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Chinese Student Sentenced for Photographing US Military Base, Raising Questions About His Military Ties

Freshmen practice fighting skills during a military training at a university in Gaochun County in coastal China’s Jiangsu Province, on Sept. 25, 2008. (China Photos/Getty Images)

BY FRANK FANG, EPOCH TIMES

February 7, 2019 Updated: February 7, 2019

A Chinese exchange student who was recently sentenced for illegally photographing a U.S. naval facility in Florida hailed from a Chinese university with deep ties to China’s military.

Zhao Qianli, 21, a Chinese national from Shanxi Province, was sentenced to a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to photographing defense installations at the U.S. Naval Air Station Key West, according to a Feb. 5 press release by the U.S. Department of Justice. He also must complete a year of supervised release.

Zhao was arrested on Sept. 26, 2018, after trespassing at the Navy base and using his cellphone and a digital camera to take pictures. He was found to have overstayed his visa after studying at a summer exchange program.

The program had ended in September, according to a Feb. 5 article by the Miami Herald; the U.S. school where Zhao was studying wasn’t disclosed.

After serving his sentence, Zhao will be deported. If he’s allowed to reenter the United States by officials, he must report to a U.S. probation office within 72 hours of arriving.

The judge handed Zhao the statutory maximum term of one year, higher than the sentencing guidelines of zero to six months for his offense. The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami had submitted a memorandum requesting that Zhao be given a nine-month sentence, due to his atypical behaviors and to reflect the seriousness of the offense.

Zhao had claimed that he was just a tourist who got lost while visiting the area. But according to court documents, none of the photos and videos found on his cell phone and digital cameras were of any tourist attraction sites in Key West. There were only photos of the Navy base and an antenna field on the base.

Witnesses said they saw Zhao walk directly toward the restricted area where the antenna field was located and took photos—despite a sign clearly indicating the area was restricted.

Zhao wasn’t forthcoming about many details when questioned by U.S. officials. Regarding his education background in China, Zhao stated that he was in the fourth year of his music undergraduate study at the North University of China. Yet, his visa application showed that he began his studies there in 2017, according to court documents.

During questioning, Zhao admitted to having received military training as a university student in China—a fact he failed to disclose on his visa application.

U.S. officials also found photos on his phone of uniformed individuals, in what appears to be military training in China, as well as “documentation of a university engineering course curriculum.” When questioned, Zhao said he had no recollection of how those photos and documents got onto his phone.

Officials also confronted him with a police blouse and a belt buckle indicating it belonged to a Chinese government ministry; both were recovered at the Miami Beach hotel where he was staying.

Zhao claimed the items were given to him by his father so he could “have nice clothes” to wear while in the United States.

Chinese Military Ties

The North University of China, which Zhao attended, has deep ties to China’s military, going back more than 50 years to the founding of the Chinese regime.

According to the university’s official website, the school was founded by the Eighth Route Army, a division under the command of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The school was later renamed Taiyuan Institute of Machinery in 1958.

In 1963, the school was transferred to the administration of the National Defense, Technology, and Industry Committee, a central government agency. It became one of eight colleges considered key to China’s defense industry at the time.

Since 2011, the Shanxi provincial government and China’s State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) have had joint administration over the school. The latter is a central government agency tasked with drafting guidelines and policies that strengthen China’s military forces with more advanced equipment.

In June 2015, North University made headlines in Chinese media when the school hosted a ceremony to transfer its research results to the Chinese military: a new 125mm multi-purpose cannon with anti-aircraft and anti-tank capabilities. The school headed development of the new cannon, with support from more than 10 other Chinese defense technology research centers, according to the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily.

The school continues to enjoy close ties to the military. In October 2018, the school’s president, Shen Xingquan, signed agreements with China’s state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry (CASIC)—known for developing China’s missiles—to enhance the transfer of technological development to the military from academia, according to the school website.

The school also announced in December last year that two professors were awarded a total of 2.48 billion yuan (about $367 million) in funding by SASTIND for defense-technology related projects.

Beijing’s National Policies

North University also participates in Beijing’s current national development and recruitment policies, ”Made in China 2025” and the “Thousand Talents Plan.”

On Jan. 13, 2019, Shen, while giving a speech at the school about the establishment of a provincial association for scientists and entrepreneurs to foster artificial intelligence-enhanced manufacturing, said that it’s vital for the association to help implement the “Made in China 2025” policy.

He said he envisioned the association taking the lead in improving the time it takes to turn patented technologies into actual products, so that the province “would not lag in the progress of ‘Made in China 2025.’” According to the school’s website, Shen was appointed to be the association’s deputy chairman.

The “Made in China 2025” industrial policy was announced in 2015, with goals for China to achieve self-sufficiency in 10 tech-manufacturing sectors by 2025, including advanced information technology, robotics, and automated machine tools.

The plan, however, has been criticized by the U.S. administration for undermining fair competition in the global market, and abetting the theft of technology and trade secrets.

