Tags: CCP, China, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
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.”
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More in China Human Rights
Tags: CCP, censorship, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Cassie Ryan
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.
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More in Chinese Regime
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, persecution of dissidents
By Genevieve Belmaker
An 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.
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Tags: CCP, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Sally Appert
An 18-year-old and fellow amateurs accurately forecast the April 20 earthquake in Sichuan Province and another one in Yunnan Province three days earlier, but a communist official said they were acting against the law.
Lin Long, a student and microblog owner, is part of an online team of about 50 amateur earthquake researchers who gather information online and use it to make predictions. Lin told the Beijing News that their group, called the Forecast Center, has made over 800 predictions so far, mostly for overseas quakes, with over 500 being accurate.
“I am protecting the people’s right to know, to let them know something out of the ordinary was found in the data. We do this to prevent property loss,” Lin told the news agency.
“We are really careful with information on big earthquakes, and we inform the rescue troops if that’s the case.”
However, a municipal decree states that earthquake predictions should only be announced by the authorities, chief forecaster Sun Shihong of China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) told Beijing News. Sun said that a false prediction from a private group could disrupt social order and stability.
“They should turn in their results and once the government experts confirm it, they will ask the government to issue an official announcement,” Sun added.
On April 14, three days before the Yunnan quake struck, the Forecast Center posted an online prediction that there would be an earthquake in that area within 72 hours. According to state mouthpiece Xinhua, the tremor destroyed nearly 500 houses, injured 14 people, and affected almost 130,000 in the area.
The group noticed oddities in data from the Yunnan Earthquake Precursory Data Center about a week before the disaster hit, according to the Beijing News.
On April 18, Lin’s team also accurately predicted the devastating 6.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan, which killed at least 207 people and injured almost 12,000, based on official data.
Netizens expressed their opinions on the matter via Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform.
“Why don’t we make it illegal if an earthquake took place and the Earthquake Administration did not forecast it?” one Internet user joked.
Another quipped: “The Forecast Center stole the Earthquake Administration’s job. Also, earthquake prediction in China is a state secret.”
A third was more serious, saying, “There are tens of thousands of pieces of inaccurate information like this. If everyone just predicts at will, how much inconvenience will it bring to our daily life; can you imagine?”
Tags: CCP, China, Economy, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Eight activists have been detained in the past few weeks for calling on over 200 high-level officials in the Communist Party to publicize details of their assets, alongside new leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.
Most recently, rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi and veteran democracy activist Zhao Changqing were locked up on April 17, two days before Xi’s latest speech about countering corruption at a Politburo meeting on Friday.
“All Party members must keep high mental vigilance and gain more public trust for the Party by new progress in the anti-corruption struggle,” Xi said, according to state mouthpiece Xinhua.
Also on Friday, state-run media created special webpages that lead to online informant centers where the public can report on corrupt officials.
If they are afraid of their assets being publicized, it shows that there’s some issue with their property – Liu Weiguo
Overseas advocacy group China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said police have been detaining activists, lawyers, and ordinary citizens in a crackdown against anti-corruption and other politically sensitive issues.
The CHRD report added that the seized activists are part of “The New Citizens Movement,” and their petition for asset disclosure includes Xi Jinping and new premier Li Keqiang.
Lawyer and activist Liu Weiguo told New Tang Dynasty Television that Ding Jiaxi was completely within his rights to make the request for transparency. “If the human rights of a lawyer can’t be protected, then the basic rights of citizens will be trampled by the authorities.”
“If they are afraid of their assets being publicized, it shows that there’s some issue with their property,” Liu continued. “They possess huge amounts of undisclosed wealth. Officials fear that this evil will be exposed, so they stifle citizens who ask for disclosure.”
Ai Xiaoming, former professor of Sun Yat-Sen University, told Voice of America that Ding’s appeal is in line with the Party’s anti-corruption campaign. “So if you say asking officials to disclose their wealth is illegal, you are actually saying that the anti-corruption requirement raised by the Party is illegal.”
Prominent lawyer Zhou Ze blogged about the crackdown on his Weibo account: “It will be very difficult to systematize official asset disclosures,” he said. “Citizens who call for officials to disclose their assets get punished. The chasm between ordinary people, and the Communist Party and its officials is vast.”
With research by Ariel Tian.
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Science
By Matthew Robertson
Originally he’d only planned to speak for five minutes, about the recently-concluded Boao economic forum. But as he began recalling the details of torture recently revealed in a Chinese magazine article, well-known television host Cao Baoyin went on for over 20.
“Curse the Boao forum!” Cao said at the beginning of the video, using an actual Chinese curse word. He had just read the article after coming home from his day job on April 9, and needed to speak out. Cao is a television personality and a columnist for Beijing News, a major newspaper in the capital.
At a number of points in his talk he visibly struggled to hold back tears. At one point he held up a board that he’d written a number of the main torture methods on.
“Hell on earth,” he had titled it. He announced the techniques one by one: “Small room,” “inmate-monitors,” “electric shocks,” “death bed,” “tiger bench,” while rapping on each with his Chinese fan.
“Behind every word there’s blood, inhumanity, lawlessness, immorality, and naked barbarism,” he said, before elaborating on specifically how Chinese communist prison guards use the “hanging an airplane” torture against inmates in the Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp.
Cao was one of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese to read and react to a recent article about that labor camp, published in the Chinese magazine Lens, which is known for its photography.
