Thursday, October 01, 2009

China Anniversary Memorial on Behalf of 70 Million Ghosts

Thanks to Jack Fowler for this piece.

China Anniversary Memorial on Behalf of 70 Million Ghosts [Jack Fowler]

NRO: The Visual Artists Guild, sponsor of yesterday’s Big Apple “die-in” outside the PRC consulate, has issued this statement on the 60th anniversary of China going Red:

Memorial to the victims of 60 years of Peoples Republic of China

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the founding of the Peoples Republic of China.

Today, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, we mourn the deaths of 70 million Chinese who died in the greatest genocide of human history.

We mourn those killed during the violent days of land redistribution when people were agitated into murderous frenzies against their fellow human beings labeled as being landowners, rich peasants and bourgeoisie.

We remember those intellectuals who answered the call of the Hundred Flowers Movement to speak freely about their government only to find that they were trapped during the anti-rightist campaign that followed.

We demand the release of all Political Prisoners.

We mourn the 38 million men, women and children who died in the greatest man-made famine in human history as a result of the wanton disregard of human lives under Mao during the Great Leap Forward.

We mourn the millions who died during the Cultural Revolution.

We mourn the millions who were tortured and died in the laogai labor camps.

We mourn the deaths of the Buddhists, Taoists, Tibetans, Catholics, Protestants, Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghur Muslims, and many others who were persecuted and died when they struggled for their right to freedom of religion.

We mourn those who were slaughtered during the Tiananmen Massacre and the subsequent executions which followed.

We grieve with their families.

70 million human beings perished.

Such intentional behavior by the government of the Peoples Republic of China in the treatment of its citizens must not continue in the 21st century.

We demand for the people of the Peoples Republic of China their rights to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion and all other Freedoms as stated in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

We demand the release of all Prisoners of Conscience.

We demand that China's history record an official apology from its government for past transgressions against 70 million human beings and their families.

We look forward to a peaceful and prosperous China whose citizens will live in a nation that respects basic human rights and respects the inherent dignity of human life that all people deserve.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Discussion Paper by Hon. Davıd Kılgour
23 September 2009
MWC: The publication this year of Prisoner Of State-The Secret Journal of Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang contains important insights into modern China by a leader who for almost 15 years played a key role in the management of its economy. Tienanmen Square events in mid-1989 sidelined Zhao, but party-state governance has probably worsened since and his observations recorded before his death in 2005 are useful to any student of China.

From the time of Zhao's house arrest in 1989 until his death, he kept a secret audio journal at his home in Beijing-30 tapes of about one hour's length each-a copy of which was thereafter smuggled out of the country. They constitute an eloquent cri de coeur by an intelligent, reflective leader of integrity and candour, who sought always to do his best for the Chinese people.


Zhao's career as a Communist party administrator began in Henan province after the Japanese invaded it in 1937, causing him to leave high school. He made his reputation as a reformer in Guangdong province in the '50s and 60's, becoming at only 46 years of age party chief in Guangdong. He was purged in Mao's Cultural Revolution as a "revisionist", specifically for ending agricultural communes and leasing land to farmers in an attempt to recover from Mao's disastrous 'Great Leap Forward' in which millions starved to death.

By 1971, Zhao was reinstated by the party leadership and two years later rose to become a member of its Central Committee. His next advance was to join the Politburo; only a year after that, he joined its key Standing Committee and at Deng Xiaoping's request later took charge of China's national economy as premier of the State Council.

Zhao's patron Deng, by 1986 firmly established as paramount party leader despite being purged twice by Mao, also made him leader of a group invited to propose a political reform package. As acting General Secretary of the Party later, Zhao proposed to separate the party from the government. He told Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that the rule of law should replace the rule of party officials and that more transparency was needed. The economy, he argued, needed an independent judiciary.

Tienanmen Disaster

During 1989, Zhao's immediate hopes for a China with acceptable governance were dashed. In response to the student demonstrations in April against corruption and other issues, Zhao proposed a return to classes, dialogues and punishing only those who had committed crimes. Unfortunately, a few days later, Deng, then aged 85 and holding only the official position of chair of the Military Commission, condemned the protests to party insiders. When his remarks were circulated by hardliner Li Peng, events at Tienanmen escalated.

Zhao nonetheless called for the protesters to be dealt with "based on principles of democracy and law". A week later when Deng decided to impose martial law, Zhao showed enormous courage by telling his mentor that he'd find it difficult to carry out such an order. Two days later, he visited the square and pleaded with the demonstrators to leave, knowing that a brutal assault was imminent.

This was in fact his last public appearance as premier. Soon after the massacre of hundreds of students and others in and around Tienanmen Square, Zhao was stripped of all party offices and put under house arrest for 16 years until he died.

Three Key Insights

Deng Xiaping, the acknowledged paramount leader after Mao's death between 1981 and 1997, is presented as sympathetically as possible by Zhao as his longtime friend and favourite, but overall Deng emerges as deeply flawed. He made Zhao premier and responsible for the economy and was in the process of making him General Secretary of the CCP when Tienanmen events intervened. Deng did support economic liberalisation after the crippling central planning of Mao since 1949, including various initiatives by Zhao in the '70s and '80s, but he opposed the rule of law, multi-party democracy and virtually every principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He also unleashed the terrible violence of Tienanmen Square upon his own people and encouraged a small group of like-minded hardliners, Li Peng and Jiang Zemin in particular, in effect to swallow the Party. China and the world would be much better places if Deng had continued to support Zhao.


In large part because of Deng's choices during 1989, the party-state of China continues to govern in the mould of some of the most authoritarian regimes of the present and past centuries. The country's constitution remains an empty vessel. Not even the party charter was heeded in its treatment of Zhao. For example, Deng and a few cronies decided at a meeting a Deng's home to remove Zhao as General Secretary of the Party, but under the charter only the Standing Committee of the Politburo could do so. As Zhao notes, two of its five members (including Zhao) were not invited to attend. At a subsequent meeting of the Central Committee to censure Zhao, his statement of defence was not even shown to some of those present. He provides other examples of Cultural Revolution tactics used against the people of China since 1989.

Zhao notes that even during the height of the 'class struggles in 1962, Mao did not deprive Marshall Peng Dehuai of his personal freedom over his criticisms, sending him instead to do useful work. Jiang Zemin as General Secretary claimed the party would govern according to the rule of law, but much of what happened to Zhao during his eight years as boss was a violation of both the laws of China and the party charter.

