.falundafa.org, includes a library with all of the practice’s teachings, including dozens of books and audio/visual materials. All are available for free download to the public with a single click.
One will also find listings of locations of group exercise sites worldwide, which are regularly held in public parks. Group study and experience sharing sessions are also often held at universities or community centres.
Additional personal stories can be found on another website, www.faluninfo.net, which also includes hundreds of documents detailing the entire course of the persecution of Falun Gong and elaborates on how practitioners have responded to the persecution. The site also contains third-party documents from sources such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, as well as an extensive reference list of academic sources on Falun Gong.
As can be seen from a short internet search, Falun Gong practitioners are not isolated from society. They hold jobs in all sectors; they are students; they have active family lives, etc. They simply use their spare time to inform people about the persecution suffered by practitioners in
The existence of such websites, run by volunteers, is visible evidence of Falun Gong’s dedication to providing as much information as possible to anyone who wishes to learn about the practice or the events in
Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme also easily found and visited a local Falun Gong practice site where they were welcomed by coordinator Ms. Thanh Nguyen. Ms. Nguyen introduced Falun Gong to them and gave them a few pages of commentaries from past students which stated how good they felt both spiritually, mentally and physically from the practice, none of which was mentioned in the program.
Ms. Miller’s claim that despite her efforts she’s been unable to learn about Falun Gong, is further contradicted in her extensive personal discussion with Ms. Lucy Zhou, after which Ms. Miller said in an email to Ms. Zhou, “the long talk we had in Ottawa gave me a very good insight on the Falon Gong [sic] and it's practitioners”.
On more than one occasion in the program, Ms. Miller informs the audience that Lucy Zhou, a volunteer spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, declined to be interviewed on camera. However, no mention is made of the three-hour conversation Ms. Zhou had with Ms. Miller explaining and answering questions for her regarding the practice, which in Ms. Miller’s own words she found to be “quite helpful indeed”. Neither did the program mention the reason why Ms. Zhou declined to be interviewed.
In their three-hour meeting, Ms. Zhou answered questions ranging from the background of the
Ms. Zhou also explained, and provided copies of court testimony, that despite years of operation in
Ms Zhou even offered information to Ms. Miller about other projects begun and funded by practitioners that Ms. Miller had not even asked about.
Though entirely factual, these explanations by Ms. Zhou appear not to have been what the programmers were looking for, as no mention was made of these explanations or the conversation with Ms. Zhou in the broadcast.
Instead, Enquete used a comment from Loic Tasse to raise suspicion about funding: "It’s certain that the culture of secrecy around the Falun Gong is not helping them, because it opens up all these possibilities regarding who could be financing them, and their true objectives, etc."
Immediately after that Ms. Miller says, “These are questions asked by all those we have met during our investigation, because you need money to organize all these events and to run this little media empire.” The program then turns to unsubstantiated quotes suggesting funding from anti-communist organizations, the
It appears that the programmers took Ms. Zhou’s declining of their request for an on-camera interview as a license to ignore all the relevant facts and other points of view she had provided them with. (Enclosed, please find a collection of much of the information Ms. Zhou provided to Ms. Miller.) The programmers also misportrayed Ms. Zhou’s level of cooperativeness with their project.
In a follow-up to their long face-to-face meeting, Ms. Miller emailed Ms. Zhou on February 4, 2008, “I want to thank you for the very good discussion we had on Friday, It was quite helpful indeed. I've got all your documents safely stored in my office, lots of information for to read. I'll get back to go [sic] soon Have a nice day”.
Ms. Miller added that she was reading the court transcript from the Crescent Chau legal case that Ms. Zhou had provided her with and said she found it “very interesting”.
On February 19, 2008, Ms Miller emailed Ms Zhou, stating, “I've read a lot on the Falon gong [sic], the persecution and the
Ms Miller continued, “The focus of the reportage is getting much more precise, the long talk we had in
Yet in the opening minutes of the show Ms. Miller states, "We have tried to find out who they really are. We know little of it.” She then proceeds to call Falun Gong, “a little-known and omnipresent bothersome religious movement.”
