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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why We Must Protest: The Case of Falun Gong

Editor’s note: After taking part in an event on July 8 in Singapore marking the launch of his book (with David Kilgour) “Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs,” David Matas met with the press. He was asked the following question: “Why should I care about the killing of Falun Gong for their organs? What does it have to do with me?” Matas gave an extemporaneous answer to the question, but then the next day wrote out a fuller response, which is this article.


What are you waiting for? Are you not going to protest until someone comes for you, to kill you for your organs? By then, it will be far too late.

Reverend Martin Niemoller, in 1938, wrote: “First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

The killing of Falun Gong for their organs is an abuse that did not start or end with Falun Gong. The killing of prisoners for their organs began in China with prisoners sentenced to death. As the research of Ethan Gutmann has shown, it spread to Uyghurs, Tibetans, and house Christians.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, many people asked a similar question: Why should we care about what the Nazis do to the Jews? What does it have to do with us?

By the Treaty of Munich in September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed with Hitler, Mussolini, and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier to give the part of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland to Germany. Czechoslovakia had no say in the matter.

In the House of Commons the same month, Chamberlain justified his appeasement of Hitler, saying about Hitler’s claims that Czechoslovakia was mistreating its ethnic German minority, that it was a “quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.”

By ignoring the plight of Falun Gong we erode our own humanity.

It would be all too easy to repeat the gist of this sentiment: that the people outside of China know nothing about Falun Gong, that the government of China’s repression of Falun Gong is not a quarrel in which outsiders have any interest or stake.

Yet, Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler in a quarrel between people of whom Neville Chamberlain and many of his British colleagues knew nothing led less than 12 months later to World War II, with over 400,000 British deaths, a global conflagration, and the Holocaust.
 
The German Nazi ideology of eliminationist antisemitism, the determination of the Nazi regime to kill Jews everywhere, precipitated, continued, and prolonged World War II.


Global Loss

 

For the Jewish community, World War II was a loss beyond words. The Jewish community lost 6 million souls, one-third of its population. The Yiddish shtetl culture of Eastern Europe was obliterated.

 

The global community suffered that loss. Jews have made signal contributions to global science and arts, culture and learning. Albert Einstein himself would have been killed in the Holocaust had he not escaped and been a refugee.


The loss of Falun Gong practitioners through the killing for their organs is the loss to the global community of the contributions these individuals could have made if they had lived.

World War II was a disaster and a tragedy for the whole planet. Total casualties during World War II were 62 million—25 million military and 37 million civilian. Thirty-one million non-Jewish civilians died in that War.

The link between antisemitism and Nazi aggression was direct because Nazi Germany invaded foreign countries to kill their Jews. Lucy Dawidowicz, in her book “The War Against the Jews, 1933–1945,” writes that in the minds of the Nazi German leaders, World War II was a cover for its planned murder of the Jews.

Human rights oppression is a spreading, indelible stain.

There was even a link between antisemitism and Japanese aggression. The Japanese invasions in Asia were made possible by its Tripartite Pact with Italy and Germany and the power vacuum created in Asia by German attacks on the Asian colonial powers—France, the Netherlands, and Britain. Hatred of Jews dragged the whole world down.

After the war, the damage continued. The Nuremberg Tribunal established in 1945 was abolished in 1948 with half its docket unprosecuted, including Kurt Waldheim, who later went on to become secretary general of the United Nations and president of Austria.

Moreover, there were many thousands not yet identified, not yet charged, that would have been caught by a full-blown prosecution effort. The Allies were motivated by a desire to bring and keep West Germany onside in the Cold War.


For immunity against the Nazis to be effective, it had to be comprehensive. The creation of a general international criminal court, which had originally been part of the plans for postwar institutions, was scrapped. Similarly, local systems of justice had to avoid the prosecution of Nazi mass murderers in their midst.
That immunity became a license for one genocide after another. There is a direct link between the immunity given to Nazi mass murderers after World War II and the seemingly endless stream of post-World War II crimes against humanity—in Rwanda, in Cambodia, in Bosnia, in Sudan.

Vigorous Protest


If there is one thing we could have done to reverse the tragedies of the 20th century, I suggest it would have been this: Protest vigorously and globally the Nazi victimization of Jews from the minute it started. We cannot, of course, reverse history. But we can learn from it.

If there is one lesson that humanity should learn from World War II, it is that state hatred of a disadvantaged minority in a repressive country can wreak global damage.

If we know nothing about Falun Gong, we had better learn and learn fast. The abuses the government of China wreaks on Falun Gong run the risk of affecting us all.

While China is not about to invade foreign countries to kill their Falun Gong practitioners, spying, infiltration, and attempts at suppression are standard fare. The government of China uses threats, intimidation, political bullying, and the power of its large purse to corrupt human rights values planetwide in its attempts to demonize and marginalize Falun Gong.

