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, in fact, 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., on July 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. In July 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 U.S. 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 to 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.

Read the full article here

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, more than 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,” he said. “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)
Read the full article here

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.

In China, 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.

However, 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, , ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/limin-zhou/" rel="author">Limin Zhou</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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,” he said.

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 and 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,” he said.

“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, ” he said.

“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.

Read the full article here

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.

By 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, of course, 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 report.

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 years, 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,” he said. “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,” he said.

“For 25 years, 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.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/limin-zhou/" rel="author">Limin Zhou</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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, about 20 police officers arrested her at her residence in Beijing and confiscated her Falun Gong books and other personal belongings.

In 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.”

However, 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.”

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/limin-zhou/" rel="author">Limin Zhou</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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, according to the 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, in fact, 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.”

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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, according to a 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 (about $1,100) per year.

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.   

In 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, according to 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. However, 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.

Read the full article here

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.”

However, 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,” he said.

Torture and abuse of prisoners

Kent, however, 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, in fact, 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, in fact, 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. According to a 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, according to 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,” he said.

“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.

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/limin-zhou/" rel="author">Limin Zhou</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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 to 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,” he said.

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,” he said.

“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,” he said.

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.”

Read the full article here
  • Tags:, ,
  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/limin-zhou/" rel="author">Limin Zhou</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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, more than 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.

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

However, 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 years ago,” 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.

However, 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.

In 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.

Read the full article here

April 25, 1999April 25, 1999

EDMONTON—”It was a day when goodness truly triumphed.”

That’s how Michael Cooper, MP for Edmonton-St. Albert, described the April 25, 1999, event in which an estimated 10,000 Falun Dafa adherents gathered in Beijing to peacefully protest the hardening tone of state-run media against their practice and the wrongful arrest of their fellow practitioners in nearby Tianjin.

Cooper was speaking at a rally held in Edmonton’s Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22 to commemorate the anniversary of the appeal. The rally also heard from Garnett Genuis, MP for Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, and adherents of Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) who experienced persecution in China.

It was the largest peaceful pro-democratic demonstration in China since the Tiananmen Square pro-democratic demonstrations of 1989. It was a remarkable feat.

— MP Michael Cooper

The protest was the largest appeal for freedom of belief in China’s recent history, and the last time Falun Dafa adherents were able to gather before the brutal persecution against the practice was launched in July 1999 by then-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin.

‘A Remarkable Feat’

“It’s an honour to be here to stand with [Falun Dafa adherents] for truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, to stand in solidarity to commemorate the brave 10,000-plus men and women who [gathered] in Beijing on that fateful day of April 25, 1999,” Cooper said. Truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance are Falun Dafa’s guiding principles.

April 25, 1999

Garnett Genuis, MP for Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, talks at a rally in Edmonton’s Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017 to mark the 18th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 appeal in Beijing by Falun Dafa adherents. (Omid Ghoreishi/The Epoch Times)

“Men and women, who stood up for justice, who stood up for freedom, who stood up for human rights, who stood up for the dozens of Falun Gong practitioners who days earlier had been rounded up, arrested, and beaten. It was the largest peaceful pro-democratic demonstration in China since the Tiananmen Square pro-democratic demonstrations of 1989. It was a remarkable feat,” he said.

But the response of the Chinese regime was typical of a “brutal communist dictatorship,” Cooper noted.

Just three months later, Jiang’s regime launched a campaign of persecution against Falun Dafa, which in the past 18 years has resulted in thousands of families being destroyed, many sent to labour camps, many tortured to death, and many more losing their lives in China’s illicit state-sanctioned organ transplant trade.

April 25, 1999

Dr. Minnan Liu from the Falun Dafa Association of Edmonton talks at a rally in Edmonton’s Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017 to mark the 18th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 appeal in Beijing by Falun Dafa adherents. (Omid Ghoreishi/The Epoch Times)

“In the face of some of the most egregious human rights abuses and crimes committed in the modern world by the communist dictatorship of China, how have Falun Gong practitioners responded?” asked Cooper.

“[They’ve] responded peacefully, through education, through a campaign of awareness, to shine light on the evil—the evils that are perpetrated on a day-to-day basis in China against Falun Gong, and the tens of millions of practitioners right across China.”