The article detailed the brutal torture methods applied against inmates, most of whom are practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline that has been persecuted since 1999. The article did not mention Falun Gong—the persecution of the spiritual practice is off limits for China’s media.
The fact that the piece was published at all was stunning to many. Masanjia is known to have devised many of the extreme torture methods used to break the wills of Falun Gong practitioners, and then taught them to other labor camps.
Cao Baoyin spoke about how prisoners who go on hunger strikes are treated. “They tie them to a ‘death bed’ and use metal pliers to force open their mouths. Some of the victims have their teeth knocked out because of that. Even some of the workers ask for the day shift, so they don’t have to witness it when it happens at night.”
He became agitated and focused on the camera: “The ‘death bed,’ that’s really going to kill people. But in this women’s labor camp, if you die they don’t even care. They think the prisoners’ lives are worth less than flies. Women do this to other women, except that because some of them wear a uniform they can act like beasts, doing this crazy torture. Are these still people? Even beasts don’t do this to one another. When you hear all this, can you say it’s not hell on earth?!”
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Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Matthew Robertson
When a long news article is published in China explaining in detail how torture implements with names like the “Tiger Bench” and the “Death Bed” are used against prisoners in a labor camp, you can bet that it wasn’t by accident.
But whatever the thoughts were of those in the Chinese Communist Party who authorized an April 6 article in Lens Magazine, known for its photography, about the Masanjia Labor Camp, it’s unlikely they could have predicted the reaction: an online outpouring by hundreds of thousands, furious at the authorities for what the article depicted. The piece was quickly deleted from web portals.
The roughly 20,000 word article landed amidst discussion about reform or abolishment of the labor camp system in China, and relates the personal experiences of a number of former Masanjia detainees, describing some of the extraordinary torture they were subjected to.
These include how prisoners were shocked with electric batons, starved, hung up by handcuffs, forced to squat in small spaces, clubbed by guards, and tied onto tiger benches and death beds for further torture.
The publication of the piece is surprising because of the clutch of significant and sensitive issues it touches on: most prominently, the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been targeted since 1999, and which constitutes the primary population at the Masanjia camp, in northeastern China. It also highlights the ongoing struggle between the old guard of Jiang Zemin, the former Party head responsible for the persecution, and the new leadership of Xi Jinping. And it appears to give powerful ammunition to those in China who would argue for the abolishment of all labor camps.
The details of the torture depicted in the article make clear why.
A number of the vivid and gruesome depictions in the article came from diaries that were written by the female captives while at Masanjia, and smuggled out through bodily cavities.
Liu Hua was one of the women who wrote a “Diary of Re-Education Through Labor,” and got it out.
She describes one incident when she was stripped naked and shocked on the tongue with electric batons. According to a translation by Minghui, a Falun Gong website, she said: “It was one shock after another. The electricity ran through me. My heart pounded so hard, so unsteady. Electricity was applied to the tip of the tongue, like needles piercing into it. I could not stand steadily, and I couldn’t even try to.”
She was also made to work, matching nearly thousands of collars and cuffs every day.
Other accounts in the article described inmates being hung up on bunk beds by their arms and legs, and being left for sometimes a week.
Food for the prisoners was abysmal, consisting of only a meager serving of vegetables and rice.
The Unnamed Victims
The article made one oblique mention of the identity of the victims: it says that a victim “confirmed with a Lens reporter that the ‘Tiger Bench’ and the ‘Death Bed’ are both implements used in the labor camp. The former was originally used for a special group, and later was used on regular inmates. The latter is equipment used on inmates that hunger strike.”
It’s an open secret that Masanjia is most well known for its persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, who are specifically targeted by the camp, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center. The “special group” referred to is almost certainly Falun Gong, analysts say.
Minghui, one of the main Falun Gong websites, noted the publication of the article. “This is quite a remarkable occurrence because none of these horrific stories of torture, brainwashing and forced labor have ever before been admitted, much less reported, in mainland Chinese media.”
Minghui has registered thousands of cases of torture in Masanjia alone.
Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, noted that the treatment described in the Lens report “is stuff we’ve been talking about for more than 12 years.”
He added that, given that the Lens article validates the Information Center’s work, “we hope that people will pay attention to the things they didn’t cover, like the show tours, throwing women into male jail cells, and Masanjia being a groundbreaking entity for training and leading the way for torture.”
In interviews with victims from Masanjia, the Information Center found that the facility was unusual for a number of reasons: It is one of the few camps where guards and Party agents do most of the hands-on torture themselves, rather than coercing or incentivizing other prisoners to do so.
It is also “literally a training ground,” Browde said. “They fly other labor camp officials to Masanjia to learn ways to break Falun Gong practitioners.”
The treatment of the article by Chinese Internet censors has been sometimes contradictory. Searches for “Masanjia” on Sina Weibo, a major Twitter-like microblogging service, were at first allowed, and then restricted, and then free.
A hash-tag topic about the article was created — but later it disappeared. As of 1 a.m. Beijing time on April 10, it was available, aggregating the thousands of comments and forwards the news has received. Previously, a search for Masanjia only yielded a few hundred hits, indicating that censorship was loosened.
After publication, the article was immediately posted on a number of Chinese web portals — but soon after disappeared. The 70,000 comments on Sohu were still active, however, even though the article had been deleted.
Even People’s Daily Online, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, included the story in its “hot topics” news list on April 8. The news was ranked first, with a total of over 500,000 comments. That too later disappeared.