In December 2008, Beijing rolled out the “Thousand Talents Plan,” a state recruitment program to attract primarily Chinese science and technology talents who studied or lived abroad to work in China. Since then, the plan has recruited more than 7,000 people for employment at a university, research institute, or state-owned enterprise, according to the program’s website.

According to the official website of China’s Ministry of National Defense, two staff members were recruited under the plan to North University by July 2011.

In an April 2015 article, China’s state-run Shanxi News Net reported that Wang Wanjun, a professor at North University, was recruited by the talent program from Louisiana State University. Upon Wang’s return to China, North University established a lithography center, as well as a lithography company—after successfully obtaining 10 million yuan (about $1.48 million) in funding. Lithography is an important manufacturing step in the production of semiconductor chips.

In the Shanxi News article, Wang said the reason he decided to return to China was because the school provided him with the platform “to serve his country and start a business.”

According to Chinese news portal Baidu, Wang was recruited by the talent program in 2010.

The “Thousand Talents Plan” has since been flagged by U.S. officials as a means to transfer U.S. technology and intellectual properties to China.

Crusading Hong Kong Cardinal Receives US Award for Pro-Religious Freedom, Anti-Chinese Communist, Activism

Cardinal Joseph Zen, recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom during the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s ceremony in his honor, at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

BY MATTHEW VADUM

January 29, 2019 Updated: January 29, 2019

WASHINGTON—Honoring years of campaigning against Chinese Communist repression of religious freedom, the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation presented Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun with a prestigious award for his heroic activism.

The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong received the foundation’s highest honor, the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, at a Capitol Hill ceremony Jan. 28.

The medal is bestowed annually on “those individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a life-long commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny,” according to the foundation, an educational and human-rights nonprofit organization. The late pope, Saint John Paul II, whose bold stand against world communism helped to topple the Soviet Union, was a past recipient of the medal.

Marion Smith, the foundation’s executive director, said Zen has “given voice to those denied religious liberty and has opposed the collusion of the Vatican and Chinese Communist Party on the matter of ecclesiastical appointments.”

Chen Guangcheng, blind Chinese civil rights activist and lawyer (R), greets Cardinal Joseph Zen, recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Hong Kong Autonomy

The 87-year-old cleric said he was worried about the future of Hong Kong because the autonomy that Beijing promised to protect is slipping away.

Although “true” Marxism no longer exists in mainland China, “the atheist persecutor dictatorship remains,” and is cracking down on religion throughout the country, including in Hong Kong, whose preexisting rights and freedoms Beijing vowed to respect for at least 50 years in 1997, when the United Kingdom ceded the territory to China.

“Of the promised high degree of autonomy, very little remains,” Zen said. “We are soon to become just one of the cities in China.”

“I want to remember many of those heroes who are suffering at this moment in China or Hong Kong for voicing their claim for respect of their dignity, for freedom, and for democracy—those well-known and those anonymous heroes.”

Cardinal Joseph Zen, recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom speaks at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s ceremony in his honor, at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Religious Repression

Beijing seeks to subordinate all churches to Communist Party control and employs officials whose job is to oversee those religious institutions. The Chinese regime openly interferes in the affairs of that nation’s estimated 12 million Catholics and has arrested and persecuted church officials. Zen has been a leading critic of this policy.

In the fall, the Vatican and the ruling Communist Party reportedly signed a provisional deal allowing Beijing to effectively appoint a limited number of bishops, a move that has been criticized by that nation’s Christians, who warn that it will only encourage more officially-sanctioned religious repression.

In September last year, Zen described the pact as “a complete surrender” by the Vatican, as well as an “incredible betrayal” of the Catholic faith.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the co-chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in December 2018 that China’s Communist Party is now engaged in “the most comprehensive attempt to manipulate and control—or destroy—religious communities since Chairman Mao Zedong made the eradication of religion a goal of his disastrous Cultural Revolution half a century ago.”

Zen told reporters Jan. 28 that he’s wary of the agreement, which suggests the Catholic Church in Hong Kong “will need a blessing from Beijing” to name bishops. “This suggests Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ principle is about to disappear,” he said.

“I hope the Vatican will stand their ground and appoint a bishop who can truly lead our diocese and protect our religious life.”

Zen said he is praying for Pope Francis, whom he met with at the Vatican earlier this month, to do the right thing. The Holy See hasn’t answered his letters, in which he objected to the pact about appointing bishops, he said.

“They’re making their own judgment on matters that I disagree with,” he said. “We Catholics are praying for [the pope]. With God’s blessings, we pray he won’t make mistakes.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) speaks at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom award ceremony, honoring the retired Cardinal of Hong Kong Joseph Zen at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

‘Tremendous Leader’

In an interview with The Epoch Times at the awards ceremony, Rep. Smith explained why the cardinal deserved to be honored.

“Cardinal Zen, for years, even before he became the bishop of Hong Kong, has been a tremendous leader for all faiths believing that religious freedom is a fundamentally recognized human right, which China has agreed to. He has spoken out on behalf of everyone, not just Catholics, and I think that makes a difference. We are all in this together.