Forced Organ Harvesting

Cooper told the crowd that he and fellow MP Genuis and others in the House of Commons will continue to press the Canadian government to compel Beijing to stop the persecution and promote “freedom, democracy, and human rights.”

Canada can play a strong role, standing up for universal human rights. We have a responsibility to do that, especially when the government talks about increasing our engagement with China.

— MP Garnett Genuis

Genuis, who recently introduced a private member’s bill to combat forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China, said persecution against all faith communities in China is on the rise.

“As China does its best to whitewash its international image, the persecution is escalating, it’s getting worse, and it requires a strong response from those of us in the West and throughout the world committed to justice and human rights,” he told the rally.

Genuis’s bill C-350, which revives a bill tabled in the last parliament by former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler, amends Canada’s Criminal Code and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The bill seeks to make it a criminal offence for someone to acquire an organ that they know was obtained without consent, and to make those involved in forced organ harvesting inadmissible to Canada.

Luo Zehui (R) recounts through a translator how her father fainted under torture and then cremated while still alive in China for practicing Falun Gong at a rally in Edmonton’s Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017. The event was held to mark the 18th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 appeal in Beijing by Falun Dafa adherents. (Omid Ghoreishi/The Epoch Times)

According to investigations by former Canadian secretary of state David Kilgour, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, and American investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, up to 90,000 organ transplants take place in China on a yearly basis, with the majority of them being Falun Gong prisoners of conscience who are killed for their organs.

“Canada can play a strong role, standing up for universal human rights. We have a responsibility to do that, especially when the government talks about increasing our engagement with China,” Genuis said.

Persecution

The rally heard from two Falun Gong practitioners who personally experienced persecution while in China.

Calgary resident Luo Zehui relayed in an emotional speech through a translator that her father, Jiang Xiqing, was put in a forced labour camp and tortured for practising Falun Gong.

April 25, 1999

Zhang Ping (R) recounts through a translator how she was imprisoned multiple times in China for practicing Falun Gong at a rally in Edmonton’s Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017. The event was held to mark the 18th anniversary of the April 25, 1999 appeal in Beijing by Falun Dafa adherents. (Omid Ghoreishi/The Epoch Times)

Jiang fainted under torture, and was then cremated while he was still alive, a tearful Luo said.

Zhang Ping, also from Calgary, talked about how both her physical and mental state improved with the practice and how she was able to harmonize her relations with family members and those in her community, thanks to Falun Gong.

However, due to the CCP’s campaign of persecution, she was arrested and detained on multiple occasions. She finally escaped China to come to Canada in 2015.

“After leaving my hometown, within less than a year I heard about three more fellow Falun Gong practitioners who died of persecution,” she said.

“There were 43 confirmed death locally and 989 in my province since the persecution started.”

Read the full article here

MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. He said he hopes his private member's bill aimed at combating forced organ harvesting in China receives all-party support. (NTD Television)MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. He said he hopes his private member's bill aimed at combating forced organ harvesting in China receives all-party support. (NTD Television)

OTTAWA—Conservative MP Garnett Genuis formally introduced his first-ever private member’s bill this week, aimed at combating a grave issue inflicting harm on spiritual believers in China, but also impacting Canadians. 

Bill C-350 revives former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Bill C-561, which aims to fight forced organ harvesting.

“This bill seeks to combat the scourge of forced organ harvesting, when organs are taken from people against their will, often gruesomely and without anaesthetic and while a person is still living, and often when the individual’s only so-called crime is engaging in a particular religious or spiritual practice, ” Genuis said in the House of Commons on April 10.

The bill amends both Canada’s Criminal Code and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

“It makes it a criminal offence for a person to acquire an organ that they know was acquired without consent. It also and makes those involved in forced organ harvesting inadmissible to Canada,” Genuis explained.

“As the government seeks to deepen Canada’s relationship with China, this bill is needed now more than ever,” he added. “It’s very important for Canada to prioritize human rights, and this is one important way we can do that.”

Genuis said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD) that the practice of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China has been a major concern.

