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Sunday, March 30, 2008

AU: China pressured state MPs to skip show

The Age: Jill Stark
March 31, 2008
Performer Nancy Xiang in the Arts Centre dressing room before yesterday's Chinese Spectacular.

Performer Nancy Xiang in the Arts Centre dressing room before yesterday's Chinese Spectacular.
Photo: Wayne Taylor

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THE Chinese Government has pressured Victorian MPs not to attend a stage show it has denounced as propaganda for the Falun Gong movement.

China's Melbourne Consul- General Liang Shugen wrote to politicians urging them not to accept invitations to performances of the Chinese Spectacular at the Arts Centre.

Organisers told The Age four MPs who had accepted invitations cancelled at the last minute, without explanation.

The show, which has toured to critical acclaim all over the world, depicts China's rich cultural history through traditional dance and classical music.

Many performers are Chinese exiles who follow Falun Gong — a spiritual movement banned by the ruling Communist Party.

Mr Shugen's letter claims the Divine Performing Arts group, through its links to Falun Gong, was trying to "sabotage friendly relationships" between China and the rest of the world.

He describes Falun Gong as a "despicable" group trying to gain support for its "anti-society, anti-human, anti-science motives under the disguise of cultural activities".

Mr Shugen writes: "In view of the good relations between China and Victoria it's my sincere hope that you will not attend the performance and will also avoid any future contact with Falun Gong and its affiliates."

But Falun Gong supporters say the letter is a thinly veiled threat about trade opportunities.

Michael Pearson-Smith, secretary of the Falun Dafa Association of Victoria, which helped bring the show to Australia, said Chinese diplomats used similar tactics when the performance toured last year.

"It's clearly exceeding the bounds of what they're supposed to do and it's about time the appropriate authorities in our country came down on them and said enough is enough. I'd like to see the consuls-general and the ambassador hauled in for a dressing down whenever one of these letters appears," Mr Pearson-Smith said.

Lead dancer and assistant company manager Vina Lee said the show told traditional spiritual stories suppressed by the Chinese Government.

"When the Communist party destroyed the culture, the Chinese didn't have any history kept to educate young people, so we are reviving the culture that has been destroyed. We present it through beauty and compassion and legend stories and they're so frightened by this that they try to shut it down. If you let people have a spiritual belief in the Chinese culture, then the Communist Party has no place," Ms Lee said.

The show, which finished a three-day run in Melbourne yesterday, will now tour Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.

A program for the show includes messages of support from Victorian Minister for Education Bronwyn Pike and several federal MPs including shadow treasurer Malcolm Turnbull.

More than 50 politicians are listed as supporters in the program, and it is believed that the Chinese Consul-General may have written to all of them.

About 130 Victorian MPs were invited to a VIP function on opening night but only seven attended. Four accepted invitations, only to cancel at the last minute.

"We've got self-censorship happening with a lot of MPs when they're invited to anything with a Falun Gong connection," Mr Pearson-Smith said. "We're talking contacts and business interests and clearly many politicians will put their business interests ahead of human rights. But we're actually in a very strong position because China needs our natural resources and they need this market for all the consumer goods that they're producing. We just need to have the courage to say this shouldn't be going on."

A State Government spokesman did not say which MPs attended the event. The Chinese Consul-General could not be reached.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Malaysian Government Refuses New Permit for 'Chinese Spectacular'

Government issues apoology but not permit

By James Chow
Mar 28, 2008

A notice issued by the Malaysia government canceling the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular. It clearly states in the notice's second paragraph that the cancellation was due to the Chinese Communist Party's opposition towards the show. (The Epoch Times)



The Malaysia Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage apologized to the organizer and audiences for the cancellation of Divine Performing Arts' Chinese Spectacular shows in Kuala Lumpur.

The Ministry published an open statement through the mainstream newspapers, explaining the reasons behind the cancellation.

However, the Ministry refused to issue the performance permit to the organizer despite the apology.

The statement says that the Ministry granted the performance permit for Chinese Spectacular on January 8, but canceled the permit on February 21 due to pressure from Chinese Communist Party's embassy. The performance was scheduled for the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Plenary Hall on March 22 and 23.

The statement explains that the Malaysian government was forced to cancel the show permit for the reasons of "maintaining the harmony of the country and for the bi-lateral relationship with Communist China".

Mainstream Chinese newspapers Sin Chew Jit Pao and China Press published the content of the statement.

On March 24, about 20 foreign audience members from Australia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong protested outside the building of the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage.

The disappointed audience members wrote in their protest letter that they have lost their good impressions of Malaysia and are concerned about the country's freedom and independence.

According to the organizer, more than 200 foreign audience members from Singapore, Indonesia, India, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, who have booked their air tickets and accommodation, still flew to Malaysia as scheduled and had to bear the financial and time losses.

Mr. Lawrence Koh, an Australian who had bought 20 tickets for his relatives in Malaysia, expressed his disappointment: "I am disappointed. Malaysia is a democratic country, yet Malaysia bowed to the pressure of Chinese Communist Party. This is a disgrace!"

NTDTV Global Media Network, local organizer of the show, expressed regret to the Ministry for not reissuing the show permit despite its apology.

"The statement justifying the cancellation for 'maintaining harmony' is misleading, and we really do not understand how our government can label a top-notch Chinese cultural show as affecting harmony; in fact, our show can really encourage harmony in society because we are promoting the true traditional Chinese culture and values," said Wong Mei Yee, the project manager of local NTDTV.

"We hope our government can apologize to us and also support our show sincerely by reissuing the performance permit to us," said Wong.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Falun Gong cries foul over stricter entry regulations -

Nishika Patel

Friday, March 28, 2008

HK Standard: The Falun Gong has slammed Hong Kong's strict immigration control in the run-up to the August Olympics, claiming it has prevented 80 percent of its Taiwanese members from attending a human rights awareness event in the territory.

While up to 90 percent of its members had been allowed entry in the past, the group told The Standard that the government has banned hundreds of practitioners from entering the territory over the past few months.

Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa spokesman Kan Hung-cheung said only 100 Taiwanese members had been allowed in for last Sunday's Human Rights Torch Relay launch.

"We regret to say that the Immigration Department of Hong Kong is using every means to collect a blacklist [to] prevent our foreign members from coming in," Kan said.

"This is of great concern because Hong Kong is a free city but we regret the SAR government is more and more controlled by the mainland regime."

The Human Rights Torch Relay is a global campaign that spans 40 countries and 150 cities to highlight human rights violations by China, including the Tibet crackdown and the persecution of Falun Gong in the mainland.

The Falun Gong is banned in the mainland but is legal in Hong Kong.

City University political professor James Sung Lap-kung said more and more members will be turned away in the coming months following pressure from Beijing, which views the group as a "dangerous" cult.

"The Falun Gong will be in deep trouble over the next few months. Beijing considers the Falun Gong to be a partner in the recent Tibet riots," Sung said. "As the Olympics draw closer, Beijing will be trying to identify dangerous forces that are planning to jeopardize the Games."

Kan said the Falun Gong will step up the number of parades and rallies in the run-up to the Olympics to highlight the persecution of its members in the mainland. He stressed the group was not calling for a boycott of the Games and was not against the Olympic torch relay arriving in the SAR on May 2.

Sung said the situation in Hong Kong is very sensitive as the government will try to balance its role as an international communications center with any order from Beijing.

Last month the Falun Gong in Hong Kong lost a judicial review, appealing against the Immigration Department's refusal to allow hundreds of its Taiwanese members into Hong Kong during the 10th handover ceremony. The judge had ruled it was a one-off incident and was not a result of religious discrimination as argued by the group.

On the latest claims, a government spokesman said: "We do not comment on speculative reports. The Immigration Department has the responsibility to uphold effective immigration control so as to ensure Hong Kong's public interest."

The department, he said, handles all entry applications in accordance with the law and prevailing policy and having due regard to individual circumstance

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Widow works to bring human rights abuse to light


1
March 17, 2008 by RECORD STAFF

WATERLOO - Jane Dai doesn't travel light. She's visited 45 countries in six years with Fadu, her seven-year-old daughter, and with papers documenting the struggle of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

She also carries the hope that her husband's killers will be brought to justice. With the Beijing Olympics just months away, Dai is intensifying her campaign to tell people all is not well in China.

"The world gave the Olympics to China in the hope that would help improve human rights, but nothing has changed" said Dai, 44, an Australian citizen of Chinese origin who is visiting Waterloo for a week.

"Not just my husband -- hundreds have been killed and thousands sent to labour camps because they practise Falun Dafa."

Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, teaches compassion and truthfulness.

It involves meditation and exercises, and claims 100 million followers. Initially, the communist government supported Falun Gong, but it was banned in 1999 and its practitioners have since been persecuted.

Dai was born in China but went to Australia to study in 1987 and later became an Australian citizen. While visiting family in Guangzhou City, in 1993, she was introduced to Falun Gong.

She met Chengyong Chen, a young electrician and a Falun Gong practitioner, in 1997. They were soon married and lived in Guangzhou.

