Thursday, April 28, 2011
More at The Epoch Times
More at the Washington Post
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
U.S. China policy remains an atrocity of its own
Prepared remarks for Falun Gong rally, 4/23/2011
By John Kusumi
FLUSHING, NY (CSN) -- Greetings from the China Support Network. Today is an anniversary day for Falun Gong, the group of meditating qi gong practitioners with teachings that seem like a variety of Buddhism. Falun Gong arose in China at a time when China itself is a troubled place.
The evil men of the 20th century famously include Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Chairman Mao Zedong began the regime that has ruled China with an iron fist ever since 1949. Of course, China has 5,000 years of non-Communist history prior to 1949, but most adults today came of age during the reign of Chairman Mao's Chinese Communist Party, the CCP.
The evil of the 20th century didn't end with Mao. Mao was succeeded by Deng Xiaoping and by Jiang Zemin.
Now it is the 21st century, and Falun Gong is still on the receiving end of evil!
Falun Gong is persecuted, but it also has "company on persecution row." Uighurs are persecuted, Mongols are persecuted, house church Christians are persecuted, bloggers are persecuted, journalists are persecuted, and lawyers are persecuted -- indeed, anyone who would stand up for justice is face to face with brutal oppression.
Pro-democracy political dissidents remain on the receiving end of evil. Now the Tiananmen generation is joined by the Jasmine generation in the prisons of Communist China. The famous artist Ai Weiwei has recently been taken into custody.
And we should note that Tibetans are once again on the receiving end of evil -- reports tell us that on Thursday April 21, Chinese authorities rounded up 300 Tibetan monks and killed two civilians who protested that action at Kirti monastery.
Our gathering today is to remember the beginning of the crackdown on Falun Gong. That crackdown remains the largest and deadliest one going. In fact, history will remember it as an ugly holocaust of persecution and genocide.
I believe also that history will remember the silence of Western leaders and news outlets. Through their policies of free trade with Communist China, they have continued to lavish rewards upon the communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs who oppress China. With their deliberate blind eye for this persecution, they have brought shame to a Western world that once vowed, "Never again" in the face of genocide.
Let me be clear. Their China policy is no better than "leaving the Jews in the gas chambers." Their China policy is one of moral cowardice, and reveals craven indifference to human suffering. Western China policy is akin to a crime against humanity of its very own.
Someone such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ought to stop the Western complicity. Freedom will come to China, and the equivalent of the Gates of Auschwitz will be opened up. We will gain a better view of the points that I am making here.
The international human rights community was pleased by the opening of the International Criminal Court in 2002. The upshot of the ICC is to show that genocide has consequences. War crimes have consequences. And crimes against humanity have consequences.
Facing genocide, the Western world once vowed, "Never again." The ICC now provides a tool that can assist in fulfilling that vow. Western leaders should:
• face these facts;
• use that tool and any clatter that's necessary to ultimately:
• Stop this genocide!
This episode of history is disgraceful for China, and it is shameful for the West. Even while that is true, I like to end my speeches by saying:
Thank you for having me -- god bless China -- and god bless America! Thank you again!
More at The Province
But for these Falun Gong practitioners around the world—there's hope. Hope that by raising awareness, the persecution will end soon.
In China today, a Falun Gong practitioner dies from torture and abuse in custody every three days (and those are only the cases we know about).
In China today, tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners face lawlessness and brutality.
In China today, the regime continues to spend billions to wipe out Falun Gong.
In China today, millions of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters operate the largest grassroots underground media in the world, printing (mostly out of private homes) and distributing newsletters about the ongoing persecution with the hope that fellow citizens will realize the extent of the atrocities and not be complicit.
The State Department's Michael Posner, who will lead the U.S. side of the upcoming human rights dialogue with China, acknowledged at a recent press conference that China's labor camps were "full of people that have affiliation with Falungong" (news). The Congressional-Executive Commission on China published last month a detailed analysis outlining a nationwide campaign to intensify "tranformation" of Falun Gong practitioners (analysis).
