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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rally in support of Jia Jia

Speech to the Rally

Jia Jia First Chinese Official to Publicly Quit the Communist Party Seeks Asylum

Vancouver BC Chinatown

Sunday October 29, 2006

Mr. Jia Jia is the general secretary of China Shanxi Science and Technology Experts's Association and legal representative. He is also a member of the board directors of Gold Experts's Services Co. Ltd, the director of National Experts Network Centre, the leader of the Strategy Team for the Chinese Experts Committee.

Jia is a dedicated activist for freedom and democracy in China. That is the reason why he has never joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or any of its organizations. For the last couple of years, he has distributed the book Nine Commentaries of the Chinese Communist Party and told the true nature of the CCP to the Chinese people.

Jia defected October 23 during a trip to Taiwan, but due to intense CCP pressure on the Taiwanese government and other unknown reasons, the Taiwan government did not grant him asylum. At the press conference held on Friday in Hong Kong, where he was deported, Jia stated he would consider going to any country willing to provide a safe environment for him, and that he wishes to continue his work overseas to help China move forward to democracy.

He sought to leave China to publicly urge all CCP members to abandon and withdraw from the party. He also said he wished to confirm for the public the reality of the great current of withdrawals from the CCP, with 14 million people having renounced the party and its related organizations.

"The fact that 14 million people have renounced the CCP makes me feel compelled to step out," Jia said. "Because I have seen that the 'Quitting the CCP' website has been repeatedly telling the same story. What story? The website has been explaining to the public that the number of people posted on the website who have quit the CCP is real.

"I am doing this because many countries and many governments have refused to believe the reality behind the number and refuse to believe that such a campaign is indeed going on."

Chinese history proves that it is impossible for the CCP to realize democracy in China. The essence of the CCP determines its character of dictatorship, use of violence, cheating, suppression and terrorism.

Jia is resolute to promote democracy in China no matter what the cost and encourages people to take action. He stated that many communist party members want to have democracy in China and he is confident that it can be realized--the CCP is nearing its end.

As we all know, the famous Chinese human rights attorney Gao Zhi Sheng who promoted freedom in China has been widely supported by the righteous people of the world. Nevertheless, he was still arrested by the CCP recently. From his case, we can see that CCP has reached its extreme, as it turns a blind eye to international attention and human rights.

However, Jia’s situation is very critical. He can only stay in Hong Kong for 7 days until his transit visa expires on November 2nd at which time he will be returned to China. If he is deported back to China, his life will be at risk--he may be sent to prison with a life sentence or even receive the death penalty.

Last year, in Shi Jia Zhuang, Ms. Sun Li was sentenced to 5 years in prison for merely owning a copy of the Nine Commentaries. On January 24th the Public Security Bureau launched the "National Public Security Persecutes Falun Gong for distributing Nine Commentaries Act," making ownership of the book a crime.

Jia has already become one of the key players in the Chinese democracy movement. If he is persecuted by the CCP, then the democracy movement in China will be impacted. Other democracy activists will lose their confidence.

We appeal to the governments of the world to rescue Jia Jia-- for the sake of humanity, freedom and democracy. For the people who love freedom and democracy please support Jia immediately. We appeal especially to the Hong Kong government to protect Jia and support his democratic agenda so that democracy can be achieved in China.

You may call/fax/email to:

UNHCR Field Office in Hong Kong and China
UNHCR-Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2770-5504

Web-mail to UNHCR-Hong Kong [In the pull-down menu "- choose a country -", please select Hong Kong and click "Go"]

UNHCR-China (Assumes responsibilities for UNHCR activities in Mongolia and supervises the activities of UNHCR's office in Hong Kong)
Tel: +86 10 6532 6806
Fax: +86 10 6532 1647

U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong
Address: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2523-9011
Fax: (852) 2845-1598

A list of foreign embassies/consulates in Hong Kong can be found here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Stop Russia from banning Falun Gong

