Friday, July 27, 2007

China's human rights a charade

A brilliant piece by Tung Chen-yuan, vice chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council.

Taiwan Journal: Publication Date:07/27/2007 Section:Commentary
Since 1991, China's State Council has issued eight human-rights reports, and, in 1998, China became a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, though its parliament, the National People's Congress, has yet to ratify the signing. Most recently, in November 2006, the Chinese government held an "Exhibition on Human Rights in China" in Beijing and, in March 2007, issued for the eighth consecutive year a report on the "Human Rights Record of the United States," which criticizes the U.S. government for serious violations of human rights.

Unlike other governments, Beijing is unique in its unceasing efforts to prove to the international community that the "Chinese Communist Party is a strong advocate for human rights, and the Chinese people enjoy human rights." While this represents progress of a sort, it also exhibits the hypocrisy of the Chinese government in its persecution of human rights. Former President Jiang Zemin said, "Keeping 1.3 billion people well fed and warmly clothed is one of the greatest human-rights achievements in China."

Indeed, China has significantly improved its people's lives, but the nation's wealth is concentrated in the hands of a minority of people, many of whom are high-ranking party cadres and government officials. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences calculated that China's Gini coefficient has now worsened to 0.496, far surpassing the international warning line of 0.4 and representing an increase of 0.26 points over the same period in 2005. Official surveys in China indicate that there are 3,220 people with personal assets exceeding US$13.2 million, but 2,932 of these are children of high-ranking CCP cadres and government officials. In comparison, at the end of 2004, nearly 200 million farmers had lost their land due to Chinese authorities' unjust expropriation.

These problems arise from the unrestricted privileges party cadres and officials enjoy while insufficient political protection is given to the rights and interests of the general public. China's Constitution stipulates that citizens aged 18 or above have the right to vote and stand for election. At present, however, the Chinese people are only allowed to cast a direct vote in elections for village heads and neighborhood committee chairpersons.

Of more than 70 million members of party and government agencies, only 32,000 non-CCP members hold political positions at or above county-chief level. Moreover, only 19 non-party members hold positions in the central government, and the great majority of these are in positions without administrative power. This demonstrates the that CCP's monopoly of political power is the fundamental reason for China's extremely unfair distribution of wealth and officials' unbridled abuse of power and privileges.

In addition to its power in the real world, the CCP tries to control the people's spiritual world. Chinese laws contain clear provisions protecting religious freedom, yet over 40 million people have been persecuted in China due to their participation in what the government brands "underground churches" and "evil cults." Currently, at least 17 bishops belonging to Catholic underground churches are missing, or have been arrested or forced into living under segregation. In 2006, at least 650 pastors of house churches were arrested and many churches were demolished. Since July 1999, the Chinese government has cruelly persecuted several hundred thousand Falun Gong practitioners, and several thousand have died in police custody.

Chinese people are also deprived of the right to freedom of speech. Reporters Without Borders has indicated there are at least 31 journalists and 51 online authors currently serving prison sentences in China. The Ministry of Public Security has over 30,000 Internet police officers censoring online communications of Chinese citizens. Under coercion by the Chinese government, major Internet companies Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Cisco Systems have blocked access to and self-filtered Chinese networks and Web sites, and have provided Web users' personal data to the authorities. The Chinese government also stipulated that release of news and information in China by foreign news agencies must undergo a review and ratification process by the Chinese authorities.

Without democracy, freedom of religion and speech, there will be no true human rights in China. With regard to China's publication of human-rights white papers and holding of exhibitions, these represent nothing but its hypocrisy over human-rights persecution. Beijing's criticism of the human-rights situation in the United States only further highlights its guilty conscience and absurdity in this regard. In February 2007, the U.S. magazine Parade published a list of the "World's 10 Worst Dictators" based on reports by global human-rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and the U.S. Department of State. Chinese President Hu Jintao ranked fourth on its list, up two places from 2006. As Hu's ranking rises on the list, the human-rights situation in China worsens.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Olympic Dreams--and Nightmares

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom examines the good, the bad and the ugly. "Will the Olympics change China?"

The nation: Excerpt - The Olympics always provide a unique platform for the world's finest athletes. The 2008 Games will also provide one for Hu Jintao and company in their ongoing quest to convince domestic audiences that they have made China great again; they seek to persuade international audiences that they are steering their country and its booming economy down the right path. But this platform can't be controlled--and China's leaders are shrewd enough to realize the risk of trying too hard to keep the unexpected from happening. Their hope of having the 2008 Games remembered as China's great global coming-out party could crumble, not just as a consequence of protests but of ham-handed security measures that end in making the 2008 Games memorable less for their grandeur than for the tightly monitored nature of the proceedings.

The most interesting Olympic event to watch could turn out to be one not recognized by the International Olympic Committee: The tightrope-walk China's leaders attempt when the global media are more focused on Beijing than they have been since 1989--a fateful year when, as we know and Hu Jintao knows too, international audiences were alternately inspired by images of youthful Chinese protesters and appalled those of menacing Chinese tanks. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Olympic games for the hollow men

Taipei Times: By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將; Thursday, Jul 26, 2007, Page 8

`What will constitute a shift will be the requirement to cooperate with Beijing on intelligence matters.'

Ask anyone who has been involved in the preparations for Olympic Games about the immensity of the challenge the endeavor represents -- especially since Sept. 11, 2001 -- and you will be served a seemingly endless list of sundries, from logistics to security.

Having been privy to and, for a short while, a participant in the security aspect of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, I had the opportunity to see some of the principal tasks that face today's organizers of global events.

In a so-called age of terrorism, it is no surprise -- albeit disheartening -- that security has become one of the main worries of Olympics organizers. From the Salt Lake City games in 2002, which turned the otherwise quiescent Mormon heartland into a virtual battlefield -- what with the anti-aircraft batteries girding the premises and the peremptory presence of soldiers and security officers -- to the games in Athens, where security was the remit of no less a power than NATO, the threat of violence, or more explicitly of a terrorist attack, was ever-present in the minds of officials.

Efforts have inherently been geared toward addressing those threats, based on likelier scenarios and potential perpetrators.

Athens continued this trend, with Islamic terrorist organizations as the main source of the perceived threat, followed by anti-globalization groups known for their violent predisposition. Certain flagged individuals were barred from entry into Greece, while others were closely monitored, with unprecedented cooperation from intelligence services around the world. Threat and risk assessments were produced and shared, while daily international security meetings were held.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, however, promise to bring the organizers' sense of siege to a whole new, genre-defining level, and, judging by the preparations its domestic intelligence services and various governmental bureaus have made, no stone will be left unturned.

Already, a list of potential targets for monitoring by security officials has been drawn, which includes "enemies of the Games" as varied as Chinese Muslims, US Christian groups, human rights advocates, environmentalists, Tibetan independence supporters, critics of China's role in Darfur's genocide in the making -- in all, anyone, state-based to nongovernmental, that dares criticize Beijing.

Given the precedent set by previous Olympics, it can be expected that international cooperation on security matters will be no different this time, as intelligence services are responsible for the security of the athletes from their own countries. The attractiveness of closely cooperating with Beijing, given the cornucopia of promised riches that playing along with China implies, can only encourage this.

