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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

City Council Bypasses Mayor to Proclaim Falun Dafa Day in Ottawa

By Pam McLennan
Epoch Times
Created: Jun 9, 2010 Last Updated: Jun 29, 2010

Falun Gong practitioners on Parliament Hill
Falun Gong practitioners celebrate Falun Dafa Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in May 2009. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
OTTAWA—Ottawa City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a motion to proclaim June 9 as Falun Dafa Day. What makes this noteworthy is that the councillors had to sidestep Mayor Larry O’Brien to approve what should have been a routine proclamation.

The original request, made in April, was for the city to declare May 13 Falun Dafa Day in Ottawa, which coincides with World Falun Dafa Day.

However, after the city’s protocol office informed the Ottawa Falun Dafa group that the mayor would proclaim the day, O’Brien refused to sign.

Both acting mayor Michel Bellemare—who temporarily replaced O’Brien while he faced bribery charges—as well as former mayor Bob Chiarelli had granted the proclamation in two previous years. O’Brien had also issued a proclamation himself in a previous year.

The mayor had recently returned from a trade mission to China where at least one deal with an Ottawa technology business was signed.

Although initially O’Brien did not explain why he wouldn’t sign the proclamation, he eventually stated that it was “in the interest of maintaining and developing a continuing stronger economic relation with a country that’s going to be important to our future,” according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Councillor Alex Cullen told the Citizen that when he asked the mayor why he would not sign the proclamation, O’Brien answered, “I made a commitment.”

When councillors learned that O’Brien had refused to sign the proclamation, several expressed their surprise, and Cullen stepped forward to table a motion to proclaim Falun Dafa Day.

“We’re talking about people who are residents here in the city of Ottawa who contribute to our community and I don’t understand why he [O’Brien] would change his mind,” Cullen told The Epoch Times.

O’Brien was not present at the council meeting on Wednesday when councillors unanimously passed the motion.

Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, is a spiritual practice founded on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance that was first introduced to the public in China in 1992.

The practice rapidly grew in popularity and some members of the Chinese communist regime saw it as a threat. In 1999, then-leader Jiang Zemin declared that he would “eradicate” Falun Gong, and adherents in China have been persecuted ever since.

Over the years, Falun Gong practitioners have expressed concern that the communist regime has constantly tried to influence overseas governments not to support Falun Gong in their countries. Like Cullen, many officials stand their ground and refuse to comply.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Peggy Feltmate, who said she was “very pleased that [the councillors] have recognized the contributions to the community of the Falun Dafa—Falun Gong—group.”

She disagreed with O’Brien’s refusal to sign the proclamation.

“We are a legitimate, elected-by-the-people government, with the right to make our own decisions,” she said. “I feel that it is very disappointing that [the Chinese regime] tried to influence in Canada what we think and how we act.”

“The mayor should not be coerced into doing or not doing something by any outside government,” said Jim Watson, a former mayor of Ottawa and a mayoral candidate in the upcoming municipal elections in October.

“Human rights should always trump economic development. This is a matter of human rights, the right to proclaim a day in recognition of Falun Gong, and Mr. O’Brien made the wrong decision by folding to some kind of pressure by someone outside of our own country,” Watson said.

“I don’t know who [O’Brien] made a commitment to. I don’t think it was very wise of him to do so,” agreed Cullen.

Chinese Democracy Activist Barred from Parliament Hill

The Gazette June 29, 2010 - Last Thursday, RCMP handcuffed me on Parliament Hill when I approached supporters sent to Ottawa to support Chinese President Hu J intao, and banned me from the Hill for one year. They said they were concerned for my safety.

I understand their concerns. I wish the RCMP and Canada's government were as concerned for the safety of people in China, where millions of people daily experience horrible abuses. Having been through China's prison myself, I wanted to tell those supporters some messages that the Communist Party never tells them. I wrote down a website address, boxun. com, where they could read the stories of other Chinese who suffer abuse. These supporters are, as is much of the Chinese community in Canada, brainwashed by the Chinese ministry of propaganda which controls the majority of Chinese newspapers in Canada as well as Chinese websites, like www.comefromchina.com,one for Chinese living in Ottawa. The website rules said violating China's law is not tolerated. Messages supporting Tibet or the Falun Gong, for example, are deleted.

Chinese people in Canada receive the same lies and filtered information from Chinese media controlled by Beijing. Comprehensive brainwashing schemes involving arts, media, movies, and songs for children are the Communist Party's way to control people's mind and heart.