Russia’s close ties to Communist China is causing Falun Gong practitioners to bear the brunt of their strategic partnership these days. Once again, Putin has chosen to roll back democracy and back up China on Falun Gong issues. Recently the head of the Russian Branch of the Falun Dafa Association was asked to leave the country within a few days. He is now safe in the US. Meanwhile a wave of harassment has hit the community of practitioners especially since the G-8 meeting. Practitioners have had their visa renewals refused, their phones tapped, along with email messages screened, and the National Security Bureau has interrogated coordinators. The buzz is that Russia is preparing to outlaw Falun Gong completely if the practitioners do not stop their peaceful protests and activities exposing the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This is not the first time that Russian authorities pick on Falun Gong. Epoch Times reporter and practitioner Anton Kolyada was beaten by the police on his way to the G-8 meetings last July. At that time they also arrested 12 Russian practitioners planning to go to St. Petersburg "to ask President Putin that he urge Hu Jintao to stop persecuting Falun Gong and end the [illicit] organ harvesting in China." (more)

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and a respected human rights champion, said that totalitarian regimes always suppressed spirituality and said the banning of Falungong "reminds me of the USSR in the 1960s when they banned yoga." (more)

As Putin is getting closer to retirement, one can only wonder whom he will assign to take the post. This has pro-democracy activists quite worried. Let’s hope for Russia that they will not choose to regress by banning the peace-loving Falun Gong spirituality.

Let's stop them in their tracks by voicing our concerns to the Russian Government. Falun Gong practitioners are not criminals and shouldn't be treated as such.

Send a short and firm letter to President Vladimir Putin here and/or to the
Presidential Executive Office here. Many thanks for your support.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) Plans to Investigate in China

On October 20, 2006, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) issued a notice that announced the organization of a team in preparation to conduct an unrestrained open investigation in Mainland China on the persecution of Falun Gong, especially on the harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners' organs and to visit investigation team members Gao Zhisheng and Li Hong and urge the CCP authorities to release them unconditionally. (more) Following is the entire notice:

Notice of Plan to Investigate in China (1)

Whereas, former Canadian Member of Parliament and the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour and International human rights lawyer David Matas' independent investigation report has established that the Chinese communist party (CCP) is murdering a large but unknown number of Falun Gong practitioners by removing their organs and selling their organs for profit.

Whereas, various Chinese organizations including the CCP military and judicial/hospital systems have participated in taking by force organs from living Falun Gong practitioners' since the year 2000, and are still continuing unabated today. A large number of Falun Gong practitioners are being covertly detained at many secret concentration camps with their lives in imminent danger;

Whereas, the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong has lasted over seven years, and 2,973 Falun Gong practitioners have been confirmed to have been persecuted to death. The Falun Gong practitioners, who are being illegally detained in various labor camps, prisons, hospitals, and associated facilities across China, are being brainwashed, enslaved, tortured, sexually abused, and murdered ;

Whereas, people in Mainland China, who have joined CIPFG, including human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Yang Zaixin, Zhang Jiankang, and Internet writer Li Hong, have been harassed, beaten, and arrested by the CCP. Among them, Gao Zhisheng and Li Hong have been detained for over 60 and 30 days respectively. Both of them have been formally arrested for the so-called "crime of inciting subversion of state power" and are facing unfair punishment and heavy sentence;

Whereas, the CCP authority has denied the allegations of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and have welcomed the international community to investigate in China;

Whereas, the act of taking innocent people's organs alive and in the process killing them is a crime against humanity, the international society has a justified responsibility to immediately investigate and stop it;

Therefore, the CIPFG has organized a team to conduct an unrestrained, open investigation in Mainland China on the persecution of Falun Gong, especially on the harvesting Falun Gong practitioners' organs, and to visit investigation team members Gao Zhisheng and Li Hong and urge the CCP authorities to release them unconditionally.

