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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Sydney Dance Teacher Says Shen Yun “absolutely beautiful”

Posted by Author on May 14, 2010


SYDNEY– With Shen Yun Performing Arts New York company almost halfway through its scheduled performances in Sydney at the Big Top Theatre in Luna Park, audience members from this evening’s show were raving about the performance.

Annette Vella, a dance teacher who for 35 years has run five dance groups, said that the show was “absolutely beautiful.” Ms. Vella was originally a gymnast and later studied classical ballet. She has two daughters who have traveled through China, but she has never been there.

“It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” the dance teacher said. “The music and the movement and the color—what they are doing is so beautiful, so elegant.”

She was impressed with the classical Chinese dance performances: “It’s more elegant than I have seen,” she said. She liked the colorful scenic backdrops, the storytelling through dance, and the representation of different ethnic regions, like Mongolia.

“I had never seen a Mongolian dance before. And it was nice to learn about the silk dance. The beautiful smoke with the clouds and the fairies of the sky—that was really nice.”

“I loved the men—really strong dance from the men. That was fantastic. They are really athletic, but so light on their feet that they just float in the air. The leaps are beautiful,” she said.

Shen Yun uses innovative animated backdrops that integrate with the scenes on stage, something Ms. Vella enjoyed: “That was fantastic. That really adds to the color, and the costumes often blend in with the background too, especially the silk dance.”

Ms. Vella was also impressed with tenor Hong Ming, who sang Calmly Take a Look. She said he had a “beautiful voice” and felt that his singing uplifted her spirit.

“You couldn’t go away feeling disappointed or sad from the show, that’s for sure.”

Ms. Vella said she would be back next year with her dance class. “I would have bought my dance class to come and watch. I told them about it today, and I said you have got to go and see it. I’m going. We will be there … next year for sure.” (The Epochtimes)

Related:
(video) Shen Yun in Australia, New Zealand 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Arts, Australia, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Chinese music, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on Sydney Dance Teacher Says Shen Yun “absolutely beautiful”

Shen Yun “uplifting and exciting”, says Member of European Parliament

Posted by Author on May 14, 2010


LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, BelgiumShen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company held one last show at Louvain-la-Neuve’s Aula Magna on Tuesday, May 11, ending its 10-show run in the Belgian city.

Among the enthusiastic crowd at the Tuesday evening show was Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament representing East Midlands, UK.

“I had a wonderful time,” Mr. Helmer said in an interview during intermission.

“I was just thinking ‘it’s fantastic, it’s so full of energy, it’s so elegant’.”

The skills and physical ability of the performers was quite impressive for the MEP.

“I just don’t know how they manage to do it,” he said, referring to the performers.

Mr. Helmer was first elected in 1999, and then re-elected for a second term in 2004. He sits on several committees, including unemployment and petitions. Before entering politics, he held senior management positions in a number of different large multinational companies.

He elaborated on the last piece before the intermission, Tibetan Dance of Praise, which particularly caught his attention.

“It just seemed to have a combination of energy and elegance, and the costumes were wonderful, and it really was uplifting and exciting,” he said.

The animated backdrops used in the show portraying celestial palaces and beautiful landscapes were quite appealing for the MEP as well.

“The backdrops were very impressive. For the Himalayas, for example, that works very effusive,” he said.

“It’s the action and the movement, and the music that really makes the show. It’s wonderful.”

Mr. Helmer said he would recommend the show to his friends.

“They should just come and see the show if they can.”

The New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform in Neuchatel, Switzerland, from May 13 to 16.

– The Epochtimes

Related:
– (video)  Shen Yun in Europe 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Arts, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Chinese music, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun “uplifting and exciting”, says Member of European Parliament

Shen Yun Show ‘Extraordinary’, Says Belgium Professor

Posted by Author on May 14, 2010


LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium— The Aula Magna in Louvain-La-Neuve, hosted ten world renown Shen Yun Performing Arts shows from April 30 through May 11.

Dr. Serrano, professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain, who in 2009 was granted an honorary doctor of medicine in recognition of his contribution to medicine in multiple countries, and his wife, Anna Maria Serrano, who is involved in Musicology at the Catholic University of Louvain, were in the audience

“I found the show extraordinary and I would like to first congratulate the sponsors who supported this show,” said Ms. Serrano.

