Sunday, February 3, 2008

Singapore Welcomes the Global Human Rights Torch Relay

By George Fu
Jan 23, 2008

The Human Rights Torch Relay(HRTR) arrived in Singapore at Changi on 19 January 2008 (George Fu/The Epoch Times)
The Human Rights Torch Relay(HRTR) arrived in Singapore at Changi on 19 January 2008 (George Fu/The Epoch Times)

Global Human Rights Torch Relay
(Exclusive NTDTV Video)

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) arrived in Singapore this Saturday, 19 January, following a receptive welcome of over 200 supporters in Batam last week. A ceremony to welcome the torch was held at Changi, on the east coast of Singapore.

Local politicians, lawyers and representatives of the "SG Human Rights Organisation" were among the citizens who came to support the torch and its worthy message: "The Olympics and Crimes against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China".

President of The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), Singapore Branch, human rights lawyer Mr. M. Ravi, welcomed the arrival of the torch, "This is an immensely important event as there has never been a human rights torch that has arrived in Singapore in this fashion."

Veteran politician and lawyer JB Jayaretnam and John Tan, Assistant Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) both expressed their deep concern for and disappointment at the human rights abuses committed against various groups in China, especially Falun Gong – the most severely persecuted group in China today.

"This event for me is most symbolic above anything else. I hope it is going to have real pressure on the Chinese regime. They are not doing the right thing in terms of their abuse and they ought to stop the persecution," said Mr Tan.

"If they want friendship of the world and if they want the participation of the Olympics in Beijing, they have to stop the abuse… not because they want business and cooperation, but it's all part of being human and not to abuse the rights of other human beings", he added.

Shortly after the human rights torch was ignited, a pick-up bearing the HRTR banner chauffeured two torch-bearing Olympic maidens, dressed in flowing white ancient Greek-style dresses, directly into the heart of the city and later to the Chinese embassy.

The sight was greeted with thumbs-ups and cheers by surprised weekend crowds and tourists along Orchard Road and City Hall. Motorists passing by the Chinese embassy looked on as a statement was read aloud, detailing the Chinese Communist Party's various crimes committed against the Chinese people and humanity.

The statement closed with a demanded that the crimes cease before the scheduled Beijing Olympics in August, especially the crime of harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, while still alive, for profit. The statement was then handed over to a guard at the Embassy, who promised to pass it on to Embassy leaders.

"The torch turns on the spotlight on China's atrocity against Falun Gong. We hope that at least today this torch will receive a given attention to all Singaporeans who would come to know that this torch has come to Singapore," sad Ravi.

The Global Human Rights Torch will be relayed through a total of 37 countries and more than 100 cities around the world until August this year. It is next scheduled to visit Sri Lanka, India and Africa.

Local Police Seize Human Rights Torch 'For Investigation'

Shortly after the HRTR activities ended at Singapore's landmark hill and frequent tourist spot, Mount Faber, six police officers, tagged by a cameraman, seized two Human Rights Torches and two HRTR banners from CIPFG members.

Categorizing the event as "illegal assembly", the investigation officer said the torches and banners were needed to facilitate their "investigation", and repeatedly demanded HRTR event participants to reveal their names and personal particulars, on the pretext of returning the props to the rightful owner after their investigation.

When the police were questioned about the purpose of the investigation and who would be held accountable for the confiscation of the items, no direct answer was given.

Some HRTR event participants told the police to arrest them if they had committed a crime, rather than take away the symbolic items. The police officers were hesitant and seemed uncertain. When the event participants walked away the police did not take any action.

The Human Rights Torch, gaining international attention from dignitaries and citizens around the world, is a symbol of justice and peace, standing for the sacredness of humanity's fundamental rights.

The banners, which were also confiscated, read 'Human Rights before Olympics' and 'Olympic Games and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China'.

"The word 'human rights' has become a dirty word because of the government's propaganda. There is no such thing as human rights, only until recent years, the notion of human rights at least," said John Tan, who was at the scene.

"What is really significant is that Singaporeans are now vocal and daring enough to come out and say 'hey, this is human rights, contrary to what the government has been telling us. Human rights do not belong to just the West. We want human rights too and we deserve human rights as well."

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

Co-sign Letter to IOC to remove Olympic Ban of Falun Gong

Sign Petition letter here at MWC.

Dear Friend:

Below is a self-explanatory letter to the International Olympic Committee listing major concerns affecting the international community and arising out of appalling policies of the Beijing government, which are only now garnering international attention. Please consider co-signing this letter to indicate your solidarity with those who are determined “never again” to stand idly by and turn its eyes away from genocide as the world did from 1931 to 1945. Your support in advancing the cause of human dignity is invaluable at this crucial time and it is greatly appreciated.