Zhao's insights into the reasons for his country's breakneck economic growth after 1978 are also important. In his view, the key elements were allowing direct foreign investment, the creation of special economic zones on the coast, expanded autonomy for enterprises and allowing land to be leased.

Here, I offer some personal views, not Zhao's, including my essential concurrence with Peter Navarro, a professor at the University of California, who argues that consumer markets across the world have been “conquered” by China largely through cheating on trade practices. These include export subsidies, widespread counterfeiting and piracy of products, currency manipulation, and environmental, health and safety standards so weakly enforced that they have made China a very dangerous place to work.

Navarro says new trade legislation by all of China’s trade partners should achieve fair trade by the following:

  1. All must refrain from illegal export subsidies and currency manipulation and abide by the rules of the World Trade Organisation(WTO);
  2. For currency manipulation, he supports what the bi-partisan US-China Commission has recommended to the American Congress: define it as an illegal export subsidy and add it to other subsidies when calculating anti-dumping and countervail penalties;
  3. Every trade partner must respect intellectual property; adopt and enforce health, safety and environmental regulations consistent with international norms; provide decent wages and working conditions; and ban the use of forced labour;
  4. Adopt a 'zero-tolerance' policy for anyone who sells or distributes pirated or counterfeit goods;
  5. Defective and contaminated food and drugs must be blocked more effectively by measures which make it easier to hold importers liable for selling foreign products that do harm to people or pets;
  6. Despite growing criticism, China's party-state continues to trade its UN Security Council veto for energy, raw materials and access to markets from Angola to Burma to Zimbabwe. Increased monitoring and exposure of China's party-state activities everywhere is important;
  7. To reverse the 'race to the environmental bottom' in China, to require all to compete on a level playing field and to reduce acid rain and smog affecting populations abroad, all bilateral and multilateral trade agreements should henceforth include strong provisions for protection of the natural environment.

Many Canadians allow our respect for the people of China to mute criticism of their government. When apologists for its party-state insist that the situation for a growing part of the population is getting better, many of us appear willing to overlook bad governance, official violence, growing social inequalities, widespread corruption and chronic nepotism.

The Chinese people want the same things as Canadians, including, respect for all, education, to be safe and secure, good jobs, and a sustainable natural environment. Living standards have improved on the coast and in other urban areas in China, but there is a cost. Most Chinese continue to be exploited by the party-state and firms, often owned by or contracted for manufacturing to multinationals, which operate today across their country like 19th century robber barons. This explains partly why the prices of consumer products 'made in China' seem so low—the externalities are borne by workers, their families and the natural environment.

Labour Camps

In doing our final report on party-state organ pillaging from Falun Gong practitioners since 2001, David Matas and I visited about a dozen countries to interview adherents sent to China's forced labour camps since 1999, who managed later to leave the camps and the country itself. They told us of working in appalling conditions for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay, little food, being cramped together on the floor for sleeping and being tortured. They made export products, ranging from garments to chopsticks to Christmas decorations as subcontractors to multinational companies. This, of course, constitutes both gross corporate irresponsibility and violations of WTO rules.

The labour camps are outside the legal system and allow the party-state to send anyone to them for up to four years with neither hearing nor appeal. There is a link between the involuntary labour done since 1999 by tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners in these camps and the resulting loss of manufacturing jobs in Canada and elsewhere. One estimate of the number of the camps across China as of 2005 was 340, having a capacity of about 300,000 inmates. In 2007, a US government report estimated that at least half of the inmates in the camps were Falun Gong.

Such grave abuses would not be occurring if the Chinese people enjoyed the rule of law and their government believed in the intrinsic importance of each one of them. It is the combination of totalitarian governance and 'anything is permitted' economics that allows such practices to persist. Canada and other countries should ban forced labour exports.

The attempted crushing of democracy movements, truthful journalists, Buddhist, Falun Gong, Christian, Muslim and other independent faith groups, human rights lawyers and other legitimate civil society communities in recent years indicates that China's party-state must still be engaged with caution.

If its government stops abuses of human rights and takes steps to indicate that it wishes to treat its trade partners in a mutually-beneficial way, the new century will bring harmony for China, its trading partners and neighbours. The Chinese people have the numbers, perseverance, self-discipline, entrepreneurship, intelligence, culture and pride to make this new century better and more peaceful for the entire human family.


To return to Zhao's important book in closing, the people of China and the entire world can only regret that Deng did not allow his protege to continue leading the party and the government towards the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Imagine how much different China itself and so many countries from Sudan to Burma to Iran might be be if the leader who was so much in tune with the values emerging in numerous authoritarian countries in the '80s and '90s had succeeded. The world must hope that the next Zhao in China will be allowed to succeed.


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

FORUM ON CHINA: Vancouver, Sept. 27, 2009

60 Years of Communist Dictatorship

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China, the Simon Fraser University China Research Society invites everyone to participate in a Forum on China. With China well on the way to becoming a major world power, experts and scholars will come together to analyze China’s current situation and review the Party’s 60-year reign.

Will China’s version of Communism survive unbridled capitalism? Will the Party itself survive? If the regime continues to allow rampant pollution of China’s air, land, and water, what does the future hold for the Chinese people? And what about China's egregious human rights record, including religious repression and persecution?

Find out more by joining in the discussion on Sunday, September 27 at 1: 30 pm at SFU Downtown Campus. Admission is free.


China Expert Clive Ansley

Clive Ansley has practiced law in Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. He now heads up Ansley and Company, based in Courtney, British Columbia.

Author Sheng Xue

Sheng Xue grew up in Beijing. Since coming to Canada in 1989 she has worked for a number of Chinese media, winning many awards for her investigative journalism.

Lawyer Guo Guoting

Guo Guoting is a human rights lawyer from China who defended prisoners of conscience. He came to Canada in 2005.

