Category Archives: NEWS

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

China’s Peking University Tightens Communist Party Control, Curbs Activism

People enter and leave the gate of Peking University in Beijing on July 27, 2016. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

BY REUTERS

November 14, 2018 Updated: November 14, 2018

BEIJING—China’s prestigious Peking University, historically a bastion of student activism, has moved to quash dissent and strengthen Communist Party control after a spate of protests across China on issues ranging from labor rights to #MeToo.

The clampdown comes amid an ongoing tightening of control over various aspects of Chinese society since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, a period that has seen increasing censorship and shrinking space for protests, including on campuses.

Late on Nov. 13, the university, informally known as Beida, warned all students against taking part in demonstrations of support for recent labor-rights activism involving former students and said they would be held responsible if they “challenged the law.”

“The school believes that the majority of students are sensible, but if there are those near you who are spreading rumors or reactionary sentiments, regardless if they are your teacher or your friend or your schoolmate, please keep a firm stance,” students were told over instant messaging platforms.

On Tuesday, the Communist Party committee at Beida set up new bodies responsible for disciplinary inspection tours and campus “control and management,” according to a document released by the committee and seen by Reuters, moves that tighten enforcement of party discipline.

The committee also held a meeting for all campus members and told them that a recent graduate who was among those missing following weekend labor protests was working with an illegal organization, a source briefed on the meeting told Reuters.

A spokesman for Peking University contacted by Reuters on Wednesday said that they were not able to immediately comment on the meeting or warnings to students.

The campus attendees were told that the group in question, which was not identified, had a charter and “passwords” and the government had sanctioned the arrest of Zhang Shengye, the former student, the source said, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said the measures were likely in response to student activism. “The Communist Party is highly sensitive to any kind of organized movement on university campuses,” he said.

Activist History

Students at Peking University, set on a sprawling, leafy campus in northwestern Beijing, played a central role in launching the anti-imperialist May Fourth Movement in 1919 and the pro-democracy Tiananmen protests in 1989.

But campus activism has been increasingly marginalized in the Xi era, and a movement that saw students and recent graduates of universities including Beida team up with labor activists to support factory workers fighting the right to set up their own union has been dealt with harshly by authorities, attracting international media coverage.

Last month, the party announced that Qiu Shuiping, an official with little experience of running a school who has spent years in China’s legal system, including as head of the Beijing state security bureau, had been made party secretary of the university, an appointment seen by experts on Chinese politics as heralding a tougher disciplinary line.

Activist Disappearances

Over the weekend, at least 12 labor activists, mostly students and recent graduates, went missing in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan in what a source close to them believed was a coordinated effort to silence them.

Five of those were recent graduates of Peking. One of them, Zhang, was grabbed by unidentified men and bundled into a car on the campus. The university told Reuters that the incident was a lawful seizure by police of a suspect and did not involve students.

The incident sparked a flurry of activity from a group of students, who call themselves a “concern group for missing Peking university graduates,” and handed out information about the abduction and other missing students in a university cafeteria on Sunday.

On Monday and Tuesday, students who had spoken out or supported the labor rights movement were warned by teachers, their parents and what appeared to be plainclothes policemen, according to one of the students, who declined to be named.

In the meetings, students were told that the university had previously protected them because they were “bewitched” by the group, but from now on anyone who demonstrated on behalf of those missing or handed out leaflets would not be protected, the student said.

“They did not say specifically which law had been broken or how, and they did not give an explanation of why they had unscrupulously seized people on campus,” the student said.

“Zhang Shengye was someone who was concerned about society, cared about the lower-classes and was close to workers. Why would someone like that be treated like this?”

By Christian Shepherd

APEC: Trudeau Urged to Call on Chinese Leader to End Falun Gong Persecution

 

While at APEC, Canadian Falun Gong adherents want Trudeau to intercede with Xi Jinping for their imprisoned fellow adherents in China

BY JOAN DELANEY, EPOCH TIMES

November 13, 2018 Updated: November 14, 2018

With Justin Trudeau heading to Papua New Guinea for the APEC summit this weekend, Falun Gong practitioners in Canada are asking the prime minister to intercede with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on behalf of their imprisoned fellow practitioners in China.

Canadian citizen Sun Qian has been detained in Beijing since February 2017. In addition, there are currently 10 family members of Canadians imprisoned in China because they practise Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.

The incarcerations are part of a far-reaching campaign of persecution launched in 1999 against Falun Gong adherents across the country, which has seen tens of thousands thrown in jails, labour camps, and brainwashing centres and resulted in unknown numbers being tortured to death.

The Falun Dafa Association of Canada is calling on Trudeau to urge Xi to free all practitioners unconditionally and to bring an end to the persecution.

