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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I'm dismayed that a full trial will not go ahead to protect the rights of Falun Gong practitioners who have held a peaceful vigil in front of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver for the last few years.
Why don't we support these Chinese-Canadians in raising awareness about the atrocious persecution of their followers and family members?
Why would we in Vancouver go along with the harsh party-line and cave in under pressure?
It's high time our politicians said no to the Chinese Consulate and became more in touch with the needs of Vancouverites instead.
Diluting and corrupting our free speech is not the Canadian way.
Calgary Sun: April 27 -- I'm thankful for gutsy MP Rob Anders for making a statement on China's appalling human rights abuses. He should be praised for this brave gesture and an act of civil duty rather than criticized. I wouldn't be surprised if many politicians felt the same way but don't dare to speak their mind for fear of retribution. Let's face it; the Olympic spirit was tarnished the moment we gave the Games to China. It's time to make a stand for human rights and dignity. Never mind, let's just give the Games back to Greece.
(It's a free country. Anders has a right to speak his mind no matter
what the Liberals say.) NO KIDDING!
LETTER TO THE EDITOR --
It is despicable, but not surprising that Chinese Ambassador to Malta CHAI XI would openly defame Falun Gong and fabricate lies about their belief. Somebody should tell him that this isn’t China where people have been brainwashed to believe that Falun Gong are criminals. As the teachings are widely publicized and available for free download on the internet, it’s not a secret that Falun Gong of the Buddha School holds human life in the highest regard. They simply don’t kill themselves or others to go to heaven and are anti-violent. Not once in nine years of persecution have Falun Gong adherents retaliated in the face of brutal torture, including organ thefts by the brutal regime.
However, it is well known in the free world that Beijing’s platform to retain power and oppress people at will is based on pure communist party propaganda and brutality. This surprise attack on Tibet is a prime example. The fact that over 300 thugs dressed up as monks committed acts of violence in the streets explains to what extent Beijing is ready to go to portray the victims as the perpetrators and the number one enemy.
But, this thing has gone too far now and I don’t think people believe those kind of lies coming from Beijing bosses anymore—the communist party is just spinning its wheels.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Its human rights record is awful and new Liberal MP should not appease tyranny
Toronto Sun: By PETER WORTHINGTON
It's widely conceded that when he was premier of Ontario, Bob Rae screwed up his mandate, his legacy, the province and his party.
After doing penance (sort of) for a decade after the NDP was voted out of office, Rae returned to politics, this time as a federal Liberal to challenge (and fail) for the leadership of the party.
He's since been elected MP in Rosedale, previously the riding of Bill Graham, who, when Paul Martin began to unravel as PM, picked up the pieces and became the Liberals' all-purpose cabinet minister, giving the party what little credibility it had at the time.
Rae was quickly appointed Liberal foreign affairs critic. For all his experience (elected eight times federally and provincially prior to 1996), Rae didn't waste much time in proving himself a catastrophe.He took it upon himself to slam Tory loudmouth Bob Anders (Calgary West) for "further damaging our already strained relationship with China by comparing its government to Nazis."
The "gaffe" Rae thinks Anders made was to note that the Chinese regime "has one of the worst human rights records on the face of the planet," and awarding it the 2008 Olympic Summer Games was similar to awarding the 1936 Games to Nazi Germany.
Who can argue that Anders is wrong?
What Rae is saying (if one is generous) is that no matter how despicable China's record of abusing its own people, of killing its own citizens, of harvesting the organs of dissidents for sale to rich foreigners, and its continued abuse of minorities, we shouldn't say so because the Chinese might not like it and might not buy our natural resources.
Bunk, of course, but that's the socialist mind-set of people who think like Bob Rae, and who want him to replace Stephane Dion as Liberal leader.
At the same time, Rae panders to Jews by suggesting that comparing the Chinese Communist Party to Nazis "trivializes" the Holocaust.
