Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—In the early afternoon of July 20, over 1,000 practitioners and supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline held a parade to protest 18 years of deadly repression by the communist regime in China. The parade goers, mostly wearing Falun Gong’s signature yellow T-shirts, marched from Capitol Hill through downtown Washington, D.C. to the Lincoln Memorial.

This year’s events also included a rally at Capitol Hill and a candlelight vigil before the Washington Monument.

Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that teaches a set of meditation exercises and cultivation of the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, was marked for persecution on July 20, 1999, by then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. Since then, the Chinese authorities have pursued a violent campaign of elimination against the practice.

“The Chinese regime’s persecution has been completely irrational and violent. We petition peacefully. We carry no weapons. We have only kind intentions. But what we face are police, police cars, armed police. The armed police face you as if you are a terrible enemy,” said Liu Zhaohe, a 64-year-old philosophy professor who came from Beijing to the United States this March.

 Liu Zhaohe, a former philosophy professor, and his wife Wang Lurui participate in a Falun Gong parade in Washington D.C on July 20, 2017. (Irene Luo/Epoch Times)

Liu Zhaohe, a former philosophy professor, and his wife Wang Lurui participate in a Falun Gong parade in Washington D.C on July 20, 2017. (Irene Luo/The Epoch Times)

His wife, 60-year-old Wang Lurui, was arrested 11 times while putting up Falun Gong banners and meditating in public, including several occasions when she went to Tiananmen Square. She was also fired from her position as a hospital administrator in Beijing.

“Since coming here, we continue to nonviolently, rationally oppose the persecution so everyone knows that Falun Dafa is good and that truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance are universal moral principles,” Wang said.

Millions of Falun Gong adherents in China and abroad have used a variety of peaceful means to raise awareness about and counteract the persecution, sometimes at great personal risk. Human rights researchers estimate that Chinese authorities have detained millions of practitioners, and that hundreds of thousands are held in forced labor camps and brainwashing centers.

Since 2006, investigations have revealed that a large but yet indeterminate number of Falun Gong adherents have been executed and had their organs harvested in state and military-run hospitals across China.

Li Jianying, a middle-aged woman from Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, was driven to escape China in 2015 when someone reported her practice of Falun Gong to the police. She now lives in Middletown, upstate New York, and raises awareness about Falun Gong in the community as a volunteer. Her 79-year-old mother, also a practitioner, is still in China.

“I want to see her again, but I can’t go back,” Li said. “You go back and they arrest you at the airport.”

Each year, Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. and around the world hold commemorative events to mark the anniversary of the persecution.

During the parade, practitioners carried banners calling for the end of the persecution and live organ harvesting and for Jiang Zemin to be brought to justice. A military-style marching band composed of Falun Gong practitioners joined in. Other marchers held photos of those who had been killed in the persecution.

Passers-by were shocked to learn of the violence against the group.

Wilna LaPorte, who works in a Washington, D.C. public defense service, was drawn to the serene, traditional Chinese music.

Wilna LaPorte. (Eva Fu/The Epoch Times)

Wilna LaPorte. (Eva Fu/The Epoch Times)

“I can’t believe this is going on,” she said between tears after hearing about China’s organ transplantation industry, which has heavily targeted Falun Gong practitioners. “I don’t see why human lives should be commercialized when there are so much that has already been commercialized from China.”

“People need to be made aware of what’s happening in different countries, not only here,” said Cynthia Simms, who works as an educational administrator.

“A lot of times, we don’t know what other people go through and what they have to deal with on a day to day basis.”

Liu Zhaohe, the former professor from Beijing, said that the Chinese authorities “persecute all independent thoughts, independent beliefs.”

He added: “There’s no freedom of belief, freedom of speech. This is the most immoral thing done by the Chinese regime. They don’t just destroy you physically, but also destroy you mentally, force you to ‘transform.’ They stifle your thoughts so you do not have your own thoughts.” 

With reporting by Eva Fu and Irene Luo.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

 

 

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  • Category: General

Screenshot (Proto Thema)Screenshot (Proto Thema)

New security camera footage has been published by Greek media protothema.gr showing the entire fight that led to the death of 22-year-old American tourist Bakari Henderson on July 7.

According to his family, Henderson was visiting Greece for a photo shoot in preparation for the launch of his clothing line.

The footage was obtained from a camera inside a cafe window, close to the bar where the altercation between Henderson and a group of largely Serbian men began.

Bars in the Laganas party district of Zakynthos have a reputation for violent alcohol-fueled brawls.

According to a 2011 Guardian report on the death of a British tourist, a number of tourists die each year in Zakynthos. Alcohol-related violence has always been a big problem for local police.

In the video footage, confirmed as genuine by the Greek authorities, Henderson is seen running away from a group of men. As the men catch up to him, one throws Henderson against a parked car. The group then proceeds to kick and pummel him to the ground. Bystanders attempt to intervene, and as the crowd clears, someone is seen attempting CPR on Henderson.

Greek authorities said that Henderson was sent to the hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. His death was caused by severe head injuries.

A total of nine men—one Greek bar employee, the bar’s bouncer who was a British citizen of Serb origin, and seven Serbian tourists—have been charged with intentional homicide, reported AP. If found guilty, the charges carry a maximum life sentence.

Suspects arrive at Zakynthos courthouse on July 8th after the death of American tourist on July 7th.

Suspects arrive at a Zakynthos courthouse on July 8 for their arraignment—their involvement in the death of an American tourist on the Greek island. (Reuters)

Serbian news reports said Serbian Ambassador Dusan Spasojevic and Serbian consuls visited the seven Serbian citizens in prison on July 11.

Five suspects attended their initial court hearing on Wednesday, July 12. All five pleaded not guilty. They have since been jailed pending trial.

A defense lawyer for one of the five said that although his client caused some bodily harm, there was no intent to kill. The attorney is hopeful that the video footage will be useful as court evidence to prove that his client was not the one to lay the fatal blow to Henderson’s head, reported the ABC.

(Reuters)

The four remaining suspects appeared in court on Thursday, July 13. The judge jailed another Serb man, pending trial, while two have been released on bail. Bail was set at $5,700 (5,000 euros), according to AP. The fourth suspect will testify on Friday, July 14.

No trial date has been set.

Greek authorities have also identified six more suspects from the security footage, said ABC.

It remains unclear what started the fight.

Henderson’s family told local media kxan.com that they are holding a private memorial service on Friday evening followed by the funeral on Saturday.

NTD Television

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Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners perform one of the practice’s five exercises, the “Falun Standing Stance,” in Guangzhou, southern China, in 1998.Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners perform one of the practice’s five exercises, the “Falun Standing Stance,” in Guangzhou, southern China, in 1998.

How an accomplished professor of orthopedics and other modern professionals harmonize their modern lives with an ancient Chinese spiritual practice

Most of the week, Joshua Li, a 44-year-old assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia, attends to patients with spinal injuries and researches the use of nanoparticles to treat intervertebral disc degeneration.

Every Sunday, though, he unplugs his smartphone and instead plugs in to cosmic principles, leading an exercise group at the senior center in Charlottesville, performing the slow-motion exercises of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline. It is practiced around the world, but remains persecuted in its homeland of China after having attracted an estimated 70 million to 100 million practitioners by the late 1990s.

Jiang launches the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.

Jiang launches the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.

This year marks 25 years since the introduction of Falun Gong in China.

The discipline espouses a philosophy of the world that puts traditional moral values over material gain, and yet it has attracted numerous successful professionals like Li.

Li and others say this is due to the immediately felt impact of the practice on their lives, including its dramatic health benefits, as well as its philosophy of internal transformation that is simple to grasp but profound when put into practice.

The Search

Qigong, the school of energy practices of which Falun Gong is a part, was immensely popular in China in the 1980s and 1990s. The primary appeal was its positive impacts on health.

The promise of wellness brought Li to qigong. He had long searched for alternative treatments for his mother, who caught colds easily after being exposed to chemicals during her work as a missile researcher for the Chinese Communist Party. “We kept the windows shut at home, and my mother wore thick clothing even during the summer,” he recalled.

At age 12, Li picked up tai chi, a Chinese martial art known for its health benefits, and tried to teach it to his mother. She tried Chinese medicine and acupuncture, too.

In high school and college, Li sampled at random from the hundreds of different qigong schools being taught at the time, but gave up in disillusionment in 1995.

“Many qigong masters creat

Joshua Li, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia and Falun Gong practitioner. (Courtesy of Joshua Li)

Joshua Li, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia and Falun Gong practitioner. (Courtesy of Joshua Li)

ed sham practices for the sole purpose of making a fortune and a name for themselves. They were peddling stuff like ‘water with messages’ or ‘tea with messages,’” he said.

“Stay away from the quack qigong,” Li warned his parents, before he left home to return to Xi’an Medical University in the northwest province of Shaanxi to complete his master’s in orthopedics. Li himself continued to practice taichi.

After graduating in July 1997, he went home to find a breeze flowing through the open windows and his mother in a short-sleeved shirt—a sight he’d never witnessed before.

As he hurried around the house, pulling the windows shut, his mother called out: “Hey, don’t bother, I’m cured!”

She had begun practicing Falun Gong that May.

Health Benefits

Though Falun Gong, like all ancient Chinese thought, integrates a way of gaining knowledge about the world via means that cannot be scientifically tested, it was the seemingly miraculous effects of the practice that forced Joshua Li, and numerous others like him, to take it seriously.

Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, gave his first public lecture on May 13, 1992, to a modest crowd in his hometown of Changchun in northeast China.

By 1993, hundreds were attending Mr. Li’s 10-day lecture series. In 1994, volunteer organizers had to book stadiums instead of auditoriums to fit the thousands who had signed up for Mr. Li’s lectures.

Mr. Li Hongzhi.

Mr. Li Hongzhi.

Mr. Li charged a pittance for lecture fees and insisted that Falun Gong forever remain free to practice. He stopped giving lectures after the publication in January 1995 of “Zhuan Falun” (“Turning the Law Wheel”), which lays out Falun Gong’s comprehensive teachings. In the years following, tens of millions of Chinese began adopting the practice.

Zhu Liming, a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force Command College who became a volunteer Falun Gong coordinator after attending a lecture series in Beijing in August 1992, believes that two reasons account for the Falun Gong phenomenon.

The main text of Falun Dafa, Zhuan Falun. (Shutterstock)

The main text of Falun Dafa, Zhuan Falun. (Shutterstock)

First, “the healing effectiveness of Falun Gong is superb,” Zhu said. Many found that their health problems simply disappeared after a short period of practice.

Joshua Li was stunned when he heard that it was qigong—which he thought was a sham—that cured his mother. “Well, Falun Gong has a book,” he remembers her saying, as she handed him a copy of “Zhuan Falun.”

This is the second appeal of the practice: its teachings, and the moral transformation they inspire.

“I read the first chapter, and learned what qigong was really about,” Li said. He finished the other eight chapters in one sitting, and the next day, he began learning the exercises.

Moral Uplift

Falun Gong comprises four standing exercises and an hour-long sitting meditation, but it isn’t simply a health and fitness practice, said Zhu, the air force colonel.

“The teachings of Master Li Hongzhi enable people to elevate their morality,” he said. “Many eventually realize that Falun Gong is an authentic self-cultivation way.” Zhu now lives in New York after fleeing China due to persecution.

Zhu Liming, a former colonel in the People's Liberation Army's Air Force Command College who became a volunteer Falun Gong coordinator in Beijing. (Courtesy of Zhu Liming)

Zhu Liming, a former colonel in the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force Command College who became a volunteer Falun Gong coordinator in Beijing. (Courtesy of Zhu Liming)

Self-cultivation, or the improvement of one’s character through adhering to moral principles, has a history in China going back to at least 2000 B.C. Falun Gong is experienced by practitioners as a continuation of this tradition as they try to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, which they understand to be the foundation of the universe.

