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Monday, May 23, 2011

Cisco Helped Chinese Government Suppress Falun Gong, Lawsuit Claims

The Human Rights Law Foundation has filed a lawsuit against tech company Cisco, alleging that it designed a surveillance system to help the Chinese government track and suppress dissidents.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Jose, California, alleges that Cisco helped create the "Golden Shield" surveillance system that enabled the Chinese government monitor and censor the online activities of Falun Gong, a spiritual group, and that as a result, members of Falun Gong were imprisoned, tortured and killed.

The lawsuit claims that over 5,000 Falun Gong members were arrested as a result of the use of "Golden Shield" technology. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, is looking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and to stop Cisco from further unlawful activity. Cisco has denied the charges.

"Cisco does not operate networks in China or elsewhere, nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression," the company said in a statement. A Cisco spokesperson said, "there is no basis for these allegations against Cisco, and we intend to vigorously defend against them."

The lawsuit is said to rely on sales materials that show Cisco trying to market its services to the Chinese government by promoting the technology's ability to suppress dissidents. In 2002, a slide from an internal presentation showed a Cisco employee referring to the Golden Shield's ability to fight the "evil religion" of Falun Gong.

The New York Times writes, "The suit claims that additional Cisco marketing presentations prove that it promoted its technology as being capable of taking aim at dissident groups. In one marketing slide, the goals of the Golden Shield are described as to 'douzheng evil Falun Gong cult and other hostile elements.' Douzheng is a Chinese term used to describe the persecution of undesirable groups. It was widely used by the Communist Party in the Cultural Revolution."

The suit uses the Allen Torts Statute, a federal law allowing foreign citizens to sue for violations of international and national laws.

The Huffington Post

Friday, May 20, 2011

Former Chinese Defector Sentenced to Eight Years Prison

Kuo said that his father’s decision to return to China was indirectly caused by the CCP’s insidious psychological persecution of overseas dissidents through spies that “destroys a person without shedding blood.” Both father and son experienced this persecution firsthand, including being followed and threatened with death, he said.

“They threatened me with death,” Kuo said. “A spy once said to me: ‘Jia Kuo, you are in grave danger if you continue like this. You know there is a Falun Gong practitioner in Thailand with last name Zhang, who was killed in a car accident. If you continue to do these things, you will end up like him.’ Many people said similar things to me.”

More at The Epoch Times

Confucius Institute Unwelcome at University, Says Professor

The designation of Falun Gong and certain forms of Christianity as “heterodox” and dangerous cults is also not only a slander of those religions, but a clear violation of China's own constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. ...

More at The Epoch Times

Memo to Hu Jintao: Donate Your Organs

Epoch: China woefully needs organ donations. The country set up an organ donation system in March 2010 as a pilot project in 11 cities. The newspaper Beijing Today reported on MLinkarch 18, that, after an intensive one-year effort, the grand total of donations in all cities combined was 37. In Nanjing, though the Chinese Red Cross had 12 people working full time during the year encouraging donations, not one person elected to be a donor.

There are an estimated 1.5 million people in China who need organ transplants. The need for organs is dire.

Put the problem this way, it sounds bad enough. Yet, in fact, it is much worse. China is the world’s leading source of organ transplants, after the United States, transplanting at a rate of 10,000 organs a year.

Moreover, China is unique in the world for its short waiting times. Elsewhere patients wait months and years for organs. In China, patients wait days and at most weeks.

How is this possible without donations? The grisly truth is that in China organs come from prisoners. Everywhere else patients wait for donors. In China, those from whom the organs come wait for patients. When a patient shows up with the money to pay the huge Chinese hospital fees, a prisoner is killed for his or her organs.

This conclusion of sourcing of organs from prisoners comes not just from analysis of the evidence. The Chinese communist regime admits that it is so.

In July of 2005 Huang Jiefu, Chinese deputy minister of Health, indicated as high as 95 percent of organs derive from prisoners. Speaking at a conference of surgeons in the southern city of Guangzhou in mid-November 2006, he said that apart from a small portion of traffic victims, most of the organs from cadavers are from prisoners.

In October 2008, he said that in China, more than 90 percent of transplanted organs are obtained from prisoners. In March 2010, he stated that over 90 percent of grafts from deceased donors are from prisoners.

