TORONTO—The documentary “The China Hustle,” which premiered recently at the Toronto International Film Festival, shows how hundreds of Chinese companies listed on North American stock exchanges can cause billions of losses to investors due to lack of proper oversight.

These Chinese firms enter the U.S. stock market through reverse takeovers with American companies and report revenues and assets that have no base in reality, thus inflating the companies’ stock value.

Making a story about complex financial transactions for the everyday viewer was one of the biggest challenges faced by Jed Rothstein, director of “The China Hustle.”

“Financial crimes are by their nature very complex; their complexity is what enables the fraud,” said Rothstein, the producer/director behind “Before the Spring After the Fall” and “Killing in the Name.”

“We tried to make it as easy to understand as possible while still making sure it’s accurate. … So that’s the challenge,” the filmmaker said in an interview.

Jed Rothstein, the director of “The China Hustle”, sits down for an interview with The Epoch Times on Sept. 9, 2017 during the Toronto International Film Festival. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Among the market players featured in the documentary is Carson Block, founder of the investment research firm Muddy Waters, which was instrumental in the collapse of TSE-listed Sino-Forest, a forestry firm with claims of massive operations in China.

I juli, the Ontario Securities Commission ruled that Sino-Forest and several of its executives defrauded investors and misled investigators.

Block and other researchers featured in the documentary used research teams to set up cameras and even conduct undercover visits to the operations facilities of the Chinese firms listed in the NYSE, often at great risk to the team members.

One of the researchers, Chinese-Canadian Kun Huang, was imprisoned for two years in China after the firm he worked for questioned the production claims of Silvercorp Metals Inc., a Vancouver-based company with operations in China. Huang has now launched a lawsuit against Silvercorp, alleging that it colluded with local authorities in China to have him arrested.

“I think that there are a lot of opportunities to invest and make money all over the world, but when the rules of the markets can’t be translated across the same borders that money can, it creates opportunity for fraud, like we saw in the ‘China Hustle’ film,” Rothstein said.

With reporting by Becky Zhou

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In this file photo a Chinese ship makes its way toward the Lions Gate Bridge into the Port of Vancouver,  one of North America's most important gateways to Asia.(CP Photo/Chuck Stoody)In this file photo a Chinese ship makes its way toward the Lions Gate Bridge into the Port of Vancouver,  one of North America's most important gateways to Asia.(CP Photo/Chuck Stoody)

Nyheter Analyse

As NAFTA negotiations with the United States show slow progress, en new survey shows that more Canadians want to increase trade relationships beyond the United States, with Europe and the U.K.—jurisdictions with similar democratic institutions as Canada—taking the top spots.

China takes the fourth spot as the trade partner of choice, a finding similar to periodic surveys in recent years showing a decline in Canadians’ interest in free trade with China.

The federal government is pushing ahead with free trade talks with China, derimot, with a decision on the potential deal with the Asian giant expected this fall, according to The National Post.

The Epoch Times contacted Global Affairs Canada for an update on the Canada-China free trade talks, but answers to questions were not provided by press time. The government’s public consultation phase on the proposed deal closed in June.

As U.S. President Donald Trump plays hardball in NAFTA negotiations, Canada’s pursuit of a free trade deal with China has been cited by some as an attempt to send a signal to its southern neighbour that Canada isn’t limited in choice when it comes to trading partners.

But the Liberal government started negotiations on a potential free trade deal with China immediately after coming to power in the fall of 2015. That was long before Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, criticized NAFTA’s terms as being overly in Canada’s favour as president of the United States.

The Angus Reid poll published last week asked Canadians where their government should look to develop closer trade ties. Rundt 45 percent chose the EU, followed closely by the United States at around 40 prosent. The third spot with 30 percent went to the U.K., which is in the midst of exiting the EU and will be on its own in any trade talks. Kina, with close to 25 prosent, came in fourth.

Angus Reid notes that interest among Canadians for developing closer trade ties with China has been in decline since the research company first began its periodic polling on the subject in 2014.

Even among the Liberals’ own support base, i.e. those who voted Liberal in the 2015 federal election, support for a free trade deal is below two in five.

Rule of Law

The Liberals’ “human connection” initiatives and “people-to-people exchanges” between China and Canada over the last few years were cited as being intended to reverse the negative polling trends of Canadians’ views on China, but it seems they haven’t succeeded in making Canadians more receptive to closer trade ties.

Perhaps that’s because it is not the elected representatives of the Chinese people that oversee the affairs of their country, but a single non-elected entity that controls all branches of power, including the judiciary, in a one-party system.

The overt state control in China is something that worries Dean Allison, the Conservatives’ newly appointed international trade critic, should a Canada-China free trade agreement go ahead.

“We certainly don’t mind doing deals with the Chinese people. It’s when you have the state involved in such a large way that gives us some great concerns,"Sa han i et intervju.

That’s the lesson Amy Chang hopes Canadians wanting to do business in China learn. Chang’s parents, John Chang and Allison Lu, Canadian citizens who own wineries in B.C. and Ontario, are currently being held by Chinese authorities in Shanghai over an alleged customs valuation dispute.

According to Chang, the Chinese authorities have criminalized a commercial dispute in her parents’ case.

“If this is an issue regarding undervaluation, then they can let me know and we can deal with this diplomatically. There’s no need to have Canadian citizens detained overseas and imprisoned,” Chang told The Canadian Press last spring when she visited Ottawa to plead with federal politicians for help in getting her parents released.

"[Beijing] really is a government that doesn’t play by the rules, it isn’t rule-based,” said Allison. "[I Kina] we have clear violations of the rule of law as it would exist here in Canada.”

That means that when it comes to a free trade deal with China, there is no guarantee of a level playing field, han sa.

“If you and I are making decisions in Canada based on business and personal interest and how the market economy works, that’s one thing, but we are competing with a systematically organized and controlled state-run operation. I think that skews the level playing field,” Allison said.

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Delivery workers sort parcels for their customers in Beijing, China on “Singles Day,” a holiday that has grown into the world’s busiest day for e-commerce, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)Delivery workers sort parcels for their customers in Beijing, China on “Singles Day,” a holiday that has grown into the world’s busiest day for e-commerce, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

Nyheter Analyse

Kina, the world’s largest e-commerce market, counts more than 400 million online shoppers even as half the country remains offline, but eager Canadian businesses face significant hurdles to gain market share.

Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com are making a big push in Canada trying to get more Canadian businesses to join their platforms and sell to the Chinese.

Alibaba’s billionaire chairman Jack Ma will be making his pitch to Canadian business—alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—at an event in Toronto called “Gateway 17” on Sept. 25.

The Toronto Region Board of Trade hosted JD.com in July for a business roundtable with more than 50 Canadian companies.

Canadian products have an excellent reputation in China. The growing Chinese middle class is leery of cheap Chinese goods and values the quality of Canada’s manufacturing and pristine environment for agro-food products.

More broadly, China is undergoing a lengthy transformation from an investment-oriented economy to a consumption-based one—away from heavy industry and toward the service sector. E-commerce has a vital role to play in the Chinese government’s strategy.

“E-commerce platforms are really helping to standardize market access in China to people of all income groups, which is an important priority in China,” said Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, in a phone interview.

Reasons for Concern

E-commerce might simplify certain aspects of doing business in China, but pervasive challenges like lack of rule of law and intellectual property (IP) violations are but a couple of the difficulties foreign businesses face.

OSS. President Donald Trump initiated a probe into China’s IP theft, which is estimated to be responsible for between 50 og 80 percent of all IP violations that harm the U.S. økonomi, ifølge IP Commission Report. den US-. Chamber of Commerce estimates 86 percent of all counterfeit goods come from China and Hong Kong.

Bottles of wine from Clear Lake Wineries, an export operation of Ontario wines to China. (Courtesy Mary Whittle)

Bottles of wine from Clear Lake Wineries, an export operation of Ontario wines to China. (Courtesy Mary Whittle)

“A lot of product on Alibaba is counterfeit. Consumers know that too,” said Mary Whittle in a phone interview. She is the CEO of Clear Lake Wineries, a family-run business that exports Ontario wines to China.

derimot, China is cracking down on IP violations for good reason. It realizes that some of its companies can be global champions provided other companies don’t plunder their IP. So they must be protected. The number of settlements in the last few years is up roughly fourfold under the stronger judicial framework, says De Silva.