The deeper quest for moral elevation meant that Falun Gong appealed to retired seniors and housewives, as well as accomplished professionals and intellectuals.

Frank Qin, an investment manager with a health fund in Manhattan, had been searching for a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline based around self-cultivation for some time before he found Tsinghua University’s Falun Gong community in 1995. By then, over 500 faculty and students at the elite university, known as China’s MIT, did the exercises daily at the campus, he said. It offered them a powerful moral calling.

“Falun Dafa teaches that we should be forgiving and forbearing in our daily lives, to always look inward first to locate our shortcomings when problems arise,” he added. “When we keep striving to be compassionate and openhearted, we can even improve society.”

Levi Browde, a partner with a Manhattan-based software company and the executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, has seen many examples of the sort of small but archetypal individual improvement among Falun Gong practitioners in New York.

Levi Browde, a partner with a Manhattan-based software company and the executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, speaks at a Falun Gong rally on May 14, 2014. (Dai Bing/The Epoch Times)

Levi Browde, a partner with a Manhattan-based software company and the executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, speaks at a Falun Gong rally on May 14, 2014. (Dai Bing/The Epoch Times)

“I’ve seen combative 20-somethings who rarely talked with their parents, or had left them behind altogether, turn around and rebuild those relationships, making them strong and healthy for both parties,” he said. “In my own day-to-day life, I see how Falun Dafa’s teachings help me raise my two boys with compassion and integrity.”

Browde thinks that journalists who attribute the extraordinary popularity of Falun Gong in the 1990s to the “spiritual void” created by the atheist communist regime are missing the self-cultivation aspect that has universal appeal.

“Falun Dafa spread so fast not because of the environment into which it was introduced, but because of what it had to offer, regardless of environment,” he said.

Joshua Li, the spine surgeon, has patients tell him that he seems more peaceful, and “special,” compared to a run-of-the-mill, frazzled spine doctor. He balances taking care of patients with his complex research on regenerating spinal tissues, for which he’s received numerous prestigious awards and grants.

“Practicing Falun Gong makes me take the point of view of others,” Li said. “Perhaps that’s why patients at the hospital might think that I’m more caring.”

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  • Category: General

Falun Gong practitioners raise awareness about organ harvesting and other human rights crimes in China, with residents and tourists in Santa Monica, Calif., on July 17. (Xu Touhui/Epoch Times)Falun Gong practitioners raise awareness about organ harvesting and other human rights crimes in China, with residents and tourists in Santa Monica, Calif., on July 17. (Xu Touhui/Epoch Times)

NEW YORKA petition that has garnered nearly 6,000 signatures in just 2 days calls for President Donald Trump to help end the practice of forced organ harvesting in China.

Trump had his first meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday, but they are expected to get into more deeper discussions on Friday at the summit.  

The White House petition created on April. 5, urges Trump to ask Xi Jinping to end the forced organ harvesting against Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China.

The forced organ harvesting is part of a wider persecution which began in 1999 by then Communist leader Jiang Zemin and is still happening today against Falun Gong, a peaceful, spiritual practice.

Hundreds of thousands practitioners in detention are vulnerable to becoming victims of forced, live organ harvesting, one of the most atrocious and inhumane practices today, according to researchers.

The Chinese Regime is estimated to have performed between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants each year from 2000 to 2015, the bulk from Falun Gong practitioners, according to a nearly 700-page report published in June last year.

The report authors—David Kilgour, a former Canadian Secretary of State and member of Parliament; human rights lawyer David Matas; and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann—explain that this is how transplant patients can go to China and get a organ within days or even hours, if they can pay for it. By contrast, patients can be on wait lists for years in other countries.  

The ultimate conclusion of the report, said Matas at the National Press Club in Washington on June 22, “is that China has engaged in the mass killing of innocents.”

If the petition on the White House-sponsored site collects 100,000 signatures by May 5, then the White House is obliged to furnish a response. The text of the petition reads:  

“Irrefutable evidence shows that former Chinese President, Jiang Zemin, not only started a brutal persecution against Falun Gong in 1999, but also initiated the abominable and deadly forced organ harvesting practice against this peaceful group—a practice that is intolerable in the 21st century. The civilized world must stand up against these atrocities and demand an end to one of the greatest human rights violations of our time.

“Mr. President, AMERICA FIRST signifies core American values. The defense of human rights is one of our greatest virtues and the foundation of our nation. You have a chance to show the world that the United States remains the leader in defending human rights and will not remain silent in the face of these crimes against humanity.”

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China has muscled, conned, bullied, grabbed, extorted, and feigned its way to the top of the global supply chain over the last twenty years.

It took no prisoners—just market share, intellectual property, and liberties in the valuation of its currency. It used a massive trade surplus to buy foreign assets, coralled foreign companies into joint ventures with Chinese firms where they lost their technology to the Chinese partner, and gave away just enough to keep foreigners dreaming—in the spirit of their supposed trade regulations—of their fair share of the huge Chinese market.

With President Donald Trump hosting Chinese leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, today, many are waiting to see if this dynamic will be fought against. Trump talked tough on China throughout his campaign. Whereas previous administrations tried to engage and dialogue with China—an approach that business groups say has largely failed—this administration pledged to play hardball.

And for good reason, according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan innovation think tank. “China has doubled down on its innovation-mercantilist strategies, seeking global dominance across a wide array of advanced industries that are key to U.S. economic and national security interests,” the report says. 

For China, unlike the United States, growth is not the real issue. Rather, growth and economic stability are only important in that they help the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintain its grip on the country.

Chinese citizens escaping poverty, and stronger international competition in tech sectors, are good things. But for the CCP, the prosperity of its people is a mere afterthought; the notion of fair trade a curiosity. Its gaze is fixed on its own survival, with all the rest being collaterals, incidentals, and extras.

To quote former United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, the U.S. “has to rethink the way it engages with China. We have these very fancy dialogues—there’s ninety of them—and I characterize these dialogues with China as the way China manages the U.S., not actually the way the U.S. produces results on the ground for companies and for exporters to China.” Barshefsky spoke during a March 6 event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

And so China has gorged on the markets with little in its way but some timid bilateral discussions, difficult-to-enforce World Trade Organization rules, and a Western alliance in disarray.

Is There a Sheriff in Town?

On both sides of the pro- and anti-trade spectrum, most experts seem to agree China can’t be left unchecked for another decade. It is now to be seen how the United States is going to play its role in the global trade community, while dealing with the rampage of often hostile Chinese investments in sensitive U.S. markets, the towering trade imbalance, and the ongoing signs of currency manipulation (though China has shifted from undervaluing the RMB to propping it up.)

So far, no real effort has been made to stop Beijing on its looting spree, whether that be forcing technological transfer from Western companies that want market access, or straight up theft in the form of cyber espionage. Facing this reality, the patience of the United States in waiting for China to “learn to behave” has been baffling. In 2016 alone, 27 countries brought 119 trade sanctions against China. The previous U.S. administrations however, which saw China eat away at the U.S. market share across a myriad of sectors ever since China’s WTO ascension in 2001, remained mostly mute.

The March 16 report by ITIF points out the inherent weakness of WTO rules that have been negotiated between 160 countries: if one player lacks the goodwill to respect the rules, little can be done to enforce them. The ITIF sees a larger role to be played by domestic legislatures when inking deals with China.

But while the tools to act against China’s “innovation mercantilism” might not have been perfect, both WTO provisions and domestic U.S. regulations have in fact been in place all along. The question remains why they have never been put to use.

For example, citing concerns about surges of imports at the time of China’s WTO ascension, Barshefsky recalled that the U.S. “inserted a China-only provision which lasted twelve years … to allow the president to unilaterally stop imports in any given sector if those imports were disruptive to the U.S.” She added: “The relief was provided only once.”

Barshefsky made the point that “there was concern there would be job loss; there was a specific mechanism to deal with it. It wasn’t used.” The 12 year provision she referred to has recently expired, so new mechanisms will need to be worked out.

Her colleague Edward Aiden, a Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the pro-trade foreign relations think tank CFR, on his side called the failing of previous administrations to trigger the 1988 Foreign Trade Act “a political disaster.” The Act stipulates that if a country is found to be manipulating its currency, intense negotiations are to be started, followed by sanctions if the negotiations fail.

This points to the bigger role the United States could play in global market regulation.

Under the banner of “Constructive, Alliance-backed Confrontation,” the ITIF argues that the United States, as the world’s biggest player, should gather its allies—such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea—and form a front against China.

It further calls for much stronger cooperation between the U.S. private and public sectors to fight abuses, a more “focused, targeted, centralized” approach by giving more control to the federal government, and more resources to the U.S. Trade Commission.

Of the Carrot and the Stick

Since the new administration took the reins, the first concrete signs of the course it would steer regarding trade was stepping out of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TTP), a deal between 12 countries on both sides of the pacific.

China was implicitly excluded from the deal by technical means, and would have been at a disadvantage in region as a result. If it wanted in, it would have had to play by the rules and meet certain rigorous administrative, labor, environmental and other standards.

If China managed to get into the TTP, however, it would likely would have been another fiasco on par with China’s ascension into the WTO. If history teaches us anything,  international trade deals for China are simply opportunities to take advantage and bend the rules.

Related Coverage

There are practical limitations on compliance monitoring and enforcement of such deals, and the Chinese regime is expert at navigating such loopholes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a recent report on China’s industrial policy “Made in China 2025: Global Ambitions Built on Local Protections,” makes this extremely clear.

“Many of the challenges associated with China’s industrial policies—for example, government procurement, subsidies, data, licensing, and national security—would unlikely be effectively addressed through an investment treaty or agreement given the architectural limitations of such agreements.”

Now with the TTP carrot gone, it remains to be seen if the Trump administration is prepared to use the stick.

Whatever the case, Peter Navarro, economic advisor to the Trump administration, has not been mincing words so far when it comes to China. Taking the stage at a business conference, Navarro hinted at a much bolder stance toward China’s trade imbalance and currency manipulation.

Referring to China’s worrisome access to sensitive segments of the U.S. market, he said, “Suppose that it’s not a benign ally buying our companies, our technologies, our farmland, and our food supply chain, and ultimately controlling much of our defense industrial base. Rather, it is a rapidly militarizing strategic rival intent on hegemony in Asia and of course world hegemony”.

If the United States can rally its partners behind a renewed, no-nonsense, results-based trade system that doesn’t rely on trusting China’s promises, Beijing’s brazenness may finally be contained, and stability returned to global trade.

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Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and former Republican Congressman Frank Wolf (Va.) testify at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on March 1. Both have for decades opposed Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and former Republican Congressman Frank Wolf (Va.) testify at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on March 1. Both have for decades opposed Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Republican Congressman Frank Wolf were in total agreement as witnesses at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on March 1. Both had been vigorous, vocal opponents of granting Normal Trade Relations with China that was promoted by the Clinton Administration and paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in Dec. 2001.

Pelosi and Wolf warned again during the Bush Administration that supporting China’s accession to the WTO without preconditions would be a mistake.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the CECC, lent his voice too in those days urging resistance to the argument that increased trade would open the pathway to gradual political liberalization and the rule of law. In his opening statement, Smith said granting China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the idea that more trade and investment would bring about political reform and human rights improvement was a “bipartisan fantasy.”

“Bill Clinton predicted that trade would open China’s political system. Chinese democracy was ‘inevitable, just like when the Berlin Wall fell.’ George W. Bush also focused on the inevitability of history saying ‘trade freely with China and time is on our side,’” said Smith in a statement made part of the hearing’s record in his absence.

The far-reaching claims concerning the effect of trade prompted James Mann to write “The China Fantasy,” published in 2007. Mann testified at the hearing that he argued back then that “the Chinese regime wasn’t going to change in the way that American leaders said it would.” He questioned the assumption that China’s authoritarian rule would not last much longer.