Since the formation of the CIPFG, many hundreds of humanitarians from all walks of life have joined the CIPFG. They are willing to go to China to do a thorough independent investigation. Because there are so many people, we are planning to organize sub-teams from different continents to investigate in China, i.e., an investigation team from Australia, an investigation team from Asia, an investigation team from Europe, and an investigation team from North America.

Each investigation sub-team has about 30 members, and is made up of (current and former) members of parliament and senators, attorneys, reporters, VIP's and doctors. Like Hon. David Kilgour and Mr. David Matas, all members are volunteers, and they will conduct the independent investigation voluntarily without payment.

Each sub-team will decide the length of its on site investigation in China. Generally, it will be from one week to one month. The investigation priority includes forced labor camps, prisons, hospitals, and all relevant detention facilities in Mainland China.

We sincerely hope that the Chinese government will fulfill its promise to the international community and assist us with an unfettered and open investigation.

We will update the media and our Governments with the progress of our visa applications and our on site investigation reports from for the sub-teams. We sincerely hope that the international community will pay attention to and support the investigation.



United Nations to Investigate CCP Organ Trade

The UN Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak will go ahead with investigating organ harvesting in Communist China. It's time for China to open the door to those VIPs who are willing to get at the bottom of this macabre operation.

Excerpt: On September 26, 2006, Agence Telegraphique Suisse (ATS, Switzerland) via CW published an article entitled "The United Nations to Investigate China’s Organ Trade."

The article said that China was not able to stop the discussion at the UN Human Rights Commission about the allegation that it harvested organs from Falun Gong practitioners. The current meeting of commission members ended on October 6. The UN rapporteur will look into the allegation and report back to the UN.

Canadian Human Rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian [Secretary of State] responsible for the Asian Pacific region, David Kilgour, wrote an investigative report on the Chinese regime’s organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. On Tuesday, Matas said in Geneva that the response from the Chinese regime was disappointing and empty. The regime did not reject the facts in the report, but instead chose to attack its authors. This made us very concerned about the events occurring there.

In the name of the International Multi Belief organization, Mr. Kilgour demanded of the Chinese Ambassador at the meeting that before the Beijing Olympics, China should answer to the allegations of deprivation of freedom, torture and disappearance of Falun Gong practitioners.

Mr. Matas said that a report into the problems of torture, arbitrary sentencing, religious freedom and disappearance had been passed to the UN rapporteur. The UN rapporteur of torture Mr. Manfred Nowak visited China last year. He agreed to join the current investigation.

Kilgour's Speech on Overcoming Violence: Abroad and at Home

Overcoming Violence: Abroad and at Home
Address by Hon. David Kilgour
Conference on Building World Peace
The Role of Religions and Human Rights
Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton

October 21st, 2006: Before suggesting ways to reduce one kind of violence in neighborhoods within Canada, permit me to look beyond our borders. Some spills into our own country, but most, of course, results from a range of home-grown causes.

First the important concept developed by Benjamin Barber in his book, Jihad vs McWorld, stressing first, as the author does, that Islam as one of the world’s great religions is not the issue. Indeed Barber’s introduction to the most current edition of his book criticizes Rev. Jerry Falwell for interpreting the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington as the wrath of God, noting that Falwell no more defines Protestantism than the Taliban defines Islam. Barber is also correct in taking issue with Samuel Huntington for echoing Osama bin Laden since both appear to call for a cultural war between “the West and the rest”.

The book uses the term “McWorld’ to refer to the forces of aggressive economic and cultural globalization. “Jihad’ refers to “disintegrative tribalism and reactionary fundamentalism”. It concludes that only the globalization of democratic institutions is likely to offer a way out of a global war between modernity and its critics because it responds best to both sides of the conflict.

Barber continues: “By extending the compass of democracy to the global market sector, civic globalization can promise opportunities for accountability, participation and governance to those wishing to join the modern world and take advantage of it’s economic blessings; by securing cultural diversity and a place for worship and faith insulated from the shallow orthodoxies of McWorld’s cultural monism, it can address the anxieties of those who fear secular materialism and are fiercely committed to preserving their cultural and religious distinctiveness. The outcome of the cruel battle between Jihad and McWorld will depend on the capacity of moderns to make the world safe for women and men in search of both justice and faith, and can be won only if democracy is the victor.”