“The repression that has been unleashed … has crushed so many people’s lives, not just through murder and through torture and long jail sentences, but their hopes and aspirations are thwarted because of this dictatorship.

“I think Cardinal Zen inspires all of us, people inside of China, as well as outside, to do more on behalf of religious freedom.”

A representative of the Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) spiritual practice, which Zen has defended, said the cardinal deserves the award.

“Cardinal Zen is known to be a very righteous and outspoken figure in Hong Kong,” said Kan Hung-cheung of the Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa.

Kan recalled how Zen spoke up when the Chinese regime began its persecution of Falun Gong in mainland China in 1999. The regime’s propaganda initially had an effect on Hong Kong’s population, and Falun Gong practitioners faced a hostile environment. Nonetheless, Zen defended them.

“When [the Chinese Communist Party] started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, the then-Bishop Zen came up to defend the universal values of truthfulness-compassion-forbearance [the core principles of Falun Gong] and the freedom of religion of Falun Gong, and strongly objected to and criticized the Hong Kong government on the intended suppression.”

Zen has helped to ameliorate the repression suffered by Falun Gong practitioners. “We very much appreciate his support of us in so many years,” Kan said.

Zen said that receiving the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom will give his fellow Chinese Catholics hope.

Zen was asked by The Epoch Times if his receipt of the award would have an impact on religious freedom in China and Hong Kong.

“Sure,” Zen replied, “because I got everybody to promise to pray for us and I hope you get informed and always be concerned. That’s important for us, because we need the support of everyone.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) (R) speaks with former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom award ceremony honoring the retired Cardinal of Hong Kong Joseph Zen at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Chinese Moves to Organize Via WeChat Worry Local Communist Authorities

Using the internet and social media for mass organization, especially at the local level, is worrying for the authorities. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

BY NICOLE HAO

January 16, 2019 Updated: January 16, 2019

Officials in Muchuan County, in southwestern China, are telling local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organizations to prevent people from organizing through WeChat, a popular Chinese social-media site.

On Jan. 10, the CCP committee in Muchuan, which is located in Leshan City of Sichuan Province, alerted its organizations in all of the county’s townships and villages, requesting that committees exert control the people’s ideological thought, maintain control over social media, and lead public opinion.

The alert, aimed at preventing local residents from mobilizing in protest, comes as part of the communist regime’s attempts to win on “the battlefield of public opinion.” The recent economic downturn in China has exacerbated social conflicts under the CCP’s authoritarian and corruption-ridden rule.

Residents of Muchuan’s 195 villages had set up chat groups on WeChat for each community, which sparked the alert. The local government became wary of the chat groups’ existence and ordered all villagers to leave them, citing the danger of fraud.

Using the internet and social media for mass mobilization, especially at the local level, is troubling to the authorities. The CCP is extremely wary of the threat posed by local organizing in reaction to cases of corruption, environmental damage, and other causes of unrest. In China, tens of thousands of civil disturbances are registered every year, with some involving tens of thousands of people.

“The battlefield of public opinion” is a concept created by Mao Zedong, the founding leader of communist China. In nearly 70 years of governance, the CCP has taken “victory” on that battlefield to be of utmost importance for its propaganda agencies and censorship of discussion.

The CCP controls which films, TV programs, radio, newspaper, books, magazines, and the websites people are allowed to access; the internet has become a new “battlefield” of public discourse. Millions of internet police monitor the regime’s “Great Firewall” to ensure that netizens don’t post politically sensitive content or visit banned websites.

On Jan. 10, China’s Cyberspace Administration announced regulations to manage blockchain technology, requiring registration of real names and identification. After the rules come into effect on Feb. 15, violations will be punishable by fines or prison.

In November 2016, Chinese authorities published the Internet Security Law, which was implemented starting June 1, 2017. That May, authorities announced their Provisions for the Administration of Internet News Information Services, which was implemented the same day as the Internet Security Law.

In January 2011, CCP updated its Administration of Internet Information Services Procedures, which was first published in September 2000.

On Jan. 8, the Cyberspace Administration published an article asking all its officials and clerks “to defend the battlefield of public opinion” by use of all available technology, including capturing video by drone, making short videos, virtual reality, HTML5, and other methods.

The article said “the battlefield” should combine radio, television, newspaper, internnet, Weibo, WeChat, and computing clients.

Canadian MP in China Says Not Business As Usual

Detained Canadians Granted Consular Visit; Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, who is detained in China, in a file photo taking part in an interview from Yangi, China March 2, 2017. (AP Photo)

BY OMID GHOREISHI, EPOCH TIMES

January 8, 2019 Updated: January 8, 2019

TORONTO—Canadian MP Michael Cooper, who is in China as part of a legislative delegation, says it’s encouraging news that one of the detained Canadians in China was granted consular visit, adding that the delegation has told Chinese officials it’s not business as usual while the Canadians remain detained.

Global Affairs Canada said on Jan. 8 that Canadian consular officials met with Michael Spavor, who along with Michael Kovrig were detained and charged with endangering China’s national security after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on an extradition request by the United States.

