Doris Liu, director of the film “In the Name of Confucius,” discusses her documentary on Confucius Institutes at the Alliance Defending Freedom, April 26. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)Doris Liu, director of the film “In the Name of Confucius,” discusses her documentary on Confucius Institutes at the Alliance Defending Freedom, April 26. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)

 WASHINGTON—Since 2005, the Chinese government has been funding Confucius Institutes (CI) in the United States—a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. For example, it gave $4 million to Stanford University as a onetime gift. What is behind the largesse? Does the China regime just want to promote Chinese culture or is there something more insidious about its intentions?

To address this question, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) commissioned a report released in April, “Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education.” NAS, consisting primarily of current or former university professors, describes itself as an independent association seeking to foster “intellectual freedom and academic excellence in American higher education.”

The report’s author, Rachelle Peterson, presented her findings at an event hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom on April 26.

In recent years, faculty at universities hosting Confucius Institutes often voice concerns such as the university’s Confucius Institute was established in secrecy, is beyond faculty control, and competes with their modern language program. It’s also reasonable to ask about the intellectual costs of an arrangement that grants significant authority to a party outside the university.

The University of Chicago in 2014 closed its Institute after five years, soon followed by the University of Pennsylvania. Several scholars of China have written books and articles critical of the program. The faculty at the University of Chicago objected to an external party hiring and training teachers. The faculty was also not comfortable with the university’s ties to the Hanban, an agency of the Chinese communist regime, and the constraints on free speech and belief that is to be expected from the Chinese Party-State.

To better understand the role of Confucius Institutes in American higher education, Peterson, who is director of Research Projects at NAS, examined 12 Confucius Institutes—two in New Jersey and 10 in New York. It was a challenge to conduct the research. Most of the CI’s she studied were not very forthcoming and in some instances, very hostile to her research.

The faculty at the University of Chicago objected to an external party hiring and training teachers.

Following the report’s discussion, the U.S. premiere of the documentary, “In the Name of Confucius,”  was shown. It reenacts the personal story of former CI Mandarin teacher and Falun Gong practitioner Sonia Zhao. She exposed secrets of the CI program that led to the first closure of a Confucius Institute in North America. The film also profiles contentious scenes taken at Canada’s largest school board, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), as it debated the CI program. Shown also were boisterous public protests in Canada for and against CIs.

CI Growing

The CI program is managed within an agency of China’s Ministry of Education: The Office of Chinese Languages Council International, usually called the Hanban. It operates 103 Confucius Institutes in the United States, nearly all out of universities. As well, it operates Confucius Classrooms (CC) at 501 primary and secondary schools in the United States. These 604 entities are the most of any nation, and represent 38 percent of China’s 1,579 CIs and CCs worldwide. The 501 U.S. CCs represents nearly half (47 percent) of all CCs worldwide. Other countries which have high numbers of education outposts are UK, Australia, Italy, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, Russia, Japan, and France.

China’s overseas investment in CIs and CCs is growing. In the United States, the number increased 35 percent in the last year.

Censorship

Peterson found that Chinese teachers felt pressured to avoid certain topics that are censored in China, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, Taiwan, Falun Gong, and criticism of Communist Party legitimacy. Teachers within Confucius Institutes, who are hired, paid by, and report to the Hanban lack formal academic freedom, states Peterson. Even working in America, they can be removed for violating Chinese law, such as using speech censored in China.

Some CI instructors told Peterson that if the subject of Tiananmen Square came up, they would describe its beautiful architecture.

Doris Liu, director and producer of “In the Name of Confucius,” said that McMaster University told a Tibetan student not to show a Tibetan flag to represent her identity in an annual activity to celebrate the various nationalities on campus. Liu determined that the request originated from the CI director who asked the activity coordinator to tell the Tibetan student not to show the Tibetan flag.

Peterson wrote that local observers at North Carolina State University said that the Confucius Institute was responsible for rescinding an invitation to the Dali Lama to speak on campus in 2009.

Rachelle Peterson, director of Research Projects, National Association of Scholars, discusses her report, Outsourced to China,

Rachelle Peterson, director of Research Projects, National Association of Scholars, discusses her report, Outsourced to China,” at the Alliance Defending Freedom, on April 26. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)

In 2008, Tel Aviv University shut down a student display on the treatment of Falun Gong adherents in China. The students sued and the court found that the university acted under pressure from a dean who feared harming the university’s CI.

Some American professors told Peterson that they felt pressured to self-censor. A good example of the way self-censorship works was given by Julie Wang, Binghamton University’s Asian and Asian American Studies Librarian.

The Hanban had provided a large display of Chinese opera costumes that were housed in wooden cases with glass doors. Wang, who was born in China, initially identified the display on placards as costumes and supplies for “Peking Opera,” which is the original historical term and remains the preferred terminology. She notes that the National Performing Peking Opera still uses “Peking Opera.”

But the Confucius Institute insisted on “Beijing Opera,” the term preferred by the Hanban. A compromise was worked out to use “Beijing (Peking) Opera.”

The lesson she learned in this episode and others was to avoid conflict: “I self-censored myself,” she said, noting that university faculty regularly works with the Hanban and she didn’t want to make it “awkward” for them.

Hiring Discrimination

In 2011, Sonia Zhao, who was an instructor at the McMaster University Confucius Institute, told McMaster authorities that she had been coerced into signing the Hanban contract that doesn’t allow employment of Falun Gong practitioners.

At the moment she was presented with the contract, it was too late to back out, according to the documentary. She felt pressured and feared persecution if she admitted to her religious practice. Her mother had been imprisoned for two years for being a practitioner.

Falun Gong was a very popular spiritual practice that was banned in China in 1999 out of concern that it threatened loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. The adherents have been especially targeted by the regime, which detains hundreds of thousands of practitioners, subjects them to various tortures, and, in some cases, kills them to harvest their organs.

McMaster University, which is a public research university located in Ontario, Canada, found this hiring discrimination that excludes Falun Gong adherents as unacceptable, and subsequently terminated their relationship with the Hanban and closed its Confucius Institute.

None of the 12 Confucius Institutes Peterson examined would disclose their contract with the Hanban or its funding arrangements.

— Rachelle Peterson, author of report, ‘Outsourced to China’

Lack of Transparency

None of the 12 Confucius Institutes Peterson examined would disclose their contract with the Hanban or its funding arrangements. NAS had to file requests under Freedom of Information Law in New York and New Jersey in order to obtain the contracts from eight of the public universities among the 12 in the group studied.

In general, with notable exceptions, there was evasiveness and sometimes hostility toward the inquiries Peterson made for the NAS report. Only at two of the 12 institutes did the director agree to meet with her.

The CI director at Binghamton University agreed to a meeting, and wrote her to “feel free to let me know if you need any assistance in your visit,” but suddenly canceled two days later, and also canceled the meeting Peterson had scheduled with members of the CI staff. Nor would the latter respond to follow-up requests for comment.

When Peterson arrived at the Institute, she found it locked with the lights off. That this situation was very unusual was indicated by a CI board member who expressed surprise that the CI was closed.

Director Liu found that oftentimes, “the CI host institutions didn’t want to participate in the film or talk about the controversies surrounding the Confucius Institutes. Remarkably, none of them seemed to be worried about the controversies; rather they boasted about their close relationship with the Chinese government.”

Doris Liu, director of the film

Doris Liu, director of the film “In the Name of Confucius,” discusses her documentary on Confucius Institutes at the Alliance Defending Freedom, April 26. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)

Money Incentive

Peterson raises the concern that American universities are becoming financially dependent on China. “Typically, new Confucian Institutes receive $150,000 in start-up funds from the Hanban, and $100,000 in subsequent years.” The Hanban also typically pays and houses each of the teachers. However, several administrators involved with the Confucius Institute in their university downplayed the idea that Beijing is providing tons of money. Further, the host university must provide in-kind contributions, “such as office space, furnishings, computers, and staff time.”

However, the number of Chinese students coming to a university and the extensive relationships that it has in China would be jeopardized if the Confucius Institute were closed. “Several of the Confucian Institutes contracts we examined included plans for student and faculty exchanges, scholarships for American students to study in China, and other incentives,” Peterson writes.

The number of Chinese students coming to a university and the extensive relationships that it has in China would be jeopardized if the Confucius Institute were closed.

Confucius Institutes play a key role in attracting full-tuition paying Chinese students, which become very attractive for universities in search of income, writes Peterson. She cites figures from the Institute of International Education that show that the number of Chinese students enrolled in the United States during the 2015-2016 school year—328,547—was a 525 percent increase from 2005-2006, and represents 31.5 percent of all foreign students in the U.S.

Using sad photos of impoverished children in very primitive schools in rural China, the documentary questions the motivation of the China communist regime spending billions of dollars annually to educate people overseas.

Screen shots from the documentary,

Screen shots from the documentary, “In the Name of Confucius,” a Mark Media production. It shows children in rural China who would benefit from the money the government spends abroad on Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classes.

Screen shots from the documentary,

Screen shots from the documentary, “In the Name of Confucius,” a Mark Media production. It shows children in rural China who would benefit from the money the government spends abroad on Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classes.

Soft Power

Peterson sees no need to prove that China is exercising “soft power”—a term invented by Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye—by its expansion of CIs. It’s obvious that securing a relationship with American universities, including Stanford and Columbia, “boosts China’s image on the world stage.” She adds, “It is naïve to think that China’s multimillion dollar investment in American education stems from pure generosity.”

Peterson quotes Li Changchun, head of propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party, who said in 2009 that Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”

Liu said that on the Confucius Institute online class, an animated video refers to the Korean War as “the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.” She said that the video praises the heroic Communist Party  “In one Canadian Confucius Institute, students were taught to sing songs that incite hatred towards the Communist Party’s enemies,” she said.