As U.S. diplomats prepare to sit down with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing, the Falun Dafa Information Center urges them to have a direct and meaningful discussion about the 12-year-old campaign of suppression and violence of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
More at Falun Dafa Information Centre
Communist Party Calls for Increased Efforts To "Transform" Falun Gong Practitioners as Part of Three-Year Campaign
More at Congressional - Executive Comm. on China
Monday, April 25, 2011
VanCourier by Marie Beaulieu -A Chinese paper claimed that former mayor Sam Sullivan was told by the Chinese consulate that it was time to shut down the Falun Gong protest and Sam promised that it would be done before he left the mayorship. I think all was fine up till then, as the Falun Gong had gotten the verbal approval from the city to be protesting outside the consulate. At one point the Falun Gong even downsized the billboards when asked by the city to do so. The Falun Gong even got a thank you card from the city. But what this all boils down to is the Chinese consulate's interference with the free speech of Falun Gong and using Sam Sullivan's bylaw to do it.
To the Editor:
VanCourier by Charmaine Millott - For those who changed the bylaw to disallow the hut, I ask you, "What is worse, the blood shed or the hut?"
If you have a conscience, you'll say the bloodshed and let the Falun Gong have their hut. Why not help them to talk about a holocaust that is happening to them?
New anti-freedom bylaw a nod to China's tyranny
The Chinese century. A neologism coined by analysts and economists eying the hegemonic growth of the Chinese Empire. According to theory, Chinese economic power, measured in trade surpluses and lending capacity, will expand exponentially with its diaspora, elevating China to lone superpower status. Chinese influence, they say, will shape to varying degrees the lives of most North Americans for the next 100 years.
In Vancouver, we're miles ahead of expert conjecture.
Last Tuesday, council passed a new bylaw restricting political protest in public. The primary target: local practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement based in China, who spent years inside a small wooden hut outside the Chinese consulate on Granville Street protesting Beijing's brutal regime. The secondary target: anyone else interested in freedom of expression.
The new bylaw, passed by Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision majority, introduces protest permits (an Orwellian contradiction in terms) and fines up to $5,000. While council was divided, the debate was hardly inspiring. Opposition to the bylaw was based mainly on legal technicalities and process, not principles of freedom and democracy. In fact, when drafting the bylaw, the first of its kind in North America, city staff consulted with members of the Chinese consulate. The Chinese. Jailers of Christians, beaters of monks. Thieves of technology, manipulators of currency. We outsourced our democratic principles, and in return, received a Made in China bylaw contrary to Canadian tradition and section two of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Is this the globalization Paul Martin had in mind?
But we shouldn't be surprised. Beijing is big at city hall. While in office, former mayor Sam Sullivan spoke glowingly of China in his broken Cantonese. Last September during a trade mission to China, Robertson, the original Green Man, lauded Beijing's "radical dramatic action" on the environment. "You can question how worthwhile democracy is in a lot of countries right now," he said, "which are, frankly, ignoring the biggest crisis in the history of our species which is climate change."
Maybe if the Falun Gong hut included a solar panel, Robertson would be more sympathetic.
In addition to the anti-freedom bylaw, last Tuesday council unanimously voted against a casino expansion plan for Northeast False Creek, ending weeks of public hearings. The entire spectacle, from the first citizen speaker to the final vote Tuesday, was a fait accompli staged mainly for the benefit of Robertson's reelection campaign. But despite its mock nature, the proceedings paid homage to our Chinese superiors.
From her seat at council chambers, Coun. Ellen Woodsworth used Beijing as an example of judicious gambling regulation before Coun. Kerry Jang, a Chinese-Canadian, rose to deliver a passionate sermon on how gambling in Macau stains an otherwise beatific society. It's the casinos, not the communists.
By killing the casino proposal, Jang and company saved Vancouverites from the evils of capitalism. And by passing the anti-freedom bylaw, they saved Chinese delegates from silent demonstrations outside their consulate's high grey walls. Two days later in Cairo, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces outlawed public demonstrations in Egypt, drawing jeers from reformers who two months ago occupied Tahrir Square, helping end Hosni Mubarak's bloody 30-year reign. In other words, in matters of public freedom, we're keeping pace with the Egyptian army.
The Chinese century came early to Vancouver. Ironically, during the two previous centuries, racism, in the form of draconian labour standards and head taxes, greeted Chinese immigrants seeking freedom and liberty in the New World. Maybe that explains city council's love affair with China. Perhaps residue from our racist past mixes with contemporary sycophantism toward China to produce subconscious genuflections to dictatorial rule.
If Falun Gong practitioners, who addressed city council with horrific tales of torture and death, spoke perfect English, their words might have carried greater weight. If they more closely resembled young white leftists, who lean towards communism, would they be targets for censure?