IP violations aren’t limited to fake goods. They can derail a business when an unscrupulous company learns of the legal name of a legitimate business and becomes the first to register or use that name in China. It then files a claim against the genuine business when it tries to register or use the name in China.

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (CTCS) warns that patents and trademarks registered in Canada or other countries are not usually protected in China and that regulatory enforcement can still be unsatisfactory. The CTCS website even has an extensive section on business risks related to corruption in China.

A lot of product on Alibaba is counterfeit. Consumers know that too.

— Mary Whittle, CEO, Clear Lake Wineries

Another warning from the CTCS, in a section titled “An Introduction to E-Commerce in China,” states: “Government policies regulating the marketplace are dense, complicated, and prone to changes without notice.”

An extreme example of China’s opaque regulatory enforcement is the case of John Chang and Allison Lu, owners of Lulu Island Winery based in B.C., who are facing a minimum of 10 years—and possibly life—in prison for alleged wine smuggling into China. The winery said it believed it had followed all the applicable laws, yet Chang has already been serving jail time.

“The arrest of Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu for a fabricated customs violation is an assault on their basic rights, a breach of China’s international trade obligations, and China’s own customs laws,” Conservative international trade critic Gerry Ritz said, as reported by the CBC in May.

In an email to The Epoch Times, Brianne Maxwell, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said: "We are following the case of Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu closely. Canadian officials are in contact with the relevant Chinese authorities and are providing consular assistance to Mr. Chang, Ms. Lu and their family. Canadian representatives have raised the case with Chinese authorities at high levels. To protect the privacy of the individuals concerned, further details on this case cannot be released."

Rule of law is necessary for business to thrive in a legitimate manner. Clearly it still has a long way to go in China.

The Chinese e-commerce giants are basically facilitation and delivery mechanisms. But doing business in China is much more than filling an order. The Chinese consumer is bombarded with options and a variety of marketing schemes. The reality is that many countries are trying to sell to the Chinese, which makes marketing efforts to distinguish products costly. Competition is intense.

Whittle says she was told by JD.com that a business could spend $400,000 on a marketing campaign for a month and there’s no guarantee the message would register with consumers.

“It is a very difficult market to penetrate and you can do a lot of things right and it’s still hard, very difficult to break through the noise, competing against every other country and every other product,” Whittle said.

The e-commerce giants may be trying to put dollar signs in the heads of Canadian businesses, but there are many factors for success that are beyond their control.

Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETBiz

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A man rests beside a house in Elishku in China’s western Xinjiang region. Elishku was the scene of a bloody clash in July 28, 2014 between villagers protesting against the Chinese regime’s restrictions during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the government troops. (Greg Baker / AFP / Getty Images)A man rests beside a house in Elishku in China’s western Xinjiang region. Elishku was the scene of a bloody clash in July 28, 2014 between villagers protesting against the Chinese regime’s restrictions during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the government troops. (Greg Baker / AFP / Getty Images)

Globe and Mail journalist Nathan VanderKlippe, who was briefly detained by Chinese police earlier this week, says he travelled to Elishku in China’s volatile Xinjiang region to find out more about a 2014 violent confrontation between Chinese authorities and the ethnic Uyghurs that exiled groups say resulted in 2,000 deaths.

VanderKlippe, the Globe’s Beijing correspondent, was detained on Wednesday evening, Aug. 23, just as he arrived in Elishku. He had his laptop confiscated by the secret police and was released early Thursday morning.

Similar to Tibet, Xinjiang is a very sensitive region for the Chinese communist regime due to the minority group’s dissatisfaction and occasional protests over the Chinese regime’s suppression of their rights and customs.

The Chinese Communist Party stifles the minority Uyghur group’s Islamic religious activity. Instances include barring Muslims from observing Ramadan, requiring men to shave their beards, forcing women to remove their veils, og coercing them to raise pigs, considered unclean in Muslim culture.

Not much is known about what happened on July 28, 2014, at the end of Ramadan in Elishku. China’s official accounts claim that the violent confrontation was in response to knife- and axe-wielding Uyghurs on a rampage, and put the official death toll at close to 100.

Exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, derimot, cited evidence from the ground that at least 2,000 Uyghurs had been killed in what she called a massacre. Kadeer told Radio Free Asia that this was the highest reported casualty count in the history of Xinjiang violence.

Kadeer said evidence includes “recorded voice messages from the people in the neighbourhood and written testimonies on exactly what had taken place in Elishku township of Yarkand County during this massacre.”

Suppression of independent reporting of events is all too common in China. There is still no clear account of the death toll of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre i Beijing, with the Chinese regime putting the death toll between 200 til 300 while other estimates put the toll at well over 1,000.

Deteriorating Conditions

I henhold til en survey report by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), conditions for international press in China continue to deteriorate.

The FCCC’s 2016 survey indicates 98 percent of foreign journalists report that conditions rarely meet international standards and that they face growing cases of harassment, obstruction, and intimidation of sources and local staff.

Close to 60 percent of journalists reported that they had personally experienced some form of interference, harassment, or violence while reporting in China.

Throughout his encounter with the authorities, VanderKlippe said he reminded the police that Chinese law allows him to report and interview anyone who gives consent. But his captors told him that Chinese law doesn’t apply to secret police, and even less so does it apply to a sensitive region like Xinjiang.

VanderKlippe wrote in a report for the Globe that his ordeal offered “a window into the ways China’s laws are regularly reduced to guideposts that can be ignored in service of broader objectives, and the contortions authorities take to reconcile the two.”

“It also illuminated the measures Chinese officials take to suppress unauthorized accounts of a region where the harsh policies of an authoritarian state have limited a minority people’s ability to conduct life on their own terms.”

Last June, Canadians saw a glimpse on their own soil of how China treats journalists when Chinese minister of foreign affairs Wang Yi scolded a Canadian journalist for asking a question related to China’s human rights record during a joint conference with then-Canadian foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion in Ottawa.

In December 2015, China deported French reporter and veteran China journalist Ursula Gauthier for her reporting in which she denounced Chinese state-media coverage that equated the Uyghurs’ protests with the Nov. 15, 2015, Paris terrorist attacks.

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Falun Gong practitioners march in downtown Vancouver on July 16, 2017, to call for an end to the persecution of their spiritual discipline ordered by the Chinese regime 18 years ago on July 20, 1999. A procession of practitioners in white hold memorial wreaths to pay tribute to those who have been persecuted to death. (Tang Feng/The Epoch Times)Falun Gong practitioners march in downtown Vancouver on July 16, 2017, to call for an end to the persecution of their spiritual discipline ordered by the Chinese regime 18 years ago on July 20, 1999. A procession of practitioners in white hold memorial wreaths to pay tribute to those who have been persecuted to death. (Tang Feng/The Epoch Times)

This week across Canada and around the world, thousands are gathering in front of Chinese embassies and consulates to mark 18 years since the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign of violence and hatred to “eradicate” the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong is still ongoing. There are 12 Falun Gong practitioners with Canadian ties currently being illegally held in China,” said Falun Dafa Association of Vancouver spokesperson Sue Zhang at a rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on July 16.

As well as giving speeches and holding marches and candlelight vigils calling for an end to the persecution, Falun Gong adherents are seeking help from the Canadian government to free their fellow practitioners from detention and imprisonment in China. Among them is a Canadian citizen, Sun Qian, who has been detained in Beijing since February.

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

Canadian Prisoner of Conscience Abused in China

Sun, a 51-year-old Chinese-Canadian businesswoman and Vancouver resident, is currently being held at the Beijing First Detention Centre, where she has been shackled, handcuffed to a steel chair, continuously pepper sprayed in the face, and now may be indicted for her faith.

Despite appeals for her release by several high-level Canadian officials, including Conservative members of Parliament Peter Kent and Michael Cooper, former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Sun continues to be detained.

Canadian Falun Gong practitioners continue to be hopeful that Sun will be released as a result of a strong voice from elected officials.

