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Speech: Responsible Engagement With China (4)- Liu Xiaobo

Posted by Author on January 25, 2010

Hon. David Kilgour, J.D., German-American Institute, Heidelberg, Germany, 11 January 2010 – (cont’d)

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A more recent example of such practices in China is the Christmas day sentencing of Liu Xiaobo, the Charter 08 co-author, to eleven years in prison for advocating democracy. It is hard for many of us outside China to understand that trials there are mere theatres. The deciding ‘judges’ usually don’t even hear the evidence given in ‘courts’. Clive Ansley of Canada practised law in Shanghai for 13 years, handling about 300 cases in their courts, before returning to British Columbia. His article in the March 2007 British Columbia trial lawyers’ publication, The Verdict, explains the reality of what happened to Liu and many others. It notes in part:

    “There is a current saying amongst Chinese lawyers and judges who truly believe in the Rule of Law and this saying, familiar throughout all legal circles in China, vividly illustrates the futility of Canadian attempts to ‘assist China in improving its legal system’ by training judges. It is ‘Those who hear the case do not make the judgment; those who make the judgment have not heard the case’ ”.”This saying reflects the function of the ‘Judicial Committee’, the most important body within each ‘court’. The ‘Judicial Committee’ is a standing committee composed of between five and seven ‘judges’, depending on the size of the ‘court’. It meets regularly, usually once a week. It is here, behind closed doors, completely away from public view and scrutiny, that most cases are decided. Nothing which has transpired in the ‘courtroom’ has any impact on the ‘judgment’. ”

The full article can be accessed at

Since our report came out, laws and practices in China have changed. A law on transplants in May 2007 required that transplants be performed only in registered hospitals. The Ministry of Health announced that from June 26, 2007 Chinese patients would be given priority access to organ transplants over foreigners. The announcement also banned all medical institutions from transplanting organs into foreign transplant tourists. The government announced in August 2009 that it was launching an organ donation system as a pilot project.

With these changes, however, the crimes against humanity continue. The recipients have changed from mostly foreign to local, but the sources remain substantially the same. The government denies that organs are being sourced from prisoners who are Falun Gong practitioners. Yet it accepts that organs for transplants are being sourced from prisoners. The only debate we have with the Government is which group of prisoners is the source of organs. (to be cont’d)

-From David Kilgour website:

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