Venue: Room 1700, Labatt Hall, SFU Downtown Campus
515 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

China Suspends Plans to Install Internet Filtering on PCs

September 16, 2009 - HRW: China has indefinitely suspended its plans to install internet filtering software on all new personal computers. The “Green Dam Youth Escort” filtering software attracted ire due to assessments by Human Rights Watch and others that the program, pitched as a tool to block pornographic content from personal computers, represented a much more sinister threat to privacy and choice. Human Rights Watch testified on these types of threats to free speech in front of the US Senate subcommittee on human rights and the law and wrote letters to computer manufacturers urging them not to become complicit in China’s infringement of freedoms. We helped rally public outrage at China’s attempts to curtail free expression, intrude on user privacy, and undermine user choice. Millions of Chinese internet users offered up scathing criticism as well, and our advocacy contributed to unprecedented opposition by foreign computer manufacturers and international business associations, and a threat from both the US trade representative and US secretary of commerce that Green Dam might prompt a challenge from the World Trade Organization.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

China Detains 15 Over Lead Protest

WSJ: Associated Press

BEIJING -- Police in central China detained 15 parents for blocking roads and damaging government offices in a protest over factory pollution that left hundreds of local children with lead poisoning, villagers said Wednesday.

In a bizarre twist, police in Hunan province's Wenping township accused the parents involved in the Aug. 8 unrest of being either members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, or influenced by such members.

Villagers mocked the accusation, saying authorities were using the charge as revenge against parents for rioting over the lead poisoning of more than 1,300 children caused by a manganese processing plant. Falun Gong practitioners are relentlessly persecuted by Chinese authorities.

Anger is growing in China over public safety scandals in which children have been the main victims. The ruling Communist Party is worried mass protests will threaten the country's social stability and challenge its grip on power.

The Wugang city public security bureau, which oversees Wenping, issued a notice Tuesday saying "cult members with ulterior motives" led a few villagers to block roads, attack government offices and damage public property, 40-year-old resident Dai Zuoyi said.

Police said 15 people were being held and urged the "Falun Gong practitioners to turn themselves in as soon as possible," said Dai, who read the announcement to the Associated Press over the phone.

"When I saw this notice, I laughed till my stomach hurt," Dai said. "There have never been any Falun Gong followers in Wenping. This is clearly a reprisal attack against villagers."

A notice posted on the Web site of the Wugang city government last week said Chinese and foreign Falun Gong members were spreading false rumors and "instigating the public to cause trouble" in response to the lead poisoning incident. It did not mention detentions.

Dai said his brother-in-law Li Changye was among the parents detained this week. Li, 40, was among hundreds of residents who blocked roads leading to the Wugang Manganese Smelting Plant, Dai said.

Both Dai's and Li's sons, aged 5 months and 6 years, have excessive levels of lead in their blood, Dai said. Lead poisoning can damage the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure and memory loss.

The Wugang government's spokesman, who would give only his surname, Xia, denied that any Wenping residents had been detained.

"We have not taken any measures against the parents. But if anybody has broken the law, their cases will be investigated by the police," Xia said by phone.

He said city government officials have recently received phone calls from out of town by people who personally attacked the officials. Based on "previous experience," the police think they might be Falun Gong members, Xia said, without going into details.

The Wenping incident was one of three cases of lead poisoning involving large numbers of children last month. The first case involved more than 600 children living near a lead smelter in northwestern Shaanxi province, while the latest one occurred in Yunnan in the southwest, with about 200 children sickened.

Copyright © 2009 Associated Press

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

‘Sandstorm’—A Story of Reckoning, Repentance, and Redemption

Film drama based on the persecution of Falun Gong in China
By Masha Savitz
Epoch Times Staff
Sep 1, 2009

PERSECUTION: The Falun Gong practitioner, played by Lili Li, forbears through the torture. (NTD Films/Requisite Films)

For over ten years, the general public has known relatively little about the realities of torture committed against Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese prisons. The Chinese communist regime has worked overtime to ensure it stays that way, implementing a rigorous propaganda campaign to malign the practice and suppress the truth inside and outside China.

With the arrival of Sandstorm in New York and Los Angeles, these harsh realities can be experienced in a compelling and ultimately uplifting film.

Michael Mahonen’s fact-based drama accurately and sensitively portrays this dire situation in post 1999 mainland China, following the order from former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin to systematically wipe out the popular practice.

Based on actual survivor accounts, Mahonen tells the story of a man, (played convincingly by newcomer, Rong Tian), who has been trapped with his wife for twelve days in a massive sandstorm without electricity or provisions. We learn that he is a police officer, instructed by his superiors from the Gestapo-like 610 Office, to “reeducate” the Falun Gong adherents “at any cost.”

Days pass, rations diminish, and the officer watches his wife wither away as we witness, in a series of flashbacks, the actions which have led to these circumstances.

Most heartrending in this tale, is the detained Falun Gong practitioner, (Lili Li) who demonstrates remarkable courage, conviction, and forbearance during severe torture to break her faith. Despite the officers’ inhumane brutality, she actually remains concerned for her torturers’ well being. She warns them of the consequences they will have to face for the actions of killing and harming innocent people.

Sandstorm is Mahonen’s first project as writer and director. His earlier work found him on the other side of the camera as and award winning actor starring in films and TV.

Initially learning of the persecution in China in 1999, Mahonen started to practice the meditation discipline Falun Gong in 2001 after finding an informational flier outside his apartment door. After he began to understand the effect of the Chinese regime’s propaganda-machine, he was moved to expose their atrocities and communicate the truth about these kind hearted people who were being victimized.

STORY TO TELL: "Sandstorm" writer, director, and producer Michael Mahonen. (NTD Films/Requisite Films)

“I had been interested in writing and directing for a number of years,” Mahonen explains in a phone interview from Toronto. “After I started practicing Falun Gong, I read the teachings and realized the extent to which the propaganda and misinformation put out by the Chinese regime had been deceiving people, both inside and outside China.”

His target audience, he explained, were the police in China. He wanted to present them with a third person perspective of themselves in order to help them see their actions more clearly.

In 2003, without experience or financial resources, Mahonen set out with only an earnest dedication and righteous purpose to make Sandstorm. The cast and crew all volunteered their time and talent with many working on a film for the first time.

His background as an actor was a particular asset. “With a character driven film you need strong performances. My acting experience allowed me to help the actors feel relaxed and confident and to make the roles their own.”

What he learned from this remarkable endeavor is “If the intention is good, a lot can be achieved.”

Since then, the film has been screened around the world, translated into approximately 15 languages, and lauded with 29 festival awards, including best feature film, best dramatic film, best director, best actress, and best screenplay.