It does no such thing. China's record of killing up to 80 million of its own people (under Mao Zedong, whom Pierre Trudeau once mindlessly admired) is as horrific as any crime against humanity of the 20th century.
David Matas, human rights lawyer and legal counsel for B'nai Brith, told the newspaper Epoch Times that it's Rae, not Anders, who should reconsider his comments.
Rabbi Ruevan Bulka of the Canadian Jewish Congress has also drawn parallels between the Nazis and Beijing's persecution of Falun Gong members and harvesting their vital organs for sale.
Where has Rae been hiding to avoid the truth about China?
Anyone following the progress of the Olympic torch's "Journey of Harmony" around the world must be aware of the demonstrations that are erupting because of China's continuing cultural rape of Tibet and other minorities.
Demonstrations in Britain, France and San Francisco are one thing. Similar outbursts have been quelled in Indonesia, India and Australia. Japan has cancelled the run. Very possibly China itself will have outbursts when the flame arrives. If so, participants will indeed be risking their lives.
As for relations and trade with China that Rae seems to fear will be damaged, forget it. China trades with us, and the U.S., and with any country, because it is of benefit to China, not because it helps us.
By standing up to tyranny, we gain respect. There is no respect given to those who grovel, or make excuses for tyranny or who compromise principles for money.
Rae is the one who committed a "gaffe" by his attempted defence of China's credibility and humanity.
Most contemptuous will likely be the Beijing rulers themselves, who well know what they do, and why.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
By Keith Fraser, The ProvincePublished: Thursday, April 24, 2008
VANCOUVER -- Falun Gong protesters outside this city's Chinese consulate have lost a second bid to get a full trial into issues surrounding the city's attempt to remove their protest camp.
But a lawyer for the protesters says the fight is far from over and says an appeal of the B.C. Supreme Court ruling is possible.
In 2006 the city filed a petition seeking to dismantle the protest signs and a small shed outside the Granville Street consulate that have been in place since 2001.
City officials argued that the protest camp, which is staffed by at least one protester at all times, violates a bylaw requiring structures to have city approval.
The protesters applied to have the matter heard as a trial, with witnesses testifying in court such as Mayor Sam Sullivan, rather than be limited to a hearing where lawyers argue the merits before a judge on the basis of affidavits filed.
They argued there were complex Charter of Rights issues involved but the city said the move was premature and the judge agreed in December 2006, noting that the case leant itself better to a petition hearing. The protesters appealed that ruling to the B.C. Court of Appeal, but the province's highest court upheld the lower court ruling.
Undaunted, the protesters went back to court in another attempt to hold a full trial, but a second judge, B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Mary Humphries, has ejected their application, saying there isn't much new in it from the previous case.
Joseph Arvay, a lawyer for the protesters, said that the group is disappointed but is considering a possible appeal or another move which he declined to elaborate on.
"We believe we're going to win this case no matter what -- whether it's a petition or a trial," he added.
Arvay said he believes the city is just caving in to pressure from Chinese officials threatening to withhold Canada as a designated spot for tourism.
"The city and the province and the federal government want tourism. They want the dollars and they're willing to sacrifice these important expressions of rights. Personally I think that's disgusting."
City officials could not be reached. The petition is scheduled to be heard in June.
Falun Gong has been described as a combination of exercise, meditation and spiritual belief.
Adherents claim there's been a well-documented genocide against their group by the Chinese government.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Look here for a CBC report.
Organizer appeals to Canada to review diplomat's role in quashing sponsorships
By Matthew Little
Epoch Times Staff
|Apr 24, 2008
The organizers of a cultural show in Calgary are calling on the Canadian government to review the status of a Chinese diplomat who allegedly threatened some of the show's sponsors into canceling their negotiations with the performing arts group.
Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta had planned to sponsor the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular, a Chinese cultural show set to perform at Calgary's Jubilee Auditorium from April 30–May 2.
