Why the Words “Canadian French” Don’t Appear on China’s Weibo

27 September, 2013 at 07:03 | Posted in China, Culture, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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A researcher analyzes why certain words are blocked on China’s Internet

By Zhou Xing

Jason Q. Ng, a Google Policy Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, introduced his new book “Blocked on Weibo” on Aug. 29. The book reveals a large number of keywords censored by Chinese authorities on the Chinese microblog service Weibo.

Since 2011, Ng has spent nearly two years studying blocked keywords. He told the Epoch Times that among the 1,500 blacklisted words, 500 are unique, 150 of which are listed in his book. He believes he can help readers understand how Chinese netizens use the Internet by using various approaches to collect data from Weibo.

Ng said it’s sometimes difficult to predict which words will be blocked or why they are blocked, but those critical of the authorities are usually chosen.

For example, “tank” is associated with the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989, and so it is not surprising it should be blocked. But once the phrase “rich woman” was blocked. “Rich woman” was associated with Guo Meimei, a young woman who flaunted wealth and claimed she was an officer with the Chinese Red Cross. This combination of words rapidly circulated on the Internet, then it was blocked.

‘Canadian French’ Becomes a Forbidden Phrase

Ng’s research shows that Chinese authorities included proper names, place names, and some unlikely phrases in its censorship. The name Jiang Yanyong was blocked because he disclosed the fact that the Communist Party was concealing the SARS epidemic in 2003. Kashi, a place in Xinjiang where riots and conflicts often occur, is also blocked.

An unlikely phrase, “Canadian French,” is taboo on China’s Weibo because the Chinese pronunciation of “Canadian French” is “Jia Na Da Fa Yu” which contains two characters “Da Fa,” a term used in “Falun Dafa,” a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.

Since 1999, the Chinese authorities have brutally persecuted practitioners of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). The Communist Party has used the entire mainland Chinese media network to paint an image of Falun Dafa as mad and evil, while censoring Falun Dafa books and any materials that give an accurate description of Falun Dafa. Because the phrase “Canadian French” contains the two characters “Da Fa,” it has been deemed worthy of censorship.

Coincidentally, Ng’s study also found that “Renmin University of China Law School,” a Communist Party institution, also contains the characters “Da Fa,” so it was censored for the same reason that Canadian French was censored.

Ng notes that Western countries meet their citizens’ needs with fewer restrictions on the free flow of information, but China maintains strict control.

“I believe that Chinese citizens want more freedom of speech, but they still have no chance to participate in the discussion on network control.” Ng said.

Ng was very interested in how much the Communist Party invested in network control. He said that there must be at least 100,000 people censoring words on Weibo, because some blocking occurs within seconds after the nearly 600 million Weibo users have circulated the word(s).

Even the title of Ng’s book was deleted within a few minutes of being posted by a Weibo user. Ng said that even if the posted text were converted into a picture, it would still be censored.

Written in English by Arleen Richards.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Why the Words “Canadian French” Don’t Appear on China’s Weibo » The Epoch Times

China Reflects, Unofficially, on Its Dark Past

22 September, 2013 at 17:04 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Chinese people say sorry for what they did during the Cultural Revolution

By Carol Wickenkamp, Epoch Times

If one day during school you beat your teacher about the head, denounced him as a “capitalist roader,” and led your classmates in a public criticism session, you would probably want to apologize for it later—or even 40 years afterward.

Such violence was common during the Cultural Revolution in China, which officially ran from 1966 to 1976, but there has never been a process of reconciliation. The Communist Party has never given a proper account of the period, merely declaring that Mao Zedong, the leader, was “30 percent wrong.” Everyone else was to simply move on.

Now, Chinese people are leading the healing themselves. They are writing letters to the editor, and using Internet tools like blogs and microblogs to apologize to teachers and elders that they abused horribly during that violent decade.

Chen Xiaolu, the son of a famous Chinese communist general, even paid a visit to the home of his Beijing school principal, Wen Hanjiang, to personally apologize for what he had done.

“As a student Red Guard leader and school committee director, it was because of me that school leaders, teachers, and students were criticized and sent to labor camps,” Chen wrote in the public letter, published on his blog in August. The term “criticism” refers to the energetic verbal attacks and public humiliation that was dealt out to class enemies.

“I was eager to rebel against those authorities because I didn’t have the courage to stop the inhumane persecution,” he continued. “I was afraid to be considered against the Cultural Revolution. That was a horrible time.”

“Such actions against our constitution, which infringe on human rights this way, should never be repeated in any form in China!” he added.

The public repentance has met with a welcome ear on the Internet, as many young people who are increasingly frustrated with the Communist Party’s control over media and information encourage transparency from those who were led into violence.

The tragedy the Cultural Revolution brought to the Chinese people is hard to describe. – Gao Huimin, administrator, Fudan University

“The Cultural Revolution is the darkest time in China’s history,” wrote Gao Huimin, an administrator at Fudan University, on Weibo. “The tragedy it brought to the Chinese people is hard to describe.”

Because Chinese citizens are not well informed about the Cultural Revolution, they are often shocked by the disclosures in these repentance statements, alarmed by truth about the violent actions of ordinary citizens, particularly young people, against family, teachers, neighbors, and friends.

“I will never forgive myself,” Zhang Hongbing told Beijing News in an interview in March of this year. Zhang told how, as a student Red Guard, he denounced his own mother as a “counterrevolutionary” for criticizing Mao’s policies. He witnessed her arrest with no regret, and watched her kneeling on the stage before her execution six months later by a firing squad.

In an effort to atone, and as a reminder of that time, Zhang said he has appealed to the local authorities since 2011 to have his mother’s grave marked and preserved as a historical landmark and a reminder of that time in China’s history.

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong radicalized a generation of young students—the Red Guards—to violently “rebel” and turn China upside down so he could enhance his grip on power in the Party amid the chaos. Political rivals had gained ground since the early 1960s, and the Cultural Revolution was Mao’s revenge.

The repentance letters reveal the truth about the fanatical students who brought about the deaths of millions of innocent people, either directly through brutal beatings or indirectly through denouncing them to authorities, who often sent them to the firing squads. Mao had given free rein to the young Red Guards, told police not to intervene, and endorsed their increasingly violent actions.

Former Red Guard Liu Boqin published an apology letter in Yanhuang Chunqiu, a reformist magazine, in March, saying that he had “grown old with painful memories of that year” when he denounced and harassed teachers and neighbors. He reflected that, although the environment of the Cultural Revolution coerced people into bad actions, still the individual must assume responsibility for his evil, not use excuses to wipe it away.

Retired Hebei official Song Jizhou published his apology letter to his junior high school language teacher Guo Kai in Southern Weekly in July. Because he was Guo’s star pupil, he was sent to collect evidence against the teacher, whose father was a landowner, one of the enemy political classes. Because of his reports, the teacher was denounced, criticized, and abused.

“I encourage all people who committed crimes during the Cultural Revolution to engage in deep reflection! China can’t have such chaos again. The Chinese people should never be taken advantage of that way ever again,” exhorted a Beijing netizen after reading repentance letters.

The Party still seeks to protect Mao’s image—the new Party leader Xi Jinping regularly invokes Maoist slogans, and has said firmly that the period of economic reform cannot be used to negate the Maoist era of “socialist construction”—but netizens do not hesitate to assign blame after learning the truth.

“Millions of Chinese people died from strife and poor farmers died from starvation,” wrote a netizen from Guangdong. “Only foolish people considered that devil Mao a lifesaver. If Mao Zedong wasn’t cruel and anti-life, how could so many people have died from starvation? Mao was truly a vampire, feeding off the people’s lives. He was a demon! Will people ever wake up?”

via China Reflects, Unofficially, on Its Dark Past

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16-year-old detained for being retweeted 500 times

22 September, 2013 at 07:21 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Maia Lenei Buhre

In the first case of its kind, a teenager has been arrested after a post of his regarding a suspicious death on microblogging service, Sina Weibo went viral, Beijing Times reports.

Here’s the back story behind the tweet: A man was found dead outside a karaoke bar in Zhangjiachuan County, Gansu Province on September 12. While the official ruling is that his death was caused by an accidental high fall, the family of the deceased believes he was beaten up before being thrown out of a window.

16 year old Yang, a student at Zhangjiachuan middle school, posted several times about the murky circumstances of the death to his Weibo account two days after the death.

