Find us on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

My goodness it has been a loooong time since this blog was updated. Finally, I figured out how to access this account; we were using it before it was required we have a google login, and being suspicious of google, never upgraded.

Since we migrated to facebook, it seems that most of our sharing / social networking activities has taken place on those pages. Please look us up here:

A photo that has become popular

Friday, December 19, 2008

I took this last year while I should have been practicing the Falun Gong exercises. I think it was worth it. As many people have suggested, there's serenity here.

Labels: , , ,

Labor Camps hidden near Olympic Venues: Maps & driving directions!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Check out this behind-the-scenes guidebook that gives shows you a side of Beijing the officials definitely DON'T want you to see -- a guide to seven notorious LABOR CAMPS, each nestled in closely to the Olympic venues tens of thousands of tourists will be attending. A little avant-garde sightseeing, anyone?

read more

From the text:

“When you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You will see the truth, but not the whole truth…. You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are built on a base of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood.”
–Open letter by prominent Chinese rights defenders Hu Jia and Teng Biao, September 2007.

When 25,000 reporters arrive in China to cover the Olympic Games, enthusiastic youngsters, glittering venues, primly trimmed parks and state-of-the-art subways will leave a strong impression. As Hu Jia and Teng Biao note above, however, there is another side to the “New China” that the Chinese Communist Party is much less keen on showcasing to the international community.
It is a China of electric cattle prods, of 18 hour work days, of unspeakable torture and humiliation, of religious believers forced to endure endless hours of “thought reform.” It is a China of “re-education through labor” (RTL) camps.

Excerpt from Camp location and directions:

Directions to Labor Camp:

From Tianjin Binhai Airport: Enter Huandao going south for 439 m. Turn West on Huandao for 1.7 km. Turn left on Waihuanxian for 299 m. Turn Right on Jinbindadao for 6.6 km. Turn left on Dongfengqiao for 1.1 km. Turn left on Hongxinglut for 2.2 km. Turn left on Jiefangnanlu for 73 m. Total: 13.1 km

From Tianjin Train Station: Go north west on Jianguodao for 213 m. Turn left on Sanjinglu for 154 m. Turn right on Jinbudao for 190 m. Turn left on Wujinglu for 2.4 km. Turn left on Qufudao for 128m. Turn right on Jiefangnanlu for 1.5 km. Total: 4.6 km
A: Tianjin Binhai Airport: 天津滨海国际机场
B: Tianjin Train Station: 天津站河北区
C: Tianjin Jianxin Labor Camp: 天津建新女子劳教所
D: Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium: 天津奥林匹克中心体育场


Jianxin Labor Camp of Tianjin City was expanded especially for the purpose of holding Falun Gong adherents. Since the inception of the Sixth Division for female detainees, several hundred practitioners have been detained there. Most were older than fifty years of age, the oldest being seventy-three.

See a lot more HERE.

OLYMPICS Journalist goes after real no-go topic; great sign!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An aussie journalist in China to cover the Olympics gets the inside scoop on what's REALLY happening with Falun Gong in China. FEW have the guts to go after this topic, as it's the Chinese's regime's #1 taboo issue right now. Well done, Mary-Anne! (and Helen!)

read more | digg story

Pre-Olympic Press Roundup

Friday, July 25, 2008

If you've been watching the pre-Olympic press as we have, you may have noticed the recent rush of reports about tightened security in Beijing and the outrageous measures the Communist Party is taking to ensure that it is the only party in town come Aug 8. Below we've collected highlights (lowlights?) from some of the news just to help put it all in perspective. This is definitely not the Olympic spirit.

Olympic Supporters Face Banner Blackout
The Age (Australia), July 16
All banners and large flags have been banned from Beijing Olympic venues.
Musical instruments, whistles and flash photography have also been banned.

Australian Olympic swimmer Craig Stevens said: "It's just going over the top. The rules are just getting stricter and stupider… You want to see as much support as you can in the crowd because as swimmers you can't hear much. It's going to be strange in the stands."

Journos Come to Grips with Reporting Restrictions
Sunday Star Times (NZ), July 20
For instance, interview a Chinese national in the street without a proper form and you could be thrown in jail for up to 72 hours without anyone notifying your employer, your family or the New Zealand government.

Write too many stories with words or phrases such as "Tibet", "human rights abuse" or "Falun Gong" and you can expect to be a person of interest for the Chinese secret service. China's surveillance experts will filter all outgoing emails for such key words which will be red-flagged and traced back to the laptop that generated them. And the GSM network can be slowed down to monitor outgoing phone call and texts as well.

China: 'Strike hard' against beliefs
From a document obtained by Amnesty International
“We must make efforts to create a harmonious society and a good social environment for successfully holding the 17th Communist Party Congress and the Beijing Olympic Games […] We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as ethnic separatists, religious extremists, violent terrorists and ‘heretical organizations’ like the Falun Gong who carry out destabilizing activities."
Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Public Security, November 2007

Thousands of Falun Gong Adherents Arrested throughout China in Run Up to Olympics
Falun Dafa Information Center Report, July 7, giving details of mass arrests since the above mentioned “strike hard” campaign began:
In recent months, the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) has received regular reports from adherents and their families inside China of door-to-door searches and arrests. According to statistics compiled from these reports, there have been at least 8,037 arrests of Falun Gong adherents across 29 provinces, major cities and autonomous regions since December 2007.
“The Olympics are being taken as an excuse to put them behind bars for years... A large percentage of people have already been sent to labor camps. The dozens currently filling Beijng’s detention centers are at grave risk of wrongful sentencing and torture.”
FDI spokesperson Erping Zhang.

