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Friday, June 29, 2012

In Rare Move, Chinese Prison Guard Helps Petition for Falun Gong

A fingerprint belonging to a prison guard was among the 15,000 that were put on a petition in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province to protest against the wrongful [...]

More: The Epoch Times 

Why the fuss over Confucius Institutes?

Some say Beijing-funded language and culture schools fly in the face of academic freedom
 By Alex Ballingall

Then, in 2011, as the Globe and Mail reported recently, a teacher dispatched from China to teach at the Confucius Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. quit her post and filed for refugee status. The newspaper reported that the teacher, a follower of China’s repressed Falun Gong movement named Sonia Zhao, was unable to express her political or religious beliefs as a Confucius Institute teacher—it was prohibited in her job contract, which outlaws teachers with Falun Gong affiliations. In her formal complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Zhao accused McMaster of “giving legitimization to discrimination.”

It’s hardly the first time Confucius Institutes—of which there more than 320 worldwide—have been cast in an unfavourable light. Funded by Hanban, a branch of China’s education ministry, the institutes have been framed as propaganda tools that export Beijing’s tightly controlled worldview for international consumption, limiting student discussion of Tibet, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the status of ethnic and religious minorities in China. Last summer, human rights lawyer Clive Ansley told the Epoch Times that Confucius Institutes, in banning teachers with ties to the Falun Gong, are breaking “all human rights codes in Canada.”

More: MacLean's 

Making Sense of China’s Political Crisis: Jason Loftus

Jason Loftus: I’m going to make what may sound like a bold assertion: that Falun Gong, and the persecution of Falun Gong, is the core issue behind the extraordinary political events we [...]
. The crimes committed in persecuting Falun Gong will, once acknowledged, threaten the existence of the Communist Party.
  Bo Xilai has been sued in over a dozen countries for crimes against humanity and genocide. He was indicted by the Spanish National Court in 2009 on charges of genocide and torture.

The best guess is that tens of thousands of practitioners have died from torture and abuse. An estimated 450,000 to 1,000,000 Falun Gong practitioners are locked up in labor camps right now, where they suffer abuse, brainwashing, and torture. Throughout China, families have been shattered. There is an entire generation of orphans who have lost one or both parents to the persecution.
As horrible as all of this is, there is something more horrifying: the evil of forced, live organ harvesting going on in China. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for their organs while still alive.

This has been organized by the PLAC. And leading members of Jiang’s faction are heavily involved.
Wang Lijun has bragged in a speech of overseeing thousands of organ harvesting operations. Shenyang City in Liaoning Province under Bo Xilai appears to have been ground zero for the development of this atrocity. Zhou Yongkang is also heavily involved.

More: The Epoch Times

Falun Gong Assaulted in San Francisco

In San Francisco’s Chinatown Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected for several months to a series of violent attacks the practitioners say are hate crimes.

More: The Epoch Times

Charles Lee: Interception of TV Broadcasts is Not Against Chinese Law

A Falun Gong activist says that intercepting television broadcasts to explain the truth about the persecution of the practice is not illegal.

However, intercepting a TV broadcast does not violate any law in China, he said. “It is actually protected by China’s law, as it is a deed of justice.”

Charles Lee said article 21 of China’s Criminal Law stipulates that if a person is compelled to commit an act in an emergency to avert an immediate danger to the interests of the state, the public, his own, or another person’s rights--of the person, property or other rights--thus causing damage, he shall not bear criminal responsibility.

“Falun Gong practitioners may be ‘compelled’ to intercept TV broadcasts because of the Chinese

authorities’ relentless persecution of Falun Gong, which deprives practitioners of every possible channel to voice their appeals,” Lee said. “The high probability of severe injury or death as a result of persecution can likely be viewed as immediate danger to the interests or rights of the person,” he added.

“In short, bringing the truth to the general public is a very effective way to stop the aforementioned danger. It totally complies with Article 21 of the Criminal Law. It is a deed of justice,” Lee said.

More: The Epoch Times 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prospects for Reform in China Tantalize

Redressing Falun Gong

In the end, reform is possible only if the persecution of Falun Gong is ended. This systematic and brutal violation of human rights makes a mockery of any attempt at otherwise restraining political power or protecting rights.

Ending the persecution, though, requires ending the power of the bloody-hands faction that has dominated the CCP for the past 13 years. These officials fear being held accountable for their crimes and thus have sought at all costs to keep their campaign of persecution going.

With tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners dead from torture and organ harvesting, this faction’s crimes are so extensive that Chinese society could never move forward until those responsible are brought to justice.

The logical conclusion of the movement toward reform will be holding Jiang Zemin accountable for the persecution.

Whether the CCP leadership will face that squarely remains to be seen, but there are signs that the Party is changing its stance toward Falun Gong.

In early April, a source in Beijing told The Epoch Times that Wen Jiabao had proposed redressing Falun Gong in top-level meetings.

In late March, censorship of the Chinese Internet was lifted for a time on several terms related to Falun Gong.

It was possible to reach a website with “Zhuan Falun,” Falun Gong’s fundamental text. And a search for “Bloody Harvest,” the investigative report into forced, live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, was also productive.

Also in late March, lawyers defending Falun Gong practitioners in Heilongjiang Province, a province notorious for its hard-line enforcement of the persecution, told The Epoch Times that the persecution there was softening.