The two tourism agencies reneged on the sponsorship plans after being contacted by Wu Xinjian, the consul general representing the People's Republic of China in Calgary, The Epoch Times has learned.
Based in New York, the Divine Performing Arts has staged the Chinese Spectacular in some 65 cities throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania. The dance company is composed of expatriate Chinese performers and includes a live orchestra and dramatizations of Chinese legends and China's various dynasties and ethnic groups.
The dance company says it seeks to revive China's ancient cultural traditions, including its moral and spiritual legacies. Some performances also touch on themes of human rights in modern-day China, specifically the persecution of Falun Gong.
In an e-mail correspondence from Travel Alberta to the show's Calgary organizers, it was stated that the agency must cancel plans to support for the Divine Performing Arts show after being contacted by the Chinese consul general in Calgary.
Organizers say they believe the consulate may have threatened Travel Alberta's business negotiations with China.
A similar email from Tourism Calgary says it would withdraw its support of an April 30 reception for Divine Performing Arts performers and cancel a ceremony where the performers were to be made honorary citizens of Calgary and receive white cowboy hats.
Joe Wang, president of New Tang Dynasty Canada, which hosts the Spectacular, said the cancellations are part of a larger pattern.
"This is typical of the Chinese regime's interference with the Spectacular since it began in 2004. In almost every city and country where the show has toured, Chinese consulate and embassy officials have sought to have it cancelled or to otherwise cause trouble."
Wang said such interference was a violation of Canada's sovereignty and goes beyond the mandate of diplomats in a foreign country.
"This is a gross violation of Canada's sovereignty and free artistic expression. They may well have broken the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs and overstepped their diplomatic duties."
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Travel Alberta managing director Derek Coke-Kerr described the situation is an unfortunate mistake.
He said a junior official with the agency began talks with DPA about a sponsorship deal that would have exchanged ads on New Tang Dynasty Television, which broadcasts globally via satellite. The broadcasts are accessible in China by those who purchase satellite dished on the black market. However, the tourism agency doesn't have permission from Beijing to advertise tourism products in China, said Coke-Kerr.
As part of the cancelled deal, performers were to receive a trip to Banff with the support of Travel Alberta.
Despite the cancelled sponsorships, the Chinese Spectacular will go on. The show is scheduled for Calgary from April 30 to May 2, and Edmonton from May 5 to 7 at each city's Jubilee Auditorium. The show will play in Vancouver this weekend.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Just as with the Tiananmen protests, the "Zhongnanhai appeal" sounded the alarm and sent shockwaves through the political elite in Beijing. On that fateful day, Jiang Zemin (
Just seven years before the gathering at Zhongnanhai, Li Hongzhi (李洪志), a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, brought the spiritual practice of Falun Gong to the public. A combination of exercises, meditation and moral principles, Falun Gong quickly became popular throughout China. It was this popularity that would pose a dilemma for the Chinese regime, which displays zero tolerance toward any alternative voices.
To this day the persecution, which went into full swing in July 1999, has continued unabated.
Recently, news of organ harvesting from living practitioners in military and civilian hospitals has come to light. Human rights reports speak of 100 Stalinist-style torture methods used on practitioners to coerce them into abandoning their beliefs. Some China observers have labeled the Zhongnanhai event as the catalyst for one of the most vicious periods of oppression of a spiritual movement in modern times.
To commemorate this black day, practitioners will hold silent protests in various locations around the world. If you drive by the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, Canada, tomorrow, you will see a miniature reflection of what happened back in 1999. To underscore their request that persecution come to an end, Vancouver practitioners have, for the past few years, maintained a round-the-clock peaceful vigil at the consulate. It is a shame that Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan has caved in to pressure from consulate officials and chosen to take practitioners to court, using bylaws as an excuse.
Speaking out against torture and human rights abuses is a constitutional right that should be enforced, not diminished.