China jails more Tibetan protesters
Taipei Times, July 12
The article quotes as its source Xinhua, the state-controlled news agency, seen as the mouthpiece of the Communist regime:
China is offering rewards up to 500,000 yuan ($73,000) to anyone who provides information on major security threats during the Olympic Games.
The rewards aim to "mobilize the enthusiasm of the masses in maintaining public security, as well as to control and eliminate hidden dangers to the Olympic Games."
Examples of what police are looking for include information on planned terrorist attacks, sabotage by illegal organizations such as Falun Gong, and killings of Olympic-related people and foreigners, Xinhua reported.

Fortress Beijing
Canwest News Service, July 18
Traffic was backed up for two kilometers on expressways and national highways leading into Beijing city centre as every car was thoroughly searched. It was a 20-minute job for each vehicle.
This is the second layer of a security plan that already includes hundreds of checkpoints on every road leading into the capital from Hebei, the neighbouring province that hugs Beijing.
The third phase, which will be implemented soon, calls for security checkpoints on major downtown streets.

Beijing games use-by date nears
The Age (Australia), July 15
For aspiring foreign visitors, the national lock-down hits them as soon as they approach a Chinese embassy or consulate for a visa. Businessmen who travel here every month are suddenly barred. Some tourists who have bought Olympics tickets can't get in. Scores of four- and five-star hotels that were built to host hundreds of thousands of guests for China's coming-out party are less than half-full and look like staying that way.

Olympics Party Disrupts Life for Beijingers
Iter Press Service (IPS), July 14
There was a lot of talk about Olympics economy and how small private entrepreneurs like me would benefit from the arrival of foreign visitors but now we are told to close shop and stay home at least until the games are finished," laments Wang Xingfei whose garments shop was shut down because it was deemed ‘unbecoming’ and ‘insecure’.
From construction companies to cement producers and house decoration teams, the hosting of the Olympic games by the capital is exacting a heavy toll. To purify the air and clean up the environment the Beijing government has suspended hundreds of thousands of projects and told noisy and polluting industries to take a long break. Thousands of migrant workers have been sent home.
Even if we could get away with doing some small building jobs in the coming two months we couldn’t do it because no trucks with construction materials and cement will be allowed to enter the city," says Shao, a building contractor who wants only his family name used.

China Asks Japan for Information on Falun Gong Members Ahead of Olympics
istockAnalyst, July 17
Chinese public security authorities have asked Japan to provide information on Japan-based members of the Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned in China, ahead of the Beijing Olympics, sources close to Japan-China ties said Thursday.

The Japanese government has rejected the request, which included a list of the group's members, citing protection of information on individuals, according to the sources.

US lawmakers consider Olympic rights message to China
AFP, July 24
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US lawmakers Wednesday accused China of reneging on a commitment to improve human rights when it won the right to host the Olympics, saying it had instead intensified a crackdown on dissent.

"There were early indications that China was prepared to improve its behavior as the games approached," said Howard Berman, the Democratic head of the House of Representatives foreign affairs panel.
But "the hope was short-lived, as China failed to honor these commitments," he said, citing as examples Beijing's "failed" pledges to allow greater press freedoms and improve its general human rights situation.

China’s Guerrilla War for the Web
Far Eastern Economic Review, July 2008
They have been called the “Fifty Cent Party,” the “red vests” and the “red vanguard.” But China’s growing armies of Web commentators—instigated, trained and financed by party organizations—have just one mission: to safeguard the interests of the Communist Party by infiltrating and policing a rapidly growing Chinese Internet. They set out to neutralize undesirable public opinion by pushing pro-Party views through chat rooms and Web forums, reporting dangerous content to authorities.
By some estimates, these commentary teams now comprise as many as 280,000 members nationwide, and they show just how serious China’s leaders are about the political challenges posed by the Web.

China’s Culture Ministry now regularly holds training sessions for Web commentators, who are required to pass an exam before being issued with job certification.

“The goal of the government is to crank up the ‘noise’ and drown out progressive and diverse voices on China’s Internet,” says Isaac Mao, a Chinese Web entrepreneur and expert on social media. “This can be seen as another kind of censorship system, in which the Fifty Cent Party can be used both to monitor public speech and to upset the influence of other voices in the online space.”

Chinese Authorities Vow to Thwart Threats to Olympics
Washington Post, July 24
"[We must] resolutely prevent severe violence and terrorist incidents, resolutely prevent severe political incidents that could affect state security and social stability and resolutely prevent large-scale mass incidents to make sure the objective of a safe Olympic Games is reached."
Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu to the People's Armed Police troops and officers gathered on July 23 at the corps' Beijing headquarters.

Meng's exhortation to the lined-up People's Armed Police was seen as particularly important because these troops will be the main security forces on the ground during the Olympics, dealing with athletes, spectators, tourists and journalists as well as would-be protesters. His tone suggested that the troops, if they take their cue from him, are likely to approach their task on the streets of Beijing with an unbending attitude.