This, then, raises a very serious question, as in the lead-up to the games next summer Beijing will be increasing its collection of intelligence both domestically and abroad. Chinese foreign intelligence services -- and individuals in their pay -- will redouble their monitoring abroad, gathering information on groups and individuals, from Taiwanese to Tibetans to Falun Gong practitioners, as well as the various issue groups Beijing perceives as threatening to its "security."

The real dilemma, however, lies not in intelligence collection abroad, as this is a practice other countries -- even allies of China -- have long been used to. The US, Canada, Britain and other European countries have all stated that China is the main source of espionage, both economic and political, in their territories. Even if these activities become more frequent -- and they will -- countering Chinese espionage, though a daunting task, does not represent a departure for these countries' domestic spy agencies.

What will constitute a shift will be the requirement to cooperate with Beijing on intelligence matters. It is easy to imagine that, as the event approaches, Beijing's main weapon -- trade -- will focus on a new commodity, that of cooperation on security. Following this logic, countries that, for one reason or another, refuse to cooperate with China on that sector will be subjected to blackmail of the kind we have seen time and time again at the UN and other international institutions. Unfortunately, the lure of future trade with China, which Beijing will never decouple from the supposedly apolitical Olympic Games, means that most countries will choose cooperation over morality.

The consequences of this decision will be that intelligence services the world over will become proxies of the Chinese apparatus, whether they like it or not. Beijing will send what are known as "trace requests," or requests for information on suspected individuals to its sudden international allies, who will look into their database, perhaps launch investigations of their own, and whatever information is found will find its way back to Beijing. Through this process, flags will be affixed to the files of countless individuals who will either be barred from entering China or, if they do, face the risk of imprisonment.

In the name of cooperation, in the spirit of the Games, various intelligence agencies will thus become complicit in repression. Terrorism will be redefined, if only temporarily, as anything that opposes the authoritarian practices of the government in Beijing. Unless the world's security services take the moral path -- a very unlikely possibility, sadly -- those will be Games for individuals who have given in to tyranny.

The marathoners will run, the swimmers will swim and the cyclists will cycle, but around them, cheering, will be the architects of a repressive regime and an army of hollow men, leaning together.

J. Michael Cole is a writer based in Taipei. OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Monday, July 23, 2007

China gathering intelligence on activists it thinks might disrupt 2008 Olympics

AP Exclusive: The Associated Press; Published: July 23, 2007 - BEIJING: China's intelligence services are gearing up for next year's Beijing Olympics, gathering information on foreigners who might mount protests and spoil the nation's moment in the spotlight.

Government spy agencies and think tanks are compiling lists of potentially troublesome foreign organizations, looking beyond the human rights groups long critical of Beijing, security experts and a consultant familiar with the effort said.

They include evangelical Christians eager to end China's religious restrictions, activists wanting Beijing to use its oil-buying leverage with Sudan to end the strife in Darfur, and environmental campaigners angry about global warming.

The effort is among the broadest intelligence-collection drives Beijing has taken against foreign activist groups, often known as non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. It aims to head off protests and other political acts during an Olympics the communist leadership hopes will boost its popularity at home and China's image abroad.

"Demonstrations of all kinds are a concern, including anti-American demonstrations," said the consultant, who works for Beijing's Olympic organizers and asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The government, he said, was "trying to find out what kinds of NGOs will come. What are their plans?"

While foreign governments often monitor potentially disruptive groups ahead of big events, Beijing this time is ranging farther afield, targeting groups whose activities would be considered legal in most countries.

As such, the move carries risks for Beijing. Evidence that the communist government is withholding visas or engaged in heavy-handed policing to suppress protests would likely draw negative press and could unnerve the International Olympic Committee and corporate sponsors.

Scott Kronick, the president of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide's China operations, said he raised concerns about the way protests might be handled when an official with the Beijing Olympic organizing committee asked him about the possibility of activists disrupting the torch relay.

"I said, 'People will understand that. That's the way different groups act. What you need to worry about is what your response is going to be and how you will act,'" said Kronick, whose clients include Adidas, an Olympic sponsor.

The Ministry of Public Security, the national police agency which runs some domestic spying networks, declined to comment as did the Beijing Olympic organizing committee. Phone numbers for the main spying agency, the Ministry of State Security, are not published, and the Cabinet's main information office would not provide them.

Concerns about foreign protesters are a reminder of how the Beijing games differ from most previous Olympics. Aside from the hefty US$40 billion (€29 billion) price tag and the government's outsized political ambitions, security poses a different challenge, complicated by Chinese leaders' repressive policies at home and growing profile abroad.

"They are worried about a larger number of things and they are worried about keeping the lid on," said Arnold Howitt, who runs crisis-management training programs for Beijing officials at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Like all Olympic hosts since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, China's security services are concerned about terrorism. Attacks by militant Islamic groups, some of them homegrown, top the list of scenarios the police and the military are preparing for, Chinese and foreign security experts said.

Yet China also faces a plethora of disaffected domestic groups — Tibetans eager to cast off Chinese rule, farmers upset at land confiscations and Falun Gong, a once-popular spiritual movement the government suppressed as a cult. A research institute involved in crisis-planning for the Olympics has looked into possible unrest by unemployed workers, analysts at the think tank said.

China has long been wary of NGOs, fearing they might be acting as agents for foreign governments or encouraging defiance of the Communist Party.

Those worries grew in recent months as a multiplying number of foreign groups mounted public campaigns to tie causes as varied as promoting labor rights and protecting sharks to the Beijing games.

The Darfur campaigners, who threatened to re-brand the games the "Genocide Olympics" if China does not pressure Sudan to stop the conflict, particularly alarmed Beijing.

"As far as the Chinese side is concerned, NGOs are a destabilizing factor," said the security consultant.

Though Chinese leaders believe a boycott is unlikely, successful protests by foreigners would not only tarnish the games but could also embolden domestic critics, Chinese foreign policy experts and activists said.

After four Americans unfurled a banner calling for Tibetan independence on the Chinese-controlled side of Mount Everest in April, China tightened access to Tibet for foreigners, especially Americans, Western diplomats in Beijing said.

In trying to neutralize foreign NGOs, Beijing is in part building on methods used to quash Falun Gong. After declaring the spiritual movement illegal in 1999, Beijing infiltrated the group and identified many among its millions of followers, both within China and overseas.

As with Falun Gong, the security consultant said government agencies were compiling lists of foreign NGOs and their members. He declined to specify whether electronic surveillance or infiltration, a textbook tactic for China's police and spying agencies, were being used.

Part of the research into NGOs, including into Darfur groups, was being conducted by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security that also has an Olympic security task force, the two analysts said.

Officials in China's overseas diplomatic missions are also being tasked to gather information on groups, the consultant said.

When The Associated Press reported in May on plans by U.S. and other Christian groups to proselytize at the Olympics, the press officer at China's U.N. mission contacted the AP seeking more information.