Given the openness and generosity of Ms Zhou and the several hours of conversation she had with Ms Miller speaking precisely about Falun Gong and related activities; given the fact that Ms Zhou personally provided a significant amount of supplementary material in hard copy; given the fact that all information about Falun Gong's teachings as well as the actions of Falun Gong practitioners' response to the persecution is available for free and extremely easy to find on the internet, CBC’s portrayal of Falun Gong as secretive and uncooperative is highly dishonest.
Unfortunately, this misleading, one-sided portrayal of Falun Gong pervades the entire broadcast.
In the same email of February 19, 2008, Ms Miller also stated to Ms Zhou, “We've decided my producer and I that the central point of the reportage will be ‘the
In the end, the only element of persecution discussed was the claim of organ harvesting, and those reports were one-sidedly attacked without providing a single corroborating piece of evidence, despite many such pieces of evidence being available to the programmers.
Ms. Zhou did express to Ms. Miller that due to past experience she felt there was some censorship in the reporting of the persecution of Falun Gong at CBC and without such context, the program would not be objective or accurate.
Zhou quoted to Miller the following incidents which caused her concern:
- the extensive editing of the independent documentary, “Beyond the Red Wall” that international media claimed was due to pressure from the Chinese regime,
- a comprehensive CBC documentary series in 2006 on
Chinahad a segment on human rights in China, but completely ignored any mention of the most persecuted group in today– the Falun Gong. China
- the August 8, 2007 10 O’clock National News has a program on “Boycotting the Olympics” where the CBC completely cut David Kilgour`s words on organ harvesting of “Falun Gong practitioners”, which was his key reason for Boycotting the Olympics.
Though Ms. Miller initially promised her program would cover everything including the persecution which set the context of why Falun Gong practitioners initiate efforts to stop the persecution, and also the hatred spread into
Ms. Zhou insisted on a conversation with the producer Leon Laflamme before considering an interview. In the conversation with Mr. Leon Laflamme, he made it clear that the persecution will not be part of the program. Ms. Zhou then raised the concern that without the context of the persecution and defamation campaign against Falun Gong or Mr. Chau’s role in supporting it, viewers simply could not receive an objective perspective of what had unfolded in
Ms. Zhou also expressed to both Miller and Laflamme that CBC should not give a stage to a hate campaign that justifies a persecution at the time when the torture and killing of practitioners is on-going. Nor should CBC be helping the regime to further their hate propaganda against Falun Gong. Mr. Joel Chipkar from Falun Dafa Association also emailed Miller on reasons why the association declined the interview, citing that the lawsuit against Crescent Chau was still ongoing and that it would not be appropriate to discuss this on camera. (see attached)
Ms. Zhou also made clear to the programmers on multiple occasions, including in her three-hour face-to-face meeting with Ms. Miller, that the persecution was essential context to the events that had transpired in Montreal’s Chinatown and that Falun Gong had been practiced in Montreal since 1996 where there was not a single issue with Falun Gong in the Chinese community before the persecution began in 1999. Even Mr. Chau had no complaints about Falun Gong until he was approached and offered money to publish the defamatory articles against Falun Gong by a woman who would be shown to have close ties to the Chinese regime.
In reality, the articles published in Mr. Chau’s paper repeated many of the false accusations about Falun Gong initiated by the Chinese regime (and refuted by numerous human rights groups as propaganda intended to justify the persecution), such as that the practice leads to murder, suicide, the destruction of families, dangers to health, etc. He expressed support for the regime’s crackdown on Falun Gong and an intention to extend the elimination of Falun Gong to
The Enquete program provided none of this information as to why Ms. Zhou refused to be interviewed on camera or the fact that she had been very generous and open while speaking with Ms. Miller and had even helped provide Ms Miller with significant research material. CBC instead portrayed Ms Zhou and Falun Gong as being evasive, uncooperative and secretive. The manipulation of these facts is both immoral and journalistically reprehensible.
Unfortunately, Enquete’s negative distortions of Ms. Zhou extended even further.
The program includes short clips of Ms. Zhou avoiding being recorded on camera in which she appears nervous or unsettled. The suggestion is that Ms. Zhou is avoiding the media and has something to hide. In reality, Ms. Zhou’s reactions were incited by intrusive and even harassing behaviour on the part of CBC after Ms. Zhou had politely declined to be interviewed for this program.
In one of the clips shown of Ms. Zhou, she was in fact asking the cameraman who he was and which organization he was from, as she put her hand in front of the camera.