What Canadians don't realize is that the signing of the Canada-China trade agreement is part of China's systematic, long-term, camel-into-the-tent strategy to establish a solid base of support among Chinese living in Canada. It also sponsors a variety of student clubs, business clubs, and even kindergartens here. It is almost as though it is building a shadow government in Canada.

How much is Canada willing to compromise to trade with China? To please President Hu, Prime Minister Stephen Harper even cancelled the customary joint press conference with foreign leaders, to protect Hu from questions from critical media like the Epoch Times. Banning me from the Hill does not hurt me personally; however, I fear this might become part of an overall political compromise of Canadian democratic principles in exchange for selling some beef to China.

Maggie Wenzhuo Hou Human Rights Committee of exiled China Democracy Party Ottawa


Friday, June 25, 2010

G&M hyperventilating on Harper picture misses the real news

Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty barred from coverage

By Judi McLeod Friday, June 25, 2010

imageLeave it to the Globe and Mail, “Canada’s national newspaper” to flag The Photo Harper doesn’t want you to see without giving details about the person that Harper purportedly doesn’t want you to see.

“At last night’s dinner in Ottawa in honour of President Hu, from left to right, Andre Desmarais, president and co-Chair of the Power Corporation Board of Directors…who has contributed greatly to the strengthening of China-Canada relations, Hu Jintao and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.” (The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2010). Read More.

Falun Gong protest arrival of Chinese leader, call on Harper to address human rights

By The Canadian Press via Canadian Business: TORONTO - More than 200 Falun Gong practitioners are protesting the arrival of China's president for the G20 outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto.

The protesters meditated to a serene melody in a fenced-off area set up by police.

A large white sign read, "Stop Persecuting Falun Gong in China."

One woman sat cross-legged on a table in front of a communist symbol, splattered in red paint representing blood.

Joel Chipkar, vice-president of Toronto's Falun Gong association, says the Canadian government has been bullied into silence over human rights violations in China.

The group is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to raise their concerns with President Hu Jintao during the summit.

Chipkar says he is concerned the prime minister will "sell out human rights for the pursuit of the almighty dollar."

Controversy swirled this week when CSIS director Richard Fadden alleged that Chinese officials are involved in espionage with elected Canadian officials.

There was also a published report that Hu asked the Prime Minister's Office to keep two media outlets that have been critical of the Chinese leader, the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TV, away from his Ottawa events.

"The Prime Minister's Office did not determine or request which reporters were going to be a part of the media pool that covered President Hu's visit," Harper's spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, said in an email Friday.

"The Ottawa press gallery did."

International human rights organizations like Amnesty International have accused the Chinese government of committing rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners.

The group was banned in China in 1999.

Sophie Song came to Canada from China after spending 16 months in a forced labour camp in her late 20s for practising Falun Gong.

She says she was forced to make 1,000 chopsticks each day, and if she didn't she was punished.

"I think the Chinese regime must stop the persecution. It's so evil," said Song, now 37, as she stood with her eight-year old son Jia Liang.

The protesters made space for pedestrians to walk along the sidewalk, while traffic flowed by. Several drivers honked in support.

Seven police officers kept watch.

The group plans to move their peaceful protest to the lawn of the provincial legislature for the duration of the G20 summit.

Harper helps Hu keep critics away, bars NTDTV and Epoch Times

Toronto Star: OTTAWA— Chinese President Hu Jintao was kept well-insulated from controversy during his visit to Ottawa on Thursday, thanks in part to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, which went to some lengths to keep Hu away from media outlets that have been critical of the Chinese government.

The PMO, reportedly bowing to terms laid out by the Chinese consulate in recent weeks, organized

Hu’s visit around specific demands to keep two media outlets away from the proceedings — New Tang Dynasty TV and the Epoch Times, according to sources.

In the four public appearances in Ottawa on Thursday between Harper and Hu, media contact was kept to an absolute minimum, with no press conference, as is standard procedure when foreign leaders visit Parliament.

The extraordinary measures helped Harper and Hu avoid making any comments on controversy still raging this week over whether the Chinese are involved in espionage with elected Canadian officials, as CSIS director Richard Fadden alleged in a television interview this week.

And the blend of Canadian-Chinese media management in the capital also heightened the already tense climate surrounding security overall in Canada, as the G8 and G20 summits get ready to unfold over coming days in Huntsville and Toronto.

Neither Harper’s spokesperson, Dimitri Soudas, nor Chinese officials, replied to questions about the extra-tight media controls around Hu on Thursday.

But the PMO, through negotiations with senior press-gallery sources over the past few weeks, made it clear that they were organizing events to keep NTDTV and the Epoch Times at some distance from the Chinese president, as their guests were demanding. Both media outlets are accredited members of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, with all the same access rights as the Star, the CBC, CTV or any other media outlets.