When Falun Gong was banned, Chen participated in several protests and was jailed repeatedly.

Dai had to return to Australia with Fadu, who was a few months old then, because China refused to extend her visa. Six months later, Chen's body was found in a hut.

"I'm determined that the world should know why my husband died."

raulakh@therecord.com

Freedom House Condemns Crackdown in Tibet and Broader Chinese Repression as Olympics Approach

By newsdesk - Posted on March 19th, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- March 18, 2008 -- Freedom House today expressed serious concern about the Chinese government’s violent suppression of protests in Tibet and the subsequent closing of information channels in the region, and urged President Bush to speak out forcefully against the repression.

Tibetans’ demonstrations and the government's ensuing crackdown are part of a larger, systematic pattern of repression that has escalated as the 2008 Beijing Olympics approach. During protests that erupted in Tibet on March 10 and have continued since, as many as 80 people were killed when the Chinese authorities used force to quell the demonstrations. Since then, officials have imposed a news blackout by suspending all entry permits and expelling foreign journalists. At the same time, security forces reportedly are conducting house-to-house searches, rounding up hundreds of Tibetans suspected of participating in the protests.

“China’s response to the protests in Tibet remind us of the ongoing, long-term cultural suppression imposed by the Chinese government which, if anything, has intensified in the run-up to the Olympics,” said Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House.

“We urge President Bush—whose response thus far has been inadequate—to strongly condemn the Chinese government’s violent suppression of the protests,” added Ms. Windsor. ”When he visits Beijing this summer for the Olympics, the President should demonstrate his unambiguous support for freedom and human rights by meeting with dissidents.”

Political rights and civil liberties, particularly religious freedom, are severely restricted in Tibet. While some religious practices are tolerated, officials forcibly suppress activities viewed as vehicles for political dissent or advocacy of Tibetan independence. The Chinese government amplified its repressive policies in 2007, announcing and implementing regulations that effectively increase authorities’ control over Tibetan Buddhism.

The crackdown in Tibet is part of a larger pattern of government repression as the Olympics approach. Recent examples include:

* Harassment and detention of human rights defenders: Activist Hu Jia was arrested and is expected to stand trial on Tuesday on charges of “subverting state power,” apparently as a result of articles published on overseas Chinese websites and statements made to foreign journalists about the Olympics. Others who have been abducted or imprisoned in recent months, often after calling for human rights improvements prior to the 2008 Games, include Chinese lawyers Teng Biao and Gao Zhisheng, cyberdissident Guo Feixiong, and activists Yang Chunlin and Wang Guilan.

* Heightened efforts to restrict access to online information: Regulations were adopted in January requiring Chinese video-sharing websites to register with state-controlled companies. In March, two popular websites for people with AIDS and hepatitis were shut down. In 2007, more than 18,000 blogs and websites were closed by the government.

* Increased restrictions on private religious practice: Unofficial Protestant church gatherings in Xinjiang and Henan were reportedly disrupted in February and dozens of people arrested, including 11 minors. Over 150 Falun Gong adherents in Beijing were reportedly detained recently following door-to-door searches.

Tibet ranks as Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties. It received a rating of 7 (on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the lowest) for political rights and a 7 for civil liberties. Freedom House also ranked China as "Not Free" in its 2008 Freedom in the World survey. The survey gave China a score of 7 for political rights and a 6 for civil liberties.

Source: Freedom House

Where's the outrage?

The Suburban, Canada - 37 minutes ago
Falun Gong practitioners are jailed and killed by the thousands. Organs harvested like so much wheat being threshed. The Chinese dictators, together with ...

....Why aren’t we seeing labour unions and university academic groups attempt to organize boycotts of China as some tried to do against Israel? Why are those self-styled arbiters of morality appeasing the world’s largest tyranny? Why? Because they are cowards and hypocrites.

It is fear that drives the public debate on China. Fear and greed. Business profits on its slave markets. Academics on its exchange and research programs. Journalists are co-opted by the politically correct notions of every culture’s right to be wrong. And politicians don’t have the courage to challenge a regime that holds up to one-third, in some cases, of western debt.

China is a country whose leaders have killed some 40 million of its citizens over the years. Half of those were slaughtered in the 1948-51 revolution. Last year, some 20,000 political prisoners were murdered. Many tied back to back so one bullet could be used for two. Falun Gong practitioners are jailed and killed by the thousands. Organs harvested like so much wheat being threshed. The Chinese dictators, together with Iran, are the main facilitators of the Sudanese regime carrying out the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur. Where is the outrage?

Falun Gong's turn

C Raja Mohan
Indian Express: Posted online: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 0157 hrs

Excerpt: China has little reason to breathe easy at the fact that no government has called for the boycott of Beijing Olympics amidst its crackdown on the Tibetan revolt — yet. Although the Dalai Lama has said that China should not be denied the opportunity to host the Olympics, there is no doubt that the Games have become a political millstone around Beijing’s neck.

Beijing’s decision to invest so much political capital in the Games has provided a rare incentive for various dissident groups in China to make their case before the world opinion in the run-up to the Olympics. China has no option but to crack down on these dissidents. Every such action will also take some shine off the coming out party Beijing had planned for itself this summer.

The Tibetan challenge is not necessarily the worst nightmare for Beijing this summer. Potential spectacular actions by the religious cult, Falun Gong, during the Beijing Games would be even more troublesome.

Probably the most organised and richest of the Chinese dissident groups, the Falun Gong has shown extraordinary capacity to surprise Beijing. Conscious of the threat, China has apparently begun a sweeping pre-emptive crackdown against the cult. Besides a number of arrests, it has offered cash rewards to citizens who can turn in Falun Gong followers. Whichever way one looks at the Tibetan revolt, Beijing’s awful political summer might only have just begun. ....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Matas: China and Human Rights: A Global Strategy

by David Matas

(Remarks prepared for delivery to the Cambridge Union, Cambridge University, United Kingdom March 11, 2008)

I. A strategy for China

The pursuit of human rights in China, as in any country, has to be approached strategically. What is the most effective way of combating human rights violations in China?

The best strategy is the most direct, combating human rights violations frontally, centrally rather than peripherally. The Communist Party of China rules China through repression, having killed since its inception tens of millions to achieve and maintain power, more than Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union combined. Repression of human rights in China takes many forms with many victims.

Because they have beliefs different from the Communists or tell the world about Chinese violations, the Communist Party of China persecutes Falun Gong, democracy activists, ethnic minorities and global religions - Tibetan Buddhists, Moslem Uighurs and Christians, human rights defenders, journalists, and internet bloggers. Yet, it persecutes the Falun Gong more and worse than any other group.

The Falun Gong began in 1992 as a blend of ancient Chinese spiritual and exercise traditions. It was initially encouraged by the Government of China as beneficial to health, but banned in 1999 because of Communist ideological envy over its increasing popularity. A number of human rights tribunals have all determined Falun Gong to be a form of religion.

Though the Chinese Communists are annoyed with the efforts of other victim groups, it is only the Falun Gong they feel pose a true threat. It is only the Falun Gong who the Communists fear provide a viable alternative to the ideological pre-eminence of the Communist Party in China. Communism in China today has generated into an ideological vanity project for those in power. At time when no one could figure out what to make of Jiang Zemin's "Three Represents" musings, the Chinese people were ascribing to Falun Gong beliefs in the millions. Before their repression, the Falun Gong were more numerous than any other group, more numerous than the Communist Party itself.

It would be incongruous for oppressors to back off from what they see as their worst threat and remain unwavering in their hostility to other perceived enemies. Unravel the repression against the Falun Gong and all other victim groups will benefit.

Embracing the Falun Gong is practical. Who else, after all, has the newspapers, the TV, the radio, the numbers, the persistence day after day, year after year, city after city, country after country, to pursue human rights in China? Activism for promotion of respect for human rights in China around the world is, more than any other form, Falun Gong activism. For activists to cut themselves off from Falun Gong is to cut themselves off from their best, their strongest allies in the struggle for promotion of human rights in China.

As a matter of strategy as well as a matter of principle, the expression of concerns about human rights violations should lead with condemnation of the worst violations first. Falun Gong has the ignominious honour of leading by far the parade of human rights victims in China. They represent two thirds of the torture victims[1]. The next largest victim group, the Uighurs, stands at eleven per cent. All others are single digits.

The United States Department of State reports:

"Some foreign observers estimated that at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country's reeducation‑through‑labour camps are Falun Gong adherents."[2]

Falun Gong practitioners and prisoners sentenced to death are the sole victims of organ harvesting, the killing of innocents for their organs for transplant surgery[3].

It is remarkable, in light of the disproportionate victimization of this one group, how little their suffering receives attention from governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations concerned about human rights in China. The mobilization of concern about repression of the Falun Gong has not been commensurate with the gravity of the situation.

This behaviour is reminiscent of those who in the thirties and forties opposed Nazism without saying anything against antisemitism. Opposing human rights violations in China while remaining silent about Falun Gong victimization ignores the kernel at the centre of human rights violations in China.