Probably not. But it's a new world order and the yuan is king. Investment trumps equality, trade outshines torture. If you want to succeed in the Chinese century, you better shrug off dated notions of human decency. All hail Hu Jintao. May the next century last for a thousand years.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
In Vancouver, Foreign influence rules
CFP, MWC by Marie Beaulieu - When former diplomat Chen Yonglin toured Canada in 2007, he exposed the Chinese regime's mandate for all Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide to influence government officials, mobilize Chinese students and the Chinese community, and control the Chinese media to influence public policy on China.
Chen revealed that the tactics include putting pressure on the officials of various western governments and exchanging political benefits by economic means. He stated that one of the most effective methods used to develop influence over political leaders is to provide them with all-expenses-paid travel to China and lavish entertainment while they are there. "This method is common to all Chinese foreign missions in the west and should come as no surprise to anybody."
In fact, former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan boosted that he was treated like an emperor on a business trip while in China. Was it a coincidence that soon after he would shut down the Falun Gong protest outside the Chinese Consulate on Granville regardless of whether or not the Falun Gong had verbal permission from the City to be there? The protest just had to go!
A long court battle ensued with the highest court in BC supporting Falun Gong’s right to use props as part of their protest against the killing of the group at the hands of the totalitarian regime. The BC Court of Appeal urged the city to make their bylaw constitutional at which point city staff consulted the Chinese Consulate on the redrafting of the bylaw. How constitutional is that?
A couple of drafts were slipped to council at the 11th hour, even though the city had six months to rewrite the bylaw in order to meet the court's deadline of April 19. As a result, without much public scrutiny, a broad bylaw was passed in a hurry which would only serve to limit the freedom of speech of Vancouverites all across the board.
Most importantly, the new bylaw would make it impossible for the Falun Gong to protest the genocide with the visibility that they had before, having to dismantle theirs props every 12 hours and being allowed to protest only every two months, and simply draining our Charter of Rights and Freedom by the same token.
The goal was achieved and the Chinese Consular-General had won the battle of overtly censoring free speech in a Canadian city by manipulating a city bylaw.
Councilors who voted against the bylaw were completely shocked at this scenario and so were 6000 Vancouverites who signed a petition in support of keeping the Falun Gong original protest going and keeping foreign influence out of their daily lives.
Chen had told us so! He confirmed in an affidavit used in the court battle, that one of the Consulates’ prime targets is the Falun Gong spiritual group, and that influencing local MPs and elite in thinking that they are a cult and thus discouraging any form of support and denying social programs for the group is one of their priorities. And that moreover diplomats should stress that any relationship with the Falun Gong will damage bilateral relations.
Knowing the nature of the beast and its ability to erode Canadian values, one may wonder why politicians are still not listening and insist on taking advice from freedom haters especially when Canadians have to bear the consequences. Whose interests are they protecting? If anything, the city should be siding with the victims of the genocide, not the perpetrators who have committed those crimes against humanity.
Canadians should seriously be concerned about what’s happening in Vancouver and how they treat the Falun Gong is definitely a red flag telling us that the Chinese bosses have a grip on our government officials.
Let’s not be fooled.
Allowing the corrupt Chinese communist regime to take control over our political expression and agenda here in Canada is a dangerous situation that begs for change.
Besides, China simply cannot go on killing the Falun Gong like flies forever, including Christians, Uyghurs, and monks. The jailing and torture of human rights lawyers and the Nobel laureate is unacceptable.
Sooner or later the Chinese authorities will have to be made accountable for their crimes against humanity and the world's government can no longer turn a blind eye and take things for granted, because it is affecting us right here at home.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Okay, so Vancouver’s not Las Vegas. Maybe it’s Beijing or more likely some minor provincial capital.
How else to explain our civic leaders’ enthusiasm for curbing the Falun Gong’s passive protest outside the Chinese consul-general’s home?
The B.C. Supreme Court recently struck down its first bylaw attempt, ruling it unconstitutional because it improperly limited the constitutionally guaranteed rights to peacefully assemble and freely express opinions.
But that didn’t stop our civic leaders from trying again on the same night that they quashed the casino.
After consulting the Chinese consul-general, whose government is the object of worldwide protests by the Falun Gong and other human rights activists, the majority agreed to conditions aimed at making it more difficult to protest here.
Our civic leaders maintain they are protecting the integrity of residential areas.