"Africa, global warming, Darfur," said the security consultant, "without the Olympic Games, Beijing would not be paying attention to these things."
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, July 20, 2007

Answering China

Prof. Peter Morici teaches at Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland.

Global Politician: Prof. Peter Morici
- 7/20/2007

The rash of dangerous Chinese imports, ranging from defective tires to tainted toothpaste, makes apparent the perils in U.S. and EU policies toward China. Since President Nixon, the United States has sought constructive engagement to encourage economic and political reform. By opening commerce, the United States seeks to expose Chinese citizens to democratic values, instigate systemic change, and eventually add another responsible, prosperous state to the community of western nations.

The United States is betting that opening American markets to China's products, through membership in the World Trade Organization, will lift millions from poverty and create a government that respects human rights. The Communist Party is betting it can manipulate WTO rules to its unique advantage, accomplish export-led growth, and deliver prosperity that allows it to hold on to power indefinitely.

China's economic miracle is giving capitalism a bad name. By offering manufacturers export subsidies through a 40 percent undervalued currency, cheap bank loans, generous tax rebates, lax product-safety and environmental enforcement, and technology extorted from western multinationals seeking Beijing's permission to sell products in China, China is flooding U.S. and EU markets with artificially cheap, and too often dangerous, products.

Aside from wholly corrupting the notion of free trade based on comparative advantage, these policies have created a profits-at-any-cost culture.

Chinese factories exploit workers, purposely endanger consumers, transform lakes and rivers into noxious reservoirs of industrial waste, and create the filthiest air on the planet. Lacking the accountability imposed by open elections and a free press, Beijing ignores these abuses until U.S. public outrage occasionally puts an export markets at risk. Even worse, provincial governments encourage this degradation.

China has tough national environmental laws, but Communist Party officials in Beijing and the provinces are rewarded for meeting growth targets, not enforcing abatement standards, and the resulting corruption offers them great opportunities to amass personal wealth.

To limit dissent, Beijing censors the internet, with the cooperation of principled western companies like Google. It jails political activists and members of "subversive religions," such as Falun Gong. Prison and military hospitals harvest organs for the lucrative transplant market. The atrocities Beijing encourages are endless and beyond shame.

China, with the third largest GDP among nations, holds $1.2 trillion in hard currency and securities. Yet, Beijing says it is too poor to provide clean drinking water, sewers and decent housing for its rural population. The income gap between rural areas and large coastal export centers grows each day, as sure as the pollution and poisons spewed from its factories multiplies.

All we get from Beijing are vague promises, vacant of transformative actions. Meanwhile, leaders in Washington counsel diplomacy instead of concrete steps, and apologists among U.S. multinationals profiting from the China's criminal behavior warn against disruptive consequences of curbing the peculiar enterprise called U.S.-China free trade.

China's behavior is not without its consequences for U.S. and other western economies. Its export juggernaut is closing factories in the United States and EU, and casting into unemployment workers that would be competitive but for China's mercantilism. For example, technology-intensive autoparts factories, semiconductor plants and software development labs moving to China gain little from cheap labor. The resulting lost productivity in the United States comes to nearly $2000 each year for every employed American, has helped create a $6 trillion foreign debt, and is lowering sustainable U.S. GDP growth from about 4 percent a year to about 3 percent.

By 2008, China will be the world's largest source of greenhouse gases, and its reckless industrialization strategy is adding the equivalent of one new Japan to the global warming equation every two years. At that pace, the United States and EU, even by adopting the most aggressive emission curtailment programs, could do little to derail global warming.

It is high time for the United States and EU to exclude, on a broad and comprehensive scale, Chinese products that are heavily subsidized, that are made in factories that poison the atmosphere, or that are potentially dangerous to consumers regardless of where they live. Only then can the West hope to instigate positive change in China.

If the Americans and Europeans do not act, eventually China will become too strong to resist, and our shared future will darken.

Civilizations do not collapse under the weight of age. They fail when they become too complacent to act on real threats.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

RBW, the Rose Parade and the CCP float

Here is an enlightened letter from Reporters without Borders to the Chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses about the CCP communist float participating in the parade. Look here for a report by Pasadena Weekly Joe Piasecki on this topic and here for a report by Epoch Times Dan Sanchez. It would be quite a coup for the CCP if this was to happen. Send your letters to the Pasadena Weekly to protest--they publish most of the letters:

Mr. C.L. Keedy
Chairman of Pasadena Tournament of Roses
391 S. Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105

July 10, 2007

Mr. Chairman,

As you prepare the next Rose Parade, to be held on January 1, 2008, Reporters Without
Borders feels compelled to write to you to raise the issue of human rights in China. We are
surprised and disappointed to learn the presence of a Beijing Olympic float at the upcoming
Parade. The 2008 Summer Olympics are due to start in Beijing in just over a year’s time
but the Chinese government, despite its explicit promises, refuses to make improvements in
basic rights and freedom.

Throughout the world, concern is growing about the holding of these Olympics, which have
been taken hostage by a government that balks at taking action to guarantee freedom of
expression and respect for the Olympic Charter’s humanistic values.

The Chinese authorities promised in Moscow in 2001 to improve the human rights
situation. The representative of the Beijing Candidate Committee said: “By entrusting the
holding of the Olympic Games to Beijing, you will contribute to the development of human
rights.” Six years later, Reporters Without Borders has registered no lasting improvement
in press freedom or online free expression. Foreign journalists obtained a temporary
improvement in their status on 1 January but that will end in October. Strong pressure
would have been needed to get the government to abandon the authoritarian and suspicious
habits that make China one of the most backward countries for the international press.

China continues to be by far the world’s biggest prison for journalists, press freedom
activists, cyber-dissidents and Internet users. Nearly 100 of them are serving sentences
imposed without due process. Most of them are being held in terrible conditions. The
journalist Shi Tao, for example, is forced to work in the prison where he is serving a 10-year
sentence. How can you accept that Chinese who have campaigned for more freedom will
have to impotently watch the world’s most important sports event from their cells?

China’s journalists continue to have to accept the dictates of the Propaganda Department,
which imposes censorship on a wide range of subjects. The state maintains broad control of
news and uses authoritarian laws to punish violators. Charges of subversion, divulging state
secrets and espionage continue to rain down on journalists and editors working for the most
liberal media. Self-censorship is the rule in editorial rooms. Chinese-language media based
abroad are blocked, harassed or jammed, preventing the emergence of any media pluralism,

The laws governing the Internet have been made even tougher in the course of the past six
years, turning the Chinese Internet into a space that is subject to surveillance and
censorship. These restrictions also apply to foreign Internet companies.

Who will be able to say that the Olympic Games are a great sports event when thousands of
prisoners of conscious are languishing in Chinese detention centres? Who is going to be
able to believe in the 2008 Olympics slogan “One World, One Dream,” when Tibetan and
Uyghur minorities are subject to serious discrimination? What will you tell the relatives of
Chinese dissidents in jail when they will learn about the presence of Beijing 2008 amidst the
Rose Parade’s festivities?

The Chinese government and Communist Party attach the utmost importance to the success
of the Olympic Games for their own sakes, but without keeping any of the promises they
have made.