Sun Qian has been shackled, handcuffed to a steel chair, continuously pepper sprayed in the face, and now may be indicted for her faith

When former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution on July 20, 1999, Canada was, faktisk, the first country to publicly condemn the persecution. “Canada filed an official protest with China’s foreign ministry after 30,000 Falun Gong adherents were detained in 30 cities across China, sources said,” reported The Globe and Mail on July 26, 1999.

Ottawa-based Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, also recalled that it was the strong voice of elected officials, along with steady media coverage, that helped to secure the release of Zhang Kunlun, who is believed to be the first Canadian arrested in China for practising Falun Gong.

Professor Kunlun Zhang with his painting

Professor Kunlun Zhang with his painting “Red Wall,” which is based on his experience as a prisoner of conscience in China, at the Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition in Washington, D.C., i juli 18, 2013. (The Epoch Times)

Zhang is a former visiting professor at Montreal’s McGill University. He was arrested in 2000 and sent to forced labour camp for three years but was released in January 2001, shortly before then-prime minister Jean Chrétien’s trade mission to China.

While in custody in China, the professor was subjected to abuse including torture with electric batons. He was also forced to watch broadcasts of hate propaganda vilifying Falun Gong.

“China was afraid of being exposed [for their human rights abuses], because professor Zhang is a Canadian citizen,” Li said.

Large-Scale Killing for Prisoners’ Organs

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises handed down from ancient China that includes teachings based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. I juli 1999, the Chinese communist regime ordered a persecution and an extensive hate propaganda campaign against Falun Gong due to the popularity of the practice that was not under the control of the state.

[The Communist Party initiated] the worst instance of religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution, with the clampdown against Falun Gong.

— University of Ottawa professor André Laliberté

"[The Communist Party initiated] the worst instance of religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution, with the clampdown against Falun Gong,” wrote University of Ottawa professor André Laliberté, a leading scholar on religion in China, in a paper in 2015.

The persecution has garnered condemnation from human rights groups, the United Nations, and various governments around the world.

Sue Zhang cited a February 2017 Freedom House report that details how Falun Gong adherents continue to be subjected to widespread and severe human rights abuses. And the most recent 2016 OSS. Congressional-Executive Commission report states how extreme physical and psychological abuse continues against Falun Gong.

[Our] review found credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.

— Freedom House 2017 special report

There are also reports by investigators including two Canadian researchers estimating that 60,000 til 100,000 transplants per year are performed in China—as opposed to the official Chinese figure of 10,000 per year—with the primary source being Falun Gong detainees having their organs forcibly removed, and being killed in the process, to supply China’s extremely lucrative transplant industry.

Freedom House noted that it had reviewed the available evidence compiled by these investigators and “found credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.” “There are reasons to believe that such abuses continue,” the report stated.

Over 50 Falun Gong  adherents participate in a 36-hour hunger strike on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 13, 2002, to appeal to the Canadian government to help stop the Chinese regime's order to

Over 50 Falun Gong adherents participate in a 36-hour hunger strike on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 13, 2002, to appeal to the Canadian government to help stop the Chinese regime’s order to “kill [Falun Gong practitioners] without mercy,” in this file photo. Police received orders to “shoot on sight” if Falun Gong practitioners are seen handing out or posting Falun Gong flyers in China. (Minghui.org)

Moral Principles

At the Vancouver rally, Li Jianfeng, a former judge in mainland China, praised the principles taught by Falun Gong and called for greater support of the spiritual practice in Canada.

“I call on all Vancouverites to support Falun Gong,” Li said. “What it spreads is ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.’ … These high-level moral principles, if they can flourish in Canada, will bring us blessings and a good future.”

Following the rally on July 16, Vancouver practitioners and supporters held a march downtown. They will also hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese consulate on July 19. Events are planned in other Canadian cities later this week, including in Ottawa on July 19 and in Toronto on July 21.

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Falun Dafa Association of Canada president Li Xun speaks during a rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa on June 26, 2017, calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian who is currently detained in China for practising Falun Gong. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)Falun Dafa Association of Canada president Li Xun speaks during a rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa on June 26, 2017, calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian who is currently detained in China for practising Falun Gong. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)

Starting June 25 and continuing for the next few days, rallies appealing for the rescue of a Canadian citizen detained in China are being held in several cities across the country.

Falun Gong practitioners and supporters are staging protests in front of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa and the Chinese consulates in Vancouver and other cities to condemn the arrest of Vancouver resident Sun Qian and to call for her immediate release.

A Chinese-Canadian businesswoman who became a citizen in 2007, Sun was detained by the Chinese authorities in February for practising the traditional spiritual discipline Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

As the vice president of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry, Sun travelled regularly between Vancouver and Beijing for work. While she was in her Beijing residence on Feb. 19, mer enn 20 plainclothes security agents barged in, ransacked her home, and took her away.

She has since been imprisoned at the Beijing First Detention Centre’s 414 Prison Room, a facility notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees.

“The arbitrary arrest and mistreatment violated her right to freedom of belief guaranteed under China’s own constitution and international law,” says a statement from the Falun Dafa Association of Canada (FDAC) on the occasion of the national appeal for Sun’s release.

After a visit with her lawyer on May 5, Sun was pushed to the ground by four male guards, sprayed in the face with a pungent chemical, and handcuffed and shackled, according to Sun’s sister, Sun Zan. The handcuffs and shackles remained on day and night from May 5 to May 18. She was also forced to wear the same socks and underwear for over two months.

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

“My daughter has not committed any crime,” wrote Sun’s 78-year-old mother in a statement. “On the contrary, she has become an even better person [through practising Falun Gong]. But under the CCP’s tyranny, she is now detained instead. I have no choice but to worry about my daughter.”

In a speech at the rally in Ottawa on June 26, Falun Gong practitioner Hongyan Lu called for Sun’s release and also talked of her mother, Huixia Chen, who has been detained in China a second time for her beliefs.

“On June 3, 2016, she was again illegally detained, enduring brutal torture and brainwashing even at 60 years of age, unable to have contact with family members,” Lu said. “In February this year, Canadian citizen Sun Qian was abducted from her Beijing residence, illegally held, and endured torture, also because she practises Falun Gong. These are only two cases out of the millions of cases of Falun Gong practitioners being cruelly persecuted in China.”

Since the Chinese regime launched its campaign of persecution against the practice in July 1999 due to fear over its immense popularity, Falun Gong adherents have been systematically subjected to arrest, torture, and killing. It has been estimated that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, remain unlawfully imprisoned.

“I hereby call for the immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong, the immediate and unconditional release of Sun Qian and my mother Huixia Chen, as well as all illegally imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners. Let all those perpetrators of the persecution be brought to justice,” said Lu.

Falun Gong practitioner David Cordero speaks during a rally on June 25, 2017, calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian who is currently detained in China for practising Falun Gong. (Feng Tang/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioner David Cordero speaks during a rally on June 25, 2017, calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian who is currently detained in China for practising Falun Gong. (Feng Tang/The Epoch Times)

Health Problems Healed

According to the FDAC statement, Sun used to suffer from liver and heart problems as well as depression, but soon after she started practising Falun Gong in 2014, all her health issues disappeared.

Alice Zhang, who spoke at the rally in Vancouver on June 25, a day before the Ottawa rally, likened Sun’s improved health to that of her mother in China, who is also being held in China for practising Falun Gong.

“Like Sun Qian, my mother also had many illnesses for which she was unable to find a cure, and after practising Falun Gong she became healthy and no longer suffered from illness. But now she is being jailed by the Chinese communist regime,” she said.

“I have come here not only to appeal for the freedom of Sun Qian, but also for the release of my mother and all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners. My hope is that all citizens in mainland China will soon have the right and freedom to practise Falun Gong.”

At the Vancouver rally, David Cordero said he finds it “inconceivable that the Chinese regime is actively building an international image while still persecuting a kind-hearted group of people who believe in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance,” referring to the guiding principles of the practice.

“This runs counter to the principles of international civil society," han sa. “The Chinese regime should immediately release Sun Qian, and at the same time the Canadian government should make greater effort to urge the Chinese regime to release Sun Qian.”