Lens continued to carry its chilling double-page spread, a photograph of the monolithic labor camp, on its website, on April 10 local time.
“It seems as though the Propaganda Department only reacted after the fact, but the news was already out,” said Wen Zhao, an analyst of contemporary Chinese affairs with NTD Television, an independent broadcaster.
He noted the fact that under the immense pressure of the news, Liaoning Province authorities gave a terse announcement that they would launch an investigation. “This kind of internal investigation will no doubt gather a lot of evidence, but whether or not it’ll be published, or how far they will take it — we can only watch and wait.”
Wen Zhao added: “There are hundreds of labor camps in China, all doing things along the same lines as Masanjia.”
“This is a blow to those in the Party trying to stop labor camp reform,” said independent political analyst Tang Jingyuan, in an interview with Epoch Times.
He said that the appearance of the article on People’s Daily Online “to a certain degree” reflects the thinking of top Party leaders.
But the fact that it was soon deleted “also shows that the Party has not reached a consensus, and that the resistance to abolishing the labor camp system is still terribly ferocious.”
Browde said that now is the time for the West to start publicly discussing the persecution of Falun Gong. “There are clearly people in China that want to get the truth out about Masanjia, and perhaps the persecution more broadly,” he said. “Now it’s critically important that journalists and others take that momentum they’ve created, at great risk to themselves, and don’t let their efforts sputter out.”
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, human rights lawyers, persecution of dissidents, Society
Wang, 66, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003 by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for his pro-democracy activities. He is being held in solitary confinement at Shaoguan Prison in Guangdong Province.
His older sister, Wang Jinhuan, was interviewed in Los Angeles by Radio Free Asia on March 14. She said the Chinese regime has only “issued visas to a few selected family members,” while others have not been allowed to visit.
“Wang has suffered three strokes in recent years, each one worse than the last,” she said. “The latest letter I got from him while in Vancouver was held by the prison for two months for scrutinizing before it was mailed. In the letter, he said his health has gotten really bad recently, and told us ‘if you don’t hear from me for a long time, it means something terrible happened to me in prison.’ He hoped we could try to visit him.”
Wang Jinhuan said his words left her heartbroken, because for the last two years she has been denied a visa to travel to China.
She told Radio Free Asia that Wang’s daughter, and younger sister were also denied visas. Only Wang’s younger brother, Wang Bingwu, and Wang’s second son were allowed to go.
Since Dr. Wang’s incarceration, his family has repeatedly requested that the prison authorities treat him humanely, but the physical and mental persecution have never relented, Wang Jinhuan said.
Wang Jinhuan said, “This is the cruelest way to take away a person’s most basic rights. No matter how much we request or appeal, the situation remains the same.”
She said the authorities offered Wang Bingzhang better treatment several times in exchange for a “statement of repentance,” but he refused, which resulted in severe beatings, a restriction of activities, and other psychological abuses. “Wang Bingzhang told me it’s impossible for him to write a ‘statement of repentance.’ He is seeking the strength to carry on by praying. Fighting for democracy in China is what he cares about most.”
Read the original Chinese article.
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Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, film, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
The documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” co-produced by NTD, screened at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on Tuesday. The film is about a man and a woman who practice Falun Gong. They are imprisoned and tortured for standing up for their beliefs in China.
The film exposes some of the abuses behind China’s economic success—like slave labour—showing the cruel conditions in China’s forced labour camps.
The woman in the film, Jennifer Zeng was thrown into a Chinese labour camp because she practices Falun Gong. It’s a meditation practice the Chinese regime has been persecuting since 1999. In the labour camp she was forced to make handmade toy bunnies, shoes, Christmas lights and other products that are sold in the West.
[Jennifer Zeng, Main Character in Free China]:
“I hope that international companies must become aware. What kind of business partner and the whole environment inside there is? This is a state sanction system to use innocent people as free slavery that makes profit for the [Chinese Communist] Party. And the international companies and consumers overseas I think unknowingly become part of this. I don’t think they want to become part of this.”
China has the world’s second largest economy and is becoming increasingly more important in the world.
The producer of the film, Kean Wong and Jennifer pointed out that a better economy in China does not automatically grant freedom of speech for the Chinese people.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“You are dealing with a mafia that is willing to kill their own people. They don’t really care about your company. They want to do business with you, make as much money as they can and eventually steal your market share.”
Kean Wong says that companies today that are doing business with China can no longer put all the responsibility on politicians to work for human rights in China.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“If you don’t create an environment that is open, that is human, that allows freedom of speech as we are given here in Sweden and around the world, you can not have a proper trading partner.”
Several members of the Swedish Parliament, across party lines, support the film.
[Boriana Åberg, Member of Swedish Parliament]:
“While there is one single person who is denied human rights, the rest of us have to fight and stand up for those values of freedom, to say what you think, express yourselves, write without fear of being thrown into prison or in labour camps like Jennifer here.”
The award-winning documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe” is directed by Michael Pearlman. Free China has also been screened at the European Parliament and the at the United States’ Congress.
The film team is planning to release “Free China” for threatrical release this summer.
NTD News Stockholm, Sweden
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
A former patient of a hospital in China says she saw and heard things during a lengthy hospitalization that makes her believe the hospital was involved in murdering people to harvest their organs.
Ms. Li Jinzhen (not her actual name), a Chinese national, said she has known for some time about allegations that Falun Gong practitioners in China have become involuntary donors of organs for the transplantation trade over the last dozen years.
