Sunday, October 14, 2007

China and the Olympic Games: David Matas

Speech to a public rally Dam Square ,Amsterdam, Netherlands

By David Matas, October 4, 2007

David Kilgour and I have written a report which came to the conclusion that there is widespread organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioner in China. Falun Gong practitioners are killed for their organs which are sold for large sums to foreign transplant tourists. Our report is on the internet for anyone to see. All our sources of evidence are set out in the report and our independently verifiable.

The Falun Gong are a group of innocents. Falun Gong is an exercise regime with a spiritual dimension. Yet, China is afraid of anyone who believes in anything besides the absolute rule of the Communist Party. China has unleashed the full force of state brutality against these innocents.

Whatever you may think of our report, it is incontestable that there is systematic persecution of the Falun Gong. The Falun Gong have been arbitrarily detained in the hundreds of thousands, brutalized, tortured, and killed in the tens of thousands. They are by far the biggest victim group in China.

China has prohibited the participation of the Falun Gong and many other groups in the Olympic games. China has even prohibited the attendance at the Games of Falun Gong practitioners and many others.

The Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter state:

“1 ... Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on ... respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

2 The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

4 The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind ...

5 Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
Jacques Rogge, the Belgian head of the International Olympic Committee asked people not to politicize the Olympic games. Politics is a matter of opinion about which people can reasonably differ. Respect for human rights is not a matter of opinion. There is no reasonable voice which can justify violations of human rights.

Demanding Chinese respect for human rights does not amount to politicizing the Olympic games. It amounts only to asking for respect for the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter.

The Communist Party of China has used the awarding of the Olympic games to justify its own hold on power in China. Now, that is a politicization of the Olympic Games.

Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer, in a letter to the United States Congress dated September 12, called on the Government of China not to use the Olympic games to legitimize its own hold on power. For this letter, Gao was arrested and has since disappeared.

I call on China, the International Olympic Committee and the Dutch Olympic Committee to respect the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter. The way China is behaving now is incompatible with the Olympic movement. I say that the International Olympic Committee should insist, if the Games are to continue to be held in China, that:
  1. China should allow every person to compete in the Olympic games regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs.

  2. China should allow every person to attend the Olympic games regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs.

  3. Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China must stop.

  4. The persecution of Falun Gong in China must stop.

  5. Gao Zhisheng must be released.
I say to the International Olympic Committee to respect your own Charter and tell China: no human rights in China, no Olympic games in China.

David Matas is a lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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