Mr. Chairman, it is not too late to get the Chinese organizers, who are for the most part also
senior political officials, to release prisoners of conscience, reform repressive laws and end
censorship. It is time to add your voice to the international pressure and to say clearly to the
Chinese authorities that you will not allow the Rose Parade to be associated to the Olympics
and to have the celebrations marred by the human rights violations committed in China.

Reporters Without Borders knows the strength of sports and entertainment when they are
put at the service of peace and democracy. Mr. Chairman, we do not doubt your
commitment to freedom of expression. We believe that your convictions and those of the
Rose Parade board members will enable you to quickly do what everyone is expecting of
you – to take action on behalf of freedoms in China and to refuse to pay tribute to the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games till the promises made by the Chinese authorities are not kept.
We feel sure you will take account of our comments. Thank you for your consideration.


Robert Ménard
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ex-Diplomat Says China Using Culture to Crush Unwanted Influence

Chinese dissident Chen Yonglin outlines how Beijing controls the diasporas and spies on the U.S. through Canada and Australia.

Embassy by Lee Berthiaume - June 13, 2007 - In the spring of 2001, about 40 Chinese-Canadian associations delivered to then-prime minister Jean Chrétien a petition opposing Falun Gong activities in Canada.

Around the same time, related organizations in Australia were delivering a similar complaint to the mayor of Sydney.

While neither leader took action against the religious group, a Chinese diplomat-turned-dissident says the petition campaign was actually the brainchild of the Chinese government and represents one of the most subtle means by which the Asian country's Communist government is trying to influence the world.

"That's considered a success in mobilizing the local community for China's interest," Chen Yonglin told Embassy in an interview last week during a Falun Gong-sponsored visit to Ottawa.

"The group lodged a petition, but the petition was actually drafted by the embassy. In Sydney, we did the same thing."

On May 26, 2005, Mr. Chen walked out of the Chinese consulate in Sydney, where he had been responsible for monitoring Chinese political dissidents, after 14 years in the Asian country's foreign service.

Since then, he has reported extensively on China's international activities, including its widespread network of spies around the world, its efforts to steal technological secrets and inventions, and its attempts to crackdown on dissidents living abroad.

Upon his defection, Mr. Chen revealed that about 1,000 Chinese spies were operating within Australia's borders, a number he believes is similar in Canada.

Last month, Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Jim Judd told a Senate committee that as many as 15 countries have spies operating within Canada, and that China "pretty much" ranked as the top country sending agents to Canada, with "close" to 50 per cent of all agents in the country.

Mr. Chen said the Chinese government aims to eliminate what it refers to as the "five poisonous groups," essentially any activity that promotes Falun Gong, the legitimacy of Taiwan, Tibet, Uighur, and democracy in China.

The Communist country employs subtle and sophisticated tactics in its war on what are essentially five challenges to single-party rule, Mr. Chen said.

For example, the Chinese style of writing is different on the mainland than in Taiwan or Hong Kong, and by promoting it in such places as the new Confucius Institutes, which are Chinese government-sponsored institutions that are being established around the world, it hopes to promote closer cultural ties to the mainland and the Communist Party's ideology.

"The main aim is to squeeze the space of Taiwan influence," he said. "They will have a closer link to mainland China instead of Hong Kong or Taiwan. This is a cultural campaign."

The Canadian Press reported late last month that CSIS considers the institutes, one of which recently opened in Vancouver, with more slated for Montreal, Moncton, N.B., and Waterloo, Ont., a form of "soft power" with the aim of generating goodwill in the West towards China.

Pro-Communist China satellite channels, newspapers and other communications strategies, predominantly aimed at the Chinese diaspora, are all part of the strategy, Mr. Chen said.

"It's focused on cultural change to convince people that the power in China is legitimate, it's helping people, serving the people, and there should be no objection and no democracy is necessary. One-party democracy is good."

When he first joined the Chinese foreign service in 1992, Mr. Chen was assigned to the Department of North American and Oceanic Affairs. At the time, Lu Shumin, now China's ambassador to Canada, was deputy director of the U.S. division. He was later promoted to director general of the department, and Mr. Chen accused him of following the party line and policies, including efforts to stop the five poisonous groups.

The Chinese Embassy did not return repeated phone calls.

Government Involved in Diasporas

The Chinese government considers Chinese communities abroad as its property and helps friendly diaspora members establish organizations that ostensibly represent the local Chinese community, but are essentially lobbyists for the Chinese government.

A few months ago, representatives from New Tang Dynasty Television accused the Chinese government, with supporting documents that had been taken from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa when the wife of a diplomat defected, of trying to stop the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) from granting it a licence to operate in Canada.

Mr. Chen said one main group overseas all other local associations, and the head of that group is appointed by the embassy.

Anyone who establishes an association, which can often have only one member but may appear to have a much larger presence, can get preferential treatment in business dealings and other relations with China.

"The Chinese government shows how to organize and gives instructions," Mr. Chen said. "And if they set up this organization, they get special treatment."

Not only do the associations lobby the Canadian government, they also try to infiltrate dissident groups and tarnish their reputations, Mr. Chen said.

While many of China's efforts focus on working with and trying to influence the local community, and by extension federal, provincial and municipal governments, it also relies on diplomats and other official Chinese officials stationed in the country, Mr. Chen said.

"In the missions in some important cities, there are one to three staff members that are working for state security," he said. "The ambassador cannot command these people. They may reject the ambassador. They are there for a special task. They don't have to necessarily listen to the instructions of the ambassador."

Mr. Chen said China has a grand strategy, the main aim being to reduce American influence around the world. Because Australia and Canada are key allies to the U.S., it is targeted by default.

"China has tried hard to weaken the United States' influence over the world by trying to reducing the intimacy between Canada and the United States, and Australia and the United States," he said.

One such way of doing this is by stealing American political and security intelligence from Australia and Canada that is shared by the U.S., which serves also to strengthen China.

"Australia and Canada have an alliance with the United States and these countries share a lot of information," he said. "China cannot get that information directly from the United States, but they can get it here."

Government operatives will also try to steal technological secrets, and recruit government-supported researchers, especially those with any connection to the Chinese mainland.

"They stay here and occasionally travel to China and work for a certain period of time," he said. "Then back to his own laboratory here which is supported by the government."

Mr. Chen said the Canadian government must stick to its policy of human rights, democracy and freedom and remain vigilant of Chinese activity in the country, "especially its influence on the mainstream.

"They use some illegal ways to control, in some parts, the mainstream," he said. "Trade with China is okay, but stick with a human rights policy, and don't remain ignorant."

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Letter to Bush on Organ Harvesting and the Olympics

An Open Letter to the President of The United States

Stop China's Live Organ Harvesting and Boycott Beijing Olympic Games

By Professor Li Houzhu of Future China University
Special to The Epoch Times - July 19, 2007

Honorable President Bush,

First, please allow me to pay a personal tribute to you and your family. May God bless you and your family with good health and peace. I am a Professor of Philosophy at Future China University, and am currently living in mainland China. Under the rule and tyranny of the Chinese communist regime, I know first hand under what kind of miserable conditions Chinese people must live. Owing to my belief in the United States and my pursuit of freedom and democracy, I am writing you this letter to give you the perspective of what a Chinese intellectual has heard and witnessed in mainland China. It is my hope that this can provide a reference for setting foreign policies that meet with the true wishes of Chinese people.