“The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these two Canadians since last month and continues to call for their immediate release,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Amy Mills said in a statement.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Conservative MP Cooper and other Canadian lawmakers were scheduled to visit China as part of a routine parliamentary delegation visit before China detained the Canadians. Cooper said Global Affairs Canada told them it’s fine to continue with their visit, and the delegation used this opportunity to call for the release of the Canadians.

“In the course of meetings that we had with Chinese officials, we conveyed the position of the government of Canada, which was to call for the immediate release of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig, and to emphasize the fact that it is unacceptable that Mr. Spavor and Mr Kovrig, up until the last few hours, were more ore less unable to access consular services, denied access to a lawyer, or are in conditions that are completely unacceptable,” Cooper said.

As part of their agenda, the delegation met with officials from Shanghai People’s Congress, where they spoke with the deputy director general. Cooper characterized the reaction from the Chinese as being the same as that of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa: “long on criticism in terms of the arrest of Ms. Meng, and very short on details with respect to the details of the detention of Mr. Spavor and Mr, Kovrig.” But he said it was important for the delegation to express Canada’s concern.

Cooper rejected what he called suggestions in media reports that the delegation went to China to “go along and get along” or that the issue of the detained Canadians wasn’t part of the official agenda.

“There really is nothing on our official agenda except the people whom we are meeting with…and what was discussed at the meetings we had with Chinese officials were the cases of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor,” Cooper said.

Cooper, who visited China in 2017 as part of another delegation, said the tone of the visit this time was quite different, saying “it’s not a business as usual delegation.”

He added that the case of other detained Canadians in China, such as Sun Qian, an adherent of Falun Dafa and Huseyincan Celil, a Canadian of Uyghur Chinese ethnicity, are also serious cases impacting Canada’s relations with China.

“They all involve arbitrary detentions, they all speak to a lack of due process, and they remain ongoing, and of course those cases including and these cases, do impact the relationship.”

Allies Voice Support

In a phone conversation on Jan. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump discussed the “unlawful detention of two Canadian citizens in China,” and agreed to continue to seek their release, according to statements released by their offices.

In its statement on Jan. 8, Global Affairs Canada thanked the allies who have added their voice in support of the detained Canadians.

“Canada continues to express its appreciation to those who have spoken in support of these detained individuals and the rule of law, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the EU, the United States, and Australia,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Mills said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said on Dec. 14 that China’s detention of Canadians is unacceptable, and that the United States will work toward returning them home.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland asked for the “immediate release” of the two Canadians on Dec. 21.

Cooper said he wished Canada’s government had spoken out earlier to ask for the release of the detained Canadians.

“Frankly, it’s disappointing that while Secretary Pompeo took a very clear stand, the Trudeau government dithered. But that being said, I do believe that our Global Affairs Canada, consular officials, embassy officials, are doing what they can do in difficult circumstances,” he said.

Czech Lawmakers Urged to Call for End to Chinese Regime’s Crimes Against Humanity

A public hearing on the repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China held at Wallenstein Palace, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on Nov. 19, 2018. (Jiří Chlebníček/The Epoch Times)

December 24, 2018 Updated: December 25, 2018

PRAGUE—A nongovernmental organization has submitted a petition signed by more than 38,000 people to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, asking lawmakers to condemn the crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese regime.

The petition submitted to the legislative bodies is the most recent of several petitions. Since January, 2,000 Czech activists have collected more than 170,000 signatures of Czech citizens, public figures, and politicians. They are demanding an end to the violent repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement at the hands of the Chinese communist regime.

In response to the petition, on Nov. 19, a public hearing was held at Wallenstein Palace and a seminar in the Chamber of Deputies, which were attended by experts, representatives of various nongovernmental organizations, and two victims of the persecution.

The first victim to testify was Chen Zhenping, who survived 13 years in Chinese labor camps where she was imprisoned for her belief in Falun Gong. The other was Yumei Liu of Liaoning Province in China, who was arrested nine times and tortured as part of so-called “re-education” led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Her sister, father, mother, and husband were killed during the repression.

(L) and a representative of the NGO WOIPFG Haiyen Wang. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

The Chinese Embassy in Prague was invited to attend the public hearing, but didn’t respond to the invitation. The secretary of the Senate Committee called the embassy, which stated, “We take note of the invitation.” However, the embassy representative didn’t show up at the hearing.

A representative of the international human rights organization Amnesty International also was at the public hearing.

According to a statement by Amnesty International: “Falun Gong is a spiritual teaching based on traditional Chinese breathing and meditation exercises, which gained a large number of supporters in China during the 1990s. Practitioners focus on the cultivation of character by following spiritual principles such as truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—the universal principles of human existence. Falun Gong combines mental cultivation with physical cultivation (using five simple exercises).”