“Canadians are deeply concerned about Sun Qian’s detention,” FDAC president Xun Li said in an open letter to Trudeau on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, taking place in Papua New Guinea’s capital Nov. 17 and 18.

“At the APEC summit, please help give voice to their concerns about Ms. Sun and the 10 Canadians’ family members incarcerated for their belief in Falun Gong. Please also urge the Chinese leader to end the persecution of Falun Gong. Your strong voice will make a difference in supporting Canadians’ desire to engage in a healthy relationship with China and the Chinese peoples’ wish for their country to become a more peaceful, free, and lawful society.”

Sun, a 52-year-old Chinese-Canadian businesswoman from Vancouver, is being held at a detention centre in Beijing, where she has endured abuse, torture, and brainwashing sessions with the aim of forcing her to renounce her faith in Falun Gong. The Epoch Times has previously reported that due to pressure from the authorities, Sun’s lawyers—11 in all—have stopped representing her.

Of the 10 family members of Canadians detained or imprisoned in China, sentences range between 2 and 13 years. Eight of the family members live in Toronto, one in Calgary, and one in Fort McMurray.

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a holistic self-improvement practice that centres on the universal values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It swept China in the 1990s and by the end of the decade had an estimated 70–100 million adherents.

It’s non-political and was never a threat to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But fearful of its immense popularity, former Party leader Jiang Zemin launched his brutal campaign in July 1999 in an attempt to wipe out the practice.

“The persecution of Falun Gong is an illegal attack by the state that has been fuelled by hate propaganda, resulting in the horrific torture and killing of countless Chinese people for their belief in the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance,” said Li.

“The persecution has turned the nation’s morality upside down.”

To add insult to injury, investigators have found that large numbers of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have died in the process of having their vital organs forcibly extracted to fuel China’s booming organ transplant industry.

This was described as “a new form of evil on the planet” by Winnipeg international human rights lawyer David Matas. In 2006, Matas and former cabinet minister David Kilgour were the first to alert the world that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience were being killed for their organs in China. In the years since, several books have been written and documentaries made that have shed more light on the atrocity. A February 2017 Freedom House report notes “credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.”

Meanwhile, the CCP’s overall campaign against Falun Gong continues. The 2017 annual report of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China states that Falun Gong practitioners continue to be subjected to “extreme physical and psychological coercion” and “coercive and violent practices.” These include electric shocks, forced feeding, beatings, forced drug administration, sexual abuse, and other forms of torture.

“The tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China today live each day at risk of being taken away by Chinese authorities to be jailed, tortured—or worse,” Li said in his letter to Trudeau.

Huawei’s Reliance on Foreign Technologies Illustrates Shortcomings in China’s Chip-Making Industry

BY FRANK FANG, EPOCH TIMES

November 5, 2018 Updated: November 5, 2018

Recent remarks by two Chinese businessmen indicate how dependent that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is on Japanese and U.S. technologies.

Michael Yu, CEO of New Orient Education and Technology Group, a publicly listed company that provides private educational services, shared what an unidentified vice president of Huawei once told him.

“More than half of our technologies regarding IC chips are American patented technologies. If the Americans were to refuse to allow us to use their technologies, we wouldn’t be able to make a single chip. In other words, China wouldn’t be able to manufacture a single smartphone, because we don’t have chips,” Yu recalled while speaking at an education conference in Beijing on Oct. 31, according to Chinese media that reported about his remarks.

An integrated circuit (IC) chip is an electronic device with many functional elements such as transistors, capacitors, and resistors, all fabricated on a semiconductor wafer, such as silicon. IC chips are used to power virtually all computers and electronic gadgets.

Yu added that he once spoke with unidentified Chinese IC engineers about China’s semiconductor industry and whether it had the capability to manufacture chips entirely within domestic assembly lines. They told him that the chips would be too large: Electronic gadgets packaged with entirely-Chinese-made chips would require a backpack to carry them.

Yu’s remarks came just a week after Xu Jingbo, head of a Chinese news website headquartered in Tokyo, told an audience at a manufacturing conference in China that Huawei’s development in smartphone manufacturing was the result of research done by Japanese experts, according to a report by Taiwan’s daily newspaper the Liberty Times.

As Xu explained at the conference, held in Tianjin City on Oct. 23, Huawei opened a research institute in Yokohama, the second-largest Japanese city by population, where more than 400 Japanese engineers are employed.

Huawei’s technological inadequacies exemplify a broader problem that China faces—the country is the world’s largest consumer of semiconductors, but continues to lag in developing domestic semiconductor technology. China’s dependence on foreign technology is reflected in 2017 trade data provided by the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA). Last year, China imported integrated circuits worth about $260 billion—more than the value of crude oil imported by China.

