Tuesday, July 18, 2006
REPORT CONFIRMS DEADLY CHINESE HARVEST
uring a period in which there are major crises taking place in the world (a fair description of July 2006, so far), important stories are often lost in the shuffle. The littlest dictator launched a pre-emptive strike against the Sea of Japan, on the occasion of the American Independence Day celebrations -- his unique way of waving his hands around and affirming, "I'm still here, and I'm still crazy!" While the world community, in the form of the Untied Nations, remained "seized" with the North Korean missile test situation and planned for the possible consideration of measures which might result in a strongly worded statement, radical Islamist killers carried out the bombing of commuter trains across the Indian metropolis of Mumbai.
This latest atrocity against the citizens of Mumbai was on the scale of the first Bali bombing in 2002, taking roughly 200 innocent lives. A wave of bombings there in 1993 killed more than 250. India has been a target of the terror masters for as long as any other country, with the exception of Israel. Islamist terrorist organisations find safe refuge in Pakistan from which to launch these attacks, in the same way that Iranian and Syrian backed Islamist militias used safe havens in south Lebanon and Palestinian Authority administered territory to launch even more blatant rocket and missile attacks against Israel.
No legitimate, democratic government of any state should be expected to tolerate such conditions. Both situations, and many more besides, need to be seen as parts of the same war rather than isolated occurences. World civilisation (and I include Thailand and Indonesia every bit as much as "western" countries) is at war with an anti-civilisation movement of autonomous groups, which have as their common foundation, an Islamic theocratic fascism. Whether it's Laskar e-Tayyabah killing Indians, Jemaah Islamiyah killing Indonesians and Australians, Islamist fanatics in Patani killing Thai school teachers and Buddhist monks or Hezbollah launching Chinese-Iranian missiles into Haifa, the struggle -- from the perpetrators' point of view -- is the same one. It's long past time for the rest of us, the silent majority of humanity, to recognise the fact and act accordingly. Our separate battles against the violent Islamist ideology (not a religion) are also interconnected parts of the same overall struggle.
So there's my brief take on the issues sucking up most of the oxygen this month. So many other writers are following the Lebanon crisis right now, I'm sure there's nothing I could usefully add. Except to say that a good place to follow latest developments is in the "Top Picks" column at Hot Air, and the round-up of Middle East bloggers' reactions (Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian) at The Truth Laid Bear.
While the civilised world needs to continue defending itself from this amorphous enemy, it must not forget to attend to other matters as well. Back in April, on the occasion of Chinese president Hu Jintao's visit to the US, I wrote of one lone woman's protest against a genocidal practice taking place within his country. The meditation group Falun Gong, a kind of Chinese yoga / meditation banned by the Chinese government 7 years ago, have claimed that the PRC is imprisoning practitioners for the purpose of harvesting their organs for the lucrative transplantation business. Despite the voluminous amount of witness testimonies, supportive findings of the British Transplanation Society, and the daring work of a pseudonymous journalist (see details at the previous link), nothing much came of it. Dr. Wang Wenyi (the Rose Garden protester) was interviewed a few times, and that was about it. The PRC denied everything, denouncing all witnesses and sources as partisan Falun Gong "cultists," and went on with business. There was no independent confirmation of the inhuman practice.
After the initial revelations back in March, a group was formed in Washington with the goal of independently investigating the allegations. On site visits by the US State Department were inconclusive with regard to the Sujiatun hospital where the first allegations arose, however the case is still "open". A newly formed Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China contacted two experienced Canadians to conduct an investigation -- David Kilgour, a former member of Parliament and former Secretary of State in the Canadian government, and David Matas, an attorney with background in human rights and refugee issues, as well as international law. Both are from my own hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
This independent two-man commission was not paid any fees by the CIPFG for its work, only expenses were covered. The PRC government denied Kilgour and Matas permission to visit China, and their interviews were conducted with witnesses in Canada, United States, Australia and Europe. Data was also gained through the use of telephone investigators contacting Chinese hospitals and organ transplantation centres directly. The full report, appendices and the authors' response to the PRC's reaction to the July 6 release, can all be found here, in pdf format.
The new Harper government might just enable our country to show some spine for a change, on a human rights issue with China. Liberal Party governments have been worse than useless in this regard, so it's another good chance to (hopefully) see some difference from the past.
Canadian media attention seems to have dried up within a day or two of the report's release, while our esteemed CBC filed a wireservice report down in its Health and Science section. Come on, be serious! I understand some of you folks still fetishize commies and everything, but when the PRC declares meditators to be state enemies, fit to be held until somebody wants to buy their liver, and then disposed of like trash, it doesn't belong in the 'health and science report'! It belongs on the front page of the Genocidal Extermination section alongside stuff like Darfur and Auchwitz. Absent such a category, it ought to be one of your international crisis specials. There are possibly over 40,000 lives involved here, which conceivably were harvested from, and disposed of, for profit. How does that register on the CBC's scale of important issues? Compare their competition here(in advance of the report's release) and here (with 3 video reports also available).
Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas will be making a presentation of their findings at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., this Thursday, July 20 at 9:30 am.
Here, in a nutshell, is the central question and its answer, as quoted from the report.
The Allegations (pg. 2)
It is alleged that Falun Gong practitioners are victims of live organ harvesting throughout China. The allegation is that organ harvesting is inflicted on unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations, pursuant to a systematic policy, in large numbers.The Conclusion (pg. 39)
The allegation is further that the organs are harvested from the practitioners while they are still alive. The practitioners are killed in the course of the organ harvesting operations or immediately thereafter. These operations are a form of murder.
Finally, we are told that the practitioners killed in this way are then cremated. There is no corpse left to examine to identify as the source of an organ transplant.
Based on what we now know, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.Particularly damning is the evidence contained in appendices 13 and 14, contained within the main report (other appendices are in a separate file). Appendix 14 is a series of transcripts of telephone conversations with doctors and other officials. Here I'll just quote two short passages, first with a Shanghai hospital, and the second one with a detention centre official.
We have concluded that the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas, were virtually simultaneously seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.
How many of the victims were first convicted of any offence, serious or otherwise, in legitimate courts, we are unable to estimate because such information appears to be unavailable both to Chinese nationals and foreigners. It appears to us that many human beings belonging to a peaceful voluntary organization made illegal seven years ago by President Jiang because he thought it might threaten the dominance of the
Communist Party of China have been in effect executed by medical practitioners for their organs.
Our conclusion comes not from any one single item of evidence, but rather the piecing together of all the evidence we have considered. Each portion of the evidence we have considered is, in itself, verifiable and, in most cases, incontestable. Put together, they paint a damning whole picture. It is their combination that has convinced us.
Shanghai’s Zhongshan Hospital Organ Transplant Clinic (16 March 2006):Lots more conversations in there about selecting only the "youngest and freshest" organs for the prospective buyers, and the particular desirability of clean and healthy Falun Gong parts. Some of those calls read like some intentionally bad taste Monty Python skits, but these are real and the tapes exist. Needless to say, the Chinese government was not amused. The embassy in Ottawa issued a terse reply, entitled Response to the so called "China's organ harvesting report". The statement attacks Falun Gong, asserts that such things as organ harvesting never, ever happen in China, declares that "lies are always lame," and then attacks Falun Gong again as an "evil cult." This shrill response was posted on the same day the report was released, which hardly points to anyone taking anything very seriously at all.
M: Hi. Are you a doctor?
Doctor: Yes, I am…
M: … So how long do I have to wait [for organ transplant surgery]?
Doctor: About a week after you come…
M: Is there the kind of organs that come from Falun Gong? I heard that they are very good.
Doctor: All of ours are those types.***
First Detention Centre of Qinhuangdao city, Shangdong Province (18 May 2006):
N: Is this the First Detention Centre of Qinhuangdao City?
Official: What’s up?
N: We are doing kidney transplantations and we don’t have enough organs.
Official: You don’t need to call here. You just call the court.
N: Which court?
Official: It is the Intermediate People’s Court. You need to tell them about such thing.
N: In 2001, you provided live organs from young and healthy people who practised Falun Gong…
Official: You don’t need to talk about that time. It has been so many years. Right now it is with the court. You just call them.
Matas and Kilgour responded to the Chinese release, again available as a separate file here. It's a delightful piece of fisking, much like reading a rational mind handling an irrational, insulting loon in text-based debates. Here's the final exchange:
Tell it brother! Such attitudes coming from anyone, much less a government, is not acceptable. The world civilisation we defend has no place for this stuff. The Chinese government has stooped as low as a radical imam at Friday sermon, railing about "descendants of pigs and monkeys." Uncivil would be the kindest description."Therefore, the so-called "independent investigation report" made by a few Canadians based on rumours and false allegations is groundless and biased. We do believe that lies are always lame, and will never become the truth even if being repeated 1000 times. We hope that the Canadian people will not be deceived by the disguise of the Falun Gong, and more people will be aware of the nature of "Falun Gong" as an evil cult."This conclusion is an attack both on us and Falun Gong. The Report has to be judged on its merits. Attacking its authors is not an appropriate response.
Second calling the Falun Gong an evil cult exemplifies the vilification heaped on the Falun Gong. It is this sort of slander which, in China, depersonalizes and dehumanizes the Falun Gong and makes possible the violation of their basic human rights.
Calling a group of innocent civilians an "evil cult" is a form of incitement to hatred, unacceptable in Canada. It is an abuse of their diplomatic presence in Canada for China to engage in this form of incitement.