During the hearing, a representative of the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic, Juraj Skovajsa, discussed the rapid increase in the popularity of Falun Gong in China from 1992 to 1999, and illustrated the exercise movements and the spiritual principles of the practice. He also cited a medical study pointing to the health benefits of the Falun Gong exercises.

Journalist and researcher Ethan Gutmann (L), and representative of the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic, Juraj Skovajsa. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

Reports on the growing repression in China were summed up at the request of the petition committee by Milan Kajínek, editor-in-chief of the Czech edition of The Epoch Times.

“The repression has escalated and the Chinese regime has been carrying out arrests, imprisonment, and torture resulting in death,” Kajínek said.

R): Jiří Pokorný from the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic; Editor-in-chief of the Czech edition of the Epoch Times Milan Kajínek; Senator Václav Chaloupek. (Jiří Chlebníkek/The Epoch Times)

Amnesty International stated that the Falun Gong spiritual movement was forbidden in China after its practitioners held a peaceful assembly in Beijing in April 1999.

“The Chinese government subsequently set up a special office, the 610 Office, to oversee the persecution of Falun Gong. … In 2017, Falun Gong practitioners continued to be persecuted, arbitrarily detained, exposed to unjust lawsuits, torture and other ill-treatment,” Amnesty International said.

The Czech Helsinki Committee’s chairwoman, Lucie Rybova, also took part in the hearings; the organization monitors compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In connection with the hearing, the committee issued a statement that “calls for the termination of the persecution and the torture of Falun Gong practitioners and the adoption of a Senate resolution on the matter.”

Journalist and researcher Ethan Gutmann, an expert on China and the author of “Losing the New China” and “The Slaughter,” also spoke at the hearing. He has co-authored an investigative report on abusive organ-transplant practices in China.

“During the investigation that began in 2006, David Kilgour, David Matas, and I collected a set of evidence of approximately 1,200 pages,” Gutmann said. Using data from China and interviews with medical experts, Chinese policemen, and labor-camp refugees, the investigators have documented the massive development of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners in China.

Ethan Gutmann, investigative journalist, writer, and expert on China. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

‘Strong Pressure’ on Chinese Regime

Hayen Wang, a representative of the NGO World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), also spoke. WOIPFG investigates the crimes of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the repressive campaign of the Chinese regime against the spiritual movement of Falun Gong in China. Founded in January 2003, the New York-based organization has established a global monitoring system in 110 countries.

minister Daniel Herman in an interview with Ms. Liu (L) and representative of the NGO WOIPFG Mrs. Haiyen Wang. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

“We are urging the Czech Republic to ask the Chinese regime about organ harvesting and demand an explanation,” said Wang, who called upon the Czech Republic “to take concrete steps to thoroughly investigate crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese regime.”

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lukáš Kaucký (ČSSD) summarized the activities of the Ministry, and said that both the European Union and its delegation in Beijing are exerting strong pressure on the Chinese regime in the area of human rights, with the EU’s stance “unambiguously hardening.”

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself, according to Kaucky, has a “consistent policy” in the area of human rights, which includes calling for the “end of the persecution of persons on account of their religious beliefs, as well as ethnic minorities” and allowing the freedom of faith and other fundamental human rights and freedoms under the international declaration.

Public hearing on the repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China held at Wallenstein Palace, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on Nov. 19, 2018. (Jiří Chlebníček/The Epoch Times)

Members of Parliament from the Pirate Party were also present at the hearing. Olga Richterova, a vice-chairman of the Pirate Party, published an article on her blog after the Senate hearing, in which she responded to reports about current methods of the liquidation of dissidents that are taking place in China, by using modern transplantation techniques.

“It’s an alarming and years-long violation of all conceivable human rights, and a billion-dollar business,” she wrote.

Reforming Czech Law

Sen. Marek Hilšer said he would try to initiate an analysis of current Czech law on transplantation tourism to foreign countries, and plans to work to bring Czech law closer to the legal regulations adopted by Israel (2006) and Italy (2016).

“Not to believe that there is such a thing in China is to disbelieve our own experience with the communist totalitarian regime,” said Hilšer, in response to information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. “Politicians should talk about these things.”

Former Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, who also supports an amendment to the Transplantation Tourism Act, said: “It is very important that this discussion takes place. Personally, I have known some Czech Falun Gong adherents for several years. I am deeply convinced of the benefits of Falun Gong for society.”

A bioethicist from Charles University, Jan Payne, is also interested in the transplant law.

“What is happening in China (in the area of transplant surgery) is difficult to believe. In general, people are divided into those who do not know anything about the topic, those who do not believe it or don’t want to believe it, and those who cannot believe it,” he said.

According to Payne, there’s a need for a public discussion and to be acquainted with the results of the investigation; otherwise, it is difficult for a person to understand the allegations. He supports the adoption of the law on transplantation tourism and backs awareness-raising activities about the matter.

R) Ex-minister Daniel Herman, chairwoman of the Czech Helsinki Committee Lucie Rybová and former Czech Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková. (Jiří Chlebníček a Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

“I have personally met several former prisoners of conscience from China, and I have seen well-documented papers on this issue, as well as film documentaries, such as ‘Free China’ or ‘Hard to Believe,’” said former Czech Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková. “We need to talk about this issue and get it into the public space.