Ms. Serrano was surprised by the orchestra which combined Eastern and Western instruments. “The orchestra is extraordinary and it must accompany all the sets to make it a complete show,” she said

Dance shows are nothing new to Ms. Serrano, “I often watch ballets. I go often to the opera, and so on. So, this is a departure from what I generally see,” she explained. “For me, the Chinese dance presented in this manner is of a very high level … They are dances on a very high level—a superior level—therefore, for me it is an extraordinary show.”

Ms. Serrano summed up saying, “I will advise people who have not already had the opportunity to see this show to see it before it leaves, because it is truly worth the effort.”

Dr. Serrano also added his opinion. “I am impressed by the delicacy and the spirit which emerges during the performance. The show is extraordinary!”

Continuing, Dr. Serrano said, “I am impressed by the … the precision of the movements and by the beauty of the presentation. Behind the technique there is also a presence, one has the impression that the artists are together presenting something that belongs to the deepest part of themselves.” (The Epochtimes)

Related:
– (video)  Shen Yun in Europe 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Arts, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun Show ‘Extraordinary’, Says Belgium Professor

The Mystery of Falun Gong

Posted by Author on May 13, 2010


By David Matas, International human rights lawyer, via The Washington Post, May. 12, 2010-

Last year, as millions of Iranians flocked online to tell stories of political repression and police violence, the world was introduced to an unlikely champion in the fight for freedom of information online: the spiritual practice Falun Gong. American practitioners of Falun Gong, it turned out, had spent nearly a decade developing and refining the most effective and widely used anti-censorship software in the world — software that has been instrumental in the free flow of information to and from closed societies.

Who are Falun Gong and what drove them to build anti-censorship software?

The Government of China recognizes five beliefs and bans all others, including Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a modern update and blending of two religions China does recognize – Taoism and Buddhism, combined with a simple set of exercises. Of all the banned beliefs, none is treated worse than Falun Gong, banned in July 1999.

Practitioners of Falun Gong represent two-thirds of the Chinese torture victims and half the people in detention in re-education through labour camps. The documented yearly arbitrary killings and disappearances of Falun Gong exceed by far the totals for any other victim group. According to research that David Kilgour and I have done, set out in our book Bloody Harvest, practitioners have been killed in the tens of thousands since 2001 so that their organs could be sold to patients in need of transplants.

The extremes of language the Chinese regime uses against Falun Gong are unparalleled. The Government of China has imposed a censorship blackout on independent information about Falun Gong. Chinese internet police block any mention of Falun Gong – other than their own propaganda – on websites, blogs, e-mails and search engines.

Why is this happening? One answer is the numbers. The practice of Falun Gong went from a standing start in 1992 to numbers greater than the membership of the Party within the space of seven years, spreading rapidly throughout China immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Communist Party control in Central Asia and Eastern and Central Europe.

The Party took fright at seeing Chinese nationals in the tens of millions engaging publicly in a form of exercise which had an underlying belief system completely divorced from Communism. Falun Gong is not an organization. The exercises can be done anywhere at any time, as little or as often as the practitioner wants. They can be done singly or in groups, indoors or outdoors. The amorphous nature meant that it was impossible to control.

The early stages of propaganda and repression against the practice of Falun Gong by elements of the Party pushing to have the Party ban the practice led to petitions and protests by practitioners, generated through cell phone and internet coordination. The mobilization of Falun Gong practitioners alarmed and frightened the Communist Party.

For the Communists, victimizing the Falun Gong is a crime which is easier to get away with than victimizing other, better known groups. Falun Gong victims are often people without Western connections or Western languages.

The incitement to hatred against the Falun Gong, like all incitement to bigotry, has an impact. The Chinese Communist Party noise about the practice of Falun Gong confuses and obscures.

The Falun Gong are an outgrowth from ancient Chinese traditions. To the Chinese Communist Party, Falun Gong was a regression back to where China was before the Communist Party took over.

The problem for the Communists was not just that Falun Gong is so authentically Chinese; it is also that Communism is so patently foreign.

Communism is a Western ideological import into China. Communists saw a widespread, popular Chinese-based ideology as cutting out from under them the very ground on which they stood.