The Chinese Communist Party claims that the prisoners from whom organs come are all prisoners sentenced to death and then executed. David Kilgour and I have come to the conclusion, through reports released in July 2006 and January 2007, and a book released in November 2009, titled Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs, that the bulk of the prisoners killed for their organs are practitioners of the spiritually based exercise regime Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners are thrown into detention because of their beliefs, but do not receive court ordered death sentences.

There is a whole host of reasons, which rebut the Chinese regime’s claim that prisoner organs come from death penalty prisoners alone. One is simply the numbers.

When a patient shows up with the money to pay the huge Chinese hospital fees, a prisoner is killed for his or her organs.

Transplants require blood type compatibility between the person from whom the organ comes and patient. China does not have a national organ distribution system. There is no coordination among patients to receive organs from the same source. The death penalty law requires execution within seven days of sentence.

Put this all together, China would need over 30,000 executions a year to sustain 10,000 transplants sourced solely from prisoners sentenced to death. Yet, the highest estimate of executions of prisoners sentenced to death (from the Italian based NGO Hands Off Cain) is 5,000 a year.

In any case, sourcing of organs even from prisoners sentenced to death is wrong. The Chinese regime itself acknowledges this. Deputy Health Minister Huang in August 2009 stated that executed prisoners sentenced to death “are definitely not a proper source for organ transplants.”

Switching in China from prisoners to willing donors requires overcoming the Chinese cultural aversion to donation. That effort has to come from the top.

Falun Gong is an outgrowth, a blending, of ancient Chinese exercise and spiritual traditions. That explains in part both its popularity and Chinese Communist Party aversion. In the memorandum from then Chinese President Jiang Zemin to the Central Committee of the Communist Party advocating the banning of Falun Gong, he wrote: “Can’t the Marxism our communists have, the materialism, atheism we believe in, really win over that suit of stuff aired by Falun Gong? If that were not the case, would not it be a thumping joke?”

The Chinese Communist Party should adopt the modernism it professes. The leadership of the Party should show leadership in organ donation. Every Communist Party membership card should contain a form for organ donation. Every member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party should commit to donating their organs. It should begin at the top with a public announcement from Chinese President Hu Jintao that he personally will donate his organs.

David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This opinion piece is a shortened version of a talk he gave at San Diego University on May 11.

Related Article:

Organ Harvesting in China

Suit claims Cisco helped China repress Falun Gong group

NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) - Members of a Chinese spiritual movement have sued Cisco Systems Inc for allegedly helping the Chinese Communist Party track them down for persecution.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in California federal court, claimed Cisco and its executives designed and implemented a surveillance system for the Chinese Communist Party, knowing it would be used to root out members of the Falun Gong religion and subject them to detention, forced labor and torture.

The suit asserted several claims, including torture, crimes against humanity, wrongful death and unfair business practices. The religious practitioners are seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction blocking Cisco from future unlawful activity.

Cisco responded on Friday that the allegations have "no basis" and that it would vigorously fight the suit. "Cisco does not operate networks in China or elsewhere, nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression," the company said in a statement. Cisco sells the same equipment in China as it sells in other nations, and all equipment complies with U.S. government regulations, the company said.

The suit described the Falun Gong as a "peaceful religious practice" that originated in 1992. China's political leaders viewed the movement as a political threat, and by 1999 leading members of the Chinese Communist Party had devised a plan to purge the Falun Gong, according to the suit.

Cisco and its Chinese subsidiary "competed aggressively" to win the contract to design the surveillance system known as the "Golden Shield," and called "Policenet" in internal Cisco documents, the suit said. The plaintiffs claimed that Cisco had "full knowledge" that the purpose of the project was real-time monitoring of Falun Gong Internet activity so that practitioners could be located and "forcibly converted."

The suit said the Golden Shield has led to the arrest of as many as 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners. The sophisticated high-tech dragnet enabled public security officers to suppress the Falun Gong "because, unlike all other groups in China, their religious practice was tied to their Internet use," the complaint said. According to the complaint, Falun Gong practitioners almost always gather virtually at a central website.