Democracy Building

In my view, Canadians and our governments should be working much harder and more effectively towards achieving a fully democratic world as early as possible in the new century. The 45 or so dictatorships left around the planet, which do so much damage internationally as well as domestically, should know always that Canada stands always with their respective populations and their human rights and well-being, never with tyrants of any political hue.

I share fully a number of the points on democracy promotion which Tom Axworthy of the Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy recently made to the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, including these three:

1. The British, Germans, Swedes and Americans are already directly promoting democratic practices around the world, including free elections with universal adult suffrage, freedom of expression, association, political organization and dissent, alternative sources of information and genuine political choice and the accountability of government to voters. Independent courts, equality before the law and protection for minorities, including religious ones, are essential to functioning democracies.

2. There must be a functioning state before there can be a functioning democracy. In the case of Afghanistan, the holding of a Loya Jirga traditional assembly to give Afghans ‘ownership’ of their democratic process was a good start, but more troops are unfortunately needed to ensure public security. In the successful case of Bosnia, the ratio of soldiers to inhabitants was about 1 to 50, but this level has never been reached in Afghanistan. (Lest there be any ambiguity, I do not think Canada should abandon the Afghans to the Taliban despite the loss there already of some of our noblest sons and daughters in battle.)

3 A Canada-based democracy institution- Democracy Canada – rooted in our federal, culturally diverse, multicultural and bilingual country would be warmly welcomed by the international democracy promoting community. We must stand with the world’s democrats and make a serious effort to promote the concept, (knowing full well that government of, by and for the people will differ everywhere).

Twentieth Century Violence

The century we recently left was undoubtedly the worst in all recorded history in terms of brutality directed at believers. One estimate of the number of human beings of all nationalities who died prematurely for their faiths between 1900 and 2000 is an appalling 169 million, including: 70 million Muslims; 35 million Christians; 11 million Hindus; 9 million Jews; 4 million Buddhists; 2 million Sikhs; 1 million Baha’is.

Too many of these victims died in inter or intra-faith violence, but most by far perished at the hands of totalitarian regimes, which, demanding that all authority be vested in themselves, detest religion mostly because its practitioners’ deepest loyalties lie elsewhere. Stalin, Hitler, Mao and other dictators had murdered untold tens of millions of believers.

Falun Gong in China

Having just completed a visit to four Asian locations (South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong) to raise awareness about the issue of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China, permit me remind you of what is happening even today in China to this new faith community. The experience offers lessons for other religions in the new century as well, especially the need for all faith communities to stand together when one is being persecuted anywhere. Persecution directed against one community must be seen as an attack on all.

Founded only in 1992 in China, Falun Gong enjoyed phenomenal success there initially, in part because of the spiritual vacuum created by Mao and the militant atheists in power since 1949 and partly because, unlike the Communist party, its roots are deep in Chinese culture and religion. Following the Tiananmen events of 1989, the government of Deng Xiaoping was willing to tolerate religions as an outlet for popular frustrations with the authoritarian, if not totalitarian, governance combined with the unregulated, if not heartless, model of capitalism Deng had unleashed in China a decade earlier.

Falun Gong contains more health elements than most traditional religions and more religion and ethical features than other qigong schools. Falun Gong offered to many Chinese the opportunity to access spiritual and moral principles through physical exercise and healing. Faith followed exercise. There is also a community dimension, but no aspiration to any political office and no violence. Another Polish Solidarity movement, Falun Gong clearly was not, although Deng’s successor, Jiang Zemin, being preoccupied mostly with keeping his party in power by force, evidently thought that the two were identical in the threat they posed to Communism.