Human rights oppression is a spreading, indelible stain. It never stops with today’s victims. Unless today’s victims are defended, we run the risk of becoming tomorrow’s victims.

Falun Gong: A Decade of Courage
Violators divide to conquer. They attack the most vulnerable, counting on the indifference of those who could help by playing on the difference between the victims and the outsiders. We must combat that indifference by convincing outsiders of their unity with the victims.

Regrettably, in combating human rights violations, we have a wealth of choices. In choosing which violations to combat, first priority should go to the worst violations. We need to help victims in those countries who cannot help themselves.

The government of China uses threats, intimidation, political bullying, and the power of its large purse to corrupt human rights values planet-wide in its attempts to demonize and marginalize Falun Gong.

If you become a human rights activist in China combating repression of Falun Gong, you run a grave risk of becoming a human rights victim yourself, as the case of Gao Zhisheng demonstrates all too well. Outsiders must help Falun Gong in China because only outsiders can do so from the vantage of safety.

Protesting the violations of brutal regimes abroad may seem forlorn. They may seem so firmly entrenched that nothing will budge them. Yet, the experience with South African apartheid, the communist Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the national security states of Latin America and more recently the tyrannies in Egypt and Tunisia shows the contrary.

The very inflexibility of these regimes means that they are brittle. Press against their violations bit by bit and eventually the regimes shatter.

Remedies for Victims

 

In any case, our primary audience when we protest violations is not the perpetrators but the victims.

 

Whether our protests move the violators, they surely move the victims. For many victims, the worst part of their victimization is their despair at being unnoticed and abandoned. By standing with the victims, we say we know what is happening and we object to what is happening; our very protests are for the victims remedies in themselves.

Human rights belong to individuals, not states. Leave human rights to states and human rights will wither. Individuals must assert human rights to keep those rights alive.

Crimes against humanity are crimes against us all. When crimes against humanity are committed, we are all victims. We must not be silent in the face of our own victimization when part of our human family suffers from grave abuses.

Protesting human rights violations abroad is not just about others. Nor is it just an attempt to prevent worse in the future. It is about us, now.

Combating human rights violations abroad is considerate, humane. Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear are cruel, inhumane. We become who we are by what we do. By ignoring the plight of Falun Gong, we erode our own humanity, turn ourselves into mean, uncaring people.
We who are not Falun Gong must protest human rights violations of Falun Gong, not in spite of the fact that we are not Falun Gong but because we are not Falun Gong. By leaping across the geographical, spiritual, and cultural divide, we affirm our fundamental unity, our solidarity with all humanity, our common human bond.

David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Canada. 

 More: The Epoch Times

International Voices Laud Tuidang, Look to a Free China


On July 13, 2012, dozens of congressmen, officials and human rights activists spoke at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol. Big words on the photo say “Disintegrate the Chinese...  Called “Tuidang,” meaning “quit the party” in Chinese, it has inspired over 100 million Chinese from all walks of life to renounce the Communist Party through statements made in public or online on the Tuidang website. “This movement was started in....

Full Article at The Epoch Times

Thousands Rally at Taiwan Presidential Building to rescue Falun Gong

Nearly 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Ketagalan Boulevard on July 23 to ask Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to take action to rescue Chung Ting-pang. ... Full Article at The Epoch Times

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Take a stand' Urge Doctors Against Organ Harvesting


The vast majority are Falun Gong practitioners who are arbitrarily arrested. Many are tortured to death. They are considered healthy and are at the disposal of the state, held in hundred of thousands in labor camps.
David Matas, a human rights lawyer based in Canada, was one of the first to demonstrate the evidence underlying the claims of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience; he also spoke at the panel.

Together with former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour,  in 2006 he produced an investigative report on the topic. The report later became a book titled Bloody Harvest.

Recently, Matas has co-edited a new book called State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, which is a collaboration of 12 authors presenting their latest findings.

He believes the practice of illegal organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience originates in the “intersection of hatred and greed.” 

 More: he Epoch Times 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ottawa: Falun Gong mark 13th anniversary of China's brutal crackdown


Meditating Falun Gong supporters gathered across from the Chinese embassy Friday to mark the 13th anniversary of a brutal crackdown on the religious group by the Chinese government.

“Minister Baird is in China right now and we hope he can make a statement on behalf of Falun Gong,” said Lucy Zhou of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada. “We’re hoping trade wouldn’t override human rights.”

In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Amnesty International reported thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and hundreds imprisoned or assigned to Re-education through Labour camps, often subject to torture and sometimes death.
 
Standing with Zhou, Falun Gong practitioner Young Wang, who came to Canada from China for work in November 2011, said that he spent more than a year in a Chinese labour camp for the group’s supporters in 2001.