Clive Ansley
US-CANADA Chair, Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
China Country Monitor for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Mr. Jacques Rogge, President
Members of the International Olympic Committee
Chateau De Vidy, Case Postale 356
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Fax: +41-21-621-6216

Dear Mr. Rogge and members of the IOC:

On November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, News Director of the Beijing Olympics media center, responded to western criticism of religious restrictions previously announced by Beijing, saying that the Chinese Communist government would now allow athletes and tourists to bring religious objects for personal use during the Olympics. However, this policy will not apply to Falun Gong practitioners: "Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden," and "Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China." (AP)

We are distressed at this policy which is in direct violation of article 5 of the Olympic Charter, which states that: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

As well, Article 36 of China’s own constitution declares that citizens "enjoy freedom of religious belief," and that, "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."

The persecution of Chinese citizens who practise Falun Gong constitutes a violation of China’s constitution by the Beijing government. That persecution of Chinese citizens is well-known. However, the host country for the 2008 Olympic Games has now extended its discriminatory religious policies to the entire international community through these recent declarations. Beijing, as host country, is saying that while participating foreign athletes who are Christians will be allowed to bring Bibles into the Olympic Village and to practise their faith while residing there, foreign athletes who are Falun Gong practitioners will not be allowed to bring Falun Gong materials or to practise their Falun Gong exercises. In fact, foreign athletes who are adherents of Falun Gong may not be allowed to participate in the Games at all.

This is eerily reminiscent of the situation which obtained before and during the Nazi Olympics of 1936 in Berlin. Within Germany, Hitler barred Jewish citizens from competing for places on the German Olympic team. Unlike his contemporary counterparts in Beijing with respect to Falun Gong, Hitler did not go so far as to impose restrictions on Jewish competitors from other countries. Nevertheless, his discriminatory racial and religious policies within Germany itself provoked a widespread call in the United States for a boycott of the Nazi Olympics, and many Jewish athletes refused to participate.

Not only does this latest order further demonstrate the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to fulfil its 2001 promise to the IOC to improve human rights in China, but it is also clear proof that any hope of improving Chinese human rights through the Olympics is futile because of Beijing’s total and demonstrable insincerity.

You may recall that in April 2007, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Service issued a blacklist barring “antagonistic elements” from attending the Games, including adherents of Falun Gong, “religious infiltrators” and others. Although this was a clear violation of the Olympic Charter, we are unaware of any declaration by the International Olympic Committee that it will enforce that Charter or that the IOC is at all concerned about the fact that Beijing has trampled upon the Charter.

Li Zhanjun's response clearly demonstrates that the Chinese government's policy of persecuting Falun Gong and its practitioners continues unabated. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overtly extended the regime's persecution of Falun Gong to the Olympics—a most noble institution that is respected worldwide. Such abuse and discrimination against the followers of a peaceful spiritual teaching not only trash the Olympic Spirit, but also constitute a spurning of fundamental morality and ethics in the international society.

Having called upon the world not to politicize the Olympics, Beijing’s leaders have persistently, continuously, and consistently turned their hosting of the Games into a totally political propaganda extravaganza designed to glorify, whitewash, and strengthen their single-party dictatorship. They have from the outset exploited the opportunity afforded them by the IOC in precisely the same way as Goebbels and Hitler before them.

Therefore, we call on the IOC to:

- Require Beijing to rescind its policy of barring Falun Gong from the Olympics, which constitutes a severe breach of the Olympic Charter;

- Reconsider the eligibility of the Communist regime to stage the Olympic Games, given the steadily worsening human rights situation in China today;

- Discuss the possibility of holding the Olympics in another nation.

We also urge the international community and athletes from around the world to condemn Beijing’s trashing of the Olympic spirit and its scorn for the Olympic Charter.

The whole world is about to learn what religious repression “made in China” means. Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as “illegal” is a clumsy attempt to justify a pogrom of government sanctioned violence and persecution. There is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or in any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China. It is “illegal” only because the top leadership declared it to be “illegal”, and no Chinese court has the authority to interpret the Constitution and overturn the fiats of the top leaders. No judicial process was ever involved in rendering Falun Gong “illegal”.

It is clear that the Chinese regime must stop using the Olympics as a cover for launching a crackdown on peaceful people of faith both in China and abroad and to halt the persecution of Falun Gong and all Chinese citizens.

Hence, we, the undersigned, believe that the IOC has the moral obligation to bring the true Olympic spirit to the Chinese people as set forth in the Olympic Charter. It’s not too late for the IOC to renegotiate the location of the Olympics and bring some well-deserved sobriety and human dignity into this situation for the sake of the Chinese people and our proud athletes.

Previous Olympics devolved into propaganda bonanzas for dictatorial hosts, such as the Nazis in 1936 and the Soviets in 1980, rather than promoting the universal celebration of peaceful competition and sport for people of all colours and creeds in accordance with the Olympic ideal. Beijing cannot possibly expect to freely continue with rampant political oppression, mass executions, forced abortions, illicit organ harvesting, religious persecution, and a slew of other human rights abuses, while attempting to present a civilized face to the world as host of the Summer Games in 2008.

Israeli rabbi condemns Chinese atrocities



An Israeli rabbi has called on Jews to condemn China for its human rights abuses against Chinese citizens.