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January 26, 2017

(L–R) Wang Huijuan, Li Fuyao, and Li Zhenjun at their home in Queens, New York, on Jan. 8, 2017. The family escaped China in 2014 and were granted asylum after enduring years of torture for practicing Falun Gong. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)(L–R) Wang Huijuan, Li Fuyao, and Li Zhenjun at their home in Queens, New York, on Jan. 8, 2017. The family escaped China in 2014 and were granted asylum after enduring years of torture for practicing Falun Gong. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—She had been interrogated before, but this time was worse. Wang Huijuan, an elementary school teacher, was a prize catch, and the guard at the train station was going to get a handsome reward for turning her in.

He had excitedly radioed the domestic security police, “We found another one who practices Falun Gong!” recalled Wang. In a flash, several officers appeared and hurriedly removed everyone from the station’s waiting area before transporting Wang to a local detention center.

The guard had searched Wang’s luggage and found flyers and DVDs explaining the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) and exposing the state’s propaganda campaign to vilify the spiritual practice. The police demanded to know who she got them from and where they were being produced.

At the detention center, she was struggling so much the officers were unable to tie her up. So they rammed her head against a wall and started whipping her head and face with a metal ruler from a nearby office desk.

“There was lots of blood. My nose and mouth were bleeding, and they shattered my eardrums,” said Wang, who now lives in New York (and wears hearing aids).

“I thought one thing then: ‘Even if I die, I won’t give up the others’ names,’” she recalled through a translator. “And I won’t renounce my faith.”

But the cost was high.

She spent the next seven years in prison, separated from her husband and young daughter. Wang endured brainwashing, interrogation, physical constraint, beatings, force-feedings, sleep deprivation, and psychological torture.

“They connected everything to ‘transforming’—which meant you sign a statement saying you won’t practice Falun Dafa anymore,” Wang said. “If you didn’t transform, they wouldn’t let you see family, or you would get fired, or your coworkers would get in trouble, or the police officers would be punished. They had quotas.”

And if you did sign a statement, that wasn’t the end of the psychological torture; you would be used to help transform other practitioners.

Wang Huijuan meditates in her home in Queens, New York on Jan. 8, 2017. Wang said her practice of Falun Gong helped her endure seven years of persecution and imprisonment in China. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Wang Huijuan meditates in her home in Queens, New York on Jan. 8, 2017. Wang said her practice of Falun Gong helped her endure seven years of persecution and imprisonment in China. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Persecution Launched

Wang and her husband Li were in and out of forced labor camps, brainwashing centers, and prisons consistently over a 10-year period, simply because they refused to renounce their belief in Falun Gong.

When the couple first started practicing in 1998, the Chinese regime was supportive of Falun Gong, which is based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. According to the regime’s own estimates, more than 70 million citizens were practicing, and the state department of sports reported widespread improvements in health and morality. Parks were overflowing with people doing the exercises and meditation in the mornings.

But communism advocates atheism, and the sheer number of Falun Gong adherents scared the Communist Party chief at the time, Jiang Zemin.

On July 20, 1999, Jiang launched a nationwide crackdown with the mission of “destroying the reputation of Falun Gong completely, exhausting Falun Gong practitioners financially, and eradicating Falun Gong within three months,” according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, a New York-based NGO that tracks the persecution.

Jiang created an extra-judicial police force called the 610 Office with the express mandate to carry out his plan. And every factory, school, and state workplace already had an embedded official whose job is to ensure the whole population toes the Party line.

Amnesty International said the persecution was politically motivated. “And the vast majority of its victims are ordinary people who merely exercised peacefully their fundamental rights to freedom of belief, association, and expression,” according to a March 2000 statement.

A Childhood Stolen

Fuyao was only 6 years old when her parents disappeared into China’s forced labor camp system for the first time.

“I was confused, I didn’t understand what happened,” said Fuyao, now 24 and living in New York. “But I knew my parents were right, because they were standing up for what they believed in.”

(L–R) Wang Huijuan, Li Fuyao, and Li Zhenjun in the city of Tianjin, China, in 1995, three years before they started practicing Falun Gong. (Courtesy of Li Zhenjun)

(L–R) Wang Huijuan, Li Fuyao, and Li Zhenjun in the city of Tianjin, China, in 1995, three years before they started practicing Falun Gong. (Courtesy of Li Zhenjun)

The little girl’s resolve was tested on every level. Her classmates shunned her and spat in her books at primary school while the teachers looked on; her parents were barely around; and her only constant was her grandmother, who was sick with worry about her son and daughter-in-law.

But neither anger nor resentment is detectable in her demeanor. She said she knew all along her parents had committed no crimes.

“I have huge respect for what they did and what they endured,” Fuyao said.

Wang said her heart still hurts when she thinks about the separation from her daughter. “After I was taken, I was most worried about my daughter—she’s so young, how will she face all this?”

Wang recalled that one time when Fuyao visited, Wang asked her, “Would you rather I transform and come home, or maintain my faith and not go against my conscience? If I tell the truth, they will keep me here.”

Wang said, “I was crying and she wiped my tears and said, ‘Mommy, you have to be righteous. You can’t say Falun Dafa is bad.’”

Forced to Choose

The first time he traveled from his hometown Tianjin to protest the persecution, Fuyao’s father, Li, was torn. It was October 1999 and Tiananmen Square had become the main place to protest because of its proximity to the government compound—and because of the memories it still held from the 1989 student massacre.

“I was hugging my daughter in the morning, crying, thinking it could be the last time I ever saw her,” said Li, who was a successful television anchor.

He knew the risks of peaceful protest—since July 1999, tens of thousands of Falun Gong adherents had been arrested and thrown into forced labor camps and brainwashing centers. He had heard horrific stories of torture and death.

But he had also experienced his own miracle with the practice. He had chronic hepatitis B, and by July 1998 was told it was incurable. He started to practice the Falun Gong exercises and learn the teachings, and over a few weeks, Li said, his body became strong and healthy. That was nearly 18 years ago.

That’s what made his decision to go to Tiananmen Square easier. “Falun Dafa had given me a second chance and it should be practiced freely in China,” Li said. “If I don’t speak out for it, who will? But I went to Tiananmen Square thinking I would probably be killed.”

He was arrested almost as soon as he stepped foot in the square, and several days later Li was sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp. There was no judge and no jury, just a police officer reading the sentence off a piece of paper. Li had committed no crimes, no charges were explained, and there was no way to appeal. He was about to be illegally detained for years simply because he practiced Falun Gong.

“I was a good citizen. This didn’t make any sense,” he said.

Li Zhenjun shares his story of persecution in China in Manhattan, New York, on Jan. 2, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Li Zhenjun shares his story of persecution in China in Manhattan, New York, on Jan. 2, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

His head was shaved, he was given his navy blue prison garb, and he was assigned a top bunk in a tiny room with six bunk beds. There were no mattresses; the prisoners slept directly on the wooden slats and only had a blanket if their family sent one.

“Because it was dark and damp, most people developed scabies or welts,” Li said. “At night, you could casually wipe the slats with your hand and kill multiple bedbugs.”

Every morning they had to remove their blankets and then perfectly make their beds with some snow-white sheets and green blankets the guards provided. It was forbidden to sit or lie on these covers—they were purely for show, in case government officials visited.

The food was horrendous.

“The vegetables were rotten. They just threw them, unwashed, into a pot and boiled them,” he said. “The rice gruel was mixed with tap water and hardly contained any rice.” To this day, Li cannot face eating eggplant or carrots.

He was given five steamed buns a day, which often contained rat feces. “The ones in the morning and at night were blackened. The ones at lunch were slightly whiter,” he recalled.

Li spent 16 hours a day, seven days a week for more than two years, stitching together commemorative soccer balls for the 2002 FIFA World Cup—all while imprisoned in squalor, unpaid, starving, and tortured.

He had to complete four balls a day, no matter what. The balls required about 1,800 stitches each, and they had 32 panels made up of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal patches. His fingers were often infected and seeped blood and pus from the toxins in the fake leather, especially if he accidentally stabbed himself with the needle.

“We worked from 6 a.m. to at least 10 p.m.,” Li said. “I was considered someone who worked relatively quickly; people who didn’t finish were beaten.”

Beatings were often carried out by other inmates (usually the meanest, said Li) who were keen to curry favor with the guards. In Li’s case, it was a prisoner convicted for enslaving a person in his home for years.  

Every night after work, for two hours, Li and the other Falun Gong practitioners were forced to sit hunched over on small stools looking at the floor. If they so much as glanced at each other, they were beaten.

He was told he would be exempt from these “study” sessions if he wrote a statement saying he would stop practicing Falun Gong. Several months into his detainment, exhausted and feeling hopeless, he did.

“But I felt awful,” Li said. “Before I wrote it, it was physical torture; after I wrote it, it was moral, psychological torture.”

Not long after, he recanted his statement and asked a police officer to give the paper back. The police refused, and he was given extra punishment. But the psychological burden was lifted.  

Fuyao only saw her father twice a year. Separated by glass and and talking through a phone, she would encourage him to keep going.

“Fuyao often wrote letters to me, saying, ‘You have to stick to your values,’” Li said.

Li was released after his initial term, but 18 months  later, he was arrested again and imprisoned for four years.

Effects on a Nation

The number of families directly impacted by the persecution in China is hard to overestimate, said Levi Browde, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center.

In 1999 when the persecution started, with 70 million to 100 million people practicing, it meant one out of every 13 people became an “enemy of the state,” Browde said via email.

“If you take one-thirteenth of the entire population, vilify them and turn their families against them, what kind of impact does that have? It’s catastrophic,” he said.

It is a common technique for the Chinese regime to force family members to turn against each other, said Browde. It ensures the ultimate goal of control over people, through fear, and it was perfected during the Cultural Revolution in the ’60s and ’70s.