One highlight of the multiple festivals Mahonen attended has been the question and answer sessions following the screenings. “During the screenings it was common to hear people crying. At the Q&A’s people often expressed their anger toward the persecution and a desire to help in some way.”

Sandstorm will run in a special limited engagement in New York at the Village East Cinema at 2nd Ave and 12th street, playing from September 4-10 with multiple screenings everyday. There is a special "Meet the Director" reception on Friday, September 4, after the 7:30pm show, with a Q&A to follow in the lobby of the Village East Cinema.

Sandstorm will then screen for a limited engagement in Los Angeles, running from September 11–17 at the Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Director Michael Mahonen will be attend a reception on Friday, September 11, after the 7:15pm show with a Q&A to follow at the Writers Guild Theatre.

Fore more information, visit .

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Web tools help protect human rights activists

BOSTON (Reuters) - Chinese human rights activist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 after authorities tracked him down using data provided by Yahoo.

The Internet service supplied information that it garnered about his location when he accessed his Yahoo e-mail account. That was enough to find him and put him in jail.

Now, human rights activists are looking to a new generation of Internet privacy tools to keep companies from gathering such data, hoping that it will protect dissidents like Shi.

One, called Tor, scrambles information, then sends it over the Web. It hides the user's location and gets past firewalls. Those features make it popular with activists in countries like China and Iran.

"Tor is a tunnel. What you send into it comes out the other end, untouched," said Andrew Lewman, executive director of the Tor Foundation, which is funded by the U.S. government.

It lets surfers get around Internet censorship software - whether installed by governments or companies seeking to keep workers from using social networking sites like Facebook.

Tor also can protect against identity theft and monitoring by parents, suspicious spouses and bosses. It may even be able to evade the warrantless wiretapping program started in the United States following the September 11 attacks.

When a user shuts down a browser running on Tor, all information exchanged during the Web session is deleted.

The U.S. government is one of Tor's biggest financial backers. It contributed $250,000 of the $343,000 in income the nonprofit reported in 2007, the most-recent year for which financial data is available.

"We are trying to encourage a certain freedom of the Internet," said Ken Berman, director of information technology at the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America.


Tor use has risen in China as authorities block access to sites that the government has banned for political reasons. They include Google's e-mail service, Lewman said.

"People who were never were never concerned about censorship suddenly had it thrown in their face when they couldn't get to Gmail anymore," Lewman said. "Average people said 'How do I get around this?'"

In May, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the Chinese government also blocked access to Twitter and Microsoft Corp's Hotmail.

Connections to Tor from Iran surged five-fold in June as protest organizers used social network services Facebook and Twitter to coordinate demonstrations in the wake of the country's disputed presidential election.

"These are great features. These are exactly the kinds of things Iranians need," said Sam Sedaei, an independent economic researcher who studies human rights in Iran.

The nonprofit group Human Rights in China plans to test a newer version of Tor to secure its communications. It is also developing tools to fight surveillance.

"As activists, we want anonymity and security. The challenge is to keep up with the new technology," said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom.

Tor runs on a free software package available on the group's website, . It includes a customized version of the Firefox browser and other programs.

The service connects a user to a second PC that links to a third computer, which does not know the location of the first machine. When the data stream hits the Internet, it is impossible to trace the identity of person accessing the Web.

One drawback that has hurt adoption is speed. Not all users volunteer to let traffic flow through their computers, which makes the service far slower than regular Web browsing.

It has another. Tor's features can help criminals evade detection as they use the Web for activities ranging such as spam, identity theft or pedophilia.

At the same time, police can use it to cloak their identities when they go undercover to conduct online stings.

Tor competes with several other technologies, including one known as Freegate, which China's banned Falun Gong movement developed to allow its members to communicate in secrecy.

Freegate runs on a dedicated network paid for by a U.S.-based company that owns the product, Dynamic Internet Technology, which is run by members of Falun Gong.

DIT also sells an e-mail service that evades spam-filters installed to weed out correspondence related to human rights and other sensitive topics. Customers include the Voice of America and Human Rights in China.

It distributes about 250,000 e-mails with Human Rights in China's electronic newsletter, about 80 percent of which make it past the censorship filters, according to Hom.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, August 14, 2009

John Li: Falun Gong survives assault by China

01:00 AM EDT on Monday, July 27, 2009

NEW YORK Projo.Com

AS SOME SEE IT, Nostradamus’s most famous quatrain, predicting that the King of Terror would descend in July 1999, failed to come true, costing the prognosticator his credibility. To millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China, however, that prophecy has fulfilled itself with terrifying precision.

On July 20, 1999, an outburst of fanaticism suddenly gripped China. Amidst a constant cacophony of Cultural Revolution-style propaganda blitz, tentacles of the communist regime reached into every nook and cranny of the vast land. This unbridled unleashing of venom targeted Chinese citizens practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual movement based on traditional Chinese beliefs and exercises. They were rounded up by the police, and forced to give up their faith. Many refused, and they became the victims of a ten-year struggle by the atheist government to wipe out Falun Gong.

So far, over 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners have reportedly been tortured to death; hundreds and thousands more are now toiling and languishing in labor camps. Fighting Falun Gong has even become a top priority of China’s foreign missions. Diplomats’ vulgar anti-Falun-Gong language jarred with the image of a confident, rising China that the regime painstakingly projects to the outside world.

For its savagery and irrationality, the persecution offers a rare, but sobering, glimpse into a country in flux. It highlights the totalitarianism perpetuated by the current regime that tends to be shrugged off by people obsessed with China’s seeming prosperity. Ian Johnson, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, knew this the best. He earned the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about Falun Gong followers adhering to their beliefs in the face of the persecution. One of them, 57-year-old Ms. Chen Zixiu, was beaten to death by a cattle prod, and left in a pool of her own blood.

Nobody now knows how many persevered in their practice after the crackdown; nobody can write off the Falun Gong, either. Its organization estimated that millions of users accessed its Web site regularly. They were able to do so because of Freegate, a software developed by Falun Gong volunteers to circumvent the Chinese government’s Internet censorship. The software has also found its popularity in such information-challenged places as Iran, Burma, etc. Ten years onward, Falun Gong has survived the lethal wrath of July 1999. By Chinese standards, this is an unprecedented miracle, since no mandated public enemy has ever done this before.

