Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why It's Time to Rally Behind China’s Unsung Heroes

Falun Dafa Information Center Statement on International Human Rights Day

(FDI) A former university librarian in Shanghai sits at her home computer. Using proxy servers, Ms. Liu Jin breaks through China’s vast “Great Firewall” and accesses a Falun Gong-related website. She downloads accounts of rights abuses against fellow adherents and begins printing. Soon, the stack of homemade, underground newsletters finds its way into the hands and mailboxes of neighbors, local shopkeepers, and former colleagues. A “materials production site,” one of tens of thousands across China, is born, bringing into people’s hands basic facts of injustice that the Communist Party has worked tirelessly to censor.

For this nonviolent act of courage, Ms. Liu is punished harshly. As reported by the Associated Press, she was sentenced last month to 3.5 years in prison in an unfair trial that lasted less than a day. (news) Having been tortured and force-fed during a previous imprisonment for practicing Falun Gong, she once again faces a similar fate—or worse.

Sixty years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), millions of ordinary citizens across China remain in danger of arbitrary detention, torture, and death. For what? For doing nothing more than exercising the very basic rights to freedom of belief and expression that are cornerstones of the UDHR.

A Brutal Suppression Unfolds

When former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin ordered Falun Gong to be “eradicated” in 1999, tens of millions of ordinary Chinese overnight found themselves rendered “criminals” by virtue of their peaceful faith. A brutal state apparatus committed to proactively preventing them from pursuing a traditional Chinese path of physical self-improvement and spiritual fulfillment that had become a fundamental part of their identity. It was trying to change who they were.

“During the 16 days of the Olympics alone, eleven Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died from abuse in custody.”

Any avenue they might use to stop this assault was closed off—the state-run media would only spew horrific anti-Falun Gong propaganda claims, petitioning offices were turned into detention centers, and Party-appointed judges were hardly going to depart from the official line.

Nearly a decade later, hundreds of thousands remain in labor camps—at least half of China’s gulag population, according to experts (report). Thousands more are in prisons following trials not unlike Ms. Liu’s. They are beaten, shocked with electric batons, and injected with various drugs, sometimes causing paralysis or death. Recent investigations have revealed evidence that adherents have been killed so their organs could be sold for profit. (news) Untold numbers are left destitute, refugees in their own country, unable to return to their homes or jobs for fear that local police will take them away.

Branches of the 610 Office—an extra-legal task force created in 1999 to lead the campaign against Falun Gong—remain active across China, not only in security agencies and government offices, but also in private companies, universities, and neighborhood watch committees (report). The latest report by the Congressional Executive Committee on China found references to the agency across the country—from Nanjing to Yunnan to Jiangxi. Official accounts of a pre-Olympic crackdown on Falun Gong appeared on government websites in all of China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions. (report) The result? During the 16 days of the Olympics alone, eleven Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died from abuse in custody.

Unsung Heroes Respond

Communist Party leaders and state-run media claim that Falun Gong has been crushed. But this begs the question – why then would a nationwide apparatus like the 610 Office remain active and growing? Why would labor camps continue to fill with adherents? The fact is, today Falun Gong practitioners in China continue to resist Party efforts to “eradicate” them. They persist in their faith, produce underground newsletters, hang banners, and simply talk to people in day-to-day conversations. They explain the innocence of Falun Gong, the horrific abuses being meted out against adherents, and the Party’s broader history of persecuting the Chinese people—all this in an effort to awaken the consciences of fellow citizens. This is crucial in a context where the state controls media and uses it to dehumanize Falun Gong, mobilizing the rank and file to implement the policy of “eradicating” the practice.

The efforts of Falun Gong adherents are starting to bear fruit with the result that practitioners are no longer fighting the battle to end the persecution alone. A generation of daring, world renown lawyers has risen to defend them, defying Party orders and risking their own safety (news). They plead their clients’ innocence with defenses based on the Chinese Constitution and the UDHR, as attorney Mo Shaoping did for Ms. Liu (news).

Nevertheless, the Chinese regime remains uncompromising in its policies against Falun Gong. Arrests and torture are still widespread and systematic. That is why now, more than ever, the support of the outside world is needed to end this injustice and brutality once and for all. Two vital, yet simple steps that any of us can take towards this end are to, first, educate ourselves and peel back Party propaganda that has unwittingly seeped into mainstream Western reporting; second, follow the lead of adherents in China and talk directly to the Chinese people.

From colleagues to neighbors, private sector entrepreneurs to state company managers, in trainings with local judges and research with university professors, we must make a proactive effort to encourage Chinese to question what they’ve been told and to read the very information on Falun Gong that the Party blocks. We must articulate that taking a stance against rights abuses is not being “anti-China,” but rather moving the country a step closer to truly realizing its historic greatness.

Practitioners and their supporters inside China risk their careers, freedom, and even their lives to resist injustice. Joining their efforts is the least we can do for the likes of Ms. Liu on this international human rights day.

After all, ending atrocities like these is precisely the reason why the UDHR was created.

Levi Browde is Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

International Human Rights Day Rally

News Release

For Immediate Release

Falun Gong Practitioners Call for an end to the Persecution in China

(Vancouver) Dec. 10, 2008 - In commemoration of International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10th 2008, Falun Gong practitioners and supporters will gather at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Plaza) from 12pm-4pm to mark this special occasion with a rally.

This year various human rights advocacy groups will join Falun Gong practitioners at the VAG with an objective to contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights in the world. Practitioners will display banners, distribute flyers to raise awareness to the persecution of Falun Gong in China and do petition work in an effort to call for an end to the atrocities. These events will provide an avenue for victims of human rights abuses in the community to tell their own personal stories and encourage awareness of this human rights journey.

Following the afternoon events, practitioners will proceed down to the Chinese Consulate on South Granville to hold a candlelight vigil from 7:30pm-9pm in memory of their counterparts in China who have lost their lives in the persecution (of Falun Gong) at the hands of the Chinese regime.

All are welcome to participate in these events as the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Rights, and especially their violation, must hold the whole world in solidarity. On this Human Rights Day, it is my hope that we will all act on our collective responsibility to uphold the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration.”…“The luckiest among us, those who are spared the most negative effects of disaster, poverty or instability, cannot turn a blind eye. The cascading effects of abuse and indifference can eventually engulf the entire planet”. --Ban Ki-moon

Monday, December 08, 2008

UN Recommendation Must Be Matched by Prompt Action to End Murder of Falun Gong for Their Organs

FDIC Calls for International Commission to Investigate, Monitor and Coordinate Efforts to End Forced Organ Harvesting

New York—In a legally binding decision issued on Nov. 21, the United Nations Committee against Torture called for an investigation into illicit organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. The statement was the latest in a long line of actions taken by writers, lawyers, doctors, and government representatives to research and condemn such abuses. The Falun Dafa Information Center urges the international community to take immediate action to further investigate, prevent, and end such crimes against humanity.

“The decision of the U.N. Committee against Torture to raise this issue is incredibly important and commendable, lending additional weight to the proposition that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed so their organs could be sold for profit,” says Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang.

“It is clear that there is a very real danger that this practice continues and may even escalate with the Olympics having ended. It is vital for the international community to take concrete and immediate steps to make sure this does not happen.”

The FDIC urges the international community—particularly state parties to the U.N. Convention against Torture—to establish an independent, international commission to investigate, monitor and recommend punishment for those involved in organ harvesting in China, including both Communist Party/state institutions as well as individual perpetrators. Such a commission might also track the various measures that have already been put in place by some national governments to ensure their citizens are not complicit.

United Nations Conclusions

In concluding observations on China’s degree of adherence to the United Nations Convention against Torture, on Nov. 21 a U.N. committee of independent experts expressed concern over “information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants.”

The committee then made the following recommendation, the most legally binding demand to date for the Chinese authorities to investigate and punish those responsible for forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong:

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

The committee’s conclusions follow on consistent inquiries transmitted to the Chinese government since August 2006 by Manfred Nowak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, and Ms. Asma Jahangir, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on religious freedom, which have received unsatisfactory replies.

While commending the U.N. Committee’s strong stance on the issue, it is important to recognize the near impossibility of a Chinese government-appointed body making a fair assessment. This is due to the lack of an independent judiciary and the entwined complicity of state entities in these abuses—particularly prisons, labor camps, and military hospitals. Indeed, the current body of evidence indicates it is precisely Communist Party/state entities coordinating organ harvesting atrocities in China.

The FDIC therefore urges the international community to establish its own commission to conduct both an investigation into past abuses and ongoing monitoring of organ transplants in China.

International Steps Taken Thus Far

The allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese custody first emerged in 2006, soon followed by an independent investigation by Canadians David Kilour and David Matas, which concluded the allegations were true (report) . Since then, a number of governments, international bodies, and members of the medical community have also found the allegations credible and in some instances, taken action to ensure their own citizens are not complicit in such abuses.

The following are a sample of the steps taken, initiatives which should further be expanded:

Conducting additional independent investigations and analysis

  • Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the EU's European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, traveled to China in May 2006 on a fact finding mission to personally investigate the allegations of organ harvesting, and he has several times condemned the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. (news)
  • In March 2007, Dr. Tom Treasure, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found the allegations credible, particularly in the context of the role doctors played in the Holocaust. (See: “The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust, and ourselves”)
  • In July 2008, a special Israeli rabbinical council ruled that the Chinese regime has been responsible for the killing of Falun Gong practitioners, perhaps because of material benefits derived from organ harvesting. (news)
  • In November 2008, The Weekly Standard magazine featured a cover story on organ harvesting, authored by Ethan Gutmann, adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (full story). The article described systematic and suspicious medical testing of Falun Gong practitioners.

Taking measures to stem the flow of foreign recipients traveling to China for organs:

  • In August 2006, the New York-based National Kidney Foundation issued a statement expressing deep concerns over allegations that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners were being executed for the purposes of organ donation, as well as opposition to such aa scheme and to organ transplant tourism generally. (statement)
  • In early 2007, Israeli health insurance carriers stopped sending patients to China for transplants. (news) This was in part related to an investigation in which Israeli authorities arrested several men for tax evasion in connection with a company that mediated transplants of Chinese prisoners’ organs for Israelis. One of the men had stated in an undercover interview that the organs came from “people who oppose the regime, those sentenced to death and from prisoners of the Falun Gong.” (news)
  • In August 2007, Hou Sheng-mao, the Director of Taiwan’s Department of Health, reported requesting Taiwanese doctors not recommend to their patients to travel to mainland China for transplants. (news)
  • In December 2007, a petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians was presented to the House of Commons urging the government to issue travel advisories warning people that organ transplants in China include the use of organs harvested from non-consenting donors such as Falun Gong practitioners. (news)
  • In February 2008, Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj introduced a bill to stop Canadians from participating in obtaining human organs and body parts from unwilling donors, including traveling to other countries to get such organs. He stated that the urgency of the matter was highlighted by the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report. (news)

Ceasing academic training and cooperation with Chinese doctors on organ transplantation:

  • In July 2006, Associate Director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine in the University of Minnesota, Kirk C. Allison, PhD, MS released a statement reinforcing the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report and calling for academia and medical circles stop cooperation with China on organ transplantation. (statement)
  • In December 2006, the Australian Health Ministry announced the abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors in organ transplant techniques at the Prince Charles and the Princess Alexandra Hospitals, as well as banning joint research programs with China on organ transplantation. (news)

Conducting government hearings and raising the issue with the Chinese government

  • In September 2006, the United States Congress held a hearing on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. (transcript)
  • In September 2006, The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners, and expressing concern over reports of organ harvesting (news); the issue was also raised by direction of the EU troika leadership through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the EU-China summit in Helsinki. (news)
  • In November 2006, following a hearing on the topic, the Irish Parliament’s Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to request that he raise the issue with his Chinese counterparts and that it be included in the EU-China dialogue on human rights.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh! Don't be such a Scrooge!

MWC: I've read a series of biased articles on the Santa parade in Auckland about the fact that Falun Gong has been labeled as 'political' and thus their marching band is not accepted-again this year in that parade. Hmm! Overall I'm quite annoyed with this whole state of affair and especially the spin that media has given to this story as I read through several articles not to mention the works of the court.

The fact of the matter is that there are many ethnic groups participating in the parade and arguably there should be no room for discrimination. However, amidst all of this debacle, what has become crystal clear to me is the fact that the Falun Gong, who have a fabulous brass band that everyone enjoys--big kids and small kids alike--have been rejected because the organizing committee says they're using the parade as a platform to raise awareness to the regime's persecution of their group in China, even though everyone knows by now that the Falun Gong had made clear their intent to play music 'only' at these events like they do in other cities around the world.

So here's a hard question for you--could the people really objecting to Falun Gong's presence in the Santa parade be China's rulers? The answer is YES! One would think that the Kiwis should know better than going after a benign spiritual group that's been put to death in China for their organs to line the pockets of the cadres in Beijing. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and honestly this is not a good time either to give a foreign entity, such as the the Chinese government, any form of power via its organizations and consulates by toeing the party line.

After all, with Christmas right around the corner, isn't this a time to be jolly, to love thy neighbour and show some religious tolerance? Will somebody puulease tell the bosses in Beijing to take a break?

You can call me idealistic and maybe it's just me, but I believe that there shouldn't be any religious intolerance in this world and that human rights should be respected by all nations. And that's the real spirit of the matter.