Read more: 16-year-old detained for being retweeted 500 times: Shanghaiist

Arrest of Chinese Billionaire Meant to Send Signal to Others

21 September, 2013 at 10:26 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Leo Timm
Epoch Times

Over 20 police on Sept. 13 stormed into the home of Wang Gongquan, a Chinese billionaire, and took him away: for supporting political and social reform in China, he was to be charged with the catchall crime of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.”

Wang is the latest victim of a renewed Chinese Communist Party campaign to smother China’s nascent civil society movement. The push has mostly recently ensnared the venture capitalist Charles Xue, who was made to confess to visiting prostitutes on national television. Police confiscated from Wang’s house a computer, two framed pictures, and “citizen pins,” according to a friend.

“The way the Party does things is in movements. They’re doing a political movement right now, attacking entrepreneurs, activists, and people with influence on the Internet,” said Wang Juntao, a democracy supporter and scholar who studies the Communist Party.

Over 600 intellectuals from around the country have demanded that Wang be released.

Wang is a devout Buddhist, a venture capitalist with his own investment company, and a staunch supporter of the New Citizens’ Movement. The movement aims to help Chinese “press for their civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution through peaceful and legal approaches, to promote China’s peaceful transformation toward a more humane, freer, more just, and more loving society,” according to China Change, a website that supports liberal intellectuals in China.

The confiscated “citizen pins” may be used as evidence by the police against Wang. Caixin, a business magazine, reported in 2011 that Wang had commissioned 100 one yuan coin-sized “citizen stamps,” which featured the engraved images of the Chinese flag, an open book with the title “Constitution,” and the phrase “Chinese Citizen.”

Wang is a partner and founder of CDHfund, one of China’s biggest investment companies. He has more than ten years of venture investment experience and has made many successful investments in a variety of sectors, including Internet, media, education, energy, e-commerce, and franchise businesses. It is rare for a entrepreneur of his prominence to profess such liberal political views.

The arrest is indicative of the measures taken by the communist authorities to suppress any dissent or demand for reform. Being rich is no safeguard, according to Wang Juntao, the scholar, and no relation of Wang Gongquan: he said that the authorities are precisely concerned about entrepreneurs who have their own means of making money, independent of Party influence, and who support reform in China. They want to suppress this trend, he said.

“In China, there are two main ways to make fast money in China,” Wang Juntao said in a telephone interview. “There is real estate, where you cannot get rich without official support. Without the authorities seizing land and standing behind you, you have no way to make this money. The other way is information technology,” a means that does not rely so heavily on official power, he said.

Wang says that the Party’s message for entrepreneurs of Wang Gongquan’s ilk is simple: “You can make your money, but you don’t speak in the public realm about politics.”

With its punishment of Wang, the Party may also be attempting to prevent a repeat of the democracy protests in 1989. Then, the wealthy businessman Wan Runnan, former CEO of the Stone Group Co., the largest computer company in China in the late 1980s, financially supported the protest movement. After the massacre of students on June 4 he was expelled from the Communist Party and forced into exile.

In a speech he gave at Columbia University, Wang Gongquan described himself as “one of the very few Chinese who earns money independently.” He mentioned his dislike of getting involved with politics. Because of that, he “makes a much smaller profit” than he could with Party backing, Southern People Weekly, a liberal-leaning magazine, reported.

“I’m not a revolutionary”, Wang told the magazine on Aug. 2. “ I don’t wish for a revolution in China. Our country and nation has been damaged so harshly because of repeated violence. I only did what a citizen should do, providing constructive criticism for the sake of positive national reform. I didn’t protest, make trouble, or organize political power on the streets. I always do things without violating the law.”

A friend of Wang’s, rights activist Xu Zhiyong, was formally arrested this July on the same charge of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” In neither case have the authorities specified what sort of crowd Wang and Xu are supposed to have assembled.

After Xu was detained, Wang and four others wrote an open letter to the authorities demanding the release of Xu and other civil rights activists. That appeal collected thousands of signatures.

With reporting by Matthew Robertson. Research by Lu Chen.

via Arrest of Chinese Billionaire Meant to Send Signal to Others » The Epoch Times

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Turning the Tables on the Regime’s ‘Rumor’ Crackdown

21 September, 2013 at 07:08 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Jane Lin
Epoch Times

Peking University professor Xia Yeliang posted a Weibo message on Sept. 9 accusing the editor-in-chief of the Global Times of spreading malicious rumors. Lawyers in China offered to help him pro bono, in case he wanted to file a suit.

Chinese authorities have over the last few months been in a full flight attack on what they call “rumors,” and those who propagate them, on the Internet. Rumors are a threat to social stability, Party propaganda officials say, through the multiple newspapers, websites, and television stations they control.

But what if the Chinese regime’s own mouthpieces were guilty of spreading rumors, as they accuse so many others of doing?

Xia Yeliang, an economics professor at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University, said he was prepared to put the idea to the test, in a recent post on his microblog account.

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a nationalistic state-run newspaper, had claimed in an editorial that Xia failed to pass a teaching evaluation last year (adding, too, that Xia’s “liberal political beliefs” were “very extremist.”)

Xia, in fact, had passed the evaluation. He said that Hu’s suggestion that he had not would qualify as “malicious rumor and slander,” and stated that a lawsuit wouldn’t be out of the question.

In particular, the Global Times editorial was forwarded more than 500 times, and viewed by more than 5,000 Internet users. This piece of arcana is important, because the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued a judicial interpretation recently, stipulating that people will face defamation charges if rumors they post online shared or viewed that many times.

Netizens were quick to leap to Xia’s defense, arguing that under the Party’s own new guidelines, its mouthpiece newspaper Global Times should be punished for spreading rumors.

Xia followed up with another message recruiting lawyers, who would explore ways to file a suit against Hu Xijin, pro bono.

Xia Yeliang was named one of the 100 most influential Chinese public intellectuals from 2009 to 2013, and has also recently been the center of a controversy between Peking University, the Chinese leadership, and Wellesley College, a private university in Massachusetts.

Xia’s university in China has threatened to hold a faculty vote on whether he should be ousted for his errant views on the value of democracy and the rule of law. The gesture has the clear mark of the central leadership, who are currently engaged in a campaign to snuff out the development of democratic ideas in China. In response, nearly a third of the faculty of Wellesley College said they would demand the cessation of all partnerships between Wellesley and Peking University if Xia were expelled.

Xia is not the only one being put under tremendous pressure. Since the recent crackdown on Internet rumors started, several hundred Chinese netizens have been arrested in just one week during August, according to Southern Weekend.

But netizens, like Xia, are pushing back.

One blogger’s post on club.kdnet.net, a popular online forum, went viral. The post, titled “I collected a list of Internet rumors, please punish the rumor mongers according to the law,” consisted of screenshots of state-media’s reports which were later shown to be false. One of the examples illustrated that in 2006 the Health Ministry denied that China took organs from death row inmates, but admitted in 2012 that organs from death row inmates were the major source of organs for China’s transplant industry.

Professor Xia said he was not optimistic that Hu would be brought to justice. “Although it’s unlikely to happen in China, but if the judicial interpretation was published, it should apply to everyone,” he said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty TV. 

Xia returned to China on Aug. 30 after concluding his one year-term as a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He told Deutche Welle that the situation on campus in China is worsening, compared to last year. “The atmosphere is tense and it’s turning leftward. I can feel a Cultural Revolution-like atmosphere.”

He also said he is disappointed in the Chinese regime’s new leadership. “It has gotten more politically backwards. Cultural Revolution-like language and ideology is back again now,” he said in an interview with Radio France Internationale. 

“In many places there are political study sessions to study Marxism,” he said. “The crackdown on so-called Internet rumors is meant to give people less room to speak and to not let people speak freely.”

But he said he is not afraid. “China is now at a critical point in history. More than ever, members of Peking University should speak up and say what people expect from intellectuals,” he told Deutche Welle.

Historically, Peking University was well known for its freedom of thought. It was the center of China’s new culture movement and many other modern political movements.