“I don’t want to be on your camera. Can I ask, who are you? Which organization you are from?” says Ms Zhou in the Enquete program. Obviously the CBC cameraman did not identify himself before recording Ms Zhou at close range. Also, there is no French translation provided in the program for Ms. Zhou’s questions to the cameraman, which would communicate that she was simply asking for the cameraman’s identity.
On that day, April 5, 2008, Ms. Zhou was with
Shortly after this, Ms Miller and producer Leon Laflamme arrived unexpectedly, to Ms Zhou’s surprise. As Ms Zhou was speaking with them, she noticed that the boom operator had their sound mic pointed at her and that she was also being videotaped again. Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme were already aware that Ms Zhou had declined to be interviewed for the program. Ms Zhou realized that her conversation with Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme was being taped and voice recorded. At this point Ms Zhou walked away from Ms Miller and Mr. Laflamme.
The Enquete program comments on this footage by saying, “For weeks we tried to get an interview with her. She refused to talk to us in front of the camera, saying she was not the organizer of this demonstration.”
It is misleading and disingenuous to portray this footage in such a way since both Ms Miller and Mr. Laflamme knew that Ms Zhou had already declined to be interviewed before they unexpectedly showed up that day in
Despite Ms Zhou’s help and good will, CBC ignored Ms Zhou’s request to stay off camera and followed and taped Ms Zhou against her wishes on more than one occasion. Ms Zhou was under no obligation to be interviewed. This kind of behaviour by a national, publicly funded broadcaster to harass and disparage a citizen who had only been open, generous and helpful to their program is deplorable.
On another occasion, CBC again trained its camera on Ms Zhou in a public space and CBC again misrepresented Ms Zhou in their program, as well as the circumstances at that time.
At this point in the program, Enquete shows a rally at Parliament Hill in
However, the main purpose of this rally, on May 2, 2008, was to raise awareness of mass arrests of Falun Gong practitioners in
We have included five photos of this event. In three of the photos, the organizer, and speaker of the event, Xun Li, the president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, is seen speaking at a microphone. In these three photos, a man dressed in black with a professional quality camera is filming Mr. Li. There is nothing on the man’s body or clothing to identify which organization he is with. Photos showing three sides of the man’s camera show that there is nothing on the camera to identify which organization he is with. He is taping both handheld and on a tripod. We have included another photo of the cameraman and boom operator later during the event, which again shows that there is no indication of where they are from. All that is visible is a small Canadian flag stuck loosely on the side of the camera.
The cameraman filmed most, if not all of what Mr. Li said, which would include the purpose of the rally and would clearly show that Mr. Li was the organizer.
In another photo, Alex Neve, the Secretary General for Amnesty International Canada is shown speaking at the rally regarding the mass arrests in
There was also an identifiable CBC crew that came to shoot the rally. They took a few minutes of footage and left, which is the norm for these kinds of situations. In one photo it is clear that other media, such as CTV, are also present and taping, but Enquete’s program gives no indication of this. All of these media were invited to attend the rally, via media release sent out by the FDAC and were welcomed to ask any questions in regards to Falun Dafa and the persecution at will. This again belies CBC’s claim that Falun Gong is media averse and secretive.
The cameraman with no discernable identification and his boom operator stayed on hand, continuing to record long since the rally started in the morning. At one point a Falun Gong practitioner asked the cameraman which organization he was with and he said he was with CBC.
The Enquete narration for the rally continues, “In Ottawa, they [Falun Gong] regularly gather on Parliament Hill to fully deploy their media machine and gather signatures to incite the House of Commons to condemn the Chinese regime. Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed.”
Ms. Zhou is then shown on camera blocking her face from being taped.
Ms Zhou was not the organizer of the rally. She did not speak at the rally. She was not participating in the torture exhibits, which were used to raise awareness of the various tortures suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in
After the rally had been ongoing for some time, a Falun Gong practitioner who knows Ms Zhou
approached her to ask if she had noticed that a cameraman was taping her for extended stretches of time. Ms Zhou hadn’t noticed and looked toward the cameraman, who turned out to be the same one taping Mr. Li later that day seen in the photos. By that point, Ms Zhou had learned that the cameraman was from CBC.