Joe Wang, president of NTDTV’s Canadian bureau, confirmed that his reporters were not allowed to film or be present at Hu’s public appearances on Thursday.

And Carrie Hung, spokesperson for NTDTV internationally, said this is not unusual.

“NTD is probably the only independent Chinese language media that reports like a western media,” Hung said in an email. “The current Chinese communist regime has been known for being a free-press suppressor. Similar incidents like this have happened to us in the past as well, where our applications to UN events have been denied as long as there are Chinese leaders there.”

Spokespersons for the Epoch Times were not available on Thursday, but the newspaper has been publishing some hard-hitting stories in advance of Hu’s visit, including a report on how the Chinese embassy in Ottawa was orchestrating demonstrations in support of the president while he was here.

The Epoch Times reported it had obtained a recording of a speech given last week by Liu Shaohua, the first secretary of the education section at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, while speaking to a crowd of about 40-50 students receiving Chinese state-scholarships to study in Canada.

In the Epoch Times story, Liu is quoted as saying the embassy is covering the cost of hotel, travel and food for what was estimated to be 3,000 people who were expected to welcome Hu.

“This time, for you, all the expenses will all be paid by us,” Liu is quoted as saying in the report. “You do not talk about it outside. Do not talk about it to anyone, except to people in this circle.”

In that same recording, the Epoch Times goes on to report: “Liu says when Hu visited in 2005 and was met with protesters, officials in China were furious. He complained that during that visit, Canadian authorities did not co-operate with Chinese demands regarding the protesters, but this time he says there were some limited guarantees.”

Those “limited guarantees” appeared to extend to Thursday’s tight controls on Parliament Hill. Protesters, mainly supporters of the banned Falun Gong movement in China, occupied one side of the lawn in front of Centre Block, while Chinese-government supporters were on the other side, sporting red T-shirts emblazoned with the Canadian and Chinese flags.

Several Chinese-Canadian student websites, such as the ones at Concordia and Ottawa University, have also contained notices in recent days, with offers of Chinese government support for people interested in coming out to support Hu at pro-China demonstrations this week.

In their brief appearances before the cameras yesterday, Hu and Harper put the best face on Chinese-Canadian relations, which have started to really improve in the past year only after Harper paid his first visit to the country after four years in office.

Harper said his discussions with Hu have “just begun” this week.

“We have many matters to discuss across a range of issues,” Harper said. “Some of those are strictly bilateral matters, of course, but I know we will also be exchanging views in advance of the very important G20 summit we have coming up in a couple of days.”

Hu said through an interpreter that the China-Canada relationship “had come a long way” and noted the importance of “mutual trust.”

“There have been very close exchanges between the leaders of our two countries and people at various other levels. The policy of mutual trust has continued to be passed between our two countries. In addition, our two countries have also enjoyed very fruitful cooperation in such fields as trade, energy, resources, science, technology, culture, health, environmental protection and tourism.”

Earlier in the day, Hu was officially welcomed by Governor General Michaƫlle Jean, who is headed to China later this month.

Chinese Embassy to Students: Prepare for 'War' During Hu's Visit to Ottawa

By Jason Loftus
Epoch Times Staff
Created: Jun 25, 2010 Last Updated: Jun 26, 2010

Buses used to transport Hu Jintao supporters to Thursday's rally on Parliament Hill sit parked in downtown Ottawa. A driver with Transport St. Leonard bus company said his company had sent 26 buses, each loaded with 72 passengers. (The Epoch Times)
TORONTO—The Epoch Times has obtained a second recording revealing directions given to students at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa on Friday, June 18, five days before the arrival of Chinese leader Hu Jintao (Read about the first one here). In this tape, an embassy-sanctioned organizer tells students to prepare to “wage war” with critics of human rights abuses in China who were expected to protest during Hu's visit.

The organizer, Yuan Pinghua, does not appear to be staff of the embassy, but is introduced by the embassy's first-secretary of eduction, Mr. Liu Shaohua, who also speaks at the gathering.

“Now in a word this is like waging war, so today we are mobilizing for war, having all of you raise your guard,” says Yuan, addressing between 40 and 50 Chinese students and scholars who are in Ottawa on Chinese government scholarships. “Some things that should not be said definitely cannot be said.”

“We ourselves are manipulating things secretly, which will make us more productive."—Yuan Pinghua, apparent organizer of Chinese students during Hu's visit.

Yuan calls on the students to “by all means obey commands and submit yourselves to discipline.”