Related Article:

Auckland's Panmure Santa Parade Receives Threat

Marie Beaulieu

China's 'Progress on Paper, Deterioration in Reality'

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Epoch Times Staff Dec 2, 2008
Share: Facebook icon Facebook Digg icon Digg icon StumbleUpon icon StumbleUpon Facebook icon Facebook Digg icon Digg icon StumbleUpon icon StumbleUpon
Print E-mail
“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It
“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It's not rocket science but few people seem to address it,” Clive Ansley said. (China Photos/Getty Images)
Organ Harvesting in China

The Chinese regime has again failed to give concrete answers to human rights abuses, sparking further concern that the regime shows progress on paper yet deterioration in reality. The questions were raised by the United Nations Committee Against Torture review panel recently.

Canadian Lawyer, Clive Ansley, a Mandarin-speaker and specialist in Chinese law, said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pays no attention to rule of law, and there will be no real reform in China until the communist party and the one party system is removed.

“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It's not rocket science but few people seem to address it,” he said.

Mr. Ansley said he was sceptical about seeing any concrete action from the United Nations, despite the Committee Against Torture's hard-hitting report released 21 November. The report, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, on China's compliance to the Convention Against Torture, was heavy in its criticism of widespread torture and abuse, lack of transparency and the use of the 'State secrets law'.

Law on the Preservation of State Secrets

The Chinese Communist Party introduced the State secrets law in 1988 and uses it broadly and arbitrarily in imprisoning dissidents and covering up information. The Committee Against Torture expressed “grave concern over the use of this law which severely undermines the availability of information about torture, criminal justice and related issues.”

The law prevents the disclosure of crucial information, the Committee stated in its report, such as disaggregated statistical information on detainees in all forms of detention and custody and ill-treatment in the state party, information on groups and entities deemed to be “hostile organizations”, “minority splittist organizations”, “hostile religious organizations”, “reactionary sects”, as well as basic information on places of detention, information about the “circumstances of prisoners of great influence”, violations of the law or codes of conduct by public security organs, and information on matters inside prisons.

One of the 12 submitters to the review, Human Rights in China, also highlighted China's state secrets system as a major concern.

“In many instances, information requested by the Committee is classified as “state secrets.” Such information control obstructs the Committee’s review process and undermines legislative, administrative, judicial, or other measures aimed at preventing acts of torture,” stated the submission.

Progress on Paper, Deterioration in Reality

As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), which it signed in 1988, China is subject to a compliance review every four years.

China missed the last review in 2004 by ignoring it completely. This year it submitted a report spanning eight years but failed to respond to the 11 pages of questions raised by the UN follow-up committee. The Chinese regime’s 38-page report is largely a list of constitutional amendments and penal code reforms, which rights groups say are empty words.

The Conscience Foundation, an affiliate of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, described China's report as “progress on paper, deterioration in reality.”

The document states, “The PRC government’s deceptive tactic of paper progress, repeatedly used over a long period of time, should no longer be met with any encouraging comment but thoroughly exposed and criticized, for it unequivocally shows that the PRC government knows what international human rights standards are, how to answer questions on human rights correctly, how to establish the legal framework to protect human rights, and how to punish criminals who committed human rights violations, yet the PRC chooses to continue to violate human rights.”

Mr. Ansley said the above statement captures the CCP's game precisely. “That is exactly what China does year in and year out.”

Examples of Non-Reform

He cited the organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners, as investigated by Canadian lawyers David Kilgour and David Matas, as a recent example.

“When it [organ harvesting] was first exposed, they said 'there isn’t any such thing', and then they pass a law against it... The essence was that no organs could be taken from anyone without written agreement— it had to be voluntary—and a lot of other restrictions as well,” said Mr. Ansley. “But the point is, that legislation has been in force since 1989 and it hasn’t had any effect because the party runs the courts and the courts do what they are told and it really doesn’t matter what you have in the way of legislation.”

Mr. Ansley said the same thing happened when there was a huge outcry about the execution of people who were proven later that they were innocent. The Chinese regime said they would pass a regulation that required all death sentences to be reviewed by the supreme court. “But that code of criminal procedure has had that requirement in it since 1979,” he said.

“They [the CCP] tell the world all the time that they are reforming, that they will pass a new law. And people do tend to take it seriously, even some of the people involved with the protest against organ harvesting have sort of said well we are making progress they passed this new law against organ harvesting but there is no record of them conforming to their laws.”

UN Frustration

Felice Gaer, the Committee Expert serving as Rapporteur for the reports of China, expressed frustration at a lack of information or details on individual cases. While hearing China's response to the 11 pages of questions the Committee had asked, Ms. Gaer noted the unwillingness of China to make the required statistics available.

David Matas, co-author of Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting From Live Falun Gong Practitioners attanded the meetings in Geneva.

“We all shared the same frustration,” said Mr. Matas. “We were pleased to see China held to account but frustrated to see China was basically oblivious to the concerns, not taking them seriously and not giving responsive answers.”

“Of course that’s the standard Chinese response. When they’re dealing with human rights violations it’s progress on paper and whereas the violations continue all the same.”

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

David Matas' Letter to the Ombudsman on CBC biased doc on Falun Gong

Ombudsman 2 December 2008

CBC Radio Canada

We wish to present concerns about a show called "Enquete", an episode titled "Malaise in Chinatown", aired by Radio Canada on October 30th 2008, 8 p.m. In order to present these concerns, we begin with some general remarks.

There are questions a public broadcaster should not ask. For a public broadcaster, there are not just bad answers. Sometimes, there are bad questions, no matter what the answers.

Public broadcasters should not ask questions which assume the frame of reference of hate propagandists. They should not ask questions which assume that slurs and slanders are true.

It is easy to see that it is improper to ask of anyone, "when will you stop beating your wife?" Similar questions about groups, asking when members of a particular group identified by colour or religion or nationality, will stop beating their wives are equally improper.

The questions hate promoters pose are not just questions with offensive answers. The very questions give offense.

Are blacks dirty? Do Jews control the world? Are Serbians bloodthirsty? Are Tutsis cockroaches?

The very attempt to answer these questions demeans a public broadcaster. The degradation is particularly acute where the broadcaster starts from the assumption that the slurs may well be true and goes about attempting to determine if there is enough evidence to dispel the assumptions. It makes a mockery of public broadcasting to go about attempting to determine such things as whether blacks are clean, whether Jews do not control the world, whether Tutsis are not akin to cockroaches, whether Serbians do not enjoy killing.

The evil of hate propaganda is not only in the conclusions reached. It is in the questions being asked. Hate propagandists approach the world with a frame of reference that is skewed to conform to their own world view. Hate propagandists live in a self contained world of delusive paranoia where the vilified group is the enemy and they are the defenders of virtue. When a public broadcaster conducts an investigation, the investigation has a different status from an investigation conducted by an individual. An investigation by a public broadcaster is a pronouncement of society acting as a whole that the subject matter of the investigation is worthy of investigation.

Public broadcaster investigations do not just report events. They are events in themselves. When a public broadcaster conducts an investigation and reports on the result, what has happened is not just communication of information which is the result of the investigation. It is the investigation itself. The questions asked are given a status they would not otherwise have. The assumptions adopted in the questions posed become public assumptions. Because of the investigation, and not just because of the result of the investigation, the situation has changed.

A public broadcaster must not lose sight of these consequences of its investigations. When a public broadcaster asks a question that a hate promoter would ask, it makes the question of the hate promoter legitimate. That is something no public broadcaster should do.

Hate propagandists engage in victim inversion. Though the targets of incitement are the victims, the propagandists portray themselves as the victims and the targets as the perpetrators.

A public broadcast which investigates the charges of hate propagandists adopts the frame of reference of the propagandists. The broadcaster asks the question the propagandist asks, adopts the approach to the world the propagandist has. Where a public broadcaster investigates hate propaganda slurs, it accepts the questions of the propagandist as valid ones, and gives credence to them, something it should not do.

Public broadcasters would have little difficulty agreeing with these principles. One of the CBC - Radio Canada policies set out in its Journalistic Standards and Practices is the principle that

    "The audience must not be incited by CBC program personnel to... support a particular point of view. Such actions would in effect make the Corporation a party to controversy and would be contrary to the premise that the Corporation takes no editorial position in its programming."11

Stating the principle is easy. Applying it in practice is often not so easy. Incitement to hatred does not always take the same form. It is contextual. While it is easy to pick out specific formulations based on past historical examples, identifying new formulations requires specific knowledge.

The ideologies of hatred and genocide which now stalk the world are localized in language, in history, and in appeal. Understanding hate speech requires an understanding of the context in which the speech is uttered. Hate speech often involves veiled or coded references. Understanding is a work of decoding.

When broadcasters come across new and different forms of incitement to hatred, they sometimes try to hide their ignorance through false symmetry. Today, a responsible broadcaster would not treat the existence of the Holocaust as a matter of dispute between Jews and neo-Nazis and, in pursuit of balance, treat both evidence of the Holocaust and Holocaust denial in the same way, as two equally tenable points of view. But a lot of other forms of incitement to hatred less well known than Holocaust denial are treated in exactly this fashion, as if the incitement and its rejection were just two equally respectable views in a debate.

Practitioners of Falun Gong are victims of incitement to hatred in China. That incitement has led to their victimization in astonishing numbers well documented by UN and NGO human rights reports. One form of victimization on which David Kilgour and I have reported is the killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs to be used in transplants. Our report is available at <>.

The show "Enquete", episode titled "Malaise in Chinatown", was inaccurate, manipulative, propagandistic and spiteful in a myriad of ways. We wish to comment on one aspect of this episode only, the Radio Canada presentation of our report on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. In making this comment, we address as well the context in which it is presented.

Our report on organ harvesting presents a wide variety of verifiable evidence documenting our conclusions. The Chinese government has responded by knee jerk denials without answering any of the evidence even though this evidence mostly emanates from official Chinese government sources. This evasiveness and the refusal to confront the evidence set out in our report has been noted by the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, the United Nations Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, and the United Nations Committee on Torture2.

Instead, the Government of China has responded in a fantastic, paranoic fashion. They pretend that our conclusions come not from us but from the Falun Gong, which they have demonized. They claim that our conclusions are part of the demonic efforts of the Falun Gong directed against them.

The Radio Canada "investigation" takes this Government of China fantasy seriously and proceeds to attempt to demonstrate, by ignoring and distorting the evidence, that this fantasy is true. The Radio Canada journalist begins the organ harvesting part of her "investigation" by asking these questions:

    "We've heard a lot of talk about the organ harvesting massacre Falun Gong adepts would have been victim of in China. But is this really the case? Is it a form of propaganda from the movement's leaders?"

These questions incorporate inaccurate assumptions. The questions refer to the Falun Gong as a movement. Elsewhere and quite often the Radio Canada episode refers to the Falun Gong as an organization. Yet, Falun Gong is neither a movement nor an organization; it is a set of exercises with a spiritual foundation.

The questions refer to the movement's leaders. Yet, those who practise Falun Gong have no leadership. Li Hong Zhi has written books and given public lectures widely available in print and on the internet which have inspired individual Falun Gong practitioners. But that is all he has done.

Because Falun Gong is a combination of exercise and spirituality, comparing it to another form of exercise or another form of spirituality is not quite accurate. Yet, it is certainly more accurate than labelling it as a movement or organization.

It would be ridiculous to characterize swimming or running or any other form of exercise as a movement or organization. One can go to swimming pools and see many people swimming at the same time. However, only the ignorant would assume that all those swimmers are organized, that their swimming is some joined, planned activity, directed by a leader. The Radio Canada report manifests this form of ignorance.

Part of the problem is simply linguistic. Calling swimming an organization with a leadership is not just delinked from reality. It is linguistic nonsense. Knowledge of the English or French language is all you need in order to appreciate that swimming is an exercise and no more. The words "Falun Gong", though, are not English or French. Simple grounding in the English or French language is not enough to prevent the ignorant from being led astray.

The use of the word "adepts" is not quite right either. The proper word is "practitioners". Because Falun Gong is a set of exercises, the people who are Falun Gong are people who practice the exercises. "Adepts" suggests that Falun Gong is a form of belief only. It is that, but it is more. It is impossible to be Falun Gong without practising the exercises.

Literally, the word "Gong" means "practice" or "exercise" and Falun means "the wheel of law". The phrase "wheel of the law" is a short hand description of Falun Gong beliefs. So Falun Gong is a form or type of practice or exercise. The phrase "Falun Gong practitioners" is clumsy because literally it means wheel of the law practice practitioners. But, at least it is accurate.

There are some Falun Gong practitioners who have formed and joined support organizations, Falun Dafa associations. Falun Dafa associations are local or national. There is no one international Falun Dafa Association.

These associations encompass only a portion of Falun Gong practitioners. They may facilitate some Falun Gong activities. But they no more represent or lead or organize all Falun Gong practitioners than, say, swimming clubs represent or lead or organize all swimmers.

To take an example from religion rather than exercise, B'nai Brith is a membership organization within the Jewish community. When it speaks on Jewish community issues, it speaks on behalf of its membership, not the whole Jewish community. When B'nai Brith makes a statement, it is inaccurate to say that this is the position of absolutely everyone who is Jewish.

So, there is a difference between Falun Gong practitioners, the people whom Radio Canada describes as adepts, and members of a local Falun Dafa association. It is the difference between all and some.

The Chinese government attribution of leadership and organization to Falun Gong has nothing to do with these Falun Dafa associations. There is no Falun Dafa association in China and there never was, even when the practice was at its height. There are, as well, many other countries with Falun Gong practitioners but no Falun Dafa association.

Before the banning of the Falun Gong in China, there was a Falun Dafa Research Society which was banned along with the Falun Gong. The Chinese government news agency report of the banning of July 20, 1999 stated:

    "China today banned the Research Society of Falun Dafa and the Falun Gong organization under its control after deeming them to be illegal."

So the Government of China banned a non-existent, imaginary organization and attributed to this imaginary organization control over an organization which did exist.