Tibetan independence sympathizers, human rights activists, practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual exercise movement and critics of China's Darfur policy have been singled out by Chinese security officials as the most likely foreigners to try to hold street demonstrations or unfurl banners in front of television cameras during the Games. In that light, visa applications have been screened with particular care, including bans on visits by foreigners who Chinese consular officials fear might try to harm China's image. Chinese authorities acknowledged Thursday they also have further tightened controls over business visas, declining to issue invitation documents until September.

Athletes under pressure to stage a protest on the podium
Vancouver Sun, July 24
The Chinese government has made it clear that security is paramount. There are 100,000 police and military officers in Beijing with missile launchers at the main Olympic venues.
On Wednesday, the government announced three protest "pens" will be set up. But only groups with permits will be allowed in and, since political protests are illegal, it's unlikely that Free Tibet rallies, Falun Gong demonstrations or protests against China's involvement in Darfur will be sanctioned.

Reflections on the Earthquake in China

Sunday, May 18, 2008

At a time of a natural disaster and the associated death and destruction, it is important to support relief efforts, as well as offer the best of moral support -- in this case, to the Chinese people.

We'd like to take a moment to offer our own condolences to the many that have died. At this time of tragedy, our hearts go out those Chinese that were affected, who died or who lost loved ones, friends, or their homes and livelihoods.

There is now an outpouring of stories from China, stories of people helping each other through the worst natural disaster of the last 30 years (as it is being billed), and also stories of corruption leading to sub-standard building construction, and corresponding outrage.

The Chinese regime seems to have allowed an unprecedented level of transparency in the media. I write 'seems' because in any communist regime, things are rarely what they seem. But let's say, for the purposes of this reflection, that we believe that.

While initially rejecting foreign aid for the crucial first three days post-disaster, the regime reversed its position and allowed foreign workers and capital in. Hu Jintao himself has come down from the halls of the communist elite to walk among the people, another move breaking with tradition. Inquiries have been promised into the shoddy construction that needlessly led to so many deaths.

Is it a sudden change of heart? In a sense, I think, that's exactly what it is. It would seem that top regime people have finally decided to start taking cues from the Western public relations experts and spin doctors that they have been paying such large salaries to employ.

If the China of today was the China of days long gone, the majority of the population would be seeing this disaster as a direct consequence of the actions of the people, or the actions of the government. But many of the Chinese people of today (but certainly not all), and indeed many of us in the West don't believe in such things.

For the Chinese regime, accountable for so much death and misery past and present, a disaster that renders them largely unaccountable by most Western standards is a dream come true. Virtually all indications to present suggest that the regime cares little about individual Chinese lives, but instead focuses on 'stability' (read: keeping power at all costs). With the first four months of the year dedicated to exposing the regime's instability and darker side, the CCP central committee and their charges are now working overtime to turn the disaster into a propaganda coup, especially internationally.

Let's not fall into that trap. Let's offer our unequivocal support to the Chinese people, but not to the regime that has abused them for so many years.

We appeal to all those who have taken the regime to task over its human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, or who have planned to: Do not let up because of this earthquake tragedy. Do not allow Beijing's apparently Western and compassionate response to disaster to make us believe that the litany of crimes and abuses they are currently responsible for are any less valid.

The current confirmed death toll due to the quake is said by Chinese state media to be around 30,000. It will always be unclear how many of those were caused obviously by regime corruption, i.e. cutting corners in building costs. We can be sure that there were many more who received cash in the pocket or felt obligated to turn a blind eye, than there are those who may be charged. The current ruling clique will certainly use the opportunity to pick some scapegoats and do a little internal cleansing.

Yet there are also numbers to be talked about that rarely get attention. The Chinese regime's sale of 40,000 organ transplants, harvested from innocents over the last five years, most likely from Falun Gong practitioners. At least 14 million dead to Mao's forced famine, ironically named the Great Leap Forward, 1958-60. Untold thousands dead during the CCP's 'liberation,' 'pacification,' and assimilation of Tibet. These deaths are obviously not accidents, but deliberate deaths perpetrated by the Chinese Regime. Let's not forget about these crimes, and continue to expose them in coming months in the runup to the Olympics, and onwards. And for those crimes that are still happening today, let's continue to work to stop them.

Labels: , ,

Note to China: Please Implode

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jan's comment: I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of Morford or the San Francisco Chronicle, or agree with everything written here, but reading this article brought tears to my eyes. To those advocates of freedom and basic rights for every person, to those who can still get a visa into the Middle Kingdom, please seriously think about it: This unique opportunity to expose the regime presently running China to the world, at a time when all eyes are focused there, will not come again. But please, don't think too long -- get ready to act.

Note to China: Please Implode

Could the Olympics rain down shame on Chinese oppression and Tibet abuses? Let's hope

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Friday, March 21, 2008

I hope it all comes crashing down on their heads.

Is that wrong? Is it ill-minded and somehow unfair to wish that the Chinese government's notorious record of human rights abuses and absolutely horrid treatment of Tibet be exposed to the world — and the Chinese people themselves — to the point where it is shamed and humiliated and perhaps even forced by unprecedented international scrutiny to upheave its oppressive ways and improve conditions and even (heaven forfend) honor religious and political freedom within its borders? No, I do not think it is.