If Peking University is afraid to speak up… It will have lost its soul, and the spirit of Peking University would be dead. – Professor Xia Yeliang

“If Peking University is afraid to speak up, what kind of university will that be?” he remarked. “It will have lost its soul, and the spirit of Peking University would be dead.”

via Turning the Tables on the Regime’s ‘Rumor’ Crackdown » The Epoch Times

China’s New Organ Rules Leave Basic Questions Unanswered

20 September, 2013 at 07:50 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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Doctors’ group sees effort as potential Trojan Horse that undermines ethical standards

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

NEWS ANALYSIS

It is the latest attempt by the Chinese authorities to give a veneer of credibility to their organ transplant industry: new regulations. But the long anticipated rules about how organs should be procured and allocated, made public on Sept. 1, still don’t answer a few basic questions.

They do not explain, for example, whether the organs of executed prisoners will be included in the registry of organs that the authorities say they are establishing.

It was not until 2008 that Huang Jiefu, the then-Chinese vice-minister of health, acknowledged publicly and in writing that the Chinese transplant system relied heavily (to the tune of 90 percent) on organs from executed prisoners.

That was two years after reports emerged that prisoners of conscience, overwhelmingly practitioners of Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual group, were the targets of widespread organ harvesting.

It was also nearly a decade after credible testimony was given that the Chinese system widely used death row prisoners. For many years, the Chinese authorities simply said that all organs from China came from voluntary donations, and attacked those who suggested otherwise.

Now, the authorities have admitted that they did in fact take organs from prisoners, and without consent—though they have never admitted to the harvesting of Falun Gong.

Chinese medical officials this year said that they intend to “phase out the dependency on organs from executed prisoners,” rather than promise to immediately cease the practice, as would be in line with international medical ethics.

Will executed prisoners be part of the organ registration system? It is unclear. Article II of the regulations says that it applies to all “citizens.” Do prisoners count?

The South China Morning Post quotes an unnamed surgeon saying that organs harvested from prisoners would enter the electronic allocation system. But China Daily, a state mouthpiece, says that only organs from the “general public” will be registered.

If the new system, called China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS), did include executed prisoners, it would make it a very simple matter to launder the organs of Falun Gong detainees by representing them as death row prisoners.

Organ donation registration fraud in hospitals has been reported in the Chinese media, and official institutions in China are widely seen to lack probity and credibility. The security apparatus, and the military-medical complex, in particular, which have been heavily involved in organ harvesting, are notoriously secretive.

The regulations, moreover, do not provide any real transparency to the allocation process. The idea that the source of organs can be verified is bedrock for the trust that, for example, the United States organ donation system is based on.

Verification of the source is also a condition that the World Health Organization and The Transplantation Society, both international health groups that are attempting to work with the Chinese regime on its organ transplantation system, require from countries. They have shown little appetite for challenging Chinese authorities on their practices, however.

If organs were still “harvested and allocated in secrecy,” as Arne Schwarz, an independent researcher, put it, it would mean that none of the promises made by the authorities could be tested or trusted.

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), a medical advocacy group that typically attempts to strike a reserved tone, published a press release showing exasperation at what has become an exercise in avoidance by the Chinese regime.

China’s announcement of phasing out the harvesting of organs from prisoners is deceptive and insufficient, they titled the statement.

DAFOH’s primary problem with the regulations was similar to the issues articulated by Schwarz: no external safeguards or monitoring, and a miasma of ambiguity about whether unethically procured organs would be allowed into the new computerized system.

Failing to obtain these two items, DAFOH said, “We might need to ask ourselves, if China were successful in using a computerized organ-allocation system, whether the announcement of a phaseout is like a Trojan Horse that undermines and dilutes our ethical standards.”

via China’s New Organ Rules Leave Basic Questions Unanswered » The Epoch Times

How to Read the Chinese Communist Party’s Media

19 September, 2013 at 17:16 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Yao Jiuren
Epoch Times

The U.S.-based China expert He Qinglian is always interesting, but especially on the subject of China’s media. He Qinglian worked eight years as a journalist in China and has written a book about the control of media in China published in 2008 in English as “The Fog of Censorship”, as well as numerous articles on the subject of the media in China. Here are a few nuggets drawn from Ms. He’s writings.

Two key points made by Ms. He will help someone understand how to read the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) media.

First, for anything that may be considered “bad news” such as disasters, stories involving public security or public safety, or corruption, the reality is usually much worse than what is reported. The CCP’s rule is to only tell the news in a way that always makes them look good.

For example, whenever there is a disaster or major incident, the CCP strictly controls the actual situation by reducing the death toll numbers, and minimizing the damage report, in order to demonstrate that the CCP is diligently taking care of people.

Second, the news is always reported from the CCP’s viewpoint. For example, when the news is about a high number of laborers being laid off, the issue is reported as if the CCP is concerned about serious unemployment.

Or when one local leader speaks out about the farmers’ issue, the story does not focus on the local leader. Rather, the story will claim the farmers’ issue became so big that the local leader was forced to pay attention to it.

When a senior official’s corruption has been revealed, the story is about the CCP’s success in cracking down on corruption.

Even when a senior official’s corruption has been revealed, the story is about the CCP’s success in cracking down on corruption, instead of the root cause of the problem.

Party’s Control

According to He Qinglian, the CCP’s control over media is “systematized” through laws, regulations, and statutory documents.

In controlling the media, the power of the CCP Propaganda Department surpasses that of the State Press and Publication Administration, He says.

The CCP deals with political issues as if they were non-political matters. No documents are issued; instead, communications are made through telephone calls or interior meetings. The contents of the meetings are never written, recorded, or exposed.

When it comes to media reports, He says, state-run media will not keep silent about certain issues as they did before. Rather, they will confuse the public by publishing “some lies mingled with partial facts.” This kind of propaganda mingled with partial facts is indeed more interesting than sheer lies.

The “China” constructed by the CCP-affiliated media is a far cry from the China perceived by rural or smaller-sized city dwellers, Ms. He says. The “China” exposed to the international community is purposefully shaped in the media by the communist regime.

Intelligence agencies of the CCP Public Security Bureau monitor the Internet and follow orders from some state security departments to arrest those who are charged with threatening state security for spreading damaging rumors.

With the popularity of the Internet, the CCP has developed the biggest firewalls in the world, such as the unusually costly “Golden Shield Project,” which aims to monitor public behavior.

Because the CCP uses propaganda to gain control over people’s thoughts, Chinese people have completely different concepts of universal values, like human rights, freedom, and democracy, Ms. He says.

For example, many overseas Chinese students, particularly those born after 1989, adopt skeptical attitudes toward the Western description of historical events in China, like the Korean War, the relationship between China and America, and the history of the CCP.

Translation by Rebecca Chen and Amy Lien.

via How to Read the Chinese Communist Party’s Media » The Epoch Times

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Chinese Communist Party Dials Wrong Number in Hong Kong

18 September, 2013 at 17:01 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Phone campaign aimed at discrediting Epoch Times fails, public rallies around paper

By Li Zhen, Epoch Times, Cheryl Ng, Epoch Times and Karen Tsang
Epoch Times

HONG KONG—A campaign of anonymous phone calls made on Sept. 11 and 12 sought to discredit Epoch Times and drive off its advertisers. This phone campaign follows upon earlier, similar efforts using letters and text messages.

According to the Epoch Times sales manager, Ms. Lu Jie, on Sept. 11 and 12, clients of the Chinese-language Epoch Times received anonymous, harassing calls several times a day. Some of the calls took place at midnight or in the early morning.

The Epoch Times offices also received the same calls on the evening of Sept. 11, and calls were also made to the personal phones of Epoch Times staff. Some missed calls showed the number the call was from. When called back, the other end of the line played the tape that had been heard when similar calls had been picked up.

The tape starts by saying the call is from Epoch Times, and thanks clients for advertising with the paper. The tone then changes and, Lu said, what follows is identical to a tape that has been played for months in Hong Kong over loudspeakers by the Hong Kong Youth Care Association.

According to Hong Kong’s Next magazine, the Hong Kong Youth Care Association is a Chinese Communist Party front group that shares office space and staff with the 610 Office in Shenzhen, just across the border in mainland China. The 610 Office is an extra-legal Party organization created for the purpose of eradicating the Falun Gong spiritual practice.

Since June 2012, the Youth Care Association has besieged Falun Gong practitioners on the streets of Hong Kong, attempting to cover the Falun Gong booths with giant banners that slander the practice, while shouting at, cursing, and, at times, physically abusing the practitioners.

The tape played in this recent round of phone calls and by the Youth Care Association over their loudspeakers repeats the propaganda used by the CCP in its attempts to demonize Falun Gong.

