Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slandering the Falun Gong

I'm appalled at your sensationalist piece that makes the Falun Gong group appear like criminals guilty of bribery. This is simply a case of Chinese immigrants not understanding the laws around freedom of the press in Canada who perhaps thought they could buy a paid ad in a paper to replace a piece that defamed their faith.

The piece from Asian Pacific Post was laced with the Chinese Communist party's slanderous propaganda on Falun Gong and the APP issued several similar pieces after that.

So I can't say I entirely blame the Epoch Press manager for getting paranoid and having second thoughts about printing this bad piece slandering his faith.

Whether the Falun Gong are dancing, playing music in a marching band or simply meditating, it seems most of their activities are interfered with by the Chinese Consulate -- and this has been happening on Canadian soil as well as in China for 10 years.

Why does Canadian media, like APP, carry the hate speech of these communist dictators? And if one Falun Gong adherent makes an honest mistake does it make all of them bad? Not so.

Marie Beaulieu, Victoria

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Forget Not the Beijing Olympics’ Victims

By Online Saturday, March 14, 2009

image - Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group

Ms. Gu Jianmin (left) Died after 13 Days in Custody on March 13, 2008. Ms. Hu Yanrong (center) Died Only 4 Days after Her Arrest on August 5, 2007. Mr. Sun Guanzhou (R) Died within a Week of Arrest on March 6, 2008

Canada Free Press: It is now clear that the Beijing Olympics Games did not help to improve human rights in China.

On the contrary, unknown thousands of innocent people have fallen victim to the Beijing Olympics. Knowing that it had the Olympics secured, the Chinese regime not only refused to honor the promise it made to improve human rights when it bid for the 2008 Olympic Games[1], but it used the Olympics’ security as a pretext to apprehend, torture, and murder people who had already suffered prolonged human rights violations in China.

One group of victims that the Chinese regime particularly targeted in the year leading up to the Beijing Olympics is Falun Gong practitioners[2]. The Chinese regime has consistently denied persecution of other groups, but has publicly vowed to “eradicate” Falun Gong. In April 2007, a secret document of the Public Security Department listed Falun Gong among 11 groups that were to be monitored and prohibited from attending the Olympics[3]. In February 2008, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad issued an internal instruction to “strictly monitor and control Falun Gong.” Following these instructions, Chinese authorities all over the country intensified the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

In the following pages, we document the names and details of the arrest of over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in the name of the Beijing Olympics’ security. To fit within a reasonable space, we provide only a small number of the descriptions of how these victims have been violently and even fatally abused in custody. Because of the Chinese regime’s restrictions on the flow of information, the atrocities are feared to be much worse.

The report can be found at here:

These people have committed no offense. The majority of them were abducted when the police broke into their homes. Many were taken from their work. Some middle school and high school students were arrested in their dormitories and classrooms. They could not possibly threaten the Olympics from where they were arrested; many were hundreds or thousands of miles away from the venue.

The incarceration of Falun Gong practitioners was not at all to keep them away from the Olympics; it was to coerce them into renouncing Falun Gong. To that end, all of the arrested Falun Gong practitioners were severely tortured; some were beaten to death hours after their arrest. When their family members asked for their release, the authorities replied, “After the Olympics.” However, large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners are still in custody, long past the Olympics.

It should be clear from this report how the Beijing Olympics was used by the Chinese regime to intensify its persecution of Falun Gong. The same Olympics tragedies have happened to others, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, and human rights lawyers and defenders.

In presenting this report, and the evidence that it contains to show the deterioration of human rights in China, we remind those who rationalized rewarding the Olympics to Beijing as an opportunity to help human rights in China that they have a responsibility to come to the rescue of those who suffered the consequences of their failed rationalization.

This failed Olympics rationalization is but the latest entry in the long list of similarly failed rationalizations of the U.S. and the West’s policy of economic engagement with Communist China[4]. There have been numerous so-called opportunities over the past twenty years to help China to improve its human rights, yet with the passing of each opportunity, more victims have fallen to the Chinese regime’s human rights violations. Meanwhile, the makers of the engagement policy have simply walked away from the victims and moved on to the next “opportunity.”

Human rights improvement requires having a heart for the victims, a sense of responsibility, and the courage to stand up for what is right, rather than the excuse of so-called opportunities.

By repeating the same failure in China’s human rights and continuing to profit from these “opportunities” for financial gain, the economic engagement policy has become modern democracy’s worst example of hypocrisy. The complete lack of accountability also makes it modern democracy’s worst example of irresponsible politics.

It may therefore be fitting that beyond the Beijing Olympics there is no opportunity in sight to “help” improve the human rights situation in China. Instead the U.S. and the West are supplicating China to help them financially in the current deep financial crisis, as evidenced by the recent pleading of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for China to continue buying U.S. debt. Going further than President Clinton’s delinking of human rights from trade with China, Secretary Clinton has openly delinked human rights from all China policy, stating that “those issues” can’t interfere with our more important goals, that “our economies are so intertwined,” and that, “We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat and thankfully we are rowing in the same direction.”

Secretary Clinton is candid in openly admitting what human rights really means to the U.S.’s China policy, an inconvenient interference with other more important goals, yet it is sobering to see the top diplomat of the leader of the free world avow such a Faustian contract to rise or fall together with the most tyrannical regime of the world. Such a pledge is a betrayal not only to human rights, but to the very core of American values. Had America’s Founding Fathers cast aside “those issues” like unalienable rights, America would not have been conceived in liberty but remained intertwined with Great Britain. Had President Lincoln refused to let “those issues” like equality interfere with other “more important” goals such as avoiding a war and preserving a much more intertwined economy, the Union could just “rise or fall together” with the South, and there would be no President Obama.

However, more is at stake. Few may have noted how closely the collapses of Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, AIG and others followed on the heels of the Beijing Olympics to bring about the present financial crisis, and fewer may have considered that these scourges were not coincidental. Throughout history people with demonstrably higher moral standards have been more introspective in enlightening to the significance of tribulations. President Abraham Lincoln, in another mightier scourge, noted that the powerful interest of slavery was somehow the cause of the Civil War, and that both the North and the South at some point had contributed to the prolonging of that interest - “To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.” Even when the Civil War came, most looked for “a result less fundamental and astounding.” Lincoln, however, saw that “The Almighty has His own purposes,” and that if God willed that the Civil War continue “until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

The U.S. and the West’s economic engagement policy with China may be less overt than the old slavery but no less immoral, for behind the pretext of human rights improvement is the profit from outsourcing to China’s modern slavery[5]. The Chinese regime not only entices the U.S. and the West to outsource to its modern slavery, but also bankrolls American consumers to buy China’s cheap slave-labor products by lending money to the U.S. through bond purchases. If the profit extracted from America’s old slavery had to be wiped out through the Civil War, could the financial gains extracted from China’s modern slavery at the expense of the Chinese people’s worsening rights be treated differently and written off by selling more bonds to China? If the current financial crisis is a warning of our moral decline in profiting from China’s modern slavery, what might be at stake in continuing down this wrong path? Needless to say, it is when a country is less inclined to believe in higher principles that its officials will consider to “rise or fall together” with a godless and criminal regime. But will the higher principles be less true just because we believe in them less? Will God be less just merely because human beings become less spiritual and more material?

It may be expedient and even tempting to remain silent to the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses in exchange for some financial gains, but, wittingly or unwittingly, those who place lining their pockets over values are themselves victims of the Chinese regime’s crimes against conscience[6]. Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, and human rights lawyers and defenders have been victimized and lost their freedom because of their refusal to conform to the abusive regime, but those who choose to be in the same boat and rise and fall with such an abusive regime have lost their conscience.

In presenting this report and asking the free world not to forget these victims, we hope the free world may come to see its own falling victim to the Chinese regime’s crimes against conscience. This report is also a tribute to Falun Gong practitioners’ courageous defense of human conscience. They are a beacon to us all. Many Falun Gong practitioners in China have risked all to expose the violations they or fellow practitioners have suffered. Their reports must not be taken lightly, lest the values of hope, courage and human beings’ most fundamental right to conscience be forsaken. It is our earnest hope that in helping them the free world will find its way back to the true spirit of humanity.

[1] Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing Olympic Bid, said in April 2001, “By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help the development of human rights.”
[2] United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2008, Page 143
[3] http://chinascope.org/main/content/view/339/148/
[4] “Enticement and Engagement? from Falun Gong, Humanity?s Last Stand, Conscience Foundation, 2006, Page. 21.
[5] “Enticement and Engagement” from Falun Gong, Humanity’s Last Stand, Conscience Foundation, 2006, Page. 23.
[6] http://www.falunhr.org/newsletter/AgainstConscience.pdf
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, March 29, 2009

China 'deploys mobile execution vans'

12:30 AEST Sun Mar 29 2009

Mobile "death vans" are being deployed across China in what officials say is a "civilised alternative" to the traditional method of execution for death row prisoners, according to a report in a British newspaper.