The cameraman was standing at a distance with the camera pointed at Ms Zhou, keeping it fixed on her. She found this odd, as she was not involved in the rally events at that moment and was not even wearing any Falun Gong t-shirt or button.
Since other activities for the rally were happening at that time, it seemed strange that this cameraman was so focused on Ms Zhou. Additionally, Ms Zhou had been at many rallies during the nine years of persecution against Falun Gong and had never seen a situation where a cameraperson was focusing their taping on one individual picked from the crowd.
This is why Ms Zhou approached the cameraman to ask if he would stop taping her. The cameraman kept the camera rolling and the portion of tape shown in the program is the portion where Ms Zhou is asking him to stop taping her.
However, the Enquete narration in the program describes this as, “Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed.”
It should also be noted that the response to Ms Zhou’s understandable request to no longer be taped by this cameraman who works for our publicly funded broadcaster, was met with the response that he could shoot whatever he wants because it’s a public event.
Enquete’s cameraman taped the speeches, so the cameraman’s footage would have clearly shown Enquete’s producer that Ms Zhou was not the organizer.
Enquete’s footage would have also shown Ms Zhou walking toward the cameraman and asking him to stop taping her.
However, in the program, Enquete gives no context for why Ms Zhou is on camera and completely misrepresents the situation.
For Enquete to knowingly misportray this situation as, “Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed” shows again that Enquete manufactured a negative perception of Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners to support their false claim that Falun Gong is secretive and uncooperative.
The program ends with a note that Falun Gong “no longer takes interview requests.” This is another false statement. To any newsroom journalist in the country, this statement would smack of absurdity. Falun Gong practitioners across the country regularly send out press releases to media with the names and contact information of spokespersons eager to be interviewed. The Enquete program in fact marks the first and only time that Ms. Zhou has ever declined a media interview.
4. Manipulative presentation, including the use of camera angles and music when depicting Falun Gong
We would also ask that the Ombudsman observe the use of music and visual depiction in the program, used to create a negative depiction of Falun Gong and a starkly contrasting positive depiction of those who speak against Falun Gong.
It is well known that music is a vital part of movies and television programming. Intricate detail is placed into the use and choice of music, moment by moment, in all programming and is a vital communication tool that sets tone and operates as both a conscious and subliminal language.
Throughout the program, when Falun Gong is shown or aspects that are attributed to Falun Gong are addressed, the music often clearly switches to an ominous, dark tone. This starts in the opening minutes of the program, when ominous music begins as Falun Gong is first depicted on screen and highlighted with a sharp, eerie accent in the music the moment the words “Falun Dafa” appear in close up on screen, written on the cover of a Falun Dafa flyer. The music continues as a foreboding and ominous sounding track while Falun Gong is shown on screen.
There are also odd camera angles and perspectives used, such as in the footage at the Parliament Hill rally, which create a strange and unbalanced perspective of Falun Gong. This, as with the music is a conscious and intentional choice. It is basic film language and it is very obvious.
The use of the music and visual depiction throughout “Malaise in
By contrast, the first time Crescent Chau is introduced on screen the music immediately changes to a positive, upbeat, industrious sounding theme. This is accompanied by quick cuts of Chau working at his desk using strong, positive camera angles. He is even afforded a “hero” effect in a semi-slow motion shot of him as he sits contemplating at his desk, creating the impression of thoughtfulness, calmness and stability. Again, a very obvious choice by Enquete which is in stark contrast to their depiction of Falun Gong.
When Mai Chiu is introduced, her image is shown smiling on a campaign billboard and then she is shown smiling and holding a baby. She then proceeds to raise suspicions about Falun Gong on camera through personal opinion and speculation, while Enquete provides no substantiation for her comments.
5. Allegations that Falun Gong misrepresented the positions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch
The report implied that the Falun Gong community was misrepresenting the positions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch with respect to organ harvesting allegations, stating that “By looking at Falun Gong flyers, one could believe that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International approves of Kilgour’s report. But that is not what we found out. ”
The flyer in question does indeed contain quotes from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch:
“Falungong members are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, and there is no excuse for the human rights violations they have endured. …The charge that Falungong threatens the stability of
- Human Rights Watch [Logo]
In 2006 Amnesty International raised concerns that,
“the official campaign of public vilification of Falun Gong in the official Chinese press has created a climate of hatred against Falun Gong practitioners, which may be encouraging acts of violence against them.”