Mann said that China, now richer, had in the past few years entered “into new types of repression: arresting lawyers, severely restricting NGOs, and staging televised confessions of those who are detained.”

Wolf said that he thought it a bit curious that a mere ten years after the brutal slaughter of Tiananmen protesters, prior to the passage of PNTR in 2000, “a school of thought took root which argued for increased trade and economic ties, as opposed to sanctions and a tough line.”

“The push for PNTR was borne, I believe, of wishful thinking rather than evidence or a genuine understanding of the Chinese Communist Party’s goals and objectives,” Wolf said.

The push for PNTR was borne of wishful thinking rather than evidence or a genuine understanding of the Chinese Communist Party’s goals and objectives.

— Congressman (Ret.) Frank Wolf (Va.)

Michael Wessel, commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said, the proponents of PNTR “got it wrong.” The business community, “who once saw China as the avenue for enormous profits and opportunity” see now the “harsh reality.” He said that the American Chamber of Commerce in China’s most recent report found that 80 percent of businesses felt less welcome in China than before.

Wessel said later, “China PNTR  … increased America’s dependence on China’s manufacturing products and limited the willingness of the business community, and our government, to respond.”

The CECC was established in connection with the ongoing debate in Congress on whether to grant China PNTR status. Chairman of the CECC Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted in his opening statement that Congress didn’t want to forgo the capability to review China’s human rights every year. One of stated reasons for Congress creating the Commission in 2000 was to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights standards.

Diminished Leverage

U.S. leverage on influencing China’s human rights behavior has diminished as China’s economic strength has increased. Pelosi stated that in 2000, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $5 billion annually. Today, it is $6.2 billion per week, she said.

We chose to ride the tiger and the tiger will decide when we get off.

— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

“We chose to ride the tiger and the tiger will decide when we get off. And it has curtailed the ability of America to talk about human rights in China because the ‘interests’ are too great.”

Wolf echoed what Mann said about enhanced repression over the years, including the Chinese regime’s recent rounding up of human rights lawyers who defend religious minority groups, such as Uyghur Muslims, unregistered Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners.

Raising his voice several decibels with righteous indignation, Wolf recounted a Washington Post story about Chinese lawyer Li Chunfu, who, Wolf said, “was imprisoned in secret detention for 500 days and brutally tortured and drugged.” As a result, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he said.

One might infer that Wolf was nearly shouting on this and other examples he gave of China’s repression because most of his colleagues in Congress going back to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 have been deaf to the human rights record of China.

Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Marco Rubio listens to testimony at a hearing, titled,

Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Marco Rubio listens to testimony at a hearing, titled, “The Broken Promises of China’s WTO Accession: Reprioritizing Human Rights,” on March 1. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Chairman Rubio said that China “has engaged in brazen cyberattacks on the U.S. government and U.S. commercial interests.  Intellectual property theft is rampant. It is arbitrarily detaining American citizens.”

Rubio continued with the quandary American companies face today:

“Meanwhile U.S. companies, including major household names, daily weigh the enticement of the Chinese market against staying true to their own core principles and missions.  Do they curb speech to gain access?  Do they curry favor with the authorities by sharing sensitive technology that can be employed by the Communist Party to further surveil and repress Chinese citizens? 

Does a Hollywood producer self-censor before the Chinese censors have a chance to, in order to gain market access for a new film?  Does an American university, home to a Chinese government-funded Confucius Institute, opt not to invite the Dalai Lama to speak at their campus for fear of losing financial support?”  

American Citizen Detained, Tortured

Perhaps no better example of the U.S.’s position vis-à-vis China’s unlawful actions is that of Sandy Phan-Gillis—American citizen, mother and resident of Houston for almost 40 years. Her husband Jeff Gillis testified at this hearing that she has been detained in China for two years by China State Security, China’s spy agency (not China Public Security, which is China’s police force).

Phan-Gillis was on a trade mission to China with the Houston mayor when she was seized by China State Security on Mar. 19, 2015. Her being kept in isolation prevented her travel companions and her family from knowing about her detention. Mr. Gillis only learned of her detention after filing a missing person report with the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou.

China State Security subjected Phan-Gillis to solitary confinement and relentless questioning in a torture chair. This chair is a short 4-leged stool with no back or armrests and with raised teeth in the seat. Mr. Gillis said that his wife has serious medical conditions, and for a while, she was denied access to medicine. “China State Security used torture to force Sandy to make a false confession,” he said.

There is some irony in the fact that she was a strong supporter of China’s entry into the WTO and had devoted her entire career promoting trade and good relations with China, according to Mr. Gillis. 

Mr. Gillis said that his wife was not allowed to see her attorney for over a year and that she was not even charged with a crime for well over a year. Finally, she was charged with being a spy on China for the FBI (which he noted is not a spy agency) and assisting the FBI in the capture of two Chinese spies in the United States and turning them into double agents. Mr. Gillis showed at the hearing how the charges are easily proved false and absurd. The details are contained in his written testimony which is available at the CECC’s website.

Where is the outrage, where is the action, and where are the consequences for China?

— Jeff Gillis, husband of American businesswoman detained in China for two years

After nearly two years, she has had no appearance before a judge and there’s still is no scheduled trial date. Arbitrarily detained, subjected to solitary confinement and torture and not so much as a hearing before a judge, Mr. Gillis said, “where is the outrage, where is the action, and where are the consequences for China?” He believes that human rights abuses such as what is happening to his wife go unchallenged because we are addicted to cheap Chinese products and obsessed with access to Chinese markets.

“If China State Security can arbitrarily detain and torture Sandy, they can arbitrarily detain and torture any American citizen. If Sandy isn’t safe in China, then no American is safe in China,” he said.

Panel of China observers testify before the Congressional-Executive Commission on March 1. (L to R) Michael R. Wessel, commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; James Mann, author,

Panel of China observers testify before the Congressional-Executive Commission on March 1. (L to R) Michael R. Wessel, commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; James Mann, author, “The China Fantasy”; Dr. Jeff Gillis, husband of American businesswoman Sandy Phan-Gillis, detained in China; and Dr. Sophie Richardson, China director, Human Rights Watch. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Recommendation: More Assertive US

The CECC commissioners and witnesses agreed that we should abandon the assumption that trade will gradually open up political reform in China. That’s not going to happen. Instead, the U.S. needs to take a much tougher stance and reciprocate in kind whenever the China regime’s actions are problematic.

“What China permits or denies to Americans operating in China should be equally permitted or denied to Chinese operating in the United States. This principle should be applied to business negotiations, to non-government organizations, to the news media,” said James Mann.

For example, the news media asymmetry is ridiculous, said Mann. American news organizations are blocked in China. China government denies visas to reporters it doesn’t like and imposes severe restrictions on reporters’ access and travel. Meanwhile in the United States, Chinese state-controlled news organizations freely print propaganda inserts in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and other papers. China’s state-run television enjoys full access to the broadcast spectrum.

China Director of Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson agreed that the United States and E.U. and other nations need to find their voice and leverage when confronted with China’s conduct on national security or economic issues. Trying to use “persuasion” and “chumminess” to effect change in human rights and religious persecution hasn’t worked. She said that decades of experience make clear that “Beijing responds only to the expectation of unpleasant consequences.”

“Many senior Chinese officials with long track records of presiding over human rights abuses have bank accounts outside the country that could be frozen, Richardson said in her written testimony. Wolf pointed out that the Trump Administration could use the new authorities granted under the Global Magnitsky Act to restrict travel of Chinese government officials committing egregious human rights abuses.

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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 Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA  in Los Angeles in this file photo. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)The Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA  in Los Angeles in this file photo. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The University of California, San Diego, has invited the Dalai Lama as its commencement speaker in June, and a group of Chinese students at the university is rallying to stop his speech. There may be more to the events than meets the eye, however, as a social media posting said to be from the student group states it has been given directions by the Chinese Consulate.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet, and has been in exile since March, 1959, when he fled Tibet fearing the Chinese occupiers intended to abduct him. Tibet was invaded by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army in Oct. 1950. The CCP pushes a line that it “liberated” Tibet, and heavily censors the topic, while calling the Dalai Lama a “separatist.”

The group trying to prevent the speech is a local branch of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association (CSSA), a nationwide student organization known to receive funding and directives from the CCP through its consulates.

The CSSA has openly stated it is working under the guidance of the Chinese regime.

It published a statement on WeChat that states, translated from Chinese, that in regards to the Dalai Lama going to the university, “the Chinese Student and Scholar Association has asked the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for instructions, and having received the instructions are going to implement them.”

It tells students to not act outside official guidance of the CCP, and says “specific measures to be taken will be elaborated on in future announcements.”

“Our association has been forced to take tough and unyielding measures,” it states.

The statement appears to have been taken offline, but a Web archive of the page is still available.

The “about us” page on the University of California, San Diego, CSSA website states, translated from Chinese, that it is a “public benefit organization” and is “affiliated to the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles.” It also says it works as a “Chinese embassy bridge.”

Overt Espionage

According to “China’s Espionage Dynasty: Economic Death by a Thousand Cuts,” published by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cybersecurity think tank, CSSAs are active in more than 150 U.S. universities.

Officially, it states, the CSSAs help native Chinese students by acting as a bridge between China and foreign institutions. On the other hand, “CSSAs may also be a pivotal overt espionage platform for the Chinese government.”

“The vast majority of CSSAs receive funding from the Chinese government or have an active liaison via the consulate back to the CCP,” it states.

It adds that CSSAs may work to “persuade students to act as temporary or prolonged intelligence assets,” and that “Through CSSAs, students can be manipulated into passing intellectual property or research back to their home state or planting malware on a university system.”

According to an FBI podcast on April 14, 2014, it’s not uncommon for foreign intelligence agencies to manipulate students to achieve their objectives—and the students are often unaware they are being used until they’re already in over their heads.

“To foster the relationship, foreign intelligence operatives will flatter and encourage students, show interest in their future success, and even promise to help them obtain a government-issued visa or work permit—but it’s all disingenuous and empty promises,” it states.

It adds, “The truth is, the operatives are just using the student as a pawn to achieve their own ends, without concern for the student’s welfare or future.”

Controlling the Narrative

Preventing a speech by the Dalai Lama may not seem like a big deal, but for the CCP, its use of censorship and controlled narratives are cornerstones of its hold on power. It simultaneously pushes its own narratives on issues, peppered with disinformation, while also using extreme censorship to stop the true narratives from being known.

The issue of Tibet—which includes the CCP’s suppression of Tibetan Buddhists—is one of the CCP’s five “no-go topics,” which also includes its persecution of Falun Gong, its persecution of Muslim Uyghurs, the issue of Taiwanese independence, and the issue of democracy in Hong Kong.

The CCP’s censorship apparatus stretches beyond its own borders, and looks to control similar narratives being raised by foreign governments and news outlets.

“In many cases, Chinese officials directly impede independent reporting by media based abroad,” states a 2013 report from the Center for International Media Assistance.

It adds, however, that “more prevalent–and often more effective–are methods of control that subtly induce self-censorship or inspire media owners, advertisers, and other international actors to take action on the CCP’s behalf.”

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Frank Lee, spokesperson for Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC, speaks on the Washington Post’s responsibility for running an advertisement that he said was China state propaganda. He spoke, Feb. 2, at the National Press Club. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)Frank Lee, spokesperson for Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC, speaks on the Washington Post’s responsibility for running an advertisement that he said was China state propaganda. He spoke, Feb. 2, at the National Press Club. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—Falun Gong practitioners called for the Washington Post to cease publishing the advertising supplements of the China Daily which are inserted into its print editions and can be found online.

Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC spokesman Frank Lee said at a news conference, Feb. 2, “We are deeply saddened to see the Washington Post, one of the most respected newspapers in the country, sacrifice its principles for profits, and assist an evil regime to spread its propaganda to the American people.” The title of the press release was “Washington Post: Enabler of Beijing’s Propaganda.”

Would the Post print an advertisement with anti-Semitic or racial slurs?