First, let me discuss how average Chinese people view the U.S.

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) schools have been continually instilling its students with notions such as, "The United States interferes with other countries' internal policy making, provoking wars, and slaughtering foreigners at will. The United States is the biggest threat to the world peace. America is hostile towards China, unwilling to see it become stronger and, therefore, takes every opportunity to make trouble for China." Hearing these notions repeated throughout their education, Chinese students naturally develop hostility toward the U.S. On September 11 when average American people were attacked, when people all over the world were shocked and saddened by this atrocity, China's college campuses were filled with celebration and joy. The college students happily spread the exciting news, celebrating that the U.S. had finally been attacked. The CCP's education also misrepresents American democracy, claiming that American democracy is a false democracy. They claim that this democracy exists only within the upper classes, merely serving as a dictatorship to average people. They teach that American politics is monetary politics, pointing out how every election spends billions and billions of dollars. Under this kind of indoctrination, these students are unable to see what American democracy really is. These students have grown to accept the CCP's tyranny, and therefore view such tyranny as something natural and legal, mistakenly believing that the regime requires violence to protect its power. Likewise, they view America the same way.

Dear Mr. President, consider the most shocking Chinese phrase echoed by these students: "America is the same." The CCP has made Chinese people believe that every government commits similar atrocities, suggesting that the crimes they commit are nothing special. Students carelessly comment, "Which regime isn't this way? America is the same." Students in mainland China don't understand what press freedom is or what democracy is; neither do they really know anything about modern civilization. Their hearts are filled with hatred. Day and night, they imagine ways to instigate a war with the U.S. to defeat American imperialism. Average Chinese people know nothing about the real America, and they are hostile to the U.S. But don't blame the Chinese people who are naturally compassionate. Look to the hostile indoctrination of the CCP.

Honorable Mr. President, during the remainder of your term in office, if you are committed to building a firm foundation, upon which a Sino-America relationship will truly develop in harmony, there is much to be done. In fact, your speech at the opening ceremony for the Monument for Victims of Communism was already the first gratifying step forward toward accomplishing this goal. We are hoping that you will continue to strive to make efforts along this path. What the CCP is most afraid of is U.S. criticism. I urge you to start noting and criticizing the CCP's systematic education defaming America. This is a very practical starting point, which is closely linked to benefiting American interests. This is my first recommendation to you.

My second recommendation involves the miserable human rights situation in China.

Ever since the CCP stole power in 1949, it has continually looted the private property of Chinese people; moreover, it has deprived the Chinese people of freedom, turning billions of Chinese people into slaves who own nothing. The Tiananmen Square Massacre has been the most meaningful event for the Western world to clearly recognize the barbaric nature of the CCP. The western world can still remember this tragic event as the regime opened fire on its own people, but what the West may not realize is that the CCP has killed over 80 million Chinese people throughout its horrifying rule. This equates to creating a Tiananmen Square Massacre everyday.

After the Soviet Union dissolved, Americans have turned their attention to terrorist extremists, and dissidents with no specific national affiliation, as their number one enemy. In fact, America's biggest threat has always been the Chinese communist regime, and the CCP's national terrorists. It is sad that American people can't recognize it. American people are kind and tolerant; while the CCP is evil and wicked. If the American people remain unable to recognize the evil nature of this wicked regime, and instead continue to be blind to its motivations, then these kind people risk one day being killed by the evil.

Today America is at a crossroads. Should the U.S. continue to bravely stand up against communism, focusing its righteous power to fight the last battle against the most wicked CCP? Or should America silently consent to what they have been led to believe is the CCP's peaceful rise, turning a blind eye to the barbaric crimes of the regime? Should America continue to maintain a friendship with the CCP and provide technologies to the regime, helping this force to continue to grow stronger? As American businessmen plan how to increase their revenue through trading with the CCP, they may be unaware that nuclear weapons have already been positioned on the regime's secret launching sites. Various plans to attack America have for many years been the hottest topic of discussion on the internet in mainland China. America, shouldn't you have awoken long time ago? It's important to understand that China and America have common interests; but the CCP's interests are contrary to the benefit of America.

Mr. President, please make sure that you and your government continue to pay attention to China's human rights situation, and actively confront the threat of the CCP's national terrorism, so as to maintain the peace of the U.S. and the world; call on domestic businessmen to abandon short-term commercial benefits, and instead foster an environment of conscience, morality and justice, so as to actively support Chinese people's righteous fight against tyranny; criticize the CCP's massive domestic suppression and question its legitimacy as a real leader. This is the second suggestion I contribute to you.

Finally, I want to share with you the most shocking and terrifying thing about the CCP. I'm asking you to pay close attention to this portion for it is the major reason I wrote this letter.

Consider the ancient practice of Falun Gong. Falun Gong represents the best of traditional culture from the Chinese nation. The time honored Truth-Compassion-Tolerance spirit it embodies, also accommodates the current universal principles of freedom and democracy. It represents China's true national spirit of "being kind to others in all circumstances." Yet Falun Gong is now suffering a tragic persecution in mainland China. An attorney named Gao Zhisheng wrote three letters to the highest authorities of the CCP in support of Falun Gong, but it cost him over a hundred days of secret police surveillance culminating in his illegal arrest and sentence. Because he spoke out, until recently, Gao's whole family has been under house arrest. Attorney Gao has himself suffered persecution at the hands of the CCP. President Bush, please think about it: if China's most well-known attorney is barred from providing legal support for Falun Gong practitioners in mainland China, what other channels can be exploited to effectively stop this national terrorism? With no existing legal system, and under a regime which forcefully denies personal freedoms, Falun Gong practitioners have acted bravely in their efforts to appeal to local authorities, writing to clarify their case to CCP leaders and contacting various media so that they could be better understood. However, all efforts made in pursuing these channels met with confiscation, forfeiture, condemnation, labor camp reeducation, and other forms of persecution. The policy the CCP has constructed aims to "ruin [practitioners'] reputations, bankrupt [practitioners'] financially, and destroy [practitioners'] physically."

The sad news of Falun Gong practitioners being tortured to death in local prisons and labor camps has been continuously spread to the whole world. The number of practitioners tortured to death as publicized on—a website dedicated to reporting the atrocities of this persecution— has been confirmed to have already reached over 3,000 people. Yet these cases are known to be only the tip of the iceberg. Still, with all legal channels blocked, Falun Gong practitioners continue to adopt peaceful and rational ways of spreading the truth to the world and offers solutions to the public to confront this vile persecution. You will find among residences of mainland China, in parks, on the railway, in other places of interest, flyers, banners, DVDs, and booklets which discuss the truth of Falun Gong. Even many email boxes receive regular messages clarifying the truth of Falun Gong. Overseas Falun Gong practitioners have developed software to breakthrough the CCP's Internet firewall; they have created their own media which include The Epoch Times, New Tang Dynasty Television, Sound of Hope Radio and others, all in a joint effort to convey the truth to the public which becomes more aware of the evilness of the CCP everyday, and are thereby released from the lies and disinformation of the ruling Party.