Let me admit outright: I am no expert on Chinese-Tibetan relations. I do not know the full histories, the deeper conflicts, the enormous prejudices, the religious oppression that goes back decades and generations.

But I do know something of Tibet, of the Dalai Lama, of his unadorned messages of peace and love. And I know something of Tibetan Buddhism, of China's abduction of the true Panchen Lama, of the brutal oppression and the massacres and the cultural genocide, the forced relocation of Han Chinese into Tibetan holy land, of the Tibetan's peaceful rallies and chanting and nonviolence, all contrasted with images of jackbooted Chinese riot police stomping on the heads of protesters marching in the street.

And I know whom I tend to believe when I read "unconfirmed" reports of soldiers firing on Tibetan protesters, of dead bodies in the streets of Lhasa, of tanks rolling through crowds and hundreds of students arrested, Tibetan monasteries being locked down and Tibet again under martial law, all media cut off, all access denied, as sour and rather vile hardline Communist leader Zhang Qingli steps up to a microphone and calls the Dalai Lama — perhaps the gentlest, kindest human soul on the face of the planet — a "wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast." Yes, I think I know where the truth lies.

It doesn't take much. Truly, you don't need to see many photos of, say, a black-clad Chinese riot cop raising a huge, four-foot stick over his head with both hands and running straight at a praying, barefoot, red-robed Tibetan monk — a monk who is facing the other way and who is merely walking humbly on a protest march — ready to whale that stick down on the monk's humble head, it does not take many photos like that to wish a deep and profound ill upon the government that promotes such aggression.

You don't even need to be reminded of Tiananmen Square, or of all the ongoing crackdowns on students and dissidents and journalists, the torture and torment of humble Falun Gong practitioners or even the harsh control of Chinese Christians to know that the few images and stories of brutality and oppression that do trickle out are just the tip of a very ugly, bloody iceberg.

So then, this is the profound wish, the hope for this upcoming Olympic Games, held in a country run by an oppressive dictatorship, a country brutally divided between new wealth and extreme poverty, eager to be taken seriously as a new global superpower and also a country never before so open to cameras and reporters from around the globe: May your human rights atrocities be exposed. May your violence against peace-loving Tibetans be shamed. May we honor and respect China's culture and history even as your government's nauseating attacks on peace and intellectual freedom are revealed like the appalling cancer they so very much are.

Is that fair to hope? Sure as hell seems like it.

But here's the catch: It ain't gonna come from the United States. Hell, NBC's Olympic coverage is traditionally so slick and safe and cheesy and jingoistic it borders on nauseating, not to mention how NBC is wholly owned by General Electric and all coverage will be sponsored by companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's and Johnson & Johnson, companies that largely adore China's cheap labor and most of whom would happily turn a blind eye to a pile of dead Tibetans if it meant a foothold in the exploding Chinese economy.

Put another way: The odds of Bob Costas cutting away from hyping our cute perky Coke-drinking gymnastics team to show a shocking image of a dead monk lying in the street of Lhasa? About one in a billion.

What's more, America's not exactly a saint when it comes to human rights ourselves. Our own president endorses torture. We still have the death penalty. We have had atrocious foreign prisons and sinister Homeland Security and illegal wiretapping and the Patriot Act and a vice president who would gladly shoot a war protester in the face just to buy a gallon of milk.

And it's also worth mentioning that China (along with Japan) owns a simply staggering portion of America's reeling debt, Chinese banks having basically floated the United States over $1 trillion to keep President Bush's nightmare economy afloat. Oh yes, Dubya will be there at the games, cheering and waving a little flag and holding hands with Premier Wen Jiabao and mispronouncing everyone's name. Wonder twin powers, activate!

But the "good" news is, China's leaders already seem to be getting a bit desperate, having been caught off guard by the widespread uprisings and protests happening now across the world. The premier has already accused the Dalai Lama of trying to sour the Olympics by inciting violence, which is a bit like Dick Cheney accusing a butterfly of murder.

But these comments also reveal a curious and telling thing about China's leaders, normally so controlled, so removed from the intense gaze of international media: They don't realize how utterly absurd and offensive they sound to the world audience. Nor do they seem to know the true power of the Internet, of the vagaries of global coverage, of what Olympic-sized media attention could reveal in the coming months. They never had to care. Until now.

Indeed, it will likely very much be up to the foreign press and foreign leaders, or perhaps even the athletes and visiting celebrities themselves, to speak out, to crack the armor further, really get the media's attention. Already some foreign leaders are considering a "mini boycott" of the opening ceremonies, which would be a huge insult to China. It's a start.

Could it all unravel for China's dictatorship? Maybe. The vast majority of Olympics coverage will be hugely positive, upbeat, every outlet in a swoon for the "New China," all glittery and whimsical and shiny and culturally rich, as this extraordinary new superpower puts on its best, most modern face for the world.

But somehow, among all the thousands of reporters and news agencies and bloggers covering the games, a handful might have the nerve to sneak outside the carefully guarded press boxes and Olympic stadiums and find a way to report on the real atrocities, the real abuses, and beam them to the astonished world like never before. Can we hope for that? Let the games begin.

Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle.