The question Radio Canada asks - whether the organ harvesting massacre that Falun Gong adepts would have been victim of in China is a form of propaganda from the movements' leaders - adopts the frame of reference of the Government of China, attributing our conclusions on organ harvesting to the Falun Gong. The Radio Canada attribution of our report to a non-existent leadership of a non-existent organization, by way of assumption only, is bound to mislead.

The Radio Canada report is not just ignorant, making unwarranted, unfounded assumptions. The Communist Party of China characterization of the Falun Gong as an organization with a leadership has been the starting point for Government of China persecution of the Falun Gong.

Calling a group of individuals each acting on their own initiative an organization or a movement acting under a leadership may be harmless. It does not in itself present cause for complaint. However, it became for Radio Canada the basis for other, far more serious, errors. It is amazing, once Radio Canada starts off in the wrong direction, how far astray it wanders.

The Radio Canada error about organization and leadership reflected and repeated exactly the same error of the Communist Party of China. That sort of error, in a Canadian, democratic context, may mean little. But that error, in a Chinese context, was fatal, not to those making the error, but those who were and are erroneously described.

The Communist Party of China was both bewildered and alarmed by the growth of the practice of Falun Gong in the 1990s. The practice of Falun Gong spread rapidly throughout China immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Communist Party control in Central Asia and Eastern and Central Europe. The Communist Party of China feared a similar collapse, a similar loss of control.

When the Party saw their own Chinese nationals, in the tens of millions, engaging publicly in a form of exercise which had an underlying belief system completely divorced from Communism but closely connected to ancient Chinese traditions, Communists fantasized the Falun Gong as the engine of their destruction. Like persecutors everywhere, they turned a group of innocents into an enemy and launched a persecution to combat this imaginary enemy.

Though the Falun Gong is not an organization with a leadership, the Communist Party of China surely is. When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The Communist Party of China saw the Falun Gong as a mirror of itself, organizationally similar, but ideologically different.

The rapid growth of the practice of Falun Gong and seemingly coherent activity of a number of individual Falun Gong practitioners is attributable to modern technology - cell phones and the internet. Through cell phones and the internet it is possible for large numbers of people to do the same thing at the same time, be at the same place at the same time, without organization or leadership.

For swimmers, one can say, build a swimming pool and they will come, without organization or leadership. For Falun Gong practitioners, one can say something similar - make publicly available the exercises and beliefs, spread the technology of cell phones and the internet and they will come, also without organization or leadership.

But the Communist Party of China does not operate this way, does not think this way. It has projected on to others, a disparate group of Falun Gong practitioners, its own manner of operation.

For the Communist Party, demonization followed - the labelling of Falun Gong as a evil cult, the claim that Falun Gong leadership leads practitioners to murder and suicide. But behind it all is a mischaracterization, the view that Falun Gong is an organization with a leadership.

If, indeed, Falun Gong were an organization with a leadership, the persecution it suffered might have been less intense. The Government of China has suppressed all independent religious and spiritual thought. But the Falun Gong suffering far outpaces others in terms of numbers and brutality. One can see the difference just in terms of the invective the Government of China utters against the Falun Gong, far more vituperative than the propaganda directed against other beliefs.

Because other beliefs are organized, the Government of China has responded in part by attempting to take over the organizations. There is a Chinese government appointed Buddhist Panchen Lama, Chinese government selected Roman Catholic bishops, Chinese government chosen Moslem imams. These designations mitigate the attacks the Government of China launches against these beliefs, since it does not want to undermine its own appointees.

However, for Falun Gong, since there is no organization and no leadership, there is no one China can appoint to head the Falun Gong. Not being inhibited from undermining its own appointees, the Government of China attacks on the Falun Gong know no bounds.

The absence of organization and leadership of Falun Gong has not stopped the Government of China from believing there is one. Chinese officials just think it is hidden underground. The very lack of visibility of leadership and organization has led the Government of China to greater suspicion, greater fears.

This belief in a hidden organization has generated exaggerated spying efforts on Falun Gong practitioners. Defectors from Chinese embassies and consulates around the world tell us that the primary effort, expense and person power of the Government of China around the world is dedicated not to trade, not to international relations with foreign governments, but to spying on the Falun Gong.

This effort, if it were not so tragic in result, would be comical. Imagine a major power spending the bulk of its efforts abroad spying on swimmers - listening in on their phone calls, breaking into their computers, infiltrating swimming pools, following swimmers around, taking photos of them - all in an effort to find out who is their leader, what is their organization, what are their plans. Substitute swimmers for those who practice the Falun Gong exercises and you have the Government of China.

Those who practice Falun Gong, understandably, object to their persecution and their persecutors. However, those objections arose only and after and because of the persecution. Falun Gong practitioners, as practitioners, have no political agenda. Many of them, indeed most of them in non-immigration countries, are not Chinese nationals nor ethnic Chinese and know and care as little about Chinese politics, aside from the persecution of the Falun Gong, as any other person who is not a Chinese national.

The Radio Canada report manages to avoid the most vile slurs uttered by the Communist Party of China about the Falun Gong. But it accepts the foundational assumptions for those slurs. The assumptions of the Communist Party about the Falun Gong are also those of Radio Canada. These assumptions are no more questioned by Radio Canada than they are by the Communist Party of China itself.

Calling an uncoordinated mass of individuals engaged in parallel activities an organization with a leadership may, on its own, just be an innocent mistake. But once one starts attributing propaganda activity to this imagined organization, the mistake ceases to be innocent. The error becomes paranoic, a conspiracy fantasy. Combined with the propaganda charge, the Radio Canada characterization of Falun Gong is problematic, particularly when it is an assumption only. Once Radio Canada does this, it has violated its own broadcast standard opposing manipulation. It is a form of incitement against the Falun Gong.

It would be legitimate to question whether Falun Gong is an organization, whether it has a leadership. It would also be legitimate to question whether the conclusions of our report on organ harvesting are right or wrong. We would welcome such an investigation. However, to attribute our report to a non-existent leadership of a non-existent organization and then conduct an investigation into whether this falsely attributed report is propaganda produced by this imaginary organization is to begin an investigation on the wrong foot.

The problem here, aside from the fantastical nature of this investigation, is the false symmetry mentioned earlier. The Government of China rejects all criticism of its human rights violations as anti-Chinese propaganda. To treat these Chinese government assertions seriously is to give them a credence they do not deserve. One has to be blind to reality to put hard evidence of human rights violations on the same footing as Communist Party blather. Yet, Radio Canada, has launched an investigation on precisely this basis.

Radio Canada interviews co-author David Kilgour. He is filmed as saying

    "Read our report, you will be terrified and you will realize that this is indeed happening. We've provided 31 points. Proof. For people who are independent, intelligent and who understand the world as it is, I think there's no doubt."

And that is all. There is no indication at any point what that evidence is, and certainly no attempt to assess or evaluate or investigate that evidence.

Given the nature of the investigation, that people are being killed for their organs, it is impossible to produce surviving victims. No one could possibly tell us or Radio Canada, "I was killed for my organs and my body cremated." Nor is it realistic to expect mass murderers to confess publicly to their crimes, especially when the regime under which the crimes were committed remains in power. Instead, we established our conclusions through other forms of evidence.

David Ownby, who was interviewed on the program, pointed this out. But the quote from David Ownby which was used in the TV program referred to this fact so indirectly, it would be impossible for an uninformed viewer to know what Ownby was saying. On the contrary, the ignorant might have thought he was commenting on the veracity of our report rather than just noting the nature of the evidence.

The exact quote from Ownby is this:

    "I've carefully read the report and it's hard to find direct and conclusive testimonies. So it's they've necessarily based themselves on third party testimony. They came to the conclusions that they could. I'd say that organ harvesting is a problem in China, although, I have not seen direct evidence that Falun Gong is a particular target."

When David Ownby is saying that "it's hard to find direct and conclusive testimonies", he is not saying that it is hard to find direct and conclusive eye witness evidence in our report, but rather, given the nature of the issue, it is hard to find anyone under any circumstances who could or would produce direct and conclusive eye witness evidence. This distinction is lost by the manner of reporting. The impression left is that Ownby is saying that the conclusions of our report are not proven, rather than that they are proven one way, the only feasible way, and not proven another way which, given the nature of the issue, is an impossible and unavailable form of proof.

The Radio Canada journalist says:

    "In Ottawa, Falun Gong even manages to get support from David Kilgour. An ex-Liberal deputy and state secretary. In the summer of 2006, he publishes an investigation report that he produced at the request of some of the movements' friends."

So the suggestion here is that the conclusion of organ harvesting came from Radio Canada's mythical Falun Gong movement which David Kilgour later supported. The reality that the conclusion of organ harvesting came from us and not from elsewhere is ignored.

When it comes to the substance of its wrong footed investigation, what Radio Canada investigates is not the accuracy of our report, but the accuracy of wording about support for our report in flyers we have not authored. These flyers are attributed by Radio Canada to its imaginary Falun Gong organization.

So the Radio Canada report states:

    "By looking at Falun Gong flyers, one could believe that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International approves of Kilgours' report. But that is not what we found out."

The flyers themselves are not quoted, just described.

Radio Canada then proceeds to interview people who do not contradict our report in any way. An Amnesty International spokesperson states: "we can't confirm the actual numbers or the extent of the allegations". This is a statement of numbers and extent, not existence of the practice of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. It is a statement of absence of confirmation, not a statement of non-existence. It gives no indication of the sort of evidence Amnesty International was seeking as confirmation and, in consequence, no indication whether the evidence Amnesty International sought was realistically available.

The interview with Harry Wu is even more misleading. It ends with the statement "It's just a lie" suggesting that he was saying our report or at least the flyer which described our report was a lie. Yet, the prior questions show that he was being asked about something else and not our report nor the flyer.

The preceding question and answer are these:

    "Radio Canada journalist: Mr. Wu searched for proof that the Chinese government targeted today Falun Gong followers in particular. Five times he sent teams on site and this what they discovered:

    Harry Wu : Nothing... nothing. I asked them to go back on location, to meet the direction of the hospital, they talked to the people at the front desk, the cadres, the doctors... they never heard about it."

What site, what hospital are the question and answer referring to? Someone familiar with the issue would know that the reference is to Sujiatun hospital in Shenyang province.

When did Harry Wu send investigators to Sujiatun hospital? There are two issues of timing here. One is: How long after the first reports of abuse came out did Harry Wu send in his investigators? Investigators sent in shortly after the reports of violation surface are more likely to find evidence than those sent out long after there has been the opportunity to organize a systematic cover up. The reality, not mentioned, is that these investigators were sent out, even the first set, several weeks after the reports of violations surfaced.

The second is: Did the investigators go out before or after our report became public? Investigators who visited the site before our report came out could not possibly be commenting on our report. The reality, not mentioned in the broadcast, is that the investigators, on all their visits, went to Sujiatun before our report was published.

What did our report say about Sujiatun hospital? One can see from our report that all we did is point out the sorts of things we are pointing out here. We said nothing specific about organ harvesting at Sujiatun hospital.

Who is Harry Wu reacting to? Again, if one knew the background, the answer is the ex-wife of an ex-surgeon at Sujiatun hospital named Annie and a formerly China based Japanese employed TV journalist named Peter, neither of whom was or is a Falun Gong practitioner.

So Harry Wu is saying that some unidentified person, not us nor a Falun Gong practitioner, said something about Sujiatun hospital, and there is no indication what that something is. He said this before our report came out but weeks after the reports of abuse first surfaced, again though without the timing being indicated. It is this unidentified something said by an unidentified someone at an unidentified time which Harry Wu says is a lie. But Radio Canada, with its tendentious framing of the question and its omissions, gives the impression that Harry Wu is levelling his accusation of lying against us and Radio Canada's concocted Falun Gong organization.

This was, it must be remembered, Radio Canada's attempt to determine whether its falsely attributed report was propaganda put out by its imaginary organization. The conclusion, it would seem, to be drawn from all this, the way it is framed by the broadcaster, is that the charge of propaganda is proved.

This is a classic form of victim inversion. The Communist Party of China could not have put it any better than Radio Canada did. Communists torture, maim and kill. Surviving victims have the temerity to complain, ask for the whereabouts of their family members. The Communist Party responds that all the hard evidence of victimization is just anti-Chinese propaganda. Radio Canada, it seems, agrees.

This is more than just inaccurate reporting. It is swallowing Communist Party propaganda and incitement to hatred against Falun Gong practitioners whole. It deserves the censure of the ombudsman.

Sincerely yours,

David Matas and David Kilgour

Saturday, November 29, 2008

AI: Free Falun Gong Practitioner Xu Na

Please Take action Now!

Document - China: Fear of torture and other ill-treatment / Prisoner of

PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 17/107/2008

28 November 2008

UA 327/08 Fear of torture and other ill-treatment / Prisoner of conscience

CHINA Xu Na (f) aged 41, artist

Falun Gong practitioner Xu Na is at risk of torture or other
ill-treatment. She was sentenced to three years in prison on 25 November
for ‘crimes’ related to her membership of an outlawed spiritual movement
which has been targeted by the Chinese authorities. Amnesty
International believes she is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely
for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of conscience and

Xu Na was found guilty of “using a heretical organization to undermine
implementation of the law”. During the sentencing trial she expressed
her desire to lodge an appeal. Should she lose her appeal, this will be
the second time that she would face imprisonment. Xu Na was imprisoned
for five years from 2001 to 2006 for offering her apartment to Falun
Gong members travelling to Beijing to appeal against the authorities’
persecution of the movement.

Concerns for her safety are heightened by the fact that she told friends
and family she had been subjected to torture during her first
imprisonment, including beatings, sleep deprivation, forced-feeding, and
being tied into uncomfortable positions for hours.