Tolerating the Falun Gong would not have meant the collapse of the current regime. But it would have meant the disappearance of whatever ideological presence the Communist Party had in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people.

Jiang Zemin, in a leaked memorandum sent to the standing members of the Political Bureau of Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in April 1999, wrote: “Can’t the Marxism our Communists have, the materialism, atheism we believe in really win over that suit of stuff aired by Falun Gong?”

The answer to that question, it seems, is no. Left alone, Falun Gong would have won. So the Party repressed it with a viciousness beyond compare.

David Matas, co-author of “Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Canada, and a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Washington Post

Posted in Anti-censorship, China, Freedom of Belief, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on The Mystery of Falun Gong

China’s troubling friendship with N. Korea

Posted by Author on May 10, 2010


By Fred Hiatt, Via The Washington Post, USA, May 10, 2010 –

Fresh from sinking a South Korean navy ship
and taking the lives of 46 mostly young sailors, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il hopped on his private armored train last week for a friendly visit to his enablers in Beijing.

Is that a harsh interpretation of events? Yes; nuances and caveats to follow. But it’s also an interpretation that best fits the available facts — and it raises questions about the Obama administration’s enduring hope (like the hope of the Bush administration before it) for China’s help in constraining not only North Korea but also Iran and other bad actors around the world.

The South Korean corvette Cheonan exploded, broke in two and sank off the west coast of Korea in darkness March 26, with 46 of the crew of 104 killed or lost at sea. Officially, the cause of the explosion remains under investigation, and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak has lodged no accusations. But the two pieces of the boat have been salvaged, internal explosions have been ruled out as cause and — last week — South Korean newspapers reported that traces of a torpedo had been found. The list of logical suspects extends from A to A.

Lee, contending with popular anger among South Koreans, has labored methodically to lay the groundwork for a multilateral response focused on diplomatic or economic sanctions; military retaliation would only risk wider war. To that end, he discussed the sinking with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Shanghai on April 30. South Korean officials hoped that China would help send a message to its ally in Pyongyang that ship-sinking is not an approved sport among civilized nations.

Instead, three days later, and without notification to South Korea, China rolled out the red carpet for North Korea’s self-titled Dear Leader. The Chinese press was not permitted to report on the four-day visit as it took place or even acknowledge that it was happening. But after Kim was safely home, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Hu had hosted a welcoming banquet in the Dear Leader’s honor. “Hu said the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is the common treasure of the two governments, parties and peoples,” Xinhua reported.

What to make of this? Analysts who believe that China wields a moderating, useful influence over North Korea found comfort in a five-point proposal that Hu issued. It called, for example, for the two countries “to strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs”; perhaps that signaled China’s discontent that Pyongyang was sinking ships in the neighborhood without warning. According to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, Kim unexpectedly departed Beijing before using his coveted ticket to the North Korean version of the Chinese classic opera “Dream of the Red Mansion”; maybe he left in a huff after Chinese officials had (perhaps) expressed reservations about ship-sinking.

On the other hand, Chosun Ilbo also reported that Kim returned home with promises of 100,000 tons of food and $100 million in other aid from China for the crippled North Korean economy. And that reflects China’s true role in North Korea. Despite all the time spent in six-party talks in recent years, and all the discussion of China’s new role as a “responsible stakeholder” and a “strategic partner,” its main accomplishment has been to keep Kim Jong Il’s murderous regime sputtering along. It does this by sending North Korean refugees who make it across the Yalu River back to North Korea, often to be executed, which tends to discourage the outward flow that would otherwise take place. And in periods when the United States, South Korea and Japan restrict their aid to North Korea for political reasons, China fills the gap. The regime’s nuclear program has not been restrained; it is likely to face no serious consequences for its sinking of the Cheonan.

All of this matters greatly to the 24 million or so people who remain imprisoned inside Kim’s gulag nation. How much it matters to South Korea and its allies, including America, is debatable, since in one sense South Korea already has won the war. Its economy has grown to about $28,000 per person in purchasing power, according to the CIA World Factbook, not far behind Japan’s; the CIA estimates the North Korean economy at $1,900 per person, which seems generous when stacked against accounts of refugees who have escaped.