Amnesty International has condemned the practice saying "there is strong evidence" Chinese authorities run a lucrative side business out of the vans by harvesting the organs of dead prisoners.

The vehicles, which can reach top speeds of 128km/h and look like an operating theatre inside, are cruising China's streets to make executions more cost-effective and efficient, The Daily Mail reports.

The vans are thought to have been launched after hushed trials before the Beijing Olympics.

"We have gathered strong evidence suggesting the involvement of Chinese police, courts and hospitals in the organ trade," an Amnesty International spokesperson was quoted as saying.

"The bodies cannot be examined. Corpses are driven to a crematorium and burned before independent witnesses can view them."

The prisoner is reportedly strapped to an electric-powered stretcher before a team of doctors administer drugs and then reportedly "harvest" the lucrative organs — eyes, kidney, liver, pancreas and lungs which are left pristine condition.

The British Transplantation Society has also condemned China in the past for harvesting prisoners' organs.

Annual executions in China are expected to rise from 1715 to around 10,000 in the next few years as more people are convicted for the 68 crimes, including tax evasion, that are punishable by death.

But the designer of the van, Kang Zhongwen, said the vehicles were "promoting human rights" as the executions were carried out more "quickly, clinically and safely" than the traditional gunshot to the head.

Jinguan Auto manufactures the high tech vehicles along with their bullet-proof limousines.

"We have not sold our execution cars to foreign countries yet but if they need one they could contact our company directly," the Daily Mail quotes a spokesman as saying.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

GhostNet: Massive China-Based Internet Spy Network Unearthed

By Suman Srinivasan
Epoch Times Staff Mar 29, 2009

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GhostNet report by Information Warfare Monitor group
A screenshot of the GhostNet report released by the Information Warfare Monitor group in Canada. (Suman Srinivasan/Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—On March 29, a Canadian research group unveiled a chilling report confirming fears that Chinese dissident communities have harbored for years—the presence of a vast, unrivaled online spy network that is able to track highly specific data and send it back to control servers based in China.

The research was conducted by the Information Warfare Monitor, a public-private research group that comprises researchers from two institutes in Canada: the SecDev Group, an operational think tank based in Ottawa, and the Citizen Lab at the Munk Center for International Studies, University of Toronto.

Their 53-page report, titled “Tracking ‘GhostNet’: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network,” documents their findings of a global online espionage network that relies on cleverly forged e-mails to infect target computers, control them, and then send reports back to control servers, most of which are based in China.

The group reported that their work started when they began investigating computers in Tibetan exile centers in Dharmasala, India, for possible compromises. The work they did “led to the discovery of insecure, web-based interfaces to four control servers” which allowed attackers to control compromised machines.

Scouting these control servers resulted in their finding a vast network of compromised computers across the world—the report counted “at least 1,295 infected computers in 103 countries.”

Most interestingly, a large number of compromised computers were extremely high-profile targets: close to 30 percent of the compromised computers belonged to “ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados, and Bhutan; embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany, and Pakistan; the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretariat, SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), and the Asian Development Bank; news organizations; and an unclassified computer located at NATO headquarters.”

Leveraging Social Means

The researchers found that GhostNet spread by infecting computers with a trojan known as “gh0st RAT” that gave the attackers complete control over the infected system. They found that the Trojan was capable of “taking full control of infected computers, including searching and downloading specific files, and covertly operating attached devices, including microphones and web cameras.”

Such complete takeovers would allow the attackers to even hear and see events happening on the compromised computers.

The Trojans were obfuscated malware, resulting in their being difficult to detect in commercial anti-virus and anti-malware programs. “Only 11 of the 34 anti-virus programs provided by Virus Total recognized the malware embedded in the document. Attackers often use executable packers to obfuscate their malicious code in order to avoid detection by anti-virus software,” the report said.

The attackers used “social means” to spread the Trojan. For instance, “contextually relevant emails are sent to specific targets” and these e-mails, once opened, installed the Trojan on the unsuspecting user’s computer.

Targeting Chinese Dissidents?

The unearthed global Trojan network is only the latest in a series of massive cyber-attacks that have been based out of Communist-ruled China. In 2003, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and numerous defense companies came under heavy attack in an operation that the DoD called “Titan Rain,” and has been under attack ever since.

Attacks originating from China have also targeted non-governmental groups and Chinese dissident groups. The report said that the attacks have targeted “organizations advocating on the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, Tibetan groups active in India, and the Falun Gong.”

The Citizen Lab has previously been involved in other studies involved Chinese cyber espionage. In October 2008, they published a report called “Breaching Trust,” which focused on the behind-the-scenes surveillance of chat sessions by TOM-Skype in China. The lab is also behind “psiphon,” which allows uncensored Internet access in OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where is Gao Zhisheng?

Council on Foreign Relations - Beijing Must Reveal Fate of Human Rights Lawyer

South China Morning Post -March 19, 2009 - Author: Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies

It is 43 days since the most recent "disappearance" of Gao Zhisheng, China's most famous human rights lawyer, who boldly sought to use the law to battle corruption, overturn illegal property seizures, expose police abuses and defend religious freedom.

His captors - apparently the notorious guo bao, the "national defence" unit of China's public security agency - had threatened to kill the 44-year-old Christian activist during previous detentions marked by obscene torture. Beijing's continuing refusal to comment on Gao's fate makes his case resemble those of the "disappeared" in Latin American dictatorships.
Last week, Gao's wife, two children and sister arrived in the US after being smuggled out of China. Until their arrival, international attention on Gao's own safety had to remain muted. Mainland persecution had forced some cruel choices upon the Gao family. After closing his law firm and taking away his lawyer's licence in 2005, the regime convicted him of "inciting subversion" in late 2006 because of his open letters, essays, interviews and hunger strike condemning police treatment of the Falun Gong, Christians and others.

It then released him on a five-year suspended sentence to home surveillance that proved harsher than prison, not only for Gao but also for his wife and daughter. By late 2008, repeated secret police harassment and brutality had made both mother and daughter, now 15, so suicidal that the family decided that their survival depended on escaping from China. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry denied it had persecuted the family.

It would have been impossible for Gao to leave with them. He was too closely monitored, and on many occasions his tormentors had warned him that he would never be allowed to leave China alive.

Early on February 4, 31/2 weeks after his family's departure, more than 10 police and thugs spirited Gao out of bed, and he has not been seen since. Nor has the Chinese government offered the slightest word about him despite repeated inquiries from UN agencies and foreign governments, non-governmental organisations and the media. Just before the UN Human Rights Council's February 9 review of China's record, the Canadian government formally questioned Beijing about allegations that its agents had tortured Gao and other human rights activists and lawyers. The Chinese government did not respond, either during the public hearing or subsequently.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which has many times condemned China in other cases, is reportedly pursuing Gao's case. Human rights NGOs have also asked for assistance from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who interviewed Gao in late 2005 and who protested to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about police attempts to interfere with the interview.

Unfortunately, Gao's situation has become so grave that it should easily warrant an urgent appeal for the prevention of loss of life by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The release on February 8 of his previously unpublished account of the 13-day torture and subsequent further two-month detention to which he was subjected in 2007 only heightens concern for his life.

That account not only accused his captors of holding burning cigarettes to his eyes, beating and starving him, and applying electric shocks to his genitals, but it also revealed their warning that he would die if he told anyone about the ordeal.

Nothing similar to habeas corpus exists in mainland legislation or practice. But the UN Convention against torture, which Beijing ratified two decades ago, and its other international human rights commitments, obligate it to come clean about Gao. It is time for the court of world opinion to insist: "Show us the prisoner and justify his detention."

Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of New York University's U.S.-Asia Law Institute and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

This article appears in full on CFR.org by permission of its original publisher. It was originally available here

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Former China Intelligence Officer Tells His Story On Capitol Hill

Former China Intelligence Officer Tells His Story On Capitol Hill

By Gary Feuerberg
Epoch Times Staff
Mar 20, 2009
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Quitting the Chinese Communist Party
Fengzhi Li (L), former China Intelligence officer of the Ministry of State Security, speaks on Capitol Hill on how the Chinese Communist Party suppresses the Chinese people. He spoke through an interpreter. (Nancy Nieh/The Epcoh Times)

WASHINTGTON, D.C.—Chinese Intelligence Officer of the Ministry of State Security, Fengzhi Li, kept a low profile when he defected to the United States in 2004.