“It was evil,” he said. “They put us in a crowded room and we were forced to watch anti-Falun Gong propaganda and renounce the organization every day when we weren’t working eight hour shifts to produce big chunks of steel.”

Wang, a program manager in IT, said he was arrested after police began tracking the number of emails he sent out speaking up for the group. “They came to my home and arrested me and all my computers were confiscated,” he said.

“Some of the other practitioners in prison were beaten very badly,” he said, “even though they were 60 to 70 years old.”

Zhou, who has been protesting across from the embassy for years, said that Chinese tourists who visit the embassy are shocked to see Falun Gong members protesting at all. “We are like a window for them to see the lies,” she said

“Evidence that Falun Gong detinees have been killed for their organs,” Zhou said, “has given rise to international investigations, and even a ban on China-based organ transplant surgeries by some countries.”
In March, a Chinese health official announced that over five years the country will phase out the practice of transplanting organs from executed prisoners and create a national organ donation program.
  
More: Metro News

China's Abuse of Falun Gong Practitioners Worsening: Ros-Lehtinen

Ros-Lehtinen said at July 12 DC Rally --  “As many of you know, I have addressed this peaceful gathering of Falun Gong activists for several years now, yet sadly, things appear to have worsened for our ...

“The peaceful men and women of Falun Gong are among the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the world. These murders, kidnappings and other egregious human rights abuses serve as a reminder of the lengths and depths the cruel old men in Beijing will go to in order to retain their bloody grip on power.  Authorities have imprisoned anyone willing to speak out to defend victims of these heinous acts, including human rights lawyer Mr. Gao, who remains incarcerated at a remote facility and unable to regularly contact his family.

“The cowards in Beijing are so scared of Falun Gong’s tranquil teachings that their internet censors have blocked Chinese citizens from searching for it or even discussing it in web chats or via email.  This loathsome persecution of Falun Gong must stop and it must stop now!  It is essential that the people of China continue their struggle for democracy and human rights.  It is essential that friends and supporters of democracy and human rights continue to show their solidarity and support, by speaking out against these abuses and by embracing such courageous figures of conscience as the Dalai Lama.

“China’s rise as a global power has made people hesitant to criticize the regime, fearing economic repercussions.   President Obama must do what is right and not be timid in the face of Chinese bullying and threats.  It is up to the United States, as a symbol of liberty, to confront the immoral Communist leadership in Beijing and speak out for the human rights of the Chinese people.

“This means urging the old men in Beijing to stop repressing Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, all other Chinese as well as North Korean refugees.  It means not allowing ownership of America’s debt to be synonymous with ownership of America’s values.  It is our responsibility to be that shining city on a hill, to be a beacon of freedom, liberty and hope for the entire world to see!

“America must stand with Falun Gong and all the repressed!  Beijing must release Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, immediately.  Set China free!”


More: Foreign Affairs Official Committee Blog

Amnesty Calls to Rescue Detained Falun Gong Mother and Daughter



Amnesty International issued a call for urgent action, stating that a mother and daughter are at risk of torture in China for practicing Falun Gong. The two women, Wang Xiuqing and her 21-year-old daughter Qin Hailong, have been detained without trial at the Qiangjing Re-education Through Labor (RTL) camp in Shandong Province, China. It states, “They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, particularly due to the authorities’ anger at the recent petition in support for their case within China.”

The petition, which has received 15,000 signatures, “seeks justice for the death of Wang Xiuqing’s husband and Qin Hailong’s father, Qin Yueming, in Jiamusi prison in February 2011, and calls for their release from detention,” states Amnesty International.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The killing of Falun Gong for their organs--Intent and evidence for genocide: Matas

Intent and evidence for genocide  
A case study: the killing of Falun Gong for their organs 
Remarks prepared for a global conference on genocide, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, 30 June 2012
by David Matas 

What happens in China behind closed doors at Communist Party meetings is, by its very
nature, not a matter of verifiable public record. What could be seen though by anyone at
this time was the lifting of censorship on the killing of Falun Gong for their organs. In late
March 2012, search results about organ transplants on the officially sanctioned Chinese
search engine Baidu showed information about the work David Kilgour and I did, Bloody Harvest and the involvement of Wang Lijun in organ harvesting.


A source told The Epoch Times that--
"Wang gave U.S. officials confidential documents containing critical information
about top Communist officials' involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong. The
source said Wang provided details about organ harvesting from living Falun Gong
practitioners in China's network of military hospitals, prisons, mental hospitals, and
labor camps"20.


The implication from those two statements is that Wang told US officials about the

involvement of top Communist officials in the killing of Falun Gong for their organs. That
information from the source, if accurate, adds to the weight of evidence giving reasonable
grounds to believe or a reasonable basis for concluding that the offence of genocide was
committed....