— Frank Lee, Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC

While the paid inserts in the Post have been around for longer than a decade, local practitioners are upset and indignant over the one published on Jan. 25, 2017. On the back cover was an article, titled, “Blasphemy masquerades as art” that practitioners say slanders Shen Yun, the New York-based, premiere classical Chinese dance and music company. They say that the Post should never have allowed this article, and that unless this kind of China propaganda is rebuffed, it will serve as an invitation for worse slandering of Falun Gong and possibly other minority groups.

The Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC is the presenter of Shen Yun in Washington, D.C., which had just completed a successful week-long run at the Kennedy Center. The China Daily article is pure propaganda say the practitioners, containing falsehoods and disparaging remarks about the performers. The article states that Shen Yun is “an exercise in brainwashing,” a “travesty,” and “blasphemy against real art.”

The connection between the association and the show is very transparent, according to Lee. Both the Kennedy Center and Shen Yun websites make clear that Shen Yun is presented by Falun Dafa Association of DC. The Shen Yun brochure that the Association mailed out illustrates the dance pieces about the persecution of Falun Gong, Lee said.

The article’s slander of Shen Yun is part of a well-orchestrated campaign against the American dance and music company, Lee said. He touched on a few: cyber-attacks on Shen Yun’s ticketing website, hiring thugs to slash Shen Yun’s bus tires, and mobilizing commentators to post negative reviews online.

Also, Chinese embassies and consulates around the world have contacted theaters, urging them not to sign contracts with Shen Yun or to cancel existing ones. When that fails, the regime arranges for people to pose as Falun Gong practitioners, said Lee, and to send letters with nonsensical or offensive content, creating negative impressions of Shen Yun and Falun Gong.

Accountability

Regarding the article, Lee conceded that there is the standard disclaimer on the top of the page, “An Advertising Supplement to the Washington Post.” However, Lee said that practitioners believe that “the Post cannot be completely absolved from responsibility for what it prints.

“Would the Post print an advertisement with anti-Semitic or racial slurs?” he asks. Obviously, the Post would draw the line there. Yet the Post did print an article by a foreign regime attacking an American arts company.

We request that the Post issue a public apology for carrying China Daily’s attack on us.

— Frank Lee, Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC

“We request that the Post issue a public apology for carrying China Daily’s attack on us,” said Lee.

The Falun Dafa Association sent letters, with content like what was discussed at the news conference, to Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and publisher and CEO Frederick Ryan, and awaits their response.

Who is Blasphemous?

On the blasphemy charge, New Tang Dynasty Television, interviewed Dr. Juliana Geran Pilon, author and senior fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI).  “Communism by its very nature rejects belief in God. ‘Blasphemy’ is not a concept they can use without hypocrisy,” she said.

Lee also noted how ironic it was for an atheistic regime to claim that Shen Yun is committing “blasphemy to real art.” During Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the Party assaulted China’s traditional culture, destroying religious and historical artifacts, desecrated monasteries and other religious sites, and condemned non-Communist literature and art.

The destruction of tradition continues today. “The persecution of Falun Gong, a Buddha school practice deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture, is yet another episode in Beijing’s on-going war against traditional Chinese culture,” Lee said.

The reason the communist regime attacks Shen Yun can be understood in this context of traditional culture. Shen Yun takes as its starting premise that China’s traditional culture was divinely inspired—a gift from heaven. The Chinese people in past ages believed in living in harmony with the universe, and “believed in the oneness of heaven, earth, and humankind,” Lee said.

In contrast, the Communist Party advocates “struggle” against nature and man, and struggle between peoples—the reverse of the harmony that underlies Shen Yun. The Communist Party sees traditional culture as a threat to its existence, and seeks to eradicate it, said Lee.

Though one can still find traces of traditional Chinese culture in mainland China, it is no longer mainstream and the underlying spiritual essence is mostly lost.

— Frank Lee, Falun Dafa Association of Washington DC spokesperson

“Though one can still find traces of traditional Chinese culture in mainland China, it is no longer mainstream and the underlying spiritual essence is mostly lost,” Lee said.

Online Advertising and Post Content Blurred

Lee noted that the online version of the paid insert is even more misleading than the print version. The print version states in a light font, small print, at the top of the page, “An Advertising Supplement to the Washington Post,” which a reader could easily overlook.

The Washington Post is well aware that the China Watch section is designed to look like the rest of their paper and to fool readers.

— Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the Free Beacon, July 18, 2012

The online version under the WashingtonPost.com domain blurs the line between advertisement and content even further.

In 2001, James Fallows wrote in The Atlantic, “Official Chinese Propaganda: Now Online from the WaPo!,” pointing out how the URL chinawatch.washingtonpost.com can fool readers that it’s a Washington Post blog on China issues. It appears like any other Washington Post article.

“The Washington Post is well aware that the China Watch section is designed to look like the rest of their paper and to fool readers…. Just because they put ‘advertising supplement’ at the top in small print does not relieve them of the moral responsibility of knowingly supporting the world’s worst human rights abuser, the Chinese Communist Party,” said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, as reported in the Free Beacon, July 18, 2012.

Rohrabacher also believes that China Daily articles should be labeled as products of a foreign government to be in accordance with the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

At the news conference, Larry Liu, the communications director of the Falun Gong Association advised the Post to wean itself off its dependency on income from printing communist propaganda. Liu said that they are going to lose that income anyway. “The Communist Party won’t be in power forever,” he said.

He warned that if the Post, which he said he had admired greatly, waits till the very end, “they will lose more than the money but their dignity and position in history.” Liu said some American companies made business deals with Nazi Germany and after World War II ended, came to deeply regret it. “I hope [the Post] learns these lessons from the past,” Liu said.

 

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The Wall Street Journal newspaper at a newsstand in the Chicago Board of Trade building July 17, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The Jan. 17, 2017 edition of the Journal carried a paid insert of China Daily with a propaganda piece attacking Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance company based in New York. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)The Wall Street Journal newspaper at a newsstand in the Chicago Board of Trade building July 17, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The Jan. 17, 2017 edition of the Journal carried a paid insert of China Daily with a propaganda piece attacking Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance company based in New York. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Chinese Communist Party has sought to attack Shen Yun Performing Arts, the premier classical Chinese dance and music company, since its inception. Run by overseas Chinese, the New York-based Shen Yun remains firmly independent of the Chinese regime and tours the world, performing in around 20 countries and 100 cities. Tactics used to try to shut down the company are believed to include tire slashings, threats to theaters, and diplomatic interference.

Now, the Western media is being pressed into the task.

Readers of the Jan. 17 print edition of The Wall Street Journal received a supplement produced by China Daily, a state-run media known for carrying the ideological line of the Chinese Communist Party. The pages of the supplement are marked “paid advertisement” in the header. The Age, a broadsheet newspaper in Australia, carried similar content on Jan. 13.

Readers who flipped to page two of the supplement would have found a commentary piece on Shen Yun. Shen Yun states on its website that its mission is to use the language of music and dance to “bring back” China’s divinely-inspired culture, telling the tales of ancient and modern China that embody it.

Readers of the supplement in The Wall Street Journal weren’t apprised of the company’s mission, however. Instead, in inflammatory tones, the piece attacked Shen Yun because its dancers practice Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.

In a manner similar to propaganda in China, the article assumes that only the Chinese Communist Party understands what authentic Chinese culture really is. The commentary piece ends by stating that “a call … to boycott the show is well worth heeding.”

Given that Shen Yun is currently on its annual world tour, the commentary piece was likely intended to turn potential Shen Yun theatergoers away from the performance by denouncing it as a hidden vehicle for Falun Gong, and to slander Falun Gong in the process.

Chinese authorities are believed to have employed a range of other, less savory, tactics to achieve the same end. Leeshai Lemish, an emcee with Shen Yun, keeps a running log of incidents that include unusual and targeted tire-slashings of Shen Yun vehicles, odd calls to theaters, letters from Chinese diplomatic representatives making veiled threats for elected representatives not to attend Shen Yun, and more.

Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that involves physical exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. After the practice spread rapidly through China by word of mouth for seven years, the Chinese regime began violently persecuting Falun Gong practitioners in 1999; the campaign of persecution has been accompanied by propaganda inciting hatred—and this sometimes spills over into the West.

The China Daily “exposé” of Shen Yun, if it was truly intended as such, amounts to a clumsy attempt at propaganda.

Shen Yun states on its official website that the company “was established by Falun Dafa practitioners in 2006.” Official Shen Yun program books state that certain acts or vignettes depict the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong. Regional Falun Dafa associations are commonly presenters of Shen Yun in different locales, and are identified as such in Shen Yun promotional materials.

The claim that Shen Yun “demonizes the Chinese government” attempts to turn the abuser into the victim. Shen Yun’s current program includes the persecution and clever resistance of Buddhist monks by Communist Party elements in one vignette, for instance, or of Falun Gong practitioners peacefully defending their faith in another — all stories drawn from real political campaigns that have taken place in China. One could say more credibly that the Chinese regime has demonized itself, by committing violence against its own peaceful citizens.

The countless horrors associated with the Cultural Revolution, other political campaigns, and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners are well-established realities. And Shen Yun’s dance vignettes are much more about the courage and heroism of spiritually-grounded people overcoming incredible odds than the Communist Party’s own violent pathologies.

The Chinese regime’s claim to be the arbiter of what is genuine traditional Chinese culture or what qualifies as a “blasphemy that masquerades as art” (the title of the commentary article) is bizarre to say the least, and highly ironic. Mao Zedong, the founding revolutionary and Party leader, oversaw a decade-long campaign in the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) for the express purpose of destroying China’s traditional culture and promoting atheistic communism.

The calls to boycott Shen Yun mentioned in the article have only ever been issued directly from the Chinese regime itself. And sometimes they have an effect opposite to that intended, as when politicians in Western countries, who receive a letter from the Chinese consulate condemning Shen Yun, then become interested in seeing it for themselves to learn what all the fuss is about.

Epoch Times has run special coverage of audience reactions to Shen Yun performances since the company’s beginning in 2006 and has reported regularly on attempts to harm the company (and those attempts often predictable failure).

Perhaps the larger question is not that China Daily is publishing crude propaganda from the Communist Party, but that the Wall Street Journal is comfortable with carrying such material. Though the Journal provides a standard disclaimer that the material in question “did not involve the news or editorial departments,” the publication cannot be absolved from responsibility for what it prints.

In response to a request for comment, Wall Street Journal spokesperson Colleen Schwartz wrote: “The Journal has run special advertising sections and other traditional advertising from China Watch, which are clearly labeled as such. The Journal’s news organization is not involved.”

Shouldn’t the editorial management of the venerable financial newspaper be wary of carrying material that seeks to perpetuate the marginalization, exclusion, and hatred against a vulnerable group that is violently persecuted in China to this day?

The Chinese Communist Party will certainly do its best to continue its persecution campaigns beyond its borders. It is up to the free media of the West to take a principled stance—even if that means less advertising revenue—on whether or not to allow such naked propaganda in its own pages.

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

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke delivers his farewell speech at the Beijing American Center on Feb. 26, 2014 in Beijing. Locke said that Clinton is strong on human rights. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke delivers his farewell speech at the Beijing American Center on Feb. 26, 2014 in Beijing. Locke said that Clinton is strong on human rights. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Gary Locke, the former ambassador to China, became an internet sensation in that country after he was spotted paying for his own Starbucks and carrying his own bags in the Seattle airport, as he got ready to fly to Beijing to assume his post. He subsequently played key roles in a number of major diplomatic incidents between the United States and China, including the attempted defection of Wang Lijun to the American consulate in Chengdu in February 2012, and the shelter of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng in the American consulate in Beijing, in April of the same year.

Ambassador Locke on Nov. 7 accepted a telephone interview from Simone Gao, a news anchor with New Tang Dynasty Television, an independent, overseas Chinese-language broadcaster and a media partner of the Epoch Times.