But in the face of brutalization by one of the most powerful and autocratic political groups in history -- a group responsible for the deaths of over 80 million people -- never once have practitioners resorted to violence. To this day, Falun Gong is still Falun Gong. Peace and justice will prevail, eventually.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
MWC: I just couldn’t help but notice for some time now how the CBC appears to use the same language as the Chinese regime’s state-controlled Xinhua news agency when it comes to describing Falun Gong. The article published April 17 titled ”China 'worst human rights abuser in the world': Tory MP” is a good example but there are many more. Here is an excerpt of that piece: “a meditative practice the Chinese government likens to a cult”.
This is a benign group that has been badly persecuted by the Chinese regime for 9 years because they refuse to give up their peaceful meditative exercises and their belief in Truth-Compassion-Tolerance.
As you may be aware, the persecution of Falun Gong is well documented by the world’s human rights organizations. According to UN Rapporteur on torture Manfred Novak, 66% of the people who are victims of torture in labour camps across China are Falun Gong practitioners. In fact, many Canadians are Falun Gong practitioners and some have been tortured to the point of disability. Their family members in China are still suffering under the tyrannical rule of the regime and languish in the gulags simply for their beliefs. Recent reports confirm that they are subjected to organ thefts often resulting in death.
For decades human rights experts have all reached the conclusion that dictatorships use vilification of target groups as tactics to eradicate those groups from society. For example, labeling the ‘undesirables’ as ‘criminals or/and cult members’ justifies the persecution of those groups at their own hands. It worked in Rwanda and Sudan.
Given that this is also the tactic used by the Chinese regime--Jiang Zemin implemented its genocidal policy targeting Falun Gong on April 25 1999--it would be appropriate and responsible for Western media to exercise more caution in this respect and use a vocabulary that reflects our values rather than parroting the communist line. In other words, let’s not persecute Falun Gong practitioners in our own country by keeping the communist (tactics of) vilification alive, and blindly adopting Beijing’s defamatory lexicon.
I find it distressing that the CBC has a history of catering to the Chinese regime. I recall the recent debacle surrounding the film by respected director Peter Rowe ‘Beyond the Red Wall’, which would have been a unique documentary had it not been doctored by the CBC to clearly incorporate the official Beijing view. In the end the so-called documentary gave voice to the regime's justification for committing crimes against humanity, implying that punishing the victims—Falun Gong practitioners labeled as criminal cult members—is OK.
On that topic, human Rights lawyer David Matas was quoted as saying: "The CBC should not be the mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party and that is what it has become in this instance by behaving in this way,"... "In my view, the CBC becomes complicit in the Chinese censorship of the Falun Gong by doing this."
As a Canadian broadcaster, the CBC should pride itself in striving for excellence by broadcasting the views and sentiments of Canadians, not those of foreign consulates representing rogue governments who are known to be both massive violators of human rights and habitual liars.
It is long overdue for the CBC to take a stand to protect our Canadian values along with the human dignity that we so cherish as a people of the free world. This should be the most fundamental principle of the code of ethics governing ‘responsible journalism’. I hope that CBC can amend its approach in the future and be more Canada friendly by not allowing the Chinese regime to dilute and corrupt our freedom of speech.
At this point, CBC should be reminded that history has taught us that a great amount of vigilance and integrity is required when doing business with dictatorships. No doubt that the CBC bosses are acutely aware of the irony underlying the recent blocking of the CBC website in China, after CBC had been so obliging in doctoring “Beyond the Red Wall” to meet Beijing’s demands.
Friday, April 18, 2008
The article written by Tim Hume "The gospel truth: Falun Gong" is troubling. I have written a report with David Kilgour which concludes that Falun Gong practitioners in China have been killed in the tens of thousands so that their organs could be sold to transplant tourists. Hume's article casts doubt on our report in a number of gratuitous ways.