Calling the embassy's plans for Hu's welcome contingent a “state secret,” Mr. Yuan says that revealing the plans to “enemies” would put the embassy in a “deathtrap.” He said he worries that some students are inexperienced and would talk freely about the plans.

This week, The Epoch Times reported it had obtained a recording of Mr. Liu's speech, an excerpt of which was posted on the newspaper's website.

In the recording, Liu says the embassy is covering hotels, food, travel, and clothing for what he estimated would be 3,000 people who would welcome Hu Wednesday through Friday. The students were coming from as far away as Waterloo, Ont.

The goal of the pro-Beijing rally is to overshadow human rights protesters. Liu mentioned Tibetan, Uyghur, and democracy groups but focused mostly in his talk on Falun Gong, a spiritual group persecuted by the regime in China.

Last time Hu visited Canada, he was met with protesters, Liu says, which angered authorities in Beijing.

“This is a battle that relates to defending the reputation of our motherland. The embassy and authorities inside China have a very high requirement,” Liu says.

Liu refers to Mr. Yuan in his talk. He tells the students on state scholarships they are required to attend the pro-Beijing rallies. If they need a short leave, even less than four hours, from the three-day event, he directs them to talk to “teacher Yuan.” For longer leave, the students are required to ask Liu directly.

Listen to an excerpt from the speech given by Yuan Pinghua, in Chinese, to students at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa on June 18, 2010 here:

For the previous recording of Mr. Liu Shaohua, the first secretary of the education at the Chinese embassy Ottawa, click HERE.

Mr. Yuan appears to be heading up the association of visiting Chinese students and scholars on state scholarships, under the embassy's direction.

Yuan's name has been posted along with an e-mail address on Chinese student and community bulletin boards in the lead up to Hu's arrival as a contact for those registering for the pro-Beijing rally. The same e-mail address appears on the website of the Chinese embassy.

The embassy requires all students and scholars on Chinese government scholarships to send their personal info to that e-mail address, including their name, gender, work unit in China, email address, instant message address, institution in Canada, time of arrival and departure in Canada, home address and phone number.

Yuan Pinghua does not appear on the Department of Foreign Affairs database of registered foreign representatives in Canada.

The same is true for two other organizers mentioned by Mr. Liu in his talk, Li Ban and Cui Ge, whom Liu said were responsible for logistics for the rally.

In his talk, Yuan suggested dividing the students into groups based on where they studied—Carleton University, University of Ottawa, and a combined group with visiting scholars at the National Research Council and Agriculture Canada.

“After each team is established,” Yuan said. “We will establish a leadership team. We'll have three people, each of whom have a sense of political responsibility, the capability to direct, and can organize.”

He also said the organizers should not stop at rallying students.

“We need to coordinate well with overseas Chinese community groups. Our activity, to say generally, is a large-scale activity and should be done together with overseas Chinese community groups.”

The issue of foreign influence on Canadian universities and community groups was thrown into the media spotlight this week following a rare CBC interview with Richard Fadden, director of Canada's spy agency CSIS.

Fadden said foreign regimes were recruiting political prospects at universities. He singled out China as the most aggressive in a recent speech to police chiefs and security experts in Toronto, CBC said.

Fadden added that Chinese authorities organize demonstrations in respect to some of Canada's policies concerning China, according to CBC.

"A number of countries take the view that if they can develop influence with people relatively early in their careers, they'll follow them through," Fadden was quoted. "Before you know it, a country is providing them with money, there's some sort of covert guidance."

As with Mr. Liu's speech to students, Mr. Yuan makes no secret that the embassy was quietly pulling the strings with the pro-Beijing rally for Hu.

“Since it is a highly sensitive time politically, don't openly discuss the political aspects on QQ [an online chat program]. Right now, silence wins over noise . . . we ourselves are manipulating things secretly, which will make us more productive.” More

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PM must talk human rights with China: coalition

CBC: A coalition of Canadian human rights groups is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to use the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao as an opportunity to urge China to improve its human rights record.

"Increased prosperity [in China] must not be mistaken for increased human protection," the group argues in a letter to Harper. The letter details human rights violations against Uyghurs, Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, democracy activists and human rights lawyers.

President Hu Jintao arrives in Canada Wednesday for an official visit and will stay for the G20 meetings on the weekend.

The human rights coalition, which includes Amnesty International Canada, Canada Tibet Committee, and Rights & Democracy, among others, is urging Harper to push for reforms to China's human rights practices. But the coalition also wants China, with its growing clout, to take on a leadership role in improving human rights around the world.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, was asked at a news conference if these goals are wishful thinking.

"It's long-term thinking," Neve said.