He was primarily concerned about the safety of his family, who were still on the Mainland. At the time, he needed to put some distance between himself and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Then the human rights situation in China got “worse and worse,” he said. With access to the truth on how the Party suppresses the Chinese people, Li said he had to speak out to stop the killing and bring an end to a “brutal dictatorship.”

The solitude that Mr. Li enjoyed for five years ended abruptly. Last week on March 11, Mr. Li became the first person who had worked in China’s espionage system to publicly renounce his membership in the Chinese Communist Party. On March 15, Li was the focus of two rallies in the nation’s capital, celebrating the withdrawal of 51 million Chinese from the CCP or its affiliated organizations.

Then four days later, on March 19, Li followed up his public statements with an appearance on Capitol Hill to issue a new statement, which is even more vitriolic and accusatory of his former employer. He answered questions from the press, and received greetings and high praise from one of Congress’ leading human rights voices, Representative Dana Rohrabacher.

“In today’s China, political, economic and social power is highly monopolized. Except for the Communist Party, no other individuals or groups have any freedom or power, said Li.

He continued: “In order to control its monopoly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has developed a political system that reaches every corner of the society and uses all kinds of bloody means to suppress Chinese people and other political groups.”

The picture that Li gives of China’s security system is one that doesn’t trust the people and thoroughly Orwellian.

“Employees of the national security system are supposed to protect the country and serve the country. But the CCP expends huge amounts of funds to suppress ordinary citizens and even extends the reach of their black hands overseas. In the past few years, to deal with the citizens who appeal for their rights, political dissidents, and spiritual groups, the CCP has increased its use of the state security systems to collect intelligence, carry out the monitoring, and so forth, even directly participating in arresting and persecuting those people.”

Li said that he and many of his colleagues at the Ministry of State Security, were “furious” at the CCP’s abuse of the country's resources to deal with decent Chinese folks. They ceased to trust and have confidence in the CCP.

Happiness is Not Only Economic Well-Being

One obstacle facing anyone who raises the issue of human rights atrocities in China is the common perception in the West that China has made tremendous progress economically, and that democracy and freedom are increasing with the economic expansion. This perception of China’ progress needs to be corrected, according to Li.

Fengzhi Li, 41, was raised in a materialistic, atheistic environment, where the education system instilled communist values to children. Due to the one child policy, Li had no brothers or sisters, and he said to this reporter that the way it is enforced is heartless.

Based on what Mr. Li said about the “pursuit of happiness,” a phrase out of the U.S. Declaration of Independence,” opposing the materialistic CCP has led Mr. Li to dwell on the “pursuit” of other values. He said that economic improvement is only one facet of “the pursuit of happiness.” Li says Chinese people should have the right to pursue their lives with dignity, pursue social justice, and pursue a spiritual life, like the free nations do in the West. He said that economic well-being cannot alone bring about true happiness.

“Today, when people around the world talk about China's economic growth, they should pay attention to the fact that China's economic growth has not brought about the social and political progress that it should have, and it has not brought ordinary Chinese people more freedom and political rights. The huge cost of the economic growth is worrisome, and it will eventually be paid by the Chinese people,” said Li.

When human rights are respected, China will have “genuine progress,” and it will benefit not only the Chinese people, but the world.

China’s Spies Can Lead To Its Own Undoing

China scholar and NTD-TV commentator, Dr. Tianliang Zhang said he was reminded by the account given by Mr. Li of a popular German film, The Life of Others, that portrayed the inner life of a spy and won the Academy Awards for the best Foreign Language Film in 2007. It’s about an agent working for the Stasi, the East German state police a few years before the fall of communism in the GDR. The agent, Captain Wiesler, is ordered to conduct surveillance on a dissident, who is suspected of pro-Western sympathies. But through getting to know him, the agent becomes sympathetic, and decides to distort and cover up for him in his reports to his superiors.

“An interesting aspect of this agent is that he is a faithful socialist,” says Dr. Zhang. He joined the Stasi because he felt that he was protecting the country from any potential enemies. In the end, he discovered the corruption of the communist leaders and understood humanity through listening in on the dissident writer.

“Today when we know Mr. Li Fengzhi's story, we can see that what is depicted in the movie came true [for Li Fengzhi],” said Dr. Zhang.

Mr. Li’s story demonstrates “a simple fact that if a person truly cares for the country and people, they know that the Communist Party is actually damaging the country and persecuting the people,” said Dr. Zhang. And there is also the potential that when the state police monitor the people, they are positioned well to know the truth because they have access to the censored news denied to the people, and they may witness firsthand the sufferings of the regime’s victims—people like the peaceful Falun Gong practitioners or a Christian like Attorney Gao Zhisheng.

Indeed, Mr. Li, as a former Intelligence agent, evolved in the same way as the fictional Stasi agent. Based on what he knows and on his understanding of what a free society should be like, Mr. Li says he is compelled to tell the West to awaken to the totalitarian nation that China has truly become. He tells us living in the West not to be fooled by the CCP and China’s great economic progress. He implores us to realize that the human rights abuses are only getting worse.

“When the international community engages with China, if we only focus on temporary economic … benefits, but keep silent on human rights issues, it is the same as supporting the CCP. ... From this perspective, keeping silent equals being accomplices to the CCP’s tyranny.”OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Matas: Canada’s CBC taking the Communist Party of China’s stance on Falun Gong???

National Post:

Posted: March 17, 2009, 5:21 PM by NP Editor ,


When it comes to covering Falun Gong, both the English and French branches of CBC have adopted a view of the world disturbingly similar to that of the Communist Party of China.

Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that combines ancient Chinese traditions, Buddhist and Taoist practices, and qi gong exercises. Founder Li Hongzhi began writing and speaking about Falun Gong in 1992. The movement took off, growing to a Chinese government estimate of 70 to 100 million practitioners by 1999. The growth was partly attributable to encouragement by the Chinese government itself, which was impressed by Falun Gong’s health benefits.

But in 1999 then-President Jiang Zemin — out of jealousy that something an outsider proposed could become so popular while his own “Three Represents” writings languished in confusion and obscurity — spurred the government to ban the practice. To justify the banning, the Communist Party of China (CPC) developed a conspiracy fantasy. All those individuals engaging on their own or in small groups in harmless, indeed healthful, exercises, the CPC alleged, were part of some vast organization aimed at overthrowing communist rule.

The persecution began first by arrests, then by torture, then by disappearance. It did not take long, as David Kilgour and I concluded in a report released in July, 2006, for the disappeared to become the source of organs sold to transplant tourists for huge sums.

In 2007, the CBC announced that it was broadcasting a TV documentary by Peter Rowe on the persecution of the Falun Gong in China, which featured our report. But the government of China leaned on the CBC, and the CBC pulled the show. It was replaced in the scheduled time slot with an old documentary on Pakistan.

The CBC went back to the producer and asked for changes. He initially balked, and then made some edits. But the changes he made weren’t enough for Beijing. The CBC made more changes on its own after the producer refused to co-operate anymore, and then broadcast its concocted product.

Not to be outdone by the CBC, French-language Radio Canada went one further in a show that aired in Oct., 2008.

The origins of that broadcast originate with La Presse Chinoise, a Montreal-area Chinese weekly newspaper, which in 2001 published standard Communist Party propaganda against Li Hongzhi and the Falun Gong — material that was, according to the Quebec Court of Appeal, defamatory. The libels eventually led Falun Gong practitioners to protest in front of the offices of the La Presse Chinoise.

Radio Canada reported these protests in a way that would have warmed the heart of the most hardened Chinese Communist Party bureaucrat. Falun Gong was depicted as an organization that is “highly structured” with “no shortage of money,” composed of different organs working in lockstep. This mythical organization was then blamed for tension in Montreal’s Chinatown — because some practitioners had the nerve to protest their being libelled by La Presse Chinoise.

Radio Canada preyed on the ignorance of the Canadian public to propagate the Communist Party line, blaming the victims for protesting their victimization, adding to the propaganda by describing the Falun Gong as “little known and bothersome,” “whose presence creates malaise.”

Why are CBC and Radio Canada behaving as a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party? Is it the identification of one bureaucracy with another? Is it nostalgia for the socialist values that the Communist Party used to embody?

Whatever the explanation, the distortions the public broadcaster brings to China and the Falun Gong are regrettable. When it comes to reporting on China and the Falun Gong, it is time CBC/Radio Canada started to reflect Canadian values instead of Chinese Communist Party values.