But, the fact is that the silent, round-the-clock protest is not at the front door of the consul-general’s house, which fronts on The Crescent, one of the city’s grandest and most elegant streets.
The protesters meditate at the back of the house, invisible to the Chinese representative and guests unless they exit from the garage. And the back of the house is on Granville Street, which despite its leafy prettiness is not a quiet residential street. It’s a part of Highway 99, the main entrance to Vancouver’s downtown for visitors.
A mature and tolerant city might relish that public protest as a symbol of what Canadians believe in.
But apparently, that’s not the Vancouver our leaders envision.
Vansterdam seems more likely.
Days after they rejected Las Vegas and embraced their inner Sinophile, clouds of smoke enveloped the Art Gallery.
The surrounding streets — bike lanes included — were gridlocked at rush hour as an estimated 6,000 people smoked pot under the benign gaze of the police.
Spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton realistically observed, “I think everyone recognizes that it’s not in anyone’s interest — or safe — to arrest 6,000 people.”
Still, it is curious.
Smoke a cigarette in any public place including beaches, parks, restaurants, bars, offices or within six metres of a building entry and under the city’s bylaws you can be charged and fined up to $2,500.
But smoke dope with 5,999 of your closest friends in a public place even though it’s a criminal offence to possess the stuff? Somehow, that’s okay, progressive and (as way too many described it) “awesome.”
At this year’s 4/20 event, free joints were tossed by the handfuls into the crowd. Doobies were advertised at $5 each. Even a few streets away from the festival that masquerades as a protest, people openly shared joints and giggled as they lined up for snacks to stave off the inevitable munchies.
Such an event is improbable if not impossible in most cities; as would be the once-a-month Friday gridlock caused by Critical Mass, which also began as a protest yet continues unabated even after civic leaders have acceded to the demand for dedicated bike lanes.
Now excuse me, I’ve got to run out, buy my Canucks jersey and jump on the bandwagon.
Because we are all Canucks. Even if all of the players aren’t.
Falun Gong practitioners say the “public expression” bylaw just passed by Vancouver City Council makes their protest vigil outside the Chinese consulate impossible and leaves the group no choice but to go back to court.
Councillors voted 6-4 to approve the revised bylaw covering protest structures after a marathon meeting on Tuesday that went until midnight.
“There is no other choice, we have to go back to the court to let the court judge the bylaw,” said Sue Zhang of the Vancouver Falun Dafa Association.
Falun Gong maintained a 24-hour protest vigil outside the consulate in Vancouver 365 days a year to protest torture and persecution in China. Though the city found the protest was not a disturbance, it was an embarrassment to the Chinese consulate, which pressured the city to have it removed.
The vigil depended on a small hut to shelter protesters, many of whom were elderly Chinese women, from the rain, snow and nightly chill. Falun Gong practitioners have said they are willing to submit to rules that would ensure the safety of passersby and a reasonable size of hut, but that requiring them to remove the hut every day between 8 p.m. And 8 a.m., and for a month at a time—as the new bylaw now does—would essentially end their vigil.
They argue the bylaw also runs counter to a ruling by the BC Court of Appeal telling the city to draft a bylaw that did not restrict Falun Gong practitioners’ right to expression. The court ordered the city to redraft the original bylaw saying that its previous restrictions were unconstitutional, and found that the group’s protest structures outside the Chinese consulate were fundamental to their freedom of expression.
Zhang said despite widespread criticism of the bylaw, it appeared city councillors had already made their decision to approve it before the public hearing had started on Tuesday.
“Very, very, disappointing. The city held that long public meeting, and public opinion was so clear. At the end the day—what’s the public opinion hearing for?”
Councillors stayed late in order to meet a court ordered deadline to come up with a new bylaw by April 19 and to hear public comments on the revisions.
COPE councillor David Cadman, who was strongly opposed to passing the bylaw, said if the city goes back to court he “guarantees” they will lose again. He criticized city staff for consulting the Chinese Consulate in the making of the bylaw, before giving it to council at the final hour, with less than 2 weeks to review it.
“I don’t think this is going to pass. ... And it’s more money down the drain as we try and fight a charter provision, which is national and pervasive, through a street bylaw. It simply is not going to stand the test at court,” he warned council members.
Many at Tuesday’s meeting spoke against the bylaw, whose requirements include removing any protest structures between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., removing structures every 30 days, and fines of $1000-$5000 for violations.