“It’s just terrible that people would be targeted for this, having committed no crime, simply exercising their rights under section 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to practice a religious or spiritual practice based on their belief. Certainly, that’s a concern.”

As the government seeks to deepen Canada’s relationship with China, this bill is needed now more than ever.

— MP Garnett Genuis

Cotler, a former justice minister who wrote the original bill in 2015, said in a previous interview with NTD that the bill “will deter the Chinese engaged in this from continuing this criminality because it will send a message that they will be held accountable. It will combat the culture of impunity that has reigned thus far with regard to the organ harvesting and criminality that underpins it.”

“Regarding Canada,” he added, “it will ensure that we are not complicit in this and that Canadians do not engage in this practice, and they will be put on notice that they will be held accountable if Canadians are engaged in this practice.

“So it sends a dual message, both to those engaged in that criminality in Canada and those in Canada who are complicit in it. On both sides they will be held accountable.”

Genuis said that his fellow Conservatives “are very much behind” the issue, but all-party support is needed.

“To make it all the way, we need to build those bridges across party lines. We are well on our way to doing that. We have got clearly some strong support in other parties. Getting it all the way is going to require us to keep building on that. But there is no reason any party should be reluctant to do this. This is a basic human rights issue. It’s something that all parties should get behind,” he said.

Genuis already has Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s support to second the bill. Wrzesnewskyj has in the past twice proposed a similar private member’s bill to combat forced organ harvesting in China.

“We will be cooperating and working hard to make sure we finally have a Parliament to pass this legislation,” Wrzesnewskyj said.

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis and Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis already has Wrzesnewskyj's support to second Bill C-350. (NTD Television)

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis and Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis already has Wrzesnewskyj’s support to second Bill C-350. (NTD Television)

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 to 100,000 transplants a year since 2000, with the source for most of the organs coming from prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.

 

Read the full article here

Professor Y.Y. Chen speaks to the audience as the moderator of the panel discussion following the screening of “Human Harvest” at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017.  (Jonathen Ren/Epoch Times)Professor Y.Y. Chen speaks to the audience as the moderator of the panel discussion following the screening of “Human Harvest” at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017.  (Jonathen Ren/Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—On the issue of the Chinese regime’s killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience for their organs, the sheer volume of evidence that must be assembled and studied is one of the challenges preventing this abuse from receiving sufficient global attention.

Three books have been published on the topic as well as a 600-page update report by three key investigators, released June 2016, that contains nearly 2,400 references. In this context, using film to explore the topic has been a powerful medium that has helped to alleviate this challenge.

Several films have been produced, including the award-winning documentary “Human Harvest: China’s Illegal Organ Trade,” directed by Vancouver resident Leon Lee, which was shown in Ottawa for the first time this week. It was screened at the University of Ottawa on April 6 as part of National Health Ethics Week coordinated by the Canadian Bioethics Society.

“This film, having won numerous prizes including the Peabody Award in New York in 2015, continues to be shown in many parts of the world,” said David Kilgour in his speech at the event.

Kilgour, who is a former MP, cabinet minister, lawyer, and prosecutor, is featured in the film along with his co-authors of the update report: Winnipeg-based international human rights lawyer David Matas and American investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann.

“As we saw in the film, prisoners of conscience often convicted of nothing are the primary source of pillaged organs. They include Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Christians, but are overwhelmingly Falun Gong practitioners long dehumanized in Party-state media across China,” Kilgour said.

In their research for the report, Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann analyzed hospital revenues, bed counts and utilization rates, surgical personnel, training programs, state funding, and other factors.

“We conclude that 60,000–100,000 transplants per year are being done across China as opposed to the approximately 10,000 its government claims,” Kilgour said.

Falun Gong practitioner Hongyan Lu speaks following the screening of

Falun Gong practitioner Hongyan Lu speaks following the screening of “Human Harvest” at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times).

Amnesty International Urgent Action

Falun Gong practitioner Hongyan Lu, who spoke after Kilgour’s presentation, told the audience how the Chinese regime’s campaign of persecution against Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, impacted her family. Her mother, Huixia Chen, a Falun Gong practitioner currently awaiting trial in China, is the subject of an Amnesty International urgent action. Chen could face a prison sentence of from three years to life.