Before this phone campaign, some clients have also received threatening letters and text messages with similar content aimed at stopping clients from buying ads from Epoch Times. The letters were signed “Hong Kong Anti-cult Alliance,” but no such organization is registered in Hong Kong.

Lu said the Youth Care Association has also hired people to steal Epoch Times newspapers from racks. She believes the phone calls, text messages, and letters are simply another tactic by the same group.

“This new move only highlights the CCP’s fear of truthful reporting and exposes its malice,” said Lu.

She said that the effect of the harassing phone calls was the opposite of what the CCP intended. “Readers, clients, and the general public have gotten in touch with Epoch Times and offered support,” Lu said. “They praise our paper for having a conscience and truthfully reporting the facts.”

“On Sept. 12 we reported these incidents to the police, and we are demanding a full investigation,” Lu said.

Interference With the Free Market

One of Epoch Times’ clients, the executive director of Goldentime Property Agency, Wong Sau-yim, is very angry with the CCP’s tactics. He said he first received text messages, then letters, then long-distance harassing calls. And he has reported these to the police.

“First of all, I am a businessman and a Buddhist.” Wong said angrily. “Epoch Times is a legal, local newspaper, and, after advertising on Epoch Times, I received calls from mainland clients, some of whom are from elite society.

“I have more business now and really enjoy the benefit from it. If you ask me not to advertise on Epoch Times, isn’t it cutting my business? Isn’t it a violent interference in the free market?”

Wong stressed that advertising is a business decision, and this kind of harassment is a violation of a person’s freedom.

When Wong reported these incidents to the police, they did not do any further investigation. They said the matter only involved a letter and should be processed as a civil case.

But Wong said this is a criminal case, because it has violated his personal freedom and the freedom of Hong Kongers. “This is not a civil matter,” Wong said. “The government should sue them!”

He urged all the merchants who have been harassed to report to the police.

Concern For Hong Kong

Woo Lai Wan, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists, expressed great concern.

“As a journalist or news organization, if someone counterfeits messages in someone or some company’s name, despite the content, this conduct is deceit,” Wu Lai Wan said. “If such a message has caused recipients nuisance and fear, then I believe this is likely to be a criminal intimidation. Therefore we urge the police to investigate this case right away.”

Freedom of the press is protected by Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Woo Lai Wan said. Speaking directly to those responsible, she said, “Do not let yourself be involved in such illegal and dangerous actions.”

Legislative Council member Mr. Leung Yiu-chung denounced the harassment and slander in the messages directed at Epoch Times and urged police to do a thorough investigation. He also looked to Hong Kong’s leadership for the underlying causes of the incident.

He said that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (no relation to Leung Yiu-chung) has been trying to govern Hong Kong like the CCP, creating all sorts of conflicts and triggering public resentment.

“I hope such a thing will not happen again, because Hong Kong has become worse,” Leung Yiu-chung said. “Such things make people jittery and undermine their normal life which is most unfortunate and most unwanted.”

Leung Yiu Chung sees the phone calls and other messages aimed Epoch Times as raising fundamental issues for all of Hong Kong.

We must respect the freedom of speech and freedom of the press…If we lose it, Hong Kong will have only one voice and one view from autocracy. – Legislative Councilor Leung Yiu-chung

“We must respect the freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” Leung Yiu-chung said. “This is the core value of Hong Kong.

“Besides, different voices and different points of views are what the people want to hear. If we lose it, Hong Kong will have only one voice and one view from autocracy.”

via Chinese Communist Party Dials Wrong Number in Hong Kong

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Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients

17 September, 2013 at 07:28 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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….

By Mike Adams
Naturalnews.com

NaturalNews – Do you really know what’s in all the food you’re eating that’s imported from China? If you don’t, you’re actually in good company: The FDA only inspects 1% – 2% of all the food imported from China, so they don’t know either. Even when they inspect a shipment, they rarely test it for heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs or other toxic contaminants.

Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, added emphasis to this point as he testified this week in The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, saying, “We don’t trust, for good reason, the Chinese to supply ingredients for our dog and cat food. Why should we trust Chinese exporters for the food that we are feeding our children and families?”

It’s a good question. Especially when, as Kastel adds, Chinese food is being routinely found to contain “unapproved chemicals, dyes, pesticides and outright fraud (fake food).”

Heavily contaminated food from China

As Natural News has already reported, food from China is frequently found to contain alarming levels of heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury) and other contaminants. Politically, China is a communist dictatorship where freedom of speech is completely outlawed. Environmental regulations are virtually never enforced. The culture is one of total deception where lying, cheating, stealing or committing fraud to get ahead is considered completely acceptable — because that’s how government is operated there. The moral decay of China is directly reflected in the alarming dishonesty of the food supply. (Yes, a country’s food exports will reflect its cultural and political philosophies. Freedom produces healthy food. Oppression and communism produces deceptive, deadly food.)

And yet, even with all this being widely known, Chinese farms are rarely inspected by organic certifiers. “U.S. certifiers are unable to independently inspect farms and assure compliance to the USDA organic food and agriculture standards that are required for export to the U.S.” explained Kastel in testimony. “These imports should not be allowed to reach our shore until and unless we have a system in place to assure consumers they are getting what they pay for. Just like U.S. grown organic commodities, the safety of these products must be rigorously overseen by independent inspectors.”

Read Kastel’s full testimony here.

Counterfeit ingredients are the new norm in China

Also testifying at the hearing was Patty Lovera, the Assistant Director of Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch. The news on food fraud out of China “is a steady stream of controversies ranging from adulteration with counterfeit ingredients like melamine in dairy products, to widespread outbreaks of animal diseases like avian flu, and high levels of pesticide residues,” Lovera testified. “Just last week, news reports described a Chinese government campaign to break up a fake meat operation, leading to arrests of more than 900 people accused of passing off more than $1 million of rat meat as mutton.”

See Natural News coverage of the fake rat meat scandal here.

You are eating far more food from China than you think

Why does any of this matter? Because you’re eating far more food from China than you probably think.

Not only do retailers like Whole Foods sell “certified organic” food grown in China, the vast majority of superfood powders sold in North America use raw materials purchased in bulk from China. Nutritional supplements, herbs and vitamins are often made using materials from China.

Not everything from China is bad, but in our own lab tests here at Natural News, we’ve been shocked to discover just how frequently products from China are contaminated with metals, chemical solvents and pesticide residues. We have rejected dozens of suppliers in our own search for clean ingredients to use in our product formulations, and we’ve even had to send back product that showed up at our warehouse and simply didn’t meet our stringent quality control requirements. (True fact: We recently had to return several thousand pounds of goji berries to one supplier after discovering the product failed our quality control review.)

But here’s the even scarier part in all this:

I am repeatedly told I’m the ONLY person asking these questions

When I talk to suppliers of raw materials, I am repeatedly told that I am the only person asking them for heavy metals tests, pesticide tests and product samples to send to our own lab.

This happens over and over again. From this, I have learned there is virtually NO due diligence being conducted by natural products retailers. Most retailers simply buy and sell, shipping boxes and moving product while turning a blind eye to the truth about what they are buying and selling. They literally do not care whether their products are contaminated with heavy metals. They just want to sell, sell, sell!

Even more shockingly — and I seem to be the only journalist reporting this jaw-dropping fact — there are currently NO LIMITS set by the USDA for contamination of certified organic foods. A product may be USDA organic and still contain deadly levels of mercury, arsenic or lead. The USDA does not test or even regulate heavy metals in foods via its organic certified program!

So you can be shopping at a famous natural products retailer and you might pick up a product carrying the USDA Certified Organic logo, thinking, “This is certified healthy and safe by the U.S. government.” You are being lied to. That product could be grown in China in a field of mercury runoff from an industrial factory. It could contain ridiculously high levels of mercury, arsenic, PCBs and even chemical solvents. You could be eating pure death while paying a premium for it!

This is not an attack on the USDA, by the way. Their organic certification program is surprisingly good for the scope of what it attempts to accomplish. But understand that USDA organic certifies a process, not a result. At the farm level, it means foods are not intentionally grown with pesticides and herbicides, but it does not say anything whatsoever about heavy metals contamination of food production fields in China.