Mayor Gregor Robertson emphasized the precedent the new bylaw set in permitting protest structures, saying it is a first in Canada.
But legal representation for the Falun Gong, Clive Ansley, argues that the city is trying to frame the bylaw as a precedent for free expression while hiding the fact that it removes many previous freedoms for protestors.
“They’re entirely turning the situation on its head. Before this bylaw was passed, what we had in every jurisdiction in North America is constitutionally protected free speech—those freedoms all existed already. What we’ve got now is a bylaw that very severely restricts the only open ended freedom we’ve had before.”
An outcry erupted recently when the city revealed it had consulted the Chinese authorities as a “stakeholder” in the draft bylaw, which banned protest structures in front of the consulate. Under scrutiny, the city made revisions to the bylaw to allow such structures, but the restrictions would still put an end to the Falun Gong vigil, says the group.
Ansley said the refusal of the city to honour the court’s decision, which he sees as an attempt to satisfy the Chinese consulate, means the issue will again end up in court.
“Passage of this draft will guarantee another lawsuit and further squandering of taxpayer money on a cause which benefits only the Chinese Communist Party and the Consulate-General which represents the Chinese Communist Party in Canada. Although well disguised and designed to obscure the real effect of the new bylaw, this draft effectively amounts to a prohibition of the Falun Gong vigil,” he said.
Robertson said, however, that the city has found a “balance” and complied with the Court of Appeal’s instructions to regulate protest structures.
“Collectively we’ve done a very reasonable job of moving this forward,” he said.
“This situation smacks of the hasty passage of the controversial Olympics anti-free speech bylaws. Citizens should not have to file lawsuits in order to get the City of Vancouver to properly consider the constitutionality of its bylaws,” BCCLA president Rob Holmes said in a statement.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Globe&Mail: As they prepared to vote on a bylaw that would limit Falun Gong protests outside the Chinese consulate, Vancouver city councillors heard harrowing tales of persecution faced by sect members, both in China and locally.
Ray Zhang recounted Tuesday how a gun was placed to his head during an assault on him by three men, as he maintained a dawn vigil at the Falun Gong protest hut in the summer of 2007.
Mr. Zhang had to be treated in hospital after the attack, which left him with facial bruises and a bloody left eye.
Echoing other councillors, Geoff Meggs told Mr. Zhang he found the incident “deeply disturbing.”
Constable Lindsey Houghton said Vancouver police carried out a lengthy investigation of the assault on Mr. Zhang. The probe involved major crime, forensics and the department’s diversity section.
But none of the evidence led to an arrest and the case is now closed, Constable Houghton said.
Council also heard from Falun Gong practitioner Cindy Song, who said she came to Canada three years ago because of her treatment in China.
Ms. Song said she was sentenced to three years in a labour camp for following Falun Gong, a form of meditation and spiritual philosophy that is banned by Chinese authorities.
For 13 months, she was held in solitary confinement “and beaten with big wooden sticks,” she said.
Mr. Zhang and Ms. Song were among a dozen speakers who addressed council on its controversial proposed bylaw to govern street protests.
Most spoke against the new regulations, prompted by a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that the city’s attempt to get rid of Falun Gong’s permanent protest structure outside the Chinese consulate violated freedom of expression rights.
The revised bylaw would permit a Falun Gong hut, but only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and its allowable size would be significantly diminished.
“Peaceful protest doesn’t hurt anyone,” said Ms. Song, opposing the restrictions.
Long-time activist Garth Mullins began his remarks by “crouching in solidarity” with Falun Gong, referring to the maximum 1.3 metres in height the recommended bylaw provides for approved protest structures. “I don’t think city staff would like it in there very much.”
He urged council to delay passage of the bylaw to allow more public consultation.
The bylaw is being hurried through to meet a court-imposed deadline to have one in place by Tuesday. But Mr. Mullins said council should petition the court for an extension of “two months, four months … forever.”
A surprise presentation came from one-time Liberal MP, ex-Vancouver Sun reporter and Order of Canada recipient Simma Holt.
Ms. Holt referred to late media personalities, radio hot-liner Jack Webster and renowned Sun columnist Jack Wasserman. “If they had been here, they would have been yelling against this bylaw,” she said.
“I feel very strongly for these beautiful people [Falun Gong]. They simply sit there peacefully and do exercises and bother no one.”