If there was still any doubt: The Chinese communist spin on the Dalai Lama

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You've probably all read that the Chinese Communist Party is blaming the Dalai Lama as the "mastermind" behind violent protests in Tibet, which of course is absurd. We know the Dalai Lama as the poster child of the Nobel Peace Prize, but inside China this is the type of propaganda they've been hearing for years.

Now, for anyone who might still have harboured doubts about the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party and how it distorts reality, there can be no doubt. The Party boss in Tibet Zhang Qingli has laid it bare in his own words, in an editorial in the Tibet Daily, a typical CCP mouthpiece.

Zhang Qingli: The Dalai Lama is "a wolf wrapped in monk's robes, a devil with a human face and a beast's heart."

Zhang Qingli: "We are now engaged in a fierce blood-and-fire battle with the Dalai clique, a life-and-death battle between us and the enemy."

Zhang Qingli (Another translation): "We are in the midst of a fierce struggle involving blood and fire, a life-and-death struggle with the Dalai clique."

Note the violence implicit to these words. This is definitely not the Olympic spirit.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Polish Parliament to Examine Poland's Participation at Beijing Olympics

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Epoch Times article by yours truly.

WARSAW—Many methods can be used to voice a country's displeasure towards an Olympic host, especially if that host is a grievous human rights violator. A total boycott is not the only way, said Polish parliamentarian Karol Karski at a press conference on March 17. The Polish government, he argued, could choose not to go to Beijing 2008, while still allowing athletes to attend.

Zbigniew Romaszewski, Assistant Speaker of the Polish Senate and perennial Human Rights activist, with his wife Zofia, also a famed Polish Solidarity activist, at a rally supporting Tibet in front of the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw on March 16, 2008 (Jan Jekielek/The Epoch Times)

Karski has mobilized the opposition Law & Justice party's parliamentary association to call for a joint sitting of the Foreign Affairs and Sports & Physical Culture committees of the Sejm (the Polish parliament) to examine this very question. The verbose title of the proposed hearing makes it plain: A discussion of the situation surrounding the organizing the of 2008 Olympics in the People's Republic of China (PRC), a nation which violates human rights and the principles contained in the Olympic Charter.

The initiative would make Poland's Sejm the first parliament in the world to make an official, public assessment of its country's role at the Beijing Games. A date for the hearing is expected to be set in the next couple of days, officials say.

According to Karski, the participation of Polish government functionaries such as Ministers at the Olympics would construe "a kind of support for the PRC government's activities" such as the ongoing violence perpetrated by the Chinese military on the people of Tibet.

Concurrently, a group of Polish parliamentarians that were in the political opposition to Poland's communist leaders in the 1980's have launched an appeal to the PRC.

"With respect to the Beijing Olympics, we declare that the PRC is a dictatorship, in which human rights are violated, in particular citizens' rights, religious rights as well as the rights of ethnic minorities, violations as in the case of present-day Tibet," highlighted the appeal, led by Assistant Speaker of the Sejm Stefan Niesiołowski.

The appellants, who include perennial Solidarity activists such as parliamentarian Andrzej Czuma, hope to mobilize people from all walks of life including Olympic athletes to "undertake all sorts of actions to aid in the release all political prisoners in the PRC, as well as [in developing] respect for human and citizens' rights in that country." They stop short of calling for an all-out boycott of the Games.

The Polish Parliamentary Group on the Question of Tibet took a stronger stance. In a letter addressed to the PRC ambassador in Poland Chin Sun Rongmin, the Group states "it is not yet too late to consider an international boycott of the Beijing Olympics," considering the current "wave of repression" in Tibet.

Calling Beijing to account for its human rights violations is not a new thing in the Sejm. Five months earlier at a parliamentary conference on human rights in China vis-à-vis the Beijing Olympics , a number of speakers and organizations spoke out. The Polish Transplant Sports Association (PTSA), the World Solidarity coalition, and The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), one of the event co-organizers, all took strong positions against the holding of the 2008 Games in Beijing.

How to Shame an Olympic Host

Last Month, Holland's Christian Union Party, part of the government coalition, called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, citing Beijing's gross human rights violations as the cause.

The poster of the World Solidarity coalition of NGOs and individuals calling for a boycott of the Beijing Games, at a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw on March 16, 2008. World Solidarity was formed at Asian Human Rights Week in Warsaw in November 2006 when it made an appeal to the Polish Olympic Committee about the Beijing Games. (Jan Jekielek/The Epoch Times)

There have been boycotts or nations barred from participating in the Games for human rights violations consistently since 1956 including four years of boycotts and the barring of South Africa from 1964 until 1992 due to the racist policy of apartheid.

The most famous and widespread boycott was in 1980 when Moscow hosted the games after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. implemented a full boycott, urging the world to do the same, to which there were a variety of responses.

Between 45 and 50 countries joined the boycott including many influential ones such as Canada and Japan. Some governments, such as Great Britain and Australia, officially supported the boycott but gave athletes the choice to go or not – many of whom stayed home. Other countries chose milder yet still symbolic methods, such as the Olympic ceremonies boycott suggested for the 2008 Games. Several nations competed under the Olympic flag rather than their own, as a means of voicing their disapproval.

Of the countries that chose a total boycott in 1980 for political reasons, one nation stands out: The People's Republic of China itself.