What really sparked Ziang’s declaration of war on Falun Gong was its popularity; by the late 1990s, there were 70 – 80 million practitioners across China, considerably more than members of his party. Beijing alone by then had 2000 exercise practice sites and in the mid- 90s Falun Gong meditation was even practised within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital. A spark was lit when 10,000 – 16,000 Falun Gong practitioners from all walks of life petitioned at Party headquarters in central Beijing against an attack in them in a publication. Jiang declared a violent war almost immediately in the summer of 1999.

Seven Years of Terror

On what has resulted since the summer of 1999, permit me to quote from a speech, I gave recently on behalf of Interfaith International at the UN Human Rights Council plenary in Geneva:

“I wish to speak about whether the government of China is harvesting the vital organs of Falun Gong practitioners, killing them in the process. (Human Rights lawyer) David Matas and I released a report in July, which came to the conclusion, to our regret and horror, that the claims were indeed true.

We examined every avenue of proof and disproof available to us, eighteen in all. For example: Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese prisons are systematically blood tested and medically examined. Because they are also tortured and abused viciously, this testing cannot be motivated by concerns over their health.

Waiting times for organ transplants in China are incredibly short, a matter of days and weeks. Every where else in the world, waiting times are measured in months and years, pointing to the existence of a large living organ bank in China.

It is easy to take each element of proof in isolation, and say that this element or that does not prove the claim. It is their combination that leads us to the chilling conclusion we reached. We are reinforced in our conclusions by the feeble response by the Government of China. Despite resources and inside knowledge, it has not provided any substantive information to counter our report.

Our report has 17 different recommendations. Virtually nothing to prevent the harvesting of organs of Falun Gong practitioners in China is currently being done. All our proposed precautions should be enacted and enforced. One should be implemented immediately; organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners across China must stop now.”

If you wish further information about this tragic situation, you can access our report in ten languages and various media commentaries here.

Sudan: More Genocide Looming

From the perspective of this conference, there is much to be said about contemporary Sudan as one of the most violent remaining dictatorships. Let me make only three points now:

First, last week there was a report that approximately 80 Dafuri children are now perishing each day in what the United Nations has termed a ‘man-made catastrophe of an unprecedented scale’. Unlike southern Sudan, where there was a major religious dimension to the twenty-year old civil war, virtually all the residents of Dafur are Muslims. In a province where ‘African’ and ‘Arab’ communities live together in relative harmony for centuries, genocidaires, who deem themselves to be Arabs, have over the past three and a half years used government aircrafts, bombs, bullets, gang rapes of girls as young as eight, fire and starvation to drive their surviving neighbours out of Dafur or into displaced persons camps. Approximately 450,000 of the African community have died, roughly half murdered and half dead of starvation and related causes from the conflict.

Second, Sudan’s military leader, Omar al-Bashir, will allow the 7,000 – members of the African Union (AU) essentially observer force to remain until the end of this year. He refuses to accept a more robust UN peacekeeper force of 20,000 to attempt to dissuade his proxy janjaweed from more waves of mass murder. He insists bizarrely that UN peacekeepers in Dafur would violate Sudan’s sovereignty despite the fact that he has already accepted 10,000 peace-keepers in southern Sudan.

Why isn’t the Security Council finally accepting its UN Charter responsibility and insisting on implementation of its resolution 1706? The Harper government should also be pushing the Security Council under Canada’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, specially when two ‘if not all three’ of the opposition parties indicated in the recent House debate that they want Canadian peacekeepers to save lives in Dafur.

Third, if the UN Security Council continues to be ineffective in preventing yet another Rwanda-like genocide in Dafur and the Dafur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in May still protects virtually no Dafuri civilian, other options will have to be considered. One is a three-part plan, which would welcome the assistance of the UN, the AU or NATO, but could succeed without the help of any of the three. It would provide a protected deliberation of a wide range of Dafuri leaders, an interim regional administration for the province and a no-fly-zone to stop Sudanese government aircraft from bombing civilians across Dafur.