Li, who asked not to have her identity or location revealed, told The Epoch Times that she wanted to come forward about things she observed and heard during a three month stay at the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University in the winter of 2006.
“One day I saw seven police cars entering the hospital premises from a side entrance. Getting out of the cars were 20 policemen in plain clothes,” she said, guarding seven handcuffed men and women, of around 30 to 40 years old. “All of them looked very healthy,” Li said.
The individuals were taken into an old two to three story building with a steel gate and two rows of plainclothes officers in front of it, Li recalled. “They were all forced into the building,” she said.
Her knowledge of the allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners, coupled with her observation of the demeanor of the prisoners, led Li to believe that they were Falun Gong practitioners being targeted for organ harvesting. She said their facial expressions appeared to be “peaceful and quiet,” which she associated with practitioners of Falun Gong.
This reporter spent four years in Chinese prisons as a prisoner of conscience and, based on that experience, the prisoner transport described by Li is unusual. Male and female inmates are typically not transported together—they are managed by different prison staffs. Also, sick prisoners are treated in an outpatient unit, not in an old, abandoned building.
A student assistant working in an office in the hospital complex told Li that he believed Falun Gong practitioners were being used for organ harvesting at the hospital and that those seven prisoners locked up in the abandoned building were Falun Gong practitioners meant to be used as live organ donors.
This student also told Li that a fellow student, whom he was close to, was always on operating room duty and had become a “butcher.”
“All he knew now was how to kill people with his scalpel, and he became insensitive,” the student told Li.
The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University is a state-run “Grade A tertiary” general hospital. It states on its web site: “Our hospital is the only local hospital in Chongqing that has the licenses to conduct both liver and kidney transplantation, resulting in advanced and superior technology of organ transplantation.
A member of the cleaning staff at the hospital told Li: “The doctors here aren’t performing operations, they are in fact killing people. The blood is splattered everywhere, all over the floor of the operation room.”
He said they are using hoses, and it still takes two hours to clean an operating room. “How can this be called a medical operation? It seems more like brutal murder to me,” the man told Li.
The man also told Li that operations are performed on the third and fourth floor in the building opposite the Inpatient Department building.
A former Uyghur surgeon in China, Enver Tohti, said in a telephone interview that the idea that there was a lot of blood in the operating room seemed normal. “With a prisoner, there’s no need, and no time for you to care how much blood will come out. What you do is just go straight to the organ and take it, that’s it.” Tohti, however, could not understand why it would take two hours to clean up.
After reviewing the entire witness statement, in its original Chinese, Tohti said that he was not surprised by the scenario depicted. “There are no surprises here,” he said. Tohti was a surgeon in Xinjiang and himself was called on to remove the organs from a recently-executed prisoner, right near the execution ground. “That is something that is haunting,” he said.
Dr. Zhang worked for a long time in the logistics staff of a hospital in mainland China. Now in Bangkok, he told The Epoch Times that it is not common for the operating room floor to be covered by that much blood during an organ transplant.
“Usually that does not happen,” he said. “When performing an operation, the doctors have a hemostatic plan, such as using hemostatic pliers and clips to stop the blood. If the floor is covered in blood, then it is a case of medical malpractice. It definitely does not happen often.”
Li also said that she repeatedly witnessed four to five men in the middle of the night pushing gurneys with corpses into a restricted elevator.
“Nobody was using that elevator during the day,” Li said. She said she had wondered if there was a secret passageway behind it.
The corpses on these midnight gurneys were tightly wrapped in multiple layers of green blankets, Li said. “Normal” corpses were never wrapped in such a way, and they were always transported on the regular elevator, she said.
“The bodies from the forbidden elevators were not meant to be seen, maybe those were the bodies of the victims of organ harvesting,” she added.
Eyewitness reports of forced organ harvesting in China are difficult to obtain, say Canadian lawyers David Kilgour and David Matas who are the authors of a 2006 independent report into the allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.
“There are no surviving victims to tell what happened to them. Perpetrators are unlikely to confess to what would be, if they occurred, crimes against humanity,” the report says.
However, they say they have collected many points of circumstantial evidence, including very short waiting times and a surprising number of admissions through investigator phone calls, that paint a “damning” picture.
“Hospital web sites in China advertise short waiting times for organ transplants. … If we take these hospital’s self-promotions at face value, they tell us that there are a large number of people now alive who are available on demand as sources of organs,” the report says.
Based on their research, Kilgour and Matas estimate that from 2000 to 2005, 41,500 organs were harvested for which the most likely source was Falun Gong prisoners. Kilgour and Matas have each said on various occasions since their report was issued that the practice of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience is continuing in China.
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Tags: CCP, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
It’s like clockwork in China: the Communist Party holds a large political meeting in Beijing, and all around the country security forces are mobilized to arrest, harass, and detain, anyone considered a threat to what the Party calls stability. This is often mixed with directed propaganda messages to media, and censorship on what they can and cannot report.
A few days before the “Two Meetings” in Beijing, which began on March 3 and will run for about two weeks, targets for arrests have included dissidents, lawyers, and intellectuals. Propaganda messages have aimed to ensure earnest coverage of the positive achievements of the communist regime, while erasing news that could be considered unflattering—like these mass arrests, or protests around China.
The Two Meetings refers to the convening of the National People’s Congress, often described as the Party’s rubber-stamp legislature, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which purports to act as an advisory body for the Party. China Central Television, the mouthpiece for broadcast propaganda, has reported heavily on the “people’s representatives” (with a focus on those from humble origins) that are now streaming into Beijing for the conclaves.
