Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why It's Time to Rally Behind China’s Unsung Heroes

Falun Dafa Information Center Statement on International Human Rights Day

(FDI) A former university librarian in Shanghai sits at her home computer. Using proxy servers, Ms. Liu Jin breaks through China’s vast “Great Firewall” and accesses a Falun Gong-related website. She downloads accounts of rights abuses against fellow adherents and begins printing. Soon, the stack of homemade, underground newsletters finds its way into the hands and mailboxes of neighbors, local shopkeepers, and former colleagues. A “materials production site,” one of tens of thousands across China, is born, bringing into people’s hands basic facts of injustice that the Communist Party has worked tirelessly to censor.

For this nonviolent act of courage, Ms. Liu is punished harshly. As reported by the Associated Press, she was sentenced last month to 3.5 years in prison in an unfair trial that lasted less than a day. (news) Having been tortured and force-fed during a previous imprisonment for practicing Falun Gong, she once again faces a similar fate—or worse.

Sixty years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), millions of ordinary citizens across China remain in danger of arbitrary detention, torture, and death. For what? For doing nothing more than exercising the very basic rights to freedom of belief and expression that are cornerstones of the UDHR.

A Brutal Suppression Unfolds

When former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin ordered Falun Gong to be “eradicated” in 1999, tens of millions of ordinary Chinese overnight found themselves rendered “criminals” by virtue of their peaceful faith. A brutal state apparatus committed to proactively preventing them from pursuing a traditional Chinese path of physical self-improvement and spiritual fulfillment that had become a fundamental part of their identity. It was trying to change who they were.

“During the 16 days of the Olympics alone, eleven Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died from abuse in custody.”

Any avenue they might use to stop this assault was closed off—the state-run media would only spew horrific anti-Falun Gong propaganda claims, petitioning offices were turned into detention centers, and Party-appointed judges were hardly going to depart from the official line.

Nearly a decade later, hundreds of thousands remain in labor camps—at least half of China’s gulag population, according to experts (report). Thousands more are in prisons following trials not unlike Ms. Liu’s. They are beaten, shocked with electric batons, and injected with various drugs, sometimes causing paralysis or death. Recent investigations have revealed evidence that adherents have been killed so their organs could be sold for profit. (news) Untold numbers are left destitute, refugees in their own country, unable to return to their homes or jobs for fear that local police will take them away.

Branches of the 610 Office—an extra-legal task force created in 1999 to lead the campaign against Falun Gong—remain active across China, not only in security agencies and government offices, but also in private companies, universities, and neighborhood watch committees (report). The latest report by the Congressional Executive Committee on China found references to the agency across the country—from Nanjing to Yunnan to Jiangxi. Official accounts of a pre-Olympic crackdown on Falun Gong appeared on government websites in all of China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions. (report) The result? During the 16 days of the Olympics alone, eleven Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died from abuse in custody.

Unsung Heroes Respond

Communist Party leaders and state-run media claim that Falun Gong has been crushed. But this begs the question – why then would a nationwide apparatus like the 610 Office remain active and growing? Why would labor camps continue to fill with adherents? The fact is, today Falun Gong practitioners in China continue to resist Party efforts to “eradicate” them. They persist in their faith, produce underground newsletters, hang banners, and simply talk to people in day-to-day conversations. They explain the innocence of Falun Gong, the horrific abuses being meted out against adherents, and the Party’s broader history of persecuting the Chinese people—all this in an effort to awaken the consciences of fellow citizens. This is crucial in a context where the state controls media and uses it to dehumanize Falun Gong, mobilizing the rank and file to implement the policy of “eradicating” the practice.

The efforts of Falun Gong adherents are starting to bear fruit with the result that practitioners are no longer fighting the battle to end the persecution alone. A generation of daring, world renown lawyers has risen to defend them, defying Party orders and risking their own safety (news). They plead their clients’ innocence with defenses based on the Chinese Constitution and the UDHR, as attorney Mo Shaoping did for Ms. Liu (news).

Nevertheless, the Chinese regime remains uncompromising in its policies against Falun Gong. Arrests and torture are still widespread and systematic. That is why now, more than ever, the support of the outside world is needed to end this injustice and brutality once and for all. Two vital, yet simple steps that any of us can take towards this end are to, first, educate ourselves and peel back Party propaganda that has unwittingly seeped into mainstream Western reporting; second, follow the lead of adherents in China and talk directly to the Chinese people.

