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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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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Ending a Crime Against Humanity in China

27 May, 2013 at 08:37 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Hon. David Kilgour, J.D.

China’s 5000-year-old civilization deserves the respect of the entire world. This talk is about governance and violence committed by its current party-state since 1949 on those deemed its opponents, which has most recently resulted in large scale pillaging of organs from Falun Gong practitioners for commercial transplantation purposes. No Falun Gong “donors” survive transplantation operations anywhere in China because both kidneys and all other vital organs are invariably seized and their bodies are then cremated.

David Matas and I located 52 kinds of direct and circumstantial proof about this commerce occurring since 2001. For the period 2000-2005 alone, we concluded that for 41,500 transplants the only plausible explanation for sourcing was Falun Gong. We arrived at this figure by deducting from the government figure of 60,000 transplantations over the six-year period, which appears accurate, the best estimate available about executed convicts (18,550) for the same years.

State Organs

In the 2012 book, State Organs, researcher/writer Ethan Gutmann’s best estimate is that about 65,000 Falun Gong were killed for their organs during the years 2000-2008, selected from about 1.2 million practitioners he considers were interned in China’s forced labour system (Laogai). A police signature is sufficient to send anyone to the camps for up to three years. As Mark Mackinnon of Canada’s Globe and Mail put it recently, “No charges, no lawyers, no appeals.” In 2007, a U.S. government report estimated that at least half of the inmates in 340 camps were Falun Gong. Leninist governance and “anything is permitted” economics created the conditions for organ trafficking to occur and persist today.

Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a spiritual discipline, which seeks to improve health and ethics. It contains features of traditional systems, like Chinese Qigong, Buddhism and Daoism, combined with a set of gentle exercises. Because it grew astonishingly rapidly in popularity from its inception in 1992, former Party head Jiang Zemin saw it as a threat, labeled it a cult, and commenced persecution against its practitioners from mid-1999 on.

After 1980, the post-Mao Party began withdrawing funds from the health system across China, requiring it to make up the shortfall from service charges to mostly uninsured patients. Selling the organs of executed convicts became a source of income for surgeons, the military and other participants. After 1999, Falun Gong prisoners of conscience became a vast live organ bank for wealthy Chinese patients and “organ tourists” from abroad, the former often preferring that the “donors” were Falun Gong, being normally healthy persons.

Matas and I visited about a dozen countries to interview Falun Gong practitioners sent to China’s forced labour camps, who later managed to leave the camps and the country. Practitioners told us of working in appalling conditions in camps for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay and little food, crowded sleeping conditions and torture. They made a range of export products as subcontractors to multinational companies. This is both gross corporate irresponsibility and a violation of WTO rules; it shrieks for an effective response by all trading partners of China. Each government should ban forced labour exports by enacting legislation which places an onus on importers in each country to prove their goods are not made by slaves.

Constructive Engagement

The responsible international community should nonetheless engage as constructively as feasible with the new government in Beijing, while pressing it to end organ pillaging.

Read more: Ending a Crime Against Humanity in China » The Epoch Times

What has happened since last time III?

26 May, 2013 at 11:53 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Culture, Environmental issues, Funny things :-), human rights, IT and Media, Nature, persecution, Science, slave labor camps, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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And some more…

….

Chinese Documentary Exposes Mao-Era ‘Juvenile Auschwitz’

By Michelle Yu
Epoch Times

“When I die, bury me on the sunny side of the hill, because I’m afraid of the cold,” a child, now nameless and faceless, said to his fellow teenage prisoners over half a century ago. For the 4,000-5,000 juvenile prisoners at the Dabao labor camp, such requests were common, as the children were surrounded by death every day.

via Chinese Documentary Exposes Mao-Era ‘Juvenile Auschwitz’ » The Epoch Times

Chinese State Media Dodges Torture Victims

By Gu Qinger
Epoch Times

Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia.

via Chinese State Media Dodges Torture Victims » The Epoch Times

Harrowing Documentary About Slavery and Torture in China Released » The Epoch TimesHarrowing Documentary About Slavery and Torture in China Released

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

It would have been impossible even very recently in China to produce a documentary about torture and slavery in an officially-run labor camp, and not be thrown in jail for it. Chinese independent filmmaker Du Bin, however, has done just that, and he’s now in Hong Kong speaking at film screenings and blithely taking interviews from overseas media.