But it may matter more as an indication of how much help President Obama can expect from Hu and his colleagues. For a U.S. government hoping that China would rein in North Korea’s nuclear program and back sanctions strong enough to influence Iran’s behavior, Hu’s post-Cheonan embrace of the Dear Leader must be a little dispiriting.

The Washington Post

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Economy, News, Opinion, Politics, South Korea, USA, World | Comments Off on China’s troubling friendship with N. Korea

Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

Posted by Author on May 3, 2010


By L. GORDON CROVITZ, via The Wall Street Journal, May.2, 2010-

When a government department refuses to spend money that Congress has allocated, there’s usually a telling backstory. This is doubly so when the funds are for a purpose as uncontroversial as making the Internet freer.

So why has the State Department refused to spend $45 million in appropriations since 2008 to “expand access and information in closed societies”? The technology to circumvent national restrictions is being provided by volunteers who believe that with funding they can bring Web access to many more people, from Iran to China.

A bipartisan group in Congress intended to pay for tests aimed at expanding the use of software that brings Internet access to “large numbers of users living in closed societies that have acutely hostile Internet environments.” The most successful of these services is provided by a group called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, whose programs include Freegate and Ultrasurf.

When Iranian demonstrators last year organized themselves through Twitter posts and brought news of the crackdown to the outside world, they got past the censors chiefly by using Freegate to get access to outside sites.

The team behind these circumvention programs understands how subversive their efforts can be. As Shiyu Zhou, deputy director of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, told Congress last year, “The Internet censorship firewalls have become 21st-century versions of Berlin Walls that isolate and dispirit the citizens of closed-society dictatorships.”

Repressive governments rightly regard the Internet as an existential threat, giving people powerful ways to communicate and organize. These governments also use the Web as a tool of repression, monitoring emails and other traffic. Recall that Google left China in part because of hacking of human-rights activists’ Gmail accounts.

To counter government monitors and censors, these programs give online users encrypted connections to secure proxy servers around the world. A group of volunteers constantly switches the Internet Protocol addresses of the servers—up to 10,000 times an hour. The group has been active since 2000, and repressive governments haven’t figured out how to catch up. More than one million Iranians used the system last June to post videos and photos showing the government crackdown.

Mr. Zhou tells me his group would use any additional money to add equipment and to hire full-time technical staff to support the volunteers. For $50 million, he estimates the service could accommodate 5% of Chinese Internet users and 10% in other closed societies—triple the current capacity.

So why won’t the State Department fund this group to expand its reach, or at least test how scalable the solution could be? There are a couple of explanations.

The first is that the Global Internet Freedom Consortium was founded by Chinese-American engineers who practice Falun Gong, the spiritual movement suppressed by Beijing. Perhaps not the favorites of U.S. diplomats, but what other group has volunteers engaged enough to keep such a service going? As with the Jewish refuseniks who battled the Soviet Union, sometimes it takes a persecuted minority to stand up to a totalitarian regime.

The second explanation is a split among technologists—between those who support circumvention programs built on proprietary systems and others whose faith is on more open sources of code. A study last year by the Berkman Center at Harvard gave more points to open-source efforts, citing “a well-established contentious debate among software developers about whether secrecy about implementation details is a robust strategy for security.” But whatever the theoretical objections, the proprietary systems work.

Another likely factor is realpolitik. Despite the tough speech Hillary Clinton gave in January supporting Internet freedom, it’s easy to imagine bureaucrats arguing that the U.S. shouldn’t undermine the censorship efforts of Tehran and Beijing. An earlier generation of bureaucrats tried to edit, as overly aggressive, Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech in Berlin urging Mikhail Gorbachev: “Tear down this wall.”

It’s true that circumvention doesn’t solve every problem. Internet freedom researcher and advocate Rebecca MacKinnon has made the point that “circumvention is never going to be the silver bullet” in the sense that it can only give people access to the open Web. It can’t help with domestic censorship.

During the Cold War, the West expended huge effort to get books, tapes, fax machines, radio reports and other information, as well as the means to convey it, into closed societies. Circumvention is the digital-age equivalent.

If the State Department refuses to support a free Web, perhaps there’s a private solution. An anonymous poster, “chinese.zhang,” suggested on a Google message board earlier this year that the company should fund the Global Internet Freedom Consortium as part of its defense against Chinese censorship. “I think Google can easily offer more servers to help to break down the Great Firewall,” he wrote.