On 25 January 2008, Xu Na and her folk musician husband Yu Zhou were
detained after a routine search, during which the Beijing police
discovered they were carrying Falun Gong materials. Yu Zhou died in
detention 11 days after being taken into police custody, raising
concerns over police brutality towards individuals in detention. Xu Na’s
parents have not been allowed visitation rights since her detention in

Xu Na’s case was first sent to the Chongwen District People’s Court on
30 June but the court did not announce the verdict until 25 November -
nearly three months after the maximum time permitted by China’s Criminal
Procedure Law. Xu Na was found guilty of possessing and intending to
disseminate 53 copies of Falun Gong leaflets and 11 computer disks of
Falun Gong material. Xu Na had appealed the verdict immediately after
the sentencing.


Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that gained large numbers of
adherents in China during the 1990s. After a peaceful sit-in in front of
the party and government headquarters at Zhongnanhai in July 1999 the
government outlawed the group and launched a campaign of intimidation
and persecution, directed by a special organization called the 610
Office. The crackdown on Falun Gong intensified in the lead-up to the
Olympics. Falun Gong sources reported over 8,000 arrests of Falun Gong
practitioners nationwide during this period, and say that in 2007 over
100 died in detention or shortly after being released due to torture,
starvation and lack of medical attention. Falun Gong practitioners are
often sentenced to terms of Re-education through Labour (RTL), a form of
punitive administrative detention in which people can be deprived of
their liberty without trial for up to four years. Between 300,000 and
500,000 people are currently estimated to be held in RTL camps.

On 21 November 2008 the UN Committee Against Torture expressed deep
concerns over continued allegations of widespread torture and
ill-treatment in places of detention in China as well as the high
numbers of deaths in detention and the lack of impartial investigation
into these abuses. According to the Committee, the continued reliance on
confessions is likely to facilitate the use of torture and ill-treatment
of suspects.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as
possible, in English, Chinese or your own language:

* asking the authorities to provide immediate guarantees for Xu Na’s
safety and assurances that she will not be tortured or ill-treated;
* expressing concern that Xu Na has been imprisoned solely for her
religious beliefs;
* asking the authorities to release Xu Na immediately and unconditionally;
* asking the authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation
into the death of Yu Zhou in police custody.


President of the Supreme People’s Court
WANG Shengjun Weiyuanzhang
Zuigao Renmin Fayuan
27 Dongjiaomin Xiang
Beijingshi 100006
People’s Republic of China
Fax: + 86 10 65292345
Salutation: Dear President

Director, Ministry of Justice,
Wu Aiying Buzhang
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 65292345
Salutation: Dear Director

Chief, Detention Center
Beijing Chongwen Detention Center
Tuanhe Road, Da Xing District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 61297799--62604
Salutation Dear Chief

COPIES TO: Diplomatic representatives of China accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International
Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 9 January

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dissecting CBC Doc on Falun Gong: FDAC

Open letter from the Falun Dafa Association to the Ombudsman regarding CBC's very biased so-called documentary shown last month on the program Enquete called 'Malaise dans le Chinatown'.

November 27, 2008

Julie Miville-Dechêne
Ombudsman, Services Français
CBC Societe Radio-Canada

Dear Ms. Miville-Dechene:

The Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC) respectfully submits this document as a continuation and more in-depth complaint of our initial submission sent to you on October 31st 2008 where we expressed grave concern regarding a program titled “Malaise in Chinatown” which aired October 30, 2008 on Radio Canada’s program “Enquete”. You replied that it is customary practice to allow programmers to respond first to criticism of their work and forwarded our concerns to them.

“Malaise in Chinatown” was broadcast two more times in the days following our complaint, on November 1 and November 2.

Geneviève Guay, Director of Complaints Handling, sent us a letter dated November 14, 2008. In this letter, Ms. Guay, on behalf of the programmers, replied to our list of specific concerns with a general reply that addresses none of our specific concerns and denies any and all errors on their part. It also reiterates some of the misleading information communicated in the program.

Ms. Guay argued in defense of the program on the following basis:

1. That Falun Gong and its activities are relatively unknown inside Canada, including media run by practitioners
2. That it is in the public interest to explore the structure, beliefs, funding and actions of Falun Gong
3. That "numerous" legal proceedings and "many calls to police" made interest in Falun Gong justifiable

She further asserted that the FDAC refused to be interviewed for their program on questions relating to "funding, media networks, legal proceedings, and some public protests."

In fact, the Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC) never argued that CBC did not have good reason to report on Falun Gong or that doing so was not in the public interest. As well, it is not true that the FDAC declined an on-camera interview on the basis that funding and media entities would be discussed. In fact, as explained later in this letter, Ms. Lucy Zhou of our association had a lengthy discussion with Ms. Miller during the preparation of this program in which she openly explained funding issues, including the founding of media companies, and even offered information on initiatives begun and funded by Falun Gong practitioners that Ms. Miller was not aware of and had not inquired about, such as efforts to break through the internet blockade in China. Ms. Miller in a follow-up email called the three hour meeting and discussion "quite helpful indeed."

Our refusal for an on-camera interview was not out of a fear of repeating these explanations before a video camera. Our refusal came only once it was clear that CBC would not provide the necessary context or objective coverage required for viewers to gain a fair understanding of our group or its activities. These concerns were expressed to CBC and were proven well founded by the broadcast that aired. No mention of these concerns was made in the broadcast.

Moreover, it is true that the lawsuits and other events that have unfolded in Montreal's Chinatown are stories worth reporting – we have never argued otherwise. Our stance remains that such coverage must be objective and provide the proper context. Without the background of Falun Gong's harmonious existence in Montreal for years before the persecution of the group and attacks by Mr. Chau began, without exploring the extent of the persecution and defamation designed to justify the persecution that Falun Gong practitioners suffered -- which is the backdrop for their appeals and protests -- and without revealing the extent and nature of the defamatory articles Mr. Chau published against Falun Gong (which even included accusations of blood-sucking and bestiality), viewers simply could not gain an objective understanding of the events that occurred later involving Falun Gong in Montreal.

Without such context, Falun Gong practitioners' exercising their basic right to peacefully protest injustice was portrayed more as an unprovoked disturbance to the community -- an impression exasperated by the prominent coverage CBC gave to unproven accusations and even groundless claims of possible criminal activity in the form of death threats.

In the same vein, CBC's "exploration" of Falun Gong's beliefs, which Ms. Guay argued was in the public interest, was not an exploration at all. Viewers were provided with a skewed attack on Falun Gong's teachings that provided no basic understanding of what Falun Gong's teachings promote or what practitioners believe. The program also included inaccurate information about Falun Gong's beliefs.

We maintain that their program unjustly misrepresented, demeaned, maligned and discriminated against the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, which is currently suffering a brutal and internationally recognized persecution at the hands of China’s Communist regime. Their program also fabricated a deceptive impression of suspicion about Falun Gong, thus undermining Falun Gong’s efforts to raise awareness of the brutal persecution at the hands of the Chinese regime.

The programmer’s non-specific response has shown they have not taken our concerns seriously, so we are contacting the Ombudsman once again. The programmer appears uninterested in receiving the more detailed complaint we promised, as Ms. Guay’s response letter asks us to direct any further concerns to your office.

“Malaise in Chinatown” paints a deceptive, misleading portrayal of Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners through a clearly one-sided, biased and discriminatory report. In the opening minutes the discrimination and bias are disturbingly clear as the host states that Falun Gong’s “presence in our cities creates uneasiness (malaise).” Moments later journalist Solveig Miller further maligns Falun Gong, labeling it an “omnipresent bothersome religious movement”. This impression is foisted on the audience before any “facts” are even presented. Unfortunately the remainder of the program is consistent with this discriminatory opening.

1. Selective and misleading use of evidence and interviews

The program makes selective use of specific interview clips to present a one-sided perspective. This is particularly obvious in the segment addressing reports of organ harvesting committed against Falun Gong practitioners. Along with selective use, there is also selective omission of relevant and vitally important information and evidence.

The issue of organ harvesting is based on an investigative report written by former Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, David Kilgour who had also been a crown prosecutor along with internationally respected human rights lawyer, David Matas. The report addresses allegations that the Chinese regime has been involved in forcibly removing and selling the vital organs of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, bringing very large sums of money to the perpetrators.

Enquete portrayed the claims of organ harvesting as having been widely refuted and even as having been concocted in response to a setback in a legal case. In addressing our concerns with Enquete’s treatment of this issue, we believe it is essential to first relate some recent developments in which organizations and media have reached strikingly different conclusions when assessing the very same facts and documentation on organ harvesting available to Enquete.

In the concluding observations of its report on China this past Friday, November 21, the United Nations Committee against Torture, relying on the same information available to Enquete, unambiguously called for investigation and prosecution of the individuals involved in the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners:

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

The full report also addresses other abuses suffered by Falun Gong practitioners. It can be found at:

Additionally, this week's edition of the respected U.S. magazine, the Weekly Standard, found evidence of organ harvesting serious and compelling enough to make organ harvesting against Falun Gong its cover story[1]. A copy of the article is included in our submission package.

The contrast of objectively drawn conclusions by respected individuals and groups, when balanced against the CBC's biased and unsubstantiated portrayal of organ harvesting, is astounding. In addition to the widely accepted Kilgour/Matas report that Enquete so vehemently endeavours to discredit, is a petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians initiated by Dr. Gerry Koffman, the Canadian representative for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.

The March 11, 2008 edition of a reputable Canadian newspaper that serves the Canadian medical profession, The Medical Post, stated that Dr. Koffman, "established a petition urging the Canadian government to issue travel advisories warning people that organ transplants in China include the use of organs harvested from non-consenting donors such as Falun Gong practitioners. He got the petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians from coast to coast. It was presented to the House of Commons[2] in December 2007."

In a letter of September 27, 2007 to the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Bernier, wrote:

“In addition, since March 2006, the Government of Canada has maintained an active effort to seek verification and corroboration of serious allegations that Falun Gong practitioners have been targeted for illegal organ transplantation. Canadian government officials have, on a regular basis, been in contact with non-governmental organizations, like-minded countries, as well as with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, in order to share information.”

Mr. Bernier’s letter referred to the Kilgour/Matas report as, “useful in bringing together available information on this issue.”

There have also been significant international concerns and calls for investigation. In March 2007, Dr. Tom Treasure, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine[3], United Kingdom’s leading medical, peer-reviewed journals, found the allegations credible.

Dr. Treasure wrote, “The numbers of organ transplants performed in China and the speed with which organs become available has raised international concern about the source of organs.” He concluded his essay with, “What makes it credible is the numerical gap between the reported number of transplants compared with what is possible in other countries, the short waiting times and the confidence with which operations are offered in the global health market, and the routine blood testing of the Falun Gong.”

This information, as well as numerous other pieces of information supporting the credibility of the organ harvesting reports, was available to Enquete, but was alarmingly ignored in favour of a slant that distinctly supports the views of the Chinese communist regime on this grave human rights issue.

These several brief examples are provided to exhibit the seriousness with which this atrocity is being viewed by experts and authorities and will highlight Enquete’s misleading, irresponsible and dangerous portrayal of this atrocity on CBC, as detailed below. More comprehensive documentation of Canadian and international concern about this atrocity is included in our submission package.

The segment in Enquete’s program addressing organ harvesting included interviews or statements from four sources: David Kilgour, David Ownby, Amnesty International, and Harry Wu.

Two of these men, David Kilgour and David Ownby, have complained that their interviews with Enquete were edited in a manner that was not representative of their positions.

Ownby, a University of Montreal professor and author of a book on Falun Gong, told an Epoch Times reporter[4] that he is in fact sympathetic to Falun Gong, but that he didn’t feel this was reflected in the clips employed by the CBC program.

On organ harvesting, Prof. Ownby was quoted in the program as saying, “I have not seen proof that Falun Gong is a particular target.” This response from Prof. Ownby is in regards to the organ harvest report itself. However it gives the impression that Prof. Ownby is refuting the idea that Falun Gong believers have been subjected to organ harvesting in China.

This does not accurately relate Prof. Ownby’s entire position, as he outlined in his book, Falun Gong and the Future of China. In his book, Ownby is skeptical whether Falun Gong are specifically targeted for organ harvesting, but adds that “it seems likely that Falun Gong practitioners who are part of the prison population would be candidates for harvesting, in part because the movement has been vilified within China.”

He further adds, “In other words, it does not stretch the bounds of credibility to imagine that some imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have been targets for organ harvesting, and accounts of such are found in Falun Gong sources as early as 1999.”

However, as Enquete presents it, Professor Ownby appears to doubt the possibility that Falun Gong practitioners have been the victims of organ harvesting.

David Kilgour, who, together with human rights lawyer David Matas, has researched allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, also complained of the manner in which his interview with Enquete was portrayed.

After speaking with the CBC journalist for some twenty minutes about the evidence he had collected to support the claims of forced organ removals, the CBC program contained only two brief sound bites from Kilgour. Rather than include any of the substantial evidence in the Kilgour/Matas report, the program only shows Kilgour momentarily suggesting that people read the report. But it does not even give the name of the report or the website address where it can be found.

Commenting on the Enquete program in an Epoch Times interview, Kilgour stated, “David Matas and I have been in about 45 countries talking about this issue and I think I can say that I have never seen such an unfair representation of our position.”

The Kilgour/Matas report is comprehensive; it open-mindedly discusses the issues and evidence from opposing angles, something which is completely absent in the Enquete program. The report also provides 33 points of specific evidence including recorded phone calls with Chinese hospital staff who admit to selling Falun Gong organs. Official phone records, times and numbers substantiate these recorded calls.