Like many other practitioners in China, after former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin launched the persecution in 1999, Chen refused to abandon the spiritual practice that had so benefited her. According to many practitioners’ experience, the traditional meditation discipline, which emphasizes healthy living and the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,” brings tremendous benefits for the mind, body, and spirit.

Following an earlier detention of Chen in 2003, her family suffered from ongoing harassment, including threats to end her husband’s employment and hate incitement that turned their neighbours against them. “Under these conditions, my father was forced to divorce my mother,” Lu said.

Chen was detained again last June, and suffered torture. It was not until November 2016 that her family was able to find a lawyer willing to take her case.

“Through him, around Christmas we were able to make contact with my mother for the first time since June,” Lu said. “Before that, the greatest concern for us was that she [had] become a victim for the organ harvesting business.”

“My story is only one of the millions of practitioners whose family like mine fell apart because of this persecution,” she noted.

Bill Seeking to Combat Organ Trade

Reaction from the attendees speaks to the relevance of the issue to Canadians and the importance and urgency of addressing it.

“The average Canadian would be quite shocked to learn the evidence that David Kilgour and David Matas have accumulated about the extent of organ pillaging in China, and also the evidence that exists that Canadians are themselves taking advantage of the availability of pillaged organs in China,” said Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based public policy think tank.

“I think the government of Canada has an obligation to ensure that Canada is not contributing to the existence of organ pillaging, and therefore that we outlaw access to this market for organs to Canadians and that we act in every international forum both to outlaw the practice and to bring pressure on the regime in China to end it as soon as possible.”

Kilgour noted in his speech that Spain, Israel, Taiwan, and Italy already ban transplant tourism by their nationals.

Just two days ago, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis announced that he is reviving former Liberal MP and justice minister Irwin Cotler’s private member’s bill aimed at combating the trade in human organs.

“All of us here today and across Canada should urge our own MP to support the Cotler-Genuis bill,” Kilgour said.

Professor Y.Y. Chen speaks to the audience as the moderator of the panel discussion following the screening of

Professor Y.Y. Chen speaks to the audience as the moderator of the panel discussion following the screening of “Human Harvest” at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

‘Evidence That You Cannot Ignore’

“This [film] made me realize how much injustice there is, and how we can do better,” said Karli Zschogner, coordinator for Canada’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

“It gives a lot of evidence that you cannot ignore,” Zschogner said. “As Canadians and the Canadian government, we have to do our part.”

“This film was very touching and inspiring. It’s sad, but it gives us hope that we have to work more to end that,” said Shahram Golestaneh of the Iran Democratic Association.

“If we don’t do it, we would have the same scene that we have seen in previous centuries and prior to every genocide that has happened, because people ignored what was right to do,” Golestaneh added.

“I’ve been familiar with the travesty of this for a number of years, and it doesn’t get any easier the more one knows. It’s wrong. It’s simply wrong,” said Maureen Korp, a professor and a writer.

“That’s not what medicine should be.”

Fred Litwin, president of the Free Thinking Film Society, delivered the welcome remarks at the

Fred Litwin, president of the Free Thinking Film Society, delivered the welcome remarks at the “Human Harvest” film screening at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

Getting Informed, Taking Action

The panel discussion was moderated by Y.Y. Chen, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, who said the film can help people better understand the issue and compel them to “want to do more, to find out more, and try to do something to change this situation.”

“It stays with you,” he said of the film. “We should get informed, spread the word about this issue, and contact your MP.”

Fred Litwin, president of the Free Thinking Film Society, delivered the welcome remarks and noted that his society has highlighted forced organ harvesting twice in the past. “It’s a topic that needs more exposure, more discussion,” he said.

Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann are founders of the website endorganpillaging.org on which they have posted a petition to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for an immediate end to forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.

“Get the word out, talk to people, get informed about the issue—all of us can do something different,” Kilgour said, urging everyone to go to the website and sign the petition.