- Amnesty International [logo]
However, the quotes have nothing to do with organ harvesting. The quotes condemn the Chinese government’s treatment of Falun Gong and the Chinese government’s attempts to incite hatred towards Falun Gong in order to rally support for its persecution of Falun Gong. These statements are made independent of the organ harvesting allegations, and are even placed under their own distinct heading in the flyer, which clearly separates them from the section that addresses organ harvesting.
The persecution against Falun Gong is multi-faceted, and the flyer provides an overview of the persecution with information of its various manifestations, including the torture and killing of practitioners, the propaganda campaign waged against them, as well as allegations of organ harvesting.
We have included a copy of the flyer in question. This is yet another example of the numerous misleading, inaccurate and dishonest aspects of this program – all of which are meant to present Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners in a negative light.
Enquete also contacted Amnesty International to inquire as to whether AI had supported the Kilgour/Matas report based on Enquete’s false claim that AI supported the report in the flyer. If Enquete related this false claim to AI in their discussion, this could serve to damage the relationship between a persecuted group and a trusted defender of human rights. Along with other reparations we request at the end of this submission, we ask that Enquete contact AI and set the record straight, which is that there was no such commentary in the flyer.
6. False allegation that organ harvest report was response to a legal setback
The CBC program attempted to draw an erroneous connection between a
The facts in this statement are false, as is the implied connection between the two events that have no connection at all. One is a court case by Canadian Falun Gong practitioners in
In fact, more than three months had passed from the December 7 Montreal court decision before the organ harvesting allegations first surfaced in March 2006, not “a few weeks” as Ms. Miller asserted. Falun Gong practitioners involved in the court case responded to the December decision by filing for appeal less than a month later, in January 2006, not by cooking up gruesome stories of abuse in
Two individuals made the initial reports of organ harvesting against Falun Gong practitioners in
The journalist or producer appears to have relied solely on their own opinions or imaginations in linking these two events, but the misleading consequences are severe. By framing the organ harvesting reports as merely a “counter-attack” to a negative court ruling, and by omitting all of the supporting evidence of organ harvesting against Falun Gong, as well as distorting comments by those who were interviewed for this segment, the programmers have made it literally impossible for viewers to form a fair and objective conclusion about the merits of the organ harvesting report. The program clearly suggests that allegations of organ harvesting being committed against Falun Gong practitioners have little or no merit and concludes this while leaving out all evidence that supports these allegations. Given the weight of the claims in question and considering the potential humanitarian consequences, such journalistic bias is both concerning and highly irresponsible.
7. Biased portrayal of Falun Gong and the Chinese New Year Spectacular
Enquete endeavours to marginalize Falun Gong further by connecting it to, and then negatively portraying, a Chinese New Year production called the Chinese New Year Spectacular.
Enquete displays a couple of apparent references to Falun Gong from the show’s contents on the screen and then quotes Ms. May Chiu as saying the show is intended to “recruit”. Enquete’s Ms. Miller then proclaims: “Many politicians, including the premier Jean Charest and the mayor of Montreal Gerald Tremblay, had actually endorsed the show. Their offices now say that the producers lacked transparency by hiding their links with Falun Gong. In
First of all, artistic shows naturally appeal to different tastes and are subject to different interpretations. By selecting Ms. Chiu’s negative comments as the lone voice on the Chinese New Year Spectacular, Enquete did not provide its viewers the impression of the vast majority of audience members. In fact, the Spectacular received well over 95% positive response in audience surveys (referring to “very good” or “excellent” ratings) with the majority of audience members calling the show “excellent”.
Consider the comments from award winning professor, writer, and poet Cyril Dabydeen, who has served as a juror for the Governor General Award for Literature: "Here tonight was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced… It transported me back in time, in a sense of a beautiful, wonderful, quintessential Chinese culture."
Professor Dabydeen is not alone. As the accompanying collection of quotes from prominent artists, politicians, and other leaders demonstrates, comments like these were extremely common from those who watched the Spectacular.
Please visit the website and attached quotes for hundreds of detailed and documented interviews from audience members, including comments from distinguished Canadian artists and scholars. www.DivineShows.com/montreal (go to News tab).