International Political Review publishes 'Bloody Harvest'

Saturday, March 01, 2008

News Flash: David Kilgour's and David Matas revised report into allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, Bloody Harvest, has been published in full (minus appendix) in the International Political Review (Międzynarodowy Przegląd Polityczny), an influential Polish non-partisan quarterly published by the Sobieski Institute, a centre-right public policy think tank.

The cover of the February issue of the International Political Review

This periodical is widely read by intellectuals in Poland, especially people is some way connected to foreign affairs issues. On the cover: Falun Gong: The black market for organs in China. The publication of the report again in this journal is of particular significance, we think. To establish why Falun Gong practitioners are targeted in particular for this horrendous practice, it also contains expert testimony on the nature of the practice itself, which can help more Poles see past the CCP propaganda machine's persistent efforts to vilify the group. It will also help policymakers think more seriously about Poland's participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monks in Orange...a long awaited update

What seemed to be just weeks turned out to be three months... glancing at the blog, I can see that the last posting was at last November, almost exactly 90 days ago. It seems that the ease of facebook has taken both Cindy's and my focus in that direction -- but we are painfully aware that not all of you have a facebook account! So are some photos (fairly) recently taken in Laos -- from the morning procession of monks in the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang -- which can aslo be seen in 3D images. Wonderful stuff!

Small handfuls of rice are given to each monk by each merit-seeker

Novice monks have their right arm left open, while first-years have it covered

Some confusion as Thai merit-seekers follow their tradition in offering a variety of food
-- instead of the usual handful of rice

It's mostly the older generations that still offer food for merit.
Luang Prabang is changing very, very quickly!

Later in the day, a young monk visiting the Luang Prabang waterfall

And to finish up, a photo of C&J on New Year's 2008, sent by a friend

We hope you all have an excellent year!

Labels: , , , , , ,

FOX anti-Polish slur... and how it relates to hate propaganda

Thursday, November 29, 2007

FOX recently aired an episode of the comedy Back to You ("Something's Up There") which outraged Poles worldwide, and for good reason. One character jokingly tells another one, a Pole, "it’s in your Polish blood, like kielbasa and collaborating with the Nazis," which is followed by canned laughter.

Fox initially defended the line, saying that it was uttered by a character that is known to be ignorant. Eventually, under pressure from viewers and the Polish government, they issued a full apology.

Back to You Opening Titles

To most Poles, it is obvious that not only didn't Poles collaborate with the Nazis, but that Poland was the only occupied country never to collaborate (see the the history lesson below this entry, taken from Lucia Sliwa's Open Mike blog).

As Helena Ziolkowska writes, there 'were no Polish SS Divisions, no Polish “Quisling”' (referring to Vidkun Quisling, who ruled Norway until he was tried and executed for treason after the war).

There were Blue Police (Polish police legislated by the Nazis into serving them) and 'Szmalcowniks' (a colloquial term for blackmailers of Jews and of those that hid them)... but the Polish resistance had many double agents working in the former, and made a habit of executing the latter. A case in point is the fact that it was only in Poland that the 'crime' of aiding Jews was punishable by death. Under such circumstances, a person choosing themselves and their family over others (which tragically did indeed happen) can be considered self-serving, but clearly not collaboration.

The most obvious collaborators were the Tripartite Pact countries, of course, and the accusation might be leveled at many of the Allied powers such as France or the US, but Poland? Hardly.

Unfortunately, this lesson is not as well known around the world. As a large portion of the holocaust occurred in Poland, never mind that it was orchestrated by the Nazis, some survivors and their kin have (somewhat understandably) some negative associations with Poles and Poland in general. This spills out into popular culture, and is what makes the ignorant character's comment so insidious. For better or worse, for many people, popular television shows play a considerable role in their education.

For the last several years I've been studying how hate propaganda is manufactured and used to mobilize a group of people against another--in this case, the first group is the Chinese population (and later the global population) at large, and the second is Falun Gong practitioners worldwide. Apart from hundreds of thousands openly hostile news articles (347 articles in the People's Daily in the first month of persecution in 1999, for example), slurs were placed strategically in entertainment and other television programs—implying that everyone in the audience should get the reference.

For example, in conversation, a character might mention, 'why don't you just burn yourself alive, just like those Falun Gong practitioners?' The statement refers to a key piece of anti-Falun Gong propaganda manufactured by the Chinese regime.

It's implied in this statement, as in the one in Back to You, that people should know the details of the issue in question. In the Chinese example, the statement is outrageous because matter-of-factly portrays practitioners as dangerously suicidal. In the FOX example, the statement similarly matter-of-factly paints Poles as Nazi collaborators. Perhaps either could be forgiven if it were in the collective social consciousness that these statements are bizarrely inaccurate. Unfortunately, that is not the case today—though with education, the situation is getting better on both counts, I believe.

We know that there were a few Poles that were Nazi collaborators, and it is certainly possible, though undocumented, that someone identifying as a Falun Gong practitioner committed suicide (despite the teachings arguing vehemently against that). But these would both be fringe, unusual situations. When hate propaganda is manufactured, such anecdotes are commonly used to demonize an entire group.