Epoch Times here republishes the transcript of that interview, edited for brevity and clarity.

Simone Gao: Ambassador Locke, thank you for accepting this interview. In any presidential election, particularly in this election, American people care a great deal about who the candidates are, because America’s future hangs on the judgement and values of the president. We also know that the most important bilateral relationship in the world in the years and decades ahead will be the China-U.S. relationship. So we want to allow those fundamental values and judgements to be reflected, through discussion of human rights, trade, and national security, with regard to the United States and China. I’d also like to explore why you support Secretary Clinton.

During the past few decades, the framework of U.S. policy toward China has been engagement — engaging China economically to influence it politically. Now China is the second largest economy in the world but it hasn’t gained much freedom, or become more democratic. Instead, foreign investment and technology has boosted China’s economy and provided the Party with more means to tighten control domestically. Meanwhile, China is investing in the United States, and there are concerns that its economic power now influences the United States. If Secretary Clinton becomes our next president, what is her fundamental thinking on economic relations with China?

Ambassador Locke: Well, first of all, let me just say, what a pleasure it is to be able to talk to you about this election, that is so important for the future of Americans. And as you said, for world order, and especially for China-U.S. relations, we need a president who is going to help restore good paying jobs for all of the people in America. We need to make sure that children of working, middle-class families can afford college education. Secretary Clinton is talking about building up our roads and our bridges, which will really improve the safety net and the method of transportation for the people of this country, but at the same time, provide good, good paying jobs for the American people. She is also a trusted, proven leader, and I have known her for over 20 years.

That’s why we also need a person of her stature, leading the United States, representing us in the world. You know, we have differences, we have differences between United States and China. But we also have many areas of common interests. And quite frankly, the world is looking for leadership from both China and the United States, working together, cooperating together, to solve some of these tough, tough world issues, whether it is climate change, whether it is stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear arms, fighting piracy off the coast of Africa, stopping North Korea and Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, or just finding a cure for cancer.k

There are differences between United States and China, and Secretary Clinton is highly respected in China, but she also speaks her mind. And she has the ability to sit down with the Chinese leaders to talk about these issues, and to get changes. You know, she gave her big speech in China many, many years ago, where she said that, women’s rights is human rights. And I was with her when she was advocating on behalf of Chen Guangcheng, the blinded dissident and getting him successfully able to come to the United States. So she speaks up on human rights, she speaks up any time that she believes any country, whether China or Russia or even Germany or France or Canada, is violating international rules, whether it is on trade or human rights.

Simone Gao: There is a well-known remark by Secretary Clinton about trade and human rights in 2009, to the effect that we would not allow human rights to get in the way of trade. In Chen Guangcheng’s recent memoir, he expressed his disappointment with how Secretary Clinton handled human rights in China — both Chen and the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng believe that Secretary Clinton sacrificed human rights for trade. Do you find this criticism legitimate? What is Secretary Clinton’s basic approach to human rights? Does it belong to the category of foreign affairs, or does it pertain to the fundamental values of America?

She has made it very clear that human rights is part of the DNA of America, and America cares about human rights, and it is always part of our policy and all of our positions. Yes, we support trade but never at the cost of human rights. And if you look at the Chen Guangcheng case, we were all prepared, under her direction and under her leadership, to let him stay in the United States embassy for many many years, if we could not reach an agreement with the Chinese government on his terms. He was setting out the terms by which he was willing to leave the embassy. And if the Chinese government did not agree to those terms, then we, the United States government, with Secretary Clinton’s support, were willing to let him stay in the embassy for several years, the way we have with other dissidents in other countries. 

But Secretary Clinton continued to press and push the Chinese government to let Chen Guangcheng come to the United States. That demonstrated her commitment to human rights. I was there. I saw all these discussions and so, I disagreed when they said that Secretary Clinton did not advocate on behalf of Chen Guangcheng. She was working night and day on his behalf.

Simone Gao: Secretary Clinton is well known for her criticism of human rights in China — she has been advocating women’s rights and criticising China’s one-child policy, however, she has been silent on the most severe human rights violation…

Ambassador Locke: Hey, let me say this, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has had deep respect for the Chinese-American community, and she has been very firm in her discussion with Chinese leaders. And she is a friend of the Chinese-American community in America. She is a friend of the Chinese people. But yes, America has firm differences with the policies of China on trade and human rights, and United States government has always been strong and very candid about those differences.

I have seen Secretary Clinton be very firm and very direct with the Chinese leaders. Now the choice is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is constantly insulting people of different ethnic groups, including the Chinese. Donald Trump wrote me a letter, that is very, very negative, and very insulting of the Chinese people. And he has, throughout this campaign, he has insulted people of different ethnic groups, people with physical disabilities, he certainly has been insulting about women and talking about how he can grope them, about how he can kiss them, just because he is a celebrity, even if they don’t want to be touched or kissed by him. He’s insulted Mexican Americans, Hispanic Americans, a judge, who is a very high-quality judge in America, just because the judge’s parents are from Mexico. He has insulted people of Muslim, Islamic faith, and he talks about, for instance, deporting, immediately, all of the illegal immigrants in the United States. The Chinese people need to understand that ten percent of these illegal immigrants are in fact Chinese.

So when Donald Trump said on day one, he wanted to kick out all of the illegal immigrants and they have to reapply to come back into the United States, he is talking about Chinese Americans, too. So who is the better choice in terms of the Chinese-American community in the United States? A person who believes and has worked her entire life on behalf of children and families, like Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, who talks about giving the wealthiest people in America another tax break? The very, very wealthy, the millionaires of America, do not need a tax break.

Working middle-class families, the people who are struggling, need a president who is going to create more jobs and help their children go to colleges without having to pay tuition. Because we all know that a college education is fundamental to the American Dream, and provides the opportunity and the skills, so that all people, boys and girls, black and white, yellow, people of all ethnic groups, and all religions, can succeed, that’s what America stands for.

America is the land of liberty, hope, freedom and opportunity. We need to make sure that the American Dream can be realized, can be attained, can be achieved, by Chinese-Americans, and people of all different ethnic groups. That’s why America is such a strong country, and why so many people from around the world, want to come to America, because of our freedom, our liberty, our way of life, our diversity, our diversity of people, of different cultures, of different languages, of different religions, men and women working together, and achieving great things.

NTD Television host Simone Gao

NTD Television host Simone Gao

Simone Gao: Tomorrow I will be interviewing the spokesperson from Donald Trump’s campaign, and I’ll ask that person about the issues you raised, including what you said just now that Donald Trump wrote you a letter, where he said insulting things about the Chinese people. Can you elaborate on that? What did he write, exactly? 

Ambassador Locke: Well, he was just complaining about the trade policy, but then, I mean, when I was at the U.S. Department of Commerce, we had concerns about trade policy with China, and rule of law, and making sure that the courts were fair and independent. But the way he said it, was very, very insulting about all Chinese.

I don’t have the letter right in front of me, no. But, you know, it was very, very insulting. And that is his character, he is always insulting people. How can we have a world leader, sitting down, how can we have a US president, sitting down with other world leaders, trying to get them to change their behavior if all he does is insult them?

Simone Gao: Exactly — what people are looking at is not just policy, it’s character, judgement, and values. On that, let me…

Ambassador Locke: I mean, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, openly talks about how, what a good business person he is, because he doesn’t pay his workers, he doesn’t pay his architects, he doesn’t pay his contractors. Well, he is smart, he has been a good businessman. I mean, I suppose you are making money, and saving money, by not paying the people who work for you. But is that a person with good character? Would we want our children to grow up to be like that type of a person?

Simone Gao: Secretary Clinton has been silent on the most severe human rights violation and religious persecution in China over the last two decades, that is, the persecution of Falun Gong. In fact, neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration has openly raised the Falun Gong issue with China. If Secretary Clinton becomes our next president, what is she going to do about the persecution of Falun Gong? Will she openly demand the Chinese government end the persecution?

Ambassador Locke: Actually I have been with Secretary Clinton when she had raised these human rights issues; she talked about religious freedom and she talked about greater autonomy and freedom for ethnic minorities in China and different religious groups. So, I have seen her, I have heard her, raise these issues to the Chinese leaders.

I am confident she will continue to advocate and push for human rights including greater religious freedom and tolerance within China.

Simone Gao: In June 2016, U.S. Congress passed H.Res. 343, condemning state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China. This action is good, however it is fairly late, and it isn’t enough. Evidence shows that the crime continues to date. If Secretary Clinton becomes the president, what is she going to do about this crime?

Ambassador Locke: Well, I am not part of her administration, so I cannot say what exactly her proposals are and what steps she is going to take next. All I can tell you is that Hillary Clinton has long had a history standing up and speaking out on behalf of human rights and that human rights is part of our foreign policy. We don’t separate it out. It is part of the character of America, which makes us very, very different from most other countries. Human rights is part of our character, that’s why we care about human rights. And I have seen Clinton advocate on behalf of human rights in a way that makes other world leaders perhaps uncomfortable, but she is very open about it, very forthright about it, and doesn’t run from it.

Simone Gao: In February 2012 when Wang Lijun fled to the American Consulate in Chengdu, reports say that you recommended the State Department give him asylum status, but it was rejected. It was also said that Wang Lijun brought a number of top secret documents with him pertaining to the Chinese government’s top leadership power struggle — the U.S. Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee chair requested the State Department to release these documents, but we never heard anything since?

Ambassador Locke: Those allegations are all completely untrue. We cannot give asylum to a person that is still in the country they are trying to leave. If you want to defect, you have to do that when you are outside the country that you are trying to leave. You cannot do it when you are still in that country.

Simone Gao: So you didn’t recommend the State Department grant him asylum?

Ambassador Locke: It was impossible, you could never have done it, if we wanted it to.

Simone Gao: So you didn’t do it?

Ambassador Locke: If let’s say, let’s say, let’s say, let’s say you are a Russian general, and you have all these secret documents, and you are to defect and you want to seek asylum. If you go to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and you say, I want to defect, I want asylum, you have to ask for asylum when you are in the United States or outside of Russia. You cannot ask for it when you are inside Russia. How can we get that general out of Russia? If he comes to U.S. Embassy in Russia and we want to give him asylum, how do we get him to the United States? How do we get him outside of Russia? If we drive out him outside, from the embassy to the airport, the Russian police, the Russian military has the authority and the power to stop the car. They do not have to let the car take him to the airport. Even if we put him on an airplane, the Russian government does not have to let the airplane take off. So how do we get that Russian general outside of Russia. That’s why, anytime, for instance, a Russian ballet dancer defects and seeks asylum, they do it when they are visiting another country, maybe they are on tour in France, maybe they are on tour in Canada. Then during a break, they somehow go to the French embassy or the US embassy, and they say, I want to defect, I want to leave Russia, I want to become a citizen or I want to go to United States to defect and to seek asylum. You do it when you are no longer in the country you are trying to leave.

Simone Gao: At that point in 2012, the U.S. Consulate was surrounded by security forces directed by Bo Xilai and the mayor of Chongqing, but somehow you decided to give Wang Lijun to the head of national security — is that true?

Ambassador Locke: Well, a lot of these things are classified and I cannot comment on it because it is classified information. But let me just tell you this: We were not going to let him walk out of the consulate in Chengdu, because he would have been apprehended and taken into custody by the security forces from Chongqing sent there by Bo Xilai. And we feared, we were concerned for his safety. We knew that just letting him walk out of the consulate would be very dangerous for him and that he might not be seen again. So, and because he cannot seek asylum, it is physically, legally impossible to seek asylum, to defect to the United States, if you are still in China at that time, we enabled him to make phone calls to Beijing and to talk to people who could guarantee his safety out of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. We helped him secure safe passage out of the consulate in Chengdu.

Simone Gao: Thank you for that clarification. Were any of the documents he brought related to forced organ harvesting?