Second, the Spectacular is not purely a Falun Gong show, as Enquete may have viewers believe. While it is true that some of the programs touch on Falun Gong, it should also be mentioned that the show includes programs than span China’s vast geography, varied ethnic traditions, and 5,000 years of culture – from Manchurian, Mongolian, and Tibetan dances to the legend of the Lady of the Moon to the story of China’s greatest general: Yue Fei, of the Song Dynasty. In this context, Falun Gong practitioners’ faith and their peaceful resistance and endurance amidst brutal injustice and persecution provide a modern-day example of traditional Chinese virtues in action – context omitted in the Enquete broadcast.
Third, organizers of the Chinese New Year Spectacular are not deceiving politicians about the nature of the show in order to coax letters of support. Politicians and their staffs are invited to attend the show, and many have. Diplomats, federal and provincial cabinet ministers, mayors and councilors, and numerous other elected officials at all levels have attended the show in
In fact, the Falun Dafa Association co-presented about half of shows in
In his letter to those attending the Mid-Autumn Spectacular presented by the Falun Dafa Association of Toronto in late September, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote: “I am certain that everyone in attendance will enjoy the exceptional artistic performances, as well as the colourful display of costumes and lights that this event brings,”. “The organizers and performers are to be commended for sharing the richness of Chinese cultural heritage and traditions with the community at large.”
In fact, to our knowledge, no Canadian politician has accused the show organizers of “hiding” links to Falun Gong, nor that the show “divides the community”. This again is rhetoric echoed by CBC that has directly come from the Chinese consulates and Embassies who have been continually attacking the show because of its Falun Gong content. To our knowledge, Mr. Charest and Mr. Tremblay also had not made such comments before being contacted by Enquete. Given that Ms. Miller also says in the program (as noted in our first letter of complaint) that Falun Gong gatherings “divide the community” and that our mere presence in a city creates “malaise”, it seems very likely that Enquete journalists provided the same biased and misleading perception of Falun Gong when contacting the premier’s and mayor’s offices, perhaps in an effort to generate a response from those offices that would be unfavourable to Falun Gong. If so, this was highly unethical and must be corrected.
8. Treatment and misrepresentation of the persecution against Falun Gong
Though Enquete did not provide the context of the persecution of Falun Gong, it did allude to events that preceded the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong. Unfortunately, this content did not provide viewers with a clear understanding of what took place. As we believe it is important to understand these events clearly, we will briefly provide an explanation and clarification below.
In the program, Ms. Miller stated, “It was thus with a shock that the Chinese government discovered on April 25, 1999 just how large the movement was. 10,000 practitioners dared confront it. They silently surrounded the seat of the communist party in
The Chinese regime was actually well aware of the number of practitioners before April 25, 1999. In late 1998 the regime conducted a survey that indicated there were between 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners in
Also, the practitioners did not “confront” the regime, and their silent, peaceful appeal outside Party headquarters at Zhongnanhai on April 25 was not simply the result of “a few arrests of followers.”
Though the Chinese regime had sponsored roughly 50 introductory classes of Falun Gong in the early 90’s and state media had openly acknowledged the benefits of the practice on a number of occasions, the rapid growth and popularity of Falun Gong, which included spiritual teachings in line with traditional Chinese culture, became a concern for the Communist regime, which is officially atheist. Printing of the official text of Falun Gong called, Zhuan Falun, was ceased in 1996.
By April 1999, the Chinese regime had already started its propaganda campaign against Falun Gong. One particularly deceitful article that had been published in state media, lead to a peaceful protest outside the publisher’s office in
On April 25, practitioners silently congregated at the appeals office in
Considering the overall number of practitioners in
There were no arrests, the scene was quiet and peaceful and practitioners thoroughly cleaned the streets before dispersing that evening including even the policemen’s cigarette butts.
Western media, such as the Washington Post, reported that the decision to crack down on Falun Gong was Jiang Zemin’s alone who was the head of the Chinese regime at the time, and that among the other six members of the ruling Standing Committee of the Politburo, none initially supported the action. It was said that Jiang was upset that the premier, Zhu Rongji, the second in command among party members, had gained praise for handling the large demonstration of Falun Gong practitioners peacefully and by hearing their concerns. Jiang was in a power struggle with Mr. Zhu and it is believed that his jealousy surrounding this incident led to the grossly disproportionate response to Falun Gong’s peaceful appeal for their rights.