via Harrowing Documentary About Slavery and Torture in China Released » The Epoch Times

Group Wants Global Effort to Unveil UFO Evidence » The Epoch TimesGroup Wants Global Effort to Unveil UFO Evidence

By Shar Adams
Epoch Times

WASHINGTON—After five days and 40 testimonies from international witnesses from the military, scientific and academic fields, a committee of six former Congress members agreed to seek international support to break a “truth embargo” on encounters with extraterrestrial life.

via Group Wants Global Effort to Unveil UFO Evidence » The Epoch Times

Ring Around the Sun: What Causes It?Ring Around the Sun: What Causes It?

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.

via Ring Around the Sun: What Causes It? » The Epoch Times

Group of Chinese Lawyers Beaten After Visiting Brainwashing Center » The Epoch TimesGroup of Chinese Lawyers Beaten After Visiting Brainwashing Center

By Matthew Robertson and Carol Wickenkamp
Epoch Times

A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.

via Group of Chinese Lawyers Beaten After Visiting Brainwashing Center » The Epoch Times

H7N9 Bird Flu Spreads by Direct Contact in Mammals » The Epoch TimesH7N9 Bird Flu Spreads by Direct Contact in Mammals

By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

While the latest official news from China says that the H7N9 bird flu outbreak is now under control, a new international study urges continued caution.

via H7N9 Bird Flu Spreads by Direct Contact in Mammals » The Epoch Times

Bottled Water in China Worse Than Tap Water » The Epoch TimesBottled Water in China Worse Than Tap Water

By Gao Zitan
Epoch Times

Chinese media recently exposed quality issues in the bottled water industry, saying its regulation levels are from the Soviet era.

Beijing News reported May 2 that over 10 Chinese experts had found that the standards for bottled water are very low, with only 20 test indices versus 106 for tap water quality.

via Bottled Water in China Worse Than Tap Water » The Epoch Times

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Help Asia Roar » The Epoch TimesFossil Fuel Subsidies Help Asia Roar

By Will Hickey

One reason behind greater pollution leading to global warming has been artificially lowered gas prices brought by subsidies. Governments have carried on this shortsighted policy to foster growth and satisfy consumers. But as world fuel prices begin rising again, the costs of subsidy—both budgetary and environmental—will come to the fore.

via Fossil Fuel Subsidies Help Asia Roar » The Epoch Times

Chinese Professors Given 7-Point Gag Order » The Epoch TimesChinese Professors Given 7-Point Gag Order

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

University professors and administrators in China have been given clear instructions recently about precisely what topics of discussion are off-limits in the classroom.

via Chinese Professors Given 7-Point Gag Order » The Epoch Times

Chinese Authorities’ Temple Tourist Trap Fails » The Epoch TimesChinese Authorities’ Temple Tourist Trap Fails

By Sally Appert

Communist officials in Shaanxi Province have resorted to hiring fake monks to collect donations in an attempt to recover the debt they incurred from a large development project near the ancient Famen Temple.

via Chinese Authorities’ Temple Tourist Trap Fails » The Epoch Times

Award-winning Chinese Filmmaker Undone by His Alliances » The Epoch TimesAward-winning Chinese Filmmaker Undone by His Alliances

Accused of violating one-child policy, Zhang Yimou’s real crime was backing Jiang Zemin

By Xia Xiaoqiang

A successful Chinese film director becomes entangled with the propaganda schemes of a brutal dictator. The director enjoys a rich and privileged life, but then loses everything when the dictator’s political opponents charge him with violating the nation’s family-planning laws.

via Award-winning Chinese Filmmaker Undone by His Alliances » The Epoch Times

Byzantine Mosaic Floor Found in Israel » The Epoch TimesByzantine Mosaic Floor Found in Israel

By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times

Byzantine mosaic floor: The “extraordinary” floor was in a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Isreal, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

via Byzantine Mosaic Floor Found in Israel » The Epoch Times

 

What has happened since last time II?

25 May, 2013 at 10:48 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Culture, Environmental issues, human rights, IT and Media, Nature, persecution, Science, slave labor camps, Society, sustainable development, Technology | Leave a comment
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Since I have not posted any articles in a long time I will post some so you can select those that are of interest to you.