Terms of the new bylaw are also opposed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which did not send a representative to the council meeting.
Councillor Kerry Jang observed that the proposed bylaw should probably be altered in the future “but we have to pass something now.”
Earlier, several councillors pointed out that the city had to bring in bylaws that applied to all groups, not merely Falun Gong.
Debate was eventually adjourned until the evening, so that council could hold its regular Tuesday afternoon session.
More at Globe and Mail
Good Morning Madam Chair and Council,
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today and your willingness to listen.
I am sorry to have to express our feeling again that we are equally disappointed with the second revision of the bylaw, which still does not conform to the court of appeal's ruling and fundamentally renders our protest ineffective.
But my greatest concern is that during the discussion around bylaw details: the real issues are being lost. I am hoping to speak with you today on behalf of the Falun Gong community, and also as fellow Canadians, fellow human beings, and to talk about something as solemn as human rights, which affects everyone on earth.
When we started this protest in 2001 we made a decision: to continue it until the persecution was over. That we would stand in solidarity with our fellow human beings in China and try to stop terrible crimes against humanity while they were facing hell on earth.
The persecution of FG remains the #1 human rights atrocity happening in China today. We have reports from China daily of people just like you or your loved ones being tortured, force fed, gang raped, and beaten to death. The United Nations has stated that today 66% of those suffering in China’s labour camps are Falun Gong practitioners. Their report states, “The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China. Reports describe harrowing scenes in which detainees, many of whom are followers of the Falun Gong movement, die as a result of severe ill treatment, neglect or medical attention. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description.”
In 2006 our worst fears came to be when reports surfaced that our fellow practitioners were having their organs removed while they were still alive, and sold for profit by the state. Over 41,000 organ transplants in China are feared to have been taken by these 41,000 killed practitioners.
Here In Canada the Chinese Embassy and consulates continue to try all they can to silence the voice of Falun Gong by pressuring our elected officials to ignore Falun Gong as they deny all claims and continue pump hate propaganda out against Falun Gong in order to hide their involvement in these terrible crimes.
As stated in 2006 by Chinese Embassy official Chen Yonglin, who defected in Australia, “The Chinese Communist Party has always relied on violence, lies, and advocating atheism to maintain its power. They could not understand Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful efforts to protect their freedom of belief. Now they feel they can't let people know about what has been done to Falun Gong in China."
The communist regime is responsible for terrible crimes against humanity and it is for this reason that they continue to try to silence Falun Gong and supporters who have done nothing wrong but to peacefully try to protect their freedom to believe.
So, with little influence in society we did the only thing we could do, we went to the street to ask for help. And what we discovered through this protest, that has continued for 2723 days, is that it is working. We have exposed this story and these crimes to people, and this has created a pressure that has helped to lessen the persecution in China as the criminals fear that due to this exposure, one day they may have to pay for these crimes.
Our appeals have also helped to protect the sovereignty of our own country by exposing the Chinese governments interference and meddling right here inside Canada when they try to use economic threats to push around Canadians to follow the communist party line.
A similar case happened in Ottawa in 2001 where practitioners began a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy, and the Embassy complained and tried to force the city to remove them with a Traffic and Parking bylaw. Instead of entertaining the Embassy, the Council made the choice to support Falun Gong.
Former Councillor Mr. Alex Munter stated: "It would be a dangerous precedent to allow them to use our bylaws to suppress freedom."
We understand that the city bylaw has to meet public regulatory needs, however, it is clear that our 8 year long vigil has enough evidence to prove that safety, structure size, or disturbing the peace is not the real issue. In fact this week 5,000 Vancouver residents agreed, and signed our petition requesting the city to conform to the Court of Appeal judgment. If the city really wanted to, they could easily approve our protest.
The current restrictions will have a debilitating effect on our ability to convey our message. Taking the hut down every 12 hours, and every 30 days, restricting the size of the hut so that its not big enough to stand in, will thoroughly disable our freedom of expression.
Nobel Peace Prize nominee and respected human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was repeatedly abducted and tortured for defending Falun Gong practitioners. To date his whereabouts remain unknown after his abduction by Chinese police.
In one of his statements Gao states: “I want to remind those so-called global ‘good friends,’ or what the Communist regime calls, “good partners” that the increasing degree of brutality and cruelness against the Chinese people by the Communist party is the direct result of appeasement by both you and us Chinese people.”