National Post

David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More on Chinese Dissident Lawyer's Family Defects


RFA: Gao Zhisheng took on China's legal system at great cost. Now his wife and children are seeking U.S. asylum.

WASHINGTON—The wife and children of a top civil rights lawyer under close surveillance by the Chinese authorities have arrived in the United States after walking across the border to Thailand, Gao Zhisheng’s wife Geng He said.

Geng said her daughter, 15, and son, 5, had suffered “great hardship” in China from living under virtual house arrest in their Beijing home.

“I left China because my family had been under tight surveillance for a long time. We experienced—in our careers and daily life—great hardship and difficulty,” Geng told RFA’s Mandarin service in her first interview since arriving in the United States on March 11 to seek asylum.

“My daughter was unable to attend school. Because she was unable to attend school, she tried to commit suicide several times,” Geng said. “I had no place to turn. So I fled with my children.”

Geng said she had left a note for Gao, an Army veteran who lost his law license after he criticized the government for its treatment of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Gao began a rolling hunger strike among fellow civil rights activists to protest the ill-treatment of lawyers and rights activists at the hands of police and local government officials.

“I left a note for my husband that I was leaving with the children,” Geng said.

“I said in my note that our daughter is miserable because she couldn’t attend school. I said I was miserable and I had to take the kids and leave,” said Geng, in tears.

Dangerous route through Thailand

Geng and her children left China on Jan. 9 and arrived in Thailand on Jan. 16, leaving for the United States on March 10.

Describing the family’s dramatic escape, Geng said they first left Beijing very quietly, unnoticed by the state security police who usually followed them.

[My daughter] tried to commit suicide several times..."

Geng He

“We could not travel by air. We took a train,” Geng said, adding that Gao was unable to accompany them because he couldn’t throw off the police on his tail.

“Eventually, with the help of friends, we freed ourselves from police surveillance and we walked to another country,” she said.

Geng said friends who helped her leave China were members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

“We walked day and night. It was extremely hard. I did not even know the names of some of the towns we passed through.”

“It was extraordinarily difficult to get us out of China. The friends who helped us escape took enormous pains, some even risking their own lives,” Geng said.

She said she hadn’t been in touch with Gao since leaving China.

“On Feb. 4, when we had arrived in the second country, I heard from a friend that he had been detained. I am very worried,” said Geng, who has no idea of Gao’s whereabouts.

‘Very fragile state’

Now in the United States, Geng said she has few specific plans.

“The first step is to get here and to give my daughter a chance to heal her mental scars,” she said.

“She is in a very fragile state. When she feels better, I will arrange for her to get an education. It’s important to get an education.”

She said her son asked repeatedly for Gao, and whether his father had been sent to prison again.

Gao’s whereabouts remained unclear for months after he was subjected to a secret trial by the authorities on unspecified subversion charges in 2006.

Lauded by China’s own Justice Ministry as one of China’s Top 10 lawyers in 2001 for his pro bono work in helping poor people sue government officials over corruption and mistreatment, Gao was once a member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He resigned from the Party in 2005.

Gao’s fortunes took a sharp downturn after he wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in October 2005 urging them to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, detailing a range of abuses they suffer in custody, including torture, beatings, and execution.

Report on abuses

In its most recent report on human rights around the world, the U.S. State Department noted that Gao’s whereabouts remained unknown.

It also noted the authorities had revoked the professional licenses of several prominent lawyers, including Gao and of Teng Biao, who offered to represent Tibetans taken into custody for their role in the March 2008 Tibetan uprising in Lhasa.

“Government-employed lawyers often refused to represent defendants in politically sensitive cases, and defendants frequently found it difficult to find an attorney,” the report said.

“Officials deployed a wide range of tactics to obstruct the work of lawyers representing sensitive clients, including unlawful detentions, disbarment, intimidation, refusal to allow a case to be tried before a court, and physical abuse.”

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Administration Kowtows Are the Chinese people alone now?

by Ethan Gutmann
03/16/2009, Volume 014, Issue 25

Weekly Standard: Over the last three weeks, the Obama administration has sent three clear signals to the Chinese leadership.

First came the news that Chas Freeman would chair the National Intelligence Council. The former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an adviser to CNOOC (the state-owned Chinese oil company), Freeman clearly fits the Chinese Communist party's idea of a four-year plan for American intelligence oversight. Just note Freeman's curious 2006 statement about the Tiananmen massacre. It is unacceptable "for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be." That particular trope was originally laid down by Henry Kissinger, and it's considered safe for public use. Freeman, though, took the argument to its logical conclusion, condemning the "ill-conceived restraint" and "overly cautious behavior" of the party leadership.

I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang's dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.

It's not hard to predict what line the intelligence community will take on China's military buildup (or another Tiananmen) under Freeman's leadership.

The Chinese will score their number two victory with Gary Locke, former governor of Washington, becoming our new commerce secretary. Locke's been a very--very!--good Friend of China: making public displays of affection for the party's brilliant stewardship, carrying a torch for China in the Beijing Olympics relay, and easily straddling his public

and private interests to make a deal. Locke has paraded his guanxi--his connections--and, indeed, his numerous meetings with Hu Jintao are real. As are the campaign funds he got in the 1990s through Buddhist temple fundraisers, Chinese cut-outs, and confessed felon John Huang. This may have knocked Locke out of contention for a spot on the Gore 2000 ticket, but apparently it was of little interest to Obama's third-time-lucky vetting staff in 2009.

To complete the hat trick, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a seemingly offhand comment on the eve of her recent trip to Beijing. Discussion of Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights would be "on the agenda," she said. But "We pretty much know what they are going to say." Some commentators have labored to present those words as refreshingly plainspoken. Bringing up human rights to the Chinese government is just an empty ritual the argument goes, and America has larger interests at the moment--China's purchase of treasury bonds, a "partnership" on green technologies--which speak to a much broader, "global" definition of human rights.

But rituals, and the spirit in which they are carried out, matter very much to the Chinese leadership. Chinese citizens, particularly those who dissent, pay close attention as well. Even if Clinton has tired of Chinese human rights (in the old-fashioned definition, where people are tortured to death and so on), the act of unilaterally agreeing to ignore an actual source of tension between our two societies represents a notable change in U.S. policy. The repercussions will extend far into Taiwan, China, and America.

Taiwan, in particular, faces trouble. China's internal crisis of collapsing exports and exploding unemployment would squelch any tendency toward foreign adventurism in most societies. But the Chinese government remains perfectly willing to go to war if they can unify the population and extend the party's control. Its objectives are clear. It wants to prevent Taiwan from being becoming the locus of the Chinese diaspora's resistance. The Chinese reward Taiwanese single-party rule with economic favors to prevent any onset of the democracy cancer when Taiwan is absorbed into the Chinese bloodstream. The current Taiwanese leadership is playing into the scenario by expanding economic contacts, attempting to wring the last Renminbi from the mainland, while intently working over their discredited opposition party to the last man.

As the first viable Chinese democracy in history drifts into genuine peril, it cannot rely on the U.S. president who appears to dislike even using the D-word and needs Chinese cash for his own internal adventurism. The Chinese have an estimated $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.

On the mainland, the Obama administration is giving the party a free hand exactly when they need it. The party must keep disparate forces--labor groups, Falun Gong, Christians, democracy advocates--isolated from one another. The tool is surveillance--using the Internet, phones, indeed, any electronic device that can track humans. (Many of these technologies originally came from American companies.) Once dissenters are arrested, the party needs to squelch any legal defense. Dissident lawyer Gao Zhisheng, freshly out of detention after severe torture, recently disappeared again.

Organ harvesting--particularly if the liver, kidneys, and corneas are surgically removed while a prisoner is alive--creates a foreign currency stream for the military. For the Chinese state it also solves a problem: Approximately 100,000 incarcerated Falun Gong, and an unspecified number of Eastern Lightning (Christians) will not give up their beliefs. Release is impossible; they are dangerous enemies of the state. In the marriage of the New China's capitalism and the party's unchanging authoritarianism, organ harvesting has become a profitable form of barbarism.

The last time an administration gave such an explicit green light to the Chinese leadership was three weeks after the Tiananmen Square massacre. George H.W. Bush sent National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger to Beijing to reassure the Chinese. Again, the message was that human rights and democracy didn't really matter, only business, only partnership. (That Scowcroft had to deliver it in secret, though, is another sign of how far things have deteriorated.) When this became public some months later, many conservatives broke ranks and some liberals joined them in creating a firestorm of criticism for the administration's policy.