From colleagues to neighbors, private sector entrepreneurs to state company managers, in trainings with local judges and research with university professors, we must make a proactive effort to encourage Chinese to question what they’ve been told and to read the very information on Falun Gong that the Party blocks. We must articulate that taking a stance against rights abuses is not being “anti-China,” but rather moving the country a step closer to truly realizing its historic greatness.

Practitioners and their supporters inside China risk their careers, freedom, and even their lives to resist injustice. Joining their efforts is the least we can do for the likes of Ms. Liu on this international human rights day.

After all, ending atrocities like these is precisely the reason why the UDHR was created.

Levi Browde is Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FEDER: Double standards on China

Don Feder, Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WT: With much self-congratulatory back-slapping today, Dec. 10, the United Nations will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration is a noble document to which many U.N. members pay lip-service, and routinely violate.

In the aftermath of World War II - with memories of genocide and other atrocities still fresh - the delegates from 48 nations who gathered in Paris in 1948 were anxious to affirm the universality of human rights.

Thus, the UDHR's preamble affirms that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

It goes on to affirm: "the right to life, liberty and security of person," freedom from cruel or degrading punishment, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to a fair hearing by an "independent and impartial tribunal," freedom of conscience and expression, freedom of religion, and the right to protest.

The document also proclaims "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government" - said will expressed in "periodic and genuine elections."

While all this looks great on paper, the operation of the United Nations makes a mockery of UDHR. Nowhere is this more starkly revealed than in its treatment of China and Taiwan. These neighbors across the Taiwan Straits provide their own vivid contrast in the area of human rights.

After two decades of political reform, Taiwan is one of the freest countries in Asia. The first multiparty legislative elections occurred in 1991-92. Since 1996, Taiwan has had four presidential elections and two orderly transfers of power between the major parties.

Its people enjoy freedom of expression and worship, the right to fair trial by an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, the right to peacefully protest and freedom from arbitrary arrest, to the same degree as citizens of the more mature democracies.

The People's Republic of China is to human rights what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to world peace. The Communist Party has a monopoly on political power, which it will do anything to maintain.

Freedom of protest? Think Tiananmen Square. Freedom from arbitrary arrest? Ask the Falun Gong practitioners consigned to China's brutal penal system. Freedom of religion? Consider the fate of the home church movement.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

UN Recommendation Must Be Matched by Prompt Action to End Murder of Falun Gong for Their Organs

FDIC Calls for International Commission to Investigate, Monitor and Coordinate Efforts to End Forced Organ Harvesting

New York—02 Dec 2008: In a legally binding decision issued on Nov. 21, the United Nations Committee against Torture called for an investigation into illicit organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. The statement was the latest in a long line of actions taken by writers, lawyers, doctors, and government representatives to research and condemn such abuses. The Falun Dafa Information Center urges the international community to take immediate action to further investigate, prevent, and end such crimes against humanity.

“The decision of the U.N. Committee against Torture to raise this issue is incredibly important and commendable, lending additional weight to the proposition that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed so their organs could be sold for profit,” says Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang.

“It is clear that there is a very real danger that this practice continues and may even escalate with the Olympics having ended. It is vital for the international community to take concrete and immediate steps to make sure this does not happen.”

The FDIC urges the international community—particularly state parties to the U.N. Convention against Torture—to establish an independent, international commission to investigate, monitor and recommend punishment for those involved in organ harvesting in China, including both Communist Party/state institutions as well as individual perpetrators. Such a commission might also track the various measures that have already been put in place by some national governments to ensure their citizens are not complicit.

United Nations Conclusions

In concluding observations on China’s degree of adherence to the United Nations Convention against Torture, on Nov. 21 a U.N. committee of independent experts expressed concern over “information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants.”

The committee then made the following recommendation, the most legally binding demand to date for the Chinese authorities to investigate and punish those responsible for forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong:

“The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished.”

The committee’s conclusions follow on consistent inquiries transmitted to the Chinese government since August 2006 by Manfred Nowak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, and Ms. Asma Jahangir, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on religious freedom, which have received unsatisfactory replies.

While commending the U.N. Committee’s strong stance on the issue, it is important to recognize the near impossibility of a Chinese government-appointed body making a fair assessment. This is due to the lack of an independent judiciary and the entwined complicity of state entities in these abuses—particularly prisons, labor camps, and military hospitals. Indeed, the current body of evidence indicates it is precisely Communist Party/state entities coordinating organ harvesting atrocities in China.

The FDIC therefore urges the international community to establish its own commission to conduct both an investigation into past abuses and ongoing monitoring of organ transplants in China.