Across the country, the regime’s security agents have also been very busy. The website Chinese Human Rights Defenders has documented a litany of abuses, in a long article dated March 3.
An activist named Zhang Lin and her nine year old daughter were arrested, detained, and denied food; in Jiangxi Province, Li Sihua, who had attempted to be an independent candidate in a local election process, was dragged away from home, where he acts as a caretaker for his elderly mother, to be detained; and in Beijing the usual suspects have been locked inside their homes or arrested by security forces, including the activists and lawyers Hu Jia, Xu Zhiyong, Wang Yonghong, and others.
He Depu, a democracy activist, told Radio Free Asia that police had planted themselves in front of his home from Feb. 25—a week before the events in Beijing were to begin. “Whenever I want to go out, I have to travel with them, so I’m not able to move freely. It’s the same every year,” he told RFA.
Huang Yan, a female activist who once helped the now-imprisoned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, has also been harassed and put under house arrest. She was originally scheduled to go to Beijing for surgery for cancer, but was confined to her home by police and had her plane ticket cancelled, according to Hu Jia.
Amidst the liberal use of coercion to suppress “sensitive” individuals, the Party has also had recourse to media control and propaganda. A circular from the Central Propaganda Department, translated by China Digital Times, lists 10 dos and don’ts for media during the Two Meetings period. Do: “Republish reports from authoritative [i.e. official] media sources.” Don’t: “Report or comment on the financial disclosures of officials.”
During the course of the meetings, official Chinese media agencies, and to a lesser extent the autonomous web portals from which most Chinese get their news, will be flooded with images and videos of colorfully-dressed delegates from ethnic regions, peasant farmers-cum-political representatives, and earnest cadres discussing the finer points of public policy.
Sun Wenguang, a former university professor in Shandong and observer of Communist Party politics, said in an interview with RFA that most of the delegates to the two meetings “have no intention of changing anything in society,” because they typically benefit from the system themselves. “They just perform at the sessions, and adopt the official point of view,” he said. “They look like they’re asking questions, but most of them are totally empty or fake.”
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Tags: CCP, Children, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Pregnant woman induced labor to avoid forced abortion
LOS ANGELES—Qiao Shunqin, a former elementary school teacher from Kaifeng, Henan Province, still recalls the cruel pressure she faced more than two decades ago. She was nine months pregnant and determined to save her baby the night before she was scheduled to have a forced abortion.
Her son now lives in the United States; he is 24 years old and 6 feet tall. He came here to study and later joined the U.S. military. His mother says he treats his parents with respect, perhaps because he knows his life did not come easily.
Qiao had a child from her first marriage, but when she divorced, the court gave her ex-husband custody of the child. Her second husband also had a child, but his ex-wife had been given custody.
According to the one-child policy at that time, because the couple did not have custody of their respective children, neither was considered to have exhausted their one-child allowance, so Qiao applied for a birth license. Only after it was approved by several different officials and offices, including her school principal, and the district Family Planning Office, did she prepare for a pregnancy.
In June 1988, after she had been married for two years and was over eight months pregnant, the school principal told Qiao that the new director of the district Family Planning Office, Sui Yajie, did not think she should be permitted to have a second child. She was therefore asked to have an abortion.
The family planning office, the school principal, and her boss took turns to visit and pressure her. For her to go against the family planning office would reflect negatively on the performance reviews from her boss and her school principal. “I just wept silently,” she said.
Ms. Qiao requested to have the abortion in Zhengzhou, where her parents and in-laws lived. On July 5, 1988, she went to the obstetrics department of the People’s Hospital of Henan Province under duress. The family planning director and school principal asked the doctor to abort the fetus immediately.
The doctor saw that Qiao was almost ready to give birth, and at age 38, was a mature woman with heart disease. To avoid complications, he insisted on first conducting a complete examination. By the time he finished, the out-patient division had closed for the day, and the abortion was rescheduled for 8 a.m. the next day.
Qiao returned to her in-laws’ home, arriving after 9 p.m. She knew the baby, kicking and moving inside her, would be killed the next morning. Nine years earlier she had been forced to have an abortion when she was seven months pregnant. That time, a toxic solution was injected into her uterus, and four hours later, she lost a baby girl. The horrific experience was still fresh in her mind.
She was determined to keep her child this time. She held her stomach as if holding the child in her hands, and began repeatedly hitting her back against the wall, but did not feel any change after about one hour, aside from perspiration and back pain.
She decided to change her approach, and placed newspaper on the concrete floor with blankets on top. Then she held her stomach, and began jumping down from the bed onto the floor. Every time she jumped, she held her breath and then climbed back up again. It grew more and more difficult, but she persisted. She prayed the child would be born soon, while worrying that too much movement would hurt the child. Her husband and mother-in-law looked on in horror, but did not dare stop her.
At about midnight, Qiao’s water broke–the baby was coming.
To avoid any issues, Qiao used a fake name, age, and work unit when registering at the hospital. Five hours later at 6 a.m., her son was born.
After the birth, the director of the family planning office blamed her for not telling them sooner, “If you had informed us, we could have given the baby a toxic injection and killed him, and you would not have to lose your job for violating the one-child policy.”
These chilling words brought deep fear to Qiao. “For several years after that, I had dreams that someone was chasing me and trying to kill me and my child. We ran and ran for our lives. In my dreams, I held my child tightly for fear he would be taken away,” she said.