"We're certainly not imagining or expecting that at this summit we would suddenly hear some remarkably forceful foreign policy pronouncements from the Chinese governments advancing progressive human rights issues," he said.

"But we think it's absolutely vital, especially at this stage where the G20 is really coming together, is really defining itself, asserting its place on the world stage and within that, China obviously playing a key role, that there start to be some meaningful dialogue around human rights issues."

The coalition also wants Harper to raise the case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen of Uyghur origin who is serving a life prison term in China.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letters to Canada's PM Ahead of Hu's visit

Dear Prime Minister:

MWC - June 11, 2010: We are two sisters living in Vancouver who come from a family of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Recently, we learned that Hu Jintao will be visiting Vancouver from June 21-23 on his way to the G-20 meeting. Thus, we take this opportunity to tell you about the atrocities our family has suffered at the hands of the tyrannical regime simply because we are Falun Gong practitioners.

Since the unlawful persecution was launched by the communist regime (CCP) over 10 years ago, we have been continuously arrested and persecuted for our belief in the Falun Gong principle of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Falun Gong is a peaceful group who practice a spiritual discipline. For no just cause I, Jing Cai, was shocked repeatedly with high voltage electric batons while my sister, Jing Tian, was roasted over a hot pit and tied to a tree outside in freezing weather.

But we were the fortunate ones, as we were rescued to Canada on May 13, 2009, thanks to the help of the United Nations, human rights groups, and the Canadian government. We will be forever grateful for this liberation. However, our dearest brother, Jing Yu, is currently doing hard labour in the notorious Dalian Prison because he refuses to renounce his belief in Falun Gong.

Our mother, Chen Jun, has been arrested and tortured many times in the past and is not currently in prison but is nevertheless constantly being harassed by the authorities because she also practices Falun Gong.

On the approach of Hu Jintao’s visit to Canada, we respectfully ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, to press the head of China to stop persecuting followers of Falun Gong and to free our brother Jing Yu, and all those practitioners who have been unjustly incarcerated, including an 80-year old Vancouver couple’s daughter, Yang Jinyan, who is on the list of 12 family members of Canadians currently seeking rescue.

We trust that all Canadians of conscience and good will can make a difference and we depend on you to remind the Chinese leader that such an unlawful, inhumane persecution has no place in a civilized world and freedom is a basic right of humanity. The human rights reports of thousands of Falun Gong adherents who were killed to facilitate the state’s selling of organs to transplant tourists is so disturbing that it deserves immediate attention to stop the carnage.
Sincerely,

Jing Cai and Jing Tian
Vancouver, BC


Another Letter of Appeal

Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister:

On the occasion of Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit to Vancouver June 21-23, we would like to ask you to help rescue our daughter tortured in China for her faith. Please allow me to explain. We are a couple in our mid-eighties and we have lived in Vancouver for 31 years. We have lived a nightmare for the last 11 years as our daughter Yang Jinyan, 56, has been arrested seven times and brutally tortured for her belief in the Falun Gong principle of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance and for doing exercises.

In 2006, after one of Jinyan’s many arrests, we were contacted by an overseas Chinese organization in Vancouver and told not to speak out in Canada about our daughter’s torture. Regardless of this tall, intimidating order, we have continued to speak out to help rescue our daughter.

Since my daughter was last arrested we’ve lost all contact with her. We are so sad that we cannot eat or sleep well. When she recovered her health through practicing Falun Gong we were so happy and we thought we would never need to worry for her. Who expected that she would be arrested again and again over the past 11 years?”

According to Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat in Australia and Hao Fengjun, an ex Chinese Communist Party officer (in Australia) who worked for the 610 office—a Chinese Gestapo-like solely mandated to persecute Falun Gong—the persecution of Falun Gong is a key policy of the Chinese regime among its many severe violations of human rights. Since its launch in 1999 the persecution has escalated into a crisis of crimes against humanity, with its scope and severity denied and systematically covered up.

Hence, Mr. Prime Minister, we hope that you can be instrumental in helping to free our daughter and all unjustly imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners from the tyranny of the Communist regime (CCP), including a Vancouver sisters’ brother, Jing Yu, who is on the list of 12 family members of Canadians currently seeking rescue.

As you are aware, this unlawful persecution has really taken a sinister twist resulting in the forced harvesting of practitioners’ organs to be sold to transplant tourists for profit. You can help save precious lives by playing a humanitarian key role on the world stage. We rest our deepest hope with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to do what is right, not only for Canadians but for the welfare of innocent Chinese people.
Sincerely,

Yang Huanwen and Du Huiqing
Vancouver, BC