Massive organic food FRAUD

In truth, what’s really happening right now on a global scale is a massive organic food fraud. Food is grown in China and certified organic even though no U.S. inspectors even visit the farms. That food is then imported into the U.S. and almost never inspected. It’s packaged and sold at top dollar in natural foods retail stores, emblazoned with the USDA Organic label.

But nowhere along the way — except in extremely rare cases — is that food ever tested for heavy metals or other contaminants. This is why Mark Kastel correctly states this food can’t even be trusted “for dog food,” much less to feed yourself and your family.

Make no mistake about it: China is a nation full of immoral, unethical liars and deceivers. (Taiwan, on the other hand, is very different and has a much stronger moral code as well as basic human decency.) Remember: I speak Mandarin Chinese. I’ve lived in the Chinese culture. I’ve traveled throughout Asia and even given numerous public speeches to Chinese audiences. At the same time, I’ve investigated and written about food and food safety for more than a decade. Very few people are as qualified to tell you the truth about what’s really in your food coming out of China, and I can tell you that I don’t trust it.

In fact, the only way I will eat anything from China is if I subject it to extensive testing and verify that contamination levels are acceptably low. There are some great products out of China that are completely safe and healthy. Certain medicinal mushrooms, for example, are produced in China and are very clean. Some producers of goji berries are very honest and clean. There are no doubt organic growers who are producing very clean products in China, but these would be the exception, not the rule. By default, we must all now assume that anything from China is heavily contaminated.

Almost universally, food grown in North America is cleaner and less contaminated. This isn’t true 100% of the time, but usually so.

Toxic Chinese agriculture puts honest U.S. farmers out of business

The sad part about all this is that food from China is economically displacing U.S. and Canadian farmers who are generally far more honest and ethical in their farming practices. So while U.S. farmers are being put out of business for following the rules set by the EPA, FDA and USDA, the Chinese farmers are selling us contaminated, toxic “organic” food frauds produced by breaking all the rules!

That’s why I say grow local, buy local and eat local as much as possible. And until China cleans up its act on food contamination, do your best to avoid food from China. I don’t trust it unless EVERY BATCH is comprehensively lab tested and those lab tests are made public.

Props to Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel for having the courage to lay a lot of this out in congressional testimony. Rest assured Congress will never ask me to testify on food contamination because I would describe a truth so horrifying that people would stop eating for days…

P.S. The reason all your dogs and cats are dying from diabetes and cancer these days is because you’re giving them highly toxic pet treats imported from China. They are loaded with toxic solvents and industrial chemicals that cause permanent liver and kidney damage, among other devastating side effects. You can find these toxic, colorful pet treats sold at all the major pet store retailers. They are selling you PET DEATH and making a tidy profit doing so.

Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040266_food_fraud_china_heavy_metals_contamination.html#ixzz2egbiWg

via Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients » The Epoch Times

Over-Drugging Chinese Livestock Causes Dangerous Antibiotic Resistance

12 September, 2013 at 15:39 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Sally Appert
Epoch Times

As the use of factory meat farms increases in China, scientists are concerned that the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could pose a worldwide health risk.

Over half the antibiotics in China are given to livestock, a recent study has shown.

The demand for pork has been rising in China, and half the world’s pigs are in China. Pig farmers routinely add antibiotics to their animals’ feed to promote growth and reduce disease risk, but they are not required to report the amount of antibiotics used, according to online media The World.

The World interviewed staff at a large commercial hog farm in the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province, where the pigs were fed in a big enclosed building. The manager declined to be interviewed.

However, one employee agreed to talk even though she didn’t have permission. “It takes a few months here for the pigs to grow big enough for sale. The pigs are fed really good materials,” she said, according to The World.

The antibiotics may make the pigs grow faster, but overusing antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

Scientists from China and the United States conducted a study last year on hog manure from commercial farms in China. As expected, they found large numbers of drug-resistant bacteria.

More surprisingly, they found that different drug-resistant genes could hop around in clusters from one type of bacteria to another, producing bacteria that were resistant to multiple drugs.

These hard-to-kill pathogens could spread to humans.

“The big problem is the resistance can be transferred to human beings and also could be transferred globally by food export or import,” Dr. Xiao Yonghong of the Antibacterial Resistance Investigation Unit of China’s Health Ministry said, according to The World.

China isn’t the only country with this problem. The online media Mother Jones reports that China is merely following in America’s footsteps, since half of China’s antibiotics use is for livestock, while the United States uses 77 percent for livestock.

It’s hard to compare it that way, though, because people in China use 10 times as many antibiotics per capita as people in the United States, Time reported according to Mother Jones.

“Chinese pork farming is changing rapidly,” Mother Jones states, citing a study by the Dutch bank Rabobank, showing that between 2001 and 2010, the number of hogs from factory farms increased while the number of hogs from small family farms dropped by half.

via Over-Drugging Chinese Livestock Causes Dangerous Antibiotic Resistance » The Epoch Times

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Chinese ‘Birth Tourists’ Getting Attention From US Authorities

12 September, 2013 at 08:50 | Posted in Children, China, human rights, Society | Leave a comment
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By Leo Timm
Epoch Times

U.S. authorities are getting tough on pregnant Chinese women visiting the Northern Mariana Islands to give birth. In what is called “birth tourism,” prospective mothers can at once evade penalties imposed by the One Child Policy in China, and gain U.S. citizenship for their newborn.

Eloy Inos, governor of the Northern Marianas, told the Saipan Tribune that immigration agents had sent home about 20 “birth tourists” in the past three to four months because of “documentation problems.” In August, a pregnant tourist arrived on a charter flight from Shanghai one evening was sent back home early the next morning. Her tour leader Fenny He told the Tribune the woman ” refused to listen” when she advised her not to go.

The number of women delivering babies in the island chain, located between the Philippines and Hawaii, has seen a massive increase in the last two years, according to a Marianas Variety report. This is due to the constitutionally-protected clause granting citizenship to all those born on American soil. U.S. territory includes the Northern Mariana Islands, which were ceded by Japan following World War II.

Today, the territory is a tourist hotspot. In an exception to U.S. immigration laws intended to encourage tourism, Chinese citizens are permitted to visit Saipan and other islands in the Northern Marianas for up to 45 days without a visa. According to USA Today, the total number of Chinese arrivals in 2012 has already been surpassed by July of this year, and about 11,000 Chinese visited the islands in the month of July alone. It’s unclear how many of them are birth tourists.

Avoiding the penalties associated with violation of the One-Child Policy, which was introduced by the Chinese communist regime in 1979, appears to be a major motivation for birth tourism.

He Peihua, chief associate of Guangdong International Business Law Firm, told Chinese media Southern Metropolis Daily that if a Chinese family has their first child in China, and the second in the U.S, it does not constitute a violation of China’s family planning regulations.

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily’s report, one netizen under the name Great Mom wrote: “I’m planning to give birth to my baby in America. I did research from multiple sources to make sure I don’t break the rules. Giving birth in the United States is the best way.”

She added: “There are many centers run by Taiwanese in the United States. It takes two months to get ready for birth and one month after that. You can go back to China after three months.”

Another Internet user quoted in the report said she gave birth in the United States to avoid the one child policy – so her son wouldn’t be an only child.

Sohu, a Chinese Internet portal, lays out 10 reasons Chinese people might consider giving birth in the United States: American citizens are eligible for a retirement pension, for example, even if they never return to the United States, and they may be afforded greater opportunities to enter prestigious American universities.

Americans can visit over 180 countries visa-free, Sohu noted, whereas holders of a passport from the People’s Republic of China can only enter a handful of African and Southeast Asian countries visa free.

With research by Lu Chen.

via Chinese ‘Birth Tourists’ Getting Attention From US Authorities » The Epoch Times

Asia’s Water Tower at Risk

8 September, 2013 at 06:51 | Posted in China, Environmental issues, human rights, persecution, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Maura Moynihan

When Chinese Premiere Hu Jintao flew into New Delhi on March 28, 2012, for the BRIC Summit, he careened onto unfamiliar terrain: a democracy with a free press where a 27-year-old Tibetan refugee, Jamphel Yeshi, walked to a public protest, poured kerosene over his body, and lit himself on fire while shouting for an end to Chinese atrocities in Tibet.

The searing images from India of Jamphel Yeshi’s burning body exposed to the world the cost of China’s reign of terror in Tibet, which has been well concealed for 61 years.