Qiao was fired from her job, even though she was rated an excellent teacher and in the prime of life. Her husband’s salary was stopped for more than a year, and he was demoted from government official to factory worker. They therefore had to rely on assistance from their families.
For over 20 years, Qiao traveled to different appeals offices to try and get her job back. However, she did not receive a response and was repeatedly humiliated. An official from an office in Henan Province even told her to “just go jump off a building and drop dead!”
From childhood, Qiao had grown up in a Communist Party-controlled environment and had truly believed in the Party. She said, “Because of the one-child policy, I turned from an activist promoting the Party to a vehement opponent of the Party.”
Since being reunited with her son in the United States, Qiao has publicized statements severing all ties with the Chinese Communist Party, including the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers.
Translation by Li Zhen. Research by Jane Lin. Edited by Nicholas Zifcak and Cassie Ryan.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Tags: CCP, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Protesters in two cities have been openly calling for the end to communist rule in recent days, as the demand for reform in China quickens, and with it a new apparent lack of fear for the consequences.
Yan’an resident Liu Hui stood on the bustling Beijing Road in Guangzhou on Feb. 13 and 14, holding banners that read “End the Dictatorship” and “Eliminate the Party’s Enslavement of People.” Lui’s companion photographed him with the first banner and uploaded the image to the Internet.
On the first day, Liu was taken away by domestic security officers, but later released, an anonymous human rights defender told The Epoch Times. On the second day he was again detained; his whereabouts are currently unknown, and his cell phone off.
Previously, Liu held anti-communist banners outside the annual “two meetings” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Guangzhou on Jan. 22. They read “Overthrow the Communist Dictatorship, Establish Democracy,” and “The Communist Party Are Communist Bandits.”
The protest is unusual for the direct way in which it calls for an end to one-Party rule. For over a decade in China, most protest action has been couched in terms of attempting to assist the Party implement its own laws–to a large degree because directly criticizing the regime may be treated as a counterrevolutionary crime (or what has been renamed to “subversion of state power”) and severely punished.
The recent shift indicates that the climate of public opinion is shifting against the Communist Party.
In Shanghai, petitioners gather outside the city government building to appeal their rights every Wednesday, but the atmosphere was different on Feb. 20.
A female petitioner began a protest by climbing a tree and shouting the slogan “Overthrow the Communist Party!” which the other petitioners then repeated.
Dozens of policemen arrived in buses, surrounded the tree, and cordoned off the area. However, the woman kept chanting the slogan, and also accused the judiciary of corruption.
Eventually, she was forced to climb down and taken away in a police car. The crowd continued to shout various slogans.
A Shanghai petitioner called Ms. Zhang spoke with The Epoch Times about the incident. She said, “More and more people are losing trust in the CCP, despite the change in government since the 18th National Congress. The Party has no intention of repaying its debt to the Chinese people, regardless of all the blood and tears that have been shed, and is maintaining its power through various methods of deception.”
Political commentator Xing Tianxing referred to the case of Yang Jia, a man who was executed in 2008 after killing six Shanghai policemen. Yang received widespread public support, and Shanghai residents at the time publicly chanted slogans like “Overthrow the Communist Party.”
“More and more human rights defenders in Shanghai have come to realize that the existence of the Communist Party just means more suffering for the people, and that the fundamental reason for this injustice is the rule of the Party,” Xing said.
According to Xing, slogans that used to be forbidden are often heard on the streets in Shanghai and Guangzhou. He summed up the situation by rewording an ancient Chinese phrase: “The Party cannot threaten people with death if they are no longer afraid to die.”
Research by Ariel Tian. Translated by Amy Lien. Written in English by Cassie Ryan.
Read the original Chinese article.
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Citizens fed up with Chinese regime-inspired anti-Falun Gong slogans
A Facebook campaign group called “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” has called on the former British Colony to protest the increasing anti-Falun Gong slogans that continue to appear in the metropolis.
The group says citizens must stand up for their freedom and stop accepting the abusive behavior of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, Ltd.
The Association has been blanketing central and very popular areas of Hong Kong, such as the SoGo, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui and Star Ferry, with banners that slander the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
The Association is believed to be doing so because it is a front for the Chinese Communist Party’s 610 office—a Party organ specifically set up to persecute Falun Gong.
A Facebook message dated Feb. 22 from the “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” group has urged citizens to march to the SoGo area on March 3. The posting described the dress code for the event as “black T-shirts” for all participants, presumably to symbolize mourning for Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Soon after the online call-to-action surfaced, the group’s spokesperson, Danny Chan, was called to the Hong Kong Department of Security, to dissuade them from holding the protest.
Chan said the group had not met such resistance from the police before, even though they have previously held a few protests against the Youth Care Association.
The Feb. 22 Facebook message reported that the police promised to clear the Association’s abusive banners by March 3.
“If those banners are down [by March 2], then we would cancel the event of afternoon tea at SoGo and will go to Star Ferry,” reads the message, euphemistically referring to the proposed action as “afternoon tea.” Star Ferry is one of the busiest spots in Hong Kong and a prime tourist attraction.
Chan, however, expects the members of the Association to be present with their banners on March 3. “The police said the Hong Kong Youth Care Association people are very firm,” Chan said. “They will not remove their banners.”
Because the March 3 event is an appeal on the Internet, Chan does not know how many people will show up. The Hongkongese Facebook page is popular, though. It has 31,887 likes and over 29,000 people are talking about it, as of the printing of this article.