Huawei has also established research institutes in Europe, India, the United States, Russia, and Canada, according to an article published on the Chinese-language site of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), an international industry association.

In Canada, Huawei established research institutes in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Waterloo, employing more than 400 researchers. Their research focus is developing 5G, the next-generation of wireless communication, according to SEMI China.

Huawei’s great strides in developing 2G and 3G technologies were due to the work that was done at the company’s research institute in Russia, according to SEMI China.

Why Is China Behind

There are many reasons why China continues to lag behind traditional powerhouses in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States—despite the Chinese regime’s financial support for the industry, as laid out in economic plans such as the “13th Five Year Plan” (2016-2020) and “Made in China 2025.”

Hong Kong daily newspaper, Apple Daily, in an editorial published on Nov. 2, detailed the reasons. Firstly, the United States first invented the semiconductor about 70 years ago. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. industry has built up its own top-to-bottom semiconductor supply chain.

At the same time, China was in the middle of a civil war, and after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took over, the Party launched several political campaigns such as the Cultural Revolution, when intellectuals and scientists were deemed counter-revolutionary and severely persecuted. That hindered China’s progress in technology fields.

Within the multi-step production process for IC chips, which includes design, fabrication, packaging, and testing, China’s greatest weakness lies in IC design, according to Apple Daily. China is yet unable to develop its own design software, known as electronic design automation (EDA) tools. Such software development is currently dominated by U.S. companies such as California-based Synopsys and Cadence.

Without the ability to develop design software, China’s ability to design IC chips is limited. That subsequently affects the ability to optimize the assembly process for more advanced IC chips. China’s IC assembly process is also limited by the inability to acquire the necessary production equipment.

One of the production steps is the lithography process, a way of transferring IC circuit designs to semiconductors from which components such as transistors are made. As chips become smaller, more advanced lithography tools are needed.

Also, as chips get smaller, they deliver more performance-per-watt, meaning that they run at a faster speed while consuming less power.

A recent innovation in lithography involves the use of extreme ultraviolet light (EUV). The only company in the world that currently makes EUV equipment is Netherlands-based company ASML, according to Apple Daily. However, ASML prioritizes producing its limited EUV equipment for its stakeholders, including Taiwan-based contract manufacturer TSMC, Samsung, and Intel. Even if China orders EUV equipment from ASML now, it would be several years before taking delivery.

Dependence on US Imports

China’s dependence on U.S. tech imports is best illustrated by Chinese telecoms firm ZTE almost going out of business after the United States banned it from buying parts and technology from U.S. suppliers. The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped the ban against ZTE in April for failing to comply with stipulations, in association with violating U.S. sanctions placed on Iran and North Korea.

Three of 10 of ZTE’s suppliers are U.S. companies, according to an April article by South China Morning Post. For Huawei, in comparison, roughly a quarter of its 263 suppliers in 2017 are U.S. companies, compared to 41 percent of Chinese suppliers. The top two U.S. suppliers to Huawei were Flex, a contract electronics solutions provider, and U.S. semiconductor company Broadcom.

Currently, ZTE is still struggling financially. Chinese media reported that the company is expected to end the year with a financial loss of about 6.2 billion (about $893 million).

Future prospects for China’s industry aren’t optimistic.

At a technology conference held in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Oct. 11, Chang Junfeng, secretary general of a semiconductor trade association based in the neighboring city of Shenzhen, said it will take five to 10 years for China to have a major breakthrough in IC design, according to Chinese business news site Yicai.

It would take about five to 10 years to narrow the gaps in assembling capabilities; and finally, 10 to 30 years to narrow the gap in semiconductor materials and equipment, he said.

China detains second Canadian despite plans for extradition pact

A Canadian citizen has been detained in Beijing for more than 2 1/2 months – held against her will, according to supporters, for being a follower of the Falun Gong spiritual movement that is banned in mainland China.

Sun Qian, 51, who was born in China and obtained Canadian citizenship in 2007, was arrested in February, say Conservative foreign-affairs critic Peter Kent and Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.

It’s the second high-profile case in the past few months of a Canadian citizen winding up in the custody of the Chinese government.

And it emerges during the middle of a national debate over whether the Trudeau government should have agreed to negotiate an extradition treaty with China, a pact that would commit Canada to transfer fugitive Chinese to a country known for biased courts and harsh interrogation methods and where the death penalty is routinely imposed, even for non-violent crimes.

Ms. Sun’s case came to light this week when Mr. Kent raised the matter with Canada’s new ambassador to China, John McCallum, when he appeared before the Commons foreign-affairs committee. Mr. McCallum acknowledged the detention, saying he had been briefed on it, but offered little else.