This information about the onset of the persecution, including third party sources, is readily available on the easily accessible sites previously listed.
Aside from a vague, momentary reference to persecution at the beginning of the Enquete program there was no attempt to examine numerous other forms of persecution suffered by Falun Gong. The only other reference Enquete makes to deaths and abuse suffered by Falun Gong inside
By focusing on only one element of the persecution (organ harvesting) and single-mindedly endeavouring to discredit it, Enquete raises doubts in viewers’ minds as to the credibility of the entire persecution Falun Gong has suffered in
In nine years of persecution, over 3,200 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have been killed as a result of torture and abuse in Chinese prisons and labor camps. The actual number is estimated to be much higher. Falun Gong accounts for two-thirds of all torture cases in
UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture in 2006. The U.S. State Department has noted that Falun Gong practitioners are believed to comprise fully half of
Dozens of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners have themselves been tortured , have witnessed fellow Falun Gong practitioners being beaten to near death in detention, and have lost friends and relatives to the persecution. Some Canadians  have relatives suffering in labour camps at this moment. Journalists at some of the world’s most respected news organizations have documented grisly torture deaths of Falun Gong practitioners, including a series   in the Wall Street Journal that earned Canadian journalist Ian Johnson the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. The proof of mistreatment, torture, and killings of Falun Gong practitioners is abundant, and has been documented by the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others.
The above organizations have also reported on the Chinese government’s campaign to dehumanize and vilify Falun Gong in an attempt to undermine public sympathy for its practitioners and justify their imprisonment and torture. The Chinese government’s campaign is not unrelated to the personal campaign of Crescent Chau, who published defamatory articles against Falun Gong that were paid for by a woman with ties to the Chinese government, and who repeated baseless slurs against Falun Gong made by the Chinese regime. Far from simply criticizing Falun Gong’s doctrine, Chau’s articles falsely accused Falun Gong practitioners of committing murder, suicide, engaging in bestiality and sucking blood. Chau called for the group’s eradication from
No mention of any of this is made in the CBC program. Instead, Crescent Chau is portrayed as a leader in
Enquete also includes a clear implication that Falun Gong sent Chau a death threat – an extremely serious crime - for which there is no evidence linking Falun Gong. The only evidence is an anonymous letter claimed to have been received by Chau, who has also published material in his newspaper claiming that Falun Gong practitioners are vampires.
It is in fact the question Enquete initially asks Chau that introduces the idea that a death threat was sent by Falun Gong. It is Enquete’s question that manufactures the implication. They ask Chau, “What makes you
think it comes from Falun Gong?” to which Chau responds, “I cannot say so. What I understand of this letter, is that someone wants me to stop acting against Falun Gong.”
Chau’s answer avoids directly making a false accusation of a death threat, but Enquete’s choice of question has already made that clear implication to the audience.
Since 1999, Falun Gong has suffered a severe persecution and defamation campaign at the hands of the Chinese Communist regime. This campaign has even extended beyond
While Chau’s comments on Falun Gong are treated as credible in the CBC program, Falun Gong practitioners who have responded to persecution by peacefully raising awareness are portrayed by CBC as disseminating propaganda, imposing on Canadians and dividing communities.
The decision of the show’s producers not to give treatment to the persecution of Falun Gong is not what CBC’s Ombudsman David Bazay recommended in 2003, in his comments on a complaint filed by the Falun Dafa Association when the CBC aired a “news piece” directly from CCTV, the Chinese regime’s owned and operated news channel, where the biased report blatantly accused a Falun Gong practitioner of murder. The CBC in turn had to run a correction. Mr. Bazay stated that, because Falun Gong practitioners are the victims of a persecution it is, “all the more reason why, in future stories, greater care should be taken to reflect the relevant points of view within the relevant context.”
9. Concerns over CBC’s past handling of organ harvesting allegations
As worrisome as the CBC’s treatment of the organ-harvesting allegations in this program is, it is even more concerning that the network’s biased reporting on this topic appears to be forming a pattern.