And today? Nancy Pelosi cut her teeth on China human rights, but she won't break ranks without sustained pressure. Amnesty International has made some noises about Clinton's comments. To a lesser extent, so have Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch. But it's not nearly enough. And where are the AFL-CIO, the academy, and the sweatshop coalitions?

Human rights in China. Democracy in China. These are things that the Obama administration wants nothing to do with. Are the Chinese people on their own now?

Ethan Gutmann, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is completing a book on the conflict between the Chinese state and Falun Gong.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Gao Zhisheng’s Wife and Children Arrive in the U.S.

Epoch Times Staff Mar 11, 2009
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Related articles: China > Democracy and Human Rights

Gao Zhisheng, his wife, Geng He and two children. (The Epoch Times )
Gao Zhisheng

Updated 5:51 p.m. EDT, March 11, 2009

According to the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng, China’s famous human rights lawyer's wife Geng He and their two children arrived in New York on March 11.

The Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng indicated that Geng He and her two children entered Thailand and immediately filed for an asylum application with the U.N. Refugee Agency. They were then speedily accepted as refugees by the U.S. government and safely arrived in the United States on March 11.

Ms.Sherry Zhang of the organization Friends of Gao Zhisheng expressed deep concern for the well being of the family” “This family has suffered greatly, particularly the daughter. She is a 16 year old child who has suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of the Chinese regime. The son is five and one-half years old, and has also suffered. He tends to be very emotional.

“The family needs a stable life. We are very happy the U.S. government has helped them.”

Ms. Zhang also commented on how the family’s escape will affect Gao Zhisheng: “The Chinese regime has been using the family as a hostage . We are sure that their being in the United States is a big comfort to Gao. We don’t know his exact whereabouts but believe he is in the hands of the police.

“We also believe he is being brutally tortured right now, and we are now even more concerned about his safety. The Chinese regime may even try torture him even more to try to find out the location of this family.”

The Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng expressed special thanks to those who have helped in the rescue of Geng He and her two children. Special thanks were also given to the U.S. government who quickly approved Geng He’s application and admitted them into the U.S. They also expressed gratitude to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

To help Geng He and her family, The Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association established a “Gao Zhisheng’s Family Aid Foundation.” The account information is as follows:

Future China Foundation, a special account for the support of Gao's family: 781817259
Check title: Future China Foundation
40-46 Main Street, Suite 201, Flushing, NY 11354 USA
Routing No: 021000021
Swift No: Chasus33 (foreign wire)

Read this article in Chinese

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Remarks by Hon. David Kilgour, J.D.

Queen's Canadian Leadership Conference 2009

Queen's University


24 January 2009
Congratulations to Queen's on this conference. Also for using it to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is doing much to ease the pain of the HIV/AIDS pandemic among our sisters and brothers in Africa.

Your topic could hardly have been more timely in the week of the inauguration of President Barack Obama as the 44th American president. He appears to carry the confidence and hopes of even more Canadians and others around the world than he does Americans. It is truly the beginning of renewal for both America and the world.

Words from scripture--"Without a vision the people perish"--are carved onto an outside wall of the peace tower in Ottawa. Our ancestors certainly viewed vision as imperative for our nation and a responsibility for leaders. Voters, however, are able to detect soon enough when a "vision" is promoted only to advance a political agenda.
Visionary, disciplined and responsible leadership is hard to define, but most of us recognize it when we see it in someone like Obama.

Obama's victory is ultimately a result of his vision.

In his inaugural address, the new president described how the American people "have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." He reminded us that "without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." He called on us to share the responsibility and work hard toward the great ambitions and imagination of humanity. "Greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less."

True to Principles
In both of his books, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father, Obama shares his leadership principles: honesty, fairness, equality, independent thinking and service to the public. One could add accountability, avoidance of political expediency and pursuit of excellence. I was deeply impressed by how his mother ingrained these principles in him. Consider this passage in Dreams:

"Increasingly, (mother) would remind me of ( father's) story, how he had grown up poor, in a poor country (Kenya), in a poor continent, how his life had been hard, as hard as anything that (stepfather in Indonesia) might have known. He hadn't cut corners, though, or played all the angles. He was diligent and honest no matter what it cost him. He had led his life according to principles that demanded a different kind of toughness, principles that promised a higher form of power. I would follow his example, my mother decided. I had no choice. It was in the genes."
"And it was in search of some practical application of these values (to "build community and make justice real") that I accepted work after college as a community organizer for a group of churches in Chicago that were trying to cope with joblessness, drugs and hopelessness in their midst."

His is a story of America's progress. It is also one that embodies our struggle to achieve a better world, a reality in which the pursuit of the inalienable right to human dignity for all will unite humankind. Leaders should never waver in their determination to achieve this goal.

Fighting for principles unfortunately is often an uphill battle in many parts of the world, a reminder of how precious is the rule of law and democracy Canadians and Americans often take for granted.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Another leader of principle who has inspired many around the world is Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace laureate, who has spent most of 18 years under house arrest in Burma. She and her National League for Democracy (NLD) won about two-thirds of the votes cast in the 1990 election. The junta allowed none of the elected to take their seats. The UN Special rapporteur on Burma confirmed as a "state-instigated massacre" the attack on her peaceful procession in 2003, northwest of Mandalay, when about 100 people were killed; Suu Kyi was herself wounded. Humble yet extraordinarily determined, she has dedicated herself to the peoples of Burma and chosen to give up her family and freedom.

Gao Zhisheng
Gao Zhisheng of Beijing was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2001, he was named one of China's top ten lawyers. He donated a third of his time to victims of human rights violations, representing miners, evicted tenants and others. When, however, he attempted to defend members of the Falun Gong spiritual community, the party-state unleashed its full wrath. This included removing his permit to practise law, an attempt on his life, having police attack his wife and 13-year-old daughter and attempting to deny the family any income. In 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power", although international pressure appears to have caused a suspension of the sentence for five years. Predictably, Gao did speak out again and his whereabouts is now unknown to the great concern of many in China and elsewhere.
Halima Bashir
Dr. Bashir last year wrote the first memoir by a woman caught up in the ongoing Darfur genocide, which has already cost an estimated 400,000 lives and forced 21/2 million into camps: Tears of the Desert. A member of the Zaghawa African community, she was working as a village medical doctor when the Janjaweed Arab militias, with the support of the Sudanese government military, began attacking the Zaghawa savagely. In 2004, they raped 42 school girls--some as young as eight--and their teacher, who were treated by Bashir. When she broke the rigidly-enforced silence about what had happened, a horrifying sequence of events occurred to her. Her book is a call to action by the international community.

Under current economic pressures facing the world, we must remember the struggle of these courageous, principled leaders. Failure to support them would amount to forfeiting our own beliefs because there must be no geographic boundaries to human dignity and the rule of law.
"Suckers and Duckers"
Perhaps I might insert something here my mother used to say. The world, she felt, was made up of essentially two kinds of persons--those who ducked out when the going got tough and those who did not: the suckers. Woe betide those aligning with the duckers. In fact, her advice was useful in almost 27 years as an MP. Other principles followed are available on my website (www.david-kilgour.com) under "Rule of Law/Democracy"; one was "Don't give up if you believe a constituent's cause is just".

For example, about 20 years ago, someone was referred by a respected member of the Polish-Canadian community. After hearing his story, I decided to help and it became a long battle with officialdom, including: the Immigration, Justice and Solicitor General departments, CSIS and successive ministers of Immigration. Thanks to a series of tough minded volunteer lawyers and very determined staff in my office, Ryzard and Ella Paszkowski became Canadian citizens and are now doing well. The text of a book I wrote about the case with the assistance of these staff, Betrayal, The Spy Canada Abandoned, is on my website.

MPs are better judges than party whips about issues in their ridings. It is electors who send MPs to Ottawa. In the case of the GST bill, for example, several thousand constituents indicated in various ways their opposition to the proposed new tax. As a one-time tax lawyer, I was then (1990) personally convinced that it was not an efficient way to raise tax revenues. In the end, Dr. Alex Kindy and I voted against the GST bill and were immediately expelled by Brian Mulroney from the parliamentary Conservative caucus. In the ensuing election, only two Progressive Conservatives were elected across Canada; I was returned in the same riding as a Liberal. Many years later, I resigned from Paul Martin's Liberal caucus, having lost confidence in his leadership. I learned in short: don't abandon your principles and your voters even if it means leaving a political party-or two.

Leadership is Trust

Sound principles give leaders the ability to maintain the trust, respect and support of stakeholders, whether voters, fellow students, work colleagues, customers or whomever.

Many have blamed the economic turmoil across the world on investment bankers on Wall Street, in London and elsewhere--"captains of greed". I'd add that another major contribution to our present situation was made by leaders, including many political ones, who chose political expediency over responsibility. In "the fierce urgency now," to quote Obama again, we must demand that our leaders and officials demonstrate continuous responsibility.

Here are some suggestions:

Accountability and transparency
The decline of some major organizations, including Nortel, is often linked to a lack of accountability. I believe that leaders should, first and foremost, uphold accountability and transparency-- cornerstones that help to distinguish democracies from other governance models. One effective way of doing this is by establishing and enforcing sound policies to protect whistleblowers. Far too often, 'information patriots' risk their careers and jobs in heroic efforts aimed at safeguarding the public interest.
Canadians have produced a leader with tenacity, grace, good humour, intelligence and principles in Joanna Gualtieri. As a portfolio manager of Canada's diplomatic properties with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in the early 90s, she spoke to senior management about the abuse of the public trust in connection with a number of properties she had inspected abroad. Her work convinced her that gross mismanagement had cost Canadians very large amounts of money between 1986 and 1998; she did her utmost to have corrective remedies adopted by management. For this, she was ostracized and ultimately sent on leave without pay when she finally went public with her concerns as a whistle blower in mid-1998. More than 10 year later, Joanna is still fighting against a bureaucracy that seems to be more concerned about the implications of admitting to wrongdoing than respecting the public interest.

Joanna's story is only one of many courageous Canadian whistleblowers who need the support and protection of leaders. I encourage you to find out more about these individuals and their organizations, FAIR and Canadians for Accountability, among others. You can find links to both these organizations on my website.

Dedication to Service

Obama's background as a community organizer was the subject of both praise and derision during the US presidential campaign. In my opinion, dedication to public service is a trademark of responsible leaders.

There are also numerous examples of leadership and public service in business. I would like to refer to one who particularly inspired me. The late John Poole and his brother were the majority owners of Poole Construction Ltd. (now PCL Construction). When John Poole retired as CEO of the company, the two of them sold their majority stake to the employees rather than accept the highest offer. In the ensuing three decades, John Poole and his wife gave tens of millions of dollars to a host of cultural, educational, social and environmental institutions. When Poole died two years ago, columnist Paula Simons of the Edmonton Journal noted, "( Poole) believed that every (person) owed a duty to his fellow citizens. He understood that living in a city isn't just about occupying space--it's about participating in the life of a community. It's about taking responsibility for the future."

At a time when financial resources are shrinking, our communities will require even more help, particularly for their more vulnerable members. Leaders should set examples for us in giving their time, resources and energies to our communities.

Values and Pursuit of Excellence
Countless organizations have been harmed when their leadership ventured into new areas without adequately understanding their circle of competence. On the other hand, at Southwest Airlines, for example, both management and employees know what the airline is good at and stick to it: Low-cost reliable air transportation. The implication for principled leadership is to have a core set of convictions. Without that focus, leaders yield to all kinds of pressures and achieve little of use to anyone.
In other words, leaders must ensure that their organizations remain steadfastly loyal to their basic philosophies, their raison-d'ĂȘtre. At the same time, leaders must also prepare their organizations to change everything else in order to meet the challenges of a changing world.

Faith in values and the pursuit of excellence have been tested over time as the "magic" combination for organizations. This is equally applicable to democracies, which are only truly sustainable when the values of equality, human dignity and rule of law are upheld and when innovations are made in support of these values.

Maintain inclusive culture

When leaders strive to maximize the wisdom of their communities, their organizations achieve much. The strength of Obama's victory came as a result of the coming together of people of many origins, walks of life, and ages. The inclusive nature of the campaign organization has allowed the new president to avail himself of a network of talented people from which to fill about 7000 positions in his administration. This inclusiveness will allow him to stay close to the American public.
In successful businesses, inclusiveness can take on the form of no special "perks" for senior management only. Nucor Corp., one of the most-admired U.S. organizations, is a good case study. Every employee is a full member of Nucor's team. The "no favourites" philosophy is demonstrated by giving employees the same amount of vacation days and insurance coverage, and no one gets a company vehicle, aircraft or assigned parking spot. The freedom to try new ideas gives Nucor a distinct competitive edge: a creative, get-it-done workforce. As a result, Nucor has been honoured as one of "100 Best Corporate Citizens,", the "best in class", "Best Big Companies" for environmental responsibility, corporate ethics, fairness toward employees, accountability for local community and many other criteria.

Mistakes Leaders Make

I define a leader as someone who does a lot more than the minimum every day and who wants to make a positive difference as often as possible. In the pursuit of principles and vision, however, it is easy to make mistakes. Has Fizel has written an interesting book describing ten errors leaders make and I've certainly made them all. Here are three important ones:

1-Don't display a top-down attitude. "Because I am the boss" is not a successful strategy. Good leaders see themselves at the bottom of an inverted pyramid as servant leaders. Very often, the best of ideas come from people at the very bottom of an organization's structure because the front-line workers have a better knowledge of those they serve.

2-Don't put paperwork before people. For example, some managers object to interruptions, but the late and loved Henri Nouwen highlighted an older professor, who noted: " I have always been complaining that my work was continually interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work." He also said, "People will never care how much you know until they know how much you care."

3-Don't forget that we all need affirmation, praise, compliments. Good leaders understand the power of the personal touch of kindness. They show respect, provide recognition and spend time with their team.


As our world charters uncertain waters in the face of enormous challenges posed by economic turmoil, racial conflicts and threats of terrorism, more effective efforts are required from all leaders.

More than ever, our nation, our world, demand that our leaders set their eyes on interests greater than that of their own, or their political party or organization. More than ever, leaders need to keep their eyes on the long-term vision for a better world of human dignity, equality and rule of law for all.

As we move forward, from the Kingston community that produced outstanding national leaders, including Sir John A. Macdonald and Flora MacDonald, let's all work to make sure that our leaders guide us with vision, principles and responsibility.
Thank you.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Open Letter to PM From Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng

Mar 3, 20 Epoch Times

Gao Zhisheng

Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minster Harper,

We are writing to appeal to you and your government to intervene on our behalf for the immediate release of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated lawyer Gao Zhisheng by the Chinese government. We are also appealing for your continuous support for the courageous struggle for human rights for all by the Chinese people in general and Mr. Gao in particular.

In 2001, Gao was named one of China's top ten lawyers. At the time, he donated a third of his time to victims of human rights violations, representing miners, evicted tenants and others. However, the party-state unleashed its full wrath after he wrote to officials at a high level in the Chinese regime, calling for an end to government persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, though he is not a Falun Gong practitioner himself.

The regimes' persecution of Gao started with removing his permit to practise law, an attempt on his life, having police attack his wife and 14-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and denying the family any income. It intensified when Gao responded in the nonviolent tradition of Gandhi by launching nationwide hunger strikes calling for justice and human rights in China.

In 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power", although international pressure appears to have caused a suspension of the sentence for five years.

On June 24, 2007, Gao was kidnapped by the Chinese government in order to prevent him from attending an award ceremony in the United States. The American Board of Trial Advocates selected Gao to receive the prestigious Courageous Advocacy Award; they had wished to present the award to Gao personally in California on June 30, 2007.

In September 2007, Gao was abducted after writing an open letter to the U.S. Congress to explain the human rights situation preceding the 2008 Olympics.

Predictably, Gao did speak out again when he was released. In his most recent article a few weeks ago, he wrote about over 50 days of excruciating torture. His letter included this:

“Then, the electric shock batons were put all over me. And my full body, my heart, lungs, and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang [one of the lead torturers] then shocked me in my genitals.”

Gao wrote further describing his ordeal in a separate incident: “Then two people stretched out my arms and pinned them to the ground. They used toothpicks to pierce my genitals. I can't use any language to describe the helplessness, pain, and despair that I felt then. At a point like that, language and emotion do not have the power to explain.”

In his account, Gao said that the torturers mentioned they were using the same torture methods that they had earlier refined on Falun Gong practitioners. He admitted that he had tried to kill himself to stop the suffering, and that he believed God helped him to come back from the brink of death.

Since his recent letter, Mr. Gao has disappeared again, presumably re-arrested, to the great concern of many in China and elsewhere. For his full account, please see enclosed "Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia." More information can also be found at www.david-kilgour.com in the Human Rights section.

Human rights organizations have long documented continued persecution by the Chinese government of its own citizens in violation of basic human dignity. In response, the party-state in Beijing has continuously ignored worldwide criticism of its appalling human rights record. Most recently, during the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Human Rights, the Chinese authorities rejected almost all the recommendations aimed at promoting democracy and human rights made by all the EU member states and by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland as well as Canada.