In November 2004, The Epoch Times published the now famous "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party," making a final judgment on the many crimes committed by this loathsome regime. The commentaries inspired a huge wave of Chinese citizens withdrawing their membership from the CCP. Peaceful disintegration and the entire elimination of the CCP is becoming a reality. As more and more people pull away from this organization, one can clearly see that the CCP's days are numbered.

Even though we have made great strides in exposing the crimes of the CCP, there are still major ordeals to confront. You may be familiar with the expression, "wild beasts become crazy when they are about to die." In the spring of 2006, people were confronted with a term (and a reality) that extends beyond any evilness in history: organ harvesting. This is the story of doctors who are supposed to heal people but instead became murderous butchers. It boggles the mind that such bloody terrorism can even exist, and the news for many has been hard to accept. However, it very much exists and the program is still in operation. Falun Gong practitioners have become cost free raw materials for a human organ factory run by the CCP's national terrorist machine. Over tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have had their organs harvested and sold for substantial profit.

How long can the universe tolerate these evil deeds? How long can the earth bear the weight of these of crimes? Humans cannot choose to be silent anymore.

The Kilgour-Matas Independent Investigation—which thoroughly explored and confirmed China's organ harvesting program , released hard evidence that shocked the world; and on its heels came the "The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China" (CIPFG); soon a human rights torch relay in support of Falun Gong practitioners will begin in Greece. They all work toward the same goal: refusing to let the Olympic Games—which is supposed to represent peace in the world—to become a Bloody Harvest Games. "It will be a great shame for the whole world if the 2008 Olympics and these crimes against humanity are both happening at the same time in China," wrote the CIPFG in their recent letter to Hu Jianto and Wen Jiabao, (Chairman and President of the CCP respectively). The letter included a schedule in which they either demand a stop to the persecution, or else a boycott of the coming games.

Mr. President, God needs America to fulfill its solemn responsibility to protect the world's people and confront Communism. Tens of thousands of illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners who live under constant threat of losing their lives would welcome a U.S. intervention. In fact, many Chinese people who are suffering great hardship under the CCP's rule need the U.S. government to extend the proverbial olive branch. Rejecting the upcoming Olympic Games and rejecting the Chinese Communist Party would be the most cost effective and practical choice to strike at the heart of the CCP's national terrorism. The time is ripe; take this opportunity to rally the support of the people. This is the chance for the world to come together and finally bury the last remaining vestiges of Communism's evil force. This is the third suggestion I contribute to you, and it is the most important suggestion of all.

I wish you and your family all the best!

Sincerely yours,

Future China Network University Professor Li Houzhu

Cc: Leaders of the Chinese Communist Regime, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Falun Gong and the Communist Olympics

The Persecution of Falun Gong and the Olympics

MWC: Letter published July 16, 2007 - Why have millions of peaceful Chinese people been branded as criminals by China’s worst (former) dictator Jiang Zemin and killed for their belief? The year was 1992. Before the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners enjoyed the quasi freedom to do their traditional Tai-chi-like exercises freely and peacefully. Owing to the practice’s great health benefits, practitioners enabled the government to save oodles of money in health care costs that was favourably recognized by the government at the time. Politburo officials read Zhuan Falun (Falun Gong main teachings) and were quickly becoming adepts. What went wrong? It was the 1998 government survey revealing that there were 70-100 million adherents in China, with Beijing alone having 2000 exercise sites, that spooked the dictator. Soon after that, to protest random beatings and much slandering of the faith, about 10,000 practitioners gathered at the government compound in a very orderly manner on April 25, 1999.

This unexpected 4.25 peaceful appeal no doubt came upon Jiang like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, bringing with it nuances of deja vu - think June 4, 1989 TAM massacre - and the surreality of a Tiananmen II incident manifesting right before his own eyes. Unprepared to confront his new class enemy, it wasn’t long after that, that Jiang launched a genocidal campaign against Falun Gong that went into full swing eight years ago, on July 20, 1999. His directive: "destroy them physically, defame their reputations and bankrupt them financially." This persecution is by far the most sinister form of evil occurring in China today--organ harvesting being the preferred method for eradicating practitioners from Chinese society. (Ref. Bloody Harvest; )

As Falun Gong practitioners stand strong behind their truth campaign against their brutal persecutors--the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)--China has seen 24 million nationals quit the Communist Party. This wave of resignations, triggered by the book ‘Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party’ recounting China’s history of bloodlust and merciless killing of over 90 million people, is a cause for celebration. China-watchers all agree that true peace will not occur in China until the party is completely disintegrated.

Yet sadly, China’s vast economic boom makes diplomats look the other way.

Thanks to the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), the global human rights torch relay will soon begin its peaceful journey on five continents to beam the spotlight on the persecution thus saying no to the 2008 China Olympics. So far, Beijing apologists argue that the increased international attention will cause China to improve its behaviour before the Games. Hmm! Organ harvesting of live Falun Gong practitioners is a vivid proof that it isn’t so. Furthermore, a blacklist has been distributed by the CCP, on which 43 different categories of undesirable people that should not be allowed to come to China for the Olympics are listed--among them are Falun Gong practitioners. Some improvement!

Hu Jintao, the leader of China, and the members of the IOC should be well aware by now that the Olympic games are built on the premise of fairness and justice, precisely the opposite of today's human rights situation in China. The brutal persecution of Falun Gong must be stopped and the CCP must be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. Beijing’s face lift and cosmetic laws account for naught--genocide and the Olympics cannot co-exist! Help keep the flame alive, on August 8, light a torch for human rights.

Marie Beaulieu

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cartoon: Made in China

Other comics
Potluck Parish
Over the Hedge
Big Nate
Bo Nanas

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Broken China

Beijing can't clean up the environment, rein in stock speculation, or police its companies. Why the mainland's problems could keep it from becoming the next superpower

OH Nooooo -- they're out of control!!! A culture of corruption unwilling to truly change but always ready to put on a show.... and that's Communist China for you.

Business Week June 12, 2007 - ...If this reformist agenda fails, watch out. The working assumption from Washington to Tokyo is that China is on a trajectory to become a modern market economy and a responsible global citizen. But if its problems persist, the world will have to keep living with a giant trade partner that can't guarantee safe products, control piracy, or curb pollution. China could keep growing rapidly for years, but a scenario of dysfunctional administration calls into question whether it will really become an economic superpower with world-beating corporations that challenge the West in innovation—a Japan Inc. on steroids.