David Kilgour speaks at the screening of

David Kilgour speaks at the screening of “Human Harvest” at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

Karli Zschogner, coordinator for Canada's All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, attended the

Karli Zschogner, coordinator for Canada’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, attended the “Human Harvest” film screening at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

Shahram Golestaneh of the Iran Democratic Association attended the

Shahram Golestaneh of the Iran Democratic Association attended the “Human Harvest” film screening at the University of Ottawa on April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

 

Read the full article here

Former religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett (L) and Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)Former religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett (L) and Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s new ambassador to China, John McCallum, ambitious to pursue ever greater engagement with the world’s most populous nation, two former ambassadors on April 3 addressed the annual parliamentarians’ forum on religious freedom concerned about rights violations in that country.

“China remains one of the world’s most egregious violators of freedom of religion,” former religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett told a packed audience. Bennett is a senior fellow at think tank Cardus, where he chairs a group dedicated to celebrating the importance of faith in Canadian society.

“Let’s be clear, there is no debate about the lack of religious freedom in China. Its government is tightly controlled by an avowedly atheist party,” said David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China and current president of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

Completing the panel were human rights advocates and representatives from various faith groups, including the Falun Gong, Tibetan, and Uyghur communities, along with reigning Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, whom Chinese authorities declared persona non grata for her outspoken views on rights abuses in China.

Hope and resilience were uplifting themes, but also cautionary advice amid the stark reality of rights abuses as Bennett and Mulroney charted proposals for moving forward to increase protection for religious believers in China.

What Canada Can Do

Mulroney said Canada took a very important step forward by creating an Office of Religious Freedom led by Bennett. However, now that this initiative has been dissolved by the Liberals and folded into an Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion, he had some recommendations for the government on how he believes this change can continue to improve on the effort.

The government should make it clear, through projects and funding, that the office truly is open to promoting the broad spectrum of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mulroney said. It should also “listen and learn” about local conditions and needs and reach out to partners across Canada who are dedicated to advancing religious freedom.

As well, “building Canadian bridges to China’s inspiring and courageous religious believers is, in my view, smart diplomacy,” Mulroney said.

Building Canadian bridges to China’s inspiring and courageous religious believers is, in my view, smart diplomacy.

— David Mulroney , Canada’s former ambassador to China

Bennett agreed, adding that “the first step needs to be greater awareness-raising and education of the elites in this country around the role of religion,” including the role it plays in geopolitics and even international trade.

Meanwhile, he said the key is “to recognize the depth of the problem, that China is among the countries with the most severe government restrictions on religious freedoms, and that has to be factored in how the Canadian government approaches human rights.”

“Canadian corporations that are engaged in investment, export, and trade in China should also, in their corporate social responsibility frameworks, factor this in,” said Bennett.

Moreover, “it means to engage very publicly with the Chinese government on its human rights record,” said Bennett, adding that governments and advocacy groups need to do much more to expose Chinese government actions and demand improvements in behaviour.

Bennett also cautioned against treating China as “special” and saying that the regime operates and governs in a different way and has different values. “To use this as an argument for not taking action against human rights violations is moral relativism at its worst,” he said.

“We need to reflect that Canadian values are not simply Canadian values. The values of freedom, democracy, justice, rule of law, and human rightsthese are cosmopolitan rights that speak to a universal, objective truth. That must be the basis for our engagement with the Chinese government and indeed with all governments,” said Bennett.

Co-host David Anderson, MP, at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

Co-host David Anderson, MP, at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

‘A Cautionary Note’

“We should not be under any illusion, as China engages more and more with the political, economic, and social frameworks of the world, that that is having any impact on their human rights record,” Bennett said.

He said the more China engages in international fora, one would hope that there would be pressure put on the country to improve its record on human rights including religious freedom. “But they remained unmoved.”

Bennett added “a cautionary note for those countries such as Canada and our allies who continue to seek deeper relations with China, political relationships, trading relationships, defence relationships—we need to hold the Chinese government’s feet to the fire.”

We should not be under any illusion, as China engages more and more with the political, economic, and social frameworks of the world, that that is having any impact on their human rights record.

— Former religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett

Persecuted For Their Faith

Joel Chipkar, spokesperson for Falun Dafa Association of Canada, described the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners launched by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in 1999.