As referred to previously, on August 8, 2007, one year before the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, a CBC 10 o’clock [in the evening] news segment interviewed David Kilgour about his stance on the Games. Kilgour spoke in detail about the content of his investigation into organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. However, in its editing of the news segment, CBC removed all audio from Kilgour that mentioned Falun Gong as the victims of organ harvesting. CBC instead inserted a reference to organ harvesting victims simply as political prisoners. That China’s organ transplant industry is supplied with the organs of death row prisoners is hardly a new revelation; the importance of Kilgour’s report lies in the recognition that many of these victims are Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, most of whom were imprisoned for their beliefs without trial. The United Nations comments published Friday specifically highlight Falun Gong practitioners as organ harvesting victims. CBC was willing to report organ harvesting as long as it did not include the possibility that Falun Gong practitioners are among the victims.
On Nov 6, 2007, CBC was scheduled to air an independent documentary titled “Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong.” After years in the making, the film was pulled just hours before it was set to air. International media outlets reported that CBC pulled the documentary after receiving a phone call from the Chinese embassy in
10. CBC influenced by the Chinese communist regime?
In its response to our initial letter, the programmer asserted that any suggestions that its editorial content had been influenced by the
While we would certainly hope that to be the case, Falun Gong practitioners and other informed viewers are understandably concerned about this prospect due to:
· The above points regarding the CBC’s blatant, repeated censoring of organ harvesting facts from an independent documentary, news reports and the Enquete program
· Enquete’s biased and misleading treatment of Falun Gong as elaborated in detail above
· The fact that CBC immediately acted on the Chinese regime’s complaints by pulling and re-editing the independent documentary, “Beyond the Red Wall,” just hours before air time, but ignored the complaints of Falun Gong after the first airing of “Malaise dans le Chinatown” and instead re-aired the same unedited program two more times in succeeding days
· The admitted pressure CBC has received from the Chinese regime, including phone calls and pressure on journalists in
· The fact that the Enquete program clearly shows that CBC ignored the CBC Ombudsman’s prior caution that programmers must ensure that the proper context and relevant points of view were included in future broadcasts on Falun Gong after the network aired a baseless claim from the Chinese regime against the practice in 2003
In January 2008, CBC’s website was blocked by Chinese censorship authorities. As expressed in a CBC April 4th news broadcast, CBC said it believed the blockage was caused by the airing of “Beyond the Red Wall”, which the report called, “a controversial documentary on the Falun Gong”. The report commented that the Chinese regime felt that the documentary “was overly sympathetic to it [to Falun Gong].”
In a letter of complaint to the Chinese Embassy, CBC called the blockage “a matter of the gravest importance” and CBC news publisher John Cruickshank said, “This is a situation that we can’t let continue” .
We note that the producers of Enquete began contacting Falun Gong practitioners in late January, at a time when the CBC site was blocked.
We also note that it is striking how CBC has targeted the precise aspects of Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s response to the persecution that are the common, specific targets of the Chinese regime and addresses them in a similar fashion, using speculation, innuendo and sheer invention. We further note that CBC also avoids the many aspects of proof of persecution as well as the detailed evidence in the organ harvest report that are likewise avoided by the Chinese regime.
The Enquete program was not in keeping with CBC’s valued reputation of journalistic integrity. It also was not in keeping with the spirit of the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices.
In order to rectify the negative impression this broadcast has created, it is not enough for CBC programmers to simply dismiss any influence by the Chinese regime and deny any and all errors and misconduct on their part. The CBC will need to demonstrate fairness and correct the misperceptions and harm they have caused by compensating for this misleading, unbalanced, and discriminatory broadcast.
We believe that, as reparation for the damage done to the Falun Gong community, the CBC must issue a retraction and apology for the airing of the program, which in our view was misleading, damaging and an expression of religious intolerance. We also believe the CBC owes its viewers, and those affected by the Enquete program, clarification for the many misleading points presented in this broadcast and, in particular, a fair examination of the allegations of organ harvesting and the work that Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas have done. We also feel CBC must write an apology to Mr. Charest, Mr. Tremblay, and Amnesty International to correct the misrepresentations and damage created by CBC that may have harmed our relationship with these people.
Having said this, we are encouraged by your agreement to meet with us to discuss this matter. The Enquete program inaccurately portrayed Falun Gong, representatives of our association, and the events that unfolded in
President of Falun Dafa Association of
 “Falun Gong and http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=8962
’s China Policy”, International Journal, Spring, 2001, Canada