Ambassador Locke: I am not at lib… I cannot say .. I am not going to confirm whether or not there were such documents.

Simone Gao: OK. I touched on this question before, but let me ask again: You are well known in the Chinese community, and you’re a familiar figure to everyday people in China. These people will want to know: Why do you support Secretary Clinton?

Ambassador Locke:  Because she is a proven, effective leader. She works with people of all different political backgrounds and beliefs to get things done, to benefit the American people. She has very clear policies and goals for creating more good paying jobs for the American people, making sure that the children of working middle-class families can attend a college or university, without being in debt. And she is a respected world leader. And we need a person that our young people can look up to as a role model, and we need to make sure that the children of America continue to have big dreams and know that if they work hard and study hard, we have a president that will work on their behalf, so that their dreams can come true.

We need a president who is going to bring the people of the world together, bring the people of America together, to solve some of the tough issues facing us. We need a leader who values the many ethnic and cultural groups, religious groups, men and women of America, the diversity of America, because it is that great diversity of people — immigrants from around the world — that have made America great. And we need a president who recognizes the contribution of immigrant groups, recognizes the contribution of different cultures and people of different languages, and inspires them to work even harder, so that America is even a better place to live, work and raise a family, so that America continues to be a beacon of hope and opportunity and freedom for people around the world. So that America can be an example to people around the world, and to governments around the world.

Simone Gao: A final question. A peaceful and prosperous China will be a blessing for the world and the United States — where does Secretary Clinton see the positive force that will contribute to peace and prosperity for a future China? How will she work with and nurture this positive force?

Ambassador Locke: Anyone who has seen Secretary Clinton in the past, sees how she brings people together, how she respects people of different cultures, languages, and religions and ethnic groups, and tries to celebrate that diversity and capitalize on that diversity. People of different viewpoints, people with different ideas, when they come together, they actually come up with a better solution. And so many of the issues facing the world cannot be solved just by United States alone or even by China alone, or France alone, or Germany alone. They need world leaders and people of different countries all coming together.

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Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

SAN FRANCISCO—It’s impossible to tell at a glance that Wang Liansu, a gently-spoken native of northeastern China now living in San Francisco, was brutally beaten and shocked with electric batons on multiple occasions during a 12-year incarceration.

“Some bruises remain,” he said, and directed me to touch his left rib. An egg-sized bump can be felt beneath the white cloth of his shirt.

Wang Liansu at a candlelight vigil of Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Wang Liansu at a candlelight vigil of Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

In the evening of Oct. 22, Wang and over 1,500 other practitioners of Falun Gong from around the world gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco.

Seated nearly knee-to-knee in Laguna Street and along the sides of the consulate building, the practitioners lit candles in memory of the untold numbers killed in a brutal persecution that is now in its 17th year.

Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese leader, had vowed to “eliminate” Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline whose practitioners perform slow exercises and live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, in 1999. The regime’s propaganda apparatus mounted a Cultural Revolution-style hate campaign, and overnight about 70 to 100 million Chinese citizens found themselves targeted for arrest, detention, and torture.

In September 2001, Wang Liansu, then a 49-year-old mechanical engineer at a state-owned company, was printing literature aimed at exposing the propaganda about Falun Gong in a small print shop in Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, when police barged in and arrested him.

While in detention, Wang’s minders subjected him to severe torture, sleep deprivation, and other forms of abuse in a bid to make him renounce Falun Gong.

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Once, police officers tied him to a special metal chair and took turns beating him; when they grew tired, they shocked him electric batons. “My privates were charred black, and I suffered heart palpitations,” he recalls.

On another occasion, Wang thought that he was finished after prison guards repeatedly shoved his head into a black plastic bag and choked him to the point of near death. Several times, Wang was tortured to the point where he required medical attention.

Wang Liansu performs the exercises of Falun Gong in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Wang Liansu performs the exercises of Falun Gong in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Despite the harshness of prison, Wang never once thought of giving up his faith. “I firmly believe that my adhering to truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance isn’t something wrong,” he said.

Wang once shared a cell with a practitioner who was beaten so badly that green bile dribbled out of  his mouth, before he died the following day.

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Wang Liansu was eventually released near the end of 2013. Last year, he secured travel documents to the United States—under fortuitous conditions— and was finally reunited with his wife and adult son.

After Wang left prison, he hoped to share his “12-year experience in the Chinese regime’s jails to the world’s people.”

Today, outside the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, he is doing precisely that.

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

SF Falun Gong Vigil

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Over 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2016, for those who have died during the persecution in China. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

A Chinese paramilitary policeman tries to block photos being taken of a military parade rehearsal prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)A Chinese paramilitary policeman tries to block photos being taken of a military parade rehearsal prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

In November 2014, Li Yuxiao, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace, stated, according to the state-run China Daily: “Now is the time for China to realize its responsibilities. If the United States is willing to give up its running of the internet sphere, the question comes as to who will take the baton and how it would be run.

“We have to first set our goal in cyberspace, and then think about the strategy to take, before moving on to refining our laws,” he said.

Li is now the head of a department designed to enforce the Chinese regime’s laws on technology companies. His comments are tied to a process announced by the United States in 2014 to relinquish control of the internet by ending the contract between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

This process is now nearing its completion, with a deadline of Oct. 1.

The handover is technically of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is a department of ICANN. It regulates domain name registrations for websites, handles the Domain Name System (DNS) Root Zone to ensure internet users are directed to the websites they intend to visit, and also handles internet protocols.

The integrity of DNS, in particular, is critical, since it can be used for cyberattacks that send people to fake, infected websites. It’s also one of the primary systems manipulated for state censorship that can block access to specific websites.

The United States plans for the internet to be run by a multistakeholder model without government oversight, and relinquishing control of ICANN will be the last step in this process. Yet the new model does not mean ICANN, or the broader internet, will remain free from government influence. Rather, the United States is simply stepping back from this role.

According to Chris Mattmann, who helped develop how email systems work under IANA and who also helped develop several Apache systems that are at the heart of the internet, the handover of ICANN is a concerning move.

With this shift, Mattmann said, the process of determining which website is shown to you when you enter a web address “will no longer be driven by the U.S. Department of Commerce,” and this could be manipulated by foreign powers for anything from censorship to cyberattacks.

For instance, if the Chinese regime were to object to a website that publishes information about its human rights record, the ability to influence IANA would allow the regime to make that website virtually invisible on the web.

Mattmann, who currently works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said he believes processes under ICANN need to be heavily vetted, noting that “even when the internet is itself distributed and decentralized,” the open system begins to break down without an authority to ensure it stays open.

Already, the Chinese regime is moving to fill the void left by the U.S. handover—and its new system for governing the internet goes far beyond the responsibilities held by ICANN.

Over the last two years, Chinese leaders have drafted an authoritarian set of laws that governs every facet of the internet. The Chinese regime has formed domestic institutions or gained control over international bodies to press these new laws for the internet through the United Nations; through domestic enforcement including on foreign companies inside China; and through organizations formed to work directly with major technology companies abroad and more generally with internet stakeholders.

A Tool for Foreign Engagement

Lu Wei, China's Minister of Cyberspace Affairs Administration, speaks at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, in eastern China's Zhejiang Province on Nov. 19, 2014.  (AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE

Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Affairs Administration of China, at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, on Nov. 19, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/JOHANNES EISELE

In the two years since Li gave his speech at the 2014 World Internet Conference, the Chinese regime has gained ground on Li’s goal to govern the global internet. The three-day conference in Wuzhen, themed “An Interconnected World Shared and Governed by All,” brought together more than 1,000 internet companies from over 100 countries and regions.

Li is now the secretary-general of the Cyber Security Association of China, which is chaired by Fang Binxing, the creator of China’s Great Firewall, which censors and monitors the country’s internet. The association, formed on March 25, gives the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) a vehicle for spreading its systems and laws for governing the internet abroad, while giving its efforts a benign facade under the label of “cybersecurity.”

The association can start discussions abroad at “more senior levels” with “international industry, academic, and research associations” that constitute the global system that controls the internet under the multistakeholder model, according to a report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

The association is registered as a national nonprofit organization, but according to the report, it answers directly to the Leading Small Group for Network Security and Information—which is chaired by CCP leader Xi Jinping—and is “responsible for shaping and implementing information security and internet policies and laws.”

According to the report, the Cyber Security Association of China, among other tasks, focuses on “public opinion supervision to help in information control and propaganda” and “protecting core Chinese interests under globalization, and promoting globally competitive Chinese IT companies.”

According to Xia Yiyang, senior director of research and policy at the Human Rights Law Foundation, there is more to the statement, “protecting core Chinese interests under globalization,” than meets the eye.

“In the CCP’s language, it’s a way to keep the CCP in power by any means,” he said, adding, “They have a very clear definition of ‘core interests.’”

In an interview published on the World Internet Conference website, Li stated that since China has the largest number of netizens in the world, it should have the right to “make the international rules of cyberspace governance.”

“The establishment of rules is just a start,” he said.

Influence Over Foreign Companies

The Chinese regime has begun bringing major U.S. tech firms—including Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)—into its newly formed committee, the Technical Committee 260.

The committee is already working with foreign companies to enforce the CCP’s laws. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is inviting companies to help Chinese authorities draft rules for issues including encryption, big data, and cybersecurity, and with determining which technologies should be “secure and controllable” by the CCP.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) that have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012. The U.S. intention to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to gain greater control over the Internet. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE        (Photo credit should read Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages)

A screen shows a rolling feed of new Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) that have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012. The U.S. intention to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to gain greater control over the internet. (Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages)

The phrase “secure and controllable” was included in the Chinese regime’s sweeping National Security Law, passed on July 1, 2015. The Washington-based think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation described the law’s requirements as being “part of a strategic effort” intended to “ultimately supplant foreign technology companies both in China and in markets around the world.”

According to the BBC, the law authorizes the CCP to take “all necessary” steps to protect itself. The BBC report also noted that many foreign technology firms operating in China “fear that under the new law they will be forced to hand over sensitive information to the authorities.”

For instance, China has repeatedly tried to force foreign tech companies to hand over the source code for their software—in 2015, Apple said no, but IBM said yes—and has also demanded foreign tech companies’ encryption keys.

The technology news website TechDirt speculated the CCP could use this law to renew its attempts to require foreign companies to install back doors in their technology products.

If companies give in to these demands, they compromise their own and their users’ security in and outside of China. Failure to give in to these demands may bar companies from the Chinese market.

Influence Through the United Nations

The United Nations branch responsible for telecommunications issues, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) technically only governs radio communications, but at a meeting in 2012 many nations agreed to ITU assuming a role in governing the Internet. Meanwhile, China has been working hard to assume control of the ITU.

The ITU gained international attention in 2012, when it held the closed-door World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai to rewrite rules that govern the global internet.

Despite the closed-door policy, many documents from the meetings were leaked online, and the contents of these documents drew heavy criticism from tech-focused groups and news outlets. One law the ITU passed “could give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an internet user’s traffic—including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls—without adequate privacy safeguards,” according to the Center for Democracy and Technology, which exposed the ITU program known as Y.2770.

The United States walked out of the 2012 meeting, and other countries—including the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Australia, and others—refused to sign its controversial treaty. Yet the treaty was passed regardless, giving the ITU a level of governance over the internet it had not had before.

Nations that refused to sign the treaty are not included in it. Instead, they retain agreements under the 1988 ITU treaty, which did not include any elements on ITU governing the internet.

Nonetheless, the ITU declared the new treaty a success, as its remaining members did recognize its new role. It released a statement on Dec. 14, 2012, saying “delegates from around the world have agreed [to] a new global treaty that will help pave the way to a hyper-connected world.”

In October 2014, the ITU elected China’s Houlin Zhao as its secretary-general.

Zhao had stated previously that censorship is subjective. According to The New American in October 2014, when Zhao was asked about “the Communist Chinese dictatorship’s massive censorship regime targeting dissent, dissidents, and ideas it disagrees with,” he replied, “Some kind of censorship may not be strange to other countries.”

