Canada: May 7 Forum in Parliament Focuses on Human Rights in China

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On May 7, 2008, a "Forum on Human Rights in China" was held in the Canadian Parliament. The forum was sponsored by five Members of Parliament, Scott Reid, MP (CPC), Irwin Cotler, M.P (LIB),Wayne Marsten MP (NDP), Bill Siksay, MP (NDP) and Rob Anders, MP (CPC). Four well-known human rights lawyers made presentations, describing the current human rights situation in China with many facts and discussion on whether Canadian officials and Members of Parliament should attend the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony. Part of the forum covered the persecution of Falun Gong and especially the Chinese government's harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.

MP Scott Reid

Four Canadian and Chinese lawyers, including David Matas, co-author of "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China," Canadian lawyer Clive Ansley who worked in Shanghai, and Chinese lawyer Guo Guoding made presentations. More than eighty MPs, Senators or legislative assistants, diplomats, representatives from non-governmental organizations and others concerned with China's human rights situation attended the forum.

No excuse to turn a blind eye to genocide

Clive Ansley discussed the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. He said, "Over the last nine years the most barbaric atrocity in modern history has been going on systematically in China. This is the Holocaust over again but with a new and appalling dimension."

He continued, "At the end of the last war, the world was horrified and very quickly adopted the slogan of the Jewish Defense League, 'Never Again.' Never again can we allow genocide to be perpetrated in our world. And they quickly harkened back to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and they said if only we had known. Well now we're doing it all over again, and we do know about it. We have awarded hosting of the Olympics to the most chillingly brutal perpetrator of crimes against humanity on the planet.

Canadian lawyer Clive Ansley

"And history is not going to allow our generation to once more fall back on this excuse--if only we had known. We can't say we didn't know. We know that Beijing is systematically murdering thousands, probably scores of thousands of human beings in order to harvest their organs for profit. The world knows it, at least the knowledge is there, because of the two Davids [David Kilgour and David Matas, who conducted an independent investigation into the allegations of organ harvesting] sitting at the table here. They've produced a report which makes appalling accusations but has been systematically ignored by the media and most Parliamentarians. The UN Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak has recognized the report of these two Davids and has recognized the reality of the slaughter going on in the harvesting of organs. And Beijing has openly proclaimed its aim of erasing the Falun Gong from society.

"Torsten Trey, is a German doctor, the spokesperson for Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting, and as a German citizen and a doctor he made a speech in Washington, D.C. on April 9. He said that Beijing today is worse than Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. And he said that the world's acceptance of what's going on in China today is worse than the acceptance of Hitler's atrocities because no one in 1936 knew the plan Hitler had for the Jews, but we know China's plans for the Falun Gong."

Former MP David Kilgour (left) and well-known human rights lawyer David Matas

Former MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas formed an independent investigation team and released their report to the media on July 6, 2006, "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China." The two independent investigators came to a conclusion after analyzing thirty-three pieces of evidence. They stated, "Based on what we now know, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners."

Mr. Kilgour said, "Most independent persons the two of us know who have read our report are convinced of the horrifying validity of its conclusion."

Mr. Matas analyzed the truth of the allegations from four CCP reactions to the report. "The Government of China has reacted to our report in four different ways. One was simply trying to shut us up. Wherever we went, the Chinese consulate, if they knew about the event, would call up the local hosts urging cancellation.

"A second Chinese government reaction to our report was counter propaganda. Here is just one example. The Chinese Government has circulated a statement that the report David Kilgour and I wrote on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners contains 'verbal evidence without sources, unverifiable witnesses and huge amount of unconvincingly conclusive remarks based on words like 'probably,' 'possibly,' 'maybe' and 'it is said,' etc. All these only call into question the truth of the report.' Yet, all one has to do to is to look at the report to see that every statement we make in our report is independently verifiable. There is no verbal evidence without sources. Where we rely on witnesses we identify them and quote what they say. The report is on the Internet and is word searchable. Anyone who searches it can see that the words 'probably,' 'possibly,' 'maybe' and the phrase 'it is said' are not used in our report, not even once.

"A third Chinese government reaction to our report was destruction of the evidence on which our report was based. Much of the evidence in our report comes from the Government of China itself, from hospital websites and Chinese medical research. The Government of China has been systematically taking down or altering the sites on which we have relied.