In the second recent case, Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua mysteriously disappeared Jan. 27 from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, reportedly spirited away to the Chinese mainland by a phalanx of plainclothes policemen. Chinese political analysts think Mr. Xiao was wanted by President Xi Jinping and supporters because they believe he possesses incriminating evidence against political enemies of Mr. Xi.

Asked for comment on the Sun case, a spokesman at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa could offer none. It also did not confirm the nature of Ms. Sun’s detention.

The Chinese embassy, however, urged Canadian media to distrust any information provided by practitioners of Falun Gong, including its information websites. “Falun Gong is an evil cult that is anti-humanity and anti-science in nature, having caused enormous harm to Chinese society. It was banned by Chinese government in 1999, according to law,” embassy spokesman Yang Yundong said.

Referring to a Falun Gong website, Minghui, which has written about the Sun case, Mr. Yang urged The Globe to “believe no tales from them,” calling it an “anti-China” tool “that consistently makes up stories and spreads rumours.”

Mr. Wang said he had “no information” about Mr. Xiao.

Falun Gong emerged in China in the early 1990s as an exercise discipline focusing on meditation. It was soon seen as a threat, prompting a crackdown by the Chinese government. In 1999, authorities harshly suppressed the popular movement when some 10,000 practitioners gathered to protest outside Beijing’s elite leadership compound. International human-rights groups have for years documented the mistreatment of Falun Gong adherents in China.

On the issue of Canadians detained in China, Mr. McCallum said he doesn’t think discussing the cases is a good idea. “That doesn’t always help the person in detention if we broadcast their own situation in public. I think in those cases, almost all the time it is better to proceed in a low-profile way in order to do the best we can to help those individuals,” he told the foreign-affairs committee this week.

Mr. Kent disagreed and urged the Trudeau government to speak out in defence. “By staying silent or being less enthusiastic about speaking out, they are designating those folks as second-class Canadians.”

The department of Global Affairs refused to discuss Ms. Sun’s case, saying it needs to protect her right to privacy.

“Consular services are being provided to the Canadian citizen who has been detained in Beijing, China. Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information,” said Austin Jean, a spokesman for Global Affairs.

Falun Dafa’s Mr. Li, who called the Chinese embassy’s characterization of the movement “hate speech,” wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday, asking him to press Beijing to release Ms. Sun. “For the past 18 years, Falun Gong continues to be the most severely and illegally persecuted group in China,” he wrote. “The Canadian government has an obligation to protect Canadian citizens in China and also protect the dignity of Canadian values from being eroded by this repressive regime,” he wrote of the Chinese government, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party with no substantial political opposition.

He said Ms. Sun is being held in the Beijing First Detention Centre. He said she is a vice-president at a Chinese biochemical firm based in Beijing called Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co. and that a Canadian embassy official visited her recently.

Mr. Li also said he believes Ms. Sun entered China on a Canadian passport on her most recent trip to the country.

Unlike Canada, China does not recognize dual citizenship and refuses requests from foreign governments in cases where Chinese-born people have not formally relinquished their passport or used their Chinese documents to enter China.

Mr. McCallum, meanwhile, defended the extradition talks, which the Trudeau government agreed to last September, saying the Liberals are a “long, long, long way” from actual negotiations. He says right now they’re just talking. “We’ve agreed to talk about the issues that need to be addressed for China or any other country to meet our high standards. This includes things like the death penalty and the importance of high standards of evidence in court proceedings. We lose nothing by explaining our system and talking about the values we hold dear.”

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/china-detains-second-canadian-despite-plans-for-extradition-pact/article34892935/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

China is forcing up to 90,000 prisoners to have organs removed for sale on the black market, despite denying claims they are harvesting body parts illegally, says new report

  • China says it performs 10,000 organ transplants a year
  • But shocking report says the real figure is closer to 100,000
  • Incarcerated followers of Falun Gong religion are targeted for transplants
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said findings are ‘baseless’

China is forcing up to 90,000 prisoners a year to have organs removed, a shocking new report has claimed.
The widespread practice of removing organs from political prisoners has fuelled ‘organ tourism’ in China with foreigners paying for transplants.
Medical professionals and human rights advocates at The International Coalition To End Organ Pillaging In China have published a damning report which examines the transplant activity at hundreds of hospitals in China.
Co-author of the report Ethan Gutmann said in a video posted online:’If somebody goes to China to get an organ at this point, chances are they are getting it from a Falun Gong practitioner who was murdered on their behalf.’
‘Even if voluntary donations of organs have gone up, they can’t reach this level. This is live organ harvesting,’ he warned.