Kilgour and Matas have impeccable records of integrity throughout their long careers and have substantiated and corroborated all evidence published in the report which has been supported by the experts in the medical field mentioned above as well as many others.

Not one point of evidence from their report is mentioned in the program.

There are also seven separate corroborating studies clearly listed on the report’s website[5]. They include reports by The United Nations Human Rights Council, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on International Relations by the U.S. House of Representatives and Kirk C. Allison, PhD, MS, Associate Director, Program in Human Rights and Medicine, University of Minnesota.

Not one point from any of these corroborating studies is mentioned in the Enquete program.

The Kilgour/Matas report has also stood up under the scrutiny of the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, who included the allegations in his human rights report on China, and has said he finds the report by Kilgour and Matas to be persuasive and concerning[6]. Some hospitals have stopped providing training to visiting Chinese transplant surgeons[7] for fear that they may have participated in involuntary organ removals from Falun Gong practitioners. Elected officials in Canada[8] [9], the United States, Australia[10] and the European Union have expressed serious concern over the issue, and the Australian government has demanded that China allow open investigations into the organ harvesting allegations.

None of this is mentioned in the Enquete program, despite the fact that Ms. Miller was given the web address to the organ harvest report by Mr. Kilgour when she interviewed him, which Ms. Miller related to Ms. Zhou when she interviewed Ms. Zhou the same day she interviewed Mr. Kilgour.

Instead, Enquete chose to give substantial weight to one dissenting voice, that of Harry Wu.

The editing of the documentary made it appear that Wu was refuting Kilgour and Matas’ findings about organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners when Wu is quoted in the program as saying ”It’s just a lie”. But in reality, if consistent with his past comments, this comment from Wu is only in reference to a single hospital to which Wu claims to have sent investigators. However, there are multiple facilities accused of participating in this extremely lucrative undertaking and Mr. Wu’s investigation cannot be considered conclusive even for that one facility.

This “lie” as presented in the CBC program would suggest that Falun Gong practitioners are liars. It would also make liars of those who have reached the same conclusion in independent corroborating studies. It would make liars of Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas, who would have had to have inexplicably risked their decades of impeccable reputations in publishing and standing behind a report for which they were not paid and which was sure to face enormous scrutiny.

In fact, Mr. Wu has never specifically addressed the content of the Kilgour/Matas report. In March of 2006 Wu expressed skepticism about the claims of two Chinese individuals who were said to possess knowledge of a specific hospital near Shenyang city that they alleged was engaged in organ harvesting. It was this one facility that Wu was referring to when he called it “a lie.”

In fact, Wu has actually stated that he believes it is possible Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to organ harvesting. In an interview[11] with CBS 11 News on Feb 26, 2007, Wu doubted Falun Gong is specifically targeted, but said: "I don't deny that Falun Gong could be killed and organs could be donated."

Enquete leaves the audience with the impression that Wu had investigated and discredited all allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, when in fact he was referring to investigations he claims were undertaken at a single Chinese hospital.

It should also be noted that David Kilgour and David Matas interviewed Wu before they published their findings in the report. On weighing the evidence presented by Wu against other evidence they had collected, (see Appendix 16 “Sujiatun”), Matas and Kilgour concluded that Wu’s attempts to invalidate the allegations even in the one hospital, Sujiatun, were deeply flawed, and did not in any way amount to disproof of forced organ removals from Falun Gong practitioners even in that hospital. This opposing perspective by Matas and Kilgour is not presented by CBC, despite Kilgour having been personally interviewed by Enquete or the fact that this is discussed in the organ harvest report.

Amnesty International is also shown in the program saying they have not found definitive evidence to support the organ harvest claims. It is well known that the Chinese regime completely bans Amnesty International from entering China to investigate any human rights claims and even blocks their websites in China. This makes it hard for anyone to obtain evidence. Also, Amnesty International has never claimed to be an encyclopedia on all human rights abuses. They also never denied these allegations. They only stated an inability to confirm the allegations.

Based on the biased and misleading perspective presented by Enquete, viewers of the program would likely conclude that the organ harvesting allegations have no concrete evidence and have been thoroughly discredited, and that the international community has not regarded the allegations seriously. This is a negligent and misleading presentation by Enquete and highly irresponsible, given what is at stake in terms human life being taken through this horrific crime. The one-sided indication given in this CBC program that these claims are “a lie” is also damaging to the reputations of those mentioned in the program who have investigated and corroborated these claims.

To understand the extent of the bias, the selective use of quotes, and misrepresentation of the organ harvesting from the CBC, we feel it is incumbent upon the Ombudsman to read the organ harvest report titled “Bloody Harvest” including Appendix 16, “Sujiatun” found at:

The distortions in the segment on organ harvesting exceed what has been discussed here and are addressed further in sections five and six. As well, section eight deals with the CBC's treatment of organ harvesting in prior CBC reports and programs, which is also extremely concerning.

2. Misrepresenting and stigmatizing Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s beliefs

Enquete presents Falun Gong as a weird, secretive and suspicious practice. They consistently mischaracterize and also sensationalize Falun Gong’s beliefs while failing to provide viewers with a basic understanding of what Falun Gong is and why practitioners engage in public activities, protests, and appeals. However, contrary to these accusations of secrecy, comprehensive answers to these questions can very easily be found at two websites: and Both sites appear in the top three matches on the first page of a Google search for “Falun Gong”.

Enquete portrays Falun Gong believers as strange and possibly even dangerous, describing them as “militant,” and having “imposed” themselves on Canadian communities, and engaging in bizarre, threatening, and possibly illegal acts. In actuality, Canadian Falun Gong practitioners are members of society in a vast range of professions, many with advanced degrees in education and are law abiding and responsible citizens.

Professor David Ownby states in his research[12] on Falun Gong:

“In sum, Falungong as practiced by Chinese in Canada is a bourgeois movement; the stereotypical practitioner lives in the suburbs and drives a Ford Taurus to her job in computers or finance. Those still in school share similar orientations and aspirations to those already in the work place”.

“My impression after spending considerable time with Chinese-Canadian practitioners is of innocence. These people have discovered what is to them the truth of the universe. They have arrived freely at this discovery, and, if they change their mind, they are free to go on to something else.”

The practice of Falun Gong has been favourably commented on by Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Members of the Provincial Legislatures of Canada. To date, there have been more than seven hundred awards, proclamations, and recognitions issued to Falun Gong and its founder from governments and organizations around the world, including over one hundred proclamations issued by mayors across Canada in recognition of Falun Gong.

Member of Parliament, Scott Reid, tabled a motion[13] which passed unanimously, to rescue persecuted Falun Gong practitioners with Canadian ties. Mr. Reid commented[14]: "I note that every single one of the practitioners who has been admitted to Canada has been a model citizen of this country."

Numerous practitioners have won awards for positive contributions to their communities and for raising awareness to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China[15].

A recent example is Falun Gong practitioner Ramachandran Vaidyanath, who this past September won the Ottawa Civic Appreciation Award for Humanitarianism, a recognition from Canadian society for his efforts to raise awareness and call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

Some additional awards:
· On November 17, 2003, Montreal Falun Gong Practitioner Chen Ruqing received an Outstanding Citizen Award[16] issued by the Immigration Department inside the Quebec Parliament for saving a young girl's life
Ms. Michelle Courchesne, Quebec's Minister of Immigration said, "As far as I know, this is the first Asian Canadian citizen receiving such an honor in Quebec. I am pleased for the contributions of the Chinese community and our Chinese friends to the society. I'd like to say thank you to our Chinese friends."
· In 2002, Ms. Dai Gongyu (English name Grace Wollensak) was recognized[17] by the Canadian government at National Volunteer Week for, “the vital contribution volunteers make to our communities and to the values of our country” for her volunteer work for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada. In 2004, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Cindy Chan received a similar recognition.
· Mr. Xun Li, received[18] Ottawa Civic Appreciation Awards for Humanitarianism in 2005; Ms. Lucy Zhou received a similar award in 2004.
· In 2006, Falun Gong practitioner Kathleen Gillis received a Distinguished Civic Award in the Arts and Culture[19]
· In 2002, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Zhang Zhaojin and Ms. Zhang Tiejun were among 66 people who received awards for their outstanding community volunteer work, issued by the president of the Toronto Canada Day Celebration Council.
· In 2003, Mr. Zhang Zhaojin received the Canada Day Achievement Award.
Ottawa City Councilor Jacques Legendre commented on an appeal site set up by practitioners to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Gong: “I personally pass the spot of the demonstration very frequently. The situation I always see has been one of good order all the time. I think the group is the model of that good order".

Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler commented in his speech[20] during the Canada Falun Dafa Festival on Parliament Hill in 2001:

“Indeed, what we are witnessing today in China is the ’criminalization of innocence’ – the criminalization of a spiritual meditation exercise group – thereby subjecting all its members to intimidation, prosecution, persecution, and imprisonment, for no other reason than that they espoused the basic, fundamental values of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance”.

The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi has been formally nominated for Nobel Prize Peace Prize four times. In 2001 CNN reported that he was one of the frontrunners.

In 2001, Mr. Li. was nominated by 28 members of the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In March 2001, Freedom House honoured Mr. Li and Falun Gong with an International Religious Freedom Award for the advancement of religious and spiritual freedom at a ceremony in US Senate.
Mr. Li has also received numerous other awards, including from the Chinese regime. Please see

In 2005, Edmonton police decided[21] that Falun Gong should be given religious protection and that material spread by the Chinese consulate that defames Falun Gong (similar to the material published in Crescent Chau’s newspaper) constitutes hate propaganda.

Yet Ms. Miller presents a sensationalized description of Falun Gong: “Li Hongzhi thinks that the human race has been contaminated by aliens who created modern science and medicine. To cure his followers, he installs a wheel in their belly.”

By nature, spiritual practices and religions include elements of the supernatural. To selectively extract those that sound most sensational while ignoring their context or any of the broader context of the belief system will of course present the belief as bizarre and strange, especially when the belief itself is not well known within Canada.

In the same vein, Enquete could have described Christianity to those unfamiliar with it as a religion that teaches that burning bushes can talk, seas can part, virgins can give birth, and that a saviour rose from the dead and flew up to heaven where he keeps watch on the believers’ every thought, while omitting any mention of Christianity’s emphasis on love and charity.

Presented to a public that knew little or nothing of Christianity’s beliefs, this would obviously stigmatize Christianity and misrepresent it without a broader understanding of the teachings. This would be unfair to Christianity and would be misleading and inappropriate. This is the manner in which Enquete has presented Falun Gong.

In fact, when put into its proper context of qigong, the planting of a wheel in the abdomens of practitioners is consistent with the evolution of energy mechanisms in all Chinese qigong systems and is easily understood in its appropriate context. Enquete’s sensationalized comments provided no context at all.

The letter we received from the programmer in response to our specific concerns also stated that the program aimed to “explore the… beliefs”. There was no exploration whatsoever other than a one sided, stigmatizing, unresearched, inaccurate and again, misleading, portrayal.

Although Professor Ownby is generally informed about Falun Gong, he erred in one comment, which contrary to the programmer’s response letter, was not “checked several times”.

Professor Ownby was quoted to say that the teacher of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi: “He considers himself as a Buddha, but according to the Buddhist tradition, there may be a lot of Buddhas. He also compares himself to Jesus Christ.”

Such comments could of course be offensive to Christians and Buddhists. In fact, both of these statements are simply not true. Mr. Li has never compared himself to Jesus Christ or called himself a Buddha and has specifically asked Falun Gong practitioners to not call him a Buddha.

Although the program found the time to highlight “sensational” aspects of Falun
Gong’s beliefs, scant mention was made of the practice’s core tenets, which emphasize morality. The simplest representation of Falun Gong’s teachings is the phrase Zhen-Shan-Ren, or “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.” The phrase appears no less than 30 times in Falun Gong’s central book, Zhuan Falun, and is directly eluded to dozens more times. It is the single most important concept in the practice – the characteristic which Falun Gong practitioners use to measure their every action and thought.

In fact, the “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” principle is so pervasive in Falun Gong materials - on flyers, in websites, books, articles, etc., - that mentioning it only once in passing at the start of the program, but leaving it out of the section which briefly addresses Falun Gong’s beliefs would indicate that the programmer’s understanding of the most basic aspects of the subject matter they were broadcasting was extremely limited, or they had intentionally excluded it because it did not fit Enquete’s denigrating characterization of Falun Gong as a “bothersome religious movement” which “creates uneasiness.” Considering that Ms. Miller’s research was fairly extensive as aided by Ms Zhou (which we address later), the latter appears to be more likely.

In short, the Falun Gong believer as presented by Enquete is someone who is different from you or me. Someone who is not “normal”, given what is presented in the program as a bricolage of bizarre beliefs as practiced by what is incorrectly portrayed to be a secretive and media averse group. In light of the persecution that practitioners in China are subjected to and the harassment and intimidation they face in the Chinese diaspora in Canada as fuelled by propaganda[22] exported by the persecuting Chinese regime, this representation is not only misleading, but can incite prejudice and breed intolerance.

3. Suggestions of Falun Gong’s “secrecy” and aversion to the media

A recurring theme in the program suggests that Falun Gong is a secretive organization that is also media-averse. Many who have some knowledge of Falun Gong and its practitioners, would know just the opposite to be true.

In reference to Falun Gong, Ms. Miller states, “We have tried to find out who they really are. We know little of it.”

This is a stunning statement. Falun Gong is far from an underground movement. As mentioned, to find out who Falun Gong “really” is, one needs look no further than the first page of search results on Google.