However, my primary concern with the article lies elsewhere, its unfair generalizations about Falun Gong practitioners. Through the travels I have undertaken around the world, including New Zealand, to publicize our report, I have met many Falun Gong practitioners. Though I myself have never practised Falun Gong, the extensive contact I have had with the Falun Gong community in over forty countries has taught me at least this.
Falun Gong is not an organization. It has no leadership. It has no funding. It has no membership. It is rather just a set of exercises with a spiritual dimension. The people who engage in Falun Gong exercises have as much or as little cohesion, planning, coordination and organization as people who engage in running or swimming or any other form of exercise.
Because Falun Gong has a spiritual dimension, one can think of it as a religion. But it is a religion without congregations or priests or preachers or churches. The writings of Li Hongzhi which inspired Falun Gong are all publicly available through the internet.
Falun Gong practitioners understandably get worked up when their co-practitioners in China are persecuted for something as innocent and beneficial as exercising. Individual practitioners throughout the world volunteer time, effort and money in an attempt to end the persecution. But this indignation, even when fervent, does not bespeak a plan or a policy or a platform. It is, or at least should be, a normal human reaction to the torture and killing of innocents.
Hume's article, which is quite long, throughout treats the Falun Gong as a group or an entity and attributes to this entity the behaviour and words of individual Falun Gong practitioners. It is as if one attributed the words and behaviour of some fervently patriotic New Zealanders to all New Zealanders, or of some enthusiastic swimmers to all swimmers. The article, because of its failure to grasp the nature of Falun Gong, is fundamentally misconceived.
For one night only, Oahu residents have the rare opportunity to experience a rich overview of Chinese culture teeming with elements now forbidden in the country of their origin.
Divine Performing Arts Chinese SpectacularPlace: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Time: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $38, $58, $78 and $98
Call: 591-2211, ticketmaster.com or Blaisdell box office
Honolulu was fortunate to get the 100 dancers and musicians in the Divine Performing Arts company to stop here at all. In fact, the show is wedged between appearances in Auckland and Seattle on a worldwide 60-city tour.
"I've seen many shows, and this is one of a kind," said Hong Jiang, spokesperson for the event and a professor of Chinese cultural geography at the University of Hawaii. Those expecting a circus performance, however, are missing the mark on this large-scale production. "People have a misconception of what a Chinese show is; the classical Chinese dance actually serves as a basis for acrobatics."
Hong said that several details make this show unique. First, of course, is the dance. While acrobatic components are included, the dance is decidedly "high culture," said Hong, like classical ballet, with its own unique tradition.
Orchestra music -- with the addition of Chinese instruments such as the gong and drums -- accompanies the dance, providing another impressive ingredient.
"The orchestra is a fine blend of East and West," said Hong. "It's not Western classical, but it's not foreign to any audience, basically. You don't feel any disharmony at all."
In addition, each new set dictates a costume change. The Tang Dynasty, for instance, represents the peak of Chinese cultural development, around 800 A.D., and ornate dressings accurately depict that era. "They have a team of people researching the clothes of different dynasties," said Hong.
Perhaps most fascinating is the way Chinese Spectacular integrates modern techniques to recreate authentic settings for each time period by digitally projecting the images on a screen behind the actors.
"You talk about all these different periods, and it would be difficult to have a stage set that reflected all of that," said Hong, who saw the show last year in Los Angeles and said it was "already pushing the envelope" in terms of technology. "It's so dynamic and realistic. You can't put a Ming Dynasty door on a Tang Dynasty building, so everything is also very precise."
Aside from what promises to be a highly engaging history lesson, the show touches on spiritual components and "traditional Chinese cultural values," said Hong. These include the loyalty, piety, benevolence, faithfulness and compassion associated with Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoist (or Taoist) traditions. Ethnic numbers portraying the music and dance of Mongolia, Tibet and Korea further broaden the scope of the presentation. And through it all, the performers celebrate the ability to present these ideas without the constraints of censorship, propaganda or politics.