The unnamed plaintiffs described being detained by Chinese authorities and tortured with physical beatings, electric shocks and sleep and food deprivation. They said no alternative remedy is available in China, where the alleged human rights abuses persist.

More: Thomson Reuters

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hong Kong, China and the Jasmine Revolution

Celebration of World Falun Dafa/Falun Gong Day in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Even by Hong Kong standards — where a half-dozen demonstrations occur daily — the protest over a government budget here this spring was remarkably rowdy.

An estimated 10,000 people showed up, barricades were overturned, police let fly with pepper spray, injuring an 8-year-old, and more than 110 people were rounded up and arrested.

Now, Hong Kong’s masters in Beijing want them to chill....

At issue was Hong Kong’s unique “one country, two systems” mode of governance — guaranteed for 50 years when Britain handed the colony back to China amid pomp and ceremony in 1997.

Under that agreement, Hong Kongers enjoy freedoms of which mainland Chinese can only dream.

The Falun Gong sect, for example, hated and despised as an “evil cult” by authorities in Beijing, flourishes here.

The works of dissident Chinese writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, banned on the Chinese mainland where he’s serving 11 years in jail, are sold openly here.

Newspaper editorials can sharply criticize the Chinese government — unheard of on the mainland.

And Hong Kong lawyers, who in China might be disappeared and tortured like Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, operate freely as much-admired citizens under Hong Kong’s Rule of Law.....

Respected political analyst Willy Lam has also watched free speech here wither.

In the business community, self-censorship started early, he says.

“For medium to big players, their market is in China, so they can’t be seen to be supportive of democracy because they might be blacklisted; they might not get the contract. So almost without exception the great majority of businessmen are ‘pro-China,’ because they have to ingratiate themselves with Chinese officials to get business done in China.”

Hong Kong academics who need to do fieldwork on the mainland are also wary of saying anything that might prevent them from getting a visa into China, says Lam, who also holds a teaching position.

In academic circles, “it’s actually getting worse,” he observes, as professors take care not to say anything that might “hurt their careers.”

More at Toronto Star

Proclamation for Falun Dafa/Falun Gong Month: North Saanich BC

LinkA proclamation from the North Saanich British Columbia city council was received by the Falun Dafa Association of BC acknowledging “Falun Dafa Month, May 2011, Honoring Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” as we celebrate the 19th anniversary of Falun Dafa’s introduction to the public. The Association appreciates the council's kind words and support.

More at Clearwisdom

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Underground Falun Gong Print Shops Deliver Truth to China’s Masses

Despite the breadth, penetration, and longevity of the campaign (of violence against Falun Gong), many in the West have never heard of it.

Chen Pokong is a prominent writer and commentator in the overseas Chinese dissident community. “Through putting fliers in people’s mailboxes and directly giving them to people, Falun Gong practitioners are communicating with the ‘laobaixing’ directly,” he said, using the Chinese phrase for the common people. “It leaves the Communist Party at a total loss. They can’t block it.”

The Epoch Times was able to sketch a picture of the materials sites from interviews with former operators and users from different regions in China; experts who have studied Falun Gong’s resistance to persecution; and the wealth of material on the subject available from Falun Gong websites online. More at Epoch

NTD Independent TV Broadcasts to China May Cease

Taiwanese telecommunications company refuses to renew satellite contract

A resident of eastern China commented that Chunghwa’s action suppresses freedom of speech and is undemocratic. “We still wish to receive outside news, and hope that they will reconsider,” he told NTD Television .

The responsibility of the media is to supervise the government and society, another Chinese viewer commented. Mainland Chinese media, however, is incompetent in this area, especially since traditional Chinese values and culture are diminishing in China, he added. “I support NTDTV, because NTDTV can make up for those failures.”

Yao Wun-jhih, Former Director of Government Information Office for the Democratic Progressive Party said that the Ma government should give NTD AP more support if it is sincere about safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy.

“Through NTD Television’s endeavor, the whole world has learned many truths about China,” he said. “This actually helps China and Taiwan understand each other, and helps the people of Taiwan understand the nature of the Chinese Communist Party.” More at Epoch

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chinese Agents Send Mass Emails to Smear Falun Gong

Link6000 Falun Gong practitioners celebrate Falun Dafa Day in Taiwan (Epoch Times)

In an elaborate attempt to discredit Falun Gong, a barrage of irrational and sometimes threatening emails from Chinese agents posing as Falun Gong adherents have been repeatedly sent to western journalists, academics, NGOs, and elected government ...