The Wall Street Journal

Posted in Anti-censorship, Asia, China, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Speech, Technology, World | Comments Off on Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

Shen Yun Show ‘very profound—and the human aspect, the aspect of peace’, Says Former Directer of EU Commission in Belgium

Posted by Author on May 2, 2010


LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium— Tonight at the Aula Magna theater, Shen Yun Performing Arts brought Northern Europe a perfect example of beauty, depth, and human values.

Among the many patrons of the Aula Magna this evening was Mr. Jacob Houtman, former director general of the EU commission. Originally from Holland, he has lived in Belgium for the past 40 years, working for the European Commission

Mr Houtman said, “I am impressed by today’s show, which is beautiful, perfect, well presented, and which I really liked. The beauty, the colors, the dances, etc … it was perfect.”

New York-based Shen Yun portrays China’s divinely-bestowed history from 5,000 years afo down to today in Chinese classical dance, music and song.

Gorgeously costumed dancers are choreographed to match digital animated backdrops and a live orchestra playing Western and Chinese composition complemented by acclaimed vocalists, and solo musicians.

Mr. Houtman talked about the depth of the show. “I find the show’s message very profound. When it starts with the person from the past, and the person who descends from heaven to help humanity, … So it was very profound.” [The Emperor Ushers in a Glorious Age]

Finally, Mr. Houtman expressed how Shen Yun is not something typically seen in Europe. He said, “I think that the show shows human values very well. It’s very profound—and the human aspect, the aspect of peace.”……. (more from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Arts, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Chinese music, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun Show ‘very profound—and the human aspect, the aspect of peace’, Says Former Directer of EU Commission in Belgium

Shen Yun “a kaleidoscope of China”, Says New Zealand Business Director

Posted by Author on May 2, 2010


AUCKLAND, New ZealandShen Yun Performing Arts New York Company performed its third of four shows at the ASB theatre on Saturday evening, May 1.

Arthur Parken, a business director, said that Shen Yun had the most striking “color and costumes,” saying it was “visually quite stimulating.”

Shen Yun performers are trained in classical Chinese dance, a dance form that has a strict training program for perfecting bearing and form, jumps, turns, and flips. It has extremely demanding dance techniques.

Mr. Parken was particularly impressed with the skills of the dancers, saying, “The quality, the suppleness and the difficulty of the dances is something worth seeing, and they make quite difficult movements look very easy, and they are very light on their feet.”

Ancient legends and folkloric dances are brought to life by the Shen Yun dancers, and Mr. Parken enjoyed seeing the cultural aspects of the different regions of China.

He said Shen Yun was “a kaleidoscope of China, of movement and of color.”…… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Arts, China, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Chinese music, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, New Zealand, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun “a kaleidoscope of China”, Says New Zealand Business Director

China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Posted by Author on April 29, 2010


by Mike Elgan, IT World, Apr. 29, 2010-

The Chinese government today made sweeping changes to its state secrets law that directly affects Internet companies operating in the country. The amended law goes further to force these companies to help the Chinese Communist Party suppress free speech and censor the Internet.

The law requires that the transmission of “state secrets” over the Internet be stopped by these companies if they “discover” it. The companies are also required to keep records of such transmissions (e-mails, blog posts, text messages and so on) and report them to the Chinese government.

The law effectively requires all Internet companies operating in China — including Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo and others — to serve as agents of the Government’s internal security apparatus.

What is or is not considered a “state secret” by the law is determined by Communist Party officials. For example, if Falun Gong supporters protest, and some blogger writes about it, that might be considered a “state secret,” and Microsoft would be required to report it.

American Internet companies who operate in China have come under some pressure after Google announced its departure from the country. Microsoft was especially vocal after the Google announcement that it would obey all Chinese laws.

What will companies do? My prediction: They’ll do nothing until their hands are forced by events. It’s a near certainty that information the Chinese government considers “state secrets” will be “transmitted” via Microsoft or Yahoo services, and via Cisco equipment. The American companies will no doubt try their best to not know what’s being communicated, but the Chinese government may actually force them to monitor communications somehow.