The unprecedented and grotesque nature of organ harvesting in particular allows for greater mobilization in protesting human rights violations in China generally. For some who hear of, say, torture or arbitrary detention in China, the reaction may be that they have heard this all before too many times. People can quickly become jaded about almost anything, including the traditional forms of human rights violations. In contrast, when people hear about killing innocents for their organs, they sit up and take notice.

There is a common inclination to focus on the better documented over the worse violations. Yet that inclination suffers from an overly narrow audience selection. Protests of human rights violations have three basic audiences - the perpetrators, the victims and the public at large. For the perpetrator audience, in this case the Government of China, it is indeed easier to discuss the better documented over the worse. It is harder for the perpetrator to deny the better documented. The lesser documentation as well as the greater harm both drive the perpetrator to denials, a seeming dead end.

To this concern, there are two answers. One is that for the other two audiences, the victims and the public at large, it is far better to focus on the worse over the better documented. Surviving victims of human rights violations suffer both physically and mentally. A large part of their mental suffering is their sense of betrayal, their feeling of abandonment, the despair of being left alone to their fate.

Expressions of concern about human rights violations, though they may not move the perpetrators to change their behaviour, surely move the victims to help them cope with their suffering. Crimes against humanity are crimes against us all. By showing solidarity with the victims, we acknowledge that we too are victims of these crimes.

Though there are no surviving Falun Gong victims of organ harvesting, there are many surviving family members who believe, with good reason, that this is how and why their loved ones died. Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners is a violation which all Falun Gong practitioners everywhere feel keenly. It would mock that feeling to ignore that violation.

For the public at large, focusing on the better documented over the worse violations looks Machiavellian. For all matters, but for human rights above all, the public expects human rights activists to act on principle. That means protesting the worst violations first.

At the end of the day, respect for human rights violations will come from public awareness and mobilization. Unless respect for human rights is promoted by humanity at large, human rights principles will wither. By putting aside the worse violations in favour of those with more traction with perpetrator governments, we ignore our most crucial support, the public, in the struggle for respect for human rights.

Even when it comes to dealing directly with the Government of China, there is something to be said for raising worse violations which China denies than lesser violations which China admits. Many of the lesser violations in China are either embedded in law or so widespread that the Government of China just says we are trying and leaves it at that. With a violation China denies, it should be uncontroversial to work with China to set in places safeguards to prevent the violation from happening.

For instance, it is Chinese policy, though regrettably not practice, for organ harvesting to be done only with the consent of the donor. How can China say no to cooperation in setting up a functioning, documented, verifiable, supervised, standardized, comprehensive consent system for organ donation?

II. Mobilizing concern

Once we decide on the victims and violations we wish to focus, what next? Who should be our target audience?

Those inside China are heavily propagandized and brutally terrorized. For the Communist Party of China, it is all to easy to ignore internal opposition. The Government of China rules by force, not by consent. It is imposed, not elected. If individuals in China do not agree with the Party, the attitude of the Government is so much the worse for them. If the dissenters keep their opinions to themselves, the may be lucky and be ignored. If they express their opinions too openly, too persistently, they are arrested, beaten, tortured, made to disappear.

That was the experience, for instance, of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has had the courage to stand up, within China, to the Government of China. For his mettle, he has been repeatedly victimized. Today he remains among the disappeared. One has to applaud his courage. David Kilgour and I have nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, it would be unrealistic to expect a whole bunch of others to be as courageous as he has been. It would be asking too much of others to ask them to risk suffering what Goa Zhisheng has suffered.

A dictatorship, in any case, is more likely to pay attention to external opposition than internal opposition. External opposition is hard to suppress or ignore.

Democratic governments cater to their electorates sometimes to the detriment of international opinion. With tyrannies, it is the opposite. They do not really care that much about what locals think of them, because they can maintain power through terrorizing the local population almost no matter now unpopular the regime is.

In contrast, tyrannies care very much about international opinion. International opinion impacts on their legitimacy, their respectability, their status, their hold on power. International criticism, since it can not be suppressed in the same way that local criticism can be, has, in some way, to be answered.

While this observation is generally true, it is more true for China than any other country. China is unique amongst the tyrannies of the world. It is a global power with economic and political outreach around the planet. Other tyrannies are hermit kingdoms, cut off from the rest of the world, ignoring criticism abroad while stifling it at home. Burma or North Korea are almost as indifferent to external as to internal criticism. For Zimbabwe or Sudan or Cuba or Iran the story is much the same. China, though, cares because its global ambitions depend on its global image.

If we are going to mobilize concern about China outside of China, who should be our targets? Should it be people who are ethnic Chinese, Chinese nationals outside of China, people in government or business or the arts or sports or academia who have some dealings with China? Or should it be people with no connection to China whatsoever?

Just as any opposition from inside China is welcome, so too is any opposition which comes from people outside China who have a connection to China. But, I would suggest that the best strategy would be to attempt to mobilize those with no connection to China.

One reason is that the crimes of China are not just crimes against the Falun Gong or Uighurs or Tibetans or the Chinese people. They are crimes against humanity. They are crimes against us all. If we expect only or specifically those with some connection to China to be concerned, the message of the universal nature of the crimes is lost.

A second reason is that those with connections to China are all too easily intimidated or endangered. Nationals of China abroad have relatives at home under the thumbs of the Chinese state. Those engaged in dealings with China run the risk of their affairs going off the rails if they displease the Chinese Government.

A third reason is that the Government of China feels that it owns China and the Chinese. The Government of China sees itself as the voice of China and the Chinese people world wide. Criticism from within the state or from within the Chinese community outside of China is belittled as political, whether it is or not. It is a lot harder to characterize external criticism that way when it comes from total outsiders.

Those who are most free to stand against Chinese human rights violations, those whose stance carries most graphically the universal human rights message, and, consequently, those whose opposition China finds hardest to ignore, are those with no connection to China whatsoever. When David Kilgour and I stand against the killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, we have nothing to gain, because we are not being paid and are not Falun Gong practitioners. But we also have nothing to lose unlike those inside China like Gao Zhisheng who are brutalized or even those outside China who have or would, for their careers, like to have dealings with China. As well, no one could plausibly suggest that we would have any political ambitions in China.

III. Combatting indifference

When we attempt to mobilize outsiders with no connection to China, we face another problem, indifference. When people themselves are victims or potential victims of human rights violations, it is easy to generate concern. Where the victims are others, all too many people, regrettably, just do nothing.

It is easy to decry inaction in the face of human rights violations. But why does it happen? Who are the people who do nothing?

Some feel helpless, believe that there is nothing they can do. Others are lazy, unable to muster the energy to act. A third group are self centred, focusing on their own lives at the expense of the lives of others. A fourth are intimidated, fearing that the perpetrators will reach out to get them if they protest.

All of these people accept that what is being done to the victims is wrong. They are just not prepared to do anything about it.

But by far the biggest obstacle to combating human rights violations is indifference. Who are the indifferent? They are people either who do not know or do not care.

Those who do not care are either callous or conflicted. The callous are sadists. They share the cruelty of the perpetrators. Massive human rights violations go hand in hand with ideologies which first preach and then justify those violations. Many of the callous are believers, signing on to the ideology of human rights violations.

The conflicted have contrary interests. They are fellow travellers of the perpetrators because they have family, social, career, financial or business interests which would be jeopardized by confronting the perpetrators. The conflicted are morally compromised. They put their lesser personal interests above the prevention of grave wrongs.

By far the greatest number of the indifferent are those who do not know. But how can anyone not know? Massive human rights violations are widely publicized. They are the stuff of daily headlines. Reams of books, reports, articles, broadcasts bring the atrocities of this world into every living room.

The answer is the ideologies which accompany violations. Perpetrators do not just kill and torture and rape. They also incite to hate, propagandize, disinform, distort, evade and fabricate.

People are indifferent because they do not pay close enough attention to sort out truth from falsehood, the real from the unreal. The indifferent place the truth of the victims and the fabrications of the perpetrators and their apologists at the same level, dismissing the whole as a political dispute in a faraway land.

There are many eloquent remarks against indifference. One is that the worst place in hell is reserved for those who are indifferent. Another is that all that is necessary for evil to flourish is for the good to do nothing. William Butler Yeats has written: "The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity". Elie Weisel has said: "Indifference is always the friend of the enemy for it benefits the oppressor - never the victim."

Accusations of human rights violations are not always true and not always well intentioned. Those politically opposed to any regime will easily resort to false accusations of human rights violations as a means of delegitimizing that regime.

The difference between imagined human rights violations invented for purposes of delegitimization and actual human rights violations denied by the perpetrators is reality. We can not ignore reality and just consider charges and denials of human rights violations as a bunch of words all of equal weight.

The difference between Holocaust deniers and the tragic stories of the victims of the Holocaust is the real, what actually happened. It would be irresponsible to feign neutrality between Holocaust deniers and Holocaust victims. Anyone concerned with truth and freedom and respect for human rights would disapprove strongly of those who treated Holocaust denial as a respectable opinion deserving the same weight and consideration as the tales of horror of Holocaust victims.

