Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rose Parade and the Olympic Float

Oct. 25, 2007 - Pasadena Weekly: Broken Roses
A new year's float representing China Forces civic leaders to grapple with international human riights concerns
By Joe Piasecki

Excerpt: Activists are expected to hold a press conference today outside Tournament House calling for the Rose Parade to start with a running of a Human Rights Torch Relay by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (www.humanrightstorch.org). They are also expected to announce plans for a Nov. 4 human rights march from City Hall to Tournament House. (more)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Human-Rights Vacuum

Buddhist monks join Myanmese activists in a demonstration in front of Myanmar embassy in Bangkok on October 7, 2007.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul / AFP / Getty
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Rebel troops stampeded an african Union base in Darfur, Sudan, last month, murdering 10 African peacekeepers. That same week in Burma, the military regime killed a Japanese photographer and turned its machine guns on unarmed, barefoot monks. The violence in Darfur and Burma met with widespread international condemnation but scant concrete action. The perpetrators will almost certainly get away with murder.

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India‘s Silence on Burma Speaks Volumes

India‘s Silence on Burma Speaks Volumes Saturday, Sep. 29, 2007 By SIMON ROBINSON/NEW DELHI ...

What is going on? Even in an era of connectedness, when such outrages are beamed into living rooms around the globe, the world's major powers can't seem to agree on what should be done or who should do it. While many foreign critics of the U.S. express relief at the erosion of American influence, events in Burma and Darfur show the downside of the U.S.'s diminished standing: a void in global human-rights leadership.

The U.S. has raised its voice on Darfur and Burma louder than any other country. George W. Bush has regularly denounced the Sudanese campaign of destruction as "genocide," Washington has spent $2.5 billion on humanitarian aid to keep Darfur's refugees alive, and the Administration has spearheaded creation of a 26,000-person, U.N.-led peacekeeping force. When the Burmese regime cracked down on protesters, it was Bush who used his appearance before the U.N. General Assembly to announce that the U.S. would freeze the assets of Burma's repressive leaders and deny them visas. Yet when he urged "every civilized nation" to use its diplomatic and economic leverage to "stand up" to the regime, his appeal was largely ignored. Many countries acted as if they agreed with Burma's self-serving claim that the crackdown was simply an "internal matter." Notwithstanding the U.S.'s $500 billion military budget and $13 trillion GDP, its summoning power has dwindled.

The inaction is partly backlash against the discredited American messenger. Torture, "black sites," extraordinary rendition and the bungled, bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq have all made U.S. human-rights appeals ring hollow. But many countries that point to America's abuses are doing so to cover their self-interested, economic reasons for overlooking atrocities in Darfur and Burma.

U.S. leverage over Sudan and Burma is particularly limited. In 1997 Congress protested Khartoum's brutal tactics in southern Sudan by barring select Sudanese companies from involvement in the U.S. financial system. The same year, Congress punished the Burmese junta's "severe repression" by prohibiting U.S. investments in Burma. These measures have left the U.S. with few remaining business or diplomatic ties to terminate.

Others will need to step in. But China, the international actor with the greatest leverage over both countries, seems disinclined to use it. Two-thirds of Sudan's oil goes to fuel China's booming economy, and China's foreign direct investment in Sudan exceeds $350 million annually. China is Burma's leading arms supplier and trading partner and has just won the right to build a major oil pipeline there. Beijing's support for abusive governments would be troubling under any circumstances, but its influence is magnified because it is using its veto on the U.N. Security Council to block international sanctions.

Some observers hope U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his envoys can persuade repressive regimes to relent. U.N. officials must certainly use their pulpits to condemn abuses and mobilize international (not simply bilateral) punitive measures. But history has shown that envoys rarely succeed unless the Security Council is united behind them. Until Sudan and Burma begin to hear Chinese footsteps, they will have little incentive to engage in good-faith negotiations.

Given China's human-rights deficiencies and its reluctance to be seen to cave in to outside pressure, it will not budge easily. But China's wealthy trading partners must show Beijing that the long-term costs of uncritically backing murderous regimes exceed the benefits of doing so. We must elevate human safety alongside consumer safety, expressing the same outrage over massacred civilians that we do about faulty toys. And governments sending athletes to China's Olympic "coming out" must shine the torch on its support for brutal regimes.

It may take China decades to see that governments that kill at home make unreliable neighbors and threaten global stability. In the meantime a coalition of the concerned must insist that what is manifestly true of the economy is also true of human rights: in this age, there is no such thing as a purely "internal matter."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Investigative Group Questions China’s Pledge to End Organ Harvesting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2007

An organization established to investigate accusations related to the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group is questioning the Chinese Medical Association’s recently-announced agreement to stop harvesting organs from prisoners and others in police custody. The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) doubts the promise will have any real meaning.

“We believe this could just be a cover to ease international pressure on the Chinese regime to improve its human rights practices,” asserts Dr. Sherry Zhang, a spokesperson for CIPFG. “Despite numerous promises they made in order to host the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese government is suppressing the media, religious groups, ‘dissidents’ and ordinary citizens even more severely than before.”

The Coalition was formed in March of 2006 after a Chinese journalist working for a Japanese television station exposed the presence of a concentration camp in northeast China where 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been held for the purpose of harvesting their organs for profit. Subsequent witnesses, including the former wife of a neurosurgeon at the facility, supported the journalist’s shocking exposé. A witness who identified himself as a retired military doctor revealed there were at least 36 similar concentration camps operating across China.

On July 6, 2006, two Canadian attorneys – David Kilgour, the former Canadian secretary of state for Asian-Pacific affairs and David Matas, a respected human rights attorney – released the results of their own investigation. The report affirmed large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners in China for profit. "Organ harvesting of unwilling donors where it is either systematic or widespread is a crime against humanity," stated the authors of the report.

“The Chinese regime has never been able to challenge any of the evidence raised in the Matas and Kilgour report,” according to Dr. Zhang. “CIPFG has tried many times to obtain visas so that we can conduct investigations in China, yet we are repeatedly denied. As long as the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China continues, we remain doubtful that the Chinese regime will end this heinous practice.”

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Human Rights Torch Reaches the Heart of the European Union

Epoch Times (Belgium) - October 1, 2007
The Belgian Human Rights Torch Relay Ambassadors assemble on stage. (The Epoch Times)
The Belgian Human Rights Torch Relay Ambassadors assemble on stage. (The Epoch Times)


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BRUSSELS, Belgium—After a morning of pouring rain, the skies cleared for the welcoming ceremony for the Human Rights Torch relay at Schumann Place in Brussels, Belgium. Members of almost all the parties in Belgium's Parliament supported the event.

The Human Rights Torch, which started its five-continent trek in Athens, Greece on August 9, arrived in Brussels, the administrative capital of the EU, on September 28. Brussels is the Torch's twelfth stop. The torch brings with it the message that human rights violations cannot continue in China if the Chinese regime will be allowed to host the Olympic Games.

The Torch Relay was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG.) Many think the persecution of Falun Gong, affecting one hundred million practitioners, and involving torture, murder, and organ theft, is the worst human rights violation happening in China. CIPFG started the Torch Relay to tell the world about the persecution of Falun Gong, Christianity, Islam, democracy and freedom of belief, assembly and expression by the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr. Petitjean, local CIPFG representative, said in the opening speech: "The 2008 Olympics are less then 12 months away while according to reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGO's, the Chinese communist regime has stepped up measures to further silence anyone suffering repression under their rule."

He added "The torch relay is aimed at urging the international community to boycott the Olympic games in Beijing as we believe hosting the Olympics in Beijing would be a travesty of the Olympic spirit and a direct violation of the Olympic Charter".

Bea Diallo, Belgian Parliament member and ten-time International Boxing Federation middleweight champion, explains why he supports the Human Rights Torch Relay. (The Epoch Times)
Bea Diallo, Belgian Parliament member and ten-time International Boxing Federation middleweight champion, explains why he supports the Human Rights Torch Relay. (The Epoch Times)

One of the Belgian Torch Relay ambassadors, Senator Vankrunkelsven, who carried out his own investigation into illegal organ transplanting in China in 2006, stressed in his speech the ongoing human rights violations in China. "The Chinese regime will use the Olympics for their image, while we should not cease to use this opportunity to expose the real situation in China," Vankrunkelsven stated.

The ongoing persecution in China was sadly illustrated by this week's arrest of renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in China, because of his open letter to the U.S. congress. Therefore the participants of the Torch Relay in Belgium wore yellow ribbons to show their support for lawyer Gao. "We have great appreciation and admiration for Gao's determination and courage in issuing this open letter at a time when he was placed under extensive surveillance and subject to severe coercion from the Chinese regime", as one of the speeches mentioned.

The list of support statements from political and cultural personalities presented at the ceremony was extensive. "I hereby announce that I will support CIPFG's Global Human Rights Torch Relay. We will join all those who stand up for justice, and together we will light the torch and let the brightness of justice illuminate all corners of our world," one of the Belgian mayors wrote.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Speech by Clive Ansley during the 62nd United Nations (UN) Summit in NY

Address by Clive Ansley

Co-Chair of CIPFG US-Canada Chapter

September 28, 2007 Rally

New York, 62nd United Nations (UN) Summit

Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, who has shown more courage than Gao Zhisheng, staring down the most brutal and vicious oppressor in modern world history? Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, whose courage has been so married to integrity, ethics, and morality?

Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, who has been more ready to sacrifice his own life for the good of his fellow citizens; citizens not only of China, but of the world?

There may well have been a precious few in human history whose sacrifices and courage have equaled those of Gao Zhisheng, but I can think of none who surpasses him.

Just days before the arrest of this noble and selfless man, President George W. Bush accepted the invitation of Hu Jintao to attend the Bloody Harvest Olympics of 2008 in Beijing. Is it any wonder that Gao Zhisheng, a humble man who epitomizes respect and tolerance, wondered openly in his recent letter to the American Congress what can possibly be going on in the mind of George W. Bush?

The Spirit of “Berlin 1936” is alive and well 72 years after the Olympic Games were awarded to the last regime which could be compared to this present Beijing regime in terms of mass murder, terror, crimes against humanity, and a general antipathy to the Rule of Law.

In the 1930’s, the Nazis were the worst violators of human rights on the planet. The International Olympic Committee rewarded this achievement by awarding the 1936 Games to Berlin.

Today, the fascist government in Beijing is without doubt the worst violator of human rights on the planet. Moreover, most of the world’s thugocracy regimes which rival Beijing in terms of sheer brutality and bestiality are supported, sustained, and in some cases made viable by Beijing. Burma, Sudan, and North Korea come readily to mind. But Beijing itself is today perpetrating at least some atrocities which exceed even those of the Nazis for sheer barbarity. And, in an eerie historical parallel, the International Olympic Committee has once more chosen to award the Games to the most chillingly brutal perpetrator of Crimes Against Humanity which our generation has known.

The German Nazis in the 1930’s, the Soviets in 1980, and now the Beijing fascists have all used the Olympic Games to showcase their regimes and shower themselves in glory. For Beijing, the quest to host the Games has from the outset been the most important political propaganda exercise in the post-revolution history of the regime. Yet the International Olympic Committee can dismiss, on the grounds that the Games should not be politicized, even the fact that this regime keeps “herds” of human beings alive for the purpose of slaughtering them on demand so as to sell their organs on the international market.

The 2008 Games are now being shamelessly employed to glorify and idealise the most brutal, bestial, and benighted regime the world has ever seen.

As you gather here before the United Nations, every Falun Gong practitioner arrested in China undergoes an immediate blood test. No other prisoners in China are tested unless they have already been sentenced to death. Every young and healthy Falun Gong practitioner is given regular medical examinations. Why?

Because organ tourists request Falun Gong organ donors, knowing that practitioners follow healthy lifestyles, exercising regularly and shunning alcohol and tobacco.

Unknown thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are kept alive in herds, with their blood types, tissue types, DNA, and related information all readily available on computers. They are slaughtered on demand for their organs and then cremated. Compatible kidneys, livers, hearts, corneas are all available on notice ranging from two days to two weeks.

In 1945, when the gates were opened at Belsen, Dachau, Auschwitz, and Treblinka, the Jewish Defence League initiated the slogan “Never Again”, and it became the slogan of decent people the world over. “If only we had known!”, said an appalled international community. And no doubt all would have agreed that if they had only known, there could have been no earthly excuse for awarding the Olympic Games to this most evil government in the history of the world.

History will not allow our generation to once more fall back on the lame excuse “If only we had known!”. We can’t say that, this time. The evidence is there and we know about it. We know that the fascist government in Beijing has been carrying out a campaign of genocide for the past eight years. We know that it is systematically murdering thousands of human beings in order to harvest their organs for profit.

We know that this regime routinely imprisons, tortures, and kills Catholics, Protestants, Tibetans, Muslims, Human Rights lawyers and advocates, and pro-democracy dissidents.

But so many leaders of western democracies, apparently including George W. Bush, are apparently prepared to once again overlook little things like genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity, in deference to trade issues. They are prepared to facilitate and be co-opted by the Beijing fascist regime, just as almost the entire business and political elites of Britain, France, and America assisted Adolf Hitler to assemble his military juggernaut. But those elites had an entire generation of young men whom they could send to salvage their own “mistakes” when Hitler launched his war.

Gao Zhisheng has called for the civilized world to boycott the 2008 Games in Beijing. The 2008 Games are not for China. Their only purpose is to glorify and sanitize the criminals who operate the Beijing thugocracy. We must heed the pleas of the Chinese people, articulated by courageous advocates for human decency, such as Gao Zhisheng.

We must demand that our own leaders express our outrage at the inhuman practices of the Beijing fascist regime. And we must urge George W. Bush in the strongest possible terms not to repeat the mistakes of his grandfather.

In fervent hope for the triumph of civilization over cynical greed and hypocrisy,

Clive Ansley

Unfortunately Mr. Ansley could not be present at the rally (more)

NY Senate Human RightsTorch Relay Proclamation

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gao Seized by Chinese Police After Sending Letter to U.S. Congress

Press Release

Sept. 23, 2007—Renowned Chinese rights lawyer Mr. Gao Zhisheng was taken from his home by police on Saturday, Sept. 22; his present whereabouts are unknown. It is believed that Mr. Gao's arrest is related to the 16-page letter he sent to the United States Congress last week expressing his deep concerns over the worsening deterioration of human rights in China ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In his letter, Gao explains that China's promises to the IOC in 2001 were hollow and deceitful: "Under the name of securing the success of the Olympic Games, all kinds of evils have been committed openly, including forced evictions, illegal arrests and persecution of people who petition to the authorities, and the suppression of religious people. It is plain as day to all Chinese people that, by successfully hosting the Olympic Games, the communist regime is trying to [appear as a] legal government despite all the tyranny and all the horrible crimes against humanity the Party has committed during the past decades, at the cost of at least 80 million Chinese lives."

U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament and ranking member of the EU Foreign Affairs Committee; and David Kilgour, former Secretary of State of Canada, Asia-Pacific, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., after receiving Gao's letter.

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen praised Gao as a voice for the "dislocated, the abandoned, and the oppressed." The 10-term Representative said the Chinese regime had passed up the opportunity to make the Olympics a time for greater openness. Instead, the regime sees the Olympics as "a mandate for further control and repression of the Chinese people."

Gao was arrested on Aug. 15, 2006, a few months after the U.S. Congress had unanimously passed a resolution supporting him. After his arrest, Gao was forbidden by the Chinese regime to communicate with the outside world. Gao decided to break the silence after seeing that the Chinese communist regime had not improved human rights in China, as promised to the International Olympics Committee, but instead, had intensified its persecution of the Chinese people, including rights advocates and religious believers.

Gao was well aware of the danger such a letter might bring to him and his family, but he said, "Someone's got to do it." Gao's letter is enclosed for your reference.

For more information, contact: Dr. Sherry Zhang 1-415-845-5295
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)

Background

Mr. Gao Zhisheng has been featured on the cover of The New York Times. He authored "A China More Just: My Fight as a Rights Lawyer in the World's Largest Communist State." He was named as one of China's top ten lawyers in 2001 and has worked for the gamut of China's vulnerable groups—coal miners, home-demolition victims, and house church members.

While facing surveillance, house arrest, detention, interrogations, threats, and even attempts on his life, Gao managed to rally China's activists and legal community around the cause of human rights like no one before him. He has publicly renounced his Chinese Communist Party membership, along with 26 million other Chinese people.

Gao has dealt with many high-profile cases. He wrote open letters to the National People's Congress stating that the prison terms and fines imposed on Falun Gong practitioners are in complete violation of basic legal principles and contemporary legal norms. He revealed the suppression of Christian house churches, challenged corruption by local officials, and provided legal assistance to Chen Guangcheng, a blind rights advocate working on rural poverty, forced abortion, and forced sterilization.

Gao is widely regarded as the "conscience of China" and "the symbol of China." He volunteered to be an investigator for CIPFG (the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong) despite the danger of carrying out such mission in China.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BIG Torch Relay Poster


Banners: No Human Rights, No Olympics





Poster: Support the relay

Newsletter # 2

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay, a year long event initiated by the CIPFG, is currently relaying in Europe. It has gained much support wherever it goes. We are most grateful for the great number of international organizations that have contacted us and inquired about global participation. As well, we warmly welcome volunteers from the international community that have expressed an interest in making contributions to the torch relay activities. In order to make participation easy, we would like to take this opportunity to make the following announcements:

1. Countries and regions receiving the torch:

As of August 28, 2007,so far there are 37 countries and regions that have registered to participate in the Human Rights Torch Relay. They are:

Greece, Germany, Czech, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, France, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, Ethiopia, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Macau, Hong Kong and China.

As the countries that would like to participate continue to grow, the torch relay route might be readjusted accordingly. Please go here from time to time for updated information.


2. Suggested slogans used at Human Rights Torch Relay events: (can be made
into banners and T-shirts)

a. Olympics & Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Co-exist in China

b. Stop Killing Falun Gong Practitioners for Their Organs

c. Free Falun Gong Practitioners and Supporters

d. No Human Rights, No Olympics

e. Support an Olympic Organized by the Chinese People without the
Communists

August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Kilgour, Darfur, Organs and Torch Relay

GOVERNMENT OF CHINA ROLE IN SUDAN/DARFUR, ORGAN SEIZURES, OLYMPIC GAMES AND GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS TORCH RELAY

Address by Hon. David Kilgour, J.D.

Institut des Affaires Publiques de Montreal/Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal

Hotel Delta, 777 University Avenue

Montreal

15 August 2007

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The China Fantasy book by an American, James Mann, is helpful here because it challenges a number of three decades-old assumptions of U.S. politicians of both parties, Fortune 500 executives, sinologists and diplomats. He argues that it is time to stop overlooking the government of China’s human rights abuses, the crushing of political dissent at home and support for pariah regimes abroad.

On the activities of the government of China abroad generally, Mann notes that it undermines democratic values and human dignity wherever it can get a foot in any door. For example, it gave Robert Mugabe a honourary degree and economic help to his regime, which is one of the most brutal on earth. It also supplied him with helicopter gun ships. It is the principal backer of the military junta in Burma/Myanmar, where Aung San Suu Kyi continues under house arrest 16 years after she and her supporters won an open election. When Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov ordered a murderous crackdown on demonstrators in 2005, China’s government supported him.

Mann reminds readers that a continuing totalitarian China also bolsters Russia’s currently diminished commitment to democracy. For example, during the 1991 coup attempt by the Soviet military and intelligence officials against Mikhail Gorbachev, China’s government media gave positive and extensive coverage to the plotters, barely mentioning Boris Yeltsin or his democratic allies, and was left disappointed when the coup attempt failed.

In short, principled people everywhere should be working much smarter and harder to encourage the development of a China that is democratic. Dunn correctly notes that every American president since Nixon has either given up on or ignored the issue of democracy in China. The same is certainly true of other leaders of democratic countries, including our own, although Prime Minister Harper said recently that our relationship with China will from now on be determined by both human values and commercial interests.

Government of China role in Sudan/Darfur

In Sudan, where many independent observers have concluded that the Bashir regime has been committing crimes against humanity and genocide in its province of Darfur since mid-2003, not to mention similar methods used in South Sudan for many years earlier, the Beijing remain his major diplomatic backer. There is little doubt that the government of China’s recent sudden interest in stopping the killing, burning and raping, which continues against communities deemed ‘African’ in Darfur, is related to offsetting for public relations purposes the “Genocide Olympics” charge about which Darfur supporters like Mia Farrow continue to raise public awareness.

Consider:

  • Over the past decade, the government of China has provided the Bashir government with more than $US ten billion in commercial and capital investment, mostly for oil investments, with crude oil comprising virtually all of Sudan’s exports and much of it going to China. Approximately seven percent of China’s oil imports currently now come from Sudan.

  • According to one source within Sudan, up to seventy percent of the Sudanese government’s revenues from oil are spent on arms, a good deal of them coming from China. Nick Kristof of the New York Times has reported that the government of China has built four small arms factories in Sudan.

  • In February of this year, President Hu of China, visiting Khartoum, offered to forgive $80 million of his host government’s debt and promised another $13 million for infrastructure, including a new presidential palace.

  • The most valuable service Hu has provided to Bashir’s government is using China’s permanent veto at the UN Security Council to protect the Sudanese regime from any robust peacemaking initiatives while the slaughter in Darfur continues. Only following Mia Farrow’s op-ed piece in March, 2007, which accused the government of China of assisting in genocide, did China’s UN representative join in the Security Council initiative to send 26,000 civilian police and soldiers to Darfur.

  • The problems already evident with this latest in a long series of ineffective Security Council initiatives on Darfur include:

Ø Will a good faith peace process begin for Darfur and continue in South Sudan (where there are indications that the peace agreement is breaking down in part because the Bashir government refuses to withdraw its army from the South as required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA))?

Ø Will Chinese, Russian and other arms exports to Khartoum continue?

Ø Will Beijing pressure Bashir to honour his previous ceasefire agreements and get him to disarm the janjaweed militias, which have caused so much human suffering, murder and destruction?

Ø Will Hu help UN Secretary General Ban to persuade Khartoum to stop bombing civilian targets in Darfur?

Ø Will the Sudanese government permit humanitarian agencies much needed unfettered access to all regions of Darfur?

Resolution 1769

  • The specifics of UN SC resolution 1769 passed at the end of July in fact demonstrate how well Beijing continues to protect Khartoum:

Ø The hybrid UN/African Union force will have no authority to seize weapons from belligerents, thus probably making it impossible to control the janjaweed and other militias,

Ø There is no provision for sanctioning the government in Khartoum in the highly-probable event that it refuses to comply,

Ø The watered down command-and-control provisions will inevitably create problems between the African Union commander on the ground in Darfur and the UN Department of Peacekeeping in New York,

Ø Nothing is specified about containing the violence that has spread into Chad, where China is looking for oil, and the Central African Republic,

Ø Not a word is said about halting aerial assaults by Khartoum’s helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers,

Ø Tragically, the deployment of the peacekeepers is still to be very slow, with December 31, 2007 being the deadline for the transfer of authority from the AU to the AU/UN hybrid, although this itself is merely symbolic and unlikely in practice to save civilian lives in the meantime or quite probably for a considerable period thereafter, and

Ø The inability of the AU to solicit enough trained troops and civilian police for the hybrid force remains unaddressed. The AU Commission chair Alpha Konare this week indicated that he wants only Africans to be deployed and that they must be under African command.

Ø

Shaming Genocidaires

In my view, shaming the government of China over its partnership role in Sudan offers the best hope to save civilian lives in Darfur. How to proceed? Let me adapt here some earlier language of Prof. Eric Reeves to Canada:


The key task is to transfer knowledge to those presently unaware of China’s role in Sudan generally and Darfur specifically.

What happens, for example, if students and others demonstrate in front of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa or the consulate in Montreal, declaring with banners, placards, and T-shirts that China must be held accountable for its complicity in the Darfur genocide? What happens if such demonstrations are continuous, and grow, and take place outside China’s embassies in other countries? What happens if everywhere Chinese diplomats, politicians and business people travel they are confronted by those who insist on making it an occasion for highlighting China’s destructive role in Darfur?

To succeed, the campaign must be creative and focused. It must take advantage of every means offered through electronic communications. The government of China must be forced to see that there is a stark choice before it: either it uses its leverage effectively with Khartoum to improve and speed up the UN/AU deployment discussed above or it will be the target of the most powerful international shaming campaign in history.

The general lack of effective advocacy initiatives has not been lost on Khartoum’s génocidaires. Despite the enormous and consequential successes of the American-led divestment campaign, pressure must be ratcheted up even higher. Other European companies should follow the lead of Germany’s Siemens and Switzerland’s ABB Ltd; both have suspended operations in Sudan. Such ongoing loss of European commercial and capital investment certainly has the full attention of the Bashir regime.

The task is daunting but fully achieveable, given the moral passion and creative energies of the Darfur advocacy communities. All success to the campaigns!

Beijing Olympic Games

Turning to the Beijing Olympic Games now, I’ve been asked to add a word about what was happening in Athens recently, where some of us were calling for a shunning of the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the launch of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay. The relay will travel to about 100 cities during the next twelve months on five continents, urging the government of China to stop the systematic human rights abuses to Falun Gong practitioners, human rights lawyers (e.g. Gao Zhisheng) and to provide religious freedom for all citizens as stated in the Constitution of China.. You’re all welcome to join/support the ‘Run for Human Dignity!”

Any national government whose medical professionals are executing without any species of prior judicial proceeding members of an officially disapproved spiritual community, as has been occurring for more than half a decade across China to numerous Falun Gong practitioners, is self-evidently unsuited to host the Olympic Games in its capital city.

If agents of the same government are selling the vital organs-livers, kidneys etc-of such prisoners of conscience for high prices and often to organ tourists, the case for a games boycott or shunning by governments, spectators, prospective event sponsors and athletes becomes even more compelling under the Olympic Charter and a host of United Nations instruments dealing with dignity for all people.

I hasten to stress here that the Falun Gong community present in approximately seventy countries is not calling for a boycott or shunning of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The boycott effort is coming from others of us who are deeply worried about the worsening state of human rights in China generally.



Numerous kinds of Proof

The government of China has continuously denied that it is engaged in organ seizure activities, which David Matas has termed "a new form of evil on this planet". It has, however, not responded to the 33 kinds of evidence Matas and I have gathered in various parts of the world in our revised report available in 17 languages at organharvestinvestigation.net. It was not any of the 33 in isolation but the combination of them that led us to the chilling conclusion we reached.

Among the sources of proof and disproof we examined:

The waiting times for organ transplants in China are astonishingly short, days and weeks, contrasted with months and years in the rest of the world. Hospital websites in China boast short waits for all organs for those who can pay large sums.

Corruption is a major and continuing problem in China, large profits being made from transplants and the general lack of control. The prices charged foreigners vary from US$ 30,000 for corneas to 180,000 for liver/kidney combinations.

President Jiang Zemin, then leader of the government in China, decided in the summer of 1999 that the then estimated 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners in the country posed a threat to his government. He declared a brutal war, which involved imprisonment, systematic torture and forced labour for thousands of practitioners. The government of China media demonization and dehumanization of Falun Gong practitioners across the country since mid-1999 appears to have exceeded what was directed at persons convicted of capital offences.

The government of China gave its military-the PLA-the authority to raise money privately. It is now heavily involved in organ transplants but operates outside the rules of the civilian health system. Transplants are performed in military hospitals and in civilian ones by military personnel.

Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested in huge numbers since mid-1999 and held without trial until they renounce their beliefs. Our report names more than three thousand Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of torture; if a government is willing to murder large numbers of them through torture, it's easy to accept that it will do the same crime against humanity through organ seizures.

“Organ Donors”

The usual sources of organs for transplants in China-executed convicted prisoners, donors and brain dead persons-come nowhere near in numbers to explaining the rapidly rising number of transplants across the country since the persecution began and are the only other explanation for where the 'donors' come from.

In researching our report, Matas and I had persons calling hospitals and detention centres throughout China posing as family members of persons who needed organ transplants. In a wide variety of locations, those who were called asserted that Falun Gong practitioners (reputedly healthy because of their exercise regime) were the source of the organs. We have recordings and telephone bills for these calls.

We also interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon from Sujiatun, who had said her husband personally removed the corneas from approximately 2000 anaesthetized Falun Gong prisoners Sujiatun hospital in Shenyang city in northeast China during the two year period before October, 2003. Her testimony was credible to us.

There have been two investigations independent from our own which have addressed the same questions we have addressed whether there is organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China one by Dr. Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota, another by a European Parliament Vice- President, Edward McMillan-Scott. Both have come to the same conclusion we did. These independent investigations corroborate our conclusions.


The hardship a Games boycott would create for the affected athletes is enormous. The consequences for humanity, however, of having Olympic Games go ahead in the capital of a country where innocent Chinese citizens continue to be murdered for their vital organs are even greater. If the killing seizes across China, this particular call (my own) for a shunning or boycott will also cease.

Global Human Rights Torch Relay

The first flame was lit at the ceremony in Athens, Greece on August 9th. As mentioned, the “Run for Human Dignity” will pass through more than 35 countries and 100 cities, received by rallies and concerts along the way. The torch relay will be a beacon of hope bringing improvement in human rights and awareness that the Olympic Games and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist.

The relay was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG). Key ambassadors and supporters for the HRTR are

  • Baroness Caroline Cox of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom
  • Senator Andrew Bartlett of the Australian Democrats
  • US Congressmen Hon. Dana Rohrabacher and Hon. Thaddeus McCotter
  • Taiwanese Legislator Lai Ching-Te
  • Rabbi Dr.Reuven Bulka of Ottawa,
  • Award-winning actor Michael Riley
  • Gemini award winner Michael Mahonen
  • President of Agir pour les droits de l'Homme Marie-Françoise Lamperti, Paris
  • Olympic Silver Medalist Xiaomin Huang
  • Winter Olympic Medalist Martins Rubenis

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay is, I understand, supported by the Australian Darfur Network, Canadian Students for Darfur, Network for Human Right in China (Denmark), International Society for Human Rights (Germany), Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, Federation of Vietnamese Communities in Australia.

We welcome all individuals and organizations that are concerned about human rights abuses in China or related to the Chinese regime to join the Global Human Rights Torch Relay. All relay activities will be jointly organized by local human rights groups and individuals, and CIPFG delegations. For additional information or to register for the torch relay, please send an email to torch@cipfg.net.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Newsletter #1

The objectives of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay are to reveal the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) tyranny and stop human rights violations, with the theme that "Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Co-exist in China." The human rights torch is a symbol of peace, justice and freedom. It has broken through many obstacles put in place by the CCP, and the first flame was lit on August 9, 2007 in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics.

This event has been widely reported by the international media. Many people have approached us to inquire about the details and ways of participating. We would like to address this by providing the following information:

  1. The Global Human Rights Torch Relay is a series of activities initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) (www.cipfg.org). The coalition consists of over 350 government officials, lawyers, doctors, clergymen, and human rights activists from around the world. Through the torch relay activities, the CCP’s cruel eight-year persecution against the peaceful Falun Gong community will be exposed, with a focus on the illegal harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners’ organs that is currently being carried out in China.
    CIPFG is urging the CCP to end the persecution immediately and not to turn the 2008 Olympics into the Bloody Harvest Olympics. Olympics and crimes-against-humanity cannot co-exist in China.
  2. After the first flame was lit in Athens, many international human rights organizations and individuals expressed their support. We welcome all those who have shown an interest and who have committed to participating for the entire route or part of it. Supporters will expose and condemn the CCP’ human rights violations in suppressing the Chinese people, especially those who are most vulnerable.
  3. Many Mainland Chinese are also participating in the torch relay in their unique way, eager to pass on their wish of "Human rights wanted, not Olympic Games" to all corners in the world. So far, eight provinces have confirmed their participation. (For security reasons, the names of these provinces will not be announced.) Concrete plans are underway and will be announced in due course.
  4. Relaying the human rights torch is a grand event that has never been done before in history. The extensive press coverage and community participation so far have been extraordinary and encouraging. As of August 12th, 35 countries and 128 cities across five continents have already made their commitment to receive the torch. The event will last for an entire year, or until the time when the persecution ends or the CCP collapses. The human rights torch will be relayed through the following countries in this order: Europe, Oceania, Africa, North America and Asia.
  5. Method of relay: The Human Rights Torch Relay events will take place at a site that best describes the characteristics of the host city. At the ceremony, all those who participate will symbolically jog for a distance and pass on the torch. Between countries and cities, the torch will travel by plane, car, and any other suitable means. With the torch relay ceremony in Athens just completed, it is now on its way to its next stop. It will arrive in Germany on August 18. The first city in Germany that receives the torch will be Berlin.
  6. In order to maximize participation, we are in the process of designing an online human rights torch relay website (http://www.humanrightstorch.org/) which is expected to be in full function within days. The new website will provide all the necessary details about the relay and welcome participants.

CIPFG

August 12, 2007

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Human rights group lights torch for Beijing games boycott

A woman, playing the role of a priestess, raises a torch during the lighting ceremony of a global human rights torch relay in Athens, August 9, 2007. Hundreds of human rights activists and spectators gathered in central Athens to launch the relay urging the boycott of next year's Beijing Olympics over what they said was China's dismal human rights record. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis
A woman, playing the role of a priestess, raises a torch during the lighting ceremony of a global human rights torch relay in Athens, August 9, 2007. Hundreds of human rights activists and spectators gathered in central Athens to launch the relay urging the boycott of next year's Beijing Olympics over what they said was China's dismal human rights record. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

Karolos Grohmann, Reuters - Published: Thursday, August 09, 2007

ATHENS (Reuters) - Hundreds of human rights activists from across the world gathered in central Athens on Thursday to launch a global torch relay urging the boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics over China's human rights record.

Beijing has been under fire for what groups say are extensive human rights violations, including against the spiritual group Falun Gong, ahead of next year's Games.

China classified Falun Gong as a cult and banned it in 1999. Since then the group has campaigned from abroad against what it says is brutal persecution of its followers in China.

Organizers of the event in the central Syntagma square, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), said Beijing was involved in systematic "organ harvesting" from jailed Falun Gong members and other dissidents.