“He unleashed a relentless propaganda campaign that blanketed the country, and also created an extra-legal police force, called the 610 office, with absolute power that hunts down, arrests, and can even kill practitioners without trial.”

Carole Samdup, executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee, as part of her talk showed images of China’s repression of religious freedom in Tibet.

“Here what you see is a video that was smuggled out depicting nuns being forced to dance on the stage, which actually breaks their religious vow. And the next slide will show some other nuns who were required to sing patriotic songs.”

Rukiye Turdush, former president of the Uyghur Canadian Society, said the Chinese government puts serious restrictions on religious publications. “Chinese police forces can search Uyghurs’ home any time, without any searching warrant, and they confiscate the Koran, Bible, or any kind of religious books.”

In an interview after the forum, Mulroney expressed his “great admiration for religious believers in China.”

“I was always deeply impressed by their courage, and by what they are contributing to the rest of Chinese society. So I think it should be a real priority for Canadians to reach out and support believers in China.”

Joel Chipkar of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada speaks at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

Joel Chipkar of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada speaks at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

‘It’s Incumbent On Us’ to Speak Out

“Canada does have to be extremely careful that it is not naive in its relationship,” said MP Judy Sgro in an interview after the forum. “And there needs to be conditions as we move forward on rights.”

“It’s important that we are not afraid to identify the lack of freedom that our Chinese brothers and sisters are experiencing and to draw attention of the international community to these injustices,” said MP Harold Albrecht. “It’s incumbent upon us as Canadians.”

Canada does have to be extremely careful that it is not naive in its relationship.

— Liberal MP Judy Sgro

“It just shows that there is a lot more work to do before China joins the international community and is recognized as a member in good standing that respects human rights,” said MP Andrew Saxton. “We just have to continue to engage to make sure they are moving in the right direction.”

“I think it’s true that the regime in the PRC really does want to make sure their government is seen as being respectable and is seen as conforming with international norms,” said MP Scott Reid. “So whenever they are confronted with evidence that the world is rejecting something they are doing, it does have a certain impact.”

Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin speaks at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin speaks at the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom in Ottawa on April 4, 2017. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

Optimistic Outlook

Mulroney said he spent much time with faith groups in 2009–2012 when he served as ambassador to China, and saw the hope it offered to China’s religious believers.

“I quickly became aware that something as simple as showing up with a message of Canadian concern and support can become, as my colleague the German ambassador eloquently put it, like a candle in the dark for people who are otherwise alone and abandoned,” he said.

MP Garnett Genuis, co-chair of the forum along with MP David Anderson, called on the attendees to help advance the protection of religious freedom in China.

“It’s wonderful that we are able to end this evening on an optimistic note about the triumph of the human spirit over evil,” Genuis said. “Now it’s up to all of you to take the information you gained … and look for ways to become more engaged.”

“Canada can be a candle in the dark, so that we actually, by participating and by bringing up these issues, shine light on the subject and encourage the Chinese government to do better than they have in the past,” said Anderson. “We do have a significant influence, and we can use that influence and hopefully make some great change.”

Lin, the keynote speaker at the forum, said that a few years ago while preparing for her role as a victim of torture in the movie “The Bleeding Edge,” she spent time with two sisters who had escaped China to Canada in order to internalize their experience of abuse when imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong.

Vancouver residents Jing Tian and Jing Cai described to Lin the horrific pain of being shocked with electric batons on their heads, having bamboo shoots shoved under their fingernails, and brutal, life-threatening force-feeding techniques.

“All these tortures were part of the Chinese Communist Party’s psychological reprogramming to make one renounce one’s belief,” said Lin, adding that she was inspired by the sisters’ inner power that enabled them to stay strong.

“That power was the belief of the sisters—truth, kindness, and forgiveness,” she said.

“I think of them when I find myself in the darkness,” she continued. “My family [in China] was under great pressure from the Chinese regime in an effort to silence me after I won the Miss World Canada title.”

The Chinese regime “might succeed for a while, arresting human rights lawyers and believers, banning books and blocking websites, but they can never censor the human spirit,” she said.

“They can never take away … the hope and faith in us. They can never take away the human spirit.”

Read the full article here