“I personally do not see any reason why the Chinese government suppresses a group that wants to physically and spiritually improve themselves as Falun Gong practitioners.”

China and US to Hold Trade Talks in Beijing Next Week

US President Donald Trump (C-R) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (C-L) along with members of their delegations, hold a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on Dec. 01, 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

BY REUTERS

January 4, 2019 Updated: January 4, 2019

BEIJING—China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, with the two countries under pressure to end a trade war.

For much of the past year, the trade war has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and stoked fears of a global economic slowdown.

A team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will come to China to have “positive and constructive discussions” with Chinese counterparts, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

In a separate statement on Friday, USTR said the delegation will also include Under Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from those agencies and the White House.

Neither statement provided more details about the talks, but in an interview with Fox News Business Network, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said the discussions will examine “the whole story,” including commodities, agriculture and industrial capital goods.

Pressure to strike a deal mounted this week after data showed slowing U.S. and Chinese manufacturing activity and as companies like Apple Inc and Cargill Inc said the trade battle was hitting earnings.

At a summit in Argentina late last year, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on additional tariffs for 90 days while they attempted to negotiate a deal.

Now China and the United States face a March deadline for talks to end the damaging trade war, or Washington could proceed with a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs and Beijing could retaliate.

Trump has said talks are progressing well, but it remained unclear if Beijing will yield to U.S. demands for more open markets, forced technology transfer and industrial subsidies. Meeting some of those demands would require difficult structural reform.

“We know what sort of changes we need. Now, the question is can we negotiate these changes and can we do so with enforcement (and) with timetables,” Kudlow said on Friday.

USTR said the delegation will include USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, and Treasury’s Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass.

By Michael Martina

Chinese Media Falsely Reports American Government Shutdown

One mainland Chinese news website claiming that U.S. President Donald Trump will close the government on December 24. The end of one sentences reads “The American government is facing the crisis of closing.” Posted on-line on Dec. 19, 2018. (Daniel Holl / The Epoch Times)

BY DANIEL HOLL

December 20, 2018 Updated: December 20, 2018

With the potential closure of the federal government on Dec. 21 due to the U.S.-Mexico wall budget, many nations are watching America intently—especially China. China’s state-run media attempted to use this as a chance to denigrate the American government, but they did not succeed due to inaccurate coverage of the story.

Chinese state-run media outlets China News Service and the Global Times reported that U.S. President Donald Trump is shutting down the government on Dec. 24, Hong Kong Economic Times reported on Dec. 19. What those media outlets didn’t realize is that this is a day when the president shuts down the government early in observance of Christmas.

The actual news is about the government possibly shutting down due to a $5 billion financing deal not yet being reached.

When the error was discovered, Chinese state-run media outlets quickly took down the story from their websites.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bolsters itself as the keystone of modern China, often telling Chinese citizens that “without the Party, there would be no China.” This self-importance and communist political-thought often carries over to its perception of other nations, assuming that a country is collapsing if the government shuts down.

Losing Face, Ruining Reputation

This is not the first time the Chinese media has made such blunders, including running stories from comedy websites and presenting digitally edited images as truth. The CCP further uses the most widely used Chinese chat app WeChat to spread propaganda and false news, including fervent nationalism to Chinese diaspora communities in English speaking nations.

Generally, the state run media in mainland China uses media to agitate its citizens about foreign affairs, and thus will quickly attempt to capitalize on negative events abroad. In an Orwellian fashion, it does not acknowledge any error or issue correction, but instead deletes mistakes from existence.

The CCP’s media reach has gone beyond its own borders, disrupting elections in Taiwan, even leading a politician to suicide. It attempts to influence American elections, including running a 4-page editorial in an Iowa newspaper.

This media influence is a long term method of warfare employed by the CCP, wherein it subtly alters people’s perception of events, and further manufactures events to validate those altered perceptions. This goes along with its ultimate goal of defeating America.

Prisoners Tortured, Drugged, Killed by Injection in Xinjiang ‘Re-Education Camps,’ Ex-Inmate Reveals

Businesswoman Gulbakhar Jalilova, 54, a former Uyghur detainee in Xinjiang, China. (Gulbakhar Jalilova)

BY ISABEL VAN BRUGEN

December 13, 2018 Updated: December 13, 2018

Uyghur women detained in China’s so-called “vocational training centers” are being psychologically and physically tortured, poisoned, and killed by injection, a former detainee has told The Epoch Times.

Uyghur and Kazakhstan national Gulbakhar Jalilova, 54, said she witnessed the atrocities during her 15-month internment in an all-female camp in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi before she was released in September.

“There were girls from my room who passed out from being beaten so hard, and had nails put into their fingers to make blood pour out,” she told The Epoch Times in a phone interview from Istanbul, Turkey.

Gulbakhar, a businesswoman who was detained in May 2017, was accused of transferring $17,000 to a company called Nur. She was released after being found innocent.