Falun Gong’s unusual allure and resiliency speak to a collective reawakening of the Chinese people to their spiritual identity. It came at the right moment to fill in a vacuum left by the demise of communist ideology. This explains the insecurity of the Chinese leaders, who saw the rise of Falun Gong as a viable threat to their legitimacy, a competing force that has to be crushed sooner or later.

On April 25, 1999, thousands of followers gathered outside the government’s petition office (incidentally, close to the leadership compound) for release of jailed fellow practitioners. The event thrust the Falun Gong into the international spotlight, and some believe, precipitated the persecution. They were wrong. Investigations by Public Security, always a prelude to an official crackdown in China, started as far back as in summer 1997. On my visit during that summer to a Falun Gong practitioner, also a high-ranking party official, she said her local practitioners had carefully stashed away their Falun Gong books and paraphernalia for fear of police harassment. In retrospect, with or without the April 25 protest, the persecution would have taken place.

Ten years is a long time, at least long enough to refute the once popular comparison between an apparently peaceful Falun Gong and the deadly Taiping Uprising or Boxer’s Rebellion. A new, visceral reaction at the mention of Falun Gong seems to have gained traction nonetheless: Falun Gong is controversial.

Since 1999, China has changed a lot economically. Perhaps, with its ascension to the World Trade Organization, its prestigious membership card at the G8 Summit, and the dazzling spectacles at the Beijing Olympics, China has also earned a seat at the table to pass judgments on Western values. Well, if that is true, then Falun Gong might be controversial — just as freedom and democracy are in China.

Of all the prominent (read tragic) Chinese anniversaries this year, from the uprising in Tibet in 1959 to the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, the repression against Falun Gong is obviously the most recent and relevant in fathoming the future of Communist China, which is celebrating its 60-year anniversary. If history offers any guide, nearly no one predicted the sudden collapse of the Soviet bloc, because the Kremlinologists only looked at numbers, missing the most important and intractable variable in the equation: a country’s psyche.

Falun Gong should be helpful in this regard. It cuts through the fanfare of China’s economic development and geopolitical intrigues, and goes straight to the heart of the issues that make China what it is today. For instance, unburdened by such superficially complicating factors as ethnic tension and religious strife that cloud people’s thinking, Falun Gong is a clean laboratory test that shows who should be held responsible for the recent riots in Tibet and Xinjiang.

This means, sadly, for all its exceptional qualities, Falun Gong cannot escape the same fate of other Chinese movements commemorating their losses. As long as the current regime is in power, Falun Gong’s crusade has to go on, it seems.

John Li is a professor of economics at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

One year after start of games, Olympic flame exinguished for good

    MONTREAL, Aug. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - A year after the Beijing Olympics began
on 8 August 2008, Reporters Without Borders regrets that the limited progress
China made in free expression has largely evaporated. Only foreign journalists
continue to benefit from measures that were adopted for the Olympic Games.
Online censorship and repression of free speech activists have been stepped up
in the past year.

"The new openness touted by the organisers of the Beijing Olympics and
the International Olympic Committee was just an illusion," Reporters Without
Borders said. "The dozens of petition organisers and human rights activists
who were jailed for speaking out before and during the games have been joined
in prison by lawyers, bloggers and intellectuals who had hoped the Olympic
promises would be kept. Their disappointment matches the cynicism displayed by
the authorities during the games."

Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of all the Chinese
citizens who are being held for speaking out or demanding their rights during
the Beijing Olympic Games. See the petition:

The colossal sums being spent on disseminating the Communist Party of
China's official view suggest that the authorities have learned the lesson
from the protests that accompanied the games. But the party's media control
apparatus, the Propaganda Department, does not seem to have learned the lesson
from its disastrous decision to cover up the tainted baby formula scandal
because of the games. Coverage of public health and general interest issues is
still being censored.

Olympic prisoners

Dozens of dissidents and ordinary citizens are still in prison for
expressing their view of the Olympic Games or criticising the government at a
time when international attention was focussed on Beijing. The most famous of
these detainees is human rights activist Hu Jia, who is serving a 3 1/2-year
sentence in Beijing.

Yang Chunlin, the leading initiator of the "We want human rights not
Olympic Games" campaign, is being mistreated in prison. An intermediate court
in the northeastern city of Jiamusi sentenced him on 24 March 2008 to five
years in prison followed by two years without civic rights on a charge of
"inciting subversion of state authority."

Human rights activist Zheng Mingfang has fared little better. She was
sent to a camp for reeducation through work in April 2008 for a two-year
period because she published an open letter to the authorities before the
Olympic Games. It was criticism of the games that also led to pro-democracy
activist Zhang Wenhe being forcibly confined to a psychiatric hospital.

A Guangxi woman, Huang Liuhong, and her two sisters have spent nearly a
year in detention without trial. They went to Beijing during the September
2008 Paralympics to protest property seizure by local officials and were
arrested (along with a fourth relative) after being interviewed by a US
journalist. After being held for 314 days in one of China's many grim prisons,
she is still facing a one-year jail sentence for "vandalism."

Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has been detained since March 2008 for
interviewing Tibetans, especially in the Amdo region, for a documentary he
made about Tibet. Called "Leaving Fear Behind" (,
the film was screened clandestinely in Beijing during the Olympics.

Foreign journalists still privileged?

The organisers of the Beijing games provided the foreign media with
spectacular installations and comforts and the authorities changed the rules
for foreign journalists radically, allowing them an unprecedented freedom of
movement and freedom to interview.

The new rules are still in force but they are applied in a very uneven
manner. They are not applied at all in Tibet and the Tibetan regions, where
dozens of foreign journalists were prevented from working during the rioting
in March 2008 and again, on the anniversary of the riots, in March 2009. The
government allowed the foreign press to go to Xinjiang immediately after last
month's rioting there, but journalists were arrested if they showed too much
interest in the fate of Uyghurs held by the police.

The foreign media's freedom to work was also curbed in the run-up to the
20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in June, when the political
police arrested of threatened many dissidents or other persons who are used as
sources by foreign reporters.

The central government is also trying to exercise closer control over
Chinese citizens who work for foreign news media, forcing them to register
with official or semi-official bodies. And many foreign news media, radio
stations and websites, are still being censored without any official

New communication strategy - lessons from the Olympics?