International Steps Taken Thus Far

The allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese custody first emerged in 2006, soon followed by an independent investigation by Canadians David Kilour and David Matas, which concluded the allegations were true (report) . Since then, a number of governments, international bodies, and members of the medical community have also found the allegations credible and in some instances, taken action to ensure their own citizens are not complicit in such abuses.

The following are a sample of the steps taken, initiatives which should further be expanded:

Conducting additional independent investigations and analysis

  • Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the EU's European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, traveled to China in May 2006 on a fact finding mission to personally investigate the allegations of organ harvesting, and he has several times condemned the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. (news)
  • In March 2007, Dr. Tom Treasure, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found the allegations credible, particularly in the context of the role doctors played in the Holocaust. (See: “The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust, and ourselves”)
  • In July 2008, a special Israeli rabbinical council ruled that the Chinese regime has been responsible for the killing of Falun Gong practitioners, perhaps because of material benefits derived from organ harvesting. (news)
  • In November 2008, The Weekly Standard magazine featured a cover story on organ harvesting, authored by Ethan Gutmann, adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (full story). The article described systematic and suspicious medical testing of Falun Gong practitioners.

Taking measures to stem the flow of foreign recipients traveling to China for organs:

  • In August 2006, the New York-based National Kidney Foundation issued a statement expressing deep concerns over allegations that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners were being executed for the purposes of organ donation, as well as opposition to such aa scheme and to organ transplant tourism generally. (statement)
  • In early 2007, Israeli health insurance carriers stopped sending patients to China for transplants. (news) This was in part related to an investigation in which Israeli authorities arrested several men for tax evasion in connection with a company that mediated transplants of Chinese prisoners’ organs for Israelis. One of the men had stated in an undercover interview that the organs came from “people who oppose the regime, those sentenced to death and from prisoners of the Falun Gong.” (news)
  • In August 2007, Hou Sheng-mao, the Director of Taiwan’s Department of Health, reported requesting Taiwanese doctors not recommend to their patients to travel to mainland China for transplants. (news)
  • In December 2007, a petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians was presented to the House of Commons urging the government to issue travel advisories warning people that organ transplants in China include the use of organs harvested from non-consenting donors such as Falun Gong practitioners. (news)
  • In February 2008, Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj introduced a bill to stop Canadians from participating in obtaining human organs and body parts from unwilling donors, including traveling to other countries to get such organs. He stated that the urgency of the matter was highlighted by the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report. (news)

Ceasing academic training and cooperation with Chinese doctors on organ transplantation:

  • In July 2006, Associate Director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine in the University of Minnesota, Kirk C. Allison, PhD, MS released a statement reinforcing the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report and calling for academia and medical circles stop cooperation with China on organ transplantation. (statement)
  • In December 2006, the Australian Health Ministry announced the abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors in organ transplant techniques at the Prince Charles and the Princess Alexandra Hospitals, as well as banning joint research programs with China on organ transplantation. (news)

Conducting government hearings and raising the issue with the Chinese government

  • In September 2006, the United States Congress held a hearing on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. (transcript)
  • In September 2006, The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners, and expressing concern over reports of organ harvesting (news); the issue was also raised by direction of the EU troika leadership through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the EU-China summit in Helsinki. (news)
  • In November 2006, following a hearing on the topic, the Irish Parliament’s Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to request that he raise the issue with his Chinese counterparts and that it be included in the EU-China dialogue on human rights.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Falun Gong Persecution Intensified Preceding and During Beijing Olympics, Finds Commission

The 6-10 Office issued a directive nationwide leading up to the Being Olympics to 'strike hard' against Falun Gong practitioners

By Gary Feuerberg
Epoch Times Washington, D.C. Staff
Dec 7, 2008
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Probably no other U.S. government issued-report contains as much detail about the office in the central government that persecutes Falun Gong as the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) 2008 annual report. Researchers culled through the Chinese communist regime’s official websites, from the central level down to the provinces and county levels and organized the regime’s “accomplishments” in the way of suppressing the practitioners of Falun Gong.

The language used leaves little doubt that the regime intended in 2007 and the year of the Olympics of 2008 to increase its massive state resources to control and abuse practitioners during this period. China’s persecution of Falun Gong is in violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed but not ratified, notes the Commission.

The Commission’s report was signed off by its Chairman, Representative Sander M. Levin and Co-Chairman Senator Byron L. Dorgan. “The 23-member Commission was created by Congress in 2000 to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China,” says its website. It consists of nine members of the House of Representatives, nine Senators, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.