A Contentious Move

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has spearheaded a push to prevent the handover of ICANN, and many U.S. government officials, organizations, and experts have sounded an alarm over concerns that a foreign authoritarian power may attempt to do precisely what the Chinese regime has already set into motion.

During a Senate subcommittee hearing on Sept. 14 on the issue, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said, according to a prepared statement, that many important questions on the transition remain unanswered. These include whether it will “yield an unconstitutional transfer of United States government property, how the transfer will affect human rights and free speech issues, if U.S.-controlled top-level domains such as .gov and .mil could be compromised.”

“If this internet giveaway goes forward, there’s no reason to believe that authoritarian states would stop trying to exert greater control and we don’t know how things will play out long term,” Grassley said.

On June 8, Cruz and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, which seeks to prevent the U.S. handover of ICANN, and to ensure the United States retains sole ownership of .gov and .mil top-level domains.

Similar concerns were shared by Philip Zimmermann, creator of the PGP encryption standard and chief scientist and co-founder of Silent Circle, a company specializing in secure communications.

Zimmerman said he believes the United States needs to maintain some authority over the internet, lest “we give in to control by an international body that can be easily influenced by member states that are oppressive societies.”

“The internet is supposed to make the weak have a voice, you know. If China controls their own domains within their country, it’s going to be easy to suppress opposition,” he said.

According to Barney Warf, a geography professor at the University of Kansas who has published research on global internet freedom and governance, China has a “brutal, fascist, oppressive regime that has gone out of its way to suppress human rights.”

Warf said even the possibility that the CCP could enforce its laws over the global internet is a frightening thought.

He said the United States’ informal governing of the internet did not place any firm control over it, and this allowed innovation to flourish. He said the lack of strict governance gave people room to “experiment and make mistakes,” and added, “I think the internet has thrived because there is no central power over it.”

Laws for the Internet

The chairman of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Steve Crocker speaks during the opening of the ICANN meeting in Singapore on Feb. 9, 2015. The U.S. plan to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to have greater influence over the global Internet. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Steve Crocker, chair of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), during an ICANN meeting in Singapore on Feb. 9, 2015. The U.S. plan to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to have greater influence over the global Internet. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

After the U.S. relinquishes control of ICANN, it will technically retain some level of oversight, but this oversight will be bundled together with that of the 171 other members and 35 observers in the Governmental Advisory Committee.

Among those members is ITU, along with “all the UN agencies with a direct interest in global Internet governance,” according to the committee’s website.

The Committee advises ICANN on government concerns “related to laws and international agreements based on consensus,” according to Jonathan Zuck, president of ACT | The App Association, in a statement presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 14. In the event the 171 member committee does make a consensus-based recommendation to ICANN, Zuck testified that ICANN can reject it with a 60 percent majority vote of its governing board. 

While the U.N.’s legal structure will for all practical purposes eliminate the U.S. ability to affect ICANN’s policy, Chinese officials have been very candid about their intentions to push CCP law onto the internet. The coming out party for this effort was the 2014 World Internet Conference, which followed upon the U.S. announcement that it would step back from internet governance.

“Experts said China is using the platform to sell its own strategy and rules to the world, a mission that the world’s largest cyberpower with the most internet users has deemed significant and urgent,” the state-run China Daily reported at the time.

“China has the capability now to set up international rules for cyberspace and use our strategy and our rules to influence the world,” said Shen Yi, an associate professor specializing in cybersecurity at Fudan University, according to China Daily.

“China is considering setting up its own rules in cyberspace,” CCP Premier Li Keqiang said, in comments summarized by China Daily. He added the CCP wants to create a “common code of rules” for the internet.

In July 2015, the CCP passed the National Security Law mentioned earlier, with its requirement that certain technologies should be “secure and controllable.”

That same month, the CCP introduced the draft of its Cybersecurity Law. Reuters reported that the law requires network operators to “accept the supervision of the government and public,” and that it reiterates requirements that all personal data on Chinese citizens and “important business data” needs to be stored domestically—an element that further exposes the data to government surveillance.

Reuters noted the law was controversial in the United States and Europe, since it affects foreign firms. It also noted it increased the CCP’s power to “access and block dissemination of private information records that Chinese law deems illegal,” and that this has caused concern among governments, multinational companies, and rights activists, since the CCP may be able to “interpret the law as it sees fit.”

In December 2015, the CCP passed the Counterterrorism Law, which allows Chinese authorities to decrypt information to prevent “terrorism,” and to monitor systems with the excuse of preventing the spread of information that can be used for the CCP’s definitions of terrorism or “extremism.”

There is a long list of similar laws and regulations. In February 2016, the CCP issued rules for online publishing. In March 2016, it drafted rules for domain name registration. It has issued state procurement lists that restrict foreign suppliers and has pending laws on encryption regulations.

With its new institutions, laws, and regulations, the Chinese regime is ready through its Cyber Security Association to influence the operation of ICANN and other systems in the multistakeholder model; or it is ready to see the U.N. gain influence over ICANN through the ITU—with China at its helm.

Tech companies operating in China are now required to turn over proprietary technology, endangering their businesses and destroying their customers’ expectation of confidentiality. Meanwhile, through the Technical Committee 260, major tech companies are lobbying for the world to adopt the Chinese regime’s internet law and regulations. And the China-led ITU wants to grant nations the right to search all internet traffic.

Thus, China is seeking to make good on Liu Yuxiao’s promise that China will “realize its responsibilities” in the absence of U.S. control.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the domains mentioned in the Protecting Internet Freedom Act. The act seeks to ensure U.S. ownership of .gov and .mil top-level domains. The article also incorrectly stated the date of Houlin Zhao’s election. He was elected secretary-general of the ITU on Oct. 23, 2014 and took office on Jan. 1, 2015. Epoch Times regrets the errors.

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Protesters march against China's censorship of the internet in Pasadena, Calif., in this file photo.
(Jose Gil/Shutterstock)Protesters march against China's censorship of the internet in Pasadena, Calif., in this file photo.
(Jose Gil/Shutterstock)

In November 2014, Li Yuxiao, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace, stated, according to the state-run China Daily, “Now is the time for China to realize its responsibilities. If the U.S. is willing to give up its running of the Internet sphere, the question comes as to who will take the baton and how it would be run?”

“We have to first set our goal in cyberspace, and then think about the strategy to take, before moving on to refining our laws, ” he said.

Li’s comments were in response to news, also in 2014, that the United States would relinquish its remaining federal government control of the Internet by ending its contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is scheduled for Oct. 1.

In the two years since Li gave his speech at the World Internet Conference, which had the slogan “An Interconnected World Shared and Governed by All,” the Chinese regime has gained ground in the goal to govern the global Internet that Li laid out. The three-day conference in Wuzhen brought together more than 1,000 Internet companies from over 100 countries and regions.

The chairman of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Steve Crocker speaks during the opening of the ICANN meeting in Singapore on Feb. 9, 2015. The U.S. plan to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to have greater influence over the global Internet. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The chairman of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Steve Crocker speaks during the opening of the ICANN meeting in Singapore on Feb. 9, 2015. The U.S. plan to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to have greater influence over the global Internet. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Li is now the secretary-general of the Cyber Security Association of China, which is chaired by Fang Binxing, the creator of China’s “Great Firewall,” which censors and monitors its internet. While the Cyber Security Association uses enforcement of “cybersecurity” as a front, it is tasked specifically with enforcing the Chinese regime’s version of law on the Internet.

China is also now at the helm of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations body that has pushed to control the global Internet. And Chinese authorities have established a full set of laws to govern every facet of the Internet, which they have already started trying to enforce on U.S. and other companies operating in China.

The Chinese regime has also begun bringing major U.S. tech firms—including Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and IBM—into its Technological Committee 260, tasked, according to the Wall Street Journal, with helping Chinese authorities draft rules for issues including encryption, big data, and cybersecurity and with determining which technologies should be “secure and controllable” under the Chinese regime.

The Chinese regime created a requirement that all key network infrastructure and information systems need to be “secure and controllable” as one piece of the sweeping “National Security Law” that covered everything from culture, to politics, military space, the economy, the environment, and technology.

Soon after it was passed on July 1, 2015, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation explained the requirement as “part of a strategic effort” intended to “ultimately supplant foreign technology companies both in China and in markets around the world.”

While the Chinese regime has started using “cybersecurity” to mask its goals, officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its state-run news outlets were very candid about their intentions at the 2014 World Internet Conference.

The state-run China Daily reported at the time, that “Experts said China is using the platform to sell its own strategy and rules to the world, a mission that the world’s largest cyberpower with the most Internet users has deemed significant and urgent.”
 
CCP premier Li Keqiang said, in comments summarized by China Daily, that “China is considering setting up its own rules in cyberspace,” and that the CCP wants to create a “common code of rules” for the Internet.

China Daily then quoted Shen Yi, an associate professor specializing in cybersecurity at Fudan University, who stated more directly that “China has the capability now to set up international rules for cyberspace and use our strategy and our rules to influence the world.” 

A Contentious Move

Many U.S. government officials, organizations, and experts have sounded an alarm over the upcoming plans for the United States to relinquish control of ICANN, over concerns that a foreign authoritarian power may attempt to do precisely what the Chinese regime has already set into motion.

 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) introduced a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, on June 8, which seeks to prevent the U.S. handover of ICANN, and to ensure the United States retains sole ownership of .com and .mil domain names.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) that have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012. The U.S. intention to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to gain greater control over the Internet. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE        (Photo credit should read Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages)

A screen shows a rolling feed of new Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) that have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012. The U.S. intention to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to gain greater control over the Internet. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE (Photo credit should read Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages)

A post about the bill on Ted Cruz’s website states, “If that proposal goes through, countries like Russia, China, and Iran could be able to censor speech on the Internet, including here in the U.S., by blocking access to sites they don’t like.”

According to Chris Mattmann, who helped create some of the core technologies of the Internet, these concerns could hold true, since part of ICANN’s role is to manage and coordinate the Domain Name System (DNS). If ICANN is no longer under U.S. oversight, he said, the process of determining which websites are shown to you when you enter a URL “will no longer be driven the U.S. Department of Commerce,” and this and this could be manipulated by foreign powers for anything from censorship to cyberattacks.

Mattman helped develop how email systems work under a proposal from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is a department of ICANN. He also helped develop several Apache systems that are at the heart of the Internet, and currently works with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“I think it needs to be heavily vetted,” he said, referring to ICANN, noting “Even when the Internet is itself distributed and decentralized, which it is, it starts to break down when there isn’t some element of centralized authority.”

These sentiments were shared by Philip Zimmermann, creator of the PGP encryption standard and chief scientist and co-founder of Silent Circle.

Zimmerman said the United States needs to maintain control over the Internet, lest “we give into control by an international body that can be easily influenced by member states that are oppressive societies.”

“The internet is supposed to make the weak have a voice, you know. If China controls their own domains within their country, it’s going to be easy to suppress opposition,” he said.

Laws For the Internet

The concerns that foreign governments seek to censor or control the Internet are far from being unwarranted. After the United States announced it would relinquish control of ICANN in 2014, the CCP created a cascade of initiatives and laws that affect foreign companies and aim at governing nearly every facet of the Internet.

In January 2014, the International Telecommunications Union of the United Nations elected China’s Houlin Zhao to lead the organization that seeks to govern electronic communications as its secretary-general.

Zhao had stated previously that censorship is subjective, and according to The New American in October, 2014, “When asked about the Communist Chinese dictatorship’s massive censorship regime targeting dissent, dissidents, and ideas it disagrees with, Zhao was evasive. “Some kind of censorship may not be strange to other countries,” he responded.
 