By allowing such a statement to be broadcast (in prime time to boot), FOX and its writers have unwittingly (surely it cannot be worse?) allowed themselves to become tools of anti-polonists, by spreading the equivalent of hate propaganda. I'm very pleased to hear that FOX has now vowed to never air the clip again. I wish the same for CCTV's self-immolation videos. The debate about whether this is censorship, and of how hate propaganda relates to freedom of speech, we can take up another time—I invite the discussion!

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the realities of Polish involvement in World War II and the holocaust, if you are not already in the know. The following letter provides a good launchpad. You can follow the progress of the campaign to get FOX to apologise here.

Comments are most welcome!

November 20, 2007

Mr. Joseph Earley
Executive Vice President
Fox Broadcasting Company
10201 West Pico Blvd.,
Los Angeles, Ca 90035

Dear Mr. Earley:

On Wednesday, November 14, 2007 FOX TV broadcast an unprecedented, incredibly offensive and outrageous lie about Americans of Polish descend and the Polish Nation as a whole (“ it’s in your Polish blood, like kielbasa and collaborating with the Nazis”). That statement is deeply insulting, demeaning and an inaccurate portrayal of history.

It is outrageous that this remark was allowed to appear on a national show.

On September 1, 1939 Poland was brutally invaded by the Third Reich, and later on September 17, 1939 by the Soviets as whole world looked on, leaving Poland to defend for itself. Neither France nor Great Britain stepped in to help like had been promised. Although, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany, no direct military action was rendered. During World War II three million Poles and three million Polish Jews perished as a result of German occupation. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where giving any kind of help to the Jews resulted in execution of the helper and his or her family. Despite such circumstances, thousands of Poles hide the Jews in their homes or helped to find another shelter and provided food for them. More Poles than people of any other nation came to the aid of Jews seeking safe place. The number of “Polish” trees in the Righteous Among Nations Garden in the Yad Vashem speaks for itself. Among 15 thousand trees from 34 nations, 5 thousand are Polish. The collaboration with the Nazis popular in different countries of Europe was unknown in Poland where there was no Polish Militias, no Polish SS Division and no Polish “Quisling”.

As the President of Polish Teachers Association in America, the organization that for 55 years has made a valuable impact on development of future generation of Polish Americans, I strongly protest against such untruthful statement and request full apology from the President of the Fox Network, its management and writers.


Helena Ziolkowska
President of Polish Teachers Association in America

Covering up slaughter, with a little help from the CBC

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This response to CBC's gutting of Beyond the Red Wall appeared in Canada's National Post newspaper on Friday, Nov. 23. We really couldn't have said it better ourselves; David Matas' shoot-from-the-hip approach is always refreshing and nakedly honest to boot.

Covering up slaughter, with a little help from the CBC

David Matas
National Post

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey denies the Armenian genocide. Sudan pretends the ongoing genocide in Darfur is not happening. The Soviet Union maintained that there was no forced famine in Ukraine. Neo-Nazis claim the Holocaust never happened. The pattern is predictable. Genocide Watch has identified eight stages of genocide. The last is denial.

The massive crimes that China has inflicted on the Falun Gong spiritual group follow this pattern. David Kilgour and I have written a report titled Bloody Harvest in which we showed that China has been killing the Falun Gong by the tens of thousands since 2000 for their organs. The organs are sold for huge sums, mostly to foreign tourists, for transplants. Beijing denies it all.

Bloody Harvest has been supported by two independent researchers -- Kirk Allison at the University of Minnesota and U.K. transplant surgeon Tom Treasure. All the evidence on which we relied is independently verifiable and available on our Web site,

Since the first version of our report came out in July, 2006, David Kilgour and I have been to over 40 countries publicizing its results. No one anywhere has refuted our report.

The Chinese government and its fellow travellers have responded with disinformation, denials and clumsy attempts at censorship. Beijing systematically tries to get our events cancelled. If that fails, it seeks to introduce its own propaganda into every forum to which we are invited.

When the CBC announced that it was broadcasting a TV documentary about China's persecution of the Falun Gong that featured our report, it was predictable that the Chinese censorship machine would get into gear. What was not predictable was that the CBC would pay attention to it.

Beijing leaned on the CBC and the network pulled the originally scheduled Nov. 6 broadcast. It was replaced with an old documentary on Pakistan because, so the CBC spokesman said, recent turmoil in Pakistan made the rebroadcast timely.

But timeliness was not the concern. The CBC went back to the documentary's producer, Peter Rowe, and asked for changes. The changes he made weren't enough. So the CBC made more changes on its own.

The CBC version of the documentary was broadcast on Nov. 20. Since the original version is now available on YouTube, it is possible to compare the two.

The CBC's deletions were telling. One expunged segment was the playing of tapes of telephone admissions from hospitals in China acknowledging that they were selling Falun Gong organs. (Chinese government denials remained in the CBC version.)

The additions were typical Chinese propaganda. The CBC on its own, for instance, added this screen to the documentary: "Amnesty International does not have conclusive evidence to back up the allegation the Falun Gong are killed for their organs." (It should be obvious that Amnesty's silence is not evidence of anything. The organization does not claim to be an encyclopedia of all human rights violations.)

The CBC claimed that the changes it made strengthened the documentary. But that is not what happened. Instead, the CBC has weakened itself.

-David Matas is a Winnipeg lawyer.