While detained, her fellow inmate named Horiyat was “put to sleep … she was killed by injection.”

“She was injected but her body was still warm, and other girls were ordered to wash her body. She just died like that in front of me,” Gulbakhar explained.

The alarming reports come after Xinjiang authorities in October moved to legalize the detention facilities, saying that they were to “educate and transform” those that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems at risk of the “three evil forces” of “extremism, separatism, and terrorism.”

Uyghurs, alongside other ethnic minorities like the Tibetans, as well as religious believers who remain outside state control, including house Christians and Falun Gong, have long been targeted by the ruling CCP for transformation through “re-education.”

At a U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing on Nov. 29, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said many observers believe the current wave of repression in China is the “the most severe since the cultural revolution.”

But Beijing has continued to push its narrative that what were its secret mass detention centers until October are actually facilities for further education in “vocational skills” such as baking and sewing—a claim which goes against multiple testimonies of former detainees, including Gulbakhar’s.

China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, told Reuters last month that the CCP is trying to “re-educate” Uyghurs to try to “turn them into normal persons (who) can go back to normal life.”

Gulbakhar told The Epoch Times she “never saw a single classroom” while detained, saying that the education claims as “complete lies.”

Read More:

Ex-Prisoner Says China’s ‘Vocational Training Centers’ a Complete Lie

It is believed “upwards of 1 million” predominantly ethnic Uyghurs are being held in the mass internment camps, according to figures quoted by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the United Nations.

Overcrowded, Dirty Conditions

After hours of interrogation over her money transfer, Gulbakhar was handcuffed, put into a yellow uniform, and taken to Urumqi’s SanKan, which she said was turned into an all-female camp a week prior to her arrival.

Conditions were overcrowded and dirty, Gulbakhar said, adding that there were “girls as young as 14—school children—and women as old as 80” in her room.

(Thread)
Gulbahar Jelilova,born in Apr 04,1964,Uyghur from Almaty,Kazakhstan,trader, deceived by Chinese police to Urumqi and taken to the camp named 三看 in May 22,2017. She detained for 465 days in total and secretly released one month ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TGtGFzOXKc …

The women, whose wrists were bleeding from 5 kilogram (11 pound) handcuffs “rubbing against their skin,” took turns to sleep every night because there wasn’t enough space for everyone to lie down.

“In that small room, there were around 40 lying down and about 15 standing up,” she said.

And the food was “nothing that a human being should eat,” Gulbakhar said, referring to the bread as hard as stone and soup made of water and cornflour that she was fed. “It was hardly enough to survive.”

Gulbakhar and her fellow inmates were woken up at 5.30 a.m. every morning, and then forced to stand in two lines and stare at a wall until 8 a.m. “No talking, no looking sideways or else you would be punished.

“They attach your handcuffs to your ankle chains so you can’t walk.”

Uyghur women were confined to their rooms all day. “The door only opens to punish you, that’s it,” she added.

Psychological and Physical Torture, Drugs and Poison

Those in her camp were forced to ingest unknown medicine daily and were injected with a substance every month which “numbs your emotions.

“The injection makes you feel like you have no memory. You don’t miss your family, you don’t feel like you want to get out. You feel nothing—it’s a very strange feeling,” Gulbakhar explained.

Speaking to The Epoch Times, Louisa Greve, Director of External Affairs at the Uyghur Human Rights Project, said the medicine is “cleansing their minds of their personal identity” while “refilling their minds with these repetitive forced loyalty declarations [to the CCP].”

Camp officials are also putting poison in detainees’ food, Gulbakhar said, after she witnessed a 41-year-old restaurant owner fall to the floor while eating.

“There were bubbles and foam coming out of the lady’s mouth as if she were poisoned. She was paralysed.”

Gulbakhar said the woman was dragged out of the room and “never came back.”

A young nurse detainee named Mabret who rushed to the woman’s aid during the episode was immediately punished by camp officials.

“Troops came with big sticks and started beating her, dragged her out of the room and continued beating her.”

Mabret was then taken to a “black hole” room—an isolation cell—where she was chained to a “tiger chair” for 10 days, Gulbakhar recalled of what the nurse had told her. Mice had been placed in the room as a method of food and sleep deprivation.

“Mabret was so scared and had to fight to keep the mice off her body. She didn’t sleep because she didn’t want to get eaten alive.”

She was only released from the isolation cell after she apologised with a letter saying that she would “do better for the CCP,” Gulbakhar explained. But after the ordeal, Mabret was never the same again.

“It was as if she went insane—she didn’t act normal. It was as if something was wrong with her, from the way she looked to the way she acted.”

Oppression of Uyghur Cultural Traditions

Detainees were banned from touching their hair while washing their face as it imitates preparation for prayer, Gulbakhar said.

“In Muslim culture, when women or men wash before prayer, they usually touch their hair to make sure they clean-up properly. The camp officials don’t want people to be like that—to prepare for prayer.”