In the wake of Google’s brave stand against censorship, it will be interesting to see if a larger exodus of foreign companies isn’t forced by aggressive abuse of Internet companies by the Chinese government.

Read more about the amendments to China’s state secrets law.

– from the IT World

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Shen Yun “An Eye-Opener”, Says Grammy Award Finalist in Taiwan

Posted by Author on April 26, 2010


TAIPEI, Taiwan—Xiao Qing-Yang, a designer of album-packaging, has been a Grammy Award Finalist three times. For the past three years he has been seeing Shen Yun’s posters while overseas during the Chinese New Year. He thought that the Chinese people in New York and Los Angeles must have really liked to watch Eastern shows to celebrate the Chinese New Year. However, he didn’t expect that he would also see Shen Yun in Taiwan. He felt especially pleased.

After seeing the performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the National Taiwan University of Arts on April 25, Mr. Xiao said, “I finally saw the show.”

When seeing the Shen Yun posters in overseas cities, Mr. Xiao thought that the show was only for overseas Chinese people to have some consolation for seeing Chinese dances during the Chinese New Year. He was happy for his friends in those cities to have a great Eastern show for the Chinese New Year. He happily said, “If I have the chance to see it in other cities next time, I must feel intimated.”

“I haven’t seen such an Eastern style of fairies, goddesses, and stories for a long time. I’m so happy to see them today! There are a lot of musicians and dancing artists here. Their abilities and performances were outstanding!” Mr. Xiao said.

He also said that Shen Yun’s artists performed wholeheartedly and it showed that they have worked very hard. “Whenever there was a plot, I had increasing admiration for Shen Yun, because it’s quite delicate in all details. I can tell that they have received very strict training. From my point of view as an artist, I think it needs a lot of time to practice to have such abilities to perform on stage.”

Mr. Xiao was particularly impressed by the dance Handkerchiefs. He said, “There was a program of the dance with handkerchiefs. I first thought that there were special wires designed in the handkerchiefs. Afterwards, I found there was none. The handkerchiefs were flying in the air completely dependent on their superb skills. … It’s an eye-opener.”

Mr. Xiao, born in 1966, said that living in this world, he had felt there were a lot of things that couldn’t be understood or explained. Seeing the Shen Yun performance he said he saw a lot of delicate Eastern culture and the feelings that Eastern people have towards Gods, heaven, and earth. “Actually, I’m kind of feeling the situation that it seems we were also Gods coming to the world. After cultivating something, we are then preparing to go back to heaven.”

He said he felt that seeing such an artistic representation was a great encouragement. “Today I saw such a show, which seemed to remind me of something, like what I come here [to the world] for! Although I haven’t found an exact answer, I am glad to have an opportunity to see such a show.” (The Epochtimes)

Posted in Arts, Asia, China, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Chinese music, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, performing arts, review, Shen Yun show, shows, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun “An Eye-Opener”, Says Grammy Award Finalist in Taiwan

The Return of Chinese Regime’s ‘Revolutionary Opera’ Targets the World- On Gao Zhisheng’s Forced Disappearance and Reappearance

Posted by Author on April 11, 2010


By Matthew Robertson, Epoch  Times Staff –

The Chinese Communist Party’s boasts about improvements in its human rights record are a lot like the Beijing “revolutionary operas” composed by Madame Mao during the Cultural Revolution. Then, the target for indoctrination was limited to the Chinese people, and citizens had no escape. Now, the target is the world, the emptiness of the gestures visible for all to see, and participation is voluntary.

The case of maverick human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng illustrates the trend. Gao, whose high profile disappearance more than a year ago drew international attention, was recently reported to have been staying in a retreat in a mountain range for the last six months. It was the crescendo of a series of risible claims about his condition, ranging from his having “gone missing” while out walking, to having been gainfully employed in the remote western Xinjiang Province.

Parallels come easily between the recent, obviously absurd, suggestions about the subject of one of the most sensitive and high-profile political repressions in China in recent times, and the equally farcical “revolutionary operas” staged by the CCP during the 1960s. In both cases the nonsensical nature of the Party’s pronouncements is on full display.