China has struggled to receive voluntary organ donations due to culture concerns so prisoners are primarily used to fill the demand for transplants.
The Chinese medical establishment claims that China performs 10,000 transplants per year but the report says the figure is closer to 100,000.
The report investigated the amount of transplant activity, surgical staff and beds in China and predicted an average of up to two transplants a day in China, over 100,000 transplants a year.
‘Many of the hospitals are relatively new or have new transplant wings or beds. This development would not have occurred without confidence in a continuing supply of organs for transplants,’ the report states.

An average of up to two transplants a day are carried out in China, over 100,000 transplants a year
An average of up to two transplants a day are carried out in China, over 100,000 transplants a year

‘The transplant business in China has developed with not only an abundance of available organs from 2001 on, but also with a confidence that this abundance would continue into the indefinite future,’ it continues.
Gutmann explained that removing organs from prisoners in China began in the 1980s but has dramatically increased in recent years.
‘By 2001, over one million Falun Gong incarcerated within the Laogai System were subject to retail-organ testing, and Chinese military and civilian hospitals were ramping up their transplant facilities. By 2002, it was select House Christians. By 2003, it was the Tibetans’ turn,’ he wrote on the End Organ Pillaging website.
Falun Gong is a Taoist-Buddhist sect that practices spiritual exercise and meditation regime. It has tens of millions of followers in China but in 1999 the Communist Party leadership initiated a nationwide crackdown to eradicate the practice.
Among the methods used to obtain the shocking transplant figures, researchers reviewed data from telephone surveys, hospital websites, and medical journals for the 865 hospitals in China which perform organ transplants (about 13 per cent of all hospitals).
They tracked 712 liver and kidney transplant centres and collected and analysed information about them and examined individually 165 hospitals approved by the Government of China to conduct transplantation.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying claimed the report’s findings are false.
‘The testimony and the published report, I want to say that such stories about forced organ harvesting in China are imaginary and baseless — they don’t have any factual foundation,’ she said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3657966/China-forcing-90-000-prisoners-organs-removed-sale-black-market.html#ixzz4CqAU7nWR

Freedom House Report: “The Worst Instance of Religious Persecution”

In a recent report from Freedom House, the persecution of Falun Gong in China was highlighted and analyzed in detail. Twenty two pages of the 142-page document focused on this severe, large-scale, human rights violation.

“The Battle for China’s Spirit,” published by Freedom House on February 28, 2017, has a 22-page section on Falun Gong with 118 third-party references.
“The Battle for China’s Spirit,” published by Freedom House on February 28, 2017, has a 22-page section on Falun Gong with 118 third-party references.

“[The Communist Party initiated] the worst instance of religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution, with the clampdown against Falun Gong,” cited in the report remarks from André Laliberté, a leading scholar from Ottawa University on religion in China.

With a title of “The Battle for China’s Spirit,” this report was published by Freedom House on February 28, 2017. A press conference was held in the morning of that day, hosted by Carolyn Bartholomew, chair of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Founded in 1941, Freedom House is a U.S. Government-funded non-governmental organization with a mission of a “clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world.”

Both the full report and a 40-page overview are available for download on the organization’s website. It is considered one of the most comprehensive reports from a major human rights organization.

Seventeen-Year-Long Ban

Starting with a group exercise photo from the Minghui website, the report reviewed the popularity of Falun Gong in 1990s, as well as the close tie between its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance and the Chinese tradition. “In the 1990s, Chinese people from every stratum of society—including Communist Party members—began taking up Falun Gong,” wrote the report.

Nonetheless, Jiang Zemin, then the CCP general secretary and state president, decided to ban Falun Gong in 1999. “…once Jiang made the arbitrary and arguably illegal decision to ban Falun Gong, and asserted his will over other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, there were few institutional or legal obstacles to stop what came next.” This includes the launch of the 610 Office, which then drove the nationwide suppression and demonizing propaganda.

Despite 17 years of ban, tens of millions of people still practice Falun Gong in China today.

New Developments

Two developments were identified by the report related to the persecution. One of them is the harsh penalties against detained practitioners under Article 300 of the criminal code. At least 933 practitioners were imprisoned between January 2013 and June 2016, according to the report. “… 45-year-old Gao Yixi died in police custody in April 2016, just ten days after he and his wife were taken from their home under apparent suspicion of practicing Falun Gong.” In addition, practitioners were held at extralegal “legal education centers,” “black jails,” and pretrial detention centers. Many of them were sentenced to imprisonment.

The other development is the suppression of human rights lawyers who defended Falun Gong practitioners. For example, “In July 2015, Chinese security agencies launched an aggressive assault on the country’s contingent of human rights lawyers and the broader ‘rights defense’ movement, detaining over 300 lawyers and their assistants.”