More at CFP

Rage against the regime

The Sudbury Star - Peter Worthington - News reports indicating that China is in the midst of another of its periodic crackdowns brings to mind a former dissident who now lives in the U.S. but still wages a campaign to persuade China into democracy.

Biaqiao Tang lives in New York and is married to the granddaughter of one of China's famous warlords, who was out-manoeuvred by Chiang Kai-shek, who in turn was snookered by Mao Zedong.

As a youth entering university in China, Tang became involved in the budding freedom and democracy movement after the death of Mao, and wanted more choice and less paranoid, dogmatic ideology governing all aspects of Chinese life.

In his new book, My Two Chinas, Tang tells a haunting story, but one that is curiously naive and ingenuous for a person who has lived -- and suffered -- through the world's most murderous and callous regime.

Tang was hounded for his leadership in student demonstrations in China around the time of Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the ruling Communist party didn't know how to cope with mounting student unrest , which was never violent but ever demanding.

Initially, soldiers sympathized with the students -- then wound up shooting them in the streets.

Beijing has claimed 200 were killed in the Tiananmen protests. More objective reports suggest several thousand died.

Tang says millions of protesting young people across China attracted workers and others to the freedom cause, and that's when the Communist party crushed all dissent.

Tang was a hunted man, and when caught was sent to prison, which involved routine beatings and tortures. His accounts are gruelling.

He tells of "lianiaokao," which is a one-metre steel bar set in the ground as a post. A prisoner's ankles are shackled to the bottom, wrists at the top, so he can neither stand up straight nor sit down, but is permanently half-crouched.

Tang recalls seeing one man kept this way for a month: "His legs and buttocks were swelled with blood. Sores appeared on his skin, and his flesh began to bloat and fester, rotting like an old sausage casing."

Another routine torture was shackling a prisoner's wrist to his opposite ankle and hoisting the free arm until the victim is forced to stand contorted on one leg. When his leg tires and he sags, his arm twists out of its socket.

Tang says most dreaded is the "barbaric" shackle board, which is a door laid flat on four short legs, with handcuffs at each corner for the spread-eagled prisoner. A hole is cut in the middle for defecation -- with the prisoner left there for weeks.

And we in the West think waterboarding is inhumane!

As was the case in the Soviet Union, many whom the system sent to the Gulag would decry, "If only Comrade Stalin knew this, it would cease," naively unaware that it was Stalin who sent them there.

This attitude enraged Yevginia Ginzburg who was condemned to the camps, and later wrote the magnificent book Into the Whirlwind.

Tang recounts how many victims of pro-democracy repression had difficulty believing the Communist party would sanction such cruelties. In the past, Canadian and American Communists had the same problem.

In passing, Tang remarks on the hatred and fear directed at the Falun Gong movement -- a non-violent philosophy of meditation and compassion that the system cannot tolerate because its popularity rivals the Communist party: "The biggest human rights issue that China faces today."

He adds: "Falun Gong is a peaceful way of life, and no threat to anyone -- unless, that is, you are a totalitarian regime, such as the Chinese Communist party."

In Vancouver, Falun Gong protesters at city hall caused the Chinese consulate to protest -- on the apparent assumption that elected Canadian politicians have an obligation to pander to Beijing's wishes.

Tang sympathizes with Tibetans, oppressed unnecessarily by China, and with Taiwan, which now functions more effi-ciently, profitably and humanely than mainland China.

On reading Tang, one wonders why he never considered cooperating with the system that offered bribes of a better life in return for his silence.

Tang's father felt as he did about freedom and democracy, but quelled such emotions and functioned within the party as a respected intellectual and teacher. While Tang was imprisoned as a traitor and counterrevolutionary, his father was killed when hit by a car.

It was ruled an accident, but Tang later discovered (but couldn't prove) that his father was murdered. He felt guilty, but understood that the villain was the Communist party.

While Tang has a better life now, his story does not inspire optimism about China. It wouldn't do our politicians any harm to read the book and decide for themselves -- and keep in mind that whatever economic benefits accrue from deals with China, their sole motivation is benefit to the regime.

