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Remarks by Hon. David Kilgour, J.D.
Taiwanese-Canadian Association Annual Convention, Carleton University
Ottawa, 4-6th July, 2008

Time is short so I'll get right to my point, which is that after learning a lot about China over the past two years from books, research and knowledgeable people—often of origin in the PRC--I'm convinced that all of us both should trust the people of China, but not its party-state. Until about eighteen months ago, when the Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas and I began our independent study of organ pillaging from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, my naiveté about China's party-state was regrettably both wide and deep. Several visits to the country, including ones as Canada's Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), did not reduce it significantly. Only when I began to read books and other material written by knowledgeable sinologists of independent mind did my eyes begin to open.

The world should draw conclusions about China or anywhere else from facts alone. Carsten Holz, an academic economist who specializes in China, published an article on self-censorship several months ago. He noted, for example, that China experts often take at face value the country's business laws without mentioning the dominant role of the Party. He adds: "At the national level, the leadership of the 50 largest state-owned enterprises-enterprises that invest around the world-is directly appointed by the Politburo." Many studies have looked at reasons for the growing income inequality in China. Holz notes that among the 3,220 persons with a personal worth of $13 million equivalent or more in the country 2912 are children of high-level cadres.

China experts, Holz goes on, often speak of the Chinese "government" without further qualification, even when more than 95% of the "leadership cadres" are Party members. "Who questions the legitimacy of the Party leadership to rule China and to rule it the ways it does?" he asks. His conclusion is that many academics, researchers from private firms and from the World Bank and other international organizations normally will not speak candidly about China because their careers "depend on amicable co-operation with the Party." Separating wheat from self-serving chaff in reports about China thus remains challenging, especially as the Beijing Olympiad nears.

The Party seeks to conflate itself with China as a country, to convince naive persons from within and without the country that it is China, and that without the Party there would be no China. This is despite the inconvenient reality that its ideological foundation is now widely discredited European Marxism. This is also an underpinning of the Party strategy to maintain power despite its abuse of so many fellow citizens. It is necessary always to stress that one's criticisms are directed at the unelected government in Beijing and not at the exploited and hard-working people of the country for which Canadians and others around the world have much admiration and affection.

The following four examples are intended to illustrate this phenomenon:

1. Taiwan and World Health Organization

In Taiwan, I wonder how many think Beijing's party-state showed any concern for them during the SARs epidemic of 2003. This brings me to an eye-witness account of the World Health Assembly two years ago, which considered whether Taiwan should have observer status at the World Health Organization. The delegates from two African governments spoke in favour of admitting Taiwan; ones from China and another country spoke against. The applause from the delegates present as a whole indicated very clearly, I'm told by a trusted person who was present, that most countries represented wanted the motion to admit Taiwan passed. The presiding chair, however, refused to allow a vote, asserting that there was little support for the motion. This must be changed soon, partly because viruses know no borders. Health is an important component of human rights.

2. Beijing Olympics 2008

The party-state of China hopes that spending an estimated $40 billion on Games facilities, while forcibly removing thousands from their homes with inadequate compensation and allowing much abuse of the construction workers, will improve its international reputation. The opposite seems more likely since the Games are now clearly being used as a pretext for a crackdown on human rights advocates and other citizens of China.

In 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, there were more than twice as many arrests in China as the previous year for the offence of 'endangering state security', which is used by totalitarian governments to silence journalists, civil-rights lawyers and advocates of religious freedom. Among those arrested were the crusading lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year and who has been repeatedly detained and beaten-and whose present whereabouts are unknown; the human-rights, AIDS and environmental advocate Hu Jia; the blind self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng, now serving a four-year prison term; and the civil-rights lawyer Guo Feixiong, now serving a five-year term.

The peoples of the world look forward to Olympiads because they feature the best athletic talent from our entire family of nations. Unfortunately, the Summer Games next month face increasing opposition because the host national government remains one of the world's most systematic violators of human dignity. China was awarded the Games by the IOC only after it pledged to respect the Olympic Charter and to improve its human rights record. Many independent organizations have since observed that an already appalling record is instead worsening as the Beijing Games approach.

Why, for example, have Falun Gong practitioners faced continuing merciless persecution for eight years? What principle of the modern Olympic Games, especially after the experience in Hitler's Berlin at the 1936 Olympics, allows a host government to bar Falun Gong or any spiritual community's members from competing in, or even watching, events in Beijing?

Both the Olympic Games and human rights movements worldwide share a common goal: the unity, dignity and equality among the entire human family. When this precept is violated systematically by the host government of a particular Olympiad, as is the case this year, the modern Olympic movement as a whole comes into question.

The Olympic Charter assigns to the IOC the oversight role for compliance with the regulations under the Olympic Charter. The IOC should be demanding from the organizers of the 2008 Olympic Games that they conform to the Charter and refrain from discrimination against any group or individual during their Games.

Mia Farrow, Stephen Spielberg and many others have already taken stands on human rights and the 2008 Olympics. All of the rest of us should too.

3. Organ Pillaging - "Bloody Harvest Games"

David Matas, and I concluded from 33 kinds of proof to our horror following our independent investigation last year that since the end of 2000 the party-state of China and its agencies have killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, mostly without any form of prior trial, and then sold their vital organs for large sums of money, often to 'organ tourists' from wealthy countries (Our report is available in nineteen languages, including Mandarin, at

Neither of us are Falun Gong practitioners. My experience with Falun Gong in the numerous national capitals Matas and I have now visited, seeking to bring these crimes against humanity to a halt by helping to raise public awareness, has been overwhelmingly positive. Falun Gong practitioners attempt to live their core principles of "truth, compassion and tolerance".