There one finds websites such as ( in Chinese), where dozens of Falun Gong practitioners every day share their personal stories of practicing Falun Gong principles in their daily lives, the persecution they suffer or have suffered in China, or activities they organized overseas to let people know about the practice and the repression in China.

Another website,, includes a library with all of the practice’s teachings, including dozens of books and audio/visual materials. All are available for free download to the public with a single click.

One will also find listings of locations of group exercise sites worldwide, which are regularly held in public parks. Group study and experience sharing sessions are also often held at universities or community centres.

Additional personal stories can be found on another website,, which also includes hundreds of documents detailing the entire course of the persecution of Falun Gong and elaborates on how practitioners have responded to the persecution. The site also contains third-party documents from sources such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, as well as an extensive reference list of academic sources on Falun Gong.

As can be seen from a short internet search, Falun Gong practitioners are not isolated from society. They hold jobs in all sectors; they are students; they have active family lives, etc. They simply use their spare time to inform people about the persecution suffered by practitioners in China and to help bring that repression to an end.

The existence of such websites, run by volunteers, is visible evidence of Falun Gong’s dedication to providing as much information as possible to anyone who wishes to learn about the practice or the events in China.

Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme also easily found and visited a local Falun Gong practice site where they were welcomed by coordinator Ms. Thanh Nguyen. Ms. Nguyen introduced Falun Gong to them and gave them a few pages of commentaries from past students which stated how good they felt both spiritually, mentally and physically from the practice, none of which was mentioned in the program.

Ms. Miller’s claim that despite her efforts she’s been unable to learn about Falun Gong, is further contradicted in her extensive personal discussion with Ms. Lucy Zhou, after which Ms. Miller said in an email to Ms. Zhou, “the long talk we had in Ottawa gave me a very good insight on the Falon Gong [sic] and it's practitioners”.

On more than one occasion in the program, Ms. Miller informs the audience that Lucy Zhou, a volunteer spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, declined to be interviewed on camera. However, no mention is made of the three-hour conversation Ms. Zhou had with Ms. Miller explaining and answering questions for her regarding the practice, which in Ms. Miller’s own words she found to be “quite helpful indeed”. Neither did the program mention the reason why Ms. Zhou declined to be interviewed.

In their three-hour meeting, Ms. Zhou answered questions ranging from the background of the Montreal legal case to Falun Gong practitioners’ creation of media companies. She explained that Falun Gong practitioners, as any other members of society, are free to form their own business enterprises, and given that Falun Gong and many other groups in China are being persecuted but news of these injustices is censored in Chinese-language press, some practitioners formed media companies that offered an uncensored look at China. Those companies were created and funded independently as personal business enterprises.

Ms. Zhou also explained, and provided copies of court testimony, that despite years of operation in Canada, the Falun Dafa Association had not even opened a bank account. She explained that the Falun Dafa Association was forbidden to accept donations, that the practice of Falun Gong must always be taught at no charge, and that at no time had any money ever been solicited or accepted from any individual, government, organization, etc.

Ms Zhou even offered information to Ms. Miller about other projects begun and funded by practitioners that Ms. Miller had not even asked about.

Though entirely factual, these explanations by Ms. Zhou appear not to have been what the programmers were looking for, as no mention was made of these explanations or the conversation with Ms. Zhou in the broadcast.

Instead, Enquete used a comment from Loic Tasse to raise suspicion about funding: "It’s certain that the culture of secrecy around the Falun Gong is not helping them, because it opens up all these possibilities regarding who could be financing them, and their true objectives, etc."

Immediately after that Ms. Miller says, “These are questions asked by all those we have met during our investigation, because you need money to organize all these events and to run this little media empire.” The program then turns to unsubstantiated quotes suggesting funding from anti-communist organizations, the U.S. government, and Taiwan.

It appears that the programmers took Ms. Zhou’s declining of their request for an on-camera interview as a license to ignore all the relevant facts and other points of view she had provided them with. (Enclosed, please find a collection of much of the information Ms. Zhou provided to Ms. Miller.) The programmers also misportrayed Ms. Zhou’s level of cooperativeness with their project.

In a follow-up to their long face-to-face meeting, Ms. Miller emailed Ms. Zhou on February 4, 2008, “I want to thank you for the very good discussion we had on Friday, It was quite helpful indeed. I've got all your documents safely stored in my office, lots of information for to read. I'll get back to go [sic] soon Have a nice day”.

Ms. Miller added that she was reading the court transcript from the Crescent Chau legal case that Ms. Zhou had provided her with and said she found it “very interesting”.

On February 19, 2008, Ms Miller emailed Ms Zhou, stating, “I've read a lot on the Falon gong [sic], the persecution and the Montreal trial throught the transcript (as I already told you in a previous email.)”

Ms Miller continued, “The focus of the reportage is getting much more precise, the long talk we had in Ottawa gave me a very good insight on the Falon gong [sic] and it's practitioners.”

Yet in the opening minutes of the show Ms. Miller states, "We have tried to find out who they really are. We know little of it.” She then proceeds to call Falun Gong, “a little-known and omnipresent bothersome religious movement.”

Given the openness and generosity of Ms Zhou and the several hours of conversation she had with Ms Miller speaking precisely about Falun Gong and related activities; given the fact that Ms Zhou personally provided a significant amount of supplementary material in hard copy; given the fact that all information about Falun Gong's teachings as well as the actions of Falun Gong practitioners' response to the persecution is available for free and extremely easy to find on the internet, CBC’s portrayal of Falun Gong as secretive and uncooperative is highly dishonest.

Unfortunately, this misleading, one-sided portrayal of Falun Gong pervades the entire broadcast.

In the same email of February 19, 2008, Ms Miller also stated to Ms Zhou, “We've decided my producer and I that the central point of the reportage will be ‘the Montreal trial’”, and adds later, “Of course, the persecution and the Kilgour report will be part of the reportage.”

In the end, the only element of persecution discussed was the claim of organ harvesting, and those reports were one-sidedly attacked without providing a single corroborating piece of evidence, despite many such pieces of evidence being available to the programmers.

Ms. Zhou did express to Ms. Miller that due to past experience she felt there was some censorship in the reporting of the persecution of Falun Gong at CBC and without such context, the program would not be objective or accurate.

Zhou quoted to Miller the following incidents which caused her concern:
  • the extensive editing of the independent documentary, “Beyond the Red Wall” that international media claimed was due to pressure from the Chinese regime,
  • a comprehensive CBC documentary series in 2006 on China had a segment on human rights in China, but completely ignored any mention of the most persecuted group in China today– the Falun Gong.
  • the August 8, 2007 10 O’clock National News has a program on “Boycotting the Olympics” where the CBC completely cut David Kilgour`s words on organ harvesting of “Falun Gong practitioners”, which was his key reason for Boycotting the Olympics.

Though Ms. Miller initially promised her program would cover everything including the persecution which set the context of why Falun Gong practitioners initiate efforts to stop the persecution, and also the hatred spread into Chinatown by Crescent Chau. Ms Miller did inform Ms Zhou in a later email that after a discussion with her producer, she and her producer had decided that the persecution would not be a focus of the program.

Ms. Zhou insisted on a conversation with the producer Leon Laflamme before considering an interview. In the conversation with Mr. Leon Laflamme, he made it clear that the persecution will not be part of the program. Ms. Zhou then raised the concern that without the context of the persecution and defamation campaign against Falun Gong or Mr. Chau’s role in supporting it, viewers simply could not receive an objective perspective of what had unfolded in Montreal. Not wishing to lend her name to a program she believed would be misleading, Ms. Zhou then declined to be interviewed on camera.

Ms. Zhou also expressed to both Miller and Laflamme that CBC should not give a stage to a hate campaign that justifies a persecution at the time when the torture and killing of practitioners is on-going. Nor should CBC be helping the regime to further their hate propaganda against Falun Gong. Mr. Joel Chipkar from Falun Dafa Association also emailed Miller on reasons why the association declined the interview, citing that the lawsuit against Crescent Chau was still ongoing and that it would not be appropriate to discuss this on camera. (see attached)

Ms. Zhou also made clear to the programmers on multiple occasions, including in her three-hour face-to-face meeting with Ms. Miller, that the persecution was essential context to the events that had transpired in Montreal’s Chinatown and that Falun Gong had been practiced in Montreal since 1996 where there was not a single issue with Falun Gong in the Chinese community before the persecution began in 1999. Even Mr. Chau had no complaints about Falun Gong until he was approached and offered money to publish the defamatory articles against Falun Gong by a woman who would be shown to have close ties to the Chinese regime.

In reality, the articles[23] published in Mr. Chau’s paper repeated many of the false accusations about Falun Gong initiated by the Chinese regime (and refuted by numerous human rights groups as propaganda intended to justify the persecution), such as that the practice leads to murder, suicide, the destruction of families, dangers to health, etc. He expressed support for the regime’s crackdown on Falun Gong and an intention to extend the elimination of Falun Gong to Canada. Mr. Chau was paraded as a hero in the Chinese regime’s own media in China. It should be noted that the Quebec Appeals Court determined[24] that La Presse Chinoise and its owner, Crescent Chau, made "misleading and defamatory" statements when they accused, without proof, "certain people of criminal and perverted acts."

The Enquete program provided none of this information as to why Ms. Zhou refused to be interviewed on camera or the fact that she had been very generous and open while speaking with Ms. Miller and had even helped provide Ms Miller with significant research material. CBC instead portrayed Ms Zhou and Falun Gong as being evasive, uncooperative and secretive. The manipulation of these facts is both immoral and journalistically reprehensible.

Unfortunately, Enquete’s negative distortions of Ms. Zhou extended even further.

The program includes short clips of Ms. Zhou avoiding being recorded on camera in which she appears nervous or unsettled. The suggestion is that Ms. Zhou is avoiding the media and has something to hide. In reality, Ms. Zhou’s reactions were incited by intrusive and even harassing behaviour on the part of CBC after Ms. Zhou had politely declined to be interviewed for this program.

In one of the clips shown of Ms. Zhou, she was in fact asking the cameraman who he was and which organization he was from, as she put her hand in front of the camera.

“I don’t want to be on your camera. Can I ask, who are you? Which organization you are from?” says Ms Zhou in the Enquete program. Obviously the CBC cameraman did not identify himself before recording Ms Zhou at close range. Also, there is no French translation provided in the program for Ms. Zhou’s questions to the cameraman, which would communicate that she was simply asking for the cameraman’s identity.

On that day, April 5, 2008, Ms. Zhou was with Montreal practitioners in Montreal’s Zhongshan Park. Ms Zhou was speaking with a Montreal practitioner when the cameraman directly approached her unannounced and began videotaping her at a short distance. He did not identify himself, which organization he was with and did not ask Ms. Zhou permission to tape her. With her private space being intruded upon, and not knowing who had the camera pointed at her at close range, Ms. Zhou was understandably uncomfortable being recorded by this unknown person.

Shortly after this, Ms Miller and producer Leon Laflamme arrived unexpectedly, to Ms Zhou’s surprise. As Ms Zhou was speaking with them, she noticed that the boom operator had their sound mic pointed at her and that she was also being videotaped again. Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme were already aware that Ms Zhou had declined to be interviewed for the program. Ms Zhou realized that her conversation with Ms. Miller and Mr. Laflamme was being taped and voice recorded. At this point Ms Zhou walked away from Ms Miller and Mr. Laflamme.

The Enquete program comments on this footage by saying, “For weeks we tried to get an interview with her. She refused to talk to us in front of the camera, saying she was not the organizer of this demonstration.”

It is misleading and disingenuous to portray this footage in such a way since both Ms Miller and Mr. Laflamme knew that Ms Zhou had already declined to be interviewed before they unexpectedly showed up that day in Chinatown and they already knew the reason why.

Despite Ms Zhou’s help and good will, CBC ignored Ms Zhou’s request to stay off camera and followed and taped Ms Zhou against her wishes on more than one occasion. Ms Zhou was under no obligation to be interviewed. This kind of behaviour by a national, publicly funded broadcaster to harass and disparage a citizen who had only been open, generous and helpful to their program is deplorable.

On another occasion, CBC again trained its camera on Ms Zhou in a public space and CBC again misrepresented Ms Zhou in their program, as well as the circumstances at that time.

At this point in the program, Enquete shows a rally at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and the narration states, “A few weeks later, Falun Gong counter-attacks with shocking news. In China, 4000 followers would have been butchered and their organs sold, in some cases while they were still alive. Ever since, across the planet in various public areas, followers recreate torture, jailing and organ harvesting scenarios.”

However, the main purpose of this rally, on May 2, 2008, was to raise awareness of mass arrests of Falun Gong practitioners in China by the Chinese regime in the run up to the Olympics.

We have included five photos of this event. In three of the photos, the organizer, and speaker of the event, Xun Li, the president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, is seen speaking at a microphone. In these three photos, a man dressed in black with a professional quality camera is filming Mr. Li. There is nothing on the man’s body or clothing to identify which organization he is with. Photos showing three sides of the man’s camera show that there is nothing on the camera to identify which organization he is with. He is taping both handheld and on a tripod. We have included another photo of the cameraman and boom operator later during the event, which again shows that there is no indication of where they are from. All that is visible is a small Canadian flag stuck loosely on the side of the camera.

The cameraman filmed most, if not all of what Mr. Li said, which would include the purpose of the rally and would clearly show that Mr. Li was the organizer.

In another photo, Alex Neve, the Secretary General for Amnesty International Canada is shown speaking at the rally regarding the mass arrests in China. Mr. Li and MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj who also spoke, are seen in the background.

