OP/ED Open - by Georgianne Nienaber
The ancient city of Beijing will be the epicenter of world attention as China prepares to host the next Olympiad this summer. Rarely have the Olympic Games escaped scrutiny and controversy, but the real story of the Chinese Olympics is lost in a fog of media pollution and disinformation that is a smokescreen more deadly than the smog feared by world athletes who are boycotting the games because of health concerns. German Chancellor Angela Merckel announced she would not attend the Opening Ceremonies because of the situation in Tibet. While President Bush plans to attend the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a statement on April 1, said it might be wise for the president not to attend the Games' Opening Ceremonies. Pelosi questioned the award of the Olympic venue to China and said China has not improved or honored its stated commitment to human rights. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in a recent speech, "China is the "world's worst human right's abuser," and added that Falun Gong practitioners are "disappearing by the thousands."
Human rights activists and organizations maintain that mainstream media reports on world leaders and their personal plans for the opening ceremonies are nothing but a diversion and window dressing. Pull the curtains aside and you will find no benevolent Wizard of Oz. There is significant, under-reported evidence that Falun Gong prisoners have been and are being used as a human transplant bank.
Deep in the Chinese provinces, in prisons where human rights are a non sequitur, are whispers, cries, and chilling stories of egregious human rights violations involving organ harvesting from live donors. This living hell is aided and abetted by a system of persecution that thrives on money, power, and secrecy. The stories are similar to those that surfaced from Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Second World War. When the story is beyond human comprehension and morality, it becomes as the Bard wrote in Macbeth, " A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
The perceived idiots in this tale are, ironically, the truth tellers- the Diogenes and Cassandras who offer lamps of enlightenment and words of warning. These modern "idiots" appear to be on a fools' mission to shred the veils of secretive multinational trade interests, geo-political collusion, and out-right lies. The truth tellers include United Nations Special Rapporteurs, members of the U.S. Congress, human rights activists, former Chinese prisoners, Canadian attorneys, and a maverick PhD from the University of Minnesota.
The stories of atrocities perpetrated against prisoners of conscience in China, most especially, the Falun Gong, are not new. There have been media blips regarding this tragic story since 1999, when it became obvious that an uptick in foreign visitors to China for organ transplants was beginning to appear on websites and graphs that chart such things. A 2007 Yale econometric study came to the conclusion that that the organs of detained Falun Gong practitioners have been systematically harvested for use in China's organ transplant industry. Where is the expected outrage?
Part of the problem may reside in the term "Falun Gong." For westerners, the exotic name has no real meaning. Like the name "Tutsi" from the Rwandan genocide, there is no intellectual or emotional connection-an exotic name from a dangerous place-but what or who is a Falun Gong? When media, especially photo documentation of the murder of up to 800,000 Tutsis, finally made its way to the broadcast booths of CNN during the "100 Days" of genocide in Central Africa in 1994, it was too late, but outrage became the appropriate response, even in the United States where President Clinton had stood silently, afraid of a repeat of Mogadishu and another assault on his presidency.
Falun Gong is a meditative practice- the revival of the practice of Qigong, an ancient Chinese tradition of breathing and movement. Human rights activists charge that not only has China been bankrolling Darfur's conflicts for more than eight years, it has also sought to eliminate the Falun Gong, which at one point had an estimated 70 million practitioners in China.
In 2004, Asma Jahangir the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions stated, "The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China. Reports describe harrowing scenes in which detainees, many of whom are followers of the Falun Gong movement, die as a result of severe ill treatment, neglect or medical inattention. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description."
In a second investigation, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, completed a fact-finding mission to China after which he issued a press release on December 2, 2005, detailing some of the alleged torture methods the Communist regime uses on its victims. The most evil include electric shock, cigarette burns, guard instructed beatings, submersion in sewage pits, exposure to heat or cold and deprivation of sleep, food or water. In March 2006, Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of the victims of alleged torture while in the Chinese government's custody.
On March 20, 2007, in a more extensive report to the Human Rights Council's Fourth Session, as part of their Agenda item 2, "The Implementation of General Assembly Resolution 60/251," Nowak lists allegations and Chinese government responses to allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese denied the allegations.
According to Amnesty International, China continually holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial and is responsible for over 80 percent of all executions documented in the world.
All of these reports segued on August 3, 2007, when Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced House Resolution 610, aptly named because the "610 Office" in China is an extra-constitutional agency established by the former leader Jiang Zemin. 610 was specifically created to persecute Falun Gong and has absolute power over every level of the Communist Party and all political and judiciary systems.
Rohrabacher's H.Res. 610 states "the sense of the House of Representatives is that the United States Government should take immediate steps to boycott the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008 unless the Government of the People's Republic of China stops engaging in serious human rights abuses against its citizens and stops supporting serious human rights abuses by the Governments of Sudan, Burma, and North Korea against their citizens."
THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES- Voices Shouting "Foul" From Canada
David Kilgour, J.D. and David Matas, are independent Canadian investigators who are absolutely convinced that the reports coming from China are true and that the organs of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been harvested for profit. In May of 1996, they received a formal request from the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (CIPFG). The coalition is a non-governmental organization, registered in Washington, DC with offices in Ottawa. Kilgour is a former Member of Parliament and a former Secretary of State of the Government of Canada for the Asia Pacific Region. Before he became a parliamentarian, he was a Crown prosecutor. Matas is an immigration, refugee, and international human rights attorney in private practice. He received his law degrees at Oxford-a Bachelor of Arts in the Honour School of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Civil Law.
In 2007 Kilgour and Matas finalized a 46-page document, accompanied by 14 appendices, which is the culmination of their investigation into allegations that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China have been murdered for their vital organs-including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas-which are then sold for profit. Some of the customers are foreigners "who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries," Kilgour said. (more)