Almost exactly ten years ago, the party-state in Beijing launched its campaign against a government-estimated 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners. The then determinedly-non-political Falun Gong, which is an exercise community with a spiritual component, soon became the latest in a long list of 'enemies of the party'. Atrocities against Falun Gong supporters continue to this day across China.
Reigns of terror against Party-selected groups and persons have occurred periodically since Mao Zedong seized power in 1949. In the name of revolution, millions were starved to death, for example, in the Great Leap Forward of 1958; countless others were tortured, abused, executed and deprived of basic human dignity. Probably very few Chinese citizens have been treated more brutally than the Falun Gong.
Organ pillaging from Falun Gong practitioners has been studied in an independent report by legal scholar David Matas and myself ( http://organharvestinvestigation.net ). The two of us found 52 kinds of evidentiary proof indicating that this crime against humanity is occurring. The Government of China has made no substantive response to our report.
Just this month, three lawyers were arrested in China for daring to defend Falun Gong practitioners. The persecution of another prominent attorney, Gao Zhisheng, who defended Falun Gong, continues. He was twice arrested and suffered seventy days of torture. Despite repeated appeals from a range of Chinese and international groups for accounts of his whereabouts and release, Beijing ignores them.
David Matas to the International Association of Genocide Scholars at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia concluded on June 9th of this year:
''Every Chinese embassy around the world participates in this incitement (against Falun Gong). Despite their denials, they have to know about the mass killings of Falun Gong practitioners. The evidence fills human rights reports. There are constant media stories. The information is a click of a mouse away on the internet. Any claim of ignorance would mean that they have wilfully been turning blind eyes to the obvious, not a defense in law. So, in sum, the crime of genocide has been committed against the Falun Gong community, through torture, through organ harvesting and through the incitement that leads to both. The elements of the crime, the mass killings based on identity and the intent to destroy the group, can be established. ''
Mr. Matas provided detailed reasons for coming to this legal conclusion, which are available in the Update section of our report website.
Forced labour is tragically all too common today, but only the party-state of China uses it to punish and suppress fellow citizens. Any Chinese national can be sent to a camp without any form of trial for up to four years upon committal by a police signature. No appeal is possible. Mao in the 1950s closely duplicated the work camp model set up in Stalinís Russia and Hitlerís Germany, which in China alone continues today.
In China, only Falun Gong camp inmates are used as a live organ bank to be pillaged for sales to foreigners or Chinese nationals. Medical testing is required before organs can be matched with recipients, but only Falun Gong prisoners in the camp populations are tested medically on a regular basis. In the estimated 340 camps across China as of 2005, up to 300,000 "workers" toil in inhuman conditions for up to sixteen hours daily without any pay, producing a wide range of consumer products, mostly for export in blatant violation of World Trade Organization rules.
Respecting Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Such practices are fully consistent with Beijing`s rejection of the recommendations advanced by a number of governments, including Canada's, in a Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.
The recommendations rejected by the government of China included: ending all forms of arbitrary detention, including labour camps; guaranteeing freedom of belief and the right to worship in private; implementing the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture, which included references to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and organ pillaging from them; and ensuring that lawyers can defend their clients without fear or harassment.
Trade with China has been in reality a costly proposition for many around the world. A host of its violations of international trading practices contributed to Canada's bilateral trade deficit rising in China's favour from $3.9 billion in 1997 to $26.8 billion in 2006, while ending many manufacturing livelihoods across Canada.
As the world suffers the economic crisis and seeks China's cooperation in dealing with its challenges, it is tempting to overlook Beijing's appalling human rights record. We must remind our leaders that to equivocate on China's record is a departure from Canada's own values of human dignity and the rule of law. We must caution them that trade with China at any price is costly both for the people of China and the world. We must remember the sacrifices of victims of the Tiananmen massacre and other abuses. We must demand that, instead of mocking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, China should honour its provisions.