MP Peter Kent speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

MP Peter Kent speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

Although Sun’s family members have not been allowed to visit her, she has received two consular visits since she was arrested. Several high-level Canadian officials have appealed for her release, including Conservative members of Parliament Peter Kent and Michael Cooper, former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, and Green leader Elizabeth May.

“We are grateful to the thousands of Canadians who have signed petitions calling for the release of Ms. Sun and we are also grateful to over a dozen MPs from all parties who have called for Ms. Sun’s immediate release and intervention from our government,” the FDAC statement said.

“We condemn the Chinese communist regime’s illegal detention of Ms. Sun, and we urge the Canadian government to intervene and solidify Ms. Sun’s immediate release and the release all jailed Falun Gong practitioners.”

Falun Gong practitioners  gather in front of the Chinese Consulate in Calgary to appeal for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, who has been detained in China since Feb. 19 for her faith in Falun Gong. (The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gather in front of the Chinese Consulate in Calgary to appeal for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, who has been detained in China since Feb. 19 for her faith in Falun Gong. (The Epoch Times)
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Conservative MP Tom Kmiec talks to NTD Televisions inside Parliament in Ottawa on May 2, 2017. Kmiec presented a petition in the House calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, who was detained in Beijing in early February. (NTD Television)Conservative MP Tom Kmiec talks to NTD Televisions inside Parliament in Ottawa on May 2, 2017. Kmiec presented a petition in the House calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, who was detained in Beijing in early February. (NTD Television)

OTTAWA—A Calgary MP has presented a petition in the House of Commons calling for the release of Canadian citizen Sun Qian, who was detained in Beijing in early February.

On June 12, MP Tom Kmiec, the Conservative’s deputy foreign affairs critic, presented petitions he said were signed by over 200 of his constituents and others in Calgary.

“The petitioners remind the government of the illegal detention of Sun Qian,” Kmiec said, adding that there has been “no movement” on the part of the government to do more to secure Sun’s release.

Sun, who has been mistreated in the detention centre and is being held in a small, crowded cell with 11 other inmates, has received one consular visit since she was detained on Feb. 19.

I Kina, Sun’s 78-year-old mother, Li Yunxiu, is also trying to have her daughter freed from detention. Through the Falun Gong website Minghui.org, Li has called for Sun’s release and also urged the Canadian government to help her daughter. Li and other family members have not been allowed to visit Sun since her arrest.

derimot, Sun’s lawyer, Glen Gao, has been able to visit her a few times at the Bejing No. 1 Detention Centre. During his most recent visit, on May 27, Gao told Sun’s sister, Sun Zan, that after his previous visit, four male guards pushed Sun to the floor and sprayed her in the face with a foul-smelling liquid.

Sun has been mistreated in the detention centre and is being held in a small, crowded cell with 11 other inmates.

Then the guards handcuffed her to a steel chair and continued spraying her in the face. When the odour from the spray was so strong that guards were unable to bear it, they opened a window. They then covered Sun’s face with a mask so the pepper spray could be completely absorbed into her face, Sun Zan said.

From then on, Sun was handcuffed and shackled day and night until the consular visit on May 18.

The handcuffs were the kind with no chain between the cuffs, so there was no room for any movement. Yet every night there was someone assigned to roughly jerk the handcuffs and shackles every 30 minutes, which caused Sun unbearable pain, Sun Zan said.

When Gao visited Sun on May 27, he said he could clearly see the bruises and cuts on her wrists from the handcuffs.

As vice president of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co., 51-year-old Sun often travelled between her home in Vancouver and Beijing. After her arrest on Feb 19 for practising Falun Gong, authorities refused to tell her family where she was being detained, so her mother and sister went from one police station to another in an effort to discover her whereabouts.

After two weeks of searching, they finally found out Sun was being detained at the No. 1 Beijing Centre.

i mellomtiden, in the House of Commons, Green party Leader Elizabeth May and some other MPs recently presented petitions calling for an end to the campaign of persecution being waged against Falun Gong practitioners in China.

On June 13,Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette presented a petition in the House calling for the release of family members of Canadians detained in China for practising Falun Gong—11 in all—and for the end of the persecution.

“It has been 17 years since the Chinese communist regime launched the persecution to eradicate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice centred on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained, including family members of Canadians,” Ouellette said.

“Mass extrajudicial imprisonment, forced labour, torture, rape, and killing, along with hate propaganda, have all been reported by major human rights organizations,” he added, describing persecution launched by the Chinese regime against the traditional practice in 1999.

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MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis is urging the government to support his private member’s bill to combat organ trafficking. (NTD Television)MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis is urging the government to support his private member’s bill to combat organ trafficking. (NTD Television)

OTTAWA—Conservative MP Garnett Genuis raised forced organ harvesting in China this week in the House of Commons in the hopes of securing government support for his private member’s organ trafficking bill.

“Canada needs to be vocal in standing up for international human rights, and in particular for the rights of persecuted minorities. Even above that, Canada needs legislation which would define in Canadian law our opposition to involuntary organ harvesting in cases where it comes back to our shores,” Genuis said on May 17.

“This really is a no-brainer and it should be a non-partisan issue.”

Genuis pointed out that Bill C-350, which aims to counter forced organ harvesting, is the same as Bill C-561 put forward by former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler. That bill only made it to first reading in the last Parliament.

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who had previously put forward a similar bill that also failed to make it through the legislative process, seconded Bill C-350 when Genuis introduced it on April 10.

Bill C-350 would amend the Criminal Code to impose penal sanctions against those who, whether in Canada or abroad, knowingly acquire or trade in human organs that have been removed without donor consent or for financial gain. It would also amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to render inadmissible those non-Canadians who engage in the trafficking of human organs.

Genuis referred to the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China while they are still alive—an atrocity that was first exposed in a 2006 report by Canadian lawyers Davd Matas and David Kilgour.

“Sometimes these organs are cut out of a person while he or she is still living and without anaesthetics, screaming in pain as the person’s body is cut apart. In many cases, organ harvesting is a form of further abuse, targeting members of persecuted religious minorities," han sa.

According to “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update,” released last June by Kilgour, Matas, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, other religious minorities besides Falun Gong practitioners being killed to supply China’s highly lucrative organ transplant industry are Uyghur Muslims, House Christians, and Tibetans.

The report estimated that “between 60,000 og 100,000 organs are being transplanted in Chinese hospitals every year, with the source for most of those organs being prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.”

Canada needs legislation which would define in Canadian law our opposition to involuntary organ harvesting in cases where it comes back to our shores.

— Conservative MP Garnett Genuis

“There is a real urgency to move forward with this kind of basic human rights legislation given escalating human rights problems around the world, and given the emphasis this government is putting on Canada’s relationship with China,” Genuis said.

Complex Issues

In reply to Genuis, Marco Mendicino, parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, said the bill “raises some complex legal and social policy issues.”

“There are a number of complex issues that are raised by this proposed legislation specifically related to the extraterritoriality provisions, which would capture Canadians travelling abroad," han sa.

“In addition, there are other international implications, including under existing United Nations conventions as well as the Council of Europe, which has adopted its own convention against trafficking in human organs. These are all international treaties and conventions, which we will be looking at very closely as we approach the second reading vote.”

Mendicino noted some of the aspects of the bill: “It would require medical practitioners who examine a person who has had an organ transplanted to report the identity of that person as well as other health information to this proposed new entity. As part of this regulatory regime, the bill would impose a duty on the person who receives an organ to obtain a certificate establishing that it was donated and not purchased.”

Genuis said “there is a lot of detail” in the bill and explained the importance of that.

“The detail is important for ensuring that there is effective administration of the provisions that are in place, that we are actually not just saying that we are against organ harvesting, but we have a mechanism in place to address it concretely.”

He said he is open to amendments to the bill, and asked Mendicino whether he could count on the government’s support at second reading.

Mendicino replied that “the government is taking a hard look at this bill, without making any comment about what our position will be at second reading.”

Genuis noted that there is currently no law preventing Canadian citizens from going abroad, acquiring an organ which they know or which they should know has been taken without consent, and then returning to Canada for continuing medical treatment.

He noted that organ transplantation in China is a booming industry, with the regime investing large amounts of money into new buildings, staff, and research and training in transplantation.