In mid-April, villagers outraged at the arrest of a popular schoolteacher who practices Falun Gong submitted a petition asking for his release. That petition was eventually circulated to the members of the Politburo Standing Committee—the small group that runs China. This could only have happened at the wish of high-ranking officials.

In late May, the prosecutor sent that practitioner’s case back to the Public Security Bureau, saying the case lacked evidence. In the past, no evidence was ever needed to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners.

For 13 years, state-run media has attacked qigong, the form of traditional Chinese exercise that moves vital energy through the body. This stance by the media is part of the persecution of Falun Gong, as it is a form of qigong.

On May 31, the regime-mouthpiece Xinhua news agency reported that the Chinese Ministry of Health had commented positively on a report regarding a qigong training course in Gansu Province. This change could only have come with the approval of top officials.

At the moment, the possibilities of reform are unrealized. China’s chance of entering a new era will depend on what stance is taken toward Falun Gong.

More: The Epoch Times

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Friday, June 01, 2012

Amnesty International Issues Urgent Action for Abducted Falun Gong Practitioners

Villagers Threatened as Petition Circulates Among Politburo Standing Committee Members

NEW YORK -- Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action for Falun Gong practitioners at risk of torture as an entire village is threatened and coerced to retract a petition calling for their release.

"Falun Gong practitioners Wang Xiaodong and his sister Wang Junling have been detained, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment," the Urgent Action says. "They are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association."(read Amnesty press release / PDF)

In early May, Ms. Wang had circulated a petition in Zhouguantun Village, Botou City, Hebei Province calling for the immediate release of her brother who had been abducted by Chinese authorities on February 25, 2012. Mr. Wang was detained and held because of his practice of Falun Gong. Nearly every household in the village, 300 in all, signed their real names to the petition, and it was stamped as authentic by members of the village committee -- an unprecedented act of defiance of the Chinese Communist Party's 13-year campaign to stamp out Falun Gong.

A well placed source told The Epoch Times newspaper that officials at the highest level, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee, had seen the petition and were debating its significance, with some officials urging that the Falun Gong persecution be peacefully resolved. (news)

"We urge all members of the international community to join Amnesty's call, and demand China free these Falun Gong practitioners," says Falun Dafa Information Center executive director, Levi Browde. "This is a pivotal event in which the deeply held beliefs of so many Chinese throughout the country are revealed in the peaceful and principled appeal of these villagers. They will not stand by anymore and watch the regime brutally suppress innocent Falun Gong practitioners, and nor should we."

The Implications of Doing Business with China

The opposition questioned whether the government  was "bullying" the group, whose Shen Yun shows are hosted by local associations of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual belief being persecuted in China. Guaranteeing that our energy products ...

We should not be selling ownership of our oil sands to the totalitarian government in Beijing. That is the bottom line.

—David Kilgour, former Canadian cabinet minister

The absence of or the failure of the rule of law in China [is] a fundamental problem that Canada has to take into account in its dealings with China.

—David Harris, terrorism and security specialist

Guaranteeing that our energy products end up in China rather than a global market will contribute to China’s military rise.

—Scott Simon, University of Ottawa professor and chair of Taiwan Studies
 Terry Glavin urged democratic countries like Canada not to sell out “the last shred of its decency and its sense of solidarity with the people of China,” where “thousands and thousands of little Arab Springs are erupting now … every week.”

More: The Epoch Times


Google Offers Chinese Users New Feature to Detect Censorship Trigger Words

Search giant Google said it will show warnings to users in mainland China who are searching a topic that can trigger the regime’s Internet blockade. 

“By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China,” wrote Alan Eustace, a senior vice president with the Mountain View, California-based company in a blog post on late Thursday.

Over the years, China has had a tight grip on its Internet, censoring terms related to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Falun Gong, blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, sensitive rumors, and other terms.

More: The Epoch Times

Chinese Officials Rewarded 30,000 Yuan for Sending Falun Gong Practitioners to Labor Camps

Communist officials were rewarded 30,000 yuan ($USD4,700) for forcing two Falun Gong practitioners into a labor camp, an insider said. 

“Internally, the public security bureaus all have quotas [for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners]. If you ‘re-educate’ one, you get rewarded a certain amount of money; if you sentence one to jail, another amount is rewarded. The public security bureaus all have it listed on their performance boards.” 

Such boards keep track of officers’ so-called “political achievements” so that they can get rewards or promotions according to the number of arrests they make. 

China expert Ji Qing, who is based in Washington D.C., said these high dollar figures suggest the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong is not supported by the Chinese public, and can only be sustained through monetary bribes.

Earlier this month, human rights activist Chen Guangcheng revealed in a video addressed to CCP leader Wen Jiabao that local authorities in his native Shangdong province spent over 60 million yuan ($9.5 million) to keep him and his family under house arrest.

Greens Urge Trade Deals to Disallow Rights Abuses

In a statement released Friday, the Greens said China in particular needs to be held to account for human rights abuses—noting especially the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group. 

 “At what cost has China’s economic miracle been achieved, and have we abetted human rights crimes by pretending ignorance?” asked Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

 “Questions need to be asked of our trade department and of the Canadian business community. With the well-documented and long-standing abuses in China and Tibet, and the human rights lawsuits against Bo Xilai in at least 13 countries including Canada, how could they be totally ignorant of these horrendous crimes?”

The statement said that while other faith groups, such as House-Christians, are also being persecuted, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fears the strength and growth of the Falun Gong, which is reputed to number between 70 and 100 million adherents in China.
More: The Epoch Times