“In a way, the persecution of Falun Gong is just the latest spasm of the Communist Party’s (CCP) effort to commandeer the hearts and minds of the people,” Browde said.

He offered an explanation as to why parents choose to continue practicing Falun Gong when they could just stop and keep their families together.

“Falun Gong is fundamental to who they are spiritually, so you’re asking them to kill their spirits. Also, they are not completely left alone if they ‘renounce.’ Frequently, they have to join the CCP in ‘converting’ others … so it goes beyond giving up who they are.”

After Prison

The family was finally reunited in 2009, after Wang was released; Li had been out since November 2006, and Fuyao was now 14.

Wang couldn’t go back to her job as a school teacher and Li had been forced out of his news anchor position the first time he was arrested.

They started a wedding planning business and the shop doubled as a place for them to tell people their stories of persecution and to counteract the state’s anti-Falun Gong propaganda, which everyone in China had seen on state media.

“The only reason we didn’t get sent back to jail was because the local Domestic Security Bureau head was an old family friend and he knew my husband and I were kind,” Wang said. “He protected us, but his superiors continuously put enormous pressure on him to persecute us.”

Wang said the decision to get out of China was partly because they were worried about their friend being compromised, as well as their family’s safety.

“Always in my heart, there is a fear of my family being broken up again. We were always worried the police would come knocking; worried about other family members getting arrested; worried about our daughter getting arrested,” she said.

Reaching Freedom

In 2014, they saw a chance to escape and seek asylum in America.

The biggest heart-stopping moment came when they were in the passport office applying. In one of the final steps, they gave their fingerprints, which were entered into the computer.

“The officials froze and looked at each other,” Li said. “Then the official made a phone call and whoever was on the other end told them to grant our passports.”

They arrived in America on July 15, 2014.

“When we got on U.S. soil, all of our fears evaporated; our worries and anxiety were gone. We were finally at peace,” Wang said.

“But the psychological trauma is very hard to erase,” she said. “And as I breathe the fresh air and enjoy my rights and freedom of belief here, I can’t help but have a heavy heart for my fellow citizens in China.”

The family heard news that 20 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested in their hometown, Tianjin, on Dec. 7, 2016.

Wang said she immediately called the local detention centers to pressure officials to release them.

“I know a few of the practitioners. I want to do what I can to help rescue them so they don’t endure what I suffered,” she said.

In New York, she spends as much time as possible at popular tourist sites to hand out information about the persecution to visitors from mainland China.

Wang Huijuan, in front of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York, on Jan. 12, 2017,, holds a display to help Chinese tourists understand the facts about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Wang Huijuan, in front of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York, on Jan. 12, 2017, holds a display to help Chinese tourists understand the facts about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Li, now 45, works at NTD Television, which broadcasts uncensored news and programs about China across the world and into the mainland via satellite (and is a sister media of the Epoch Times). It’s a perfect fit for him.

Fuyao followed in her father’s footsteps by learning broadcasting and narration. She joined him at NTD and is now a news anchor.

“Whenever I work on news stories about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, the images are heart-wrenching to look at; they bring up so many painful memories for me,” Fuyao said. “But it is precisely because these horrible things are happening that we have a responsibility to expose them.”

She married last year, and the four of them live in a humble apartment in Queens, New York. It’s a happy home and the family is close. Wang brushes Fuyao’s hair out of her eyes; Li and Wang briefly hold hands; they still gaze at each other as if they can’t believe it’s real.

But, the painful memories are never far away.

Wang tries to explain: “Sometimes when I’m alone thinking about my experiences in jail, I know that if I didn’t practice Falun Dafa, I couldn’t have survived. That pain, it’s not just physical, it’s a different kind of pain.

“You aren’t a bad person, you want to develop into an even better person, but the regime uses the most barbaric, evil ways—what good people cannot even imagine—to these Falun Gong practitioners, to their psyche, to try to destroy you from the very bottom; not physically, but psychologically drive you crazy so you have no hope of living.”

A Falun Gong practitioner dies in police custody every three days, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center—and that’s only accounting for the verified cases.

Irene Luo and Matthew Robertson contributed to this report.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/charlottec/" rel="author">Charlotte Cuthbertson</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
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On Oct. 24, 2016, in San Francisco, Peiqi Gu talked about her family’s educational values, and how she almost lost the chance to complete school in China due to the persecution of her spiritual faith—Falun Gong. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)On Oct. 24, 2016, in San Francisco, Peiqi Gu talked about her family’s educational values, and how she almost lost the chance to complete school in China due to the persecution of her spiritual faith—Falun Gong. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

SAN FRANCISCO—”For 16 years, I’ve been living in the fear of being persecuted for my faith,” said Peiqi Gu, 30, who grew up in communist China. Her faith is Falun Dafa, a Buddha School practice of the mind, body, and spirit, which is freely enjoyed nearly everywhere in the world, with the notable exception of China.

Just one year before the persecution began, Gu, at the age of 11, took up Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) with her mother. According to an official study, some 70 other people in China were also practicing Falun Gong; Falun Gong sources say the number was over 100 million.

This traditional meditation system advocates high moral values associated with truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as taught in the teachings of Zhuan Falun.

“I always can find very profound meaning about life, about the universe in Dafa, in reading Dafa,” said Gu, as well as how to be a good person, and how “to deal with tribulations and troubles of life.”

When the persecution started and the communist party-controlled T.V. began vilifying Falun Gong, Gu was in total disbelief. The programming aimed at instilling public fear of and hatred for Falun Gong in an attempt justify the brutal persecution.

“I was shocked because it was absolutely the opposite of what I learned by … practicing and reading the Dafa book ,because Dafa always tells you to be a good person, by following the principles of truthfulness, compassion—benevolence—and tolerance,” Gu said.

Gu and her mother set out to counteract the slander by telling others of their positive experiences with the practice. Yet, these actions placed them directly in harm’s way.

This is a story of a loving family sticking together, of a young college girl forging a path to spiritual freedom, and in doing so, strengthening her voice to dispel the lies against Falun Gong.

Education a Family Priority

For Gu’s family, education was a top priority.

Peiqi Gu grew up in China as an only daughter of two loving parents who valued education. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

Peiqi Gu grew up in China as an only daughter of two loving parents who valued education. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

“I am the only child in my family. I was a very, very super-spoiled girl,” Gu said.

“It’s funny, since first grade to twelve,” Gu explained, her mom was up first to start breakfast. Her dad waited until the very last moment before calling Gu to wake up to allow her as much sleep as possible. After eating or while Gu ate, her mom did her hair. Dad got her school bag arranged, and put her shoes on then assisted her with a coat.

“Then … my dad would just open the door, so I could just run and go to school. And, my parents even moved to an apartment that was next door to my high school, so I just needed to walk five minutes to go to school and be seated in my classroom.”

School was a safe place until February of 2006, “that’s the day I will never forget, … my mom and I got arrested,” Gu said.

Arrest and Threats

Gu, her mom, and her aunt’s family were on holiday break at a hotel. “Six of us were arrested, and we were interrogated and questioned by the police separately,” Gu said.

Peiqui Gu was arrested in China along with her mother for talking about Falun Gong. The police threatened to abduct her from school and place her in detention.

Peiqui Gu was arrested in China along with her mother for talking about Falun Gong. The police threatened to abduct her from school and place her in detention. “Nobody was willing to help us… So, I feel that the whole family had collapsed,” Gu said.

“Then they figured out that only my mom and I practiced [Falun Gong], and [so] they released my aunt’s whole family.”

The arrest happened as a result of Gu and her mom giving out free DVDs to resort shop owners. The DVDs had information dispelling propaganda ploys by the government-controlled media to turn the public against Falun Gong.

Mom and daughter also talked to a shop owner about their personal experiences of becoming healthy and better people by living by truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

At the police station, Gu’s mom refused to tell the police where they had gotten the DVDs they were passing out. The police then “start to threaten my mom that they would stop my education and ruin my future,” Gu said.

After 48 hours in the police station, “they sent my mom to a detention center, and they asked my dad to take me home. The police … told my dad, who is not a [Falun Gong] practitioner, to take care of me because I [now] have a criminal record in the police system, and that if I ever do that [again]… I would definitely be arrested and they would stop my college education.”

“It was the first time I [had] ever seen my dad so desperate,” Gu said.

The threats were also hard on her mother. “My mom thought of killing herself because if they would stop my education, my mom could not forgive herself,” Gu said.

Gu’s dad reassured them that everything would be okay. He decided to ask if he could take her place if Gu should go to jail, then her studies would not be interrupted.

Impact on the Family

Historically, the communist regime instills fear that can pit parents and children against each other as well as other loved ones. The fear is well founded.

There are chilling consequences for talking about Falun Dafa in public or not renouncing the faith when asked to by communist regime authorities. These well-documented consequences include incarceration, leading to such things as “sleep deprivation, threatening family members, denial of access to sanitation or bathrooms,” Amnesty International reports.

“The ill-treatment escalates to severe beatings, 24-hour surveillance, solitary confinement, shocks with electric batons,…”rack” torture…” and hundreds of other forms of unbelievably inhumane tortures,” according to Amnesty.

Out of fear of retaliation by the government authorities, Gu’s relatives turned their backs. “They just abandoned us in that dark night; I will never forget. They just left and … never called my dad.”

Instead of coming up with solutions, “they gathered all our relatives together  … cursing us and blaming us,” Gu explained.

“Nobody was willing to help us out, to get out of that situation. So, I felt that the whole family had collapsed.”

Now living in the United States, Peiqi Gu can openly practice Falun Gong. Her mission is to tell others about about the benefits of Falun Gong as shown here in a park in San Francisco on Oct. 24, 2016. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

Now living in the United States, Peiqi Gu can openly practice Falun Gong. Her mission is to tell others about about the benefits of Falun Gong as shown here in a park in San Francisco on Oct. 24, 2016. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

Ever since the day she and her mom were arrested, she said, “I’ve been living in the fear of being persecuted.”