Just stick this portable outlet to your window to start using solar power

By Sarah Laskow

We have seen a lot of solar chargers in our day. And among all of them, this is the first one we’ve seen that we will definitely run out and buy as soon as it’s made available in the U.S. It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy.

via Just stick this portable outlet to your window to start using solar power | Grist

Mimicking Firefly Light to Design Tomorrow’s Light Bulbs

By Joshua Philipp
Epoch Times Staff

Watching the soft glow of fireflies could become a more common activity if researchers at Syracuse University have anything to do with it. They’re developing a method to artificially create luciferase, the chemical behind the soft glow of fireflies, and are working to create commercial lights that mimic the insects’ bioluminescence.

via Mimicking Firefly Light to Design Tomorrow’s Light Bulbs | Inspiring Discoveries | Science | Epoch Times

Nomads in Kyrgyzstan: Another Way of Life

These migrants know why they keep moving

By Francisco Gavilán

When I was going to travel through Central Asia for the umpteenth time, I was looking for new and enriching experiences, including living for a while with the nomads of Song Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.

via Nomads in Kyrgyzstan: Another Way of Life | Travel | Life | Epoch Times

Earth Permanently Deformed by Earthquakes

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Earth permanently deformed: Geologists have discovered that the Earth’s crust may not be as elastic as previously thought. Quakes in Northern Chile have permanently deformed the Earth.

via Earth Permanently Deformed by Earthquakes » The Epoch Times

The 2,556th Birth Anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni

Celebrating compassion and higher living across the globe

By Arshdeep Sarao
Epoch Times

In India the full moon day of May 25, 2013, is being celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birth anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni. This year the Buddha becomes 2,556 years old.

via The 2,556th Birth Anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni » The Epoch Times

The Sixty Million Dollar Decision

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people,’ says Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Silicon Valley inventor.

via The Sixty Million Dollar Decision » The Epoch Times

Finding Happiness and the Science Behind it

By Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

Everybody longs for happiness, but it seems like a hidden treasure. One way or another—consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly—everything we do, our every hope, is related to a deep desire for happiness.

via Finding Happiness and the Science Behind it » The Epoch Times

University of Sydney Criticized for Giving Degree to Huang Jiefu, Alleged Chinese Organ Harvester

5 May, 2013 at 07:10 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

A prestigious Australian university has come under scrutiny recently for giving an honorary professorship to a former top Chinese health official who has been involved in unethical organ harvesting. 

Researchers of organ harvesting in China spoke to the influential Australian news program the “7:30 Report” with information about Huang Jiefu’s involvement in organ harvesting in China; they called on the University of Sydney to rescind the honorary professorship they gave to Huang in 2008 and renewed in October 2011.

Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh, a member of the faculty of health science at the University of Sydney, regards Huang as one of the former leaders of an unethical system of organ transplantation.

In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials. – Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh

“In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials,” she said to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which produces the “7:30 Report.” This was meant to preserve the organs while the person is anaesthetised.

“They don’t die right away,” Singh said, giving the surgeon time to pull out organs before the lethal injection is finalized. “It’s done in a way that actually allows this very, very unsavoury mix of execution and medical care and treatment to be done by the same team of doctors,” Singh said. “It’s horrific, really.”

Huang was the vice minister of health from 2001 to 2013, and was the point person for international groups to hear the official word on the Chinese regime’s organ transplantation policies. He was also a member of the Party Leadership Group in the Ministry of Health, according to the Ministry’s website; and he is a reserve member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, ostensibly an advisory body for the Communist Party.

Huang also watched over a period of extensive harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience, according to the research of David Matas, a Canadian lawyer who co-authored the seminal “Independent Investigation Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” first published in 2006.

Practitioners of Falun Gong are suspected of being the preponderant source of illicit organs trafficked through the Chinese system from the early 2000s onwards; tens of thousands may have been killed in that fashion, researchers indicate.  

Much of that activity was carried out by the medical-military complex, where military hospitals work with labor camps to source organs and carry out the transplants in secret. Such hospitals are not under the purview of the Ministry of Health—but as head of the transplantation system, Matas holds Huang accountable.

The University of Sydney defended itself with a note from Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Medical School: “Huang Jiefu is recognised internationally for having made significant changes to the regulation of China’s organ transplantation processes in an effort to curb the practice of organ retrieval from executed prisoners.” Robinson listed some of the initiatives that were attributed to Huang, including “publicly stating that executed prisoners are not an appropriate source of organs for transplantation.”