If the regime in Khartoum concludes this option would establish a credible threat of force to stop its renewed genocide, it might well accept UN peace-keepers under its Resolution 1706. Perhaps Khartoum’s most important business and defense partners, the governments of China and Russia, can now finally be shamed into persuading Bashir to accept UN intervention.

Reducing One Kind of Violence At Home

Much of the world probably sees Canada as a new beacon on a hill, where persons and communities of different religions (or other beliefs) live together in harmony in what has been termed ‘permissive differentiation’. Our major cities are today full of churches, mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras, pagodas and temples.

Recent events suggest that complacency anywhere across Canada might be unwise. Permit me therefore to refer to an important paper by Dr. Elaine Pressman, who was raised in Prairie Canada but has been living in Amsterdam for the last few years. Her paper, ‘Education for Migrant Integration’ European and North American Comparison’, was presented at the Munk Centre for International Affairs at the University of Toronto a month ago.

Some key points in it:

The convicted murderer of Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands was initially thought to be a ‘well integrated’ member of Dutch society in terms of his language skills, Dutch education, employment history and general ability to function within the country. Given this serious misreading, Pressman developed a tool to measure issues of integration; it uses ten self-assessing criteria to help determine the inward level of integration felt by newcomer individuals in Holland or elsewhere.

One, for example, is acceptance; a person assesses on a one-to-ten scale how accepted they feel within their adopted country. Self-ratings are also applied to nine other factors, including: one’s sense of welcome, integration, equal work opportunity for all, language capability, social access, loyalty, pride in citizenship, and acceptance of community values. The responses of relative newcomers were compared to those from a control group of long-time Dutch nationals. The scores of the latter group were in the 74 - 91 % range; one refugee group of immigrants surveyed had integration levels in the 17 - 41% range, with an average of 33%.

The Pressman methodology also identified cases of regressive integration in which individuals reversed the integration process as they reached adulthood because they felt betrayed as citizens. Radicalization is, of course, one by-product of reverse integration. Indicators included low loyalty to country, high-perceived discrimination, and no political or social involvement with the community.

The Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD) has warned that the newcomer integration problem in the Netherlands could become so severe that in a worse-case scenario the national community there ‘could risk falling apart along religious and cultural lines’. Radicalization in the Netherlands today appears to be a serious social problem; essentially it means a group willingness to pursue changes in the country, which might cause danger to the continued existence of the democratic and legal order.

In Amsterdam, for example, Pressman’s research indicates that some students as young as seven were exhibiting strong anti-Western attitudes and were resistant to the values of the communities in which they live. She adds, “these attitudes (can) persist and harden in later school years and despite academic success and well-developed languages skills, there is often no attempt by these students to integrate into Dutch society.”

The paper notes that in Holland the right to government-funded education with separate religious instruction is protected in the constitution. She thinks that this constitutional right does not help to develop common values and experiences and successful integration. In Edmonton, of course, our strong public school system is quite different, but we know that we are not problem-free. Nor am I suggesting that we abandon the dual school system protected by our constitution in this province and others.

But should not all schools in Alberta and elsewhere offer positive citizenship messages to counter anti-democratic ones. I think they ought to, especially following the arrests on June 2, 2006 of 17 mostly young persons in Ontario on terrorism-related charges. An earlier warning, among others, was the arson committed in a Hindu temple near Hamilton soon after November 9th, 2001. In the case of the 17 youth, how else can any municipal, provincial or national government offset radicalization coming from various sources, including the Internet?

Pressman’s recommendations for education to counter this phenomenon includes curriculum-development for inter-religious knowledge and dialogue to increase mutual respect and understanding, public awareness campaigns targeted at school-level students on the dangers of radicalization, and teacher training programs to familiarize them with indicators of violent radicalization, and an information and documentation centre for both students and educators.