Since March 16, 2011, 121 people inside Tibet and 6 people outside Tibet have lighted themselves on fire in public in defiance of Chinese Communist assaults on their Buddhist faith, but there are no journalists or diplomats to bear witness to the carnage, only raw video that reaches the Internet.

There is another potent source of this explosion of Tibetan outrage, which receives negligible international coverage: the covert history of China’s rape and pillage of Tibet’s ancestral lands and waters.

In Asian folklore Tibet is known as “The Western Treasure House.” Its people have been careful stewards of this bounteous terrain for millennia. Tibet’s blessing, its remote plateau, is now its curse: China controls the “Third Pole” with an iron fist, and there is no one to stop it.

The elemental facts about Tibet are not widely known, yet any map of the Tibetan Plateau reveals the enormous resource and strategic advantage gained by its capture.

Tibet is a unique geomorphic entity; its 46,000 glaciers comprise the Earth’s third-largest ice mass. This “Third Pole,” filled with pristine riches of wildlife, minerals, timber, and above all, water, is a vital component of the planet’s ecosystem.

Tibet is the fount of the Yangtze, Yellow, Indus, Brahmaputra, Chenab, Sutlej, Salween, and Mekong rivers, which flow through 11 nations, nourishing 3 billion people from Peshawar to Beijing. Today, all but one of Asia’s great rivers—the Ganges, which rises from the Tibetan plateau but fortunately just outside the Chinese border—are controlled at the Tibetan headwaters by the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2000, China launched a vast development project titled Xi bu dai fa, the Opening and Development of the Western Regions (of Xinjiang and Tibet, which together comprise one half of China’s land mass). A massive influx of Chinese settlers, urbanization, and forced relocation of nomads swiftly followed.

The Xizang railway, which opened in 2006, transports Tibet’s vast supplies of minerals, stone, and lumber to the mainland and brings in a flood of Chinese engineers and laborers who have built at least 160 hydro dams across Tibet and have plans for hundreds more.

Chinese engineers now operate multiple dams and mines all across Tibet, polluting the rivers at their source—you can see all of this on Google Earth. The Chinese government dismisses concerns of its own scientists and those of neighboring states alarmed by a sudden decline in water levels and fisheries.

In the 1990s, China refused to sign the U.N. treaty on transboundary rivers and increased militarization of the Tibetan Plateau, while denying journalists and international observers access to the troubled region.

Author Michael Buckley, who captured rare footage of dam construction in his film Meltdown in Tibet, observes: “China doesn’t have to listen to anyone on this. China has Tibet, so China has all the cards.” (For Mr. Buckley’s videos and archives visit www.meltdownintibet.com)

When recently asked about the crisis in Tibet, Chinese official media stated: “The Dalai Lama reminds us of the uncontrolled and cruel Nazis during the Second World War. … How similar it is to the Holocaust committed by Hitler on the Jews!”

Many diplomats and journalists are puzzled by China’s obsessive demonization of the Dalai Lama, the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, but the Politburo’s Stalinoid hysteria works. It squelches any and all rational discussion of China’s exploitation of Tibet’s resources, and subverts attention away from how Chinese mines and dams have created a looming environmental catastrophe on the world’s most populous continent.

The preservation and management of Tibet’s glaciers and the rivers they sustain is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. In the 11 countries through which Tibet’s waters flow, population growth and industrial development is projected to double within 50 years.

The combined effects of rapid development, desertification, and water scarcity have already created extreme cycles of droughts and floods, food shortages, and pandemics. The Chinese mainland is so imperiled that in April 2011, the Yangtze River water flows were at their lowest level in record.

Yet, despite irrefutable evidence of the dangers of overexploiting Tibet’s water resources, the Chinese government will not modify or downscale plans for dams, tunnels, railroads, and highways across the Tibetan plateau.

Since Chairman Mao invaded Tibet in 1951, China has deployed a huge military infrastructure across the Tibetan Plateau, which gives China a continuous border with Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The border areas are now filled with military airfields and PLA battalions. In the coming age of “water wars,” China has a firm hand on the water tower of Asia.

China insists that Tibet is “an internal affair of the state,” and for decades, the world has turned away in uncomfortable silence as the slaughter of a helpless civilian populace continues without impediment or penalty. The Chinese Communist Party has for 61 years controlled the narrative, but to ignore Tibet is to misread how the Chinese occupation intensifies environmental, economic, and military instability in Asia and the world.

Tsetan, a Tibetan journalist based in Delhi, says: “For years, we have protested the desecration of our culture, the yoking of our rivers, and the mining of our sacred mountains, but China will not listen: They shoot us, torture us, and there is no one to stop them. Now people inside Tibet are driven to burning their bodies to get the world to understand what China is doing to Tibet, and the world had better wake up before it’s too late.”

Maura Moynihan is a journalist and researcher who has worked for many years with Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. Her works of fiction include “Yoga Hotel” and “Kaliyuga.”

This article was first published by Rangzen Alliance (rangzen.net).

via Asia’s Water Tower at Risk

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German Newspaper Points to Western Complicity in Organ Trade in China

6 September, 2013 at 06:07 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Gisela Sommer
Epoch Times

The West is deeply enmeshed in China’s questionable and lucrative organ trade, a major German newspaper says.

In China, executed prisoners’ organs are removed and sold for transplantation, including into patients from the West. Western hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors support Chinese transplantation centres without asking questions, according to an investigative report in the German newspaper, Die Zeit.

The German-language report, titled “Herz auf Bestellung,” or “Heart to Order,” and written by Martina Keller, said it intends to expose China’s practice of execution on demand, and to shine a light on doctors who go against the ethics of their profession.

As they maneuver on a narrow path “between co-operation and complicity,” participants become entangled by moral conflicts, professional ambitions, and money, with many preferring to remain silent about the issue, writes Keller.

“A human being dies, just in time, so that another can continue to live. In the Chinese transplant system, this is possible. In the name of progress, in the name of making money—including Western money,” states the report.

The article poses the question, “Where must the West draw its boundaries so as to not become an accomplice?”

Executed Prisoners

China holds second place in organ transplant statistics worldwide after the United States, “a fact that fills the government with pride,” writes Keller.

“More than 10,000 kidneys, livers, hearts, and lungs are being transplanted annually, [former] deputy minister of health Huang Jiefu—himself a transplant surgeon—wrote in the scientific journal The Lancet last year. According to his statics, close to 60 per cent of these organs come from executed prisoners, an open admission that surprises,” states Die Zeit.

Until a few years ago, the government had dismissed as propaganda all foreign reports regarding questionable Chinese transplant practices, and the number of executions in China is a state secret.

“Insiders say that transplant hospitals work together with prisons and send out their own teams to harvest the organs. It cannot be excluded that doctors are participating in the execution,” the report states.

Short Waiting Times

Patients from Western countries also get their new kidneys, livers, and hearts thanks to Chinese executions, the report claims.

Die Zeit conducted an interview with 63-year-old Mordechai Shtiglits from Tel Aviv, who flew to China in November, 2005 to receive a new heart at Shanghai’s Zhongshan hospital. There he met patients from Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong who were all waiting for new, life-saving organs.

In China, one gets a new heart in two to three weeks. If you are lucky, it is even faster…

“In China one gets a new heart in two to three weeks. If you are lucky, as Mordechai Shtiglits, it is even faster,” writes Keller. One week after his arrival in Shanghai, a Chinese surgeon told him he would get his new heart the following day, saying it came from a 22-year-old “donor,” the victim of a traffic accident.

The report claims that this situation is extremely unlikely, however. Although more than 60,000 Chinese people die annually in traffic accidents, Chinese doctors cannot know in advance when someone will die through an accident. In addition, China to this day doesn’t have a central system for rapid organ distribution.

Organ removal from executed prisoners is outlawed worldwide, according to Die Zeit—transplantation is based on the principle of voluntary donation. Prisoners, however, are not in a position to make a free decision. This is how the World Association of Doctors sees it, as does the International Transplantation Society.

Dr Jacob Lavee, director of heart transplantation at Sheba Medical Centre, took care of Mordechai Shtiglits for years before Shtiglits received his new heart in China. Lavee said he was almost out of hope for his patient. But when Shtiglits told him he was going to China to get a heart transplant in two weeks, Lavee smiled at him and said, “That is not possible.”

You can take a kidney or part of a liver from a living donor, Dr Lavee explained. “But when somebody gets a heart, it means someone else must die,” he told Die Zeit.