Or, to quote Lenin: "Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."


Monday, May 09, 2011

Another smear campaign against Falun Gong

Falun Gong: A Decade of Courage

Chinese agents send fraudulent emails to officials and NGOs; bizarre and irrational messages aimed to discredit
Falun Gong

In an elaborate attempt to discredit Falun Gong, a barrage of irrational and sometimes threatening emails from Chinese agents posing as Falun Gong adherents have been repeatedly sent to western journalists, academics, NGOs, and elected government representatives.

Some of the emails have been traced to Mainland Chinese IP addresses and are believed to be the latest attempt by the Chinese communist regime to eliminate international support for the end of the state sanctioned persecution of Falun Gong in China.

The content of the email messages are crafted to portray Falun Gong as bizarre, irrational, intolerant, and otherwise undeserving of sympathy or respect.

For example, Edmonton city councilors received one such email that among other things discussed the recent earthquake in Japan in an offensive manner, saying the victims were being punished. The tone was irrational and the writer appeared to suffer from mental illness. Again, the sender falsely claimed to be a Falun Gong practitioner.

Other emails offer nonsense about the practice of Falun Gong or threaten officials that if they do not openly practice Falun Gong then practitioners would be mobilized to ensure that they did not win reelection.

The scale and extent of this campaign remains unclear, however, the fraudulent emails have been reported in Canada, the United States, France, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand.

“These e-mails are the latest attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to mute international condemnation of the documented torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners in China by attempting to destroy the reputation of Falun Gong overseas,” states Joel Chipkar, spokesperson for Falun Gong in Canada. “It is not only a disgusting low level tactic; it is identity theft and a new form of persecution penetrating into Canada by the one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.”

In 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning this and other forms of harassment and violence committed by Chinese agents against Falun Gong practitioners in the United States as part of a campaign to silence the voice of Falun Gong in order to hide the regimes crimes they are committing against Falun Gong in China.

The Falun Gong Association encourages Canadian’s who may have come in contact with messages such as this to immediately alert the Falun Dafa Information Center or their local police for investigation.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and a moral philosophy centered in the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Fearing its size and independence, in 1999 the Chinese Communist Party initiated a campaign to suppress Falun Gong through propaganda, mass imprisonment and torture. To date thousands have died in police custody and hundreds of thousands remain in prisons and labour camps.

More at MWC


Chinese Consulate Attempts to Influence City Council in Canadian Town

Friday, May 06, 2011

China Creates New Agency for Patrolling the Internet

The State Internet Information Office will regulate every corner of the nation's vast Internet community, a move that appeared to complement a continuing crackdown on political dissidents. More at NYT

Thursday, May 05, 2011

US congressman Rohrabacher's support in question on Taiwan's affairs due to lease denial of NTDTV

STATE POLICY?The pro-Taiwan representative is seeking a full explanation as to why Chunghwa Telecom is refusing to renew satellite services for a ‘pro-democracy’ channel

The statement added that Rohrabacher, chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, held a hearing on April 6 exploring the important role broadcasting plays in the promotion of democratic sentiments in tyrannical regimes, including China.

“This action by Chunghwa Telecom is another step in the long road of free nations disarming themselves in the fight against Chinese communist repression,” Rohrabacher’s letter said.

“NTD broadcasts to China help break the Chinese blockade on free information and have a multiplying effect that add to what Voice of America and the Board of Broadcast Governors do to bring truth to the people of China,” he said. “The Chinese regime spends billions every year on worldwide propaganda efforts while free broadcasting to China is being dramatically reduced.”

NTDTV has said in a statement it has been leasing CHT’s ST-1 satellite to air programs from overseas.Link

More at Taipei Times

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tribunal Finds Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association Discriminated against Falun Gong Practitioner

Ottawa – The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (”Tribunal”) ruled in a decision released April 27, 2011 that the Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association (”Association”) discriminated when it terminated the membership of one of its members because she practices Falun Gong.

The case arises in the context of the Chinese regime’s international campaign against Falun Gong, with its Embassy and Consulates in Canada mobilizing the Chinese community to denounce and ostracize practitioners.