There was also an identifiable CBC crew that came to shoot the rally. They took a few minutes of footage and left, which is the norm for these kinds of situations. In one photo it is clear that other media, such as CTV, are also present and taping, but Enquete’s program gives no indication of this. All of these media were invited to attend the rally, via media release sent out by the FDAC and were welcomed to ask any questions in regards to Falun Dafa and the persecution at will. This again belies CBC’s claim that Falun Gong is media averse and secretive.

The cameraman with no discernable identification and his boom operator stayed on hand, continuing to record long since the rally started in the morning. At one point a Falun Gong practitioner asked the cameraman which organization he was with and he said he was with CBC.

The Enquete narration for the rally continues, “In Ottawa, they [Falun Gong] regularly gather on Parliament Hill to fully deploy their media machine and gather signatures to incite the House of Commons to condemn the Chinese regime. Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed.”

Ms. Zhou is then shown on camera blocking her face from being taped.

Ms Zhou was not the organizer of the rally. She did not speak at the rally. She was not participating in the torture exhibits, which were used to raise awareness of the various tortures suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in China. She was not holding any banners. She was not participating in the group exercises being done by a group of Falun Gong practitioners. She was not a member of the marching band that played at the rally. She was simply present at the rally.

After the rally had been ongoing for some time, a Falun Gong practitioner who knows Ms Zhou
approached her to ask if she had noticed that a cameraman was taping her for extended stretches of time. Ms Zhou hadn’t noticed and looked toward the cameraman, who turned out to be the same one taping Mr. Li later that day seen in the photos. By that point, Ms Zhou had learned that the cameraman was from CBC.

The cameraman was standing at a distance with the camera pointed at Ms Zhou, keeping it fixed on her. She found this odd, as she was not involved in the rally events at that moment and was not even wearing any Falun Gong t-shirt or button.

Since other activities for the rally were happening at that time, it seemed strange that this cameraman was so focused on Ms Zhou. Additionally, Ms Zhou had been at many rallies during the nine years of persecution against Falun Gong and had never seen a situation where a cameraperson was focusing their taping on one individual picked from the crowd.

This is why Ms Zhou approached the cameraman to ask if he would stop taping her. The cameraman kept the camera rolling and the portion of tape shown in the program is the portion where Ms Zhou is asking him to stop taping her.

However, the Enquete narration in the program describes this as, “Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed.”

It should also be noted that the response to Ms Zhou’s understandable request to no longer be taped by this cameraman who works for our publicly funded broadcaster, was met with the response that he could shoot whatever he wants because it’s a public event.

Enquete’s cameraman taped the speeches, so the cameraman’s footage would have clearly shown Enquete’s producer that Ms Zhou was not the organizer.

Enquete’s footage would have also shown Ms Zhou walking toward the cameraman and asking him to stop taping her.

However, in the program, Enquete gives no context for why Ms Zhou is on camera and completely misrepresents the situation.

For Enquete to knowingly misportray this situation as, “Once again, Lucy Zhou, the organizer, refuses to be filmed” shows again that Enquete manufactured a negative perception of Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners to support their false claim that Falun Gong is secretive and uncooperative.

The program ends with a note that Falun Gong “no longer takes interview requests.” This is another false statement. To any newsroom journalist in the country, this statement would smack of absurdity. Falun Gong practitioners across the country regularly send out press releases to media with the names and contact information of spokespersons eager to be interviewed. The Enquete program in fact marks the first and only time that Ms. Zhou has ever declined a media interview.

4. Manipulative presentation, including the use of camera angles and music when depicting Falun Gong

We would also ask that the Ombudsman observe the use of music and visual depiction in the program, used to create a negative depiction of Falun Gong and a starkly contrasting positive depiction of those who speak against Falun Gong.

It is well known that music is a vital part of movies and television programming. Intricate detail is placed into the use and choice of music, moment by moment, in all programming and is a vital communication tool that sets tone and operates as both a conscious and subliminal language.

Throughout the program, when Falun Gong is shown or aspects that are attributed to Falun Gong are addressed, the music often clearly switches to an ominous, dark tone. This starts in the opening minutes of the program, when ominous music begins as Falun Gong is first depicted on screen and highlighted with a sharp, eerie accent in the music the moment the words “Falun Dafa” appear in close up on screen, written on the cover of a Falun Dafa flyer. The music continues as a foreboding and ominous sounding track while Falun Gong is shown on screen.

There are also odd camera angles and perspectives used, such as in the footage at the Parliament Hill rally, which create a strange and unbalanced perspective of Falun Gong. This, as with the music is a conscious and intentional choice. It is basic film language and it is very obvious.

The use of the music and visual depiction throughout “Malaise in Chinatown” is intended to make Falun Gong appear strange, weird and unbalanced and obviously used to put Falun Gong in a suspicious, dangerous and uncertain light.

By contrast, the first time Crescent Chau is introduced on screen the music immediately changes to a positive, upbeat, industrious sounding theme. This is accompanied by quick cuts of Chau working at his desk using strong, positive camera angles. He is even afforded a “hero” effect in a semi-slow motion shot of him as he sits contemplating at his desk, creating the impression of thoughtfulness, calmness and stability. Again, a very obvious choice by Enquete which is in stark contrast to their depiction of Falun Gong.

When Mai Chiu is introduced, her image is shown smiling on a campaign billboard and then she is shown smiling and holding a baby. She then proceeds to raise suspicions about Falun Gong on camera through personal opinion and speculation, while Enquete provides no substantiation for her comments.

5. Allegations that Falun Gong misrepresented the positions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch

The report implied that the Falun Gong community was misrepresenting the positions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch with respect to organ harvesting allegations, stating that “By looking at Falun Gong flyers, one could believe that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International approves of Kilgour’s report. But that is not what we found out. ”

The flyer in question does indeed contain quotes from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch:

Falungong members are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, and there is no excuse for the human rights violations they have endured. …The charge that Falungong threatens the stability of China does not hold up," said Jones. "Its claim that belief in Falungong is a public health menace is equally bogus. The danger to health comes from the treatment its practitioners receive at the hands of the police and prison officials."
- Human Rights Watch [Logo]

In 2006 Amnesty International raised concerns that,
“the official campaign of public vilification of Falun Gong in the official Chinese press has created a climate of hatred against Falun Gong practitioners, which may be encouraging acts of violence against them.”
- Amnesty International [logo]

However, the quotes have nothing to do with organ harvesting. The quotes condemn the Chinese government’s treatment of Falun Gong and the Chinese government’s attempts to incite hatred towards Falun Gong in order to rally support for its persecution of Falun Gong. These statements are made independent of the organ harvesting allegations, and are even placed under their own distinct heading in the flyer, which clearly separates them from the section that addresses organ harvesting.

The persecution against Falun Gong is multi-faceted, and the flyer provides an overview of the persecution with information of its various manifestations, including the torture and killing of practitioners, the propaganda campaign waged against them, as well as allegations of organ harvesting.

We have included a copy of the flyer in question. This is yet another example of the numerous misleading, inaccurate and dishonest aspects of this program – all of which are meant to present Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners in a negative light.

Enquete also contacted Amnesty International to inquire as to whether AI had supported the Kilgour/Matas report based on Enquete’s false claim that AI supported the report in the flyer. If Enquete related this false claim to AI in their discussion, this could serve to damage the relationship between a persecuted group and a trusted defender of human rights. Along with other reparations we request at the end of this submission, we ask that Enquete contact AI and set the record straight, which is that there was no such commentary in the flyer.

6. False allegation that organ harvest report was response to a legal setback

The CBC program attempted to draw an erroneous connection between a Quebec court decision to deny a claim by Falun Gong plaintiffs and the surfacing of organ harvesting allegations against Falun Gong believers in China, stating: "December 7th 2005, Falun Gong suffers a heavy loss. The Superior court rejects the case of 232 practitioners against Crescent Chau [...] A few weeks later, Falun Gong counter-attacks with shocking news. In China, 4000 followers would have been butchered and their organs sold, in some cases while they were still alive."

The facts in this statement are false, as is the implied connection between the two events that have no connection at all. One is a court case by Canadian Falun Gong practitioners in Montreal. The other is regarding reports of Falun Gong organ harvesting in China, first claimed by two individuals in the United States who do not even practice Falun Gong.

In fact, more than three months had passed from the December 7 Montreal court decision before the organ harvesting allegations first surfaced in March 2006, not “a few weeks” as Ms. Miller asserted. Falun Gong practitioners involved in the court case responded to the December decision by filing for appeal less than a month later, in January 2006, not by cooking up gruesome stories of abuse in China.

Two individuals made the initial reports[25] of organ harvesting against Falun Gong practitioners in China – the former wife of a Chinese surgeon and a journalist who had been stationed in Japan. Neither practiced Falun Gong. When these individuals came forward with these disturbing reports in the U.S., Falun Gong practitioners naturally revealed these accounts to the public and called on governments and international bodies to carry out independent investigations. Media outlets such as The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television also reported the claims of these individuals and likewise called for investigations. These responses to the allegations were due to the seriousness and gravity of the claims made, not due to some lawsuit with a newspaper publisher in Canada.

The journalist or producer appears to have relied solely on their own opinions or imaginations in linking these two events, but the misleading consequences are severe. By framing the organ harvesting reports as merely a “counter-attack” to a negative court ruling, and by omitting all of the supporting evidence of organ harvesting against Falun Gong, as well as distorting comments by those who were interviewed for this segment, the programmers have made it literally impossible for viewers to form a fair and objective conclusion about the merits of the organ harvesting report. The program clearly suggests that allegations of organ harvesting being committed against Falun Gong practitioners have little or no merit and concludes this while leaving out all evidence that supports these allegations. Given the weight of the claims in question and considering the potential humanitarian consequences, such journalistic bias is both concerning and highly irresponsible.

7. Biased portrayal of Falun Gong and the Chinese New Year Spectacular

Enquete endeavours to marginalize Falun Gong further by connecting it to, and then negatively portraying, a Chinese New Year production called the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

Enquete displays a couple of apparent references to Falun Gong from the show’s contents on the screen and then quotes Ms. May Chiu as saying the show is intended to “recruit”. Enquete’s Ms. Miller then proclaims: “Many politicians, including the premier Jean Charest and the mayor of Montreal Gerald Tremblay, had actually endorsed the show. Their offices now say that the producers lacked transparency by hiding their links with Falun Gong. In Quebec, we were told that next time they won’t give support to an event which divides the Chinese community.”

First of all, artistic shows naturally appeal to different tastes and are subject to different interpretations. By selecting Ms. Chiu’s negative comments as the lone voice on the Chinese New Year Spectacular, Enquete did not provide its viewers the impression of the vast majority of audience members. In fact, the Spectacular received well over 95% positive response in audience surveys (referring to “very good” or “excellent” ratings) with the majority of audience members calling the show “excellent”.

Consider the comments from award winning professor, writer, and poet Cyril Dabydeen, who has served as a juror for the Governor General Award for Literature: "Here tonight was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced… It transported me back in time, in a sense of a beautiful, wonderful, quintessential Chinese culture."

Professor Dabydeen is not alone. As the accompanying collection of quotes from prominent artists, politicians, and other leaders demonstrates, comments like these were extremely common from those who watched the Spectacular.

Please visit the website and attached quotes for hundreds of detailed and documented interviews from audience members, including comments from distinguished Canadian artists and scholars. (go to News tab).

Second, the Spectacular is not purely a Falun Gong show, as Enquete may have viewers believe. While it is true that some of the programs touch on Falun Gong, it should also be mentioned that the show includes programs than span China’s vast geography, varied ethnic traditions, and 5,000 years of culture – from Manchurian, Mongolian, and Tibetan dances to the legend of the Lady of the Moon to the story of China’s greatest general: Yue Fei, of the Song Dynasty. In this context, Falun Gong practitioners’ faith and their peaceful resistance and endurance amidst brutal injustice and persecution provide a modern-day example of traditional Chinese virtues in action – context omitted in the Enquete broadcast.

Third, organizers of the Chinese New Year Spectacular are not deceiving politicians about the nature of the show in order to coax letters of support. Politicians and their staffs are invited to attend the show, and many have. Diplomats, federal and provincial cabinet ministers, mayors and councilors, and numerous other elected officials at all levels have attended the show in Canada, and they have been nearly unanimous in their praise of the show. It is worth noting that programs touching on Falun Gong are regularly among the most popular.

In fact, the Falun Dafa Association co-presented about half of shows in Canada last year and will present all shows to be held in Canada this year. Enquete’s portrayal of the Spectacular is designed to present any association with Falun Gong as a stigma to the show. However, our association’s name was printed as a presenter on the flyers, ads, websites, and other promo materials for the Spectacular shows and over 20,000 Canadians – including officials, arts leaders and other VIPs – did not hold the same bias as Enquete, and did not find our association to be a stigma.

In his letter to those attending the Mid-Autumn Spectacular presented by the Falun Dafa Association of Toronto in late September, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote: “I am certain that everyone in attendance will enjoy the exceptional artistic performances, as well as the colourful display of costumes and lights that this event brings,”. “The organizers and performers are to be commended for sharing the richness of Chinese cultural heritage and traditions with the community at large.”

In fact, to our knowledge, no Canadian politician has accused the show organizers of “hiding” links to Falun Gong, nor that the show “divides the community”. This again is rhetoric echoed by CBC that has directly come from the Chinese consulates and Embassies who have been continually attacking the show because of its Falun Gong content. To our knowledge, Mr. Charest and Mr. Tremblay also had not made such comments before being contacted by Enquete. Given that Ms. Miller also says in the program (as noted in our first letter of complaint) that Falun Gong gatherings “divide the community” and that our mere presence in a city creates “malaise”, it seems very likely that Enquete journalists provided the same biased and misleading perception of Falun Gong when contacting the premier’s and mayor’s offices, perhaps in an effort to generate a response from those offices that would be unfavourable to Falun Gong. If so, this was highly unethical and must be corrected.