China doesn't lack the finances to fix its shortcomings, and it has the legal structure for regulating the environment, health care, and worker safety. What Beijing does lack is the will to overhaul a political structure that gives party officials down to even the smallest villages huge influence over many facets of economic life. "The laws in China compare with some of the best in the world," says activist Liu Kaiming, founder of the Migrant Workers Community College in Shenzhen. "But it is not able to enforce the laws fully because local governments are focused on pleasing the big bosses in companies." What's more, few mainland enterprises are proving they can move beyond low-cost commodity goods and succeed on a global stage with innovative products, a function of both their limited managerial vision and flawed high-tech policies from Beijing. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


For Immediate Release
July 16, 2007

Washington , D.C. - Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today delivered the following
statement on the floor of the House today addressing multiple concerns about China ,
the products it produces and its poor record on human rights:

"Imagine a country where factory workers have no workplace
safety, labor or environmental protections and are required to work 80
hour-weeks for no more than $110 per month to produce goods for export.

"Imagine a country which boldly supplies missiles and chemical
weapons technology to countries that support or harbor terrorists.

"Imagine a country that oversees a network of espionage
operations against American companies and the U.S. government.

"Imagine a country which tortures and imprisons Catholic
bishops, Protestant church leaders, Muslim worshipers, Falun Gong
followers, and Buddhist monks and nuns just because of their faith and
systematically destroys churches and confiscates Bibles.

"Imagine a country which has a thriving business of harvesting
and selling for transplant kidneys, corneas and other human organs from
executed prisoners who are thrown in prison with no trial or sentencing

"Imagine a country which maintains an extensive system of
gulags - slave labor camps, also known as the "laogai" - as large as
existed in the former Soviet Union that are used for brainwashing and
"reeducation through labor."

"Sadly, none of this is imaginary. Such a nation exists. It
is the People's Republic of China .

"Sadly, too, that's just part of the list of egregious actions.

"In 2006, the Chinese government arrested 651 Christians that
we know of. Currently, China has 6 Catholic bishops in jail and another
9 under house arrest. Renowned human rights advocate Rebiya Kadeer has
watched from exile as the Chinese government arrests and beats her
family members in her homeland.

"Late last year, western mountain climbers captured on
videotape a horrifying scene: Chinese police shooting from their North
Face tents at a group of Tibetan refugees crossing Nangpa Pass. A
17-year old Buddhist nun was killed and several others were wounded.

"There are some who assert that human rights are something
that should come once stability has been attained. They say that
protection of human rights comes second to attaining economic power and
wealth. We must reject that notion.

"During the debate over granting China permanent normal trade
relations status, proponents argued that economic liberalization would
lead to political liberalization in China, that exposing China to the
West's ideas and values would lead them to play a more constructive role
in the international community, and that the U.S. and other
industrialized nations could influence China through economic activity
to better respect the rights of its citizens to fundamental human rights
and the unfettered practice of their faith.

"Instead, we have seen why the protection of basic liberties
should not come second to economic growth. The China of today is worse
than the China of yesterday, or of last year, or of the last decade.
China is not progressing. It is regressing. It is more violent, more
repressive, and more resistant to democratic values than it was before
we opened our ports to freely accept Chinese products.

"And now, in addition to all of the horrible things the
Chinese government does to its own citizens, it does to other countries'
citizens as well. It poisons children in Panama , the Dominican
Republic , and Australia , with toothpaste containing an industrial
solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze. This toothpaste was
marketed under the brand name "Mr. Cool."

"Some 1.5 million wooden toys in the Thomas the Tank Engine
line of children's trains were recalled after manufacturers discovered
that the Chinese-made toys were slathered in lead-based paint, a
substance that is toxic if swallowed.

"China continues to send American consumers adulterated and
mislabeled food products, including prunes tinted with chemical dyes,
dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical, scallops and
sardines coated with putrefying bacteria, and mushrooms laced with
illegal pesticides.

"Food and Drug Administration inspectors who traveled across
the world to investigate the recent mass poisoning of U.S. pets stemming
from tainted pet food from China arrived at two suspected Chinese
factories, only to find the factories had been cleaned out and all
equipment dismantled.

"On June 28, the FDA banned the import of five types of
farm-raised shrimp and fish from China because they are so contaminated
from unsafe drugs in China 's polluted waterways.

"A recent NPR story described how garlic from China outsold
garlic grown in California for the first time last year. China began
dumping garlic at U.S. ports below cost in the 1990s. Hefty tariffs
kept the garlic imports at bay for a few years, but since 2001, imports
of Chinese garlic have increased fifteen-fold.

"Several Fourth of July celebrations in my district, including
in my hometown of Vienna , Virginia , included malfunctioning fireworks
that injured 11 people, including children and an infant. These
fireworks came from China .

"Some 450,000 imported tires were recalled from Foreign Tire
Sales after it was discovered that the Chinese-made tires were sold
without a critical safety feature that prevents the tread from
separating from the tire. A blown tire can cause the driver of the
vehicle to lose control of his or her car and crash.

" China is one of the world's leading producers of unlicensed
copies of goods ranging from movies and designer clothes to sporting
goods and medications. According to the Motion Picture Association of
America , 93 percent of DVDs sold in China are unlicensed copies. The
MPAA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups say that
despite stricter Chinese enforcement, product piracy is growing amid
China 's booming economic expansion.

" China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week
and within a year will be the biggest source in the world of greenhouse
gases. It is building factories and infrastructure all over the
developing world, but we have no solid data on China 's plans or
programs. A recent editorial in The Washington Post reported that World
Bank experts estimate that toxic air and water in China kill some
710,000 to 760,000 Chinese each year.

"During a recent visit to Sudan , Chinese President Hu Jintao
promised to build a new palace for the Sudanese president, Omar
al-Bashir, despite Bashir's role in orchestrating the ongoing genocide
in Sudan 's Darfur region. This is in addition to the recent Amnesty
International report that China is selling weapons to the Sudanese
government, which are then being used to kill and maim innocent
civilians in Darfur .

"China bullies neighboring Taiwan, repeatedly threatening to
launch missiles from the mainland for Taiwan 's refusal to accept China
's claims of sovereignty over the democratically governed territory.

"And despite all of these abhorrent acts, China was still
awarded the honor of hosting the 2008 Olympics. The Olympic Games: an
event designed to lift up "the educational value of good example and
respect for universal fundamental ethical principles," according to its
own charter. Does China 's behavior sound like a "good example" to the
rest of the world? Or that it is reflecting "fundamental ethical
principles" that all nations should aspire to?

"Amnesty International reports that the Chinese government is
rounding up people in the streets of Beijing that might "threaten
stability" during the Olympic Games, and is detaining them without
trial. Human Rights Watch reports that the Chinese government is
tightening restrictions on domestic and foreign media, in an effort to
control what information leaks out about China 's repressive and violent
nature during coverage of the Olympics.

" China has even gone so far as to claim it will "force rain"
in the days leading up to the Olympics, in order to have clear skies for
the Games. They intend to fire rocket shells containing sticks of
silver iodide into Beijing 's skies, provoking a chemical reaction that
will force rain - despite mixed reviews on the soundness of this science.

" China 's desperation to conceal its true character leading
up to the Games smacks of the Nazi bid for the Olympic Games. Analysts
are likening the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Olympics, in which
Nazi Germany soft-pedaled its anti-Semitic agenda and plans for
territorial expansion, fooling the international community with an image
of a peaceful, tolerant Germany under the guise of the Olympic Games.