And they are not the only group expressing impatience with the Youth Care Association and support for Falun Gong.
Xiong Li, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Citizen Falun Gong Protection Group, said his group is planning to invite Hong Kong senators and democracy groups to join the March 3 protest.
“The whole information site of Falun Gong is covered by their banners that are offensive and we cannot tolerate this anymore and have to stand out to say something,” Li said. “Our slogan this time is ‘Crack Down on the CCP, Protect Falun Gong.’”
The pro-democracy Facebook group HK Innovational Guard has in the past also taken part in protests on behalf of Falun Gong in opposition to the Youth Care Association, but has typically not announced its plans in advance.
Numerous democracy activists and pro-democracy politicians have also spoken out against the activities of the Association and in defense of Falun Gong.
Protecting Hong Kong
In June 2012 the Youth Care Association began to interfere with the information sites around Hong Kong where Falun Gong practitioners tell others about their practice and how it is persecuted in China. The Association has attempted to cover up or wall off Falun Gong sites with giant banners that repeat Chinese Communist Party propaganda slogans slandering Falun Gong.
Beginning in November, the Association also began covering busy Hong Kong streets and tourist sites with their banners.
The Hong Kong police have allowed the Association’s banners to spread and allowed the Association to interfere with the Falun Gong information sites, despite Hong Kong law that would seem to prohibit the Association’s activities.
Mr. Wang from the “We are Hong-Kongian not Chinese” group says the banners hung up by the Youth Care Association in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Star Ferry are illegal and offensive, and also affect the city scape and the safety of the drivers.
“Many drivers say that the banners block their sight and worry they may cause a traffic accident,” he said.
Danny Chan agrees with Wang’s points but believes the people of Hong Kong will also support the protest of the Youth Care Association’s activities for other reasons.
“Hong Kong people are very understanding,” Chan said. “People can express their political differences, but one thing, they [the Association] are going way too far, far past the tolerance threshold of the Hong Kong people, and out of the scope of the freedom of expression.”
Chan places the blame for the Association’s actions on the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government. He worries that the character of the city of Hong Kong itself is at risk.
“If this is allowed to continue to happen, the Hong Kong people are the ultimate victims,” Chan said. “The Hong Kong people have to stand up to protect themselves and not let the regime or the Hong Kong government turn Hong Kong into a place where people are against people.”
Reporting by Lucy Leung.
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Hong Kong is a city proud of its legacy of individual rights, but a campaign to deny those rights to Falun Gong practitioners has proceeded systematically and in the open for eight months, while the city’s police stand aside. Hong Kongers are by turns annoyed and alarmed as the character of their city seems to be changing before their eyes.
On the morning of June 10, 2012 Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the Hung Hom train station in Hong Kong as they had every day for the past ten years. They planned on setting up information booths where they would tell people about their spiritual practice and how it is persecuted in China. This day was different, though.
In the spots they would ordinarily occupy, individuals wearing uniform shirts had hung banners that attacked Falun Gong. When the practitioners hung their own banners in other spots, that group hung banners covering the Falun Gong banners. The new group also began blasting communist propaganda through a sound system.
When the practitioners approached police officers, as they had in the past if there were problems at this site, the police refused to get involved.
This group that first popped up at Hung Hom is called the Hong Kong Youth Care Association and since June 10 it has had Falun Gong in Hong Kong firmly in its sights.
The Association’s very simple website claims it is devoted to various charitable enterprises such as helping the poor and contributing to the community.
In fact, the Association appears to be a front organization for a deadly Party organ. A front organization has no public ties to the Chinese Communist Party, but works to isolate and attack the Party’s enemies.
A reporter for Hong Kong’s Next magazine traveled to the office the Association maintains in
Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong in mainland China, and uncovered the Association’s close ties to the CCP.
The Association’s Shenzhen office stands next door to the local 610 Office. The 610 Office—its name comes from the date of its founding, June 10, 1999—is a Party organization tasked by then Communist Party head Jiang Zemin with eradicating Falun Gong.
The Next reporter tried the door for the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, but it wouldn’t open. A staff member from the 610 Office came out to help. “The two associations have the same people,” the staff member said, according to the Next Magazine report.“Two door signs. If you want to find them, come here. That side won’t open.”
The Youth Care Association is headed by Lin Guo-an a member or former member of the pro-communist political party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and currently Special Councilor in of the People’s Political Consultative Conference of Jinggangshan City in southeastern China’s Jiangxi Province, according to Next Magazine.
The journalist Ching Cheong told Radio Television Hong Kong that if the Hong Kong Youth Care Association is a front group, then “the mainland public security people are implementing their laws in Hong Kong.”
Tourists and Tuidang
In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available from the Hong Kong Tourism Commission, Hong Kong hosted 28.1 million tourists from mainland China. Falun Gong practitioners have set up booths at popular tourist sites throughout Hong Kong to reach these tourists.
The booths typically have a table surrounded by banners and placards. The practitioners hand out fliers and may demonstrate Falun Gong’s slow-motion exercises.
The practitioners want to disabuse the mainland tourists of the anti-Falun Gong propaganda they have been steeped in, so they tell them about the practice, and about the cruelties of the persecution against it. And they ask the tourists to renounce any association with the Communist Party—an act called “tuidang” in Chinese.