The Chinese authorities accused the foreign media of being anti-Chinese
during the March 2008 events in Tibet and the Olympic torch relay. A
nationalist campaign was launched to intimidate the foreign media and some
countries were accusing of demonizing Beijing's human rights performance in

To combat "western influence," the Chinese authorities allocated
additional resources to the provision of more favourable news and information
internationally. Tens of millions of euros were invested in creating an
international version of the government television station CCTV, and the other
leading state-owned media were urged to promote their services more abroad.

The Chinese media were forced to use only the official version of events
during the rioting in Tibet and Xinjiang, while the state apparatus
orchestrated the incitement of hatred against minorities in order to better
cover up the existence of Tibetan and Uyghur victims. The debate on the
failure of current policies in these restive provinces was quickly restricted
to the few liberal publications.

End of Olympic good times online

The arrival of thousands of foreign journalists for the games resulted in
censorship being eased for Chinese Internet users. But almost all the websites
that were unblocked at the time of the games have since been blocked again.
A major Internet filtering campaign was launched by the information
ministry on 5 January 2009 with the declared aim of combating pornography.
State enterprises heeded calls for renewed vigilance about website content.
Among the sites that were blocked was the political blog portal Bullog
(, which had "published many negative reports of a
political nature," the information ministry said. The New York Times website
has also been blocked several times.

To boost the campaign's effectiveness, the government ordered Chinese and
foreign computer manufacturers to install a filtering software on all
computers sold in China. Called "Green Dam Youth Escort," it is supposed to
protect young people from "negative" Internet content. Its filtering options
include the possibility of blocking political and religious content, including
content linked to the Falun Gong movement. After an outcry, the authorities
postponed obligatory installation of the software.

But not all online censorship is done in the name of combating
pornography. The authorities censored all Uyghur-language websites during last
month's rioting in Xinjiang and they are still inaccessible
( Access to the
video-sharing website YouTube has also been blocked since March, without any
official reason being given.

Bloggers and other Internet users continue to comment and criticise the
ins and outs of Chinese society and politics. With increasing frequency, this
forces the official media to cover embarrassing stories they would rather have
ignored. But repressive measures are nonetheless still being taken against
bloggers, especially by authorities at the local level. At least 10 have been
arrested in connection with their blogging in the past 12 months.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Commemorating persecution in China

by David Matas
(Remarks prepared for delivery to a candlelight vigil, Legislative Buildings, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 19 July 2009)

Today we must remember all the victims of persecution in China
- the Uighurs and Tibetans who are senselessly killed solely for seeking to preserve their identity and culture,
- the democracy activists, human rights defenders and political dissidents who stand up for universal human rights values,
- the Christian evangelicals and members of house church congregations, repressed for holding a belief which the Chinese state does not control, and
- all those who protest the arbitrary power of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state.

On this day, we should pay especial attention to the persecution of the practitioners of Falun Gong. The Communist Party of China decided ten years ago, on July 20, 1999, to have the Government of China ban the practice of Falun Gong. The Government announced the ban two days later.

Falun Gong is a set of exercises with a spiritual foundation based on Taoism and Buddhism. Since the banning, the practitioners of Falun Gong have been persecuted in China far worse than any other victim group.

• The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reports that 66% of the victims of torture and ill‑treatment in China are Falun Gong practitioners. The next largest group is Uighurs at 11%. Every other victim group is single digits.

• The extremes of language the Chinese government uses against the Falun Gong are unparalleled, unmatched by the comparatively mild criticisms China has of other victims. The standard regime refrain about the Falun Gong community is that it is an evil cult, though the practice of Falun Gong has none of the characteristics of a cult.

The documented yearly arbitrary killings and disappearances of Falun Gong exceed by far the totals for any other victim group. Since the banning, over three thousand named Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of the persecution.

• The United States Department of State's Country Reports provide that Falun Gong adherents constitute at least half of the inmates in the country's re-education‑through‑labour camps.

• Human rights lawyers, left alone when they defend other unpopular causes, are persecuted once they defend Falun Gong practitioners. That was the case for Gao Zhisheng who was fine despite taking on a number of unpopular causes, until he opposed the victimization of Falun Gong. Now he is disbarred; his office has been shut down; he has been brutally tortured; his family was forced to flee China to escape danger; he has been arbitrarily detained and has disappeared.

• Falun Gong practitioners and prisoners sentenced to death are the sole victims of forced organ harvesting, the extraction and sale of their organs to patients in need of transplants. Former Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific David Kilgour and I released a report in July 2006 and a revised report in January 2007 which came to the conclusion that practitioners of Falun Gong were being killed for their organs throughout China from 2001 to the date of our report. Since our report has come out, statistics show that this problem has got even worse.

This mistreatment since 1999 raises four questions. Why does the Communist Party of China and the Government it controls treat practitioners of Falun Gong so badly? What can explain the survival of the practice of Falun Gong in the face of this brutal repression? What does this experience - the unsuccessful, fierce repression of the practice of Falun Gong - mean for the future of China? What can be done to end the persecution?

A. Causes of persecution
Why are practitioners of Falun Gong treated so badly?

1. One reason is simply the numbers. Falun Gong before it was banned had, according to a 1999 Government estimate, 70 million adherents. A group of that size no matter what its belief attracts the attention of a repressive government.

2. The Communist Party needs enemies in order to justify their continuing hold on power. The Falun Gong had the bad luck to be around in sufficient numbers to fill the enemy slot.

3. The Falun Gong community embrace three basic beliefs - compassion, tolerance and truth. Anyone who believes in any one of these principles spells trouble for the Communist Party government - a cruel, repressive, dishonest regime.

4. The practice of Falun Gong went from a standing start in 1992 to numbers greater than the membership of the Party within the space of seven years, spreading rapidly throughout China immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Communist Party control in Central Asia and Eastern and Central Europe. The Party in China feared a similar collapse, a similar loss of control.

5. Fifth, the amorphous nature of Falun Gong meant that it was impossible for the Communist Party to control it. Falun Gong is neither a movement nor an organization; it is not even people. It is rather a set of exercises with a spiritual foundation.