To restrict our voice, becomes equal to feeding the genocide, and appeasing a murderous regime. This is why we have asked, for five years, to have the right to protest in the manner that we know is effective. And I must emphasize this point: our manner was working, it was saving lives.
Therefore we would respectfully ask Mayor and Council to honour the BC Court of Appeal's decision to allow us to convey our message clearly, effectively, and with the dignity we deserve.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
by Clive Ansley, Legal Counsel for Falun Gong
Like many others who have been shocked by the City’s consultations with the Chinese Communist Party representatives in Canada, in the process of drawing up a new bylaw for the regulation of free expression on Vancouver streets, we were initially encouraged to see that the second draft of that bylaw, purports to allow protest structured in front of the Chinese Consulate. However, closer scrutiny of the new draft makes clear that this “concession” is simply a ruse designed to facilitate the greatest possible protection for the Chinese Consulate-General. Apparently the “consultation” with the Chinese Communist Party continues.
The City clearly had no choice but to eliminate the blanket protection of the Consulate-General when it was faced with the fact that consulates carrying on business in residential areas are themselves non-compliant with residential zoning, and cannot be immunized from the free expression of Canadians. But the “consultations” with the Chinese Communist Party “stakeholders” have culminated in several new restrictions which would effectively make it impossible for the Canadian protesters to continue their protest vigil against the Beijing regime and would in any event render it almost invisible.
Whether “consultations” with Beijing’s representatives are still in progress or not, the fact is that the Vancouver City Council, at every stage since launching its petition against the Falun Gong protest, right up to the present moment, has spared no effort to safeguard the interests of the Consulate-General, and to frustrate the free expression of the Canadians maintaining the protest outside the Consulate-General.
The first new draft bylaw stipulated maximum dimensions for structures permitted on City streets, justifying those maximum dimensions on the basis of safety considerations and concerns with large structures interfering with private businesses. But there were to be no structures whatever before the Consulate-General, so at that point, size really didn’t matter. But when forced to allow structures before the Consulate-General, the previous dimensions, arrived at for reasons of safety, suddenly had to be cut. The cubic space of any allowed structure now must be less than half the previously approved space. Safety risks have not changed. Nothing whatever has changed except for the fact that structures will now be placed before the Consulate-General, and that the new height limitation will prohibit any “Hut”, unless it is occupied by a pre-school child.
Moreover, the new draft still leaves in place the provisions which effectively say that Canadians have freedom of political expression, but only between the hours of 0800 and 2000. There is no right to free political expression during the night. There is freedom of political expression for thirty days at any one time, but in the words of some City spokespersons, there needs to be a “reprieve” of thirty days between each thirty day period of free discussion. These are new and novel charter arguments, not yet argued in Canadian courts.
In short the City still seeks to impose punitive, grossly restrictive, arbitrary, and totally illogical constraints designed for no purpose but to assure the Consulate-General that any attempted protest in its area will be completely ineffective.
We have heard hollow rationalizations from the City to the effect that requiring the structures to be taken down each night and put up again in the morning will somehow achieve a “balance” between the Falun Gong right to free expression on the one hand, and “something or other else” on the other hand. There is clearly no other interest to balance against free expression in this context.
Finally, we think it essential to append a brief note on the moral context in which this entire struggle is set. We recognize that it is difficult for governments at any level to to take positions on the validity of any particular cause which has provoked protest. Nevertheless, the magnitude and scale of the Crimes Against Humanity which are at the base of the Falun Gong protest must be weighed against the competing urgencies of structural encroachments on City Streets, in order to restore some perspective to this debate.
The Genocide against Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party is arguably the most appalling Crime Against Humanity since the Holocaust. Some Jewish leaders compare it to the Holocaust. We estimate that approximately 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners in China have been murdered on the operating tables in China for the express purpose of harvesting their organs for sale on an international market. Occasionally commentators will question whether this is really happening.
1. It has been confirmed by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, who also states that two thirds of all prisoners in China’s slave labour camps are Falun Gong practitioners; and
2. It has been confirmed be an Israeli Ecclesiastical Court which held extended hearings on the subject; and
3. It has been well documented in the book Bloody Harvest, by David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and David Matas, one of Canada’s foremost Human Rights lawyers. The credibility of both is beyond question; and
4. Both the judgement in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and that in the BC Court of Appeal acknowledged that these crimes of the Beijing regime were well documented.