8. Treatment and misrepresentation of the persecution against Falun Gong

Though Enquete did not provide the context of the persecution of Falun Gong, it did allude to events that preceded the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong. Unfortunately, this content did not provide viewers with a clear understanding of what took place. As we believe it is important to understand these events clearly, we will briefly provide an explanation and clarification below.

In the program, Ms. Miller stated, “It was thus with a shock that the Chinese government discovered on April 25, 1999 just how large the movement was. 10,000 practitioners dared confront it. They silently surrounded the seat of the communist party in Beijing in order to protest against a few arrests of followers.”

The Chinese regime was actually well aware of the number of practitioners before April 25, 1999. In late 1998 the regime conducted a survey that indicated there were between 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners in China alone. The figure[26] of 70 million or “at least 70 million” were also reported by the New York Times twice as well as the Associated Press:

Also, the practitioners did not “confront” the regime, and their silent, peaceful appeal outside Party headquarters at Zhongnanhai on April 25 was not simply the result of “a few arrests of followers.”

Though the Chinese regime had sponsored roughly 50 introductory classes of Falun Gong in the early 90’s and state media had openly acknowledged the benefits of the practice on a number of occasions, the rapid growth and popularity of Falun Gong, which included spiritual teachings in line with traditional Chinese culture, became a concern for the Communist regime, which is officially atheist. Printing of the official text of Falun Gong called, Zhuan Falun, was ceased in 1996.

By April 1999, the Chinese regime had already started its propaganda campaign against Falun Gong. One particularly deceitful article that had been published in state media, lead to a peaceful protest outside the publisher’s office in Tianjin, China. On April 23, 1999, state police violently beat and dispersed the practitioners in Tianjin, and arrested 45.

On April 25, practitioners silently congregated at the appeals office in Beijing located next to the leadership headquarters, called Zhongnanhai. Many in Beijing and Tianjin (an hour train ride from Beijing) were actually instructed by police and other Communist officials to go to the appeals office with their concerns about the Tianjin arrests. Practitioners were appealing for the release of their fellow practitioners and for the right to practice in peace without harassment. They had no signs, no slogans and the entire day was quiet and peaceful.

Considering the overall number of practitioners in China and the fact that numerous Falun Gong exercise sites in Beijing had over 1,000 practitioners every morning, some with 2-3 thousand and many smaller ones, 10,000 is actually a small number, even within Beijing.

There were no arrests, the scene was quiet and peaceful and practitioners thoroughly cleaned the streets before dispersing that evening including even the policemen’s cigarette butts.

Western media, such as the Washington Post, reported that the decision to crack down on Falun Gong was Jiang Zemin’s alone who was the head of the Chinese regime at the time, and that among the other six members of the ruling Standing Committee of the Politburo, none initially supported the action[27]. It was said that Jiang was upset that the premier, Zhu Rongji, the second in command among party members, had gained praise for handling the large demonstration of Falun Gong practitioners peacefully and by hearing their concerns. Jiang was in a power struggle with Mr. Zhu and it is believed that his jealousy surrounding this incident led to the grossly disproportionate response to Falun Gong’s peaceful appeal for their rights.

This information about the onset of the persecution, including third party sources, is readily available on the easily accessible sites previously listed.

Aside from a vague, momentary reference to persecution at the beginning of the Enquete program there was no attempt to examine numerous other forms of persecution suffered by Falun Gong. The only other reference Enquete makes to deaths and abuse suffered by Falun Gong inside China is in relation to organ harvesting, for which the program states they’ve found no proof and which is implied to be discredited.

By focusing on only one element of the persecution (organ harvesting) and single-mindedly endeavouring to discredit it, Enquete raises doubts in viewers’ minds as to the credibility of the entire persecution Falun Gong has suffered in China. This is exasperated, for example, by Enquete’s efforts to portray the torture exhibitions as an action that practitioners began only after the organ harvesting allegations were made. In fact, the torture exhibitions had been employed by practitioners for years[28] before the organ-harvesting allegations surfaced as a means to inform the public about the persecution practitioners suffered in China.

In nine years of persecution, over 3,200 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have been killed[29] as a result of torture and abuse in Chinese prisons and labor camps. The actual number is estimated to be much higher. Falun Gong accounts for two-thirds of all torture cases in China as reported[30] through the

UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture in 2006. The U.S. State Department has noted that Falun Gong practitioners are believed to comprise fully half of China’s labour camp population[31] with estimates numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Practitioners are routinely sentenced without trial and denied legal representation. Falun Gong practitioners have documented over 100 different torture methods[32] suffered by practitioners, including physical, psychological and psychiatric tortures. This information is also readily accessible with a simple internet search.

Dozens of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners have themselves been tortured[33] [34], have witnessed fellow Falun Gong practitioners being beaten to near death in detention, and have lost friends and relatives to the persecution. Some Canadians[35] [36] have relatives suffering in labour camps at this moment. Journalists at some of the world’s most respected news organizations have documented grisly torture deaths of Falun Gong practitioners, including a series[37] [38] [39] in the Wall Street Journal that earned Canadian journalist Ian Johnson the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. The proof of mistreatment, torture, and killings of Falun Gong practitioners is abundant, and has been documented by the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others.

The above organizations have also reported on the Chinese government’s campaign to dehumanize and vilify Falun Gong in an attempt to undermine public sympathy for its practitioners and justify their imprisonment and torture. The Chinese government’s campaign is not unrelated to the personal campaign of Crescent Chau, who published defamatory articles against Falun Gong that were paid for by a woman with ties to the Chinese government, and who repeated baseless slurs against Falun Gong made by the Chinese regime. Far from simply criticizing Falun Gong’s doctrine, Chau’s articles falsely accused Falun Gong practitioners of committing murder, suicide, engaging in bestiality and sucking blood. Chau called for the group’s eradication from Canada, presumably through the same means employed by the Chinese government. David Ownby has called Chau’s articles on Falun Gong “unsubstantiated filth poured upon the page,” and Chau twice defied court orders to cease publishing these attacks on Falun Gong.

No mention of any of this is made in the CBC program. Instead, Crescent Chau is portrayed as a leader in Montreal’s Chinese community, unfairly victimized by the Falun Gong.

Enquete also includes a clear implication that Falun Gong sent Chau a death threat – an extremely serious crime - for which there is no evidence linking Falun Gong. The only evidence is an anonymous letter claimed to have been received by Chau, who has also published material in his newspaper claiming that Falun Gong practitioners are vampires.

It is in fact the question Enquete initially asks Chau that introduces the idea that a death threat was sent by Falun Gong. It is Enquete’s question that manufactures the implication. They ask Chau, “What makes you

think it comes from Falun Gong?” to which Chau responds, “I cannot say so. What I understand of this letter, is that someone wants me to stop acting against Falun Gong.”

Chau’s answer avoids directly making a false accusation of a death threat, but Enquete’s choice of question has already made that clear implication to the audience.

Since 1999, Falun Gong has suffered a severe persecution and defamation campaign at the hands of the Chinese Communist regime. This campaign has even extended beyond China’s borders to Canada and other countries[40] [41] [42]. Despite all this, no practitioners anywhere have committed or even threatened violence in response to these abuses. Enquete’s damaging and clear implication that Falun Gong sent a death threat is based on sheer speculation and presented with no questions asked and no caveats with respect to the credibility of Chau who produced this anonymous death threat. Enquete again puts Falun Gong in a negative, deceptive light.

While Chau’s comments on Falun Gong are treated as credible in the CBC program, Falun Gong practitioners who have responded to persecution by peacefully raising awareness are portrayed by CBC as disseminating propaganda, imposing on Canadians and dividing communities.

The decision of the show’s producers not to give treatment to the persecution of Falun Gong is not what CBC’s Ombudsman David Bazay recommended in 2003, in his comments on a complaint filed by the Falun Dafa Association when the CBC aired a “news piece” directly from CCTV, the Chinese regime’s owned and operated news channel, where the biased report blatantly accused a Falun Gong practitioner of murder. The CBC in turn had to run a correction. Mr. Bazay stated that, because Falun Gong practitioners are the victims of a persecution it is, “all the more reason why, in future stories, greater care should be taken to reflect the relevant points of view within the relevant context.”

9. Concerns over CBC’s past handling of organ harvesting allegations

As worrisome as the CBC’s treatment of the organ-harvesting allegations in this program is, it is even more concerning that the network’s biased reporting on this topic appears to be forming a pattern.

As referred to previously, on August 8, 2007, one year before the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, a CBC 10 o’clock [in the evening] news segment interviewed David Kilgour about his stance on the Games. Kilgour spoke in detail about the content of his investigation into organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. However, in its editing of the news segment, CBC removed all audio from Kilgour that mentioned Falun Gong as the victims of organ harvesting. CBC instead inserted a reference to organ harvesting victims simply as political prisoners. That China’s organ transplant industry is supplied with the organs of death row prisoners is hardly a new revelation; the importance of Kilgour’s report lies in the recognition that many of these victims are Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, most of whom were imprisoned for their beliefs without trial. The United Nations comments published Friday specifically highlight Falun Gong practitioners as organ harvesting victims. CBC was willing to report organ harvesting as long as it did not include the possibility that Falun Gong practitioners are among the victims.

On Nov 6, 2007, CBC was scheduled to air an independent documentary titled “Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong.” After years in the making, the film was pulled just hours before it was set to air. International media outlets reported that CBC pulled the documentary after receiving a phone call from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa urging that it not be aired. The CBC then proceeded to undergo several rounds of editing to the documentary, airing the new version two weeks later. In the edited film, evidence to support allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience was substantially deleted, as were discussions of the moral ramifications of awarding Beijing the Olympic Games (for which CBC was the official Canadian broadcaster). One deleted segment, for instance, had played actual recordings of telephone conversations with Chinese hospital staff in which the staff admitted they were selling Falun Gong organs. However, Chinese government denials of organ harvesting were kept in the re-edited program, and a new comment was added by CBC, again saying Amnesty International had not confirmed the reports (though ignoring that many respected organizations and individual experts had endorsed Kilgour and Matas’s findings).

10. CBC influenced by the Chinese communist regime?

In its response to our initial letter, the programmer asserted that any suggestions that its editorial content had been influenced by the Beijing regime were “baseless allegations”.

While we would certainly hope that to be the case, Falun Gong practitioners and other informed viewers are understandably concerned about this prospect due to:

· The above points regarding the CBC’s blatant, repeated censoring of organ harvesting facts from an independent documentary, news reports and the Enquete program
· Enquete’s biased and misleading treatment of Falun Gong as elaborated in detail above
· The fact that CBC immediately acted on the Chinese regime’s complaints by pulling and re-editing the independent documentary, “Beyond the Red Wall,” just hours before air time, but ignored the complaints of Falun Gong after the first airing of “Malaise dans le Chinatown” and instead re-aired the same unedited program two more times in succeeding days
· The admitted pressure CBC has received from the Chinese regime, including phone calls and pressure on journalists in China
· The fact that the Enquete program clearly shows that CBC ignored the CBC Ombudsman’s prior caution that programmers must ensure that the proper context and relevant points of view were included in future broadcasts on Falun Gong after the network aired a baseless claim from the Chinese regime against the practice in 2003

In January 2008, CBC’s website was blocked by Chinese censorship authorities. As expressed in a CBC April 4th news broadcast, CBC said it believed the blockage was caused by the airing of “Beyond the Red Wall”, which the report called, “a controversial documentary on the Falun Gong”. The report commented that the Chinese regime felt that the documentary “was overly sympathetic to it [to Falun Gong].”

In a letter of complaint to the Chinese Embassy, CBC called the blockage “a matter of the gravest importance” and CBC news publisher John Cruickshank said, “This is a situation that we can’t let continue” .

We note that the producers of Enquete began contacting Falun Gong practitioners in late January, at a time when the CBC site was blocked.

We also note that it is striking how CBC has targeted the precise aspects of Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s response to the persecution that are the common, specific targets of the Chinese regime and addresses them in a similar fashion, using speculation, innuendo and sheer invention. We further note that CBC also avoids the many aspects of proof of persecution as well as the detailed evidence in the organ harvest report that are likewise avoided by the Chinese regime.


The Enquete program was not in keeping with CBC’s valued reputation of journalistic integrity. It also was not in keeping with the spirit of the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices.

In order to rectify the negative impression this broadcast has created, it is not enough for CBC programmers to simply dismiss any influence by the Chinese regime and deny any and all errors and misconduct on their part. The CBC will need to demonstrate fairness and correct the misperceptions and harm they have caused by compensating for this misleading, unbalanced, and discriminatory broadcast.

We believe that, as reparation for the damage done to the Falun Gong community, the CBC must issue a retraction and apology for the airing of the program, which in our view was misleading, damaging and an expression of religious intolerance. We also believe the CBC owes its viewers, and those affected by the Enquete program, clarification for the many misleading points presented in this broadcast and, in particular, a fair examination of the allegations of organ harvesting and the work that Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas have done. We also feel CBC must write an apology to Mr. Charest, Mr. Tremblay, and Amnesty International to correct the misrepresentations and damage created by CBC that may have harmed our relationship with these people.

Having said this, we are encouraged by your agreement to meet with us to discuss this matter. The Enquete program inaccurately portrayed Falun Gong, representatives of our association, and the events that unfolded in Montreal, as we have described above. We hope that you will understand that it is in the interest of fairness, decency and honesty that these issues be clarified for CBC’s viewers.


Xun Li
President of Falun Dafa Association of Canada


[12]Falun Gong and Canada’s China Policy”, International Journal, Spring, 2001,