The second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus, is currently considering severing its status as a twinned city with Harbin in China after learning of the extensive and brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in several labour camps in the city and serious allegations of organ harvesting in the city’s labour camps and hospitals. Jyllandsposten, one of Denmark’s major national newspapers, recently printed the statement below issued by the Human Rights organisation that first raised the issue with Aarhus City Council:
Crimes committed in Harbin Aarhus’ Chinese twinned city
By Christoffer Brekne, chairman of Network for Human Rights in China, Poul Anderson, retired engineer and Wu Lingnan, journalist
On January 23rd of this year, we in the Network for Human Rights in China sent a letter to the Lord Mayor of Aarhus, Nicolai Wammen, urging him to freeze the cultural exchanges with Harbin, Aarhus’ chinese twinned city, until the Harbin authorities stop the torture and killings of Falun Gong practitioners held in the city’s many labour camps and detention centres. We are happy to see that Lord Mayor Wammen has taken the case seriously and asked the Foreign Ministry to investigate the matter. It is also encouraging to see that many of the City Council’s members are taking the case seriously.
The persecution and genocide against Falun Gong in China is an indisputable and tragic fact. Over seventy million chinese citizens (China’s official number of Falun Gong practitioners in 1998) have been directly targeted in a persecution that has now lasted almost eight years. Hundreds of thousands have been illegally arrested and tortured, countless have been forced from their homes and up to today, 3013 people have been confirmed dead as a result of torture and persecution. Still, most experts agree that the actual death toll is much higher, we are most likely looking at a five digit number. The persecution has been extensively reported and documented by the UN, US State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many other Human Rights organisations.
Aarhus’ twinned city Harbin, lies in the Heilongjiang province. This is the province wherein the highest number of crimes and deaths have been documented during the persecution against Falun Gong and Harbin is right at the top as one of the worst cities in Heilongjiang province. In Harbin you find, to mention a few, Wanjia Forced Labour Camp, Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp and Harbin Woman’s Prison some of the most gruesome concentration camps and prisons used in the persecution of Falun Gong. Over the years, Human Rights organsisations have been collecting concrete and concise witness statements on the persecution of Falun Gong in China, with date, time, place and names of criminals and witnesses. The witness statements from Harbin alone fill upwards to five hundred A4 pages. These witness statements tell of electric shock treatment, forced feeding with excrement and countless other brutal torture methods aimed at totally ruining or killing people.
In July of 2006, David Kilgour, former Canadian cabinet minister, and David Matas, a renowned Human Rights lawyer, issued a report on organ harvesting on Falun Gong practitioners in China. In their report they concluded that organ harvesting on living Falun Gong practitioners has taken place and is taking place on a massive scale throughout China. A revised version of the report was issued on January 31st this year, with additional supporting evidence. They estimate that 41.500 organs or more, have been harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners in the period of 1999-2005. In Europe two other independent investigations have been conducted; one by Sir Edward MacMillan-Scott (Vice President of the European Parliament) and one by Patrik Vankrunkelsven (belgian senator). Both reached similar conclusions. In China the famous freedom activist and Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has personally interviewed several victims of the persecution and despite several assassination attempts from the Chinese authorities raised the issue of organ harvesting publicly in an effort to open the eyes of the wolrd community.
A female witness in the revised Kilgour/Matas report tells of horrible experiences from Wanjia Forced Labor Camp in Harbin a labour camp that is often mentioned in connection with organ harvesting. Her internal organs were screened four times to determine their condition. She had however been mistreated so badly that all her organs had suffered severe damage, which ironically saved her life it was determined that her organs were unsuited for transplantation. Why would one want to determine the organ condition of someone one was being tortured to death? Why is it that only Falun Gong practitioners are screened?
It is important in this connection to point out that the persecution in Harbin is administered from the top down. The Mayor and many of the City Council’s members are directly responsible for the genocide in Harbin. The persecution of Falun Gong is not merely isolated to the most infamous institutions, but permeates the hierarchical structure of the city authorities. Thus, one can read in a speech given by Mayor Shi Zhongxin to the central government of China, that Harbin has conducted a successful ”attack on Falun Gong.” He and his City Council take pride in sanctioning evil crimes the likes of we haven’t seen since the monstrous acts of the Nazis against the Jewish people.
While Aarhus is a twinned city with Harbin, she cannot run from the truth even though it might be difficult to accept. The truth is, that the authorities of Harbin’s evil and murderous persecution of innocent citizens represents the antithesis of everything we in the democratic West would like to stand for and work to promote. When the Communist dictatorship in China finally collapses, something we all are longing for, these horrible crimes will be brought to light as happened in the wake of world war two and the fall of the Berlin Wall. When that happens, our choices today will stand crystal clear for all to see and history will judge us accordingly.
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