On the other hand, evidence of cracks in the systemic repression has been observed. The report attributed this to several factors such as purge of key officials involved in the persecution, decade-long efforts from practitioners to raise awareness of the brutality, and others. In fact, after the Chinese Supreme Court eased filing procedures in May 2015, practitioners inside and outside of China have filed a large number of criminal complaints against Jiang Zemin, holding him responsible for the crimes.

Omnipresent Repression

In addition to detention, imprisonment, and torture, various methods and techniques were adopted by officials to mistreat practitioners. One example is electronic surveillance. “Falun Gong practitioners have been jailed for leaving voicemail recordings, posting messages to WeChat or QQ, or circumventing censorship to access blocked websites.”

Another strategy used by officials to “eradicate” Falun Gong is forcing practitioners to give up their belief. Citing a report from U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) in 2008, it was undertaken through “transformation,” “a process of ideological reprogramming whereby practitioners are subjected to various methods of physical and psychological coercion until they recant their belief in Falun Gong.”

To control information flow, Chinese officials heavily restricted online terms related to Falun Gong, punished behaviors of transmiting such information online or offline, and confiscated printed materials. Furthermore, officials employed many strategies to discourage potential supporters from helping practitioners.

“Taken together, these repressive activities seep into every corner of life and society—schools and workplaces, supermarkets and public transportation, passport requests and hukou residency registrations, laptops and smartphones,” wrote the report.

A large amount of resources have been expended to sustain the persecution. “… the estimated annual budget for all 6-10 Office branches nationwide is 879 million yuan ($135 million). And this is only for one part of the Party-state apparatus involved in the suppression of Falun Gong.”

Forced Organ Harvesting

Under the context of dehumanizing propaganda, these extralegal custodial abuse and economic inducements were later escalated to a new form—the killing of detained Falun Gong practitioners and sale of their organs for profit. After reviewing evidence from other investigators, doctors, hospital employees, and released practitioners, Freedom House “found credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.”

And such an atrocity continues. Based on the investigation work published in 2016 by David Kilgour, Ethan Gutmann, and David Matas, “…publicly available data on the number of transplants being conducted at medical institutions in China found that the scale is many times greater than the 10,000 transplants per year often cited by officials.” This highlights the increasing risk of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.

Path Forward

“The simple fact that Falun Gong has survived the CCP’s onslaught is impressive and amounts to a genuine failure of the Party’s repressive apparatus,” said the report.

Through consistent, non-violent efforts from Falun Gong practitioners to raise awareness of and oppose the persecution, a large number of people chose to support practitioners. “Orders for arrests continue to come down from high-level authorities, but sometimes the Public Security Bureau agents will say no, they are only exercising to be healthy,” quoting the report remarks from a Chinese human rights lawyer in 2013.

After the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published in 2004, many people joined the efforts to sever ties with the Party. “As of November 2016, the overseas website tracking the tuidang movement claimed that over 255 million people inside and outside China had published statements,” wrote the report.

Nonetheless, as long as the persecution policy remains in effect, “Falun Gong practitioners throughout China continue to be detained, imprisoned, tortured, and sometimes killed in what is still a massive campaign of religious persecution,” concluded the report.

Chinese version available

Hong Kong Government Encouraged to Invite Premier Classical Chinese Dance Company

Shen Yun dancers perform a classical Chinese dance. (Courtesy of Shen Yun Performing Arts)
Shen Yun dancers perform a classical Chinese dance. (Courtesy of Shen Yun Performing Arts)

For the past decade, Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance and music company, has played to full theaters in over a hundred cities worldwide. Yet, the New York-based Shen Yun cannot perform in China, where the ancient art of classical Chinese dance originated.

The Chinese regime hasn’t allowed Shen Yun, a show that has dazzled and moved millions of theatergoers, to perform in the country because the show includes acts that portray the persecution of Falun Dafa. Practitioners of Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, have been brutally persecuted in China for the past 17 years, on the orders of former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Each year, the communist regime tries various means to disrupt Shen Yun performances around the world. In 2010, Shen Yun was forced to make a last-minute cancellation in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city, after its government withdrew visas from six key production techs with just under a week to go before the company’s debut.

Six years later, the Hong Kong branch of New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), an independent Chinese-language station and member of the Epoch Media Group, is encouraging the Hong Kong government to bring the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company to the city in 2017.

The odds of Shen Yun being allowed to perform one step away from Mainland China have become somewhat promising.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been public about his love and reverence for traditional Chinese culture. Xi also appears to be distancing his administration from Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong.

Xi has closed the labor camp system, where hundreds of thousands of practitioners were incarcerated at any time; he made what appear to be reconciliatory gestures on the anniversaries of key persecution dates; and investigators for his anti-corruption campaign recently criticized the 610 Office, an extralegal security force that oversees the persecution.