Read the full document here

Arrest of Taiwan Citizen in China Raises High Stakes


Chung Ting-pang's family calls for his release. (The Epoch Times) The arrest in mainland China a little over three weeks ago of a citizen of Taiwan poses a significant challenge...  

As a Falun Gong practitioner, the only CCP documents that could interest him are the instructions to persecute Falun Gong. That the persecution of Falun Gong has no legal basis is well known—the CCP has to use internal memos and Party documents to . ...

Falun Gong Persecution Ramps Up Ahead of Chinese Leadership Change

Local authorities in Guangzhou have distributed leaflets to houses, forcing residents to sign a “family promise” to “reject” Falun Gong.

More: The Epoch Times 

DC: End the 13-Year Persecution of Falun Gong in China, and Stop the Tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party


WASHINGTON--Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters are gathering in Washington, DC to mark the 13th anniversary of the beginning of what has become one of the worst human rights violations in the world.
Events are open to the public and media.

Event 1: Rally on Capitol Hill Thursday, July 12, 201212:00 p.m – 1:30 p.m. West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
Speakers to include members of Congress, human rights groups, and more             
Event 2: Grand March Friday, July 13, 201211:30 a.m – 12:45 p.m. Thousands of Falun Gong supporters will march from John Marshall Park (501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) to the Washington Monument to call for freedom for Falun Gong and an end to the persecution in China.
Event 3: Candlelight Vigil Friday, July 13, 20128:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Washington Monument

To commemorate those who have lost their lives and their freedom to the persecution in China, Falun Gong practitioners and supporters will hold a vigil to peacefully show their solidarity.

Background: Within seven years of its public introduction in 1992, Falun Gong spread by word of mouth to 100 million people in China, who experienced firsthand its health and spiritual benefits. Then, on July 20th, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong through propaganda, mass imprisonment, torture, and other forms of coercive "reeducation" that have resulted in over 3,550 confirmed deaths. To this day, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are held extra-judicially in labor camps where physical and psychiatric torture is routinely used. Falun Gong practitioners have responded to the state-sanctioned violence using entirely peaceful means. For thirteen years they have sought to educate the public about the persecution. To this day, more than 110 million people have submitted statements to withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party, and its affiliated organizations, embracing hope for a free and peaceful future.

Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baird's trip to China coincides with 13th year of persecution of Falun Gong

Ottawa – As Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visits China during the 13th anniversary marking the start of the violent state-sanctioned repression of Falun Gong, the Falun Dafa Association of Canada joined by the Hon. David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia–Pacific), and Mr. Lizhi He, torture survivor and former prisoner of conscience, held a press conference on Parliament Hill earlier today. The message was clear—to urge Minister Baird to seek end to the Chinese regime’s atrocities against Falun Gong.  Mr. He’s brother, Lizhong He, is one of the eight Canadian family members imprisoned in China now and is currently serving a 3-year jail term.

“We believe it is the best opportunity for our Foreign Affairs Minister to make a statement on the rights of Falun Gong practitioners during his visit to make Canada’s position on human rights and religious freedom clear.  We appeal to Minister Baird to call for an end to the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, which remains the largest scale modern-day atrocity against a group of innocent people for their spiritual belief in Truth-Compassion-Forbearance” said Lucy Zhou, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.  “With a stronger voice to end the persecution of Falun Gong at the transition of the leadership in China, our voice to support justice now can make a huge impact on the future of China that should take pride in placing herself on the right side of history.”

“I hope Minister Baird will extend his helping hand to Falun Gong practitioners, including my brother Lihong He and other seven imprisoned Canadian family members”, said Lizhi He, who spent 3.5 years in a Chinese prison for practicing Falun Gong and was later rescued to Canada and re-united with his wife in 2003.

According to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Mr. Nowak, while “torture is systematic and widespread,” Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody. The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released last month stated “Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-through-labor camps, while the real number could be even higher.”

Hon. David Kilgour and David Matas, renowned human rights lawyer, released an investigation report in 2006 revealing that a large-scale organ harvest of practitioners is happening in China and described it as a “new form of evil on this planet”.

The then-UN special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak and UN special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom both questioned the Chinese party-state about the issue.  “Nowak concluded in March 2007 that the chain of evidence Matas and I were documenting provided a ‘coherent picture that causes concern’. In late 2008, the UN Committee against Torture indicated its concern and called for further investigation.” said Kilgour. “We are at an historical moment, when the Chinese people as a whole and some Chinese leaders appear to be seeking to end the persecution of Falun Gong, the international voices of elected officials such as John Baird can be extremely important.”
  
More: Canada Free Press

Related:

Baird’s Visit to China Rare Chance to Push Rights, Says Group