But Holocaust denial, like the Holocaust itself, is not an isolated experience. It is rather the most extreme form of a whole spectrum of speech abuses. Every grave human rights violation has its deniers. Perpetrators everywhere have a whole litany of sorry excuses; but the first line of defense for them all is "it did not happen".

IV. The global challenge

Chinese repression in China of the Falun Gong is brutal, horrifying, gross, systematic, widespread. It is the stuff of newspaper stories and human rights reports. It is plain and plainly awful.

Yet, that repression is not the whole story. When it comes to victimization of the innocent at home, China is much like many other tyrannies in the world. The chosen enemies vary from country to country, but, whatever the country, the story is much the same -innocents suffer so that despots can stay in power.

However, when it comes to action abroad, China is different. Only China has the political muscle and economic weight to conduct a global propaganda campaign against its chosen victims who are primarily, but not only, the Falun Gong. Outside of China, Government agents do not have the power to kill, detain and torture. But they do what they can consistent with foreign law and even violating it in ways that diplomatic immunity allows them to do.

This world has not seen the likes of the Chinese government hatred of the Falun Gong since the Nazi Germany hatred of the Jews. Nazi Germany was not content to victimize its Jews in Germany. Antisemitism was a foreign policy, indeed the primary foreign policy goal of Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was intent on persecuting and killing Jews everywhere in the planet that Jews were found.

China has not gone far as Nazi Germany, invading foreign countries so that it can murder its Falun Gong practitioners. But in its global sweep of repression against its chosen victims, it more resembles Nazi Germany than any other government since World War II.

This planetary attack against the Falun Gong takes a myriad of forms. First and foremost is incitement to hatred. The Government of China conducts a propaganda campaign against the Falun Gong wherever its agents are. The propaganda takes advantage of whatever media outlets are available.

The Government of China utters foul slanders against the Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners respond with vigorous criticism of the Communist Party of China. To outsiders not paying much attention and unfamiliar with the Falun Gong, this dispute superficially looks like a foreign political slanging match. The tendency is not to get involved. For media reporting a story where the dispute is relevant, there is a tendency to report what each says, the Communist Party of China and Falun Gong practitioners, as they would any dispute, attempting to be neutral.

Yet, the Communist Party of China has committed massive human rights violations against the Falun Gong. The Falun Gong are a group of innocents, a non-political non-violent community.

The Communist Party of China, to justify its brutal hold on power, does what communist parties have done everywhere - it admits nothing and denies everything. It manufactures phoney charges, concocts facts, and imagines quotes. To put Chinese propaganda about the Falun Gong on the same level as evidence about the human rights violations perpetrated by the Communist Party of China, to create a false symmetry between them, ignores reality and turns a blind eye to the monsters staring us in the face.

There are, regrettably, all too many states inflicting massive human rights violations on their citizens. And there is never enough mobilization of concern to combat the violations.

Yet at least elsewhere, there is a general consensus that what is happening is wrong and needs to stop. When it comes to human rights violations in Zimbabwe or Iran or Burma or North Korea, the problems may seem intractable; but spreading awareness and appreciation of the problems is not.

Indifference is a problem with all human rights violations; but it is more acute for human rights violations in China. It is a good deal easier to mobilize concern about human rights violations in many other places than violations in China.

Even within China, there is a hierarchy. Repressed democracy activists, journalists, human rights defenders, Tibetan and Christian activists generate more sympathy than the Falun Gong.

David Kilgour and I, in working on our report on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, have faced two formidable tasks. One was determining whether or not the allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China were true. The second, once we determined that they were true, was mobilizing concern about this foul practice. As difficult as writing our report was, shaking the global community out of its indifference towards violations of human rights against the Falun Gong has been even more difficult still.

It is not as if we were dealing with a slight or inconsequential problem. Why outside the Falun Gong community itself is there so little concern about the so numerous, so awful violations the Falun Gong suffer? One reason may be the very strangeness of the name Falun Gong.

The words "Falun" and "Gong" in Western languages mean nothing. Falun Gong victims are often people without Western connections or Western languages. It is a lot easier to relate to victims who have universal labels - journalists, human rights defenders, democracy activists, than a group with a name which means nothing to most ears.

Another reason is the economic clout of China. Some people regrettably measure the strength of their human rights commitment by its impact on their pocket book. China's economic weight by far surpasses that of other major human rights violators.

But the most likely explanation of all is the global campaign of China against the Falun Gong, the harassment, the bullying, the spying, the disinformation, pervasiveness and the persistence of Government of China anti-Falun Gong propaganda. The incitement to hatred which generates the persecution against the Falun Gong within China has become a primary message that embassies of China bring to the rest of the world.

The Chinese global disinformation campaign against the Falun Gong has three basic prongs. One is getting out their own propaganda. The second is blocking in every way they can the flow of any contrary information. The third is initiatives from those trying to please China.

V. Propagandizing

When it comes to propaganda against the Falun Gong, China does not make an effort to be accurate. The lies are shameless, blatant, patent, unabashed.

The Chinese are disciples of the big lie technique of former German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf defined the big lie propaganda technique as a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously".

Hitler wrote:

"There is only so much room in a brain, so much wall space, as it were, and if you furnish it with your slogans, the opposition has no place to put up any pictures later on, because the apartment of the brain is already crowded with your furniture."

The United States Office of Strategic Service, in a psychological profile of Hitler, wrote:

"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."[4]

The most obvious Chinese use of this technique is the constant labelling of the Falun Gong as an evil cult, though it has none of the characteristics of the cult. But the big lie is not just a single lie. It has many different facets.

The global Chinese campaign David Kilgour and I have seen is unlike anything we see from Zimbabwe or North Korea or any of the other major human rights violators. As a court room lawyer, I am used to having people disagree with me. But I have never seen anything like the disagreement with our report from the Government of China. The Chinese government disagreement studiously avoids the plausible and gravitates towards the outrageous.

It would take far too long to go through the substance of Chinese disinformation, point by point, and point out why it is wrong. Here is just one example, which gives a flavour of what the Government of China is doing.

I went to Israel to speak on May 30, 2007 at a symposium on organ transplants at Beilinson hospital near Tel Aviv. The Chinese Embassy to Israel circulated a statement at the symposium that the report David Kilgour and I wrote on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners contains:

"verbal evidence without sources, unverifiable witnesses and huge amount of unconvincingly conclusive remarks based on words like "probably", "possibly", "maybe" and "it is said", etc. All these only call into question the truth of the report."

Yet, all one has to do to is to look at the report to see that every statement we make in our report is independently verifiable. There is no verbal evidence without sources. Where we rely on witnesses we identify them and quote what they say. Our study has been corroborated by independent disinterested researchers. We did, in the first version of our report, because of our limited knowledge of Chinese geography, place a couple of Chinese cities in the wrong provinces. Other than that, no one has found even one element of our report incorrect or even questionable.

The report is on the internet and is word searchable. Anyone who searches it can see that the words "probably", "possibly", "maybe" and the phrase "it is said" are not used in our report, not even once. But people do not bother to search.

Some people, for reasons of political or diplomatic or economic convenience, will swallow anything said by the Communist Party of China, true or not. For these fellow travellers, what is relevant is only that it is said by the Communist Party of China. Its truth is a matter of indifference.

However, we have met others for whom the truth matters, who are not associated in any way with the Communist Party of China, but yet who assert, without having read our report, that it is based on rumour. The only explanation is that these dupes have heard or read Chinese Communist propaganda about our report, that they have been misled by the big lie.

When the Chinese government puts words in quotation marks and asserts that they come from our report, there is a tendency to assume that these quotes are real. People can not believe that someone could have the nerve to distort the truth so grossly.

1. Web sites

The most simple and obvious vehicle for Chinese propaganda is Chinese embassy web sites. Go to any Chinese embassy web site anywhere in the world and you will find posted on that web site an attack on the Falun Gong.

The Embassy of China in Canada web site home page has three links connecting the reader to anti-Falun Gong propaganda[5]. One is titled "Cult Falun Gong". The second is titled "Memorandum on Falun Gong". The third is titled "Response to the so-called Revised Report on China's Organ Harvesting". No other topic merits more than one link. Tibet has only one link. So does Taiwan.

2. Spamming

Politicians or civil servants who meet with Falun Gong as well as media who interview them are often the recipients of spammed anti-Falun Gong propaganda. A lead spammer is Charles Liu, who also uses the name Bobby Fletcher. He is a down the line Chinese government apologist, general parroting positions of the Government of China including denial of the existence of the Tian An Men square massacre of 1989. But his main efforts have been directed to discrediting the Falun Gong, through directed e-mails, discussion groups, letters to the editor and internet blogs. The Western Standard reports:

"Liu's actions mirror disinformation campaigns waged by the Chinese government in the past. Typically, these include the deliberate spreading of false or misleading facts to sow confusion or doubt among the conflicting accounts."[6]

3. Publication of newspapers

The Government of China publishes, prints and distributes both Chinese and local language newspapers in foreign countries which are nothing more than anti-Falun Gong propaganda tracts. In Canada, an example is La Presse Chinoise.