The “6-10” office was named after the date, June 10, in which it was created in 1999 to carry out the eradication of this highly popular qigong cultivation practice—about 70 million. In the following month, on July 22, the regime formally outlawed the practice of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. Since then, Chinese security forces continue to imprison practitioners, subjecting some who will not renounce the practice to torture in reeducation through labor (RTL) camps and other detention facilities.

The report describes how the central authorities intensified its nine-year campaign of persecution in the months leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In April 2008, the central government’s 610 Office issued an Olympic directive nationwide to step-up their propaganda efforts against Falun Gong, accusing practitioners of wanting to interfere and destroy the Olympics.

“References to the directive appear on official Web sites in every province and at every level of government,” says the report. From levels above, references to this 6-10 directive made its way down to the local level and to even many non-state activities’ websites.

Communist security officials tried to link Falun Gong with terrorist’s threats, but never produced any evidence to substantiate their charges, according to the Commission’s report.

The general tone of this crackdown is captured in the quote given by the Commission of Zhou Yongkang, who in September 2007 was Minister of Public Security and on the Politburo Standing Committee, when he ordered police to “strike hard on overseas and domestic hostile forces, ethnic splittists, religious extremists…and Falun Gong” to safeguard “social stability” for the 17th Party Congress and the Olympics.

“Strike hard” is a Communist Party slogan used during the most violent periods of the Party’s reign. We don’t have any concept equivalent to it in democratic countries.

The number detained during the Olympic period from December 2007 to June 2008 was at least 8,037 practitioners, based on reports from Falun Gong Information Center, which states that at least 200,000 are being detained in RTL camps and other prisons.

The sources for the Commission’s description of the recent intensification of the persecution of Faun Gong are the Chinese local government’s websites in the 31 provinces. For example for the year of 2007, “Miyi county in Sichuan province recorded detentions of 62 practitioners as part of its ‘strike hard’ campaign and claimed to have ‘transformed’ 14 of them,” says the report.

The Commission found that in April 2008, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau required Falun Gong practitioners and other dissidents to remain in the city during the Olympics and report to the public security office at least once a week until the end of October. They threaten to detain or punish anyone who did not comply.

“Chinese government Web sites regularly report detentions of Falun Gong ‘criminal suspects’ and some provincial and local authorities offer rewards as high as 5,000 Yuan (US$732) to informants who report Falun Gong ‘escaped criminals’,” says the report.

The persecution of Falun Gong extends to foreigners and to controlling their behavior. “In November 2007, Beijing Olympic organizers reminded visitors to the games that possession of Falun Gong writings is strictly forbidden and that no exceptions would be made for international visitors,” says the report.

The Chinese regime seem to be obsessive in its preoccupation to change adherents of Falun Gong by “ideological reprogramming” practitioners after they have completed their sentences in reeducation through labor (RTL) camps. The 6-10 Offices set up special prisons that apply methods of coercion, such as solitary confinement and deprivation of sleep, which aim at “transformation through reeducation.” Their purpose is to make practitioners disavow their belief in Falun Dafa, and the “transformation” rates are published.

The Commission quotes Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson who observed that it is at these “unofficial prisons” that the killings of Falun Gong practitioners occurred.

Support for this horrific state of affairs is found in the Commission’s findings taken from human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, who the Commission said has “exposed numerous forms of torture and violence employed by the 6-10 Office against Falun Gong practitioners.”

“Of all the true accounts of incredible violence that I have heard, of all the records of the government’s inhuman torture of its own people, what has shaken me the most is the routine practice on the part of the 6-10 Office and the police of assaulting women’s genitals,” said Gao, according to the report.

Gao has been called the “conscience of China.” A self-taught attorney and Christian, he won fame for some high-profile cases, and later used his considerable ability to defend activists, Falun Gong practitioners, and Christians who are persecuted by the regime. He has written three letters that were made public: to the National People’s Congress, to Hu Jintao and to Wen Jiabao. In the letters he describes the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, detailing a wide range of abuses they suffer in custody, including torture and executions.

“This was the first time in China a lawyer revealed such torture of Falun Gong practitioners,” said Guo Guoting, a renowned China human rights attorney.

Gao was re-arrested in September 2007 after publishing an open letter to the U.S. Congress, condemning the Chinese Communist Party for having increased the persecution of religious and human rights defenders before the 2008 Olympic Games. His whereabouts now is unknown.