“I couldn’t imagine [anything] worse happening to me. So the only thing in my mind during the four years in college [in China] I was thinking about how to escape, to get out from that place,” Gu said.

Several opportunities to live elsewhere came up and she took them. The final stop was the United States. With the help of U.S. Falun Gong practitioners, “I walked away from the fear little by little,” Gu said.

Dreams of Freely Practicing Falun Gong

After college, Gu tried several places outside of China to live. “I got a job and the company sent me to Laos, a … developing country. I told myself I would rather … live there instead of going back to China,” Gu said. No more worries of being abducted.

However, fear was still felt as her parents’ phone was monitored by local police.

Her job in Laos was with a hotel “where I found my interest in the hotel industry,” Gu said. And in 2014 she got accepted  to a U.S. school to get a master’s degree in hospitality management.

The school granted her the opportunity to attend a conference in the Dominican Republic where for the first time since the persecution began she was able openly to practice Falun Gong.

“That moment was so beautiful. I just felt so relieved by sitting there and practicing with practitioners. I realized … the whole world welcomes Falun Dafa,” Gu said.

The practice “is originally from China, but unfortunately most of the Chinese people are unable to know the beauty of Falun Dafa.”Peiqui Gu shows a cell phone photo of her father when he visited her in the summer of 2016. She was separated from her parents for two years, the longest time she ever spent away from them. Her father

Peiqui Gu shows a cell phone photo of her father when he visited her in the summer of 2016. She was separated from her parents for two years, the longest time she ever spent away from them. Her father “knows how hard I was trying to survive alone on the other side of the world by myself,” Gu said.

Gu decided right then to continue to do what she did in China, “keep telling others, especially Chinese people, what Falun Dafa is, [and about] the wonderfulness of Falun Dafa,” Gu said.

In May of 2016, she graduated with a master’s degree in hospitality management, which led to a good job as an accountant for a boutique hotel chain.

A New life in America

She recently had a reunion with father on his visit to the United States. She was so excited that after two years of being in the States, she finally got to see him.

“I have never [been] separated from my parents for that long,” Gu said.

As a young professional working as an accountant for a high-end boutique hotel chain, Gu is on top of her world with a new life in the United States and awaiting a reunion with her parents. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

As a young professional working as an accountant for a high-end boutique hotel chain, Gu is on top of her world with a new life in the United States and awaiting a reunion with her parents. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

Her dad couldn’t believe that his little girl was all grown-up, very independent, with school completed, a new life and friends, and a good job.

“He knows how hard I was trying to survive alone on the other side of the world by myself,” Gu said.

Gu’s family hope one day soon to be reunited permanently.

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SAN FRANCISCO—Two years ago, Sunny Guo, a then 47-year-old Chinese housewife, came alone to America to start a new life, one free of religious persecution. She was fleeing repeated detention and torture by the Chinese Communist Party in its attempt to break her will so she would give up her faith. Through it all, Guo never wavered in her belief in Falun Gong, a traditional meditation practice.

“For the rest of the world, people know that what you believe is your personal right. But for the Chinese Communist Party, it’s not. They want Chinese people to believe in them, not believe in God,” Guo said.

“I believe in truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. I think it is a wonderful concept for people living in the world. I want to be that kind of person.”

Sunny Guo is pleased to be able to practice her faith freely in the United States. For not renouncing her belief in Falun Gong, she was persecuted in a forced labor camp, detention center, and brainwashing center in China. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)
Sunny Guo is pleased to be able to practice her faith freely in the United States. For not renouncing her belief in Falun Gong, she was persecuted in a forced labor camp, detention center, and brainwashing center in China. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

When Guo reflects on the hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China who are detained in jails, tortured in many different ways, and even become so-called donors for forced organ harvesting, she thinks, “I can’t sit at home; I can’t enjoy the free world. I want to shout to people, ‘Come on, stop the persecution; stop this for yourself.’”

Finding Falun Gong

Guo’s exploration of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, began in 2009 after reading Zhuan Falun twice, which is the main text for the practice.” It teaches you how to be a good person,” she said.

Four standing exercises along with a sitting meditation are the physical components of Falun Gong. But the practice also requires raising one’s moral character through living by the principles of truth, compassion, and tolerance.

In 2011, Beijing police illegally arrested Guo because she would not renounce her belief in Falun Gong. This resulted in a month of inhumane treatment at a detention center followed by a hellish 18 months in the Beijing Women’s Forced Labor Camp.

Even after serving the prescribed time, the persecution continued once she was released from the labor camp. The 6-10 Office, an agency charged with eliminating the practice of Falun Gong, abducted her from her home.

She endured another month of mental torture in a brainwashing center. Once released on July 11, 2013, Guo and her husband moved, hoping to put some distance between themselves and the authorities.

“I moved my home, but they found me,” Guo said. Then, her new neighbors were watching Guo and her husband for the police, which made “for intense living,” she said. Everywhere they were they felt “that there are eyes watching.”

In May 2014, Guo came to the United States, and a year later, her husband joined her.

The Reason for the Torture

Sunny Guo demonstrates a torture method that was used on her in Chinese force labor camp.”You suffer a lot. It makes you feel like one second [is] just like one year,” she said about sitting in this fixed position without moving in a child’s plastic chair for up to 18 hours with only a few minutes for eating and bathroom. (Cat Rooney/Epoch Times)

Her captors had a clear purpose for the inhumane treatment. They want Falun Gong practitioners to suffer until they cannot endure it and renounce their faith. “They wanted me to give up what I believe. I believe in truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance,” Guo said. They also persuaded her family to pressure her to give up Falun Gong.

And they tortured her. In the forced labor camp, she was required to stay in a fixed position with her hands on her knees, heels together, looking forward, while sitting in a child’s plastic chair for days on end. The longest period was for 18-19 hours straight (minus a few minutes to eat and go to the bathroom). She was not to close her eyes or move her head or body in any way.

“You suffer a lot. It makes you feel like one second [is] just like one year,” she said.

“If I didn’t obey what they told me, they abused me.”

During this time she was constantly monitored by police or by criminals. The first set were a gambler who sat on one side of her and a prostitute on the other side.

“If I moved, they shouted at me, and if I still wanted to move, they reported to the police,” Guo said. Then the police shouted and threatened and bullied her even more.

She was treated differently than the others in the labor camp. They were stricter and harder on her. For example, ordinary criminals were in bed by 10 p.m. while Guo was not allowed to sleep until midnight and then was forcibly awakened at 4:3O a.m., several hours before the others.

Americans Lack Understanding of the Persecution

After arriving in America, Guo dedicated her life to sharing her story with the public because she found that many people lack an awareness of the seriousness of the situation in China. “The U.S. people don’t know about the persecution happening in China, even though the persecution has lasted 17 years,” she said.

“Even live organ harvesting has happened for such a long time and people just don’t know.”

Guo feels it’s her mission to tell people in the free world about the persecution because it has deeper implications. “This is not just related to us. It is related to everybody, every life in this world,” she said.

“To persecute a group that believes in truth, compassion, forbearance is really, really evil. If we don’t say no to the evil, … that maybe [will] happen to everyone,” she said.

Forced Organ Harvesting of Prisoners of Conscience

Horrifying as it is, it has taken a decade for the U.S. government to act on “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China.” On June 13, 2016, Congress unanimously passed House Resolution 343, which condemns forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, which are mainly Falun Gong practitioners, and other religious and minority groups in China.

Soon after the resolution passed, a 2016 update was released on the previous studies on organ pillaging first described in Bloody Harvest (Kilgour & Matas) and The Slaughter (Gutmann). The investigators found that there were 1.5 million transplant operations since the persecution of Falun Gong began. The investigators believe that in most cases one organ transplanted results in one person killed. They also estimate 60,000 to 100,000 prisoners of conscience are killed each year to satisfy the thriving Chinese organ transplant industry.

Five hundred Chinese hospitals are participating in this slaughter and almost all of the organs go to foreigners in need of a transplant.

After reading Bloody Harvest, Guo was startled to realize that she too could have had her life taken for her organs. The threats police had made to her saying she could be transferred to certain specific locations, which were among the 33 holding facilities associated with the transplant system.

Twice blood was drawn from her, which investigators have shown is an indicator of being monitored for a possible match for a transplant recipient’s needs.

Guo adhered to her faith under the harshest of conditions for more than 20 months, and her husband did not abandon her under the pressure from authorities, fearful neighbors, or family.

“Actually, the persecution was not just … on me, it’s put on all the people really near to me,” Guo said. This included her husband, mother, sister and other family members. “They had a really tough time through my detention, [and] through the persecution of me.”

Her husband could not even confide in colleagues or friends about his plight or that of his wife while she was detained in the forced labor camp. A lot of pressure was placed on him by the police and relatives to get his wife to give up her practice.

“Even the policemen in the forced labor camp, they told me, if you don’t give up, we will make your husband divorce you.”

While in the forced labor camp, Guo saw her husband once a month for a year and a half, and then it was from behind a glass partition. “We could only talk through the telephone and look at each other,” she said.

“That time was really, really difficult for both of us. … I am suffering [from] being detained in forced labor camp, and he is suffering outside in the free world. I can’t say that it’s the free world, [rather] it’s like a big jail, a big detention center.”

Just as it was her faith that provided her the strength and courage to endure the suffering in China, she draws heavily on it once again. Just a month ago, her husband collapsed and died of a stroke at age 45.