“Given this massive capital establishment coupled with the high volume of transplants, the transplantation industry in China is built on not just the ready supply of available organs in the present, but also on an expectation of an indefinite supply of organs for the future, " han sa.

“As such, we should greet claims by the regime that this practice has ended with severe skepticism.”

“Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update” found that China’s state-driven transplantation industry transplants far more organs—by an order of magnitude—than can be accounted for by officially acknowledged sources, which Beijing says are limited to executed death-row prisoners and voluntary donors.

Israel, Spain, Italy, and Taiwan have passed laws restricting their citizens from travelling to China to receive organ transplants from illicit sources.

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Conservative MP Peter Kent, co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)Conservative MP Peter Kent, co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—More than a dozen parliamentarians from all parties joined over 600 Falun Gong practitioners on Parliament Hill on May 9 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the spiritual discipline also known as Falun Dafa.

The days’ festivities included a parade, dance and song, and performances by Falun Gong’s Tianguo Marching Band, along with large-scale demonstrations of the practice’s sitting meditation and slow-moving exercises.

Falun Gong’s recognition in Canada was clear from the speeches by 13 members of Parliament and 2 former MPs, who applauded the practitioners for their principles and peaceful resistance to the Chinese communist regime’s 18-year violent campaign of persecution.

“It’s an honour to be with people who understand the importance of truth and compassion and tolerance in our world today,” said NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, referring to the practice’s three core principles, expressed in Chinese as “Zhen, Shan, Ren.”

“You are real champions of a better world,” added Hardcastle, who is vice-chair of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights. “We need to make sure that people in all countries have the courage to speak up for the same kind of beliefs, and your speaking up at this event is very important to advance that cause.”

“I want to congratulate you on this important anniversary, the recognition of the spiritual dimension, which is present in many faiths,” said Conservative MP Garnett Genuis. “That spiritual dimension is so important to every aspect of life and informs so much of the human experience.”

Mental, Physical, Moral Benefits

It was 25 years ago on May 13, 1992, that the first series of public lectures on Falun Gong was taught by founder Li Hongzhi in his hometown of Changchun. It had previously been passed down privately from one generation to the next, as is common among spiritual practices in the ancient Chinese tradition.

Av 1999, Falun Gong had grown to some 70 million practitioners in China, as estimated by the country’s State Sports Administration, and today it is practised in over 100 countries. It is spread mainly through word of mouth due to its benefits to physical and mental health and its teachings that uplift morality in society.

Liberal MP Judy Sgro, co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong (PFOFG), an all-party group of senators and MPs lending focused support to Falun Gong, referred to these benefits in her speech.

Thank you for shining a light on this and making sure that we as politicians do not forget that in all those discussions around trade that we must always raise the issue of human rights.

— MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj

“You have been teaching Canadians how to be healthy … how we can go to doctors much less and how, through Falun Dafa, we’ll be much healthier Canadians, which helps, selvfølgelig, to build a great Canada,” Sgro said.

Despite being a non-political practice devoted to personal improvement, Falun Gong’s popularity was not tolerated by the officially atheist Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Several top officials saw it as out of line with Marxist ideology and the CCP’s own rule and authority, as discussed in a 2017 Freedom House rapportere.

In June and July 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin made an “arbitrary and arguably illegal decision to ban Falun Gong and asserted his will over other members of the Politburo Standing Committee,” according to the report.

‘Criminalization of innocence’

The persecution since then has seen the widespread arrest, detention, and torture of Falun Gong adherents throughout China reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.

The recent arrest and detention of Canadian citizen and Falun Gong practitioner Qian Sun made headlines across Canada, and several of the speakers at the rally were also at a Parliament Hill press conference in the morning to lend their support to efforts seeking her release.

Among them was former Liberal MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler. Cotler recalled that one of his first acts after being elected in 1999 was to take up the case of Kunlun Zhang, a former visiting arts professor at Montreal’s McGill University.

“He had gone on a visit to China where he was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for being nothing other than a Falun Gong practitioner, for being nothing other than a person who is espousing the fundamental principles of Truth and Compassion and Tolerance,” Cotler said.

Through sustained public advocacy and the efforts of Canadian parliamentarians like Cotler, Zhang was released in January 2001. On Sun’s case, Cotler said it was “a case study yet again of what I call the criminalization of innocence, where people are imprisoned not for what they do but for who they are.”

Liberal MP Judy Sgro, co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Judy Sgro, co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP MP and vice-chair of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP MP and vice-chair of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights, speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Former Liberal MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Former Liberal MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

David Kilgour, former Liberal MP and secretary of state (Asia-Pacific), speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

David Kilgour, former Liberal MP and secretary of state (Asia-Pacific), speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Michael Cooper speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Michael Cooper speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Ruby Sahota speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Ruby Sahota speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

NDP MP Daniel Blaikie speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

NDP MP Daniel Blaikie speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Ted Falk speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Conservative MP Ted Falk speaks at a celebration on Parliament Hill marking the 25th anniversary of Falun Gong, May 9, 2017. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Prisoners Killed for their Organs

Conservative MP Ted Falk noted that “since 2006 we’ve been hearing of something so evil it is difficult to imagine: the systematic execution and harvesting of organs from Chinese Falun Gong prisoners.”

Independent investigations, most notably reports by Canadians David Matas and David Kilgour and American investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, have concluded that for over the last 15 år, the Chinese regime has been killing Falun Gong prisoners of conscience on a large scale for their organs to supply a lucrative organ transplant industry.

Kilgour, a former secretary of state (Asia-Pacific), was on hand to address the rally. Speaking on behalf of the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, a group he founded along with Matas and Gutmann, Kilgour described a stark conclusion from their research.

I admire your courage, your bravery, and the peace that you have brought to this world.

— MP Ruby Sahota

“We conclude cautiously that 60,000–100,000 transplants per year are being done across China, not the approximately 10,000 its government claims," han sa. “Even the lower figure means that on average 250 persons a day are being killed for their organs.”

Kilgour encouraged Canadians to urge their MPs to support Genuis’s private member’s bill C-561, which aims to combat this forced organ harvesting.

The bill was first introduced in 2013 by Cotler and recently reintroduced by Genuis. By making it a criminal offence to obtain an organ abroad for which no consent had been given, it would “at least ensure that Canadians, that Canada, is not complicit in this vile practice,” Genuis said.

Education and Awareness

Conservative MP Michael Cooper commended the practitioners for their peaceful means of sharing information with government officials and the public about their practice and the rights violations against adherents in China.

“You have responded to that brutal campaign not through violence but through education, through awareness, by shining a light on these egregious human rights abuses and by promoting the principles of tolerance, compassion, and benevolence," han sa.

“For 25 år, the Falun Gong has grown every single day. Millions upon millions of people have joined and it continues to grow notwithstanding a brutal 18-yearlong campaign of extermination perpetrated by the communist regime,” Cooper added.

“We recognize the practice of Falun Dafa, committed as it is to truth, compassion, and tolerance, is a spiritual non-violent practice and it is absolutely mind-boggling that this practice has been outlawed within the People’s Republic of China,” said MP Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

It is absolutely mind-boggling that this practice has been outlawed within the People’s Republic of China.

— Green Party leader Elizabeth May

“Congratulations on all the work that you’ve done, and the awareness that you have brought to Canadians,” said Liberal MP Ruby Sahota. “I admire your courage, your bravery, and the peace that you have brought to this world.”

“I want to commend Falun Dafa for practising peace and compassion,” said NDP MP Daniel Blaikie, while fellow NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault noted the many petitions he has received from constituents calling on Canada to urge the Chinese regime to end the persecution.

“You can count on my support to table those petitions and make sure it is heard by the government,” Dusseault said.

“No one, regardless of faith and philosophy, should be persecuted for their faith and philosophy,” said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

“Hopefully one day human rights will reign,” Liberal MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette said. “I’m here to support you all and you’re in my thoughts and you’re important and you matter.”

“We must continue to work for the day … when the tenets of Falun Dafa, of Falun Gong, can be spoken out loud in Tiananmen Square: Zhen Shan Ren, Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance,” said Conservative MP Peter Kent, referring to the large public square in the centre of Beijing where many Falun Gong practitioners have been violently arrested for efforts to appeal for their right to practise their faith.