6. The mobilization capacity of Falun Gong practitioners alarmed and frightened the Communist Party. An event of April 25th, 1999, petitioning the Communist Party against the arrest and beatings of practitioners in Tianjin a few days earlier, was the largest gathering in Beijing since the Tiananmen square massacre. Many of the leadership in the Party had no advance warning of this event and were startled.

7. The ability of the Falun Gong community to take advantage of modern technology, the internet and cell phones, to gather in large numbers worried the Party. This phenomenon was unknown in China before it was manifested through the Falun Gong community.

8. Though the Falun Gong is not an organization with a leadership, the Communist Party of China surely is. The Communist Party of China saw the Falun Gong community as a mirror of itself, organizationally similar, but ideologically different.

9. The practice of Falun Gong was inspired by the writings and teachings of Li Hongzhi. Then Chinese president Jiang Zemin was envious of Li Hongzhi's efforts, that something an outsider proposed could become so popular while his own writings languished in obscurity.

10. Many Falun Gong practitioners, in an attempt to protect their families and communities, did not identify themselves once arrested. These unidentified are more vulnerable than other detainees because no one who knows them knows where they are and no one who detains them knows who they are.

11. Repressed democracy activists, journalists, human rights defenders, Tibetan and Christian activists generate more sympathy than the Falun Gong because they are more familiar to outsiders, more in tune with outsider sensibilities. The Falun Gong are recent, without an obvious link to global traditions.

12. Falun Gong is authentically Chinese, rooted in ancient Chinese traditions. Communism, in contrast, is a Western ideological import into China. Communists saw a widespread, popular Chinese-based ideology as cutting out from under them the very ground on which they stood.

B. The survival of the practice of Falun Gong
How has the practice of Falun Gong been able to survive in the face of this brutal repression?

1. An obvious explanation is the appeal of the practice and its associated beliefs to practitioners. No practice or belief system could survive the cruelty of Communism unless its adherents had a deep commitment to their beliefs.

2. The practice of Falun Gong has spread world wide. David Kilgour and I, in the course of travelling the planet to campaign against the abuse of organ harvesting our report documents, have seen this phenomenon more than anyone.

In Mexico, Falun Gong practitioners are primarily Mexicans; in Israel, they are primarily Israelis; in Holland they are primarily Dutch, and so on. The practice of Falun Gong started in China but, in most countries where it has spread, is no longer exclusively or even primarily Chinese. Chinese government repression has little traction on these non-Chinese adherents.

3. Modern technology is a boon to any popular idea including the ideas behind the practice of Falun Gong. The Government of China is powerless against the internet, satellite and cell phone technology outside of China. Even inside China, the Communist Party control of modern technology is far from complete.

4. The amorphous nature of Falun Gong has meant that it is impossible for the Communist Party to control it. For the practice of Falun Gong, there is no organizational leadership. That means that there is no one the Government of China can appoint to head the Falun Gong.

If Falun Gong had an organizational leadership, the Party, as it had done with the major religions, would have appointed some of its cronies and said that they were the leadership of the Falun Gong. There is a Chinese government appointed Buddhist Panchen Lama, Chinese government selected Roman Catholic bishops, Chinese government chosen Muslim imams. But Falun Gong does not lend itself to this sort of usurpation.

5. Because Falun Gong is a practice or exercise regime, and not an organization, it lacks all the elements of an organization. That has a down side - weaknesses in communication and coordination, the lack of a charitable tax number and a total absence of staffing and funding.

But it also has an upside, the heavy contribution of volunteers. Through collaborative volunteer effort and voluntary donations directly from individuals to the purchase of specific goods and service, the Falun Gong community world wide produces a newspaper -the Epoch Times, runs a satellite TV and radio network - New Tang Dynasty TV and Sound of Hope radio, and tours a classical Chinese dancing company and orchestra - the Divine Performing Arts.

Members of organizations with professional staff tend to leave their staff to do the heavy lifting. The Falun Gong community have no such luxury and more than compensate for it.

6. Falun Gong rose to fill a vacuum, the abandonment of the belief in Communism world wide. Communism today in China is not so much a belief system as an organizing idiom for power. For those uninterested in climbing up the greasy Chinese pole to power, Chinese Communism means nothing. For those who want to believe in something beyond their own careers, Falun Gong is an answer.

7. The rise of Falun Gong speaks not just to the collapse in the belief in Communism but also to the basic human need for spirituality. We are used to thinking of spiritual beliefs as old, something developed centuries even millenia ago. The beliefs though which survive from ancient times continue not because they are old, but because they speak to the constantly changing present.

The development and rapid growth of Falun Gong, a modern spiritual belief, a belief system which began only in 1992, tells us for sure something about China and Communism. But it also exists and endures because of something fundamental to human nature, the longing for spiritual fulfilment.

8. Though Falun Gong is no longer exclusively Chinese, it has a particular resonance for the Chinese people, the Chinese soul. Its updating and blending of strongly rooted, well developed ancient Chinese exercise and spiritual traditions meant Falun Gong was immediately and deeply appealing to a Chinese people who had seen the Communist belief system nominally inserted to replace those ancient beliefs crumbling around and underneath them.

9. The nonsense the Government of China produced to combat the Falun Gong is all too easy to ignore. It is impossible to ignore torture, arb itrary detention and execution. But the ideology behind this repression, that Falun Gong is an evil cult, is so obviously disconnected from reality to anyone who knows even the least bit about the practice of Falun Gong, the beliefs of Falun Gong or individual practitioners, that it was hard for anyone other than Chinese Communist Party adherents or their fellow travellers to take it seriously.

10. The vicious, unbridled persecution of Falun Gong has had a perverse effect for the persecutors. The persecution has made vocal people who would otherwise have been silent.

Many believers have dug in their heels. Their reaction to the lies the Party and Government have spread about the Falun Gong and the persecution they inflicted on the Falun Gong is to convey to as many people as possible the nature of Falun Gong, as well as the cruelty of the persecution.

The persecution has won over to practitioners of Falun Gong sympathizers they would not otherwise have, people who are not practitioners but who oppose human rights violations. It hard to think of a more searing indictment of Chinese communism than that it has led to the killing of innocents so that their organs could be sold to transplant tourists.

IV. The future of China
Well what does all mean for the future of China? An historical guide is the persecution of Christianity by the Roman empire. Eventually, despite that persecution, the Roman Empire became Christian.

Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 A.D. Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the empire in 391 A.D. The belief in Christianity had grown so strong and the belief in the traditional Roman values had grown so weak that Christianity became a better organizing idiom for the empire than the old Roman values.

One can see the same happening in China. Communism today is incapable of holding China together. At some time the leadership will realize that they need a better set of principles than they have got if they are going to maintain China as a going concern.

Though the teachings of Li Hongzhi have no political content or intent, he managed to articulate a set of beliefs which reverberates with the Chinese people. At some point, the leadership of China will realize this.

The Chinese leadership today treats the Falun Gong as their worst enemy, imprisoning and torturing them more than any other group, killing only them and prisoners sentenced to death for their organs. At some point, they will realize that the Falun Gong are their best friends, an authentic Chinese belief system that is capable of keeping China united, that is capable of keeping China, to use the catchword of the muddled ideology of current Chinese President Hu Jintao, harmonious.

China one day will be predominantly Falun Gong not because the current set of Falun Gong practitioners will one day take over the leadership of China but because the leadership of China will one day become Falun Gong practitioners. In the wings of the stage of Chinese history stands a Constantine.

V. Ending the persecution
It took over three hundred years before from the birth of Jesus Christ to the Christianizing of the Roman Empire. We cannot afford to wait that long to end the persecution of the Falun Gong nor to stop abusive organ sourcing in China.

Today, not three hundred y ears from today:
The persecution of all victims in China, including Falun Gong practitioners, should stop.
Those complicit persecution in China, including organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, should be brought to justice.

How will that happen? Those who are most free to stand against Chinese human rights violations, those whose stance carries most graphically the universal human rights message, and, consequently, those whose opposition China finds hardest to ignore, are those with no connection to China whatsoever. When it comes to mobilizing those who are neither Chinese nationals nor ethnic Chinese to combating human rights violations in China, by far the biggest obstacle is indifference.

The way to end human rights abuses in China is for those who are neither Chinese nationals nor ethnic Chinese to shake off indifference to those abuses. If we do that, if we act persistently, act publicly, act now, those violations will end.
David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CanadaOLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, July 17, 2009

West Still Silent Over Falun Gong 10-year Persecution

by Clive Ansley, US-Canada Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) President

July 20, 2009 marks an important anniversary. But unlike most anniversaries, this is not a happy one, and provides no occasion for celebration. Ten years ago, on July 20th, 1999 the Chinese Communist Party launched a genocidal campaign of torture, mass murder, and ultimately of genocide directed against some seventy to one hundred million Falun Gong practitioners in China. This pogrom has continued unabated now for a full decade while the world has stood silently by, averted its eyes and essentially re-enacted the “see no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” cowardice and avarice which characterized the callous indifference of the world during the 1930’s to the growing evidence of the coming Nazi holocaust against the Jewish people.

Just as William Lyon Mackenzie King refused to allow any Jewish refugees to disembark in Canada, Canadian politicians at every level of government today demonstrate their unprincipled and craven willingness to succor the most bloodthirsty and barbarous regime since the Nazi era. In the face of substantial and uncontradicted evidence that the Beijing police state has murdered tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners on the operating tables of China’s hospitals in order to harvest their organs for lucrative profits on the international transplant market; and as the most vicious and unprecedented campaign of persecution and terror against China’s lawyers unfolds before our eyes, disbarring, torturing, incarcerating and “disappearing” incredibly courageous human rights lawyers, what do our unprincipled politicians and our “Fourth Estate” have to say? What do the representatives of the legal profession in democratic countries have to say?

The mass murder of healthy Falun Gong practitioners for the sole purpose of plundering their organs constitutes the greatest Crime against Humanity since the Holocaust; the brutal persecution, terrorization, and repression of the entire “Rights Protection” bar in China constitutes the single greatest affront to the Rule of Law which the world has witnessed in a long time. As the documentation of these crimes continues to grow exponentially, politicians such as Bob Rae assure us that while there are still some human rights problems in China, Beijing is making substantial progress and the human rights situation is improving significantly. Our current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Cannon, thinks we should avoid publicly embarrassing the Beijing dictators about little things like organ harvesting and the bestial torture and disbarment of human rights lawyers. The Canadian Bar Association and some provincial law societies (with the commendable exception of the Law Society of Upper Canada) have remained totally mute with respect to the treatment of their Chinese colleagues; indeed various CBA representatives continue to peddle the errant and vapid nonsense that China is committed to the Rule of Law and that reform of China’s spurious and fraudulent “legal” system is progressing at an impressive pace.

And the Fourth Estate? The pathetic North American media has been virtually mute throughout this full decade of organ theft and genocide committed by Beijing. Hardly a word has ever appeared in print and scarcely a whisper of this mass atrocity has been heard on the television networks or cable services. In terms of sheer undeniable newsworthiness, it is irrefutably the biggest story of this century. Yet it is apparently a taboo topic in our derelict media. We are informed that those conscientious reporters who turn in stories on the persecution are told by their editors that their papers will not touch this topic.

Instead of offering comfort and support to the innocent victims of Beijing’s bestiality, unprincipled politicians such as those on Vancouver City Council turn the victims into the culprits and curry favour with Beijing.

This is the holocaust all over again. The Beijing Olympics was the Berlin Olympics of 1936 all over again.

Those who do not recognize this parallel are limited to the willfully blind; the morally bankrupt; and the profoundly ignorant.

And I want to end by coming back to the report -- 'Bloody Harvest' -- by David Matas and David Kilgour. This report MUST be addressed seriously and extensively by the North American media.

The credibility of the authors of this report is simply not in question -- David Matas is perhaps the leading human rights lawyer in Canada; David Kilgour is a former Secretary of State for Far Eastern affairs in Canada; both are lawyers; and they have impeccable credentials. This is not coming from the National Enquirer or Fox News; this is coming from sources that are simply unimpeachable. And given the horrendous nature of the allegations -- and the unimpeachable sources which have produced the report -- crime cannot be legitimately ignored by legitimate journalists. It must be debated.

Journalists are entitled to dispute the methods of the Kilgour-Matas research; they have not done so.

Journalists are entitled to criticize the nature of the evidence; they have not done so.

Journalists are entitled to produce contrary evidence; they have not done so.

But what the legitimate media is not entitled to do is to leave their readers and viewers uninformed about credible and compelling evidence of a new holocaust.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008