Nearing the United Nations Plaza in Manhattan on Sept. 23, police stood at the corner of nearly every street, while lines of police cars patrolled the roads. Growing closer, the shouts of protesters could be heard from groups gathered near where the annual meeting of world peace was being held.
It is the first appearance by a high-ranking Chinese official following the Olympics, so protesters pointed to human rights abuses during the Olympics, which added to the CCP’s already-lengthy list of atrocities. Some lined up in quiet protest, holding signs and meditating, others waved flags, while others staged performing arts pieces portraying their concerns.
Just a few blocks from the U.N. building, along Park Avenue, protesters from Falun Gong, Tibetan groups, and others had also gathered in front of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel where the Chinese second-in-command will be staying. Some waved Tibetan flags, others passed out information packets, and each side of the road was lined with banners highlighting various human rights issues.
Banners from Falun Gong banners read, "Immediately Release Jailed Falun Gong Practitioners in China," and "China Stop Persecuting Falun Gong," while others called for the arrest of other CCP leaders deemed responsible for the worst abuses, saying, "Bring Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu Jin, Zhou Yongkang to Justice."
Former Canadian Official Corroborates Deadly Acts
Speaking at a rally, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, David Kilgour, discussed the extent of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation practice that is based in the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. Teamed with international human rights lawyer David Matas, Kilgour has conducted an independent investigation into allegations that the CCP has been killing Falun Gong practitioners and selling their vital organs.
“We amassed a substantial body of evidence and became convinced beyond any doubt that this crime against humanity has occurred and is still happening as I speak here today,” Kilgour said.
Kilgour explained that, in order to justify the persecution of Falun Gong to the Chinese people, the CCP has conducted a propaganda campaign to spread false information about the practice. “Before the persecution of Falun Gong began there were 70 to 100 million practitioners. The Party State of China began its propaganda in 1999 and it has demonized, dehumanized, and vilified the Falun Gong community across China since,” said Kilgour.
According to numerous witnesses, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience inside China are often sent to forced labor camps where they are made to manufacture products such as chopsticks and Christmas decorations exported to western countries. Kilgour commented on the issue: “This of course constitutes both corporate irresponsibility and violations of World Trade Organization rules. It’s pretty hard for Americans, Canadians, and others to compete with products from forced labor camps"
Across the road, Tibetans had also come to protest Wen's arrival. According to the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, since Mar. 10, leading up to the Beijing Olympics, more than 209 Tibetans were killed and over 5,714 were arrested while trying to protest the CCP’s suppression of their people.
“Hundreds of Tibetans are still in jail, still missing,” said Tenzin Dorjee, a member of Students for a Free Tibet. “As a result of the crackdown the cost was immense to the Tibetan people. Thousands of Tibetans were imprisoned and tortured, and hundreds were killed during the Chinese crackdown on the Tibetan people this year.”
Dorjee explained why the Tibetans had come to protest Jiabao’s arrival in the U.S. “This is not a protest against the Chinese people,” said Dorjee. “This is a protest against the Communist leaders and the Chinese government, which is not only oppressing the Tibetans, but also oppressing their own people. ““We want to tell the world that they shouldn’t believe China’s lies. They shouldn’t believe the propaganda spin that Wen Jiabao is so good at putting on while he will address the U.N.,” said Dorjee.