This oppression of Uyghur tradition—the majority of whom are Sunni Muslim—comes amid other testimonies from detainees, such as Omir Bekali, who in October told The Epoch Times he was forced to denounce his faith while praising the CCP.

Germany: “I Hope the Entire World Will Cherish Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance”

2018-09-07

Falun Dafa practitioners held a large-scale parade in Frankfurt on September 1, 2018, to tell people about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China. It was a sunny day and the weekend happened to coincide with the Rheingau Wine Festival in Wiesbaden, a city located half an hour west of Frankfurt. Many locals and tourists alike were impressed by the practitioners’ performances.

 

 

 

The Tian Guo Marching Band led the parade during the Rheingau Wine Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, on September 1

Led by the Tian Guo Marching Band and followed by a procession that mourned practitioners who died as a result of the suppression, another section of the parade called for an end to the persecution. The parade started in the business district, wound its way through historic old town, passed the opera house, and ended up at the train station in the centre of the city.

Remembering practitioners who lost their lives during the suppression

Practitioners also hosted two booths in the city centre to demonstrate the exercises and collect signatures on petitions calling for an end to the persecution in China. Following the parade, the Tian Guo Marching Band performed at several popular locations, where practitioners also talked with people and urged them to help end the persecution by signing a petition.

Passersby read the Falun Dafa information, signed petitions, and asked how to learn the exercises. Several of them said, “Thank you for all your hard work.”

Opposing the Persecution

Wilfried and his wife Ruth were disturbed by the banners about forced organ harvesting and asked how they could help. After both signed petitions, Ruth said, “I am German and my husband is from Austria. People in both of our countries support you.” She asked for the address of the Minghui German language website, saying she would read more about it.

Both locals and tourists ask about Falun Dafa and sign petitions calling for an end to the persecution

Josef from Malta said he ran a charity organization in Brazil and was travelling in Germany for a week. He was impressed with how well-organized the parade was and said he would read more about Falun Dafa. “I am surprised that such a tragedy still continues in China. Because of the totalitarian communist regime, people there do not have the freedom we do here,” he added.

“I hope the entire world will cherish Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” Josef remarked. “That will bring peace to our world. Wars, poverty, and corruption would no longer exist.” He said he would share what he saw with coworkers and friends.

Chinese: Like a Breath of Fresh Air

Mr. Yu and Mr. He, both from Wuhan City in China, live in Braunschweig, a city three hours away from Frankfurt. Mr. Yu was very happy to see the Falun Dafa events, because they would be unimaginable in China. He said several of his friends had been arrested in China for their belief in Falun Dafa. This is why he enjoys the freedom of belief in Germany, saying it is “like a breath of fresh air.” He also began practising the Falun Dafa exercises recently.

Another Chinese man, who was on a business trip to Frankfurt, said he had seen Falun Dafa activities in Hong Kong. After hearing about all the bad things the Communist Party has done, he resigned from the Party.

Pointing to a Falun Gong banner, he said he agreed with the message, “What that banner says is right. The Chinese Communist Party is different from the country of China. It cannot represent China, either.”

S&P Flags Credit-Boom Risks in China Amid Trade War

A CRH (China Railway High-speed) bullet train runs past Beijing’s central business area on Dec. 13, 2017. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

BY REUTERS

November 29, 2018 Updated: November 29, 2018

TOKYO—Standard & Poor’s on Nov. 29 expressed concern that China’s sovereign rating could face pressure if policymakers revert to rapid credit growth to shield the economy from the impact of a trade war with the United States.

The row between the world’s two largest economies over tariffs and market access is unlikely to trigger a downgrade for China next year, said Kim Eng Tan, S&P’s Asia-Pacific senior director of sovereign ratings.

However, the longer the conflict drags on, the more China’s policymakers will be tempted to loosen the reins on lending, Tan told Reuters in an interview.

“We have come to a point where (Chinese) policymakers are more worried about the economy and deleveraging is pausing,” Tan said.

“The longer the situation drags on, the more likely the government will U-turn on deleveraging to the point where we would get more concerned about the rating.”

Tan added that he did not expect S&P to downgrade China’s A plus rating with a stable outlook simply because the economy is slowing due to the threat of higher U.S. tariffs.

The United States has levied additional duties of between 10 percent and 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods this year as punishment for what it calls the country’s unfair trade practices, with the 10 percent tariffs set to rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1.

Slowing trade flows will curb growth in other Asian countries, but fiscal indicators have been improving in many economies, so there is no great risk of downgrades, Tan said.

The threat of capital outflows has diminished after the Federal Reserve Chairman hinted that U.S. interest rates may not rise much further, which also eases pressure on sovereign ratings in Asia, he said.

Current account surpluses and ample foreign exchange reserves also serve as an adequate buffer for Asian countries in the event of financial turmoil, he said.

Tan did express concern about potential political stability issues in Malaysia in the future. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he will keep the post only for two years.

If the current four-party coalition cannot work through a smooth transition, this would pose a risk to Malaysia’s A minus rating with a stable outlook, Tan said.

By Stanley White