Kent is co-chair of PFOFG along with Liberal MP Judy Sgro.

“You are doing something that’s of such critical importance,” Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj told the crowd. “Thank you for shining a light on this and making sure that we as politicians do not forget that in all those discussions around trade that we must always raise the issue of human rights.”

“When we gather together to speak out for those with no voice, we help shine a light into the dark places. … And we do it by upholding, cherishing, and defending the truly Canadian values of religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience,” said Falk.

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MP Peter Kent speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)MP Peter Kent speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

OTTAWA—A group of MPs from three parties along with a former justice minister is calling for the release of a Canadian citizen who was arrested on Feb. 19 during a visit to China and has since been held without charge.

As vice-president of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co., Ltd., Qian Sun often travelled between Vancouver and Beijing. But in February, handle om 20 police officers arrested her at her residence in Beijing and confiscated her Falun Gong books and other personal belongings.

I 2014 Sun had started practising Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline also known as Falun Dafa that has been subjected to a wide-ranging campaign of persecution since 1999.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to adhere to the rule of law, which they proclaim they are doing but violating consistently in the matters of Falun Gong practitioners,” said former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler at a May 9 press conference on Parliament Hill.

Other speakers were Conservative MP Peter Kent, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, and Conservative MP Michael Cooper.

We urge the Chinese authorities and the People’s Republic of China to restore a Canadian citizen her Canadian passport and let her return home.

— Green Party leader Elizabeth May

“Qian Sun is only the most recent Canadian citizen, along with many millions of Chinese citizens, to be persecuted for their belief in Falun Gong, a philosophical regime which espouses belief in peace and truthfulness and tolerance,” said Kent.

“I think everyone who has spoken here today sees a necessity for a strong message to the government of China to release Qian Sun, but at the same time we expect, and will call on the government, to speak up more forcefully in public.”

derimot, Kent said he was concerned because when he raised the issue of Sun’s detention at a foreign affairs committee hearing on May 2, the answer he got from Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, told him that “perhaps there is an agreement to remain silent.”

McCallum has declined to comment publicly on Sun’s case, saying only that she has access to “regular consular visits,” as in all such cases.

“That doesn’t always help, for the person in detention, if we broadcast their situation in public, so I think for those cases, almost all the time, it is better to proceed in a low-profile way,” he said on May 2.

“That’s simply unacceptable,” Kent said at the press conference, adding that Sun’s case “is something that the Canadian government must speak publicly about.”

“It can speak respectfully, but it should no longer continue to mute its expression of concern about human rights abuse in China, or anywhere in the world, simply in the interest of trade agreements or an eventual chance at a seat on the Security Council.”

I think everyone who has spoken here today sees a necessity for a strong message to the government of China to release Qian Sun.

— Conservative MP Peter Kent

Cotler compared Sun’s case to that of professor Kunlun Zhang, a former colleague of his at McGill University who was detained during a visit to China because he practised Falun Gong.

Zhang was arrested in 2000 and sent to a forced labour camp for three years. His case was widely publicized in Canada, and due to a strong voice from elected officials and steady media coverage, he was released in January 2001, shortly before a trade mission to China by then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Cotler spearheaded the effort to have Zhang released and acted as his pro-bono legal counsel.

“It ended successfully. But it ended up successfully because of a sustained public advocacy campaign. I would say that it was the combination of both effective public advocacy and effective diplomacy,” Cotler said.

Former MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

Former MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler speaks at a press conference in support of efforts to secure the release of Canadian citizen Qian Sun detained in China for her practice of Falun Gong, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

“So it takes parliamentarians, it takes civil society leaders, to engage in that public advocacy and have that merge, with the hopeful effectiveness of that private diplomacy to bring about the release.”

May, Cooper, and Hardcastle also called on the Chinese regime to immediately release Sun, with Hardcastle urging Beijing to “reconsider its stance on Falun Dafa.”

May noted that the only offence Sun could be charged with—practising Falun Gong—”is an offence that shouldn’t exist.”

“The notion that practising Falun Dafa, which is a non-violent spiritual practice, should put someone in the crosshairs of the authorities in the People’s Republic of China remains a deep concern to every Canadian concerned about human rights,” she said.

“We urge the Chinese authorities and the People’s Republic of China to restore a Canadian citizen her Canadian passport and let her return home. And on the other hand, we underscore once again that the larger issue of persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners must stop.”

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The identification card of Chinese-Canadian Falun Gong practitioner Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)The identification card of Chinese-Canadian Falun Gong practitioner Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

A Chinese-Canadian businesswoman who practices Falun Gong has been held against her will by the Beijing security apparatus since February.

Sun Qian, 51, is the vice president of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co., Ltd., a company she co-founded with her husband Shen Guangqian in 1997. Sun and Shen were worth about $500 million in 2016, ifølge Hurun Report, an annual survey of China’s richest.

Sun was at her residence in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on Feb. 19 when she was suddenly visited by a squad of over 20 policemen. The policemen spent the next eight hours ransacking Sun’s home, and confiscated her computer, cellphone, and Falun Gong literature. Sun and her housekeeper were handcuffed and led away.

On March 28, the Beijing First Procuratorate Branch accused Sun of “using a heretical religious organization to undermine the law,” a common charge used by the Chinese regime’s legal apparatus against Falun Gong practitioners.

Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that involves slow exercises and an adherence to the teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. On July 20, 1999, former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a persecution campaign against Falun Gong. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners have since been arrested and held in some form of detention, where they face torture, abuse, and even death.

When Sun was being detained, she tried to explain to the guards how Falun Gong has benefited her, and sometimes shouted out defenses of Falun Gong’s principles. As punishment for mentioning Falun Gong, Sun was locked up in a small, darkened room. The punishment was stopped after the Canadian embassy got involved, according to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

The Epoch Times has learned that Sun is currently being held in Beijing First Detention Center’s 414 Prison Room, a facility notorious for having particularly fierce prison guards.

Sun Qian, who is born in China, became a Canadian citizen in 2007. Peter Kent, a Canadian Conservative MP, raised Sun’s detention to John McCallum, the new Canadian ambassador to China, at a May 2 Commons foreign affairs committee meeting.

McCallum said that he was briefed on Sun’s case, but declined to make a public comment. Kent disagreed with McCallum’s stance.

“While I understand that in some situations silence may be the right course, I believe that in the case of Falun Gong practitioners, given the Chinese communist government’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, that Canada should, faktisk, raise its voice before Qian Sun is done harm,” Kent said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television.

“Because we know that in detention in situations like this, the Chinese authorities sometimes resort to torture and to abuse of prisoners.”

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File photo from Interol showing Mo Yeung (Michael) Ching. (Interpol)File photo from Interol showing Mo Yeung (Michael) Ching. (Interpol)

A Vancouver property developer and contributor to Justin Trudeau’s campaign for Canadian prime minister is wanted for corruption by the Chinese regime.

On April 27, the regime’s anti-corruption agency released the names, identification details, and alleged addresses of 22 former officials who are currently economic fugitives abroad, including one Cheng Muyang.

Cheng had business interests in Beijing and Hong Kong, and is accused of embezzlement and “concealment of illegal gains,” according to state mouthpiece China Daily. He is listed as having fled China for New Zealand in 2000, and is now supposedly residing in Vancouver. China and Interpol have been calling for the arrest of Cheng since 2015.

Corruption suspect Cheng was found in recent years to be involved in Canadian federal politics, having donated to Canada’s Conservative Party, as well as the Liberal Party and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Cheng is also the son of Cheng Weigao, a disgraced provincial leader. The elder Cheng is a good friend of Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese Communist Party leader who allowed malfeasance to flourish during his nearly two decade-long grip on power.

Political Donor

Cheng Muyang, 47, owns a real estate company in Canada under the name Michael Ching Mo Yeung, i henhold til en 2015 exposé of the connections between Cheng and the Liberal Party of Canada by South China Morning Post (SCMP), a daily newspaper in Hong Kong.

Cheng had in recent years donated thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party and to the leadership campaign of prime minister Justin Trudeau, a transaction acknowledged by the Liberal Party in 2015.