Rabbi David Druckman, chief rabbi of the city of Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa, made the call protesting the alleged holding of thousands of political prisoners without trial, beating people who protest being thrown out of their homes and employing slave labor -- in a recently released video, Arutz-7 reported.

Druckman was most critical of the Chinese government's persecution of the Falun Gong sect, a Buddhist sect outlawed in China.

Rabbi Reuven Bulka, head of the Canadian branch of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China, has called on Israel to pressure the Chinese government to stop alleged organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners by quitting the Olympic Games.

"We as Jews must therefore stand at the front lines of this war, and employ every possible tactic in order that the world expunge atrocities such as this," Druckman said on the video. "When there is evil in the world, every person with a human conscience, and every person with intelligence, must protest against it."

Druckman called on Israelis to protest China's human rights abuses by rallying against them when the Olympic torch passes through Israel later this month. China will be hosting the 2008 summer Olympics.

In November, more than 220 Israelis, including academics, eight Knesset members and more than 40 rabbis, signed a petition calling for an end to the Chinese atrocities, the Arutz-7 report said.

Related Article:

Rabbi: Jews Must Lead Condemnation of China

Human Rights Torch-Iceland's Move

Morgunbladid, Iceland: Jan. 26, 2008 - Get the latest here.

( In the run up to the Olympic games to be held next summer, the nations of the world are faced with the challenging question: "How can the Games support the human rights situation in China?" The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympics is to place sports at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity. The Olympic committee's justification for choosing the People's Republic of China for the 2008 Summer Olympics was based on the conviction that doing so would be a way to press for positive change in the country. The choice was therefore made on the precondition that human rights would finally be respected in China.

For the past few years, independent international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights in China, and Human Rights Watch have maintained that the human rights situation in China has not only not improved but worsened. Many other organizations concerned about this issue, such as the International Society for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, the China Aid Association, and Olympic Watch also support those claimes. An independent organization that investigates the persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) has protested the increase in human rights violations in the country. They point to crimes against peace and the Olympic Spirit, organ harvesting for profit, the persecution of Christians, oppression of the Tibetian people, the suppression of the freedom to speak, and the sabotaging of efforts to stop the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and the regime's violent crackdown on monks in Burma.

Disturbed by this situation created by the Chinese government, the organization has initiated a global "Human Rights Torch Relay" that began a world tour in the heart of Athens on the evening of August 9 a year before the Olympic Games. At the initial ceremony in Athens, participants came from different corners of the world. A planned series of events throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States dedicated to the cause has motivated mayors, members of parliaments, atheletes, and those concerned about human rights to officially express their concerns.

Besides a commitment to international human rights agreements, all fundamental human rights are listed in the Constitution of The Peoples Republic of China, including freedom of expression and the press, freedom for organizations and religious groups, and freedom from being held in custody without due process. In reality, lawyers that try to hold the Republic responsible through the legal system when these rights are violated can expect duress and persecution. Gao Zhisheng, a highly respected Chinese lawyer who has been nomitated for the Nobel Peace Prize, disappeared from his home on September 22. Earlier this year he published the book, A China More Just. My Fight as a Rights Lawyer in Communist China, and wrote a 16-page report to the US government, an invocation to the international society, two days before his disappearance.

In the name of The Human Rights Torch, Australian lawyers have called for the immediate release of Zhisheng and other prisoners of conscience, also for those whose rights have been violated in the name of the Olympic Games themselves. Ye Guozhu, an organizer of peaceful protests on behalf of the 1.5 million residents of Bejing whose homes have been taken away to be replaced by Olympic construction without fair compensation, has been imprisoned and tortured for four years and the organization suppressed.

Icelandic journalists that intend to report from the Olympic games next summer might have to accept illegal impingment of their journalistic freedom to tell the story of what is really going on in this populated country.

The Chinese Communist Pary has already openly admitted that detailed personal information about all journalist that intend to visit China next summer is being collected into a database. Truth is a liberating force, but repressive authorities that need to constantly cover up for their own actions live in fear of the truth and the will of the people. The existence of 30,000 Chinese Internet police that "protect" the Chinese public from informed discussion about democracy, human rights, and religion is a real testimony to such fear. By the beginning of the 2008 Summer Olympics, The Human Rights Torch Relay will have visited 35 countries and 150 cities, reflecting the solemn spirit of the Olympic Games and their status as a symbol for human dignity and respect for life.

Before the media spotlight shines on the atheletes' accomplishments in Bejing next summer, sports organizations, governments, journalists, and the general public around the world have to take a stance concerning the misuse of the Olympic vision. How can the Olympic vision assist a nation that is more interested in benefitting from the abuse of basic human rights than honoring human rights at the biggest sporting event in the world?

The Olympic Games and crimes against humanity cannot coexist. In Iceland, where human rights, peace and developmental aid are cornerstones, the goverment will undoubtedly take an explicit stance on this issue in the new year.