La Presse Chinoise is a small Montreal newspaper with a print run of 6,000 copies. But in August 2006, it published an issue thirty two pages long, printed 100,000 copies and distributed it across Canada. This issue had no advertisements. It was distributed for free. And it contained no news whatsoever, only an attack on the Falun Gong. The issue did not say it was financed by the Government of China. But according to an investigative report by Mark Morgan of La Grande Époque, that was the reality[7].

4. Communications to newspapers

The Embassy of China in this country or that will write letters to editors of local newspapers setting out Chinese propaganda and disinformation. As well, embassies will send letters or e-mails to friendly reporters filled with the usual Communist bumph.

Letters are often published in the papers to which they are addressed, giving free, widespread, local language distribution to this propaganda. Stories are written that the Government of China objects to this or that, as if there was justification or grounding to the objection.

For instance, the Chinese embassy in Canada sent off in January 2007 an e-mail to the Ottawa Citizen protesting the NTDTV Chinese New Year dance spectacular then just performed in Ottawa. The Ottawa Citizen, in all seriousness, published a story setting out the Chinese embassy objections[8].

5. Flyers

Chinese government goes from hi-tech to lo-tech in its abuse of Falun Gong, from digital media, to simple flyers handed out at meetings. Embassy and consular officials wander around to public gatherings handing out anti-Falun Gong literature.

One such set of flyers, handed out by officials of the Calgary, Alberta, Canada consulate led to a hate crimes investigation. The Chinese officials placed anti-Falun Gong hate literature outside a conference room of the American Family Foundation Conference at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in June 2004. The Edmonton Police recommended hate crimes prosecution of Chinese consular officials Cao, Jianye and Yeh, Chi Yao for this distribution[9].

6. Broadcasting

There is a similar story with the electronic media. CCTV-4, a Chinese government TV satellite broadcaster sought permission to broadcast into Canada on a digital basis. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in December 22, 2006 concluded that this broadcaster had a history of abusive comment, incitement to hatred and contempt, incitement to violence and threats to physical security against the Falun Gong[10]. The CRTC approved the application, but with a warning that unless CCTV-4 is free of abusive comment it would be removed from the list of eligible satellite services authorized for digital distribution in Canada[11].

7. Phone calls

A form of harassment Falun Gong practitioners report is incessant phone calls with taped messages. The messages harangue the listeners in Chinese and English in three minute recorded statements demonizing the Falun Gong. The tapes include Chinese patriotic songs.

Some practitioners have received as many as twenty five calls a day. Calls have been made to homes, cell phones and work places. The calls fill up message machines. Calls made to cell phones pile up charges which are based on use. The high frequency of the phone calls prompts phone owners to turn off their cell phones.

Complaints to phone companies or the police lead nowhere. The calls have been traced to mainland China. Foreign police and phone companies can do nothing about such calls.

8. Letters

Write to the Chinese embassy to ask them to stop the persecution of the Falun Gong and the Chinese embassy will send you by return mail a barrage of anti-Falun Gong propaganda. The embassy sends out booklets and video compact disks filled with disinformation about the Falun Gong. The embassy sends out this same disinformation unsolicited to government officials, members of legislatures and parliaments and even civic officials who raise concerns or who even might possibly raise concerns about the treatment of the Falun Gong.

9. Tours

If anyone wants a guided tour and a heavy dose of anti-Falun Gong propaganda, China is more than happy to oblige, all expenses paid. Academics are usually self respecting enough to avoid these tours. They are prepared to go so far as to keep silent about the Falun Gong in order to get access to China, but no farther.

Some journalists are different. They take the trips and figure that they are maintaining journalistic ethics as long as they report the reality of Falun Gong persecution in the same articles as the disinformation the Chinese propaganda machine has fed them.

10. Speeches

Though the Government of China prefers working through intermediaries it can bully or pay than step out front, the Government of China, when all else fails, will send a representative to repeat in person anti-Falun Gong slander. That is what happened at an organ transplant forum at which I spoke in May 2007 at Beilinson Hospital near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Once the Chinese embassy found out that the event was going ahead with me on the speaker's list, they sent down a spokesman to reply to my intervention. They distributed on every chair before the symposium a paper titled "Position Paper of Chinese Government on Allegations of So Called organ harvest" containing the usual nonsense.

I spoke first and the Chinese embassy first secretary second. I picked up from one of the chairs the circulated statement and used my time slot to respond to the remarks about our report in the statement that I expected the Chinese official would and, in the end, did say.

The Chinese remarks, as is their wont, were mostly not about our report; they were rather a slanderous attack on the Falun Gong, having nothing to do with organ harvesting at all. These remarks were incitement to hatred, akin to Holocaust denial, manifesting the very bigotry which led to the violation that they were denying.

11. Public displays

The Government of China uses its embassies and consulates to mount public displays against the Falun Gong. For instance, the Chinese consulate in Toronto Canada has displayed an array of anti‑Falun Gong posters along the wall where people wait in line to apply for visas. The exhibition is titled "Combat Cults and Protect Human Rights". The posters state "Falun Gong is a Scourge".

VI. Blocking

1. Spying

For blocking to be effective, China needs to know not only what is being said, but also what is being planned. Accordingly China engages in spying or what is euphemistically called intelligence gathering on the Falun Gong.

Defectors tell us that this spying or intelligence gathering on the Falun Gong is the primary task of Chinese embassies around the world. Falun Gong practitioners everywhere are constantly being monitored and spied on by the Government of China. This intelligence gathering and spying is an invasion of privacy of Falun Gong practitioners. But the consequences are a good deal worse than that.

Defectors Chen Yonglin and Hao Fenguin made public statements about the Chinese Falun Gong intelligence gathering and spy network. Chen defected from the Chinese consulate in Sydney Australia in May 2005. Hao worked for the 6-10 office in Tainjin City, China. The 6-10 office is the bureaucracy in China designated with responsibility for repression of the Falun Gong. It is named after the date June 10, 1999 when the Communist Party decision to ban the Falun Gong was made. Hao visited Australia in February 2005 and sought asylum once there.

Chen said that there was as many as 1,000 Chinese government spies in Australia. Hao confirmed Chen's statement[12].

2. Infiltration

The Falun Gong has on occasion been spied on by persons who practice Falun Gong in order to accumulate information about other Falun Gong practitioners which is then communicated to the Government of China. A few of these people have been unequivocally identified. For a number of others, there is suspicion but no certainty.

3. Hacking

Falun Gong practitioners find that their e-mail accounts are hacked. It is possible for a customer to find out from his or her internet service provider the locations from which the e-mail account has been accessed. Falun Gong practitioners who have made inquiries discover that their e-mail accounts are being accessed from places they have never been.

In order for an e-mail account to be accessed, the person accessing the account would need the password for that account. Hacking predicates a successful spy effort to identify the account. Those passwords are presumably identified by prior hacking efforts or double agency. If one Falun Gong practitioner uses the computer of a second Falun Gong practitioner to access the e-mail account of the first practitioner and the second practitioner whose computer is used is an agent of the Government of China, then Chinese officials have access to the password of the first practitioner.

4. Viruses

One use to which the Chinese government puts information gathered through its intelligence efforts or spying is to send viruses to Falun Gong practitioners and those in contact with them electronically. In the course of arranging a visit I made in 2007 to Australia to speak at NGO events paralleling the APEC summit, I, along with the rest of a list serve I was on, received such a virus. A technical expert traced back the virus to mainland China. The virus sender assumes the identity of one person on the list serve so that the message with the virus appears to be coming from someone known to the list serve.

Fortunately, the virus did not infect my computer because of the systems I use. Others were not so lucky. The receipt of viruses by Falun Gong practitioners traced to mainland China is commonplace.

5. Cyber-attacks

Web sites hosting information about the Falun Gong are subject to cyber-attacks from China. For instance, the website Bestnet, which hosted a mirror site of a Falun Gong site, reported on July 30, 1999 a denial of service attack which "appears to be coming from sources inside China". See Web master John Walker wrote:

"The Government of China may use intimidation to rule inside it's own borders but I'll be damned if I will let them get away with it here."

A denial of service attack is a flooding of requests with incomplete information which eventually causes the target machine to crash. Internet sleuths were able to trace the internet protocol address. From that they were able to find the name and street address of the owner of that IP address. Though the name of the owner was innocuous, the street address was the headquarters of the Government of China Ministry of Public Security[13].

6. Pressuring broadcasters

The Government of China does not just attempt to disrupt live events. It wades into the media as well, attempting to use its diplomatic weight to shut up or distort local media information about the persecution of the Falun Gong. Again here is an example from Canada.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced that it was broadcasting on November 6, 2007 a TV documentary by Peter Rowe on the persecution of the Falun Gong in China which featured our report. The Government of China phoned up the CBC and the CBC pulled the show. It was replaced with an old documentary on Pakistan because, so the CBC spokesman said, recent turmoil in Pakistan made the rebroadcast timely.