Under a cloud of grief and all the changes that follow the death of a spouse, Guo has remained true to her mission. On Oct. 22, 2016, she attended a large parade and rally in San Francisco with 5,000 other Falun Gong practitioners around the world to raise awareness about the severity of the persecution and demonstrate the beauty of Falun Dafa.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/cat-rooney/" rel="author">Cat Rooney</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—The annual rally of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters on the West Lawn on July 14 was upbeat and optimistic this year. Falun Gong has had some victories in the past year that the Congress members in their speeches and letters of support often alluded to. The leaders of human rights and faith organizations were also hopeful.

No one was more jubilant speaking at the rally than Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who had introduced House Resolution 343 that unanimously passed the House on June 13. She was the first speaker and set the tone for the rest of the rally.

“We have sent the message, loud and clear, to the Chinese Communist Party, that we demand an immediate end to the persecution of the Falun Gong, that we demand that all jailed Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience be released, and that we call on China to immediately stop its inhumane and unethical practice of organ harvesting,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

Ros-Lehtinen said that she and her colleagues in the House know that Falun Gong practitioners are being tortured and killed with impunity, and that the regime spreads false information to smear Falun Gong.

As she pointed to the U.S. Capitol building standing behind her, she said:

“So last month, this hallowed body, this body that stands for freedom, for justice, and respect for human rights, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized that these atrocities are, indeed, taking place.”

So last month, this hallowed body … the U.S. House of Representatives recognized that these atrocities are, indeed, taking place.

— Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

Now in its 17th year, this annual gathering began when the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice, on July 20, 1999. The rally at the U.S. Capitol has become one of the longest-running annual demonstrations at the nation’s capital. Following the rally, the protesters marched to the Lincoln Memorial, and held a candlelight vigil there in the evening.

Alan Adler, executive director of Friends of Falun Gong, hosted the rally as he has done for several years. He noted that H.Res.343 meant that “the truth about organ harvesting, based on facts that investigators have documented for the past 10 years,” has now been “officially acknowledged.” Adler added: “In the wake of this important legislation, many large news outlets have reported on organ harvesting for the first time.”

He said that because of the enhanced media coverage, many Americans are learning the truth about the China communist regime’s killing of potentially hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens, pillaging their organs for profit. This media exposure will aid in bringing in an end of the atrocity, he said.

‘Not guilty’

President of Freedom House Mark Lagon said he saw a bright side in recent developments regarding the persecution of Falun Gong. There is evidence that local-level security officials are choosing to protect practitioners, not arrest them, or, if practitioners are detained, they are quickly released.

Lagon also mentioned the recent imprisonment of high-level officials associated with the brutal suppression of Falun Gong: former security czar Zhou Yongkang and 6-10 Office head Li Dongsheng.

Mark Lagon, the president of Freedom House, speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Mark Lagon, the president of Freedom House, speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Lagon noted a remarkable incident. “In June 2015, following large-scale phone-calling, letter writing, and petition-signing campaign, a judge in Shaanxi Province issued the first known not guilty verdict for a Falun Gong practitioner who was subsequently released and allowed to return to his home in Beijing.”

However, though the above cracks in the Chinese communist persecution of Falun Gong are a welcome sign, Lagon said they are only the silver lining of a very real persecution that persists.

60,000 to 100,000 Transplants Annually

In addition to the House resolution, Falun Gong activists had another victory of sorts, a sobering one however. A recent investigative, data-driven, 679-page report, titled, Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter: An Update, by David Kilgour, Ethan Gutmann, and David Matas, has provided still more evidence of organ harvesting in China.

The report conducts an examination of the transplant programs of hundreds of hospitals in China, analyzing hospital revenue, bed counts, bed utilization rates, surgical personnel, training programs, and state funding.

It concludes that since 2000, the number of China’s organ transplants is between 60,000 and 100,000 per year, mostly from Falun Gong practitioners. The authors argue that the annual number of 10,000 transplants, which China has been reporting to the media, has in fact concealed mass atrocities.

Since 2000, between 960,000 and 1.5 million organ transplants have occurred in a country that until recently didn’t have a voluntary organ program, the report found. The authors conclude that majority of the organs came from Falun Gong practitioners, with some Uyghurs Muslims, Tibetans, and house Christians—all prisoners of conscience. 

While declining to give an estimate of the number killed, the report authors indicate that in the majority of cases, one transplant equaled one death.

‘Forced onto an operating table’

David Cleveland, a senior lawyer for Catholic Charities of Washington, contrasted China’s transplant industry to transplantation in the United States.  For instance, in the U.S., about 3,000 people have been waiting for more than 5 years for a liver. In contrast, in China, “the problem is the lack of doctors, not the lack of organs!” A patient schedules an appointment for transplant surgery, and less than 24 hours before the surgery, a prisoner is killed and the organ taken, he said. 

Lawyer David Cleveland speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington, on July 14, 2016, supporting Falun Gong and raising awareness about organ harvesting in China.  (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Lawyer David Cleveland speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington, on July 14, 2016, supporting Falun Gong and raising awareness about organ harvesting in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

[In contrast with the U.S., in China] the problem is the lack of doctors, not the lack of organs!

— David Cleveland, senior lawyer, Catholic Charities of Washington

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), spoke about the explosive growth of China’s organ transplantation industry since 1999, using data published by the government. From 1991-98, a total of 78 liver transplant surgeries were performed in Chinese hospitals. During the eight years from 1999—when the Falun Gong persecution took off with hundreds of thousands of practitioners detained—to 2006, there were 14,085 liver transplant surgeries.

Wang expressed great frustration and sorrow for the “carnage in China.” In translation from the Chinese, he said, “While I am reading this speech, probably many good and innocent Falun Gong practitioners are being forced onto an operating table for organ harvesting. Many more practitioners are still imprisoned in secret jails, facing the unspeakable terror of organ harvesting at any moment.”

While I am reading this speech, probably many good and innocent Falun Gong practitioners are being forced onto an operating table for organ harvesting.

— Wang Zhiyuan, president, WOIPFG

A Business Too Lucrative to Stop

Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) wrote in a letter of support addressed to the protesters, “Thousands have been subjected to a most barbaric practice, and have lost their lives so their vital organs could be extracted and sold for organ transplantation—a lucrative business in China.”

Ethan Gutmann says that the forced organ harvesting that he investigated is not history, but is ongoing and in high gear. It’s the hospitals’ “bread and butter,” Gutmann says.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said more than once that Falun Gong is on the “frontline against evil.” One of the worst evil forces in existence are Chinese Communists who rule mainland China, he said. He thanked Falun Gong practitioners for informing the American people and the world about the manipulation of information that the regime does. He expressed great indignation for some Americans, who should cherish freedom and human rights, but “go there and are only making deals with a regime that represses its people, which murders people–the Falun Gong–and has made a profit in trading and the body parts of people they have murdered. This evil has to be stopped,” he said. 

Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on  July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) speaks at a rally at the Capitol in Washington on July 14, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Suzanne Scholte, president of Defense Forum Foundation, echoed Rohrabacher’s view of Falun Gong practitioners as on the frontlines of the fight to end persecution and human rights violations in China. “This fight is not of their-own choosing but simply because of the [Chinese Communist Party]’s unprovoked attack against them,” she said.

This fight is not of their-own choosing but simply because of the [Chinese Communist Party]’s unprovoked attack against [Falun Gong].

— Suzanne Scholte, president, Defense Forum Foundation

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) wrote in a letter of support about forced harvesting of organs in China. “This deeply abhorrent practice has no place in a civil society.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio noted the China investigative work of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), which he serves as the co-chair. “Ultimately, China can never be a responsible stakeholder as long as it persists in subjecting its own people to abuse, torture and repression and continues to deny them basic human rights,” he said.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also sent a letter of support. Other Congress Members who wrote letters of support for the goals of the rally included Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Rep. Gwen Moore, (D-Wis.), Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Rep. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).

Speakers from human rights and faith NGOs in addition to those already quoted included Michelle Hong, Jubilee Campaign USA; Dr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA; Faith McDonnell, Institute on Religion and Democracy; Tina Mufford, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); and Peggy Nienaber, Faith and Action in the Capital.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/gary-feuerberg/" rel="author">Gary Feuerberg</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

The East Bay Choral Union and Orchestra performs under the direction of Dr. Buddy James, director of vocal studies at Cal State East Bay, June 4, Walnut Creek, Calif. (Timothy Wahl)The East Bay Choral Union and Orchestra performs under the direction of Dr. Buddy James, director of vocal studies at Cal State East Bay, June 4, Walnut Creek, Calif. (Timothy Wahl)

By the time California State University East Bay nailed down a permanent home in Hayward, Calif., in 1959, choral singing had become central to the university’s student life. Recitals of masterworks in cappella or with orchestral accompaniment are now a steady staple in continuing this tradition.

Maintaining this institution is East Bay Choral Union, a blend of community as well as student voices, a CSUEB-based ensemble that has earned widespread applause in the San Francisco Bay Area for the pure and simple act of putting on inspiring shows singing masterpieces.

This reputation includes an eclectic composition of members, as was evident one recent evening a little north of Hayward at an end-of-school-year commencement performance at the Walnut Creek, Calif., Presbyterian Church.

Led by Dr. Buddy James, music department chairman and the director of choral and vocal studies at CSUEB, the East Bay Choral Union—and Orchestra—presented “Peace and Joy,” a two-part recital featuring “Dona Nobis Pacem,” a canon by R. Vaughn Williams that translates to “Grant us Peace,” and Beethoven’s beloved “Ode to Joy.”

Nominally priced admission, which barely covered operating costs for the concert hall, did not equate to a lackluster performance by any means. Rather, the encounter was high-spirited indeed—and, if anything, a reminder that the best things in life are free. That is, each member of the ensemble must get through stringent auditions to sing in the choir without any expectation of remuneration for performing.

That includes those 12 or so members in the group who bounded 6,000 miles for this honor.

These are exchange students from South China Normal University, traditionally a teaching college, in Guangzhou, China. This joint venture of the universities was launched in 2009.