© National Post 2007

Beyond the Red Wall Saga

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just minutes before Peter Rowe's Beyond the Red Wall was going to air last Tuesday, following some phone calls from the Chinese Embassy in Canada, CBC pulled the plug. Rowe, and many others who believe in Canada's national broadcasting company, were shocked and dismayed. It appeared to be a textbook case of bowing the ever-present Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pressure tactics, but many never expected it from this network. Some, like conservative commentator Peter Worthington, were not surprised. The Canadian Association of Journalists was "disappointed" at CBC's apparent act of self-censorship. Thousands made calls, and wrote letters and faxes to CBC.

And in the end, democracy has apparently prevailed. CBC covered itself, saying it simply wanted to review the material (despite it having already been aired more than once, in low-viewership timeslots), and Rowe agreed to minor changes that he says will not hurt the documentary at all; his statement makes it clear that he has agreed to CBC's party line on the issue.

So, it looks like the slightly-modified documentary will now tentatively air on November 20 (According to Associated Press via International Herald Tribune) or November 22, according to The Toronto Star, and it has also received a nice amount of publicity ahead of time -- courtesy, ironically, of the CCP -- but more importantly, of course, of the thousands of concerned Canadian citizens that lent their voices to the cause.

As of the morning of November 10, Google News clocked 102 articles about the this Beyond the Red Wall saga. Even the CBC had its own, decently-done article. Well done team! However, we're still waiting for CBC to return the documentary's website to its proper form.

Let's see what happens. Please tune in on November 20, or 22. We'll keep you updated. Let's hope for no false starts this time.

CBC Documentary

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We have to admit that we are unabashedly thrilled to find out that Peter Rowe's movie, several years in the making, is finally coming out. And, it's airing soon, for Canadians: Tuesday November 6 at 10pm ET/PT and Saturday November 10 at 11pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld.

"This discrimination against and attempted elimination of a peaceful worldwide group, whose motto is 'Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance,' is Chinese governmental policy," said multi-award-winning filmmaker Peter Rowe. "I needed to investigate that and bring it more into the public eye as the most monumental, non-wartime human rights abuse of our time." - from the News Release below.

FOCUSED: Peter Rowe filming at World Falun Dafa Day on site
in Toronto, in May 2005. (Jan Jekielek/The Epoch Times)


New film from Peter Rowe, BEYOND THE RED WALL: The Persecution of Falun Gong, looks into the torture and killing of thousands

China's attempts to eliminate the peaceful practice of Falun Gong illuminated on CBC Newsworld's The Lens, Tuesday, November 6, 2007
October 2, 2007 (Toronto): Chinese officials deny capturing, interrogating, beating, imprisoning, killing and selling the organs of thousands of practitioners of Falun Gong, an ancient method of exercise and meditation for health and well-being. The evidence, however, in Peter Rowe's new film, BEYOND THE RED WALL: The Persecution of Falun Gong, shows the opposite. The one-hour documentary, airing on CBC Newsworld's The Lens on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 10:00pm , exposes the ongoing governmental persecution of thousands, including a Canadian citizen, who have suffered in China's attempt to eliminate the peaceful practise of Falun Gong.

"This discrimination against and attempted elimination of a peaceful worldwide group, whose motto is 'Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance,' is Chinese governmental policy," said multi-award-winning filmmaker Peter Rowe. "I needed to investigate that and bring it more into the public eye as the most monumental, non-wartime human rights abuse of our time."

Persecution of Falun Gong in Tienanmen Square (

British Columbia human rights lawyer Clive Ansley believes the world should not be sending athletes to the Beijing Olympics in the fact of such extreme violations of human rights. BEYOND THE RED WALL follows up on the shocking allegations, supported by a report co-authored by lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, that Chinese authorities have removed the corneas, kidneys and other body parts from living prisoners for sale to Chinese and foreign buyers.

Falun Gong, which is apolitical, informal, free of charge, run by volunteers, and practised by millions in some 60 countries, was outlawed in China in 1999. In 2000, Canadian artist Kunlun Zhang, a visiting McGill University professor and Falun Gong practitioner, was arrested on a visit to China. Irwin Cotler, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada from 1997 to 2004, was instrumental in spearheading the movement that freed Professor Kunlun from a Chinese labour camp in 2001.

What 7 hours of electric baton torture to the face will do to you
Gao Rongrong was killed for having these photos and testimony published

Other political figures who speak out in BEYOND THE RED WALL include U.S. Congress members Chris Smith and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Zhang Weidong, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Canada; and Canadian reporter Ian Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Falun Gong in the Wall Street Journal.

Despite protests by such groups as Amnesty International and individual activists such as Richard Gere, the horrors continue. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners remain imprisoned in China.

BEYOND THE RED WALL: The Persecution of Falun Gong is written, produced and directed by Peter Rowe in association with CBC Television, Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Film, and Canada and Ontario Tax Credits. Rowe previously produced "Popcorn with Maple Syrup" for CBC and is currently the producer of "Angry Planet," now in its second season on OLN. The Lens, CBC Newsworld's documentary showcase, airs Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT (repeated Saturdays at 4:00am & 9:00am ET & Sundays at 4:00am ET).

For further information, downloadable or CD photos and DVD screeners, please contact:

Janice Kaye,, 416.697.6098

On the CBC website:
About Peter Rowe: