I was appalled and saddened to see the show “Malaise dans le Chinatown: Enquete” which was aired on Radio-Canada Oct. 30, 2008. To my surprise, it painted a rather grim picture of a well-respected, benign group which is currently being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Regime for their beliefs.
The nine-year illegal and extremely brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China has been well documented by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights organizations worldwide.
However, Radio-Canada's misleading program failed to portray the intensity and injustice of this persecution. Instead, it was biased and sought to embrace the classic scenario of portraying the victim as the real villain while the perpetrator (the Chinese communist regime) becomes the hero. This message came out loud and clear from beginning to end.
It is honestly distressful that Radio-Canada would resort to such journalistic manipulation. By implying that Falun Gong practitioners are liars and troublemakers, this show will actually have the effect of causing damage to the Falun Gong community. They already have to contend with constant interference by the Chinese consulates and the embassy in Ottawa spreading hate and misinformation against them in Chinese communities across the country. They don't need Canada's national broadcaster adding to their problems.
Around the world, it’s a common sight to see groups of practitioners appeal for an end to the persecution in countries/cities where they can exercise their free speech and peacefully raise awareness of the brutal treatment of their counterparts in China. They also hope to stop the vilification of Falun Gong by pro-communist groups overseas—groups who are following orders from the Chinese consulates and embassies as revealed by a number of defectors during the past few years.
Judging by the narrow scope of Radio-Canada’s program, a bit of background on Falun Gong of the Buddha School is necessary, as there appears to be a missing link in their “expose.”
Falun Gong is an ancient spiritual discipline based on the values of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance that includes gentle exercises and meditation. It was widely accepted in China before the persecution was launched in 1999. Because of its popularity, the then- leader of China, Jiang Zemin, declared that the Chinese Communist Party had to overcome Falun Gong and promptly launched a campaign of violence against the group.
For the past nine years this illegal persecution of Falun Gong has continued unabated. UN Special Rapporteur Manfred Nowak stated in his 2007 report that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody. U.S. State Department annual reports indicate that Falun Gong practitioners constitute at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-through-labor camps in China while the real number could be even higher.
Unfortunately this poor showing by Radio-Canada is not an isolated incident. We all remember how Peter Rowe’s documentary ‘Beyond the Red Wall’ was pulled by CBC three hours before show time after intervention by the Chinese embassy. The documentary was subsequently carefully doctored to hide the most damning evidence of the illicit harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners' organs by the regime in China.
CBC lost some credibility by that action by kowtowing to a foreign regime. Radio Canada is now provided with an opportunity to regain some of that credibility and show some integrity by not broadcasting this documentary in the future and presenting the real facts instead.