The article quotes New York ethicist Arthur Caplan, a contributor to the book State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China: “Prison authorities have to specifically search for potential donors, test their health, blood, and tissue type, and execute them while the tourist is in China. That is simply killing on demand.”

Falun Gong

Organ trafficking that is tolerated by a government is frightening, as are executions that supply the material for transplantations. But it is not all—there is another, even worse suspicion. Canadian lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, a former Canadian Secretary of State, both nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, have meticulously gathered facts since 2006.

The two Canadians have tried as far as possible to keep everything in their research independent of statements made by Falun Gong practitioners, according to the Die Zeit article. They gathered not only material about Falun Gong prisoners who were medically examined in prisons, disappeared without a trace from camps, or whose corpses were missing body parts. They also interviewed foreign patients who received kidney or liver transplants in China.

They’ve even succeeded in questioning former accomplices about organ removal from Falun Gong prisoners. And they documented phone calls by investigators, who posed as patients or their relatives inquiring at Chinese transplantation centers and institutions about the availability of Falun Gong organs—Falun Gong practitioners are regarded as particularly suitable donors, while other prisoners are frequently infected with Hepatitis B.

They also cite a March 2006 phone conversation with Zhongshan Hospital, four months after Mordecai Shtiglits received his new heart there, Die Zeit reports. To answer the question of the caller on whether organs from Falun Gong practitioners were being transplanted, a doctor responded: “Ours are all of this type.”

Keller’s article quoted Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Law at the University of Vienna and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture until the year 2010, as saying that the allegations of the two Canadians are “well-researched and very serious,” and an important indication is the strong increase in the numbers of transplantations in China coinciding with the persecution of Falun Gong.

On behalf of the United Nations, Nowak sent an urgent call to the Chinese government to provide accurate information regarding the sourcing of all the transplanted organs. According to Nowak, China has rejected all accusations as propaganda, but never explained them.

Western Collaboration

“Elsewhere in the world, such announcements raise horror,” reports Die Zeit. “But what almost nobody knows is that the West is deeply enmeshed in the Chinese system.”

Pharmaceutical companies supply the Chinese market with anti-rejection medication, and carry out transplantation research that most likely uses organs from executed prisoners. Western hospitals and doctors support Chinese transplantation centers without asking questions, Die Zeit reports.

Western advisors of the Chinese government purport to help advance change in China’s transplantation practice, while at the same time pursuing financial interests in China.

Automobiles from the West are being outfitted as so-called ‘execution-mobiles’. A Chinese car dealer, for example, offers a European-brand van on the internet that is equipped with medical monitoring and infusion apparatuses—a grisly symbol of the hand-in-hand co-operation between executioners and doctors, reports Die Zeit.

With such entanglements, many Western participants prefer to be silent.

Drug Companies

According to a presentation in Madrid by former Chinese deputy minister of health Huang Jiefu, organ transplantation experienced a remarkable upturn, saying kidney transplants increased between 1997 and 2005 from 3,000 to 8,500 per year, livers from two to approximately 3,000. The boom was possible in part thanks to new and better medications.

They are medications that come from the West, Die Zeit said.

The Swiss company Sandoz has supplied China since the mid 1980s with Cyclosporin A, which is vital to the survival of transplant patients. Roche and Novartis, who now own Sandoz, as well as Japan’s Astellas, now sell their anti-rejection drugs in China, according to Die Zeit. At the latest, since 1994, these corporations were able to know about the accusations against China: At that time the NGO Human Rights Watch published a detailed report, Die Zeit said.

At the End of 2005 Roche even began producing their drug Cellcept in China. During a grand opening celebration at their plant in Shanghai, according to a report in the Handelsblatt, Roche chief Franz Humer defended their decision why, of all places, Cellcept should be produced in China: In contrast to Japan, there were no ethical or cultural inhibitions in China against the transplant medical field, Die Zeit said.

The Western pharmacological industry is also responsible for research studies in China, Die Zeit said. Research journals have published nine clinical studies of around 1,200 transplantations in which the companies Wyeth and Pfizer from the U.S., Novartis and Roche from Switzerland, and Astellas from Japan have tested their transplant drugs. Altogether, these companies have collaborated with 20 hospitals in China for these studies.

Training Chinese Surgeons

In the journal Liver Transplantation, Huang Jiefu wrote that “whole transplantation teams from the PRC” have received their training abroad. He himself perfected his abilities in Australia.

Some Australian medical centers, meanwhile, have put requirements in place when training Chinese surgeons, writes Keller. For example, Dr Stephan Lynch at the Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane asks applicants to supply a written assurance by their clinic directors, or someone responsible in the provincial government, that the acquired abilities will not be used in transplant programs that use executed prisoners as donors.

However, German doctors are less scrupulous, Die Zeit reports. The German Heart Centre in Berlin, where nearly 2,300 hearts have been transplanted since its founding in 1986, works together with more than 30 hospitals in China, including transplantation centers. In 2005, the personal assistant to medical director Roland Hetzer proudly reported on Radio China International about their strong co-operation.

At the opening of a heart surgery conference in Shanghai in May, 2012, Hetzer announced: “More than 500 doctors…from China have participated in our work in Berlin over the years. Some of the surgeons have completed an entire five-year training. They all have done good work after returning to their homeland,” Die Zeit quotes.

Keller provides another, different interpretation: “Put another way: In Germany, Chinese doctors get the tools that allow them to transplant organs from executed prisoners in China—the tools for human rights abuses.”

Liu Zhongmin is one of the surgeons who has worked in Berlin for several years, Keller writes. He is now the executive director of the Chinese-German Heart Institute in Shanghai, which was founded in 2000 by the German Heart Centre and the Shanghai East Hospital. The hospital is the German’s closest co-operation partner in China.

Liu’s qualifications are listed on the website of the Heart Institute: He is responsible for clinical research into “heart transplantation, artificial heart, and combination heart-lung transplantation.”

In total, how many hearts have been transplanted at the Chinese-German Heart Institute? What is the source of the organs? To these questions posed by Die Zeit, Liu did not reply.

Weng, Hetzer’s long-time representative, and now a senior physician at the German Heart Centre, is, like Liu, an executive director at the Chinese-German Heart Institute. Several times a year, he travels to China, according to Die Zeit.

He, too, failed to answer questions from Die Zeit. As did Hetzer.

Stopping the Organ Trade

Since Mordechai Shtiglits returned from China, Dr Jacob Lavee has been active politically in seeking to stop more Israeli citizens from obtaining hearts in China, Keller writes. In 2008, a transplantation law was enacted in the country to prohibit medical reimbursement for transplants received in foreign countries if organ trade was involved. Since that time, no patients from Israel have gone for organ transplants to China.

Dr Lavee told Die Zeit that he has been subjected to online abuse for having blocked patients from going to China.

“About this accusation, I am very proud,” Lavee said. But he has not reached the end of his mission because international organ tourism to China continues, even as the Chinese leadership is—officially, at least—trying to reform, he told Die Zeit.

via German Newspaper Points to Western Complicity in Organ Trade in China » The Epoch Times

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Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers

5 June, 2013 at 18:38 | Posted in Children, China, Society | Leave a comment
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By Annie Wu

Theoretical legacy of former regime leader Jiang Zemin, the Three Represents, given a silent rebuff.

Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers » The Epoch TimesChina’s Ministry of Education on Monday published a directive on its website ordering local education agencies and Party organizations at universities across the country to strengthen the ideological and political education of young university instructors.

The circular, which carried the imprimatur of Party Central in Beijing, was aimed squarely at young people. It highlights the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) growing unease with their prolific use of the Internet, and facility in harnessing social media to expose the misdeeds of officials and join together for common causes.

The notice comes in the wake of an internal Party order to university administrators and professors known as the “7 Don’t Speaks,” which listed topics that were prohibited from being discussed in class, including issues like civil rights, civil society, and freedom of the press. The order was posted and widely circulated on China’s microblogging service, Sina Weibo, earlier this month.

“Both the seven taboos and the latest 16 advisories are new measures of stability maintenance the top leaders introduced because they are realizing there is an unprecedented political crisis, with the young generation being the most powerful threat that could topple the communist regime,” commentator Zhang Lifan told the South China Morning Post.