“The objective for the students is that they complete their first [two] years of study in China,” observed Professor James to the Epoch Times, “and then come to CSUEB to complete their degree. Similar to the relationship we have with community colleges in California. This is a wonderful opportunity for students from China to learn about music from within a different culture, and for our students to learn about the world from the Chinese students.”  

(L–R) Jiani Duan, Shuxian Wu, juniors who sing alto; Weike (Marc) Chen, a senior tenor, on June 4, Walnut Creek, Calif. (Timothy Wahl)

Jiani Duan and Shuxian Wu, juniors in the exchange program, sing in the alto section. They will one day return to China with sights on a teaching career, not on a professional one in music. In a discussion after the concert, Ms. Duan noted her “pure love” for music as the driving force for trying out for the choir.

“I love singing,” she said. “It brings me happiness.”

Ms. Wu described her experience as a vocal music performer as otherworldly. “It cannot be put in words,” she said. “I just know I feel great.”

“It gets me high,” said Wieke Chen, a tenor, who calls himself “Marc,” coyly chuckling at his knack for double entendre. 

The three said they all look forward to transplanting their learning experiences at Cal State to helping others in China. “Music is an international language,” added Mr. Chen.

Mr. Chen was one of the recipients of certificates of recognition bestowed on seniors. “Many thanks to America for this opportunity [to study here],” he said to the Epoch Times. “A great country.”

Until their discussion with the Epoch Times, the three had not heard of the idiom “break a leg,” the paradoxical expression to wish good fortune to performers. Whether they ever use it or not, the phrase could be passed on in their teaching, about the usage of irony in the English language. 

Learning is bilateral, insists James. Notably, he expresses appreciation for the infusion of cultural perspectives from the presence of musicians from China in the choir.

“Many are excellent musicians, like our U.S. students, but these students know different music, have different learning styles, and offer different points of view. As they become more comfortable they tend to make real impressions on our students and our program,” James said.

Tyler Dragoni and Alejandra Wahl, also interviewed by the Epoch Times, are 2015 graduates of CSUEB and members of the Choral Union. The two agreed that the fusion of Chinese learning styles and cultural ways strengthen the quality of the singing.

“We may not be able to fluently communicate with our fellow Chinese singers, but we all know what ‘forte’ means,” said Ms. Wahl, whose profession is costume design for theater and film. “We all sing the same notes, and we’re united by our effort in translating the notes on the page into a performance.”

Mr. Dragoni, an erstwhile political science major with plans to teach, added that the students from South China Normal University offer purity through their passion for singing in a language not native to them.

“We share the deep sadness and the glorious exultation of the composer,” he said, “regardless of the language we speak.”

Timothy Wahl’s experience in business, education, the sciences, and the arts gives him a unique platform on a spectrum of subjects.

 

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 WASHINGTON—The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC)’s hearing on April 14 on systematic torture commonly used in Communist China’s detention facilities was sobering and disturbing. The witnesses provided graphic detail of what they had personally seen and experienced.
The primary purpose of torture in China is to coerce confessions to crimes. It is also employed to breakdown the subject’s will and humiliate him or her. For example, it has been employed extensively on Falun Gong adherents to make them renounce their beliefs and practice.
Chairman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) convened the meeting by first recounting the shocking torture of lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been the subject of several hearings in the past. Gao was tortured because he “dared to represent persecuted Christians and Falun Gong [practitioners],” said Chairman Smith.
Gao remains in China under house arrest. Geng He, Gao’s wife, who now lives with the family in the U.S., submitted written testimony.
Her testimony describes that beginning in 2006 until his provisional release in 2014, Gao was subjected to many forms of torture, including beatings, and was shocked for hours with an electric baton all over his body, including his genitals.
“A country with China’s global leadership aspirations should not engage in horrific practices so thoroughly condemned by the international community,” Smith said.
A country with China’s global leadership aspirations should not engage in horrific practices so thoroughly condemned by the international community.— Christopher H. Smith, Chair Congressional-Executive Commission on China, April 14, 2016

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), cochairman of CECC, provided a written opening statement, where he states that Gao “suffered unimaginable abuse.” He mentioned that other human rights lawyers and activists, who were rounded up last July during a nationwide sweep, were being held in “black jails,” which are secret (illegal) detention locations out of sight from the scrutiny of others and the public. Some of these human rights lawyers “have been held incommunicado for nearly nine months making them especially vulnerable to mistreatment or even torture,” he wrote.
‘Three Toothbrushes’
Yin Liping, a Falun Gong practitioner from Liaoning Province, testified in person. In September 2000, she had been sent to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp for a hunger strike because she refused to abide to the Chinese regime’s policy of “transformation,” a term for forcing Falun Gong practitioners to give up their belief. She testified:
“I was cuffed to a bed and injected with unknown drugs for over two months. This caused me to temporarily lose my vision. I was also put through involuntary ultrasound, electrocardiogram, and blood tests at a nearby hospital. They injected two or three bottles each day. As a result, I developed endocrine disorders, incontinence, and had blood in my urine. In addition, their frequent violent force-feeding almost suffocated me.”
On April 19, 2001 Yin was, with eight other female practitioners, subject to a frightening night of sexual assault by male prisoners and guards.
“Four or five male inmates threw me onto the bed. Some held my arms. Some held my legs. One younger man sat on me and beat me. I became dizzy and passed out. When I [became conscious], three men were lying beside me. I realized that I had been videotaped when I was sexually attacked and humiliated by gangsters of inmates,” she said.
Yin Liping testifies before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, April 14, on “China’s Pervasive Use of Torture.” Ms. Liping is a Falun Gong practitioner who survived torture, forced labor, and sexual violence in Masanjia and other forced labor camps in communist China. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Yin witnessed the sexual assaults and crimes described in “Vaginal Coma,” by former New York Times photojournalist Du Bin,” published in July 2014.
Holding up the book, she said, “Three toothbrushes were tied together, and inserted into and stirred up female private parts. I saw with my own eyes a group of men beating an elderly Falun Gong practitioner in the restroom. They forcefully inserted a broken broom stick into her private part.”
Yin’s story is featured in Du Bin’s documentary, “Above the Ghost’s Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labor Camp.” In August 2013, she escaped from China to Thailand. In December 2015, she was granted refugee status in the United States.
I realized that I had been videotaped when I was sexually attacked and humiliated by gangsters of inmates.— Yin Liping, Falun Gong practitioner

Tiger Chair
Jigme Gyatso (a.k.a. Golog Jigme), Tibetan monk, was originally from Sichuan Province and later worked in Gansu Province with filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who was imprisoned six years for making a film on Tibetan life. Jigme was also detained and severely tortured for two months in 2008, and abused again but less brutally treated in 2009 and 2012. He summarized the first incarceration of 2008:
“For one month and 22 days I was tortured continuously. I was forced to sit in the ‘tiger chair’ … day and night. … My arms were handcuffed in front of me on a small metal table, and my legs were bent beneath the seat and strapped to the chair with iron cuffs. My joints suffered horribly and at one point my feet became so swollen that all my toenails fell off. I still have scars on my wrists and ankles from when I was turned backwards in the chair and suspended from the ceiling, for hours at a time. I was deprived of sleep and given very little to eat, and felt unbearably thirsty…”
At the UN Committee against Torture review of China in Geneva last November, Jigme Gyatso heard a Chinese official defend the tiger chair as providing protection and safety of the detainees. “I spent days and nights in such a chair; it was horrific torture,” he said.
Tibetan monk, Tibetan language education advocate, and filmmaker Jigme Gyatso (a.k.a. Golog Jigme) testifies before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, April 14, on “China’s Pervasive Use of Torture.” He was severely tortured by Chinese public security personnel in 2008, 2009, and 2012. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)
At the end of the hearing, Chairman Smith remarked that the contention that these restraints are for the protection of the detainee was “absurd.”
Human Rights Watch wrote about a death row

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A major general in the Chinese military is calling for China to contain the United States by attacking its finances.
“That’s the way to control America’s lifeblood,” writes Maj. Gen. Qiao Liang, a professor at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University, in an op-ed published in China Military Online, the official mouthpiece of the PLA.
“To effectively contain the United States, other countries shall think more about how to cut off the capital flow to the United States while formulating their strategies,” he writes.
Qiao then praises the economic impact on the United States caused by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He states, “Apart from political and mental impact, a much heavier blow was that it drove more than US$300 billion out of the country within a month.”
The U.S. has been in a protracted economic war that includes information war and financial war—and it’s increasing.— Casey Fleming, CEO, BLACKOPS Partners Corporation

Proposed Chinese strategies such as this should be taken seriously, according to Casey Fleming, CEO of BLACKOPS Partners Corporation, which provides intelligence and cyber strategy to the Fortune 500.
“It’s extremely critical. It’s extremely serious,” said Fleming, noting that China is already waging a full-scale economic war on the United States using methods including cyberattacks, conventional espionage, and currency manipulation.
“The financial throttling is all part of economic warfare,” Fleming said. “The United States has been in a protracted economic war that includes information war and financial war—and it’s increasing.”
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Qiao is one of the leading voices on China’s uses of economic warfare, and its broader military strategies using unconventional warfare.
In 1999, when Qiao was still a colonel, he co-authored the book “Unrestricted Warfare” with another colonel, Wang Xiangsui.
In “Unrestricted Warfare,” Qiao and Wang promoted the use of terrorism, cyberattacks, legal warfare (also called “lawfare”), and economic warfare against the United States.
Qiao and Wang argued the U.S. military limits its view of military advancement to technology, and largely ignores unconventional warfighting environments—especially when it comes to economic attacks. They said the United States was vulnerable in this regard, and that China could target these vulnerabilities militarily.
While “Unrestricted Warfare” was published 17 years ago, many of the strategies it proposed can now be seen playing out. It has remained one of the main texts cited by experts on the Chinese regime’s use of cyberattacks and other forms of unconventional warfare.
Qiao’s recent op-ed plays with some similar concepts, but says the Chinese military should leveraging geopolitics to attack the United States financially.
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In Russia’s case, he notes, it exports oil, gas, and mineral resources to support its economy. “If anything happened at any geopolitical juncture—for instance, if a country cut off its oil and gas pipeline, that would directly affect its economy,” he states. “That’s why geopolitics is so important for countries like Russia.”
Noting the importance of geopolitics to a nation’s finances, Qiao argues that China should place strategic importance on key shipping channels—including the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait, Gwadar Port, and the China-Pakistan Railway.
“From geopolitics to currency-politics and to the current age that we can hardly name yet,” he states, “only those who can adapt to changes will be the final winner.”