"We want to put enough pressure on China to stop killing its people and selling livers and kidneys to people around the world," former Canadian junior foreign minister David Kilgour told Reuters.

Kilgour, co-author of a report on Chinese "organ harvesting," said the International Olympic Committee was turning a blind eye to violations of its own charter.

IOC President Jacques Rogge on Monday fended off criticism saying the Games were a force for good but were no panacea.

"That's garbage," said Kilgour. "Jacques Rogge should know what the Olympic charter states. It talks about human dignity."

The global human rights torch relay will stop over in 25 countries and more than 100 cities in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, organizers said.

Among the speakers were former Olympic athletes, including the 2006 Olympics luge bronze medalist Martins Rubenis from Latvia.

"The Chinese Communist Party has not fulfilled the promise to adjust the situation of human rights," Rubenis said.

Beijing marked the one-year countdown to the Games on Wednesday with spectacular celebrations in Tiananmen Square.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Global Human Rights Torch Relay About To Kick Off


Global Human Rights Torch Relay Kicks Off in Athens 9 August 2007

Scoop NZ: In Athens, Greece, at 8:30pm on 9 August 2007 the Global Human Rights Torch Relay, initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) and supporters, will light its first flame in a solemn ceremony at Syntagma Square to urge the international community to press for the release Falun Gong practitioners in China or there will be a call to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Over 25 countries and more than 100 cities will be taking part in this torch relay that is going to span 5 continents. Starting from Europe and ending in Asia in 2008, wherever the Torch travels, CIPFG members and supporters will raise public awareness of the organ harvesting crimes and call to end the genocide of Falun Gong in China.

New Zealanders and Australians are among the initiators of the Human Rights Torch Relay. Senator Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrats, Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM, Human Rights Commissioner (2000-05), Pan Qing, Democracy advocate, and Olympian Jan Becker, Australian Swimming team, Tokyo 1964 will greet the ceremony in Athens via recorded message or in person. Ms Jan Becker will be at the ceremony in Athens, Greece.

Background:

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) is a global organisation established in 2006, prompted by the reports of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in an organised manner, with apparent state involvement, for profit.

Falun Gong is a peaceful spiritual discipline attacked by the Chinese regime due to its popularity and its belief in traditional values.

CIPFG now has four chapters - Oceania, Asia, Europe and North America - and more than 300 members. Last year, CIPFG wrote to the Chinese Consulates, Embassy and the State Council of China, demanding the release of Falun Gong prisoners of consciences and requesting admittance into China to investigate the persecution.

Due to a lack of any response, CIPFG published a statement on 30 May 2007 that "Crimes Against Humanity and the Olympics cannot Co-exist in China". On 8 June 2007, an open letter was sent to Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, again calling for the release of all incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners and to allow an independent investigation by CIPFG. Two months have passed and there has still been no response.

CIPFG has initiated the Human Rights Torch Relay along with Hon David Kilgour, Canadian Students for Darfur, Network for Human Rights in China (Denmark), Doctors Against Organ Harvesting (USA), and many more groups. The purpose of the torch relay is to FREE Falun Gong practitioners in CHINA and to End the Persecution or there will be a call to BOYCOTT the Olympic Games in Beijing.

END

'Human Rights Torch Relay' Logo and Theme Song Unveiled

Global Human Rights Torch Relay symbol. (CIPFG)
Global Human Rights Torch Relay symbol (CIPFG)

Epoch Times: August 6, 2007 - The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)—consisting of more than 300 public officials, lawyers, doctors, religious leaders, and human rights advocates—unveiled the logo and theme song for its "Human Rights Torch Relay." The Coalition plans to ignite a human rights torch in Athens, Greece, on August 9, 2007.

Since CIPFG published an ad for a logo design and a theme song several weeks ago, it has received hundreds of responses, including some from mainland China.

The logo's main component is a torch with a dove in front of it, representing freedom and a bright future. The background is a map of China outlined in barbed wire. The logo illustrates that China is a prison, and the torch of human rights will bring freedom and a bright future to the Chinese people.

The theme song is also refreshing and powerful. The composer is from Europe. The theme song is currently being recorded in multiple languages including English, German, French, Italian, and Japanese.

The lyrics are as follows:

Human Rights Torch

The sacred flame of the Olympics is lit from Mt Olympia
The Olympic flag, a wreath of olive branches
Cooperation, teamwork, brotherhood and friendship
Honor, glory and dedication
Peace and justice
Freedom and Human rights
The heavens and earth, mountains and seas
The spirit soars and the heart calls
May the consecrated Olympic flag
Be forever raised on high

Beijing Olympics Year 2008
The scent of blood hangs in the air
80 million ghosts paved to prosperity
The blood and tears of hundreds of millions spawned
extravagant palaces

Stop the persecution
Give back our rights
Shackles cannot replace the Olympic wreath
Let the human rights torch
Kindle the whole world
Blood cannot taint the Olympics' purity and sacredness

Wash clean the blood drenched stains and filth
May the Human Rights Torch of freedom, peace and justice
light up the world forever.