“The Chinese Communist Party really fears tuidang,” said Juliana Chan, a Falun Gong practitioner and a retired travel agency executive. According to the Global Service Center for Quitting the CCP, over 133 million Chinese have renounced the Party.
“The Youth Care Association seeks to mislead the tourists,” Chan said. “The tourists arrive and they can’t get close to our booths and they see communist propaganda instead.”
On Chinese New Year’s Day, Feb. 10, the police ordered the Youth Care Association and the Falun Gong practitioners each to remove all of their banners from Star Ferry—one of the busiest spots in Hong Kong and a prime tourist attraction.
The next day, Wincy Chan, who regularly helps staff the information site at Star Ferry, said that an army of Association members covered the entire Star Ferry with its banners, including the spot customarily maintained for years by the practitioners. On Feb. 13 the police assigned a spot to the Falun Gong practitioners against a wall so that they would have a place to set up their booth.
The Association then set up a rack with its banners that formed a wall between the practitioners and the public. The Association’s rack was so close to a lane on the sidewalk reserved for the use of the blind that the lane was in effect impassable.
Practitioners called the police, and a video shows what happened next. The Associations’ head, Lin Guo-An, showed no deference to the police, who requested that the banners be moved. He argued heatedly with them, and in the end the police withdrew, leaving the Association’s banners in place.
Falun Gong practitioners tell of the Association trying on a daily basis to completely cover their information booths with banners.
Mandy Liu, an old hand at the information sites, says the police could easily resolve any conflicts between the two groups.
“If the police assigned one spot to the Hong Kong Youth Care Association and another spot to the Falun Gong practitioners, and then enforced their decision, there would be no problems,” Ms. Liu said.
No Ground Rules
Without the police setting ground rules, there is room for even more mischief.
Mandy Liu says the practitioners who staff the information sites are suffering a reenactment of the Cultural Revolution. Videos show the Association members shouting at practitioners, cursing them, waving fingers in their faces, and pushing them.
Practitioners began videoing all confrontations with the Association members after an incident at the Lok Ma Chau border crossing with mainland China.
“The Hong Kong Youth Care Association members have these huge banners,” Ms. Liu explained. “They wrapped our practitioners inside these banners and beat them. No one could see what was happening behind the banners. By the time the police arrived, there was no evidence. So, we began videoing everything.”
Zeng Qiaochan is a practitioner who helps staff the Lok Ma Chau information site. She says physical abuse continues there.
“Their banners have long sticks at each end,” Zeng said. “When no one is looking they whip those sticks down and hit your hands or feet. They do it so quickly, you can’t catch them on video.”
On July 4 at the Hung Hum train station, a member of the Association brandished a large knife in front of a New Tang Dynasty TV reporter who was filming the Association’s activities. Police were called, but were not interested in seeing video of the incident and chose to do nothing.
Wincy Chan said the harassment by the Association has an ulterior motive.
“These people try to create a situation where practitioners will involuntarily defend themselves—a situation where they can accuse the practitioners of breaking the law or beating them up,” Chan said. “Because we cultivate truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance we avoid having any kind of conflict with them.”
The police have told practitioners that there is no legal basis for stopping the Association from putting up its banners. According to Mandy Liu, the police have said, “both sides have the right to speak, if there is no conflict this situation has nothing to do with us.” Recently the police told practitioners they are “gathering evidence.”
A request for comment from the Service Information Office of the Police Public Relations Bureau in Hong Kong had not been answered at press time.
Some of Hong Kong’s netizens say the police refuse to defend the practitioners because of the Association’s CCP connections.
The practitioners say they should be protected under the Hong Kong Basic Law, whose Public Order Ordinance states in part, “Any person who at any public gathering acts in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the public gathering was called together or incites others so to act shall be guilty of an offence.”
Hong Kong is also a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”
With the police refusing to protect them, the Hong Kong practitioners are investigating gaining redress through the courts.
The Hong Kong Youth Care Association could not be reached for comment by press time.
In November 2012, the Association’s campaign spread from the information sites to Hong Kong’s streets. Hundreds, if not thousands, of its banners now line Hong Kong’s busiest and most chic thoroughfares.
Social media and blogs in Hong Kong are filled with complaints: The banners have destroyed Hong Kong’s cityscape; they’re a traffic hazard; they disrupt city life; and they’re an embarrassment.
In December, stickers started appearing on the banners saying, “Not From HK People.” An organization called Hong Kong Citizens Attending to the Falun Gong Issue was formed.
When someone destroyed a number of the Association’s banners, netizens cheered. A message posted to Mini forum.net, Hong Kong bulletin board, said: “The government is offering shelter to the communist thugs, and the citizens are acting on behalf of heaven. From Mon Kok to Nathan Road, some banners and nearly 70 posters destroyed.”
Several members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council have called on the police to protect the rights of Falun Gong practitioners, but the sympathetic Legco members are powerless to help. They are the minority in a body dominated by CCP allies.
Chow Wai Tung, the district councilor of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong, told The Epoch Times for a previous report, “The CCP thinks that Jiang Zemin and his like can just do whatever they please in Hong Kong, and this Youth Care Association was established just at this time, and right after it’s set up it goes and specifically targets Falun Gong and does all these wicked and shady things.”
“Falun Gong is the conscience of Hong Kong, a kind of moral compass of Hong Kong; it’s the most law abiding, kindest group of people,” Chow said. “If even they are attacked, then no group, and no individual in Hong Kong is safe.”
With reporting by Zhou Meihua
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