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WASHINGTON—At two recent forums on China, renowned dissidents and academic critics agreed that the Chinese Communist rulers are slowing losing their grip on the country and control of the minds of the Chinese people. Turmoil in the streets and countrysides and widespread renouncing of the Chinese Communist Party indicate that brute force is increasingly required for the CCP to maintain control.
On Capitol Hill on Dec. 10 in observance of Human Rights Day, Dr. Joseph A. Bosco and Dr. Sen Nieh, described a picture of a Chinese regime in deep trouble. The forum was about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and hopeful signs that the oppressor’s days are numbered.
At the Cato Institute on Nov. 23, China dissidents Chen Guangcheng and Wei Jingsheng discussed the Chinese people coming to better understand the damage, physical, legal, and economic, that the CCP is inflicting on them.
Mass Protests
“The CCP has succeeded in building China’s economic and military power, with the generous, and sometimes short-sighted, help from the West,” said Joseph A. Bosco, who is a member of the U.S.-China task force at the Center for the National Interest and a nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served as China Country Director in the office of the Secretary of Defense (2005-2006).
He continued: “Yet, the PRC is not secure in those achievements because it knows it does not enjoy genuine political legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese people. That is why there are over 100,000 civil protests across China per year and why it spends even more on internal security than it does on its massive military budget. The Chinese Communist Party is afraid of the Chinese people.”
The over 100,000 incidents was also cited by Dr. Murray Scot Tanner, Asia analyst at CNA, in testimony on May 15, 2014, before the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission, where he said, “The Chinese Academy of Social Science reported in 2012 that mass incidents now regularly exceeded 100,000 per year.”
The Chinese Communist Party is afraid of the Chinese people.— Dr. Joseph A. Bosco, senior associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Dr. Sen Nieh, a member of the Washington DC Falun Dafa Association (WFDA), gave as an example of how members of the Communist Party are leaving the Party. In Hubei province, a group of 5,000 decided en masse to quit the CCP and its affiliates in the summer of 2013.
At the Capitol Hill Forum, the Global Service Center for Quitting Chinese Communist Party (aka the Tuidang Center), which cosponsored the forum along with WFDA, provided the latest statistics on the numbers of persons who have quit the Communist Party and/or its affiliated organizations, the Communist Youth League and Young Pioneers.
According to the Center’s chairperson, Yi Rong, there have been over 220 million such renunciations.
“In 2015, the Tuidang movement has been growing at a rate of about 95,000 people per day,” she said.
Dr. Sen Nieh, representing the Washington DC Falun Dafa Association and professor at the Catholic University of America, speaks at a Capitol Hill forum on Dec. 10, 2015, on the persecution of Falun Gong and radical change coming to China. (Gary Feuerberg/Epoch Times)
Citing the same statistics, Dr. Nieh spoke of the “disintegration of the CCP,” and how it is losing its grip. He gave many examples and statistics of discontent among ordinary Chinese that frequently ends up turning violent. Dr. Nieh is chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department of Catholic University of America, and came to this country 35 years ago from Taiwan.
For example, last week on Dec. 9, in Hubei Province, thousands of villagers protested a waste treatment plant that is going to be installed. “People became embroiled with the police and two villagers were killed, and many police cars were turned over,” he said.
China is not a ‘government’ in the normal sense of the word. — Chen Guangcheng, human rights lawyer and activist

About a year ago, there was a major teachers’ strike over low wages and poor benefits across six provinces, from the middle to NE China. Tens of thousands of teachers were involved.
Over 500 protests/group conflicts of at least 15 people occur in China each day, he said. Large-scale protests are defined by 5,000 or more. On average, one of these large-scale protests occurs per day somewhere in China. His statistics come from state sources.
Dr. Nieh’s number of 500 per day totals to over 180,000 per year, which is what Max Fisher wrote in The Atlantic in Jan. 5, 2012. Fisher said, “China saw 180,000, riots, and mass demonstrations in 2010 alone—on average about 500 every day—a number that has likely since increased.” Nieh’s point is that the number of these riots has been increasing in recent years. He argues that the number that Professor Bosco and Tanner are using of “over 100,000″ is an underestimate and outdated now.
MORE:Capitol Hill Forum Discusses Persecution and Torture of Falun Gong, Demise of the CCPDid the Chinese Regime Admit Torture?
China security forces are primarily a military troop with military ranks on their uniforms, who use military tactics and weaponry to suppress the protests, including machine guns and tanks, he said. They may use real bullets to kill and hold on to the dead bodies without giving them back to the families. Over the last five years, the security budget exceeded the People’s Liberation Army’s budget.
Dr. Nieh said, “Their number one enemy is not the U.S.,” implying that it’s the Chinese people.
Communist Party officials are leaving China in large numbers, Dr. Nieh said. The number of “naked officials” (meaning spouse and children are already living abroad) were estimated at 1.18 million during 1995 to 2005, according to anti-corruption expert Prof. Lin Jie in China, Nieh said. The top 4,000 officials fleeing the country took an average USD$12 million per person.
Their first choice of country for naked officials is the United States, especially southern California and the San Francisco bay area. They bought million dollar mansions. Seventy percent of them pay cash. Officials spend $28 billion per year to buy houses around

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WASHINGTON—Dec. 10 was the 65th anniversary of International Human Rights Day, the day set aside by the United Nations to commemorate the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A forum focused on China was held on Capitol Hill to mark the occasion.
The forum covered two topics, the persecution of Falun Gong and the many hopeful signs that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s collapse is inevitable, as the Party’s grip on the Chinese people weakens.
The persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999. Practitioners of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) perform five sets of meditative exercises, and follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in their daily lives. The practice became very popular in China, with between 70 to 100 million adherents in 1999, according to official state and Falun Gong sources.
Former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin feared the practice’s popularity and on July 20, 1999 initiated the persecution, seeking to eradicate Falun Gong.
Eight victims of the persecution, who today live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, described the torture and abuse they and their families endured in China. The individuals who spoke at the forum were unique in their circumstances, but some common threads run through their experiences. Several had held high-level positions in Chinese society.
Liu Jianing, for example, was the Deputy Mayor of Heze City, Shandong province, in 1985. In 1988, she was the Deputy Chief Engineer and Commissioner of Textile Industry Office in Shandong Province. Because she practiced Falun Gong, which she said cured her diseases and bad temper, she was arrested five times and her home was ransacked three times. She was forced into slave labor and her life was in danger in a brainwashing class.
Dr. Zhang Yuwei’s study in medical school was interrupted for almost three years because she practiced Falun Gong. At her job, she was constantly harassed because people knew she was a Falun Gong practitioner, Lee said. She was severely tortured physically and mentally at a local brainwashing center and thought she was going to die. She escaped to America in 2004 and currently is a research analyst at a prominent Fortune 100 company.
Ma Chunmei, from Dongbei Province, was abducted by security four times and sent to a labor camp twice. She was tortured by electric shock batons, beatings, being suspended by handcuffs, the “death bed” (all four limbs are stretched out to the four corners of an icy-cold metal bed) for three days, brutal forced feeding, and injections with poisonous drugs. Authorities forced her husband to divorce her, and she lost custody of her son and ownership of the family business.
Ma Chunmei holds a photo of her sister Ma Chunling, who fled to Thailand after suffering severe persecution in China at the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp for practicing Falun Gong. Ma Chunmei, who also suffered numerous tortures in China, says her sister is still in danger in Thailand. (Gary Feuerberg/Epoch Times)
Jing Yu, resided near Beijing, and was the director of a day care center that had 200 employees. She was tortured in various ways including round-the-clock beatings for three days by four policemen in a detention center because she refused to give out the names of her fellow practitioners.
Zhang Huidong was a deputy general manager in a real estate development company. Because he practiced Falun Gong, he was arrested four times. As he tried to escape his kidnappers, he jumped out of a building, causing permanent injuries to his ankles and a comminuted fracture of the lumbar spine.
Three sisters testified at the hearing. Wang Chunrong, Wang Chunying, and Wang Chunyan were successful people. They were employed, respectively, as a CEO of an accounting firm, nurse supervisor, and entrepreneur. The youngest, Wang Chunyan, spent seven years in jail, escaped to Thailand, waited there for two and half years, and arrived in the United States just one month ago.
The persecution continues in year 2015. From January through June, 393 Falun Gong practitioners have been “tried” in Chinese courts. These were nothing more than show trials, “with trumped up charges and guilty verdicts a foregone conclusion,” according to Minghui.org.
Of the 393, 110 were tortured in custody and at least 206 had their homes ransacked. The average sentence of 383 cases was 4.0 years, with most going to prison. The data Minghui could cull likely underestimate the full extent of the abuse.
Most of these 2015 practitioners were women (72 percent), based on 94 percent of the cases, and their age averaged 56 years, based on roughly half of the cases.
These trials indicate Falun Gong practitioners continue to be targeted, but don’t provide a guide to the scale of the ongoing persecution. Police can detain practitioners at any time, sending them to black jails or brainwashing centers without any legal formalities, according to Minghui.
New Evidence of Non-consenting Organ Harvesting
Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, who is president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), discussed the findings from a series of telephone investigations from January to November 2015.
World Organization investigators sampled 165 hospitals that perform organ transplants and some institutes that do voluntary organ donations. The findings show contradictions between what officially is said by the regime about organs now being voluntarily donated, and what surgeons reported to investigators.
Organ transplants are still being performed in large quantities with short wait times and abundant donors. — Wang Zhiyuan, president, World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong

“China’s official organ donation institutes claim that donors are very limited and successful matches are few and far between,” said Wang. Yet, “Organ transplants are still being performed in large quantities with short wait times and abundant donors.”
For example, Wang cited a doctor at the Liver and Gallbladder Surgery Department of Zhenzhou People’s Hospital, who said on June 25, 2015, “The shortest wait time for a donor is approximately 2-3 days, in general. The longest would be over 10 days. The cost is about 500,000 yuan [approx. USD 78,000). We have a lot of donors.”
According to Columbia University’s Center For Liver Disease

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He Huaihong, professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing, discusses his new book, “Social Ethics in a Changing China” and his ideas on reconstructing social ethics in China. He spoke at The Brookings Institution, on Nov. 6. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)
WASHINGTON—In a book recently published by Brookings Institution Press, Chinese Professor He Huaihong proposes a new social ethics for a society that many observers, both inside and outside China, say is in a state of moral crisis.
An historian, ethicist, social critic, and unapologetic defender of Confucianism, Professor He proposes an intellectual framework to guide people’s behavior and restore social ethics to China so that it can take its place among other nations without shame. Professor He spoke at the Brookings Institution on Nov. 6 on his new book, “Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening?”
He Huaihong is professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing. The book is actually 19 essays, written, except for two, between 2002 and 2013, and edited for the book.
“Currently, we have quite a serious problem with morality in Chinese society now. The basic issues are that we lack basic trust and we lack kindness,” said He, through his English translator.
It is particularly endemic in the people’s trust for their political leaders. “Whatever the government says, the people don’t believe any of it. Even when they say things that are the truth, the people still don’t believe it,” said He. Members of the Communist Party and state officials are also mistrustful, he said.
“The topic of the moral decay and lack of trust in present day China are not sensitive topics and certainly not politically taboo in the PRC,” said Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, who introduced Professor He.
In the introduction to the book, Li provides a long list of widespread practices that illustrate severe ethical problems: “commercial fraud, tax fraud, financial deception, shoddy and dangerous engineering projects, fake products, tainted milk, poisonous bread, toxic pills, and the decline in professional ethics among teachers, doctors, lawyers, Buddhist monks, and especially government officials.”
Professor He writes that corruption by government officials is not limited to the top level. Even “village heads, town mayors, local bank managers are able to accumulate tens or even hundreds of millions of yuan in bribes. A district bureau chief may own dozens of houses.”
There is … widespread indifference to others, a lack of concern for human life, for public decorum, and for the law. — Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening? (2015)

Professor He is particularly troubled how kindness is being lost in Chinese society. In his talk he mentioned that if people see an elderly person fall down, a lot of people don’t dare to pick him or her up for fear of being extorted for money. They may end up having to pay the medical bills. In the book, He found shocking that when a two-year-old was run over by two different vehicles, she was ignored by dozens of passers-by.
“There have been repeated accidents involving kindergarten buses; when trucks crash, passers-by do not save the victims but steal the freight instead,” he writes in the eighth essay, “Moral Crisis in Chinese Society.”
“There is … widespread indifference to others, a lack of concern for human life, for public decorum, and for the law,” writes He.
Cultural Revolution
Professor He identifies many historical sources for the moral decay, but none more often than the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) when the country fell to the nadir of moral degeneration. The campaign to “smash the four olds”—old thought, old culture, old customs, and old habits—left the traditional morality “clinging only by a thread.”
“That battering included destruction of many ancient and historical books, artifacts, and sites. The tombs of some honored historical figures were wrecked, and sometimes even their remains dug up. … Children were ordered to report on their families and sometimes even took part in beating members of their own families … Politics completely supplanted morality. The only criterion for moral right and wrong was loyalty to a political leader, Mao Zedong.”
He Huaihong (L), professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing, and Cheng Li, director, John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution, discuss moral decay and ethical awakening in China, at Brookings on Nov. 6. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)
The core of the Cultural Revolution was the Red Guards, who were at their height in the first two years from 1966 to 1968, during which “the country was in a state of virtual anarchy.” They were much diminished after July 1968 when Mao sent most of them to the countryside. He became a Red Guard when he was 12 and witnessed some of its activities and extreme violence. He says he was on the fringe, primarily an observer.
A key feature of the Red Guard movement was its “propensity for violence.” One of their favorite slogans was, “Long live the red terror!” He describes an incident in the book when he became afraid of the “indiscriminate violence.”
“Morality took a backseat to politics,” said He. From the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the war with Japan, values incorporated from the Soviet Union and Stalin, “China in the 20th century went through a complete reversal of our traditional, ancient values.”
[During the Cultural Revolution] politics completely supplanted morality.

In his harsh criticism of the Red Guards, he blames only Mao and absolves the Chinese Communist Party. But criticism of the CCP, while never explicit, lies just below the surface. He refers to 100 years of turmoil before the past 30 years of the market economy which he says has left a heritage that is suspect. The cries for equality of the last century must be incorporated in a reconstructed ethics, he says, but “extremist theories of class warfare and the philosophy of zero-sum conflict are not the inheritance that we should accept (page 77),” writes He, referring to fundamental Communist Party doctrines.
Without naming the CCP, He writes that the old ideology evolved out of a

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Vicente Fox takes a selfie with young members of the symphony orchestra of his Centro Fox on June 25, 2014. (Centro Fox)Vicente Fox takes a selfie with young members of the symphony orchestra of his Centro Fox on June 25, 2014. (Centro Fox)

SAN FRANCISCO DEL RINCON, Mexico—Mexicans are notoriously suspicious of their politicians and think most of them, including former presidents, are corrupt. However, ask some and most won’t say this is true about Vicente Fox.

Fox, very popular throughout his term from 2000 to 2006, was in fact the first president from a party other than the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was mired in corruption after 71 years of uninterrupted rule.

During his term, he shunned Latin American socialist leaders and sought close cooperation with the United States in economic and security questions.

“I’m always for freedom in economy and I am always for a good solid public policy structure to motivate and incentivize businesses,” he said. During his tenure, Mexican GDP increased by 30 percent.

After his term ended in 2006, Fox focused on thought leadership and founded the Centro Fox, a presidential library and education center where he helps promote social and economic advancement to children and business leaders alike. 

Former president of Mexico Vicente Fox at the Centro Fox near Leon, Mexico on Aug. 4, 2015. (Seth Hirsch/EPOCH TIMES)

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox at the Centro Fox near Leon, Mexico, on Aug. 4, 2015. (Seth Hirsch/EPOCH TIMES)

Epoch Times spoke to Fox about the country’s economic competitiveness, the mission and value of the Centro Fox, and how Mexico can solve its violent drug problem.

Epoch Times: You have always been closer to the United States than Latin American socialist leaders. Why?

Vicente Fox:  I am always pro-market. I’m always for freedom in the economy and I am always for a good solid public policy structure to motivate and incentivize businesses.

So when I see countries like Venezuela or Ecuador or Argentina with this populism and demagoguery what I see is a very negative, pessimistic future for those economies and those nations.

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PAGE 3: HOW FOX MAKES THE CASE FOR DRUG LEGALIZATION TO END THE GANG VIOLENCE

Today in the world you don’t have to be a genius to discover that trading among economies with discipline and fundamental variables of openness, with a good friendly attitude between public sector and private sector is what brings wealth and what creates jobs.

So I’m always on that side and that’s why of course I’m pretty much in favor of the United States. 

And almost every successful nation is very pragmatic. They speak about jobs. They speak about investment. They speak about wealth. They speak about education. They speak about health. I think in Latin America we waste much of our time discussing ideologies and this discussion about left or right or capitalism or communism.

What people are expecting from democracies and from governments is a job, better income, a school for my kids, health for my family, control of the environment, and protection of the environment. I think that we should forget a lot about ideologies. 

I think in Latin America we waste much of our time discussing ideologies

Epoch Times: What are the reasons behind Mexico’s economic renaissance, especially compared to China?

Mr. Fox: Investment that flew out of Mexico to go to China 10 years ago now is coming back. Those manufacturing companies are coming back to Mexico. This is because China has become more costly and the productivity is not there anymore as it was some time ago. Why does Mexico benefit?

No. 1, because of NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement]. NAFTA is a key ingredient in this competitiveness. The Mexican economy has gained because you save a lot of money that went to duties and taxes. So NAFTA is very crucial.

In fact, when NAFTA started 20 years ago the gap between the income of families and workers on the U.S. side and the Mexican side was tenfold. So you would make $1 in Mexico and by crossing the border you would be making $10. That explains the migration phenomenon and issue.

Today, instead of 10 to 1 we have a 5 to 1. I can guess that in the future, maybe one more generation, 20–25 years from now that gap will be zero.

We will have a 1 to 1 situation like United States has to Canada. And then you solve problems on the border. Both economies will be benefitting from this. So NAFTA is a key factor that China doesn’t have with the United States, the largest market in the world.

Number two, I would say that it is our logistic costs. It’s not the same thing to move a vehicle manufactured in Mexico to the U.S. market than moving a car from China to the United States. The logistic cost is extremely low in the case of Mexico and the United States.

Finally, a factor that is becoming very important is time zones. Because it’s important for executives, for corporations when they travel abroad to have low cost on their traveling.

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PAGE 3: HOW FOX MAKES THE CASE FOR DRUG LEGALIZATION TO END THE GANG VIOLENCE

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