The ball is now in the Hong Kong government’s court.

Below is a translation of the letter that NTD sent to the Hong Kong government’s cultural department.


 

Encouraging the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to Invite Shen Yun Performing Arts to Hong Kong

Founded in 2006 in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a cultural miracle appearing on stages throughout the world.

Comprised mainly of elite Chinese-American artists, Shen Yun’s performances of dance and music have over the past decade become a global phenomenon. Each year, Shen Yun brings several hundred shows to the world’s top venues. The mostly sold-out performances are attended by Western audiences in North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania, as well as Asian audiences in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Shen Yun revives and celebrates China’s glorious 5,000-year-old culture and history. Around the world, Shen Yun receives high accolades from elites in the arts and culture community, and substantially raises the cultural recognition and confidence of Chinese people around the world.

Shen Yun has performed at world-class venues around the world, including Lincoln Center and Radio City Musical Hall, two of New York City’s most renowned theaters; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; Royal Festival Hall in London; Palais des Congrès in Paris; Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei; the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) in Hollywood, California; and more.

According to The New York Times, Shen Yun tours over 100 major cities worldwide annually. Each of Shen Yun’s five touring companies includes more than 80 members consisting of award-winning dancers, famous singers, accomplished musicians, a live orchestra combining Western and Chinese instruments, choreographers, composers, masters of ceremony, costume designers, stage designers, and computer artists who design and project the 3-D backdrop. Great artists from all over the world frequently give Shen Yun performances a five-star rating.

Below are testimonies from high-profile individuals:

David H. Koch

“I have come to this theater for over 45 years.” said David H. Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, after he saw Shen Yun Performing Arts in 2013 in the theater at Lincoln Center named for him. “I love the costumes, the athletic dancing, the combination of classical Western music with Chinese music. That’s very soothing, pleasing. And the athletic skill of the dancers is quite something. I love the backdrops, the beautiful painted scenes of China. … I certainly loved this tonight.”

Robert Zemeckis

Academy Award-winner Robert Zemeckis is a celebrated director, producer, and screenwriter. His list of film credits includes “Forrest Gump,” for which he won an Oscar for best director; the “Back to the Future” series; and the “Polar Express.” Of Shen Yun, he said: “It’s exciting and moving—moving in a compelling way. It makes you want to watch. … It’s very good, and the story lines are very interesting.”

His Majesty King Fuad II

The last king of Egypt and the Sudan, His Majesty King Fuad II, said of Shen Yun: “I congratulate the wonderful [performance] company I saw tonight, [with its] costumes, exceptional dancers, [and] the music. … I spent a wonderful evening and I thank them from my heart.”

Franceska Aeschlimann

International songwriter, composer, lyricist, and publisher Franceska Aeschlimann said of Shen Yun: “It is very touching to see such a giving—because they are giving so much—this is a lot of work to arrive to this point to do such a dance and to be able to present such a fantastic piece of art.”

Alessandra Sabet

Italian film actress Alessandra Sabet said of Shen Yun: “I could not imagine the perfection in dance, it is magnificent! I found it very, very beautiful.”

***

Shen Yun performances are always met with overwhelming acclaim and heartfelt praise from audiences from different countries around the world. They praise the authentic Chinese culture and arts showcased by Shen Yun, and express great admiration for traditional Chinese civilization. The achievements of Shen Yun highlight the profoundness and inclusiveness of Chinese civilization, as well as the depth of its history and culture.

In recent years, China has been gradually returning to the center stage of the world. However, restoring the Chinese people to the center of civilization will take a cultural renaissance. In this process, the power of art is an irreplaceable force. In fact, world history has demonstrated that the rise and prosperity of a nation is preceded by a rise in spirituality, often heralded by an artistic renaissance.

Shen Yun Performing Arts perfectly combines Chinese and Western, traditional and modern artistic expressions, in various ways. Ancient Chinese instruments combine with a Western orchestra. Traditional Chinese dance and state-of-the-art, dynamic backdrops blend masterfully, to create perfect harmony, expressing the beauty of traditional Chinese culture.

On one hand, this kind of innovation is one of the key elements of Shen Yun’s success. On the other hand, Shen Yun’s success is vivid proof that humanity shares a yearning for traditional Chinese virtues such as kindness, sincerity, and tolerance—virtues recognized by various countries and civilizations throughout history. As a matter of fact, Shen Yun performances in many major cities around the world win the hearts of people of all nationalities and create an unsurpassed theatrical experience.