The respondent Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association, an Ontario registered organization, participated in denouncing Falun Gong and expulsion of members who practiced Falun Gong, including the complainant Ms. Daiming Huang, a 78-year-old Canadian citizen and subjected her to demeaning comments about her belief.

The Tribunal ruled after contested hearings that Falun Gong constitutes a creed, protected within the meaning of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and that the Association breached the Code and discriminated Daiming Huang on the basis that she practised Falun Gong.

The Tribunal found that the discrimination was two-pronged: it involved both the revocation of Ms. Huang’s membership and insidious comments made publicly when Ms. Huang sought to discuss the Association’s decision.

The Tribunal ruled that the comments of the officers of the Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association referring to Falun Gong as an “evil cult” constitute discrimination within the meaning of the Code. The comment had the effect of demeaning Ms. Daiming Huang and affronting her dignity on the basis of her creed. The tribunal also found that the discrimination caused Ms. Daiming Huang to lose face within her community and that she is more vulnerable because she is part of a group that has been subjected to persecution.

The Tribunal ordered the Association to pay $15,000 in damages to Ms. Huang and to invite Ms. Huang back to the Association within 30 days of the order.

This newest ruling reaffirmed an earlier decision of the Tribunal in January 2006 based on a written hearing in which the Association chose not to participate. An application for judicial review of that decision was successful and the matter was remitted back to the Tribunal for hearing before a differently constituted panel which resulted in the current decision.

“This is not just a success for Daiming Huang, it is a victory in the world wide battle against the Communist Party’s oppression of Falun Gong,” said David Matas, legal counsel for Daiming Huang.

China says US report criticizing religious restrictions biased

On July 16, 1500 Falun Gong practitioners held a candle light vigil in front of the Washington Monument in memory of those tortured to death during 10 years of persecution

In its annual report, the commission listed China among the worst violators of religious freedom, saying the government imposes severe restrictions on unregistered religious groups and those deemed to threaten national security or social harmony.

"Religious freedom conditions for Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims remain particularly acute as the government broadened its efforts to discredit and imprison religious leaders, control the selection of clergy, ban religious gatherings, and control the distribution of religious literature by members of these groups," the report said.

The report also said that over the past year, the government has detained over 500 unregistered Protestants and dozens of Catholic clergy, increased efforts to destroy or close unregistered churches and meeting places, and targeted followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and their defenders.

Commission Chairman Leonard Leo also accused China of trying to hack into the commission's emails.

More at Canadian Press

Chummy with China, where cruelty is down to a fine art

This is bad enough when it happens to businessmen, who presumably fail to bribe adequately, or to political dissidents who must, in some corner of their minds, see arrest and torture as an occupational hazard. Even the persecution of the harmless-seeming Falun Gong, devoted as they are to "truthfulness, forbearance and compassion", is only half surprising. Truth and tyranny were never best pals.

But whole churches full of Christians? Artists? The very people who give the Marxist monster a friendly face? How can that be a good idea, even in strictly self-interest terms?

This stuff happens in Chile, we apply sanctions. In Rwanda or Kosovo, we send in the (admittedly floppy) blue berets. But in China? We have a bit of a snuggle and a comfy TV chat about bilateral trade, like there's some kind of symmetry here.

Rights tribunal rules Falun Gong a protected creed

OTTAWA — The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has awarded $15,000 to a woman who was expelled from the Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association because she is a practitioner of Falun Gong.

The tribunal says Falun Gong is a “creed” under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and excluding a person for following it is discrimination.

Human rights lawyer David Matas, who represented Daiming Huang, 78, called the decision a “push-back by the Canadian system” against persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese government, and organizations that cooperate with it in Canada and other countries.

“I consider this a judgment of global significance,” he said. “It’s an assertion of Canadian human rights values against Chinese Communist Party oppressive values.”

The judgment doesn’t bind any organization outside Ontario, he noted. But he said it has “persuasive force” for human-rights authorities in other jurisdictions.

He said it’s also of value for people who have no connection with Falun Gong or the Chinese government.

“Human rights violations are a spreading stain. You can’t contain them in one group,” he said.

The decision was based both on Daiming Huang’s expulsion, and on comments made by leaders of the seniors’ group about her and Falun Gong.

Read more at Ottawa Citizen