But it’s likely that Huang has himself extracted the vital organs of executed prisoners, says Singh. Singh notes that even up until November of last year Huang was still carrying out liver transplants.

“That would be 100 organs a year,” Singh says. “Using his own figures, 90 to 95 percent of those would have come from executed prisoners.” Huang previously gave estimates that 90 or 95 percent of all organ transplants in China were from executed prisoners.

Before an operation in 2005, he also contacted the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, which is affiliated with the Chinese military, as well as the Zhongshan School of Medicine located in Guangzhou, to obtain a blood-matched liver. Within about 24 hours, one arrived from Chongqing and he performed the transplant, according to a news report on a Chinese official website, recounting the incident in adulatory terms.

While David Matas, the lawyer and researcher, acknowledges that Huang played a public role in highlighting the need for the People’s Republic of China to reform its organ sourcing system, he said in a previous interview with The Epoch Times that it was far from enough.

“With Huang Jiefu, I mean, he says all the right things, but he’s a fellow traveller. This guy is sitting on top of a system of massive transplant abuse,” Matas said. “What I see is the system playing good cop/bad cop. Huang is the good cop. He has this notion of ‘Let’s change things gradually.’ He’s been saying this for many years now, and I don’t see a lot of changes. They do everything to hide the figures.”

Matas added: “I don’t buy the line that they’re doing what they can. They should stop it.”

via University of Sydney Criticized for Giving Degree to Huang Jiefu, Alleged Chinese Organ Harvester – Epoch Times

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Chinese Regime Bans Reporters From Quoting Foreign Press

25 April, 2013 at 07:03 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

Beijing has tightened its grip on mainland media with a new directive that forbids the use of information from overseas news outlets “without permission.”

The General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the office charged with regulating the media, announced the move Wednesday. The office claimed it wanted to “strengthen management” and stop the “spread of harmful information.” The prohibition also applies to freelancers, NGOs, and commercial organizations.

The move coincided with the news that The New York Times had just won a Pulitzer Prize for its October 2012 report on the hidden wealth of ex-premier Wen Jiabao and family.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RWB) condemned the ruling as “draconian,” saying that the Communist Party’s censorship has been increasing steadily since its 18th Congress last November, when the new leadership was selected.

“The censors have had the foreign media in their sights ever since they published embarrassing revelations about China’s leaders,” the report said. “The regime is trying to prevent the Chinese media from repeating such revelations.”

The report added that foreign media play a key role in informing the international community about events in China, as well as the Chinese public, which it described as “the victim of the government’s growing censorship of local media.”

However, burgeoning Internet use in China, for example via Sina Weibo microblogs, renders censorship virtually impossible.

“The initiative seems bound to fail in the era of Weibo and social networks, where information and revelations from the foreign media circulate like wildfire,” the RWB report said. “But it could be used to justify new acts of censorship and could therefore have an impact on the Chinese media, which often quote international news agency reports in particular.”

Beijing journalist Gao Yu, two-time Courage in Journalism Award winner, and former deputy editor-in-chief for Economics Weekly, told the Sound of Hope Radio Network that the Internet has broken the Party’s censorship restrictions, and the move is further evidence of a crisis in officialdom.

“[News about] communist officials’ scandals, natural and mining disasters can be spread around the world in a few minutes or seconds,” Gao said.

“For years the Chinese media’s brainwashing propaganda has destroyed the Chinese people’s morality. With the development of the Internet, the brainwashing propaganda can no longer be sustained,” she added. “This is the Chinese regime’s crisis, and that’s why they are tightening control.”

The ban could have a big impact on domestic newspapers, as international agencies like Reuters provide most of their foreign coverage.

Bloggers responded strongly, particularly journalists. A Beijing journalist cited by citizen media website Global Voices said on his Weibo: “Public opinion supervision is essential for a healthy society. The scale of criticism is the scale of democracy–if criticism is not free, then praise is meaningless. The correct conclusion is from a wide range of voices, rather than what is chosen by the authority.”

Another Weibo user added: “What is harmful information? I think there’s only true and false information. The purpose of the news is to broadcast the truth, which is the basic need of a society. Most of the harmful information as defined by the propaganda department throughout the history of the Chinese republic proved to be accurate. Blocking information and opinions may be effective temporarily, but such a policy of self-denial won’t work in the long run.”