As the starting point of the modern Silk Road, Hong Kong is a unique city which introduces China to the West. It is also the city’s responsibility to showcase Chinese civilization to the world. Situated at the junction of East and West, and North and South, Hong Kong should do more to promote Chinese culture and art, truly connecting China to the world, as well as presenting to the world these artistic masterpieces that combine the best of East and West.

The Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department has invited world-renowned performing arts companies to Hong Kong, such as Berliner Philharmoniker and other top orchestras, as well as the production of “La Traviata” by San Carlo Theatre, Naples, and the Wells Cathedral Choir. Their performances in Hong Kong were met with enthusiasm and critical acclaim.

We earnestly encourage the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department to invite the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts to perform in Hong Kong. Not only will it be an artistic phenomenon in Hong Kong, it will also facilitate China’s further integration into the world.

New Tang Dynasty Television Hong Kong
November 7, 2016

Australia: Falun Gong Practitioners Appeal to Stop Organ Harvesting

Mr Craig Kelly, member of parliament for Hughes, speaks at Capital Hill spoke to the rally about "why I have been proud to be co-chairmen of the Parliamentary group against forced organ harvesting.” Canberra, Australia, Nov. 21, 2016. (Linda Zhang/Epoch Times)
Mr Craig Kelly, member of parliament for Hughes, speaks at Capital Hill spoke to the rally about “why I have been proud to be co-chairmen of the Parliamentary group against forced organ harvesting.” Canberra, Australia, Nov. 21, 2016. (Linda Zhang/Epoch Times)

On November 21, hundreds of Australian Falun Gong practitioners rallied in front of Capital Hill in Canberra to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights abuses perpetrated against their fellow practitioners in China since 1999. The rally put focus on murder for organs in China, and called for Australian politicians to support bringing an end to forced live organ harvesting and the persecution of Falun Gong by Chinese Communist Regime.

Banners calling for support from the Australian public and displaying the principles of the practice, Truth, Compassion and Tolerance, lined both sides of Commonwealth Avenue through the city centre and around Capital Hill.

Speakers at the rally included Fan Huiqiang from Australian Falun Dafa Association, MP Craig Kelly, former Canadian cabinet minister David Kilgourand Winnipeg international human rights lawyer David Matas. The two co-authored a new report which documents the killing of Falun Gong practitioners to supply China’s lucrative organ trade.

The report concludes that as many as 60,000 to 100,000 transplants have been taking place in China from the year 2000 to the present with the source being non-consenting prisoners of conscience; primarily Falun Gong. This puts the likely death toll of Falun Gong practitioners from forced organ harvesting in the region of 1.5 million over the past 15 years.

The emcee of the rally, Mr John Deller said: “What Falun Gong practitioners are doing is not protesting; they are only trying to tell the truth.

MP Craig Kelly spoke at the rally, sharing about a business trip he took to China a decade ago. He explained how most of the tourist brochures in his hotel contained a leaflet inside defaming Falun Gong in poor English. It took him 10 years to work out why the Chinese communist Government did this. Once he understood the truth of Falun Gong, he said: “I’ve always stood with you since then. That’s why I have been proud to be co-chairmen of the Parliamentary group against forced organ harvesting … doing something to stop it.”

Mr Kelly told Epoch Times that David Kilgour had held a briefing inside parliament house, introducing new evidence and explaining some of the latest findings on this human rights abuse.   “We want people to donate their organs freely. But having a system where people are forced to have their organs harvested without consent … truthfully, this goes against everything we believe in. It is something we need to speak out against in our free and democratic parliament.”

Kelly said the introduction of a motion to the House of Representatives is underway. “We will make sure that it will go to parliament, and we will make sure it is bipartisan.”

Kelly said the motion condemning forced organ harvesting will be introduced early in the New Year.

David Kilgour also spoke at the rally outside parliament, “David and I have met with Falun Gong practitioners in over 50 countries; we have a great respect for you, what you believe, and what you do. There is never been an act of violence committed by any Falun Gong practitioner anywhere in China or anywhere else, you should be really, really proud of that. “

He also mentioned that he had a good hearing with parliamentarians that morning, but he said there are a lot of members of parliament who have yet to learn the truth of the matter before the Australian government will place a ban on Australians going to China for organs.

“What happened to the Jewish community is different from what’s happening to Falun Gong community. Not even Adolf Hitler would murder people and sell the organs to wealthy residents from Germany or China.” He said.

“A lot of people know what’s happening now, it’s better to stop it. Australia, Canada and all who believe in human dignity have to get this stopped. Please continue what you’re doing.”

Renowned international human rights lawyer David Matas also addressed the crowd, highlighting the total lack of transparency, accountability and traceability from China’s organ transplant industry.

“The Chinese communist regime cannot explain the organ source,” he said.