Matas and I have spoken in several countries to Falun Gong practitioners sent to labour camps since 1999, who managed later to leave both the camps and China itself. They told us of working in appalling conditions for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay and little food and many persons sleeping in the same room, making export products, ranging from garments to chopsticks to Christmas decorations for multinational companies. This clearly constitutes egregious corporate irresponsibility by the businesses buying such products. The labour camps, operating across China since the 1950s, are remarkably similar to one's in Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany. They operate outside the legal system and allow the Party to send anyone to them for up to four years with no hearing and no appeal by simply getting their police to sign an order.

The propaganda phase of the persecution, begun in mid-1999 against a then estimated 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners across China, demonized, vilified and dehumanized them in Party-controlled media. Many Chinese were thus persuaded to think of the community tragically as even somehow less than human. The phenomenon recalls a similar media campaign unleashed by another party-state in Rwanda against its minority Tutsi community prior to the genocide there between April and June, 1994.

The former UN Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak, concluded following his own visit to China more than a year ago that two thirds of the persons being tortured across the country were Falun Gong practitioners.

Why is it that in only one of the eighty or so countries where Falun Gong practitioners now live are they persecuted? Their growing popularity among the Chinese people generally during the 1990s was clearly one major reason.

The Chinese Medical Association has now agreed with the World Medical Association that 'organ tourists' will obtain no more transplants in China. Whether this is anything more than public relations cant intended to benefit the Beijing Olympiad remains to be seen. Another concern is that organs seized from unwilling "donors" across China, including Falun Gong practitioners, will now go to wealthy Chinese patients instead, with the grotesque commerce thus continuing in the same volume.

None of these deaths would be occurring if the Chinese people as a whole enjoyed the rule of law and their government believed in the intrinsic worth and dignity of each one of them. Human lives generally across China appear to have no more value to the party-state there than does the natural environment, work safety, health care and social programs for all Chinese, or Buddhist monks in Tibet and Burma. In my view, it is the toxic combination of totalitarian governance and 'anything is permitted' capitalism that allows this new form of evil in the world to persist.

4. Sudan: "Genocide Olympics"

A number of the world's most brutal dictatorships have fallen under Beijing's sway during its scramble to acquire as much as possible of the earth's natural resources. I'll discuss here only Sudan-Darfur as a representative case study, but I'd ask you to consider how any regime which is complicit in terrible abuses of human beings in Burma, Tibet, East Turkestan, Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world could be trusted to host an Olympiad?

Consider a largely forgotten incident in the Nuba mountains in central Sudan. On February 26, 2002, the town of Nahibloiu was wiped out, killing approximately 3000 of the 10,000 residents, to make way for a Chinese oil well that now operates in nearby Leal. In Sudan's Darfur province, since April, 2003 an estimated 400,000 additional African civilians have been murdered by bombs, bullets or swords of the Bashir military regime in Khartoum, or died of related causes, such as starvation and disease. The killing, raping and burning pattern in Darfur is essentially the same one used by Khartoum earlier in the Nuba mountains and across South Sudan.

The respected New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, wrote some months ago in a piece headed " China's Genocide Olympics": "Just a few days ago, Sudan appointed Musa Hilal, a founding leader of the Arab militia known as the janjaweed, to a position in the central government. This is the man who was once quoted as having expressed gratitude for 'the necessary weapons and ammunition to exterminate the African tribes in Darfur'."

The ongoing role of China's party-state across Darfur is clearly not the conduct of a responsible member of the international community.


Looking at Taiwan's immediate future, like many others around the world, I welcome the recent signs of good will expressed by the governments of China and Taiwan towards each other and would urge the party-state in Beijing to seize a golden opportunity to improve cross-strait relations sustantively. Four ways of doing so would be:

  1. Respect the status quo of cross-strait relations and put the sovereignty issue over Taiwan on hold,

  2. As the new Taiwanese government has given its pledge to adhere to the principle of "no unification, no independence and no use of force", China's government should scale down and then withdraw all of the more than 1300 ballistic missiles still targeted at Taiwan,

  3. The party-state in Beijing should begin good faith consultations with Taiwan's government over its international space and wish to play a constructive role in the world community, seeking a possible cross-strait peace accord, and

  4. Pledge that the future status of Taiwan will be resolved by peaceful means in accordance with the will of the 23 million residents of the island.

Democracy is much more than full and free elections periodically; it includes an independent civil society and checks on every government in every national capital. The people of Taiwan should keep a close eye on the Ma government-as with all others- to ensure that a hard-won democracy and the dignity of all Taiwanese are strengthened over the next four years.

Taiwanese-Canadians and their many friends should continue to advocate closer relations between Taiwan and Canada. It is vital for the future of Taiwanese democracy, but also for Canadian interests in the Pacific, to keep Taiwan in the democratic column. Any international isolation of Taiwan, combined with Party courtship of some KMT leaders, could well have just the opposite effect. The KMT needs rewards to entice it to maintain the sovereignty of the Taiwan (even under the KMT-cherished name of Republic of China).

All success to you all. Thank you.


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