A third referred to a Chinese idiom, saying “The more one tries to hide, the more one is exposed.”

With research by Jane Lin.

via Chinese Regime Bans Reporters From Quoting Foreign Press » The Epoch Times

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Epoch Times Reporter Wins Prestigious Journalism Award

24 April, 2013 at 09:20 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution, slave labor camps | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

By Genevieve Belmaker
Epoch Times

Epoch Times Reporter Wins Prestigious Journalism Award » The Epoch TimesAn Epoch Times reporter is the winner of a prestigious annual award for his reporting on organ harvesting in China. Matthew Robertson, who specializes in reporting on China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, wrote a series of articles on forced, live organ harvesting published in The Epoch Times in 2012.

Robertson and the articles won the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for professional journalism. The SPJ, founded in 1909 under the name Sigma Delta Chi, promotes freedom of information, educates and advocates for journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of the freedoms of speech and press.

Winners for the 10 categories of the 2012 Sigma Delta Chi awards came from a pool of more than 1,700 entries in categories including print, radio, television, and online. The awards are in recognition of outstanding work published or broadcast in 2012. The Epoch Times collection won for the newspaper category Non-Deadline Reporting (Daily Circulation 1-50,000).

In the nomination letter from The Epoch Times, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Stephen Gregory said that the topic of the articles—forced, live organ harvesting in China—is important and under-reported.

“Hospitals are working hand in glove with the Chinese regime’s repressive security apparatus, and doctors, using the skills meant to heal, are killing helpless prisoners of conscience by removing their organs,” stated Gregory in the letter. He added that the four articles by Robertson submitted on the topic “are a sample of a larger body of work and are the fruit of over two years of consistent effort.”

In praising Robertson’s work on the extremely complicated and sensitive issue, Gregory pointed to his professionalism and dedicated focus.

“Matt [Robertson] has developed contacts with all of the major investigators and human rights organizations in the West concerned with organ harvesting in China and has proven adept at digging important stories out of information publicly available on the Chinese web,” wrote Gregory.

The award-winning articles include “Would Be China Defector, Once Bo Xilai’s Right Hand, Oversaw Organ Harvesting,” about a high-ranking Chinese security official’s forced organ techniques; “After Bo Xilai’s Purge, Searches For ‘Organ Harvest’ Suddenly Allowed,” which analyzes Internet traffic to examine the struggle within the Chinese leadership over accountability for these crimes; “Accused Chinese Organ Harvester Lurks in Transplant Community,”  about a Chinese doctor who was head of the organ transplantation unit at a hospital implicated in organ harvesting; “Friendly Ties Come With Award, But Ethicists Object,” on how a major university may have sacrificed ethics for the chance to develop closer ties with China; and “Book Exposes Organized Killing for Organs in China,” a review of State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, a compilation of works from dozen specialists addressing the issue of organ sourcing practices in China.

In an interview about winning the award, Robertson said he found it gratifying.

“I think it’s awesome that SPJ gave this award because China is a controversial topic to some degree,” said Robertson. “Journalists in China—if they report on this—would probably have their visas denied, so it’s being pushed aside.”

Robertson began learning Chinese in 2007. He lived in Taiwan for eight months of immersion study. Learning aids included the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times, listening to NTD Television and Voice of America, studying reams of Communist Party propaganda, watching ancient Chinese drama serials, and reading the books of Falun Dafa.

To produce the articles, Robertson noted that he made all the phone calls and checked all the available sources, as good journalists do, but had to go well beyond.

“It’s much harder than reporting on subjects in the Western world, because the information is so much harder to get. You cross-check many sources and make some inferences.”

He said that he is “standing on the shoulders of the amazing research done by others, including my Chinese colleagues at The Epoch Times, and also the great work of other Chinese researchers.”

“Through my investigation I found not only gross abuses of human rights, evil things, really, that the Chinese regime has done, but also lack of fortitude in the West in the face of those things.”

“Tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience may have been killed from organ harvesting,” said Robertson. “In Mainland China, military hospitals and labor camps have worked together to carry this out.”

The winners of the Sigma Delta Chi awards were announced on April 23, 2013 on their website.

via Epoch Times Reporter Wins Prestigious Journalism Award » The Epoch Times

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