In addition to the annual report, which is available on the Commission’s website (, the Commission made available the case records of 1,088 political prisoners from its Political Prison Database (PPD). The Commission uses the PPD for its own advocacy and research work, while welcoming the public to use it (, who most likely will want the updated information on particular political and religious prisoners.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Chinese paper says whistleblowers are sent to mental wards

BEIJING: (IHT)Local officials in Shandong Province have apparently found a cost-effective way to deal with gadflies, whistleblowers and all manner of muckraking citizens who dare to challenge the authorities: dispatch them to the local psychiatric hospital.

According to an investigative report published Monday by a state-owned newspaper, public security officials in Xintai city have been institutionalizing residents who persist in their personal campaigns to expose corruption or to protest the unfair seizure of their property. Some people said they were committed up to two years, and several of those interviewed said they had been forced to consume psychiatric medication.

The article, in The Beijing News, said most inmates had been released after they agreed to give up their causes.

Sun Fawu, 57, a farmer seeking compensation for land spoiled by a coal mining operation, said he was seized by the local authorities on his way to petition the central government in Beijing and brought to the Xintai Mental Health Center in October.

During a 20-day stay, he said he was tied to a bed, forced to take pills and given injections that made him numb and woozy. When he told the doctor he was a petitioner, not mentally ill, the doctor reportedly said, "I don't care if you're sick or not. As long as you are sent by the township government, I'll treat you as a mental patient."

In an interview with the paper, the hospital's director, Wu Yuzhu, acknowledged that some of the 18 patients brought there by the police in recent years were not deranged, but he had no choice but to take them in. "The hospital also had its misgivings," he said.

Although China is not known for the kind of systematic abuse of psychiatry that occurred in the Soviet Union, human rights advocates say forced institutionalizations are not uncommon in smaller cities. Robin Munro, the research director of China Labour Bulletin, a rights organization in Hong Kong, said such "an kang" wards - Chinese for peace and health - are a convenient and effective means of dealing with pesky dissidents.

In recent years practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, have complained of coerced hospitalizations and one of China's best-known dissidents, Wang Wanxing, spent 13 years in a police-run psychiatric facility under conditions he later described as abusive.

In one recent, well-publicized case, Wang Jingmei , the mother of a man convicted of killing six policemen in Shanghai, was held incommunicado at a mental hospital for five months and only released last Sunday, the day before her son was executed.

The Beijing News story about the hospitalizations in Xintai was notable for the traction it gained in China's constrained state-run media. Such Communist Party stalwarts as People's Daily and the Xinhua news agency republished the story, and it was picked up by scores of Web sites. At the country's most popular portal,, it ranked the fifth most-viewed news headline and readers posted more than 20,000 comments by evening. The indignation expressed was universal, with many clamoring for the dismissal of those involved. "They're no different than animals," read one post. "No, they're worse."

Reached by phone on Monday, a hospital employee said Wu, the hospital director who voiced his misgivings to The Beijing News, was unavailable. The employee, Hu Peng, said local government officials had taken him away for "a meeting" earlier in the day and had also looked through patient records.

Although Hu said the hospital was not authorized to diagnose patients, he nonetheless defended the hospitalizations, saying that all the patients delivered by the Public Security Bureau were certifiably ill. "We definitely would not accept those without mental problems," he said.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

China investigates attack on Belgian journalists

BEIJING: IHT - Chinese authorities are investigating allegations by members of a Belgian television crew, who say they were pulled from their vehicle, beaten and had their notes and money taken, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The attack last week came just over a month after China announced that relaxed reporting regulations for foreign media, put in place for the Olympics, would become permanent. Journalists are now supposed to be able to travel and report freely in most areas of China, but certain topics remain sensitive, especially with local officials.

"Eight thugs pulled their van over, reached inside to unlock the doors, dragged the crew on to the road and punched them into submission," according to an account of the attack circulated by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China. It was the second time the crew had been stopped that day, the report said.

Such attacks are often believed to have been carried out on orders from local officials seeking to suppress negative reporting in their areas.

The two-person crew from the Flemish public broadcaster VRT, accompanied by an assistant, was reporting on AIDS victims in central Henan Province for World AIDS Day, which was Monday.

Henan has been highly sensitive to the AIDS issue since the virus that causes the disease spread widely there in the 1990s through unhygienic blood-buying rings, which allegedly operated with official protection. Officials there have been accused in the past of abusing AIDS victims and advocates.

The attack last week has drawn protests from the International Federation of Journalists and from Belgian authorities. The Belgian ambassador to China was scheduled to meet with China's vice minister of Foreign Affairs about the incident Tuesday afternoon, one of the journalists in the attack said.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a regular press briefing Tuesday that he found it hard to understand why the Belgian journalists did not contact the ministry or local police.