The recent educational directive, which listed 16 recommendations, noted that “strengthening and improving young teachers’ ideological and political thinking” is imperative because “young university instructors are close in age to their students, frequently interact with them, and have more direct influence on their thinking and actions.” It was jointly issued by the Organization Department of the Central Committee, the Ministry of Education, and the Propaganda Department on May 4, but was published online this Monday.

Constant reference was made in the notice to “improving political thought work” and “strengthening the study of political theory.” These are watchwords of communist doctrine that refer to inculcating strong adherence to and belief in Communist Party precepts, and loyalty to its rule.

These two recent directives targeting the youth population suggest the Chinese regime’s unease with their exposure and growing awareness of issues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) disapproves of—given the youth’s prolific use of the Internet.

“Both the seven taboos and the latest 16 advisories are new measures of stability maintenance the top leaders introduced because they are realizing there is an unprecedented political crisis, with the young generation being the most powerful threat that could topple the communist regime,” commentator Zhang Lifan told the South China Morning Post.

Wen Zhao, a Canada-based analyst of Chinese affairs with NTD Television, told The Epoch Times that this move by the CCP is to demonstrate that the Party still asserts its control over public opinion. “First, this is a kind of declaration, that is, the Chinese Communist Party will not only stubbornly hold onto its control over expression and ideology, but will continually strengthen its control. This is displayed for the rest of society to see, but also to those elements within the Party who are not resolute and firm in their Party ideology and loyalty.”

However, Wen believes that while the CCP’s attitude is more aggressive as of late, the Party does not enjoy a corresponding increase in its ability to control and censor. “From the Southern Weekend incident earlier this year, to the Masanjia [Labor Camp] being exposed in April, this year has shown that the CCP’s ability to control expression and ideology has been constantly challenged and weakened.”

In the first incident, journalists and editors at the iconic newspaper went on strike after the provincial propaganda chief overstepped the boundaries of acceptable censorship; in the second, a lengthy investigative report was published about torture at one of the most notorious labor camps in China, which primarily targeted practitioners of Falun Gong—discussion of which remains political taboo.

Wen Zhao said that as the CCP faces more challenges, more frequently, it will feel the need to test its grip over public opinion with such orders.

The prevalence of such ideological rhetoric is also raising doubts over the ability of the regime’s new leader, Xi Jinping, to bring about true reform, despite his calls for rule of law and upholding the constitution since taking power last November. “In front of the public, Xi Jinping wants to portray an open-minded image, but to certain people within the party, he will display a conservative side… Since he took power, his primary task is actually to promote economic reform in order to ease societal tensions, while consolidating his power.”

Scholars noted that in the first of the 16 points, reference was made to Marxist and Leninist ideology, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping notion of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and former Party leader Hu Jintao’s “scientific development concept.” But no mention was made of previous regime leader Jiang Zemin’s trademark theoretical contribution to the communist canon, the enigmatic “Three Represents.”

Yu Maochun, a scholar of Chinese politics, strategy, and history at the U.S. Naval War College, said he was “very surprised” by the omission. “Jiang Zemin’s work style was flamboyant, undisciplined, and boastful,” he said, adding that Xi Jinping may be distancing himself from such traits by leaving Jiang’s theory off the list. Ding Li, a researcher with Chinascope, a news service that translates and analyses Communist Party propaganda, said it was “extremely weird.” He added: “If this is not a mistake, the missing of the mention of the ‘three represents’ is equivalent to saying that Jiang Zemin is no longer qualified to leave his legacy in the Party’s history.”

via Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers » The Epoch Times

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China’s Drinking Water Poisoned, State Report Misses Cause

4 June, 2013 at 07:05 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Gu Chunqiu
Epoch Times

China’s Drinking Water Poisoned, State Report Misses Cause » The Epoch TimesFollowing outrage among netizens, demands by Beijing attorneys, and media pressure, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources recently issued a report on the quality of the nation’s groundwater. The report has failed to address the scope or the severity of the problem, say critics.

Concern about groundwater seized the public’s attention in early February after blog posts by the journalist Dong Fei about the pumping of industrial waste water underground in eastern China’s Shandong Province. Chemical and paper plants in Jiangsu Province, just south of Shangdong, and in Huabei (a region of several provinces in northern China) were also reported using wells to dispose of their waste water.

By mid-February 2.9 million netizens published posts with pictures of water pollution in their hometowns in response to a request from Dong.

Three Beijing attorneys then publicly requested that the authorities publish official data on China’s groundwater pollution and media in China took up the issue.

In later March, a 400-page report titled “2011 Data on Groundwater Quality at Nationally Monitored Sites” appeared.

Environmental scientist Zhao Zhangyuan , a retired member of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, told the state-run Jinghua Times (a subsidiary of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily) that the report used outdated 1993 standards, which do not test for many organic pollutants that make up the bulk of modern pollution.

The Nanjing Survey Center of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences monitored groundwater near the Yangtze River Delta—a heavily urbanized area in eastern China that includes Shanghai—and found that it contained cancer-causing chemicals such as dichloroethane and dichloromethane, and other organic chemicals known to affect the nervous system, kidneys, and liver, such as toluene and chloroform. None of these chemicals are covered under the 1993 standards.

Available evidence suggests that China suffers from groundwater pollution on a much larger scale than the authorities have been willing to disclose.

Studies done by the China Geological Survey since 2006 show that in the Huabei region, only 22.2 percent of the region’s groundwater was safe to drink. Groundwater makes up the bulk of the region’s drinking water supply.

The study found that throughout the region, groundwater at shallow levels was found to be heavily polluted. Although the groundwater at deeper levels was found to be cleaner, 12.86 percent of it was found to be polluted as well.

Drinking Water

According to the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, a Shenzhen-based think tank, China will increasingly turn to groundwater sources for its drinking water supplies between now and 2017, due to the country’s relative lack of water resources.

The research institute projects that approximately 70 percent of the Chinese population, or over 400 out of China’s 660 cities, will draw their drinking water primarily from groundwater sources.

China’s rural population draws most of its drinking water supplies from wells, which tap into shallow-level groundwater sources. However the indiscriminate use of fertilizer and pesticide has severely polluted groundwater in the countryside.

“Cancer villages” have appeared in Henan, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, and Shandong provinces.

According to a Voice of America report, groundwater in the Huabei region has been found to contain heavy metals far exceeding allowable limits, including mercury, chromium, cadmium, and lead.

In addition, organic substance pollution has appeared in: the southern suburbs of Beijing; Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern China’s Hebei Province; Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province; and the Yuxi Plain in Henan Province. The main pollutants are benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and trichloroethylene, all of which can cause cancer and other health problems.

Besides these pollutants, at least 100 million people in China are drinking groundwater with dangerous levels of arsenic, which can cause cardiovascular problems and an increased risk of cancer, as well as fluorine, which is known to cause bone deformities in children and kidney problems.

Future Generations

According to the Voice of America report, companies throughout China have been digging wells for the sole purpose of discharging industrial effluent into the groundwater for the past 20 years.

Chinese netizens have since gone online to express their unhappiness over the issue. On Sina Weibo—a popular microblog service similar to Twitter—a user named Wang Pan wrote, “Large businesses are heartlessly pumping pollutants into our groundwater supply, and yet the government, blinded by political goals, has ignored and even openly tolerated this.

“Our rivers and streams suffer from the pollution of surface water, but our very water sources suffer from the pollution of groundwater. How is this different from nuclear waste? This will end the lives of our future generations. When there is no more clean water left in China, what will be the use of having GDP?”

Wang Pan’s account was removed shortly after the comment was posted, showing the regime’s unwillingness to allow free discussion of the problem.

According to Fan Xiao, a geologist and chief engineer at the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, China currently lacks official regulations on the discharge of wastewater into groundwater sources, and state agencies lack the capability to enforce regulations.

“[We] are heavily reliant on our groundwater sources, and if they become polluted, cleaning them up will be virtually impossible,” Fan said.

Rapid urbanization has driven the growth of both the extent and severity of mainland China’s groundwater pollution problems. Key to this is the communist regime’s single-minded pursuit of GDP growth.

According to the 2012 Chinese Cancer Registry Annual Report, due to extreme levels of environmental pollution, there are 3.5 million new cases of cancer in mainland China every year, resulting in 2.5 million deaths annually. This is the equivalent of 8,550 new cases of cancer being diagnosed every day.

via China’s Drinking Water Poisoned, State Report Misses Cause » The Epoch Times

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