But, as it turned, out timeliness was not the concern. The CBC went back to the producer Peter Rowe and asked for changes. He initially balked and then made some. But the changes he made were not enough. The CBC made more changes on its own after the producer refused to cooperate further.

The CBC version of the documentary was broadcast November 20. Since the original version had already been aired, without notice in the middle of the night in Montreal a few days earlier, and became available on You Tube, it was possible to compare the two.

The deletions were hard evidence to substantiate the findings David Kilgour and I had made of the mass killings of Falun Gong. One item deleted was the playing of tapes of telephone admissions from hospitals in China acknowledging that they were selling Falun Gong organs. Chinese government denials remained.

The additions were typical Chinese propaganda. The CBC on is own, for instance, added this screen to the documentary:

"Amnesty International does not have conclusive evidence to back up the allegation the Falun Gong are killed for their organs."

Yet, silence is not evidence of anything. Amnesty International silence on a human rights violation is not proof and not even evidence that a violation is not occurring. The organization does not claim to be a verifier or source or encyclopedia of all human rights violations.

The CBC, before the commercial which led into the documentary, flashed on screen with footage of Falun Gong practitioners a bit of Chinese propaganda straight up: "China regards Falun Gong as a cult". For people who know nothing about the Falun Gong that sort of introduction was bound to mislead.

7. Pressuring advertisers and distributers

Businesses which advertise in the newspaper the Epoch Times report threatening telephone calls. So do businesses which serve as distribution depots for the newspaper, places where the newspaper can be picked up by customers.

The Epoch Times is a globally distributed newspaper which is general in nature but which has a focus on Chinese human rights violations. Many Falun Gong practitioners are involved in the paper.

The telephone calls slander the Falun Gong and warn the advertisers and distributers of a loss of business if they persist. For instance, a travel agent in England was warned that, if his agency continued to advertise in the Epoch Times, his agency would no longer be able to book flights on Chinese airlines. Though the callers do not identify themselves as Government of China representatives, only representatives of the Government of China would be in a position to utter such threats.

These threats have had an impact. The Epoch Times reported a drop off in advertising and distribution points after the calls began. In England, these calls were the subject of a complaint to the UK Foreign Office. However, the Foreign Office refused to take any action, claiming that there was insufficient proof that the calls were made.

8. Lobbying regulators

Because of limited band width radio and TV broadcasters have needed regulatory permission to broadcast. The Government of China has lobbied foreign broadcast regulators, asking them to use their powers to keep off the air any broadcaster who would provide information about the persecution of the Falun Gong.

In Canada New Tang Dynasty TV applied in February 2005 to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for approval to broadcast in Canada. NTDTV is a global satellite TV network which began in 2002. It broadcasts in Chinese, as well as other languages. Its programming is more than 90% Mandarin. It is independent of the Government of China and reports on Chinese human rights abuses. Because of that, it has aroused the enmity of the Government of China.

Zhang Jiyan, the defecting wife of a Chinese diplomat smuggled out of the Chinese embassy in Canada a document showing an embassy plan "to knock down NTDTV's attempt to enter the cable television network". Huikang Huang, deputy head of the Chinese embassy, suggested rallying Chinese Canadians and Chinese visa students to write to the CRTC to oppose the NTDTV application[14]. Subsequently the public record shows that the CRTC did in fact receive nearly identical letters opposing the application from the National Congress of Chinese Canadians, the Federation of Ottawa Carleton Chinese Organizations and the Chinese Student Association of the University of Ottawa[15]. The NTDTV application to the CRTC, nonetheless, succeeded[16].

9. Using fronts

The Chinese government establishes organizations abroad which are nominally independent from the government but in fact act as its agents. Many universities have Chinese student organizations which are tightly connected to the local Chinese embassy or consulate. The Chinese government uses threats of exit visa denials and intimidation of the family back home to get students abroad to spy on their classmates and intimidate the Falun Gong.

I personally was witness to the activities of these groups in Columbia and Princeton Universities when I spoke there in April 2007. At Columbia, an organization titled the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association posted this threat on its web site "Anyone who offends China will be executed no matter how far away they are". When I spoke there, a group came to the address with banners and red flags which security required them to leave outside. They nonetheless held up placards which said in Chinese and English that Falun Gong is an evil cult. I had obtained the e-mail which they had used to bring their colleagues out and for my talk proceeded to read through it and react to it. Not liking what they were hearing, the group left my talk and the room en masse in mid stream. In Princeton, there was a similar gang protest, though this time the Chinese government agents were allowed to bring in posters which they held up at the back of the room.

10. Using funding

The Chinese government also gives grants for universities to establish Confucius institutes. These institutes are supposedly for Chinese studies. But once established, they become spy outlets for the Chinese government and leverage on the university to attempt to ban Falun Gong activity.

The use to which a Confucius institute is put depends on the local embassy or consulate which grants the funds. But I have been to some universities which report that the ethnic Chinese staff of these institutes, once established, become targets of Chinese government officials seeking out information about Falun Gong activity on campus.

Tel Aviv University removed in 2008 an exhibit on Falun Gong meditation. Professor Yoav Ariel, a lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department, confirmed that he had ordered the exhibit removed because of a request by the Chinese embassy. Ariel said that the university must take into consideration its ties with Chinese universities, with which it conducts student exchanges. The University has had a Confucius Institute, endowed by the Government of China, since 2007[17].

11. Urging cancellations

Another use the Government of China makes of intelligence gathered information is to attempt to thwart every public event which would disclose the persecution of the Falun Gong. The Government of China leans on hosts, asking them to cancel such events.

One particularly sorry example of this is the global Chinese government effort to undermine the touring dance spectacular sponsored by New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV). For instance, the Chinese embassy in Sweden called on city officials in Stockholm and Linkoping to cancel the venues for the Chinese dance spectaculars scheduled there for January 2008 because the performers had links to the Falun Gong[18].

A similar effort was successful in Seoul and Pusan South Korea. In 2007, two venues in Seoul, the National Theatre of Korea and the Convention and Exhibition Centre terminated their contracts with the dance company as the result of pressure from the Chinese embassy[19]. A successful lawsuit against Convention and Exhibition Centre meant that the event was eventually performed at a later date. In 2008, the Korean Broadcasting Corporation theatre in Pusan behaved in a similar fashion, backing out of a contract for a dance performance after the Government of China protested[20].

12. Urging proscription

Where an event is going ahead despite Chinese efforts to cancel it, the Government of China, as a second recourse, tries to shape the event. It asks for elements of the program to be changed or deleted which its officials claim are offensive to China.

Here is an example. I have already mentioned the event where the Chinese first political secretary spoke in Israel. When I arrived in Israel on the Sunday before the event, I was told that the Chinese embassy had asked Israeli Foreign Affairs to cancel the event at which I was asked to speak. The Foreign Affairs Assistant Deputy Minister Avi Nir and the Health Assistant Deputy Minister Boz Lev put the request to the Beilinson hosting hospital, which refused. Foreign Affairs and Health then asked the hospital to withdraw the invitation to me to speak even if the program continued. The hospital refused that too. Foreign Affairs and Health then asked the hospital to withdraw the invitation to Roy Bar Ilan, a Falun Gong practitioner, to be part of the closing panel. This the hospital did, even though the program, as advertised even on the day of the event included his name.

The event was a marathon, going from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a dozen speakers. For the very last portion of the symposium, there was a panel of all the previous speakers plus a few new ones. The new ones made short statements and then we all took questions from the floor.

I took advantage of this question period to raise my own question. I prefaced the question by saying that my question was not about China but about Israel, since there were many Falun Gong practitioners in Israel, including several in the room. I asked Roy Bar Ilan, who was in the audience and who I noted was supposed to be on the panel, to answer the charges the Chinese embassy official had made against the Falun Gong.

The chair, in response to that question, without giving Roy a change to answer it, said, abruptly and unceremoniously that the symposium was over. And it was. No thanks were given. There was no applause for the speakers. Everyone just dispersed.

13. Attempting to prevent meetings

One phenomenon David Kilgour and I have both experienced is diplomatic Chinese efforts to prevent parliamentarians and government officials from meeting with us. On a trip to Australia, in August 2006, David Kilgour spoke on our report at a forum in Melbourne hosted by Liberal Party member Victor Perton. The Melbourne Chinese consulate sent a letter to all members of the Legislative Assembly asking them not to attend the forum.

Similarly, when I was in Finland in September 2006 meeting with the Finnish parliamentary human rights committee, their chair informed me that the Chinese embassy had called, urging them not to meet with me. The chair replied that embassy officials were welcome to meet separately with the committee, but that the committee would nonetheless meet with me.

14. Urging non-attendance

Where events go ahead despite the best Chinese efforts to stop them, the Government of China tries to discourage people from attending them. Letters are sent from embassies and consulates to notables and dignitaries slandering the events, the Falun Gong and urging non-attendance.