Gao’s memoir A China More Just, published the Fall of 2007, in English in the United States, captures such a record in compelling words:

"For we will experience and witness how the greatest people on earth banished this suffering once and for all! I am moved by an ardent hope that by articulating it, I may in some way help to relieve China of the crushing burden on her back. ...... Whatever the case, these are words that tell a tale both of the people’s violent, sanguinary, bitter pain, as well as of the noble character, dignity, and resoluteness of the freedom fighters who are counted among them. Yet no words, however strong, can possibly describe the darkness and terrible barbarity of today’s dictators in China, nor the tragic annihilation of Chinese culture that they have perpetrated."

Well-wishers of China had long hoped that the country’s economic growth would be accompanied by increased respect for human rights and the rule of law. The reality has been quite the contrary; instead of honouring the obligations prescribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which China is a signatory, blatant human rights violations persist.

The excuse used by the Chinese party-state for persecuting Gao Zhisheng is that Falun Gong must be eradicated. Falun Gong is an exercise and spiritual community, which promotes "truth, compassion and forbearance." Falun Gong is only one of the faith groups and voices of dissent being persecuted in China. There are other courageous heroes like Gao in China, virtually unknown and unsung outside their own land, who face impossible odds and stand as witnesses of the truth as corruption, bribery, extortion, brutality, threats, and outright murder take place on a daily basis.

Having courageously sought justice for vulnerable groups such as the poor, the disabled, and the persecuted, Gao's story is a light shining in the darkness, and a reminder that all of us must stand up for what we believe and affirm.

The Chinese government has wrongly accused Mr. Gao and other critics of China's human rights records of interfering with Chinese affairs when in fact Mr. Gao is by far one of the country's truest patriots. He follows the footsteps of Lu Xun, one of China's most outstanding modern authors, who argued against a cultural environment obsessed with saving face and repeatedly called for social change, democratic development and respect for human dignity.

By failing to stop gross and systematic human rights violations, or acting so often as the perpetrator of cruel abuses of their people, the regime in Beijing is acting like the lord of Cai in the legend of Bian Que whose warnings about disaster was ignored by the ruthless and conceited ruler. By allowing injustices of many kinds to spread, the party-state is working to the serious detriment of a country, which has made many great contributions to world civilization in its history.

This month, the Chinese Parliament, National Congress of People’s Representatives, will meet in Beijing to discuss the country’s plans for what the Chinese President Hu Jintao calls a “harmonious society.”

Chinese leaders should realize the profound irony of its pursuit of “harmony” in face of its own violent offense against its own very narrow interpretation of human rights. They must be made to understand that social cohesion cannot be achieved until the party-state stops its violent repression of the Chinese people.

As an emerging economic power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the government of China must stop the persecution and other abuses of its own people. Beijing should not be allowed to take its increased role in dealing with the current worldwide financial challenges as a free license to continued aggression on the Chinese people.

The Canadian government, particularly under your leadership, has been a strong supporter of human rights and rule of law in China. We urge you to continue to hold the Beijing regime to account for its continued violation of human rights and blatant disrespect for the rule of law. We call on your government to demand that Beijing release Gao Zhisheng immediately and provide proper medical treatment and other protection to him immediately.


Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng

"Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia"
(My account of more than 50 days of torture in 2007)

Written on November 28, 2007 at my besieged home in Beijing
Authorized to be released to international community on February 9, 2009

These words from me today will be finally revealed one day. It will expose its true face in today’s China. It will disclose the unimaginable heart and characteristics of the “ruling party” in China. Of course, these words will inevitably bring unpleasant and even upset embarrassed feelings to those global “good friends” and “nice partners” of today’s CCPIF these global “good friends” and “nice partners” still have some fear to the value of human conscience and morality in their hearts.

Today, the suddenly well off CCP has not only gained more and more global “good friends” and “nice partners” but also has made those perverted slogan such as “China is a country rule of law” lauder and lauder. Both will be disastrous to the progress and development of the human rights of the Chinese people.

Around 8 p.m. on September 21, 2007 the authorities notified me orally that I should go for a mind reeducation (reform) talk. I found there were some unusual things happening at this time. The secret police, who used to follow me very closely, kept a further distance. I was walking down the street one day and when I turned a corner, about six or seven strangers started walking towards me. I suddenly felt a strong blow to the back of my neck and fell face down on the ground. Someone yanked my hair and a black hood was pulled over my head immediately.

I was brought to a vehicle and was put in it. Although I couldn’t see, it seemed to me that it had two benches with a space in the middle. I was put in the space in the middle on the floor. My right cheek was on the ground. All of a sudden a boot was put on my face holding me down. Many hands started searching all over me. My belt was pulled off and then used to tie my hands behind my back. At least four people put their feet on me holding me down.

About 40 minutes later I was dragged out of the car. My pants were falling down around my knees and I was dragged into a room. No one had said anything at all to me until that time. The hood was pulled off of my head at this time. Immediately men began cursing and hitting me. “ **, your date of death has come today. Brothers, let’s give him a brutal lesson today. Beat him to death.”

Then, four men with electric shock prods began beating my head and all over my body. Nothing but the noise of the beating and my anxious breathing could be heard. I was beaten so severely that my whole body began uncontrollably shaking. “Don’t pretend to do that!” I was shouted at by a guy whom I later learned was named Wang. Then a very strong and tall (1.9 meters) man grabbed my hair and pulled me up off the ground. Then Wang began beating me on the face terribly. “**, you are not worthy to wear black clothes. Are you a Mafia leader? Pull off all of his clothes.”

All my clothes were pulled off and I was totally naked. Wang yelled again, and someone kicked me in the back of my legs, and I collapsed to the floor. The big guy continued to pull my hair and forced me to lift my head to see Wang. At this time, I could see that there were five people in the room. Four of the men were holding electric prods, and one was holding my belt. “You listen, Gao, today your uncles want nothing but to make your life worse than death. I tell you the truth, your matter is not only between you and the government. Look at the floor! There is not a single drop of water. After a while the water will be above your ankles. After a while you will learn where the water will come from.”

While Wang was saying this, the electric shock prods were put on my face and upper body shocking me. Wang then said, “Come on guys, deliver the second course!” Then, the electric shock baton was put all over me. And my full body, my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang then shocked me in my genitals. My begging them to stop only returned laughing and more unbelievable torture. Wang then used the electric shock baton three more times on my genitals while shouting loudly. After a few hours of this I had no energy to even beg, let alone, try to escape. But my mind was still clear.

I felt my body was jerking very strongly when the baton touched me. I clearly felt some water sprinkled on my arms and legs as I was jerking. It was then I realized that this was sweat from me. I realized what Wang meant about the water.

It seems that the torturers themselves were also tired. Before the dawn came, three of them left the room. “We will come back later to give him the next course,” Wang said. The two left in the room, put a chair in the middle of the room and pulled me up and set me in the chair. One of them had five pieces of cigarettes in his mouth. One man stood behind me and the man with the cigarettes was in front. The man behind grabbed my hair and pulled my head forward and down. The other man used the cigarettes to fill my nose and eyes with smoke over and over. They did this with the utmost patience. After a while I didn’t have any feeling except for some tears dropping on my legs. This continued for about two hours.

Then some other guys came in replacing the previous two. My eyes could not see because they were now swollen shut. The new guys started talking, “Gao, are you still able to hear with your ears? I tell you the truth, these guys are experts in cracking down on Mafia guys. They are heavies. This time they are chosen specifically and carefully by the authority above for this purpose. Can you hear who I am? My last name is Jiang. I followed you to Xiajiang after you were released last year.”

“Are you the one from Penglai City, Shandong?” I asked.

“Yes, your memory is still good. I told you, you would come back sooner or later. When I saw you the way you behaved in Xiajiang, I knew you would be back. You even looked down upon our police. Shouldn’t we help you have a better lesson? You wrote that letter to American congressmen. Look at you, you traitor. What could you be given by your American lord? The American Congress counts for nothing. This is China. It is the Communist Party’s territory. To capture your life is as easy as stepping on an ant. If you dare to continue to write your stupid articles, the government has to make its attitude clear. Now, did you see that attitude tonight?” Jiang spoke slowly.

I asked, “How can you face the beating of Chinese and use Mafia tactics on Chinese taxpayers?”

“You are an object to be beaten. You know that in your heart better than most. Taxpayers count for nothing in China. Don’t talk about this term taxpayers.”