In Canada, I worry a lot about a Canadian Labour Congress report (Feb. 22, 2006), which indicated that racial discrimination is still having a negative effect on the incomes, employment prospects, and work status of some Canadians who were born in this country. One cannot attempt to explain away such differences on the basis of Canadian experience or credentials, especially when this discriminated-against group is on average more highly educated than some of those who are doing better employment-wise.

What is the relationship between violence and the absence of equal opportunities for all? It certainly appears to exist in the Netherlands, France and elsewhere, but what about Canada? No one can now still believe that we too do not have a problem. In our multi-faith and culturally diverse country, we must draw on the best practices from everywhere.

Ahmed Hussen
Director of Communications
Canadian International Peace Project
1027 Finch Avenue West
P.O. Box 30088
Toronto, Ontario M3J 3L6



Thursday, October 12, 2006

Taiwan asked to bar citizens from organ transplants in China

Lai Ching-Te thinks Taiwan's international image would be damaged if stolen organs (from Mainland China) are transplanted into Taiwanese people. He also asks the Legislative Yuan to invite Canadian parliament members or anyone else who has participated in the investigation of the Chinese Communist Party's harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners to visit Taiwan, so the Taiwanese people can learn the truth. Eighty-nine members of the Legislative Yuan have co-signed the bill. (more)

That's the spirit -- three cheers for Taiwan!

by Hou Sheng-mou.

'They urged Taiwan to pass law barring its citizens from going to China for organ transplant because it encourages the illegal trade in human organs,' said Huang Shih-wei, a Taiwan campaigner who took part in the meeting.

'They said Germany has passed a law banning citizens from receiving organ transplants abroad, and Indonesia has stopped providing post-transplant care to its citizens who have received organ transplants abroad. Taiwan should take similar action,' Huang said.

'Hou admitted that out of every three recipients of organ transplants, one received it in Taiwan and two received it in China. But he said time is not ripe for Taiwan to pass the legislation,' Huang said.

Huang however suggest that Taiwan could raise public awareness as well as take punitive measures against Taiwanese doctors who brokered organ transplants from China.

Kilgour and Matas launched an independent investigation into allegations that Chinese hospitals have been harvesting organs from executed prisoners and selling the organs both for profit and to raise China's level of human organ transplants.

On July 6, they issued a report showing evidence of China's harvesting organs from convicts, especially members of the banned Falung Gong sect.

They are now on an Asian tour to urge Asian countries to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in view of Beijing's poor human rights record, and to bar their citizens from going to China for organ transplants.

Having already visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, they plan to visit Japan and South Korea next.

According to the Taiwan Department of Health, some 450 Taiwanese go to China every year to receive organ transplants due to long waiting lists in Taiwan.

Gao Zhisheng charged with subversion

Earlier this month Human Rights Watch organized an open letter to Huo Jintao asking for the release of Gao Zhisheng and rights advocates. Gao, the Nelson Mandela of China, had been arrested on August 15 at a relative’s home in Dongyin, Shandong Province by plain clothes officers. The free world is very concerned about his arrest complete with a possible jail term of five years. Check the Epoch Times for updates here.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has arrested outspoken human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng on charges of inciting subversion, his lawyer said on Thursday, following two months of uncertainty over the activist's detention and fate.

Gao was arrested on September 21 "on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power", lawyer Mo Shaoping said, adding that he had only now learned of the decision from prosecutors.

"In fact, it should be the public security bureau that notifies us. But I asked them repeatedly and got no reply, and only then went to the prosecutors," Mo told Reuters.

Gao, in his early 40s, is a famously combative rights lawyer who has taken up the causes of dispossessed oil investors, labor activists and -- most controversially -- members of Falun Gong, an outlawed spiritual sect.

His arrest marked another step in the ruling Chinese Communist Party's drive to stifle an expanding "rights defense" network across the country that seeks to expand citizens' rights through courts and publicity campaigns, said activists.

"In the government's eyes, Gao is the worst case. He's a lawyer who has spoken up for Falun Gong and refused to back down, even after they suspended his office license," Hu Jia, a Beijing-based dissident who knows Gao, told Reuters.