"The fourth Government of China reaction to our report was an attempt to change the facts on the ground. A new Chinese law on transplants in May 2007 prohibited the sale of organs."

In China, a human rights lawyer cannot defend his own basic rights

Guo Guoding, one of the lawyers who defended Falun Gong practitioners early on, said, "Facing immense political pressure and life threats, many Chinese human rights lawyers dare not be human rights lawyers. In 2003, there were ten human rights lawyers in China. Currently, all of them have lost their jobs. Four of them suffered torture; four others were forcefully taken away; and five of them were beaten by police. Two of them were imprisoned without judicial procedure."

Mr. Guo said, "Lawyers know the law well. Human rights lawyers know human rights law well. But human rights lawyers cannot defend their basic rights in China." Besides human rights lawyers, freelance writers, reporters, organizers of assemblies were all targets and have been monitored and persecuted by the CCP regime.

Mr. Guo also narrated the suffering of his Falun Gong practitioner clients. One is Zhai Yanlai, a good student who graduated from Shanghai Transportation University. He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for downloading Falun Gong information from the Internet. During the illegal imprisonment, he was force-fed for nearly two years when he conducted hunger strike to protest the illegal detention. In his last four months of imprisonment, his hands and feet were tied up, without any freedom to move. He was tortured until he was emaciated. Another one is Chen Guanghui. He was beaten to a vegetative state and could not speak. Eight police officers monitored him for 24 hours a day until he died. Mr. Guo himself found that Chen's bones were fractured and some parts were missing, due to the severity of the beating. The police lied, saying that Chen attempted to commit suicide. Mr. Guo said, "It was absolutely not suicide because suicide might hurt the forehead, but not both sides of the body."

Mr. Guo said that in China, Falun Gong practitioners do not have human rights at all.

Falun Gong practitioner He Lizhi who was rescued by the Canadian government

Lawyers suggest Canadian officials stay away from 2008 Olympics

Mr. Ansley said, "To speak out against genocide and forced organ harvesting and torture is not politics, it's just basic human decency. To speak out against genocide and organ harvesting and torture is not politics, it's just fundamental morality."

He continued, "What is politics? We're constantly being told that we can't mix athletics and the Olympics and politics. What's politics? At the municipal level, an argument over whether the next crossing over a river should be a bridge or a tunnel, that's a political debate. At the provincial level, an argument over whether we should cut funding to secondary and university educational institutions, that's a political debate. At the federal level, an argument about whether we should renegotiate NAFTA that's a political debate. The attempt by the International Olympic Committee to relegate crimes against humanity ranking with the Holocaust to the same level as debate on fiscal policy and global traffic control is obscene." He suggested that Canadian officials and MPs stay away from the 2008 Olympics.

Mr. Matas gave several suggestions for using the Beijing Olympics to end organ harvesting and human rights abuses, including having the world focus on China's trampling of human rights, promoting the Human Rights Torch Relay, and suggesting that any leader of a state that stands for human rights should not go to the Olympic games.

Mr. Matas said, "There is the general nature of human rights. Each of us lives in our cocoon. Professionals work at their professions. Trades people ply their trades. Athletes compete in their sports. But human rights overarch all of this. Human rights is not a specialty which engages only experts. It commits us all because of a common humanity we all share.

"Killing innocents for their organs is a crime against humanity. That means it is a crime not just against the victims. It is a crime against all of us. When we do nothing about this crime, we do not just abandon the victims. We deny our own humanity. Silence in the face of crimes against humanity is complicity. Everyone engaged in the Olympics movement must do their part to end crimes against humanity in China. To fail to do that is to fail to be human."

Olympic Games cannot be excuse to reduce pressure on China's human rights issue

MP Bill Siksay said in an interview, "I think people make many excuses. They say many things, they say politics should not mix with sports. They say we shouldn't threaten our economic opportunity to trade with China. They have all kinds of excuses.

"We want to make sure that the people have all kinds of places to interact. I don't think that means for one minute [that] we stop putting pressure on China, or any other country, to address the human rights situation of their own countries. We know there are very serious problems. We can't let the participation of Olympics slow down our concerns about human rights.

"We need to remind China of their commitment, when they were granted the Olympics. We need to hold them to that commitment. And we need to be outspoken on our criticism in the meantime. We just can't let it slide. It has to be front and center in terms of all our interaction with China."


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