But Cheng also appears to have made financial and political contributions beyond personal donations, which are capped at CA$1,550 (handle om $1,100) per år.

Cheng’s real estate office is the headquarters for the Tru-Youths United Association, a pro-Trudeau organization that counted among its directors Cheng’s wife and teenage daughter Linda Ching, according to SCMP. The Association helped to organize Liberal Party events where Trudeau was the guest of honor, and these events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Some Liberal Party executives had in 2013 received an anonymous tip that Cheng Muyang was wanted by the Chinese regime for corruption, but the Liberals and Trudeau continued to accept Cheng’s donations and support, SCMP reported.

The Liberal Party has said in media reports that all contributions have been in accordance with the Canada Elections Act. Cheng, the Liberal Party said, never held an official role. Linda Cheng, Cheng’s daughter, was President of the Liberal Party’s youth wing in British Columbia from November 2013 to May 2015, and currently has no official position with the Liberal Party.

I 2015, Cheng Muyang lost his bid for refugee status in Canada because he is accused of defrauding the provincial government of Hebei in a land deal in the 1990s, i følge CBC News.

A Family Affair

Cheng Weiguo, the late father of Cheng Muyang, was chief of Hebei Province in the 1990s when the younger Cheng’s embezzlement allegedly took place.

Cheng the elder was himself charged with corruption in 2003 while serving as chairman of Hebei’s legislature, and expelled from the Communist Party. derimot, the leadership of then Party chief Hu Jintao wasn’t able to prosecute Cheng Weiguo for criminal activity, and Cheng enjoyed the retirement benefits of a sub-provincial level official until his death in 2010.

Cheng Weiguo had likely escaped legal punishment for his corruption crimes because he was a good friend of former Party boss Jiang Zemin.

Cheng and Jiang got acquainted in the mid-1980s when Cheng was Party boss of Nanjing and Jiang was mayor of nearby Shanghai. Their ties were helped by the fact that both were natives of Jiangsu Province, southern China, according to Boxun, an overseas Chinese language media that trades in political information.

Jiang Zemin’s tenure as Party leader (1989-2002) and powerful backroom operator (2003-2012) was marked by rampant corruption, kleptocracy, and persecution.

When Jiang became Party leader, he elevated Cheng to acting Party secretary of Hebei Province in the autumn of 1990.

Incumbent Chinese leader Xi Jinping has sought to reverse the policies of Jiang through an anti-corruption campaign, which he launched shortly after taking office. Many of Jiang’s allies and supporters have since been charged with corruption and prosecuted.

The Party’s anti-corruption agency started seeking corrupt Chinese officials hiding abroad in 2014, but has been unable to secure the repatriation of fugitives from countries where China doesn’t have an extradition agreement.

Because Canada doesn’t have an extradition treaty with China, the fate of Vancouver developer Cheng Muyang is unclear. The Chinese regime is currently seeking an extradition deal with Canada.

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John McCallum, Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, at a meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in Ottawa on May 2, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)John McCallum, Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, at a meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in Ottawa on May 2, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

OTTAWA—MPs say the Trudeau government should raise its voice and intervene at high levels about a Canadian arrested in China in order to prevent her from being abused by the Chinese authorities.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent on May 2 raised the case of Qian Sun, a Falun Gong practitioner seized in Beijing in February who now faces indictment for her faith. Kent was speaking at the parliamentary foreign affairs committee hearing following a speech by new Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum touting more trade with China.

Qian Sun.

Qian Sun.

In his remarks, McCallum acknowledged that “the consular side of my job is critical” and noted that Canada and China “disagree on the death penalty, we disagree on some aspects of rule of law, and privately and publicly on how the Chinese government treats human rights advocates.”

derimot, McCallum declined to comment publicly on Sun’s case, and would only say she had access to “regular consular visits” as in all such cases.

“That doesn’t always help, for the person in detention, if we broadcast their situation in public, so I think for those cases, almost all the time, it is better to proceed in a low-profile way," han sa.

Torture and abuse of prisoners

Kent, derimot, disagrees and in particular is concerned about this situation involving an adherent of Falun Gong. Also called Falun Dafa, the meditation and spiritual discipline, which emphasizes the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, has been the target of a state-sponsored persecution in China since 1999, launched by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.

Given the Chinese communist government’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, Canada should, faktisk, raise its voice before Qian Sun is done harm.

— MP Peter Kent

“While I understand that in some situations silence may be the right course, I believe that in the case of Falun Gong practitioners, given the Chinese communist government’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, that Canada should, faktisk, raise its voice before Qian Sun is done harm,” Kent said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television.

“Because we know that in detention in situations like this, the Chinese authorities sometimes resort to torture and to abuse of prisoners,” he added.

Kent has reason to be concerned. I henhold til en 2017 Freedom House report, Falun Gong adherents in China have been subjected to arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and torture, and are at a high risk of extrajudicial execution.

Freedom House also notes evidence suggesting that the regime has been engaged in the large-scale killing of religious prisoners, particularly Falun Gong practitioners, to provide organs for China’s booming organ transplant industry.

Sun, 51, is vice president of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co., Ltd., and began practising Falun Gong in 2014, i følge Minghui, a website dedicated to reporting on the Falun Gong community worldwide.

More than two dozen police broke into Sun’s home and arrested her on Feb. 19, and it took her family several weeks to find out where she was being detained, said the Minghui report.

Conservative MP Peter Kent asks a question in the House of Commons on April 11, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Conservative MP Peter Kent asks a question in the House of Commons on April 11, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Canada should be ‘far more forceful’

“We think that the Canadian government should be far more forceful in representing this Canadian citizen,” Kent said.

NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière agreed. “It is really important for the Canadian government to be very active on that file,” she told NTD.

“International standards of basic human rights include freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and Canada must stand up to defend those principles and those rights,” Laverdière said.

“Often they have to work with the host government and put a lot of pressure, sometimes phone calls from high-level people to make sure that you know the fundamental rights of these Canadian people are fully respected.”

Committee member Tom Kmiec, the Conservative deputy foreign affairs critic, told NTD he was disappointed the committee got no answer as to the kind of consular assistance being provided to Sun.

“When the ambassador is asked a question, they should explain to us what types of consular services they provided to Canadians, whether it is just formal interviews, [whether they were] provided with a lawyer, whether they were able to have someone who is a medical doctor or nurse visit them,” Kmiec said.

Raising human rights

McCallum told the committee he had been in China for five weeks and was invited to present his credentials to President Xi Jinping “within 24 hours of arriving in China.”

“I conveyed to him a message from our prime minister that can be summarized in three words: more, more, more,” McCallum said. “We want in both directions more trade, more investment, more tourists, more students, more co-operation in every conceivable area.”

Asked during the committee hearing if he raised human rights issue when he met with Xi, McCallum said no, because the meeting “was less than five minutes and it was largely scripted.”

It is part of Canada’s foreign policy to raise the issue of human rights overseas, especially when it comes to Canadians.

— Committee member Tom Kmiec

Kmiec saw it as a lost opportunity for Sun. The fact that McCallum “wasn’t able to raise the issue of human rights concerns me,” said Kmiec.

“It is part of Canada’s foreign policy to raise the issue of human rights overseas, especially when it comes to Canadians," han sa.

“That is the number one thing we raise, and I know using an individual’s name with the leader of another country, and raising the issue personally with them, sometimes helps to secure their release or at least a better treatment while they went through their judicial process.”

This has been true for other Falun Gong cases, including that of Canadian citizen Kunlun Zhang, a former visiting professor at Montreal’s McGill University, who is believed to be the first Canadian to be arrested in China for practising Falun Gong.

Zhang was arrested in China in 2000 and sent to forced labour camp for three years. He might have languished there if his daughter Lingdi Zhang had not broadly publicized his plight starting in November that year.

The strong voice from elected officials and steady media coverage helped to grow public outcry over the elder Zhang’s imprisonment, and he was released in January 2001, shortly before then-prime minister Jean Chrétien’s trade mission to China.

“Canada should pursue trade talks but we should also have a balanced approach and we should speak openly and publicly and forcefully about the defence of human rights whenever this sort of case occurs,” said Kent.