"Right now, the government's number one enemy is the rights defense movement, and Gao Zhisheng has been one of its leading figures."

Gao was detained by Beijing police in August, one of several prominent rights lawyers and activists who have been jailed, detained or put under house arrest in past months.

Earlier this year, Gao organized a rolling hunger-strike to protest police harassment of political activists.

He also helped campaign to seek the release of Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist sentenced to over four years jail in August on charges that critics said were trumped up by angry local officials.

Mo said he was not told of the specific accusations against Gao. Under Chinese law, those convicted of inciting subversion can be jailed for up to five years -- longer in serious cases.

The crime has often been directed at dissidents who publish criticisms of the government in print or on the internet. Gao had issued a public letter criticizing the Chinese government's crackdown on Falun Gong.

China's top security official, Luo Gan, warned in June that the "rights defense" movement harbored forces dedicated to overturning the Communist Party.

Mo said that up to now police had refused to let him visit his client.

"The public security bureau said that because it involved state secrets, we couldn't visit him. But inciting subversion is a public matter, you can't do it in secret, so we'll apply again to see him," he said.

Police now have months to continue investigating Gao before deciding whether to press for a trial, said the lawyer.

Gao's family is under house arrest in Beijing, according to Hu and other family friends, and could not be contacted by Reuters.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

HRW: Stop harassment of advocates for social justice

A Human Rights Watch letter to Hu Jintao is added to the list of recent reports putting China in the spotlight for its abysmal rights record. The letter to the head of Communist China was signed by 53 China watchers focusing on a recent crackdown on Chinese lawyers, journalists and rights activists. This is yet another example showing that China’s rights record has declined in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics. Is China setting the tone for another Tiananmen-like bloodbath?

The latest news is:

" ...that the Foreign Ministry said it was studying the contents of the letter.

Foreign China scholars have rarely spoken out about human rights abuses in China, partly out of concern for their access to the country.

In their appeal, the scholars said Chinese actions toward human rights activists called into question "China's oft-stated commitment to a rule of law."

The signers represented a cross-section of China specialists, coming from different disciplines and of both liberal and conservative views.

Some have clashed previously with Chinese authorities over critical or controversial work. Columbia University's Andrew Nathan and Princeton's Perry Link, for example, edited The Tiananmen Papers, an alleged inside account of the Chinese leadership's response to and ultimate quelling of the 1989 democracy protests." (more)

China: Letter to President Hu Jintao
Stop harassment of advocates for social justice

Dear President Hu,

We, the undersigned human rights advocates, lawyers, and scholars, write to urge your commitment to ensuring the civil rights of advocates for social justice. We note with concern the sharp increase in official retaliation against such advocates and their families through persistent harassment, banishment, detention, arrest, and imprisonment. We note, too, the frequent use of state secrets charges to discourage social activism.

For the international community to take seriously China’s oft-stated commitment to a rule of law, and for China’s own citizens to trust the judicial system to redress legitimate grievances, it is urgent that China’s central leadership not look the other way when local courts and law enforcement officials ignore China’s laws and legal procedures with impunity. It is equally urgent that judicial authorities throughout China cease to use China’s state secrets laws to prevent defendants in politically sensitive cases from exercising their rights to fair and impartial hearings.

Several recent cases cast doubt on your government’s willingness to take those principled steps. Four such cases are of particular concern, those of rights defenders Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, a legal activist, Zhao Yan, a journalist, and Hu Jia, a grassroots HIV/AIDS activist. Their apprehension, the charges against Messrs. Gao, Chen, and Zhao, Mr. Chen’s and Mr. Zhao’s subsequent trials and sentencing, and Mr. Hu’s forcible removal to a police station without a warrant are representative of China’s legal system at its worst. We urge the immediate releases of those still held, the dismissal of all charges, and the immediate restoration of Mr. Gao’s license to practice law. (more)

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ABC (Au): Advocates and academics send letter on Chinese human rights