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Panel discusses human rights violations in China

By Dan Larkins, The Daily Targum
November 16, 2008

The University’s chapter of Amnesty International welcomed five experts last Thursday to discuss “the real China” and speak about human rights violations in China. Over 100 attendees filled the Raritan River Lounge in the Student Activities Center for Amnesty International’s 2008 Report on China.

Leeshai Lemish, London School of Economics’ Global Civil Society correspondent and researcher, discussed the deterioration of human rights in China and decried recent legislation, which he feels appears to be mere rhetoric.

“You can be executed for 68 different crimes, mostly non-violent ones,” Lemish said.

Dr. Charles Lee, a panelist, was imprisoned in China for three years.

Lee said the Chinese government detained him without a trial and forced him to make products such as Homer Simpson slippers.

Lee displayed one of the recognizable slippers, which was purchased at a New Jersey Target store, for the audience.

Lee said the government imprisoned him for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation that focuses on truth, compassion and tolerance.

More than 100 million people in China practice this non-violent meditation and 60 percent of Chinese prisoners are Falun Gong practitioners who are tortured in various ways, Lee said.

Lee said one such method is called “little white dragon.” The torturer pushes and screws a sharp tube into the prisoner’s flesh and grinds the skin until flesh comes out of the tube’s other side.

Once sanguine, the hole in the skin is rubbed with salt. More than 100,000 prisoners are tortured to death, Lee said.

Dr. Shiyu Zhou, deputy director of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium detailed the Chinese government’s information censorship campaign, which recently began targeting the Internet.

Dr. Zhou discussed the Chinese firewall which blocks access to most Western topics. The Golden Shoot project is a multi-million dollar firewall that monitors and controls Internet usage in China.

“Authorities claim pornography is the reason for the firewall, but the firewall blocks 50 to 90 percent of religious and political dissent, while only 10 percent of pornography is blocked,” Zhou said.

Chinese political commentator and columnist for Epoch Times, Henghe, said Chinese consulate members are illegally infiltrating the United States and spreading anti-Falun Gong sentiments.

Dr. Wenyi Wang, a pathologist and editor of Epoch Times, expanded on the role of Falun Gong and its United States detractors.

Wang said from May 17 through May 22, physical attacks on Falun Gong demonstrators raged in New York City, with documented support from Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu. Wang’s multimedia presentation included a radio interview in which Keyu said the Consulate supported the attacks.

One of Wang’s videos documenting the violence in New York City included a man who bled profusely after being struck in the head.

“I thought America was a country of free expression,” the victim said.

Rutgers’ Amnesty International President Stephanie Murray said her group is looking to spread knowledge about human rights issues to students.

Amnesty International meetings are held on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in Room 454 of the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus.

Murray said their next event will be a collaboration with SCREAM theater. The group will be creating a project similar to the street theater of the Truth Campaign, about violence against women.

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