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Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speaking at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on April 4, 2017, with Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin on the left. (NTD Television)Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speaking at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on April 4, 2017, with Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin on the left. (NTD Television)

OTTAWA—Conservative MP Garnett Genuis is reviving former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s private member’s bill that makes it a criminal offence for Canadians to receive organs harvested by force. The bill also bars foreigners who have participated in this activity from entering Canada.

The bill was inspired by the over 10 years of research done by two Canadian lawyers, David Matas and David Kilgour, on state-sanctioned organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China, which kills the victim in the process.

Matas and Kilgour, along with investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, released a report in June 2016 which estimated, based on evidence such as hospital data and doctors’ statements, that Chinese hospitals have performed some 60,000 til 100,000 transplants a year since 2000, with the source for most of the organs coming from prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.

Genuis made the announcement at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on April 4, joined by David Kilgour and the reigning Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin. His reintroduction of Cotler’s bill allows it to go through the legislative process and have a chance to potentially become law.

“There is a real urgency to moving forward with this kind of basic human rights legislation,” Genuis said.

“I am reintroducing his [Cotler’s] legislation to address these issues in two ways: One is to make it an offence for Canadians to receive organs that they know, or they ought to know, have been harvested in this way, and there is an associated mechanism that confronts that. The other part is to address Chinese officials or officials from other countries. It doesn’t name any specific country, but obviously it is a major issue in China.”

There is a real urgency to moving forward with this kind of basic human rights legislation.

— Conservative MP Garnett Genuis

Kilgour noted that there’s no need to name China specifically because that’s the only country engaging in organ harvesting on such a large scale.

“There’s only one country out of almost 200 countries in the world now that does this on an industrial, state-sponsored level, and that’s China," han sa.

He added that “Falun Gong [practitioners] don’t smoke or drink, they exercise, and they are much preferred as donors of organs,” referring to the health benefits of the traditional Chinese meditation and spiritual discipline whose teachings centre on the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.”

Lin described the stark reality of the procedure of extracting organs from prisoners of conscience in China: “The practice is carried out live,” she said. “The victims typically die in the process when the vital organs such as the heart or liver are removed.”

Genuis said he’s “hopeful that the government will support this important initiative—even perhaps taking it up as government legislation in the future.”

“Notwithstanding some of the potential sensitivities, I hope that we will be able to work together across party lines to finally get this done. This is an issue of fundamental human rights.”

This is the fourth attempt to pass a bill aimed at combating the trade in human organs. Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj tried twice and Cotler once.

Kilgour said four countries have already passed such legislation: Spain, Taiwan, Italy, and Israel.

(L-R)  Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, former cabinet minister David Kilgour, and Conservative MP Garnett Genuis at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on April 4. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

(L-R) Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, former cabinet minister David Kilgour, and Conservative MP Garnett Genuis at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

‘The Bleeding Edge’

That evening, Genuis and Cotler co-hosted a screening of the award-winning film “The Bleeding Edge,” in which Lin plays a jailed and tortured Falun Gong practitioner who eventually dies as a victim of forced organ harvesting.

“Powerful, powerful film,” Genuis said. “Every component of the film, in terms of the experience of [Falun Gong] persecution, relates to real events taken from the lives of real people who shared that information. So it is a powerful form of testimony about the evil of this organ harvesting that is happening in China.”

“I think everybody leaves here with a strong sense of resolve and responsibility, for us to take actions as Canadians to address these human rights abuses,” he added.

Cotler, who had seen “The Bleeding Edge” previously at a screening in Prague, Czech Republic, last October, said he was again very moved by the film this time.

The victims typically die in the process when the vital organs such as the heart or liver are removed.

— Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin

“This is a very powerful film. I don’t want to use the word ‘perform.’ Anastasia internalized the pain and plight of victims of organ harvesting in such an authentic and overpowering way. She conveys not only that pain and plight but the moral compellability and urgency of doing something about it," han sa.

“This is crime against humanity. It is horrific enough. Those engaged in it will have to be held accountable, and we as a country, as a government, as a parliament, have to ensure we are not in any way facilitating it … indulging it. We will hold them accountable—that is what this legislation is all about.”

Former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler and Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speak after the screening of

Former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler and Conservative MP Garnett Genuis speak after the screening of “The Bleeding Edge” in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Epoch Times)

The former Liberal justice minister said he supports engaging with China, but “engaging on behalf of the people of China, on behalf of the Falun Gong, and holding those committing these crimes accountable.”

Holding to account those engaged in this activity “is the best way to engage with the Chinese people," han sa.

Everyone who sees “The Bleeding Edge,” Cotler added, will and should be shocked and outraged, knowing that it is based on fact. “So I think it’s the responsibility of Parliament, the government, the people, to ensure this kind of criminality is ended.”

“This is an assault on fundamental Chinese values … that find expression in the Falun Gong Truth-Compassion-Tolerance. Those are the things we have to work for and strive for.”

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Hongyan Lu speaks at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy on April 25, 2017, to mark the 18th anniversary of Falun Gong practitioners’ large-scale appeal for freedom of belief in China on April 25, 1999, and to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. To her right is Falun Gong practitioner Joanna Qiao holding a sign seeking help to call for the release of Lu’s mother, Huixia Chen, from detention in China and facing three years to life imprisonment for her belief. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)Hongyan Lu speaks at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy on April 25, 2017, to mark the 18th anniversary of Falun Gong practitioners’ large-scale appeal for freedom of belief in China on April 25, 1999, and to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. To her right is Falun Gong practitioner Joanna Qiao holding a sign seeking help to call for the release of Lu’s mother, Huixia Chen, from detention in China and facing three years to life imprisonment for her belief. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—The largest appeal for freedom of belief in Chinese history was commemorated in front of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa on April 25, 2017.

On April 25, 1999, mer enn 10,000 people gathered peacefully in Beijing to appeal for their freedom to practice Falun Gong and the release of arrested fellow practitioners. Forty-five or so practitioners had been beaten and detained in the nearby city of Tianjin.

De 45 practitioners were released that evening, so those who had gathered to appeal left quietly and went home.

derimot, just three months after the unprecedented appeal, then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign of persecution to “eradicate” Falun Gong that continues today.

“We are honouring the spirit of peace, justice, and compassion with which that appeal was held 18 År siden,” said Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.

“I am here to honour the April 25th peaceful appeal. Meantime I also hope to draw attention to my mother’s case,” said Hongyan Lu, a Falun Gong practitioner living in Ottawa.

Hongyan recounted how her 60-year old mother Huixia Chen suffered from hepatitis B, cirrhosis, stomach problems, and endometriosis in 1998 when she began practicing Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

“Just a few months into practicing Falun Gong that year, all her illnesses miraculously went away and she became good-tempered,” said Hongyan.

derimot, Huixia was arrested in June 2016, together with other fellow practitioners.

In the first 20 days after the arrest, Huixia “was tortured and locked in a chair made of metal bars and not allowed to move,” said Hongyan. “This destroyed her health and made it hard for her to walk or stand up. She’s very weak. She has also been forced to endure brainwashing sessions.”

Huixia is detained in Shijiazhuang Second Detention Center.

“My relatives in China are still struggling to get any updates on my mother and unfortunately have made little progress,” Hangyan said. “We have no idea what’s happening or what may happen to my mother under a regime without an independent or effective legal system.”

Hongyan noted that her mother’s experience is typical of the tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

“I call for the end of the persecution and the release of my other and all other incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners,” she said.

“It’s time to end this evil crime.”

Falun Gong is a traditional spiritual discipline of the Buddhist school. It consists of meditation, qigong exercises, and moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The practice spread quickly due to the profound benefits experienced by practitioners in their physical health and mental and moral wellbeing.

By the late 1990s Chinese government surveys estimated that 70–100 million people had taken up the practice. Due to paranoia over the immense popularity of the practice, which was not under state control, Party leader Jiang officially launched the brutal persecution in July 1999.

I 2006 the United Nations stated that 66 percent of reported victims of torture were Falun Gong practitioners. The U.N. and other groups have also reported growing evidence of rape, torture, widespread hate propaganda, deaths, and even state-orchestrated forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners to supply China’s booming transplant trade.

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