For instance, a letter from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China to New York Assemblyman Michael Benjamin dated December 11, 2007 urges him not to support in any form the dance spectacular hosted by NTDTV in New York in 2008, suggesting that to do so would impair US China relations. NTDTV is a satellite TV network sympathetic to the plight of the Falun Gong. Assemblyman Benjamin indicated he would attend the event regardless and made the letter public.

15. Bullying

The general approach of Chinese officials to foreign officials and political leaders on the subject of the Falun Gong is a mix of incitement to hatred and bullying. For instance, in a letter in March 2003 to Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Peterson, the Chinese chargé d'affaires in Canada "advised the Canadian government of the sensitivity of the issue [of the Falun Gong] in the overall bilateral relations [between Canada and China]"[21]. In other words, sympathy to the plight of the Falun Gong would impact adversely on Canadian Chinese bilateral relations.

The Chinese consulate in Toronto wrote city councillors in 2004 urging them to oppose a motion for the proclamation of a Falun Gong week. The letters said: "If passed, the motion will have a very negative effect on our future beneficial exchanges and cooperation." Among the "beneficial exchanges and cooperation" Toronto City Councillor Michael Walker heard mentioned were threatened were the sale of a Canadian made nuclear reactor, the CANDU, to China, the construction by the Canadian company Bombardier of a rail link to Tibet, and a two panda loan to the Metro Toronto zoo[22].

16. Inciting discrimination

Incitement to discrimination leads to discrimination. While hate propaganda is most effective in a closed society like China, it has its insidious effect even in open societies.

Active discrimination becomes a way of getting the message out. If Falun Gong practitioners are denied access to service and benefits, even abroad, simply because they are practitioners, it becomes a way of discouraging the practice.

For example, the Ottawa Chinese Senior Association terminated of membership of Daiming Huang because she practises Falun Gong. As well, the Association confronted her about her beliefs, organized petitions against her practices, and subjected her to demeaning comments about her beliefs. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in January 2006 ruled that this was discrimination, exposing the woman to contempt and loss of standing and isolation within her community and an affront to her dignity. The Tribunal ordered the Association to pay Mrs. Huang $18,000.00 as well as to allow Falun Gong practitioners to become members of the association[23].

17. Practising discrimination

The opportunities for the Government of China on its own to inflict discrimination abroad on Falun Gong practitioners are few. Mostly the Government of China has to act through local agents. However, there are some matters which, by the very nature of sovereignty, remain within their control abroad.

a) Denial of Passports

Chinese nationals abroad whom the Chinese government has identified as Falun Gong practitioners will be denied passport renewal unless they renounce in writing their belief in Falun Gong. I have visited over thirty countries in order to promote the recommendations of the report David Kilgour and I wrote on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. In the course of those visits, I have met many Falun Gong practitioners in different countries who have been denied passport renewal. They have been told by their embassies that the reason is that they are Falun Gong.

For Chinese nationals abroad, the absence of a passport causes difficulties with the host countries. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality"[24]. Passport renewal denial based on the beliefs of the passport holder violates this right.

b) Denial of Visas

China uses its visa entry and exit system for anti-Falun Gong propaganda purposes. Known Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to leave China.

i) Practitioners

No one is allowed entry who is known to be Falun Gong or sympathetic to Falun Gong, especially where the purpose is as benign as even simply meeting other Falun Gong practitioners in private. This is true even of Hong Kong. More than 70 Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan were denied entry to Hong Kong in February 2003 to attend an experience sharing conference. This denial is currently the subject of court proceedings.

ii) Scholars

It is going too far to say that the only China scholar who is reliable is a person who has never been to China. But there is a grain of truth in that assertion. Scholars who criticize the human rights record of the Government of China, particularly its treatment of the Falun Gong, are unlikely to get visas to enter China.

iii) The Olympics

Another example is the Olympics. According to an Associated Press report of November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, in reacting to news stories of a Bible ban during the Olympics said texts and other items from major religious groups that are brought into China for personal use by athletes and visitors are permitted. Li also said religious services - Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist - will be available to athletes in the Olympic Village. However, he said, the policies do not apply to Falun Gong. Li said

"We do not acknowledge Falun Gong because it is a cult. Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden. Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China."

Local laws are never a justification for violation of international standards. Though the Government of China says foreigners must respect local laws, that statement, like almost everything else China says about the Falun Gong, is misleading. It is China which must respect the international prohibition against discrimination on the basis of belief.

iv) Journalists

While journalists who the Government of China has identified as sympathetic are given a royal tour, all expenses paid, journalists identified as likely to report on Chinese human rights violations are denied visas. An example is the visas granted reporters accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on his visit to China in January 2005. Originally, Danielle Zhu and David Ren of NTDTV were granted visas for the trip. But then the visas were revoked. PEN Canada protested the revocations, but to no avail[25].

c) A refusal to deal

China insists that the people with whom it does business are not Falun Gong practitioners. It insists that anyone who deals with China in any way practise the discrimination China does. Just as Nazi Germany in the pre war days refused to deal with anyone, no matter what their status abroad, who was Jewish, today the Government of China refuses to deal with anyone, no matter what the connection of the person to the business or project or government with which they are dealing, who is a Falun Gong practitioner.

For instance, the Government of Canada funds projects in China through the Canadian International Development Agency. Canadian recipients of CIDA funding provided through contribution agreements which mandate the beneficiaries to do work in China are required by China not to allow any Canadian citizen Falun Gong practitioners to participate in the work funded by the contribution agreement.

18. Beatings

The most grotesque form of blocking of protest against Chinese human rights violations is the beating of protesters. These beatings are not as systematic as the other forms of blockage. But they occur with regularity.

An example is Argentina where a group of protesters were beaten in December 2005. At the time Luo Gan, head of the 6-10 office, was visiting Buenos Aires. During his visit the Falun Dafa Association filed a criminal lawsuit against him, relying on his presence as the basis for court jurisdiction. The next day Falun Gong practitioners protesting at Congress Square in Buenos Aires were assaulted by a group which, according to Amnesty International, were "connected to officials of the Chinese government". The practitioners were beaten. Their banners and photo displays were stolen.

The police were present at the beatings but did nothing to stop the attackers. A policeman told one Falun Gong practitioner that the police had orders not to interfere with the attack. The Amnesty International director for Argentina, Pablo Marsal, said: "Officials of another country are violating our Argentine sovereignty in our country."[26]

VII. Working towards the CCP

The regime of Nazi Germany was characterized by initiatives from the bureaucracy and military in line with Hitler's broadly but dimly defined, vaguely worded goals in an attempt to meet his perceived wishes. Ian Kershaw has argued that many of the steps that led to the Holocaust were undertaken by German officials without express orders from Hitler on the expectation, which turned out to be correct, that such initiatives would find favour with him. This behaviour has been characterized as "working towards the Fuhrer"[27].

We see something similar with the Chinese Communist Party and its persecution of the Falun Gong. Outside of China, the obsession of the Chinese Communist Party over the Falun Gong is apparent and the level of its intervention both to propagandize against the Falun Gong and to block any attempts to expose their persecution is quite detailed. Nonetheless, it would be going to far to say that every propaganda and blocking effort is just action by the Government of China or compliance with specific requests from the Government of China. In some cases, individuals take their own initiatives in an attempt to meet the perceived wishes of the Government of China. These individuals work towards the Communist Party of China.

1. New Zealand

In both Wellington and Auckland New Zealand, Falun Gong participation in the annual Santa Claus parades in 2007 became an issue. The Wellington City Council and the Auckland Santa Parade Trust both initially refused to allow the Falun Gong to participate in their parades.

Auckland Regional Council deputy chairman Michael Barnett opposed the participation of the Falun Gong in the Auckland parade because, according to him, the Falun Gong "attack a country that New Zealand has a relationship with".[28] The Falun Gong, of course, do nothing of the sort, but rather only protest their own persecution.

Wellington parade organizers eventually backed down and allowed the Falun Gong to participate. Auckland remained adamant. Wellington, nonetheless, recidivated, banning the Falun Gong from its 2008 Chinese New Year's Parade. Peter Dunne, leader of the New Zealand political party United Future, believes that the two city councils are scared of upsetting the Chinese government while free trade talks with New Zealand enter the final stages[29].

Had the Chinese embassy in New Zealand made specific requests to Auckland and Wellington not to allow the Falun Gong to participate in the parades? That is perfectly possible given the pattern of Chinese behaviour. But there is no public record of such a request and there is another explanation - that both the Wellington City Council and the Auckland Santa Parade Trust were working towards the Communist Party of China, anticipating its wishes and taking their own initiatives to attempt to please the Party.

2. Australia

The Minister of Foreign Affairs since March 2002 has been signing a certificate once a month banning Falun Gong adherents from displaying banners outside the Chinese embassy in Canberra. Australia is the only democratic country to impose such a restriction on the Falun Gong[30].

3. Canada

Mayor Sam Sullivan of Vancouver in June 2006 issued an order that Falun Gong protests in front of the Chinese consulate, by then going on for five years, must stop. Mayor Sullivan acknowledged that the Falun Gong display bothered the Chinese. He also said that he has heard from people from the Federal Government who said the protest is not helpful to promoting closer links with China[31]. The enforcement of the order has been suspended pending a court case challenging its legality.

4. Iceland

The Government of Iceland in June 2002 denied entry to Iceland to Falun Gong practitioners who were planning to come to protest Falun Gong persecution during the state visit of Chinese president Jiang Zemin. The Government provided a list of these practitioners to Icelandair, which denied boarding. Others, who arrived with other carriers, were deported on arrival or detained for deportation. The list came from the Government of China[32]. The Icelandic Parliamentary ombudsman concluded in December 2005 that this denial of entry and deportation violated Icelandic law[33].

5. France

French police arrested Falun Gong practitioners in January 2004 who were demonstrating in Paris during the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Falun Gong demonstrators were wearing yellow scarves. The only reason the police gave for the arrests were "yellow scarves are illegal in France today". Those arrested were questioned for two hours and then released[34].

6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong police arrested and charged Falun Gong practitioners with obstruction for a protest outside the Chinese government liaison office in March 1992. The protesters were convicted in June 2002. Local human rights activists and opposition politicians called the case a political prosecution to appease Beijing[35]. The convictions were eventually overturned on appeal[36].

7. Singapore

The Singapore prosecution charged nine Falun Gong practitioners for assembly without permit for handing out flyers in the downtown area in October 2005. The flyers provided information about the report David Kilgour and I wrote. Their purpose was to call attention to the organ harvesting of their fellow practitioners.

The charges were issued July 2006 nine months after the event, during the visit of Li Lanqing a former head of the 6-10 office. The Human Rights Law Foundation suggested that the charges were geared in part to prevent practitioners of Falun Gong to stage a protest during the visit of this official[37]. Judge Amy Tang in June 2007 found five of the accused guilty[38].

8. Thailand

Thai police rounded up ten Falun Gong practitioners and their families in December 2007 while the practitioners were holding a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Bangkok protesting Chinese human rights violations. The protesters were charged with not carrying passports and kept in a detention centre.

The practitioners were refugees, and recognized as such by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They did not have passports because of the Chinese policy of denying passport renewal to Falun Gong. The Bangkok Post reported "China has been known to put pressure on its close allies, such as Thailand, to suppress the group's (Falun Gong's) activities."[39]

9. Universities

If there is one thing you need to know to understand the Government of China, it is its treatment of the Falun Gong. When China treats the Falun Gong as its number one public enemy, when China, to all appearances, spends more staff time, money, effort on the Falun Gong at its embassies and consulates around the world than on anything else, when China fills its prisons and labour camps with Falun Gong, that obsession tells us nothing about the Falun Gong. But it tells us volumes about the Government of China. A focus on Chinese preoccupation with the Falun Gong gives us clearer insights into the mentality and dynamics of the Government of China than any other focus.

Yet, in Chinese studies departments at universities around the world, almost without exception, there are no courses, no research projects, no publications, no guest lectures on the Falun Gong. China studies departments around the world are thunderingly silent about the persecution of the Falun Gong, despite the fact that this persecution tells us more about China than virtually anything else. In China studies departments, the Falun Gong is studiously ignored.

It as if university physics departments were to ignore Einstein's theory of relativity, as if university English literature departments were to ignore Shakespeare. How could this happen?

When universities ignore something so central to China, so obvious, it is not out of ignorance. It is rather out of a desire not to antagonize China. China scholars feel they need cooperation of the Government of China, at the very least to get visas to enter China, to pursue their work. In order to ensure that cooperation, they stay away from a subject the Government of China would not want them to consider. Scholars have enough integrity not to take the Chinese government line on the Falun Gong. But if they say anything else, Chinese officials hit the roof. To avoid that reaction, they say nothing.

VIII. Combating indifference

This paper, long as it is, is just the tip of an iceberg. One can recount many more examples of these sorts of propagandizing, blocking and anticipatory actions. They are small matters compared to the torture and killings within China. But they stem from the same ideology and mentality which generate the graver abuses. And they have an impact on the persecution in China.

The struggle against human rights violations needs solidarity to succeed. Chinese government efforts abroad against the Falun Gong eat away at that solidarity.

This perpetual Chinese global campaign of incitement turns some against the Falun Gong. For many others, the result is immobilization. People do not have the time or the energy to pierce through the Chinese veil. They throw up their hands and walk away, leaving the Falun Gong to their fate. The end result is indifference.

How do we combat the indifference of those who do not know? By making our very best efforts to ensure they do know. What that means for China, is making every effort to get out the truth about what is happening there and not taking anything coming from the Government of China about their victims on faith, not to repeat anything they say against their victims unless it is verified. To do less means contributing to Chinese persecution.

.................................................................................................................................David Matas is an international human rights lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is the co-author with David Kilgour of the report "Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China"


[1] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak MISSION TO CHINA, UN Document E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.6, 10 March 2006, paragraph 42.

[2] 2007 Report on International Religious Freedom: China

[3] David Kilgour and David Matas "Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China." at

[4] Hitler as His Associates Know Him (OSS report, p.51)

[5]

[6] Kevin Steel "Sowing Confusion; Embarrassed by reports of live organ harvesting, China's sympathizers launch a high‑tech disinformation campaign" April 9, 2007

[7] "La régime chinois prend le contrôle d'un journal montréalais", July 10, 2007.

[8] Jason Loftus "Chinese Regime Tries to Crush Cultural Show in Canada" Epoch Times, January 18, 2007.

[9] See David Kilgour and David Matas "Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China" Appendix 8. The Attorney-General of Canada refused to consent to the prosecution. The complainants challenged the refusal in the Alberta courts, unsuccessfully.

[10] Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-166, paragraph 95 to 107

[11] Paragraphs 112 and 113.

[12] Taipei Times, AFP"Australia gives Chinese ex-cop a protection visa" August 2, 2005; BBC News "China Defector Accuses Australia", June 6, 2005.

[13] "You've Got Dissent!: Chinese Dissident Use of the Internet and Beijing's Counter-Strategies" by Michael Chase, JamesC. Mulvenon, 2002, Rand Corporation.

[14] Jason Loftus "TV Network Calls on Canada to Expel High-Ranking Chinese Official Over Interference" Epoch Times April 22, 2007.

[15] Jason Loftus "Chinese Embassy Tried to Silence TV Network in Canada, Leaked Document Shows" Epoch Times April 4, 2007

[16] Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2005-105, November 24, 2005

[17] Ofra Edelman "TAU exhibit on Falun Gong meditation shuttered over Chinese pressure, students charge" Haaretz 11/03/2008

[18] "Dance show risks Sweden China row"

[19] "Divine Performing Arts Debuts in South Korea" Epoch Times, Apr 25, 2007

[20] Yang Sun "Chinese Embassy Interferes with DPA in South Korea Again" Epoch Times, January 15, 2008

[21] John Turley-Ewart "Falun Gong persecution spreads to Canada" National Post, March 20, 200.

[22] Jan Wong,"Feeling the long arm of China" Globe and Mail, August 6, 2005.

[23] Huang v. 1233065 Ontario Inc. (Ottawa Senior Chinese Cultural Association), 2006 HRTO 1. The decision was set aside on procedural grounds, inadequate service. See 1233065 Ontario Inc. (Ottawa Senior Chinese Cultural Association) v. Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2007 CanLII 44345.

[24] Article 15(1).

[25] "Government revokes visas for two television reporters seeking to accompany Canadian prime minister on visit to China" January 14, 2005.

[26] John Nania "A Strange Chinese Export" Association for Asian Research, December 26, 2005

[27] Kershaw, Ian Hitler 1889‑1936 Hubris, W.W. Norton, New York, 1998 pages 529‑531

[28] Brian Rudman "Victory for Falun Gong" New Zealand Herald Friday November 16, 2007.

[29] 08 Feb 2008, Radio New Zealand, "United Future's leader Peter Dunne is critical of a decision to ban the Falun Gong from Wellington's Chinese New Year parade".

[30] Mike Steketee, "Kowtowing to China", The Australian, March 12, 2005.

[31] Brian Hutchinson "Falun Gong Must Go" National Post June 16, 2006

[32] United States Department of State International Religious Freedom Report 2002 "Iceland"

[33] Iceland Review Online "Government broke law in denying Falun Gong entry says Ombudsman" December 12, 2005.

[34] "Taiwanese Falun Gong slams Police" AFP January 30, 2004

[35] Dirk Beveridge, AP, August 21, 2002 "As Hong Kong court prepares arrest warrants, convicted Falun Gong say someone stepping in to pay their fines."

[36] United States Department of States Country Reports on Human Rights, 2006, China, Hong Kong and Macau.

[37] Statement of Human Rights Law Foundation November 30, 2006

[38] Singapore Democratic Party "Singapore Subordinate Court" January 22, 2007.

[39] "Falun Gong detainees find Norway home" January 27, 2006