While he was saying this, someone else entered the room. I recognized the voice to be Wang’s. “Don’t talk to him with your mouth. Give him the real thing. Your uncles have prepared 12 courses. We only finished 3 last night. Your chief uncle doesn’t like to talk and so following you will see that you will have to eat your own S*** and drink your own piss. A toothpick will touch your light (sexual organs). Don’t you talk about torture by the Communist Party yet, because we will give you a comprehensive lesson now! You are correct, we torture Falun Gong. Everything is right. The 12 courses we’re going to give to you were practiced on the Falun Gong, to tell you the truth. I am not afraid of you if you continue to write. We can torture you to death without your body being found. You stinky outsider (meaning, not from Beijing)! What are you thinking even being here?”

In the following hours of torture I passed out several times, because of lack of water and food and heavy sweating. I was lying down on the cold floor naked. I felt several times someone come and open my eyes and shine a flashlight in them to see if I was still alive. When I would come to, I smelled the strong odor of stinky urine. My face, nose, and hair were filled with the smell. Obviously, but I don’t know when, someone urinated in my face and on my head.

This torture continued until around noon on the third day. I don’t know where I got the strength to endure, but somehow I struggled to get away from their grasp and began to beat my head on the table. I was shouting the names of my two children (Tiangyu and GeGe) and trying to kill myself. But my attempt did not succeed. I thank Almighty God for this. It is Him who rescued me. I truly felt God drag me back from that state and give me my life. My eyes were full of bleeding, though because of my head banging. I fell on the ground. Immediately, three people sat on my body. One was on my face. They were laughing. They said I used my death to try to scare them. They said they have just seen this too many times. They then continued the torture again until that night. I could not see anything with my eyes anymore. I could still hear my torturers though, and again they gathered after they had dinner.

One of them came and pulled my hair dragging me up. “Gao, are you hungry? Tell us the truth?”

I said, “I am very hungry.”

“Do you want to eat? Tell us the truth?”

I said, “I want to eat.” My face instead was slapped repeatedly, a dozen times or more, and I again collapsed to the ground. A boot stomped on my chest and I was shocked with the baton on my chin. I screamed. Then the baton was put into my mouth.

“Let’s see how different your mouth is from others. Don’t you want to eat? You said you are hungry. Are you worthy?” The baton was in my mouth but was not turned on. I didn’t know what they wanted to do.

Wang said, “Gao, do you know why we didn’t destroy your mouth? Tonight your uncles want you to talk the whole night. We want you to talk about nothing, but about how you are a womanizer. You are not allowed to say you are not one. You are not allowed to say there are just a few women, either. Don’t forget any details. You can’t leave any details out. Your uncles like this. We have slept and eaten enough, it’s your time to talk.”

“Why didn’t he talk? Beat him up brothers?” Wang shouted. Three batons began shocking me. I was crawling all over trying to get away still naked. After more than 10 minutes, I was shaking uncontrollably again.

I begged them. “I didn’t have an affair. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you.” I heard my voice was quivering.

“Are you becoming a fool? Let’s use the baton to light you and see if you start talking.” Then two people stretched out my arms and pinned them to the ground. They used toothpicks to pierce my genitals. I can’t use any language to describe the helplessness, pain, and despair that I felt then. At a point like that, language and emotion do not have the power to explain. Finally I made up stories, telling them about affairs that I had with four women. After more repeated torture, I had to describe how I had sex with each of these women. This continued until dawn the next day.

At that time, I was dragged to where I had to sign the transcript of my confession about my affairs. “If we send this out, you will become stinky dog’ s *** in half a year.” Wang said loudly. (After I was released, I learned that the day after the torture the interrogator named Sun Huo informed my wife about “the truth” they learned about my affairs. My wife told them it was none of their business; she said, “I still trust Gao.”)

After this torture for days, I often lost consciousness and was unable to determine the passage of time. I don’t know how long had passed. A group of them were preparing to torture me again. Another guy came in though and rebuked them. I could hear it was a deputy director from the Beijing PSB. I had seen him many times before. I thought him to be a good person. I could not see him though, because my eyes were still swollen. My whole body was beaten and unrecognizable. He sounded angry because of my condition. He found a doctor to attend to me. He said he was appalled and surprised. He said, “This torture doesn’t represent the Communist Party!”

I asked him, “Who directed this?”

He didn’t reply. I asked to be sent back home or even just back to prison. He didn’t reply. He brought my torturers back into the room and rebuked them. He ordered them to buy clothes for me and give me a blanket and food. He told me he would try his best to either get me back to prison or back home.

As soon as the deputy left, Wang began cursing me. “Gao, you even dream to go to prison? No, that is too easy. You won’t have any chance to do that as long as the CCP is still in power. Don’t even think about that.”

That same night, I was transported to another location but I didn’t know where, since I had a black hood over my head again. I was continuously tortured there again for another 10 days. Then one day, they put the hood on me again, and I was put into a vehicle. My head was forced in between my legs and I had to remain that way for more than an hour. The suffering was more than I could stand, and I wanted to die.

After another hour at a new location, the hood was removed. Four of the previous five torturers were not there. But, I saw the same group of secret police who used to follow me.

From then on the physical torture stopped, but emotional torture continued. I was told the 17th Communist Party Congress was starting and that I had to wait for the higher authorities’ opinions about my case.

During that time some officials came to visit my cell. Their attitude was softer, and I was also allowed to wash my face and brush my teeth. Some officials proposed to me to use my writing skills to curse Falun Gong instead, and that I could charge whatever I wanted for doing that.

I said it is not a technical problem but an ethical problem. “So,” they proposed, “if that is too hard, then write articles praising the government, and again charge whatever you want.” Finally they proposed, “If you write what we direct and that you were treated well after prison and that you were fooled by Falun Gong and Hu Jia, things will go well. Otherwise, how can you find an end to your suffering? Think of your wife and children.”

In exchange, I did write an article that said the government treated my family well. I wrote the open letter to the U.S. Congress and gave the reason that I was fooled by Falun Gong and Hu Jia.

Before I was released to go home, though, I was brought to Xian city. I was brought to call Geng He (my wife). On the date of the midautumn festival, the authorities asked me to call my wife and comfort her since she was holding a protest and trying to commit suicide over the government’s treatment of our family. The content of the call was all designed by the authorities. (Later I learned that my wife’s response was also choreographed.) I could still not open one of my eyes at that time and since the call was being taped, I was told to explain that it was from myselfinflicted wound.

In the middle of November 2007, after I got home, I learned that my house was thoroughly searched again without a single document or search warrant. During those more than 50 days of torture, I had many strange feelings. For example, sometimes I could hear “death” and sometimes could hear “life.”

After the 12th and 13th day of my kidnapping, and when I could again partially open my eyes, I saw my body was in a horrifying condition. Not a single square centimeter of my skin was normal. It was bruised and damaged over every part.

Every day while I was being held, the experience of “eating” was unusual. Whenever I was at the point of starving, they would bring up “mantle” (steamed bread) and offer it to me. If I would sing one of the three famous revolutionary Communist party songs I could have some bread. My deepest desire was that I wanted to live until that was no longer possible. My death would be torturous for my wife and children, but at the same time I didn’t want to dirty my soul. But, in that environment human dignity has no strength. If you don’t sing these songs you will continue to be starved, and they will continue to torture you, so I sang.

When they used the same tactic though, pressuring me to write articles attacking Falun Gong, I didn’t do it. But, I did compromise by writing my statement saying the government didn’t kidnap and torture me and that they treated my family well. I did sign that document.

During these more than 50 days, more horrible evils were committed than I told here. Those evils were not even worthy of any historical records by any human governments. But those records will further enable us to see clearly that how much further the leaders of CCP are willing go in its evil crime against humanity in order to protect its illegal monopoly power! Those evils are so dirty and disgusting, that I don’t want to mention it at this time and perhaps will never mention it in the future. Every time when I was tortured, I was always repeatedly threatened that, if I spelled out later what had happened to me, I would be tortured again, but I was told, “This time it will happen in front of your wife and children.” The tall strong man that pulled my hair repeated this over and over during the days I was tortured. “Your death is sure if you share this with the outside world.”

This was repeated many times. These brutal, violent acts are not right. Those that did it, themselves, knew this clearly in their hearts.

Finally, I want to say a few words which won’t be liked by some folks. I want to remind those socalled global “good friends”, “good partners” called by the CCP that the increasing degree of brutality and coldness against the Chinese people by the CCP is the direct result of appeasement by both you and us (our own Chinese people).

Gao Zhisheng
Written on November 28, 2007 at my besieged home in Beijing


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008