Take Action: Letter to the International Olympic Committee

24 November 2007

Dear Friend:

Below is a self-explanatory letter to the International Olympic Committee listing major concerns affecting the international community and arising out of appalling policies of the Beijing government, which are only now garnering international attention. Please consider co-signing this letter to indicate your solidarity with those who are determined “never again” to stand idly by and turn its eyes away from genocide as the world did from 1931 to 1945. Your support in advancing the cause of human dignity is invaluable at this crucial time and it is greatly appreciated.

Clive Ansley
US-CANADA Chair, Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
China Country Monitor for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

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Mr. Jacques Rogge, President
Members of the International Olympic Committee
Chateau De Vidy, Case Postale 356
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Fax: +41-21-621-6216
jacques.rogge@ioc.olympic.org

Dear Mr. Rogge and members of the IOC:

On November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, News Director of the Beijing Olympics media center, responded to western criticism of religious restrictions previously announced by Beijing, saying that the Chinese Communist government would now allow athletes and tourists to bring religious objects for personal use during the Olympics. However, this policy will not apply to Falun Gong practitioners: “Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden,” and “Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China.” (AP)

We are distressed at this policy which is in direct violation of article 5 of the Olympic Charter, which states that: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” As well, Article 36 of China’s own constitution declares that citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief,” and that, “No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”

The persecution of Chinese citizens who practise Falun Gong constitutes a violation of China’s constitution by the Beijing government. That persecution of Chinese citizens is well known. However, the host country for the 2008 Olympic Games has now extended its discriminatory religious policies to the entire international community through these recent declarations. Beijing, as host country is saying that while participating foreign athletes who are Christians will be allowed to bring bibles into the Olympic Village and to practise their faith while residing there, foreign athletes who are Falun Gong practitioners will not be allowed to bring Falun Gong materials or to practise their Falun Gong exercises. In fact, foreign athletes who are adherents of Falun Gong may not be allowed to participate in the Games at all. This is eerily reminiscent of the situation which obtained before and during the Nazi Olympics of 1936 in Berlin. Within Germany, Hitler barred Jewish citizens from competing for places on the German Olympic team. Unlike his contemporary counterparts in Beijing with respect to Falun Gong, Hitler did not go so far as to impose restrictions on Jewish competitors from other countries. Nevertheless, his discriminatory racial and religious policies within Germany itself provoked a widespread call in the United States for a boycott of the Nazi Olympics and many Jewish athletes refused to participate.

Not only does this latest order further demonstrate the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to fulfil its 2001 promise to the IOC to improve human rights in China, but also it is clear proof that any hope of improving Chinese human rights through the Olympics is futile because of Beijing’s total and demonstrable insincerity. You may recall that in April 2007, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Service issued a black list barring ‘antagonistic elements’ from attending the Games including adherents of Falun Gong, “religious infiltrators” and others. Although this was a clear violation of the Olympic Charter, we are unaware of any declaration by the International Olympic Committee that it will enforce that Charter or that the IOC is at all concerned about the fact that Beijing has trampled upon the Charter.

Li Zhanjun’s response clearly demonstrates that the Chinese government’s policy of persecuting Falun Gong and its practitioners continues unabated. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overtly extended the regime’s persecution of Falun Gong to the Olympics – a most noble institution that is respected worldwide. Such abuse and discrimination against the followers of a peaceful spiritual teaching not only trash the Olympic Spirit, but also constitute a spurning of fundamental morality and ethics in the international society. Having called upon the world not to politicize the Olympics, Beijing’s leaders have persistently, continuously and consistently turned their hosting of the Games into a totally political propaganda extravaganza designed to glorify, whitewash, and strengthen their single party dictatorship. They have from the outset exploited the opportunity afforded them by the IOC in precisely the same way as Goebbels and Hitler before them.

Therefore, we call on the IOC:

* to require Beijing to rescind its policy of barring Falun Gong from the Olympics which constitutes a severe breach of the Olympic Charter;
* to re-consider the eligibility of the Communist regime to stage the Olympic Games, given the steadily worsening human rights situation in China today;
* to discuss the possibility of holding the Olympics in another nation.

We also urge the international community and athletes from around the world to condemn Beijing’s trashing of the Olympic spirit and its scorn for the Olympic Charter.

The whole world is about to learn what religious repression “made in China” means. Beijing’s characterization of Falun Gong as “illegal” is a clumsy attempt to justify a pogrom of government sanc-tioned violence and persecution. There is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or in any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China. It is “illegal” only because the top leadership declared it to be “illegal”, and no Chinese court has the authority to interpret the Constitution and overturn the fiats of the top leaders. No judicial process was ever involved in rendering Falun Gong “illegal”.

It is clear that the Chinese regime must stop using the Olympics as a cover for launching a crackdown on peaceful people of faith both in China and abroad and to halt the persecution of Falun Gong and all Chinese citizens.

Hence, we, the undersigned, believe that the IOC has the moral obligation to bring the true Olympic spirit to the Chinese people as set forth in the Olympic Charter. It’s not too late for the IOC to renegotiate the location of the Olympics and bring some well-deserved sobriety and human dignity into this situation for the sake of the Chinese people and our proud athletes.