"On the one hand, we will be checking with the local authorities to try to find out what happened, but on the other hand we can't go around simply blindly blaming local authorities," Liu Jianchiao, the ministry spokesman, said.

Another official from the Foreign Ministry spokesman's office told The Associated Press that the "relevant department" in Henan was investigating the incident.

However, Tom Van de Weghe, a VRT journalist who was hit hard on the head by one of the assailants, said Tuesday that he was not aware of any investigation.

VRT is asking for compensation for damaged equipment, an apology to the journalists and a guarantee that the journalists will be able to work safely.

The head of the publicity department of the Public Security Bureau in Henan, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would give only his surname, Li, said local officials there were not aware of the case.

China warns France on Tibet

Beijing told President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to call off a planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying Tuesday that it was up to Sarkozy to create the right conditions for putting China-EU relations back on track, Reuters reported from Beijing.

The French leader, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of the year, has said he will meet the Dalai Lama in Poland on Saturday.

China pulled out of a long-planned Monday summit meeting with the EU over Sarkozy's scheduled meeting with the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, whom Beijing reviles for demanding a measure of autonomy for his mountain homeland.

There seems little chance that Sarkozy will abandon the meeting. But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman nonetheless insisted, warning that the dispute was undermining broader ties with the EU, China's biggest trade partner.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China's 'Progress on Paper, Deterioration in Reality'

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Epoch Times Staff Dec 2, 2008
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“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It
“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It's not rocket science but few people seem to address it,” Clive Ansley said. (China Photos/Getty Images)
Organ Harvesting in China

The Chinese regime has again failed to give concrete answers to human rights abuses, sparking further concern that the regime shows progress on paper yet deterioration in reality. The questions were raised by the United Nations Committee Against Torture review panel recently.

Canadian Lawyer, Clive Ansley, a Mandarin-speaker and specialist in Chinese law, said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pays no attention to rule of law, and there will be no real reform in China until the communist party and the one party system is removed.

“You cannot have the rule of law when you have a single party which is above the law and in control of the courts. It's not rocket science but few people seem to address it,” he said.

Mr. Ansley said he was sceptical about seeing any concrete action from the United Nations, despite the Committee Against Torture's hard-hitting report released 21 November. The report, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, on China's compliance to the Convention Against Torture, was heavy in its criticism of widespread torture and abuse, lack of transparency and the use of the 'State secrets law'.

Law on the Preservation of State Secrets

The Chinese Communist Party introduced the State secrets law in 1988 and uses it broadly and arbitrarily in imprisoning dissidents and covering up information. The Committee Against Torture expressed “grave concern over the use of this law which severely undermines the availability of information about torture, criminal justice and related issues.”

The law prevents the disclosure of crucial information, the Committee stated in its report, such as disaggregated statistical information on detainees in all forms of detention and custody and ill-treatment in the state party, information on groups and entities deemed to be “hostile organizations”, “minority splittist organizations”, “hostile religious organizations”, “reactionary sects”, as well as basic information on places of detention, information about the “circumstances of prisoners of great influence”, violations of the law or codes of conduct by public security organs, and information on matters inside prisons.

One of the 12 submitters to the review, Human Rights in China, also highlighted China's state secrets system as a major concern.

“In many instances, information requested by the Committee is classified as “state secrets.” Such information control obstructs the Committee’s review process and undermines legislative, administrative, judicial, or other measures aimed at preventing acts of torture,” stated the submission.

Progress on Paper, Deterioration in Reality

As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), which it signed in 1988, China is subject to a compliance review every four years.

China missed the last review in 2004 by ignoring it completely. This year it submitted a report spanning eight years but failed to respond to the 11 pages of questions raised by the UN follow-up committee. The Chinese regime’s 38-page report is largely a list of constitutional amendments and penal code reforms, which rights groups say are empty words.

The Conscience Foundation, an affiliate of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, described China's report as “progress on paper, deterioration in reality.”

The document states, “The PRC government’s deceptive tactic of paper progress, repeatedly used over a long period of time, should no longer be met with any encouraging comment but thoroughly exposed and criticized, for it unequivocally shows that the PRC government knows what international human rights standards are, how to answer questions on human rights correctly, how to establish the legal framework to protect human rights, and how to punish criminals who committed human rights violations, yet the PRC chooses to continue to violate human rights.”

Mr. Ansley said the above statement captures the CCP's game precisely. “That is exactly what China does year in and year out.”

Examples of Non-Reform

He cited the organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners, as investigated by Canadian lawyers David Kilgour and David Matas, as a recent example.

“When it [organ harvesting] was first exposed, they said 'there isn’t any such thing', and then they pass a law against it... The essence was that no organs could be taken from anyone without written agreement— it had to be voluntary—and a lot of other restrictions as well,” said Mr. Ansley. “But the point is, that legislation has been in force since 1989 and it hasn’t had any effect because the party runs the courts and the courts do what they are told and it really doesn’t matter what you have in the way of legislation.”

Mr. Ansley said the same thing happened when there was a huge outcry about the execution of people who were proven later that they were innocent. The Chinese regime said they would pass a regulation that required all death sentences to be reviewed by the supreme court. “But that code of criminal procedure has had that requirement in it since 1979,” he said.

“They [the CCP] tell the world all the time that they are reforming, that they will pass a new law. And people do tend to take it seriously, even some of the people involved with the protest against organ harvesting have sort of said well we are making progress they passed this new law against organ harvesting but there is no record of them conforming to their laws.”

UN Frustration

Felice Gaer, the Committee Expert serving as Rapporteur for the reports of China, expressed frustration at a lack of information or details on individual cases. While hearing China's response to the 11 pages of questions the Committee had asked, Ms. Gaer noted the unwillingness of China to make the required statistics available.

David Matas, co-author of Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting From Live Falun Gong Practitioners attanded the meetings in Geneva.

“We all shared the same frustration,” said Mr. Matas. “We were pleased to see China held to account but frustrated to see China was basically oblivious to the concerns, not taking them seriously and not giving responsive answers.”

“Of course that’s the standard Chinese response. When they’re dealing with human rights violations it’s progress on paper and whereas the violations continue all the same.”

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

CBC Sells Controversial Program Ahead of Ombudsman Decision

By Joan Delaney
Epoch Times Staff Dec 3, 2008
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The motives of some CBC producers are being questioned regarding a Radio-Canada program maligning the Falun Gong spiritual group. The program, Malaise in Chinatown , has been sold to broadcasters in France despite the fact that CBC's French-language ombudsman is in the process of investigating complaints about it.

The complaints were lodged by Chinese Canadians, human rights activists, and those depicted in the program, which they say was strongly biased against Falun Gong and may have been orchestrated to curry favour with the Chinese regime.

According to the Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC), letters of complaint “poured in” to the CBC in the weeks following the program, which aired on Oct. 30. However, CBC sold the program to several European countries, and France's TV5 Monde plans to air it this week.

In their letter to the CBC ombudsman, human rights lawyer David Matas and former MP David Kilgour called the program “inaccurate, manipulative, propagandistic and spiteful in a myriad of ways.”

“This is more than just inaccurate reporting. It is swallowing Communist Party propaganda and incitement to hatred against Falun Gong practitioners on the whole. It deserves the censure of the ombudsman,” the letter said.

Malaise in Chinatown insinuated that the arrival of Falun Gong in Montreal had upset a “fragile peace” in the city's Chinatown. What wasn't mentioned was the fact that Falun Gong had existed harmoniously in Montreal for years before the Chinese regime's persecution of the group began in 1999 and some pro-Beijing entities in Montreal began slandering the group, FDAC says.

The program attempted to minimize the well-documented persecution of Falun Gong in China, and portrayed reports of the illicit harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners' organs as having been concocted in response to developments in a lawsuit, while neglecting to mention supporting evidence of these claims.

However, around the time the program aired, the United Nations Committee Against Torture called for an investigation into and the prosecution of those who may be involved in organ-harvesting crimes in China.

"The alarming distortion of facts, manipulation of interviews and blatant ignoring of the regime's persecution of Falun Gong in this program is eerily similar to how the Chinese regime manipulates facts to persecute these people," said FDAC president Xun Li.

The program also gave much air time to Crescent Chau, a Montreal newspaper publisher. After Chau was paid by a woman with ties to the Chinese regime, he published articles accusing Falun Gong practitioners of being vampires and having sex with animals – content the Quebec Court of Appeals found to be defamatory and which the publisher continued to repeat despite two court orders telling him to stop.

FDAC believes the making of Malaise in Chinatown is connected to the blocking of the CBC website in China last January. At the time, because of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, CBC called the blockage "a matter of the gravest importance" and "a situation that we can't let continue."

CBC said it believed the blockage occurred because it had aired "Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong," an independent documentary that was critical of the Chinese regime's persecution of Falun Gong.

CBC had initially pulled the documentary just hours before it was scheduled to air after receiving a call from the Chinese embassy. It was eventually aired after some additional editing.