"Like the Nazi regime in 1936 Berlin , the Chinese government
is preparing for the Olympics by hiring U.S. firms to handle public
relations and marketing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Where is the outrage over China 's unacceptable behavior?
The facts are before us. The United States can no longer say that
things are improving in China .

"But China would have America and the world believe that is
the case. China has hired a number of large lobbying firms in
Washington, DC to push China 's agenda with the U.S. government.
Documents from the Department of Justice show these lobbyists as having
a significant presence on Capitol Hill, including almost 200 meetings
with Member offices between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006.

" America must be a country that stands up for basic decency
and human rights. America must speak out on behalf of those who cannot
speak for themselves - men and women who are being persecuted for their
religious or political beliefs. Our foreign policy must be a policy
that helps promote human rights and freedom. Not a policy that sides
with dictators who oppress their own citizens.

"Next time you make a purchase, and you see the words "Made in
China ," think of the poisoned toothpaste, the contaminated food, the
polluted waterways and airspace, the exploding tires, malfunctioning
fireworks, the human rights abuses, and the intimidation of religious
leaders. Remember that China poses a threat not only to its own
citizens, but to the entire world. American businesses have an
opportunity to capitalize on China 's failure to protect the safety of
its food exports. American businesses should seize this opportunity by
reclaiming their place in the global market. The United States
government and American consumers must be vigilant about protecting the
values that we hold dear."

Contact: Dan Scandling
Will Marlow

(202) 225-5136

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Activists want China Olympics boycott over Koreans

Guardian UK: WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. human rights activists urged people not to travel to Beijing to see the 2008 Olympics unless China grants the U.N. refugee agency access to North Koreans hiding in its territory.

The religious and civic activists also said international media outlets should limit coverage to sporting events as part of the effort to deny China publicity.

They demanded the United States keep the issue of human rights in North Korea high on the agenda in six-party talks to end the communist North's nuclear weapons program.
"The message is very simple: China, if you want to host the 2008 Olympic Games, stop the persecution of the North Korean refugees," Sam Kim, executive director of the Korean Church Coalition, said at a news conference.

The nationwide grouping of Korean-American churches launched a campaign in April to display "Let My People Go" banners and decals at churches, synagogues and human rights organizations before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The coalition, which will unveil similar drives in Japan and South Korea next month to publicize the plight of North Korean refugees, proposes that athletes compete in the Beijing Olympics, but that spectators shun the games.

Beijing does not recognize North Koreans who fled their country to seek work and food in China as refugees, preventing them from getting help from the U.N. High Commissioner's Office to seek asylum in the United States or other countries.

Some North Koreans have been repatriated to the North against their will to face harsh punishment, while women and girls have been sold into sexual slavery, said the coalition.
Estimates of the number of people who have sought refuge in China since a famine killed 1 million North Koreans in the late 1990s range from 30,000 to 300,000. About 10,000 have settled in South Korea after leaving China via Southeast Asia.

The activists said they want to force Beijing to live up to its obligations as a signatory to the 1951 U.N. Convention on the Status of Refugees.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Monday, July 16, 2007

China Talking Safety, but That Filling Is Cardboard

China's culture of corruption won't change overnight just because we want them to. Their way of solving problems is to decapitate one or two people without really having to go at the root of the problem.

Washington Post: by Audra Ang; Friday, July 13, 2007; Page D05 - Associated Press

BEIJING, July 12 -- A system to monitor food safety will go into effect during test events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics next month, a Chinese government watchdog announced Thursday, even as a TV station aired an undercover investigation showing how shredded cardboard was used as a filling in steamed buns.

The discovery of the tainted buns highlights China's continuing problems with food safety despite government efforts to improve the situation. Countless small, often illegally run operations across the country cut corners using inexpensive ingredients or unsavory substitutes.

In the report aired Wednesday night, China Central Television showed a shirtless, shorts-clad bun maker in Beijing using cardboard picked up off the street to stuff his steamed buns.

A hidden camera followed the man into a ramshackle building where steamers were filled with the fluffy white buns, called baozi, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.

It showed how cardboard was first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda -- a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap -- then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning were stirred in as flavoring and the concoction was stuffed into the buns.

"It fools the average person," says the bun maker, whose face was not shown. "I don't eat them myself."

Confidence in the safety of Chinese exports has severely waned internationally, as the list of products found tainted with dangerous levels of toxins and chemicals grows longer by the day. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A dangerous sport

The IOC did it again!

Ottawa Citizen - Published: Monday, July 09, 2007

The International Olympic Committee is acting like an extreme-sports junkie, hooked on the adrenaline of taking big risks. How else to explain its decision to hold the 2014 Winter Games in a volatile part of the world?

The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi beat Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the privilege of being host to one of the world's biggest events. Sochi is less than half the size of Ottawa and has few sports facilities. It's practically on the border with a separatist Georgian province. It is about as close to the Chechen border as Ottawa is to Toronto.

The IOC likes to pretend its decisions are beyond mere politics; it shrugs off questions about the message it sent -- or didn't send -- to China by choosing to hold the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It can certainly argue that its main obligation is to put on a safe and successful athletic event. Even by that criterion, though, the Sochi decision looks odd.

The Olympic rings in display in Athens. By awarding the 2014 Games to Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic committee is taking dangerous risks with both the Russian regime and regional instability.

The Olympic rings in display in Athens. By awarding the 2014 Games to Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic committee is taking dangerous risks with both the Russian regime and regional instability.

Aris Messinis, AFP/Getty Images

Security is a major consideration for any Olympic event; it will be an overwhelming consideration for this one. Sochi is on the edge of a dangerous global neighbourhood. It's possible the area surrounding Iran and Iraq will be more secure in seven years, but it's also quite likely it won't be. Nobody can predict what Russia's relationship with Chechnya will look like in 2014.

The IOC is naive if it thinks Russia won't use the Sochi Olympics as a symbol of its sovereignty in the area. How could Russia not? That, in turn, will make the Games a target for Islamist terrorists. Canadians love sending their athletes to compete at world events, but security trumps everything.

Russia has already shown an eagerness to politicize the Olympic decision. President Vladimir Putin called the decision "a judgment on our country." Another politician, Boris Gryzlov, went further: "This is a confirmation that the world is not unipolar, that there are forces which support Russia, which is once again becoming a global leader."

It seems Russia's government is more than willing to interpret the Olympic decision as an international thumbs-up on its rights abuses and military posturing. The fact that Russia's last Olympics was boycotted, in 1980, gives extra meaning to the symbol. If this Olympics is a symbol of resurgence, maybe Russia didn't lose the Cold War after all.

Apologists for the Beijing Olympics argue that the increased international attention will cause China to improve its behaviour, at home and abroad. So far the jury's out on that question. The Games seem likely to become a stamp of approval for China's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, its blind eye to genocide and corruption in Africa, its domestic censorship.

It's possible the Sochi Games could be an incentive for Russia to ensure that the region is peaceful and stable; or it could be an incentive for crackdowns and rights abuses.

What is certain is that the Sochi Olympics will have political consequences, and those consequences might not be positive. It isn't the International Olympic Committee's job to play such a dangerous game.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008