"Many people are searching for traditional values," Hong said of people in China. "But there's still not a lot of freedom of expression that would allow that." Even so, she thinks people all over the world will be able to relate. "When you go deep into a culture, it's really about universal values. But you don't have to be steeped in Chinese culture to enjoy the show."
Thursday, April 17, 2008
With the Chinese regime’s roundup of Falun Gong practitioners in anticipation of the Beijing Olympics, the massacre in Lhasa, Tibet, and the clampdown on the media, the spotlight has been shining ever brighter on China’s horrendous human rights abuses.
The FLGHRWG wishes to announce that it has sent out millions of emails around the world to alert government officials, NGOs, human rights groups, and many individuals of the inhuman torture going on in China. In order to win the Olympics, China made a promise to improve human rights. Far from keeping its promise, the human rights violations have gotten worse - much worse.
The following torture cases of Falun Gong practitioners represent just the tip of the iceberg. They are typical of what tens of thousands have experienced, what hundreds of thousands face, and what millions fear if they dare to place their own belief above belief in the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms. Zhang Yulan: In 2000, at the Changchun Women’s Labor Camp Ms. Zhang was forced to do slave labor, often until midnight, and was beaten and shocked with electric batons. In 2003, just two years after the Communist regime promised to “improve human rights” in order to get the Olympics, Ms. Zhang’s father and brother were tortured to death for practicing Falun Gong. On November 28, 2007, the police arrested Ms. Zhang, and caused her to “disappear.” The authorities refuse to give her family any idea of her whereabouts, or even tell them whether she is still alive.
Ms. Zhao Zhongling: Ms. Zhao was arrested five times for practicing Falun Gong, and suffered injuries due to torture each time. One month after her arrest on March 23, 2007, the authorities reported she was in critical condition. However they refused to release her. They continued to use heavy shackles on her legs, kept her tied to bed and even sentenced her to three years of forced labor. Ms. Zhao was tortured to death less than a month and a half after her arrest. She was only 44. After her death, the local authorities forced her family to sign a statement acknowledging her guilt.
Mr. Liu Hongwei and Ms. Mu Ping: On May 13, 2003, Mr. Liu’s wife was tortured to death at Jilin Province Hezuizi Women’s Prison for practicing Falun Gong. To avoid capture and further persecution, Mr. Liu had to leave his daughter and wander about. Ms. Mu Ping’s husband was tortured to death on May 13, 2002. For practicing Falun Gong, she herself had been tortured at a labor camp for close to three years. After she was released, her son never left her side.
The two adults came together, formed a new family, found work and settled down. On October 24, 2006, the police arrested them again, ransacked their home, and froze the 70,000 Yuan in their bank account. Their children were left without care, one of their parents suffered a heart attack. Both of their elderly mothers are on the brink of mental collapse, and Mr. Liu and Ms. Mu are still in prison for their belief.
Ms. Wei Fengju: Ms. Wei was first arrested in 1999. She was jailed for speaking the truth about Falun Gong. She was forced to work 17 to 20 hours per day and was sometimes not allowed to sleep at all. The guards used electric batons to shock her on her chest and in her mouth, which disfigured her mouth. When she was detained in February 2007, the torture left her with abdominal pain and she could not eat. After her release, she could not recover and died on July 12, 2007. Before her death, she told others, “I won’t be able to recover because they injected some unknown drug into me.”
Mr. Li Hongfu: Mr. Li was repeatedly jailed and tortured for telling people the truth about Falun Gong. The torture included the tiger bench, electric shocks, nailing bamboo shoots under his fingernails and merciless daily beatings by convicted drug addicts. The brutality caused Mr. Li’s spleen to rupture and his chest to collapse. He vomited and had difficulty breathing. He weighed less than 40 kg, could no longer walk unaided, and was in constant excruciating pain. Mr. Li never recovered and died on December 8, 2006, at the age of 31.