Around the time the website was blocked, French CBC producer Leon Laflamme and Radio-Canada reporter Solvieg Miller began contacting Falun Gong practitioners to produce what practitioners later came to understand would be a one-sided attack on Falun Gong that misleadingly advanced the views of the Chinese regime.

"The timing of it all calls into question the motives of this program's producers," said Li.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China Spies on U.S. Via Cyber Attacks

Newsmax: On Nov. 17, I received an e-mail from Elizabeth Clark who wrote, “You seem to be the only one interested in the growing power of China.”

While in China, she was told that China’s strategy is to send “little fishes” into and around the United States:

China is well on its way to success. They are flooding into Canada and Mexico. They control both ends of the Panama Canal and are drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba. They have a big base near Long Beach, COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company).

Are not “China cyber attacks,” for which Yahoo! had 6,040,000 entries (as of Nov. 15), yet another kind of China’s “little fishes” in the United States?

On Sept. 10, 2007, Scientific American published an article entitled “China’s Cyber Attacks Signal New Battlefield Is Online.”

What is a cyber attack?

Animals have no language, but only a set of several signals, expressing danger, intimidating, or calling for help. Initially, a human language had words, but written language did not exist, and all communication was oral. Then came writing, printing, and communication by post, which carried written or printed messages to the addresses indicated.

Telephones were a revolution in communication, since they carried oral messages instantly from telephone to telephone. Finally, within our generation, came the Internet computer, as well as fax, which can copy a message and transmit it to another computer or fax anywhere. As my assistant Alan Freed points out to me, “fax,” called “Deskfax,” that is “desk facsimile,” was in wide use in private offices in the 1940s, though the invention of “fax transmission” is a separate story.

To intercept a telephone conversation from telephone to telephone within the same country, an intelligence/espionage agent had to penetrate the area within that country where the telephone lines are. He could have been caught, and the chances are the country where the telephone information was intercepted would learn which country had sent the interceptor and would treat the interception as a violation of its sovereignty, or espionage, an act of war.

In contrast to telephones, computers need no wire. On Nov. 6, 2008, The Raw Story published “Report: Chinese Hackers Download White House E-mails”:

The White House computer was penetrated on several occasions earlier this year by Chinese hackers who downloaded e-mails between government officials, a new report reveals.

A senior US official tells the Financial Times that cyber-security experts believe the attacks were coordinated by the Chinese government, although there is no proof they were the result of an organized assault.

No cyber hacker downloading U.S. government e-mails has ever been identified in any way.

The United States is, owing to its freedom, a Disneyland resort as compared with the ruthless military state slave machine of China, in which an inhabitant is or may be ordered to be a military machine cog. It is said that Chinese cyber attacks on the Pentagon numbered 1 million a day. But this does not mean that the United States has launched a single cyber attack on China.

The end, as I see it, may only be the end, in the United States and the rest of the free world, of the Internet for important communications, for they can be hacked by China.

The possibility of cyber hacking has never been mentioned by the outgoing President George W. Bush or by any presidential candidate, including the president-elect. It seems not to be the knowledge, or suspicion, or concern of the U.S. government, Congress, or armed forces.

Putin and Medvedev’s Russia was loudly condemned by the United States for defending South and North Ossetia, wishing to be independent of Georgia. Why this thunderous condemnation?

Because compared with China, Russia is no threat to the United States. The population of Russia is about one-ninth of that of China, and the ultimate number of strategically vital scientists and engineers depends on the size of the population. In the East, Russia, with its vast Siberia, sparsely populated by Russians but favored by Chinese “illegal emigrants,” is threatened by China, and in the West, Russia confronts NATO.

On the other hand, China is the first country in history that poses a mortal threat to the United States and the rest of the free world. And hence the respect for China. Let her play with those little cyber fishes, infiltrating the U.S. government.

The American majority will not visualize the Chinese threat in total until and unless it sees an adequate film on the subject. As for the presidents, there is no American president whom we know better than we do the outgoing president George W. Bush after his eight years in office.

In 2006, while Bush was honoring Hu Jintao, China’s ruler, on the south lawn of the White House, Dr. Wenyi Wang, a correspondent for the dissident Chinese newspaper The Epoch Times, loudly condemned the historically unprecedented atrocities against Falun Gong. But neither then, nor later, did Bush say a word against the persecution of Falun Gong.

To Hu Jintao, he “apologized for the mishap,” and in 2008, he respectfully graced with his presence the Olympic Games in Beijing.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008