The International Telecommunications Union gained international attention in 2012, when it was holding a closed-door world conference to rewrite rules that govern the global Internet at its World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai. The meeting drew heavy criticism from tech-focused groups and websites. Cnet.com reported on a leaked document, where the United Nations organization proposed a global Internet tax on content providers including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix.
 
The Center for Democracy and Technology exposed a proposal of the United Nations organization that was passed, which it said “could give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an Internet user’s traffic—including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls—without adequate privacy safeguards.”

Alongside the CCP’s rising influence in the United Nations branch to govern the internet, the CCP started forming its own laws and governing bodies that could push for regulations both in China and abroad.

In July 2015, the CCP passed the National Security Law, mentioned earlier for its requirements that certain technologies should be “secure and controllable.” Technology news website TechDirt noted in July 2015 that the CCP did not specify the exact requirements this would have on foreign companies, yet speculated it could tie to the CCP’s previous and contentious attempt to require foreign companies to install backdoors in their technology products.

In December 2015, the CCP passed the Counterterrorism Law, which allows Chinese authorities to decrypt information to prevent “terrorism,” and to monitor systems with the excuse of preventing the spread of information that can be used for the CCP’s definitions of terrorism or “extremism.”

Xia Yiyang, senior director of research and planning at the Human Rights Law Foundation, said the phrases “terrorism” and “extremism” are political labels the CCP uses on Chinese dissidents in order to justify its human rights abuses—in this case, mainly against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan.

“It’s easy to label some group,” he said. “Like Tibetans, they label them as ‘separatists,’ and now it becomes a fixed label. If anyone in China thinks terrorist attacks, domestic terrorist attacks, everyone thinks of Uyghurs. If they talk about separatists, they think about Tibetans. These are fixed labels.”

In July 2015, the CCP introduced its Cybersecurity Law. Reuters reported in June that the law requires network operators to “accept the supervision of the government and public,” and that it reiterates requirements that all personal data on Chinese citizens and “important business data” needs to be stored domestically—an element that further exposes the data to government surveillance.

Reuters noted the law was controversial in the United States and Europe, since it affects foreign firms. It also noted it increased the CCP’s power to “access and block dissemination of private information records that Chinese law deems illegal,” and that this has caused concern among governments, multinational companies, and rights activists, since the CCP may be able to “interpret the law as it sees fit.”

There is a long list of similar laws and regulations. In February 2016, the CCP issued rules for online publishing. In March 2016, it drafted rules for domain name registrations. It has issued state procurement lists that restrict foreign suppliers and has pending laws on encryption regulations.

On March 25, 2016, the CCP formed the Cyber Security Association of China, which claims to be a national nonprofit organization (NPO), but according to a report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the association answers directly to the Leading Small Group for Network Security and Information, which is chaired by CCP leader Xi Jinping and is “responsible for shaping and implementing information security and Internet policies and laws.”

The report states the CCP “is moving at breakneck speed to develop the institutions, as well as legal and regulatory mechanisms, necessary to strengthen cyber governance.” It says the organization will focus on issues including security of information systems, technology support, “public opinion supervision to help in information control and propaganda,” and “protecting core Chinese interests under globalization, and promoting globally competitive Chinese IT companies.”

According to Xia, there is more to the statement “protecting core Chinese interests under globalization” than meets the eye. “In the CCP’s language, it’s a way to keep the CCP in power by any means,” he said, adding that “They have a very clear definition of ‘core interests.’”

“No matter the policy, it is to keep the CCP in power. That’s the only reason for all policy [under the CCP],” he said, noting that the CCP’s policies outside China also serve the primary role “to enhance the CCP’s argument that it legally rules China.”

The CSIS report adds that the organization gives the CCP, for the first time, “an institution that can engage in international cyber diplomacy at more senior levels,” and that it will “lead in engaging with the international industry, academic, and research associations that constitute the global cyber-governance ecosystem.”

Li Yuxiao, secretary-general of the Cyber Security Association of China, has been surprisingly candid about these goals.

In a Dec. 18, 2015, interview on the World Internet Conference website, Li stated his belief that since China has the world’s most netizens, it should have the right to “make the international rules of cyberspace governance,” and added, “The establishment of rules is just a start.”

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/joshua-philipp/" rel="author">Joshua Philipp</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Paris Climate deal at the G20 Leaders Summit  in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 3, 2016. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Paris Climate deal at the G20 Leaders Summit  in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 3, 2016. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

News Analysis

War is often mistaken for simply the troop-on-troop combat we see in movies. In reality, warfare is an all-encompassing system that targets not just the bodies of an enemy’s soldiers, but also the minds of its citizens, the decision-making systems of its politicians, and every piece of infrastructure that allows a rival’s society to function.

U.S. adversaries are currently using tactics to degrade the image of the United States, and to push it from the leadership position it once held on the global stage. There were several key examples of this in the past week, alone.

The Washington Post reported on Sept. 5 that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what may be “a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions.”

While the Post notes there is no solid proof that Russia is trying to disrupt U.S. elections, it quoted a U.S. intelligence official as saying that “even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/intelligence-community-investigating-covert-russian-influence-operations-in-the-united-states/2016/09/04/aec27fa0-7156-11e6-8533-6b0b0ded0253_story.html

The Wall Street Journal published a story on Sept. 6 about President Barack Obama’s being snubbed by the Chinese regime on the tarmac at the recent G20 meetings. No red-carpeted stairwell was rolled out by the Chinese to Obama’s plane, and he had to exit through little-used stairs in the plane’s rear.

(Getty Images)

During the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, China, President Obama was the only world leader who didn’t have the red-carpeted stairwell rolled out for him, and instead he had to exit via the stairs in the plane’s rear. (Etienne Oliveau, Saul Loeb, Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The Journal stated, “Small insults, minor aggressions: Behind the big set pieces of diplomacy, this is how China has sought to undermine the U.S. superpower and emphasize its own growing stature.” The Journal added that when it comes to the U.S. grand strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, “All China has to do is sow doubt in the minds of America’s partners about U.S. support, and the strategy starts to unravel.”
http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-subtle-war-against-u-s-dignity-1473151399

The U.S. Naval Institute News reported on Sept. 6  that Iranian boats are frequently harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. This harassment comes on the heels of recent news that in January Obama paid Iran $400 million to settle a decades-old arbitration claim, which was followed by Iran releasing U.S. prisoners the same day the money was received. The harassment also follows an incident in February when Iran captured a group of American sailors and released videos of one of them crying.
https://news.usni.org/2016/09/06/iranian-boats-harass-another-u-s-navy-patrol-coastal-ship-persian-gulf

All of these incidents tie in to a larger strategy that has been at play for decades, but is now playing out more visibly than ever before. It relates to what is known as “political warfare,” and it is part of a broader system used by each of these nations to reach military goals while avoiding direct conflict.

On Sept. 26, 2014, U.S. Army Special Operations Command issued a white paper stating that “Russia, China, and Iran currently conduct political warfare activities to further their individual goals.” It also noted that the United States largely ended political warfare operations at the end of the Cold War, but proposed that the United States should now counter these practices.
https://info.publicintelligence.net/USASOC-CounterUnconventionalWarfare.pdf

The paper includes a quote from George Kennan, the head of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff in 1948, stating “In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives.” He said the methods include overt actions, such as political alliances, economic measures, and “white” propaganda, and covert options including “black” psychological warfare “and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.”

These strategies aren’t just being pulled off on the fly, either. They are well thought-out, well organized, and targeted to reach key goals.

In China, for example, the Chinese Communist Party has a full branch of its military dedicated to political warfare, known as the General Political Department. According to a report on this department from the Project 2049 Institute, a Washington-based think tank, the Chinese military relies on political warfare “as a means to shape and define the discourse of international relations.” It also notes that many other organizations within the Chinese regime engage in political warfare.

Many authoritarian countries have carefully crafted systems specifically to counter these types of operations.

In Russia and the former Soviet Bloc, for example, there are glasnost operations to manufacture lies and alter global perceptions in favor of their leaders. The use of glasnost dates back to Czarist Russia, but was employed heavily by leaders throughout the Soviet Union.

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet intelligence officer who ever defected to the West, detailed the use of glasnost operations in his book, “Disinformation.” He wrote that in the mid-1930s, glasnost was defined as “a spin on news released to the public” and was part of the broader system of disinformation used specifically to “sanctify the country’s leader.” He explains that “for communists, only the leader counted,” and notes their thinking that a nation’s image is often based on the image of its leader.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/joshua-philipp/" rel="author">Joshua Philipp</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Wang Xiaodan with her father Wang Zhiwen in China. (courtesy of Wang Xiaodan/Epoch Times)Wang Xiaodan with her father Wang Zhiwen in China. (courtesy of Wang Xiaodan/Epoch Times)

The United States is calling on the Chinese communist regime to restore traveling privileges to a longtime political prisoner Wang Zhiwen so that he may leave China and visit his family in America.

“It is another unnecessary and vindictive action taken by the Chinese government,” Rep. Chris Smith, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said in an email.

Wang, 68, used to be a coordinator of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that involves slow exercises and moral teachings. But he was arrested in Beijing on July 20, 1999, after former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin ordered a suppression of the practice.

Six months after his arrest, Wang appeared on state television with three other practitioners in a show trial. He was handed a 16-year prison sentence, and was abused and subjected to attempted “thought reform” in detention. Despite being released in 2014, the Chinese police kept Wang under 24-hour surveillance.

Earlier this year, Wang obtained a Chinese passport and a visa from American consular authorities. However, when he tried to leave China to visit the U.S. on Aug. 6 with his daughter and son-in-law, the Chinese airport authorities cancelled his passport.

Several U.S. officials have since condemned the Chinese authorities’ attempt to impede Wang Zhiwen from traveling to America.

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). (Lisa Fan/Epoch Times)

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). (Lisa Fan/Epoch Times)

Rep. Chris Smith wrote: “Zhiwen Wang was unjustly imprisoned for 15 years, the U.S. gave him a visa, he should be allowed to visit his daughter.”

Tina Mufford, a Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal agency, said that the Chinese regime’s “recent issuance then destruction of [Wang Zhiwen’s] passport is both tragic and unacceptable.”

“After wrongful imprisonment and house arrest, Zhiwen deserves to be with his family, and if that means traveling outside of China, then he should be afforded every opportunity to do so. It is within the Chinese government’s power to reunite Zhiwen with his family by swiftly issuing him another passport, and we strongly urge it to do so immediately,” Mufford added in a written statement.

A spokesperson with the U.S. State Department said in an email: “We are concerned by reports that Chinese authorities cancelled the passport of Wang Zhiwen, a Falun Gong practitioner released from prison in 2014. We call on the Chinese government to allow him to travel unimpeded and reunite with his family. We continue to urge China to protect religious freedom for all citizens, including those belonging to ethnic and religious minorities and those who worship outside official state-sanctioned institutions.”

Jeff, Wang’s son-in-law, told Epoch Times recently that the cancellation of Wang’s passport could be an initiative meant to subvert central edicts. Months after the national authorities issued a passport to Wang, local police showed up at his door, puzzled at how he had obtained the travel document, according to Jeff, who asked that his last name be kept confidential to protect the safety of his family.

While there has been some indication this year that the Chinese communist regime under Xi Jinping could eventually shift its stance on Falun Gong, there are no obvious signs that the persecution is abetting in mainland China.

At a protest rally for Wang Zhiwen outside the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco on Aug. 10, Falun Gong practitioner Yao Yuanying told Epoch Times that she is facing a similar situation as Danielle Wang, the daughter of Wang Zhiwen.

San Francisco Falun Gong practitioner Yao Yuanying. (Li Linzhao/Epoch Times)

San Francisco Falun Gong practitioner Yao Yuanying. (Li Linzhao/Epoch Times)

“My parents were arrested by local security officers in China 8 months ago,” said Yao. “I just learned yesterday that my parents will be sentenced in an illegal trial scheduled for the 23rd of this month.”

With reporting by Sherry Dong and Li Linzhao.

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