Previous Olympics devolved into propaganda bonanzas for dictatorial hosts, such as the Nazis in 1936 and the Soviets in 1980, rather than promoting the universal celebration of peaceful competition and sport for people of all colours and creeds in accordance with the Olympic ideal. Beijing cannot possibly expect to freely continue with rampant political oppression, mass executions, forced abortions, illicit organ harvesting, religious persecution and a slew of other human rights abuses, while attempting to present a civilized face to the world as host of the Summer Games in 2008.

Sincerely,
Clive Ansley
US-CANADA Chair, Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
China Country Monitor for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Crimes against humanity and the Olympics cannot coexist in China
http://humanrightstorch.org http://cipfg.org

Ottawa Citizen, Canada – What we know about organ harvesting in China

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
David Matas and David Kilgour
Citizen Special

The argument by Glen McGregor in Saturday’s Citizen (“Inside China’s ‘crematorium'”) is that the government of China must not be found guilty by world opinion to be pillaging organs from Falun Gong practitioners on the basis of circumstantial evidence, no matter how overwhelming. He wants to see a smoking scalpel, a confessing surgeon or a surviving organ “donor.”

Unfortunately, none of this kind of evidence is available. The medical professionals involved are complicit in murder and are not going to talk about it. There are no surviving organ donors from the Falun Gong community across China.

The world is not a criminal courtroom, but our report, “Bloody Harvest,” (which we prepared on a volunteer basis) concludes, based on evidence which is independently verifiable and available on our website (www.organharvestinvestigation.net), that the party-state in China and its agencies have over six years put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and sold their vital organs for high prices, sometimes to “organ tourists” from abroad.

Consider some of the avenues of proof and disproof available:

China’s government is a systematic and extensively documented human rights violator; the government has reduced financing to the health system substantially since 1980; organ transplants are a major source of new funds.

The government has given the military the green light to raise money privately. The military is heavily involved in organ transplants.

Corruption across China is a major problem, with the latest Transparency International ranking (2007) placing China behind 71 other countries in its corruption perception index. There is huge money to be made from transplants and the lack of effective controls over corruption.

There is no self-governing disciplinary body for Chinese transplant ethics. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, China’s minister of health (Zhang Wenkang) was president of the Chinese Medical Association (the sponsor of Mr. McGregor’s trip to China). There has been no independence for the CMA from the party-state since Mao Zedong took power in 1949.

The government has long taken the organs of criminals sentenced to death without their consent. The Falun Gong constitutes an additional prison population which the authorities vilify and dehumanize even more than executed prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences.

There is no organized system of organ donations in China. There is a strong cultural aversion to organ donation, which explains why there is such a shortage of organs for transplantation among the largest national population on earth.

Hospital websites post self-incriminating information, boasting a matter of days and weeks for waiting times for all organs for large payments, ranging from $30,000 U.S. for corneas to $180,000 for liver-kidney combinations. In other countries, waits are months and years.

Organ recipients we interviewed told us about the secrecy with which transplant surgery is undertaken and the heavy involvement of the military.

The practice of selling organs in China was legal until July 1, 2006. The new law banning the selling of organs appears to be unenforced.

The Communist Party of China sees Falun Gong as an ideological threat to its existence. Objectively, Falun Gong is a set of exercises with a spiritual component. Persecution of the Falun Gong since mid-1999 is a party-state decided and decreed policy.

Falun Gong practitioners are victims of systematic torture and ill treatment in forced labour camps. Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested in huge numbers. They are often detained without trial or charge until they renounce their beliefs. There are thousands of named, identified Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of torture.

Many practitioners, in attempts to protect their families and communities, have not identified themselves once arrested. These unidentified individuals are a particularly vulnerable population.
Falun Gong practitioners in custody are regularly blood tested and physically examined. Because they are also systematically tortured, this cannot be motivated by concerns over their health.

Traditional sources of transplants — executed prisoners, donors and the brain dead — come nowhere near to explaining the total number of transplants across China. The only other identified source which can explain the skyrocketing transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners.

In a few cases, between death and cremation, family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see the mutilated corpses of their loved ones. Organs had been removed.

We had callers phoning hospitals across China posing as family members of persons who needed organ transplants. In a variety of locations, those who were called asserted that Falun Gong practitioners (reputedly healthy because of their exercise regime) were the source of the organs. We have recordings and telephone bills for these calls.

We interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon, who said her husband personally removed the corneas from approximately 2,000 anaesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in Sujiatun hospital in Shenyang City during the two-year period before October, 2003. Her testimony was credible to us.

There have been two investigations independent from our own which have addressed the same question we have addressed, that is, whether there is organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. One is by Dr. Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota, another by a European Parliament vice-president, Edward McMillan-Scott. Both came to the same conclusion that we did.

It is easy to take each element in isolation, and say that this element or that does not prove the claim. It is their combination which led us to the chilling conclusion to which we came.

Our report has 25 recommendations for precautions which should be introduced to prevent the pillaging of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. Organ seizures from Falun Gong practitioners across China are happening. And they must stop.

David Kilgour represented southeast Edmonton in Parliament for 27 years and was Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), 2002-2003. David Matas is a Winnipeg-based international human rights lawyer.

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=7cd6b2fa-2f14-4b5d-a2cf-b4e452545c0c

Posting date: 11/29/2007
Original article date: 11/29/2007
Category: News & Media Reports