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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Des cadavres chinois dans le placard ?

Cent Papiers: 13 juin 2009

Pas vraiment, on les expose à Québec et les gens affluent

Les organisateurs de l’exposition Bodies « n’ont pas de garantie à 100 % » que les corps ne sont pas des prisonniers chinois exécutés

Autant les organisateurs que les visiteurs de l’exposition Bodies, qui a ouvert ses portes à Québec le 6 juin dernier, ne semblent préoccupés par la provenance des corps morts exposés.

L’exposition, qui se veut scientifique et pédagogique et qui est présentée au Pavillon d’Espace 400e, met en vedette des corps dépecés et injectés d’une substance plastique.

Ce qui soulève l’indignation et la controverse est le fait que les «objets» présentés proviennent de Chine, un pays réputé pour pratiquer le trafic d’organes et exécuter des prisonniers pour répondre aux demandes de ce marché.

Jusqu’à maintenant, les différents responsables de la tenue de l’évènement à Québec ont balayé la critique et indiqué avoir reçu des garanties suffisantes que les corps exhibés ont été donnés à la science ou qu’ils sont non réclamés.

«On nous a certifié que tous les corps présentés ici sont des corps qui ont été donnés à la science ou qui n’ont pas été réclamés», indique Daniel Gélinas du Festival d’été de Québec, cité par Radio-Canada.

Luci Tremblay, porte-parole de l’exposition rejointe au téléphone, refuse pour sa part de commenter sur le sujet et renvoie plutôt les questions aux promoteurs, Premier Exhibitions. «Premier Exhibitions est coté en bourse» et «l’exposition a déjà reçu des millions de visiteurs dans le monde», assure-t-elle.

Catherine Morgenson de Premier Exhibitions, interviewée par Radio-Canada, affirme avoir obtenu certaines garanties des fournisseurs de corps qu’aucune torture ou traumatisme aurait précédé la mort des individus exposés. «On n’a pas de garantie à 100 %, mais nous sommes à l’aise avec le contenu de l’exposition», affirme-t-elle.

Du côté des personnes concernées par l’éthique et des organisations des droits de l’homme, la question ne peut être traitée avec autant de désinvolture.

Selon Anne Ste-Marie, porte-parole d’Amnistie Internationale, les responsables de l’exposition Bodies font preuve d’une «telle ignorance» de la réalité du système judiciaire chinois, qui n’est pas indépendant et qui détient le record des peines de mort décernées annuellement.

Interrogée sur sa connaissance du système chinois, Mme Tremblay, qui refuse de prendre quelconque responsabilité pour la provenance des corps, a répondu : «Je sais c’est quoi la Chine, j’y suis déjà allée.»

«Ce sont des vendeurs d’évènements culturels. Ils n’ont aucune espèce de compréhension de ce que ça peut représenter comme phénomène», souligne pour sa part Mme Ste-Marie.

En avril dernier, une exposition similaire présentée à Paris a reçu l’ordre de la justice française de fermer ses portes. Les ONG Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) et Solidarité Chine ont fait valoir en cour, avec succès, que l’exposition porte atteinte à certains droits fondamentaux.

ECPM indique sur son site Internet que la justice «a considéré que la Société Encore Events, organisatrice de l’exposition, ne rapportait pas la preuve “de l’origine licite et non frauduleuse des corps litigieux et de l’existence de consentements autorisés”».

Confrontée à la réalité de la fermeture de cette exposition à Paris, Mme Tremblay a fait valoir, avec raison, que celle de Québec est produite par une autre entreprise, soit Premier Exhibitions. Sauf qu’il apparaît que ce promoteur a eu ses propres démêlés avec la justice, n’étant pas non plus en mesure de garantir que les corps exposés ne proviennent pas de condamnés à mort.

En mai 2008, le procureur général de l’État de New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, a jugé que Premier était «incapable de réfuter les allégations selon lesquelles les corps exposés proviennent de prisonniers chinois.» Il a forcé Premier Exhibitions à : rembourser les personnes désireuses ayant visité l’exposition Bodies de la ville de New York; obtenir des preuves de la provenance des corps; engager un moniteur indépendant pour s’assurer que les termes de l’entente sont respectés; et indiquer clairement dans l’exposition qu’il n’est pas en mesure de garantir que les corps ne proviennent pas de prisonniers torturés et exécutés.

«La triste réalité est que Premier Exhibitions a profité de l’exposition des restes d’individus qui ont peut-être été torturés et exécutés en Chine», indique le procureur général. «Malgré les démentis récurrents, nous savons maintenant que Premier lui-même ne peut démontrer les circonstances qui ont mené à la mort des individus. Premier ne peut pas non plus démontrer que ces gens consentaient à ce que leurs restes soient utilisés de cette manière. Le respect des défunts et le respect du public requièrent que Premier fasse plus que simplement nous assurer qu’il n’y a pas de raison de nous inquiéter.»

En 2006, le responsable de l’exposition Bodies, Roy Glover, affirmait déjà candidement que ses cadavres ne provenaient pas de donneurs volontaires, rapporte la National Public Radio (NPR).

«Ils [les cadavres] sont non réclamés», mentionne-t-il. «On ne s’en cache pas, nous sommes ouverts à ce sujet.»

«Pour cette raison, plusieurs endroits refusent d’accueillir Bodies», indique NPR.

«Les corps et les membres actuellement exposés à New York sont accrédités à la Dalian Hoffen Bio Technique Company Limited (DHBTC). DHBTC obtient les corps indirectement du Bureau de la sécurité publique chinois…», affirme le communiqué du Bureau du procureur général de l’État de New York.

Selon Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, se prononçant sur l’exposition Our body à Paris, une série d’indices renforcent l’hypothèse selon laquelle les cadavres utilisés proviennent de prisonniers exécutés : «les morts exposés sont jeunes, sans pathologie apparente et leurs tissus sont parfaitement conservés, ce qui laisse à penser que leur mort a été programmée afin de les plastiner dans les meilleurs délais, avant la dégradation cellulaire; tous les morts exposés sont chinois; or, la Chine est le pays au monde qui exécute le plus (6000 à 8000 exécutions par an); les corps sont en majorité masculins; les corps des condamnés à mort chinois sont rarement réclamés par les familles».

Aux États-Unis, outre à New York, diverses démarches ont été entreprises pour empêcher l’exposition de cadavres avec but lucratif. L’État de la Californie a adopté une loi régissant ce genre de chose en 2007, mise de l’avant par la représentante démocrate Fiona Ma.

«Alors nous parlons potentiellement de milliers de gens, qui ont été drainés, injectés de plastique, tranchés en morceaux comme de la viande et servis à travers l’État pour des raisons commerciales», plaidait-elle à l’époque. «En tant que Sino-Américaine, je sais que peu de gens en Chine feraient un don volontaire de leurs organes ou de leur corps en raison des préférences culturelles et traditionnelles de conserver le corps intact pour l’enterrement après la mort.»

Naissance d’une industrie de la mort

Le concept de ces expositions cadavériques aurait été inventé par l’anatomiste allemand Gunther von Hagens (son exposition Body Worlds était à Montréal dernièrement) et depuis, de nombreux promoteurs l’ont repris alors que ça rapporte des gros sous.

Pour répondre à cette demande croissante de corps plastinés, toute une industrie s’est développée en Chine et comme mentionné plus haut, la matière première est obtenue grâce à des connexions avec les autorités.

Un reportage du New York Times daté de 20061 indique qu’à l’époque une dizaine d’usines de corps voyaient le jour un peu partout en Chine.

«À l’intérieur d’une série d’édifices non identifiés, des centaines de travailleurs chinois, certains assis dans des formations de chaîne d’assemblage, coupent, dissèquent, préservent et réarrangent des cadavres humains, les préparant pour le marché international des expositions de musée», écrit le journaliste du Times.

Trafic d’organes

La controverse soulevée par les différentes expositions de cadavres fait appel au problème du trafic d’organes en Chine. Dans les deux cas, la matière première de l’industrie est la même, soit des corps. Dans les deux cas, il y a avantage à obtenir un corps sans pathologie, en bon état, etc. La différence semble être au niveau des sommes impliquées, alors qu’on rapporte qu’une dépouille peut valoir 300 $ tandis qu’un rein, plusieurs dizaines de milliers de dollars.

Qu’est-ce qui pourrait pousser une prison à alimenter une industrie plutôt qu’une autre? La question se pose. Une chose est certaine, personne ne conteste le fait que les prisonniers exécutés sont la banque quasi inépuisable d’organes servant à la transplantation.

La fondation Laogai, du dissident Harry Wu, se consacre à exposer les camps de travaux forcés en Chine, de même qu’à dénoncer la peine de mort et le trafic d’organes.

«En 2006, le vice-ministre chinois de la Santé, Huang Jiefu, a reconnu publiquement que la majorité des organes transplantés en Chine proviennent des prisonniers exécutés», est-il écrit sur le site de Laogai.

«Bien que les autorités chinoises affirment que les organes ne sont pas prélevés sur les prisonniers exécutés sans leur consentement ou celui de leurs familles, il y a un consensus parmi les éthiciens et les défenseurs des droits de l’homme que les personnes incarcérées ne sont pas en position de consentir, alors qu’ils sont particulièrement vulnérables à la coercition», poursuit le texte.

«En effet, en raison de la corruption omniprésente dans le système judiciaire chinois, combinée aux profits faramineux que peuvent faire les prisons avec la vente d’organes, toute preuve de consentement est au mieux douteuse […] les prélèvements d’organes sont devenus chose commune dans les prisons chinoises, fournissant à l’État encore un autre moyen d’exploiter les prisonniers, même après leur mort», conclut la fondation Laogai.

D’après le rapport Prélèvements meurtriers, coécrit par David Kilgour, ex-secrétaire d’État canadien pour l’Asie-Pacifique, et David Matas, avocat international des droits de l’homme, les pratiquants de la méditation Falun Gong seraient tués pour alimenter le marché des transplantations.

Selon eux, au moment de publier leur rapport, plus de 40 000 transplantations n’avaient pas de source d’organes établie. Ils auraient eu plusieurs confirmations de personnel hospitalier que les organes utilisés étaient ceux de pratiquants de Falun Gong et des statistiques démontrent que le nombre de transplantations a augmenté dramatiquement en Chine au moment où la persécution du Falun Gong a débuté en 1999.

Il y a donc des inquiétudes au sein de la communauté Falun Gong que de leurs membres, torturés et tués par la police chinoise pour avoir refusé de renoncer à leurs croyances, pourraient se retrouver dépecés et exposés à travers le monde.

Monday, June 08, 2009

New York Parade Highlights Persecution of Falun Gong

By Charlotte Cuthbertson & Matthew Little
Epoch Times Staff
Jun 6, 2009


A young girl holds a picture of her father who was tortured to death in China for practicing Falun Gong. (The Epoch Times)
The long line of mourners hold pictures of killed Falun Gong practitioners in a parade in New York, 6 June, 2009.
The long line of mourners hold pictures of killed Falun Gong practitioners in a parade in New York, 6 June, 2009. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Calling for help.
Calling for help. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
A depiction of the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
A depiction of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Torture victims' photos are carried by Falun Gong practitioners in a New York parade, June 6, 2009.
Torture victims' photos are carried by Falun Gong practitioners in a New York parade, June 6, 2009. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)





















































































































NEW YORK—Row after row of people dressed in white carried photographs of men and women through New York in a parade that was at times joyful and at other times deeply sad.

White is the traditional color of mourning in China, and the photographs gave faces to some of the more than 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners confirmed killed by China's authoritarian regime.

The parade included two marching bands and displays of traditional Chinese culture like waist drums and dragon dancing, but it was hundreds of solemn-faced men and women with memorials to the deceased that most stirred many of the observers.

The number of dead stunned Kenneth Alberty, a New Yorker who watched from the sidewalk as the mourners walked by.

“It's wrong,” said Mr. Alberty “but they didn't die in vain.”

He said the procession reminded him of the days of Martin Luther King and struggles in America's civil rights movement.

“This is history being made.”

For some of picture bearers, the faces they carried were more than a memory and tribute to those that died for their beliefs, they were friends and family taken in a persecution campaign that had touched them personally.

Like 11-year-old Rao Deru who carried a memorial to her dead father. That man, 34-year-old Rao Zhuoyuan, was kidnapped by Chinese police in December 2000 and died in detention two years later. At one point, the torture he suffered had reduced him to 78lbs.

A teary-eyed Joanna Qiao carried a photo of Wang Kefei, who was 34 at the time of her death.

“When I hold this picture of the practitioner who was persecuted to death I feel they are here with us,” she said.

Ms. Qiao was also persecuted while she lived in China for her practice of Falun Gong.

“Carrying this photo is very meaningful for me, I am honored.”

“It's heart breaking,” said Shanetta Dorsey, 20, as she watched the procession go by. “This is ridiculous.”

Ms. Dorsey is in New York from Ohio for an internship. Her friend Shameka Jennings, 18, from Maryland, said she was shocked more people didn't know about the crackdown in China.

“It's just outrageous to see,” she said. “Knowing about it is not enough, I want to do something about it.”

She said the United States government should do more to pressure China to improve its human rights, despite economic concerns.

More than 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners participated in the parade in Manhattan to both celebrate their practice and to mourn those killed in the Chinese regime's persecution. Among the sections in the 20-block-long parade was one devoted to encouraging Chinese people to break their ties with Chinese Communist Party, China's sole political party and defacto government.

Falun Gong practitioners who suffered all kinds of tortures and escaped from the jaw of death have recorded more than 100 cruel torture methods. The following are only several examples, taken from the Falun Dafa Info Center.



There are over 100 methods the Chinese regime uses to torture Falun Gong practitioners into giving up their belief in the practice, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

Cruel beating is the most commonly used torture, says the organization's website.

Many practitioners have become deaf from these beatings, their outer ear tissues have been broken off, their eyeballs crushed, their teeth broken, and their skull, spine, ribcage, collarbone, pelvis, arms and legs have been broken; arms and legs have been amputated due to the beatings.

Electric shocks are also commonly used in the forced labor camps where Falun Gong practitioners are taken for "punishment" and "conversion." Police often shock practitioner's mouths and genitals with the electric batons they use in the camps.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

China's 'socialist road' to misery

By Jeff Jacoby Globe Columnist / June 3, 2009

IT IS 20 YEARS since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China's communist regime hasn't budged an inch.



The government has no reason to regret its murderous crackdown during "the political storm at the end of the 1980s," a foreign-ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters last month. "China has scored remarkable success in its social and economic development. Facts have proven that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that we pursue is in the fundamental interests of our people."

As a euphemism for dictatorial savagery, "the socialist road with Chinese characteristics" may not rise to the level of, say, "Great Leap Forward" or "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution." And certainly the material riches and capitalist bustle that characterize much of China in the 21st century are a far cry from the mass starvation and unspeakable chaos that devastated the country in the 20th. But make no mistake: The junta in Beijing is no kinder or gentler today than it was at Tiananmen 20 years ago, and no less prepared to crush anyone who resists its grip on power.

Perhaps nothing today so exemplifies the totalitarian implacability of China's rulers as their ruthless persecution of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious discipline of meditation and breathing exercises, combined with moral teachings about truth, compassion, and forbearance. By civilized standards, it is incomprehensible that anything so innocuous and peaceable could provoke bloody repression. But China's uncivilized government fears any movement it does not control, and Falun Gong - with its uplifting values so different from the regime's Stalinist ethic - has attracted

tens of millions of adherents, independent of the Communist Party.

There is nothing subtle about Beijing's decade-long campaign to suppress Falun Gong. At www.faluninfo.net/gallery/12, the Falun Dafa Information Center describes several of the torture techniques the government uses to break Falun Gong practitioners. Burning, for example. In hundreds of reported cases, police or labor camp authorities have used cigarettes, car lighters, or red-hot irons to sear Falun Gong believers on their faces, torsos, and genitals .

Other victims have been forced into water dungeons - locked cages immersed in filthy water. "Some water dungeons . . . have sharp spikes protruding on the inside of cramped cages," the center reports. "Usually, the water dungeons are well-hidden rooms or cells where practitioners are forced to stay for days and nights on end in total darkness. The water is most often extremely filthy, containing garbage and sewage that leaves the victim with festering skin." Other torture methods include electric shock, brutal forced "feeding" with concentrated salt water or hot pepper oil, and injection of nerve-damaging psychotropic drugs capable of inducing "horrific states of physical pain and mental anguish."

Independent and third parties have raised numerous alarms about China's inhumane war on Falun Gong.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has cited reports of "harrowing scenes" of Falun Gong prisoners dying from their treatment in government custody, and noting that "the cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly highlighted the agonies inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners. So have a handful of supremely courageous Chinese lawyers, among them Gao Zhisheng and Li Heping. In 2007, Canadian attorney David Kilgour, a former prosecutor and member of Parliament, co-authored a detailed report documenting the systematic harvesting of vital organs from imprisoned Falun Gong believers, in order to supply China's lucrative transplant industry.

All these atrocities, of course, account for only one narrow lane on that "socialist road with Chinese characteristics" that Beijing so adamantly defends. The government of China is no less vicious in its persecution of devout house Christians, of Tibetan Buddhists, of democratic dissidents who seek greater liberty, of journalists who fail to toe the Communist Party line, of the countless inmates enslaved in "re-education through labor" camps, or of women who wish to decide for themselves how many children to have.

Twenty years after the screams and blood and slaughter at Tiananmen Square, the People's Republic of China is still a great dungeon. "China is first and foremost a repressive regime," the noted China scholar Ross Terrill has written. "The unchanging key to all Beijing's policies is that the nation is ruled by a Leninist dictatorship that intends to remain such." That was the truth in 1989. It remains the truth today.

Beijing hasn’t changed


Taipei Times: This year marks two anniversaries that are testimony to the brutality and ruthlessness of China’s despotic one-party state: the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the persecution of Falun Gong.

Twenty years ago on June 4, the world watched in horror as troops with tanks and machine guns stormed Tiananmen Square and crushed unarmed students who had gathered to demand democratic reform. Hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed.

On July 20, 1999, the regime launched the persecution of Falun Gong, complete with its own Krystallnacht-type middle-of-the-night mass arrests. Ten years later, the torturing and killing continue, with Falun Gong practitioners composing half of the quarter million labor-camp prisoners in China, US State Department figures show.

The June 1989 protests, which took place in many cities across China and involved millions, was a courageous bid to escape the repressive yoke of communism.

But alas, it wasn’t to be. While China’s economy has surged ahead, human rights and freedom of opinion for the Chinese people is still a pipe dream.

The nature of the Beijing regime is repression and killing. It’s a pattern begun by chairman Mao Zedong (毛澤東) that has not let up — it’s just done more covertly these days. The Tiananmen Square Massacre and the crackdown on Falun Gong, a non-political spiritual discipline, are proof of that. This particular leopard has not changed its spots.

I just hope that those who want to see China become the next great world power remember this.

JOAN QUAIN

Victoria, Canada

Monday, June 01, 2009

Regime Autocracy the Cause of Violence Against Attorneys

By Fu Ming & Yu Lin
Sound of Hope Radio
Jun 1, 2009 via Epoch Times


Beijing lawyers Zhang Kai and Li Chunfu were beaten by Chongqing police because they defended a Falun Gong adherent. (The Epoch Times)















Mr. Du Guang, former Deputy Director of Theory Research of the Party School under the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, recently spoke to Sound of Hope Radio International about the latest incident involving attorneys being beaten by police. He said, “These two lawyers were beaten by the police because of their responsibility to pursue justice. It fully reflects the atrocious nature of the authoritarian regime.”

Beijing attorneys, Li Chunfu and Zhang Kai, were illegally arrested and beaten by Chungqing police on May 13. They were handling the mysterious death case of Jiang Xiqing, a Falun Gong practitioner.

Mr. Du indicated, “The two lawyers went to Chungqing to investigate the case. It was a normal legal procedure. But instead, they were met with violent beating from police. This is unbelievable.”

On May 17, 60 lawyers and legal experts held a forum to support the two lawyers involved in the case. Mr. Du also commented that the Bar Association had failed to represent the lawyers and conduct legal business according to law.

He said, “The Bar Association is an organization for the lawyers to reflect attorneys’ needs and rights. In fact, rather than to protect the profession, many Bar Associations have become the regime’s tools to suppress the lawyers and ignore lawyers’ rights. I disagree with this phenomenon.”

Mr. Du also blamed the regime’s autocracy for numerous attorneys’ troubles during applications for Bar examination and licensing registration. He said, “This is exactly the atrocious nature of the regime.”

Falun Gong practitioner Jiang Xiqing died in Chungqing Labor Camp. The medical report concluded the cause of death as acute heart attack. However, the autopsy identified breakages in the left 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs. Family members found injuries all over Jiang’s head, chest and legs. Jiang’s organs were removed without his family’s consent. Upon the request of Jiang’s families, Beijing lawyers Li Chungu and Zhang Kai arrived in Chungqing on May 13 to discuss details with the families. More than 20 police showed up and violently beat the two lawyers. Lawyer Zhang was hung by handcuffs in a metal cage. Both his hands were swollen. He was beaten till unconscious, and suffered a bleeding ear. Both lawyers were detained illegally for near 10 hours.

Read this article in Chinese: http://epochtimes.com/gb/9/5/29/n2541320.htm

Forced Labour and Organ Harvesting

Epoch Times: By David Matas May 31, 2009


Chinese doctor Wang Wenyi speaks at a press conference in Arlington, Virginia, 26 April 2006 about forced organ harvesting by Chinese authorities on live Falungong practitioners.
Chinese doctor Wang Wenyi speaks at a press conference in Arlington, Virginia, 26 April 2006 about forced organ harvesting by Chinese authorities on live Falun Gong practitioners. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)












China engages systematically in forced labour in all forms of detention facilities - prisons which house sentenced criminals, administrative detention for those not yet charged, and re-education through labour camps. A 1998 declaration of the International Labour Organization (ILO) commits all member states, including China, to eliminate forced labour. The Government of China reported to the ILO that its constitution prohibits forced labour and that there is a national policy of eliminating all forms of forced labour.

China is not a country with an independent judiciary and the rule of law. There is no means in China of enforcing the promises in the Constitution. What the Constitution of China says is not a reliable indicator of what is happening in China.

The Constitution of China provides:

"Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration"[1].

"Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief.

"No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion"[2].

Yet, these freedoms do not exist in China.

So, when the Government of China says that there is a constitutional provision, its statements may be and often are smokescreens, exercises in hypocrisy. That is true of its statements to the ILO on forced labour.

The same can be said about policy. China has many policies which diverge from reality. Indeed, the Government of China refers so often to the state constitution and Government policies when the reality is the opposite that the very Government reference to these standards should be an indicator that something improper is happening in China.

Organ harvesting

A policy area with which I am familiar is organ harvesting, the killing of prisoners for their organs to be used for transplants. David Kilgour and I have written a report that some of those prisoners are Falun Gong practitioners detained for their innocent beliefs[3].

The Government of China denies the conclusion of our report and says that those who are in prison merely because they are Falun Gong practitioners are not killed for their organs. Yet the Government does not deny that some prisoners are killed for their organs and that these prisoners are the primary source of organs for transplants in China.

Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu, speaking at a conference of surgeons in the southern city of Guangzhou in mid November 2006, acknowledged that executed prisoners sentenced to death are a source of organ transplants. He said: "Apart from a small portion of traffic victims, most of the organs from cadavers are from executed prisoners."

The dispute David Kilgour and I have with the Government of China is which sort of prisoners are killed for their organs. The Government of China says that the prisoners killed for their organs are all prisoners sentenced to death. Why we disagree with the Government of China, why we conclude that prisoners sentenced to death are not the only prison source of organs for transplants in China, I put to one side for now. I invite you to read our report Bloody Harvest to see how we came to our conclusions.

The point I want to make here is that the Government of China, at the same time as it admits sourcing organs from prisoners, has a policy of not sourcing organs from prisoners. In a news release dated October 5, 2007, the World Medical Association announced at the annual General Assembly in Copenhagen that the Chinese Medical Association agreed that organs of prisoners and other individuals in custody must not be used for transplantation except for members of their immediate family.

Liu Zhi of the Chinese Medical Association's international department said that the agreement with the World Medical Association has no legal effect. He nonetheless expressed the hope that the agreement would influence China's 500,000 doctors and government decisions, a hollow wish as long as China does not have an organ donor system or a law sourcing organs from the brain dead/cardiac alive.

Forced labour

Chinese government hypocrisy on forced labour could not be more blatant. Forced labour in detention is not an abuse of Chinese law. It is the law. The Chinese Law on Prisons stipulates that prisons may punish a prisoner who is able bodied but refuses to work[4].

The United States signed a memorandum of understanding with China in 1992 committing the Government of China to ensure that prison labour products are not exported to the United States. The US in 1994 signed a statement of cooperation which in principle allowed US officials to gain access to Chinese production facilities suspected of exporting prison labour products. The US China Economic and Security Review Commission in its report to Congress for 2008 wrote that "the Chinese government has not complied with its commitments" under the 1992 and 1994 agreement "making it impossible for U.S. officials to conduct complete and useful investigations of such allegations".

Speaking to U.S. journalists in November 1993, in answer to a question about the desire by rights groups to inspect prisons, then Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen said, "I believe that if the Red Cross does put forward such a request..., we would give positive consideration to that request." The Red Cross did put forward such a request, and there was no positive consideration.

Persons are routinely detained in China without charge or for long periods before a charge is laid. Forced labour occurs in administrative detention and the euphemestically labelled re-education camps as well in prisons where sentenced criminals are kept.

Once the practice of Falun Gong was banned in 1999, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners travelled to Beijing to protest or to unfold banners calling for the group's legalization.People came almost daily.Author Jennifer Zeng, formerly of Beijing and now living in Australia, writes that by the end of April 2001 there had been approximately 830,000 arrests in Beijing of Falun Gong adherents who had been identified.

Those who revealed their identities to their captors were shipped back to their home localities. Their families were implicated in their Falun Gong activities and pressured to join in the effort to get the practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Their workplace leaders, their co-workers, their local government leaders were held responsible and penalized for the fact that these individuals had gone to Beijing to appeal or protest.

To protect their families and avoid the hostility of the people in their locality, many detained Falun Gong declined to identify themselves. The result was a large Falun Gong prison population whose identities the authorities did not know. As well, no one who knew them knew where they were.

There are no statistics available of practitioners who were arrested but refused to self identify. From our interviews with released Falun Gong practitioners, we know that the number of those who did not self identify is large. But we do not know how large.

Arrested Falun Gong practitioners were initially sent to administrative detention centres. Those who recanted were released. Those who did not recant were tortured. Those who recanted after torture were released. Those who did not recant after torture disappeared into the re-education through labour camps. The U.S. State Department's 2005 country report on China[5] indicates that its police run hundreds of detention centres, with the 're-education through labour' ones alone having a holding capacity of about 300,000 persons.

The Department of State's Country Reports for 2008 state: "Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country's "reeducation through labour camps...."[6]

Forced organ donor banks

An extremely large group of people subject to the exercise of the whims and power of the state, without recourse to any form of protection of their rights, provides a potential source for organ harvesting of the unwilling. These detention facilities are not just forced labour camps. They are also potential forced organ donor banks.

The investigations which led to the report David Kilgour and I wrote had many chilling moments. One of the most disturbing was the discovery of a massive prison/detention/labour camp population of the unidentified. Practitioner after practitioner who eventually was released from detention told us about this population. A collection of some of their statements is set out in our report.

What these practitioners told us was that they personally met the unidentified in detention in significant numbers. We have met many Falun Gong practitioners who were released from Chinese detention. Yet, except for those detained during the early days of Falun Gong repression, we have yet to meet or hear of, despite their large numbers, a practitioner released from detention who refused to self identify in detention from the beginning to the end of the detention period. What happened to these many practitioners? Where are they?

I went to Geneva in November 2008 to meet with the United Nations Committee against Torture about the report of Government of China on compliance the Convention against Torture. The Committee, in its November 2008 concluding observations, wrote: "While noting the State party's information about the 2006 Temporary Regulation on Human Organ Transplants and the 2007 Human Organ Transplant Ordinance, the Committee takes cognizance of the allegations presented to the Special Rapporteur on Torture who has noted that an increase in organ transplant operations coincides with 'the beginning of the persecution of [Falun Gong practitioners]' and who asked for 'a full explanation of the source of organ transplants' which could clarify the discrepancy and disprove the allegation of organ harvesting (A/HRC/7/3/Add.1). The Committee is further concerned with information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants (arts. 12 and 16).

"The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished[7]."

We are independent from the Government of China and the Falun Gong community. The Committee against Torture did not mean to suggest anything different. What they were proposing was an investigation independent from the Government of China with which the Government of China would nonetheless cooperate by giving access to Chinese territory, documents, places of detention, and witnesses in China without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

The reaction of the Government of China to these concluding observations was this: "Some biased committee members, in drafting the observations, chose to ignore the substantial materials provided by the Chinese Government, quoted and even fabricated some unverified information. Running counter to the ethics of justice and objectiveness, they attempted to politicize the review by squeezing some unreal and stigmatized comments into the concluding observations, which China firmly opposes[8]."

The Chinese Government reaction, by referring to "some biased committee members" suggests that some members of the Committee were biased and others were not. Yet, the Committee recommendations were unanimous. Either all the Committee members were biased or none were.

The Government of China as well makes wild general accusations. It accuses the Committee of fabricating information without indicating what that information is which was supposedly fabricated. Nor does it indicate what are the comments in the Committee's concluding observations the Government considers unreal and stigmatized.

Despite the vagueness of the reaction, it is apparent that the Government of China did not accept the concluding observations of the Committee in their entirety. When it came to the Universal Periodic Review, a procedure of the UN Human Rights Council in which the human rights record of every UN member state is reviewed periodically, the Government of China was a lot more specific.

I went to Geneva again, in January, this year and lobbied governments to raise the violations identified in our organ harvesting report when China's turn came up at UN Universal Periodic Review Working Group. At the very least, I asked states to request China's compliance with foundational rights, the respect for which would have made the violations we identified impossible. Many delegates did speak out for these foundational rights during the two hours of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group allocated to these speeches, but to no avail. The Government of China rejected virtually all these rights.

China rejects

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group came out with a report tabulating the recommendations of states which spoke during debate. The Government of China reaction, which followed immediately upon release of the report, gave us a clear idea of what its earlier words had meant. It accepted some recommendations, mostly from other gross violator states which commended the Government of China for its efforts and encouraged it to keep on doing what it was doing. It added that it would consider other recommendations. There was also a long list of recommendations the Government of China rejected out of hand.

At the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, Canada recommended that China implement the recommendations of the Committee against Torture. The Government of China explicitly, in writing, rejected this recommendation.

Canada, the United Kingdom, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Sweden and New Zealand recommended that China abolish all forms of arbitrary detention, including re-education through labour camps. The Government of China said no to this recommendation.

Forced labour is an abuse of the rights of those in detention in China. It also harms workers around the world by undercutting the prices of products free workers produce for wages, contributing to global unemployment in a time of economic downturn. And it sets the stage for organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners.

Allowing outsider access to Chinese places in detention is not an end in itself. It is rather a means to an end, to assess compliance with international standards, to ensure that abuses in detention are not occurring.

Something similar can be said of forced labour. Ending forced labour is an end of itself. But it is also a means to an end. Ending forced labour and allowing independent investigators to visit places of detention would be important steps towards ending abusive organ sourcing from Falun Gong practitioners.

Canada should have legislation banning the importation of goods produced through forced labour. The Government of Canada should negotiate an agreement with the Government of China committing the Government of China to ensure that prison labour products are not exported to Canada. The agreement should allow Canadian officials to gain access to Chinese production facilities suspected of exporting forced labour products.

The fact that China has not respected similar agreements with the United States is no reason to abandon the effort to stop the export of forced labour products from China. Where the efforts of one country, the US, have failed, the efforts of many countries may succeed. In any case, at the end of the day, when it comes to promoting respect for human rights, we can never rest content with no as an answer.

[1] Article 35

[2] Article 36

[3] Bloody Harvest: Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China

[4] Article 58

[5] U.S. Department of State 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - China, March 8, 2006.

[6] 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom: China

[7] Concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture on China UN Document number CAT/C/CHN/CO/4, 21 November 2008 paragraph 18(C).

[8] Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Remarks on Concluding Observations of United Nations Committee against Torture on China's Compliance with the Convention against Torture

This article comprises remarks made by David Matas at a Forum on Human Right in China held in Canada's Parliament buildings on May 27, 2009.

David Matas is a Winnipeg based international human rights lawyer and the co-author, with David Kilgour, of "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China"

The CCP continues to see ghosts

Taipei Times /By Sushil Seth
Thursday, May 28, 2009, Page 8

With the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan rebellion of 1959 still fresh in the memory, Beijing now has to confront the 20th anniversary of the student-led democracy movement that was crushed in Tiananmen Square.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has taken all the necessary steps to prevent — and crush, if necessary — any protests that might take place next week.

In 1989, students seeking political reforms were met with tanks as the regime feared being toppled by a ragtag movement seeking a more open political system with transparency and accountability.

That system was, and still is, racked with corruption.

Was there any serious danger to the CCP from the student movement? Then-CCP general secretary Zhao Ziyang (趙紫陽) didn’t think so and was toppled by the ruling clique led by Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).

In secret tapes recorded by Zhao during his 16 years in house arrest until his death, he raised some pertinent questions.

“It was determined [by the leading CCP group] that the student movement was a planned conspiracy of anti-party, anti-socialist elements with leadership,” Zhao said.

“So now we must ask, who were these leaders? What was the plan? What was the conspiracy? What evidence exists to support this?” he wrote. “It was also said that that there were black hands within the party. Who were they?”

“It was said that this event was aimed at overthrowing the People’s Republic and the CCP. Where is the evidence?” Zhao said.

His conclusion was that there were no such elements conspiring to overthrow the CCP.

“I had said at the time that most people were only asking us to correct our flaws, not attempting to overthrow our political system,” he said.

One might think that having crushed the last perceived organized threat to its monopoly on power, the CCP would feel at ease. But the paranoia persists.

The system remains alert to any organized sign of resistance that might emerge.

After all, the Falun Gong movement emerged out of nowhere and managed to hold a large public protest in 1999. Soon afterwards, the movement was banned and declared an evil cult, with thousands of followers arrested and tortured.

The persecution continues.

Falun Gong was never a threat to the CCP’s rule. But overkill is still the mark of the ruling oligarchy.

The fact is that China’s rulers do not want to take any chances with unruly masses, believing they need the perpetual control and guidance of the CCP to prevent the country from plunging into chaos.

This is the CCP’s self-serving mythology that has been parroted ever since. In the absence of any kind of popular endorsement of its rule, the CCP has had to create the illusion of impending disaster if the party is not around.

This makes the party and the country indistinguishable. In other words, a Chinese citizen ceases to be “patriotic” if he or she seeks political change.

If a group meets regularly to talk of democracy as a political alternative for the country, soon enough its members will find themselves behind bars.

Zhao, though, favored the democratic alternative. He reportedly said that: “It is the Western parliamentary system that has demonstrated the most vitality … [and] meets the demands of a modern society.”

But the CCP is unlikely to follow this route to commit political suicide. Indeed, it actively works to destroy any challenge (real or imagined) to its political monopoly.

The government freely uses charges of subversion and leaking of “state secrets” as justification to throw people in jail.

Other no-go topics are Tibet, Taiwan and Uighur separatism in Xinjiang.

In other words, the country’s communist rulers have multiple grounds to throw people into jail.

The Internet, though, is posing problems. Despite a panoply of firewalls built by the Chinese government to deny people access to certain types of information, those determined enough do manage to keep themselves informed through alternative sites.

Most Chinese, however, live on a diet of government-fed information that provides a filtered view of their country and the world.

With the economy slowing, however, social unrest has been increasing.

Even with growth rates of more than 10 percent, China has been unable to provide jobs for many of its teeming millions.

The rural economy is so depressed that young men and women from the countryside flocked to urban industrial centers for jobs.

There have been an estimated 140 million migrant rural workers in cities. With the closure of urban factories, about 20 million have already gone back to their homes and farms.

If the process of rural workers trekking back to the countryside continues, it will aggravate social unrest.

There are no jobs for them back home and their families’ farms can hardly feed more mouths. With progressively reduced remittances back home, the rural families will have an even harder time.

Already, there is a three-fold gap between rural and urban incomes. Any widening of this gap is likely to create further tensions.

There is a sense that the Chinese government is aware of the grim social reality of even harder times in rural areas. It is, therefore, diverting resources to the rural sector as part of the overall stimulus package.

Jonathan Fenby, China director at Trusted Sources, said Chinese in rural areas “aren’t benefiting much from the US$1 trillion sloshing out in China in fiscal and monetary stimulus.”

That is because: “That money is going mainly to big urban-based firms, while the drop in remittances from migrant workers in coastal export zones is hitting village income, deflation is reducing income from sales of food, farm input costs have risen and mechanization is uneconomic in many places, given the small size of plots allowed under the land ownership system.”

At the same time, in the cities, the middle class finds itself with fewer economic opportunities. Young graduates coming into the job market find it increasingly difficult to find jobs.

Therefore, even if China’s economy continues to grow (but at nearly half the growth rate reported in the last decade) things are pretty grim.

As economic difficulties create more social tensions and unrest, China’s paranoid leadership will start seeing ghosts of political challenge, which might lead to greater repression.

This is not to suggest that the CCP’s grip on power is in any immediate danger. The suggestion, though, is that an increasing aggregation of social tensions could create an explosive situation in the short or medium term.