During the Cultural Revolution, arias from the “eight model operas” were broadcast across every medium, as Huo Wang (1998) recounts in Xing Lu’s “Rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution” published in 2004 : “Model operas are the only art form left in the whole of China. You cannot escape from listening to them. You hear them every time you turn on the radio. You hear them from loudspeakers every time you go outside.”

The traditional (called “bourgeois”) Beijing opera was transformed (see warped) by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, to fulfill the CCP’s ideological obligations. The operas had three goals, according to Lu. The first was to “affirm the correctness” of Mao’s theory of “the armed struggle of the masses”; the second was indoctrinating the Chinese people with the idea that there had always been a class struggle between the proletarian and the bourgeoisie; and the third was to present a “heroic characterization of workers, peasants, and soldiers.”

In a similar way, the CCP’s pronouncements about its adherence to the rule of law and improvements in its human rights record aim at persuading the world that the CCP should be ruling China and leading it into the future, and that progress toward civil society is being made.

Forcing Gao Zhisheng to make a phone call in the presence of friendly agents from the Public Security Bureau is another example. It perpetrates the obvious falsehood that he is free and has been for six months, and moreover, free to the extent that he could take time out to collect his feelings in the serenity of an ancient mountain range. It is performance of a similar order to the politically encoded displays of revolutionary opera: supposed to convince observers of an idea that is obviously untrue, with the threat of repercussions for non-acceptance.

In the global modern context “non-acceptance” means Western government’s public criticism of China’s human rights and civil society record; repercussions by the regime include the threat of “damaged relations.”

Today the CCP continues to indoctrinate and subordinate the Chinese people. This relies on a combination of increasingly sophisticated propaganda that weds the Party-State to the idea of China as a nation, and the underlying possibility of coercion, also sophisticated, ranging from difficulties in obtaining cooperation from the state in business affairs, to labor camps and dungeons of torture as experienced by Gao.

The farce is also exported to the world in pronouncements of progress, and carefully scripted public drama, like having Gao pretend he is free. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese people had no choice but to nod in agreement. Today, the world can see clearly the games that are being played, but still, often, nods in agreement.

Original article: Human Rights Performed: The Return of ‘Revolutionary Opera’, The Epochtimes

Posted in China, Communist Party, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Lawyer, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on The Return of Chinese Regime’s ‘Revolutionary Opera’ Targets the World- On Gao Zhisheng’s Forced Disappearance and Reappearance

Protecting our freedom of in Taiwan: EDITORIAL by The Taipei Times

Posted by Author on April 8, 2010


Thursday, The Taipei Times, Taiwan, Apr 08, 2010-

As growing numbers of Falun Gong practitioners flee persecution in China, they are coming to the attention of overseas Chinese. Protest activities where they hold up banners and arrange press conferences accusing China of persecution are spreading all over the world. Falun Gong activities are a common sight on the streets of Taipei, which is why it was surprising that police fined one of the movement’s adherents for distributing flyers in front of Taipei 101.

Interior designer Hsu Po-kun (許柏坤) challenged the fine, and, fortunately, the Taipei District Court decided he did not have to pay up. Had that not been the case, it would have been a dark smudge indeed on freedom of expression in Taiwan.

Hsu often goes to Taipei 101 to display protest signs aimed at Chinese tourists that accuse the Chinese government of violating human rights and suppressing Falun Gong. On Dec. 4, he was fined NT$300 for obstructing traffic. Hsu brought the case to the Taipei District Court, where Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) ruled that the police officer who charged him had interfered with Hsu’s freedom of speech and dismissed the fine. In the verdict, Lin also criticized China for restricting people’s freedom of speech and called on the Taiwanese government to protect human rights.

To break China’s blockade on news about Falun Gong and protest China’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, its adherents in Taiwan often display placards and banners at Taipei 101, a popular attraction for Chinese tour groups. In democratic Taiwan, this falls under the constitutionally protected freedom of speech, and must be respected. Police interference in these demonstrations is unacceptable.

China suppresses freedom of speech and persecutes Falun Gong members, which has sparked strong criticism from international human rights groups. If the impression is created that the authorities are handing out fines to Falun Gong members for engaging in legal and constitutionally protected protests, it would deal a serious blow to Taiwan’s democratic and human rights image. The government’s strongly pro-China policies and its constant and deliberate attempts to avoid upsetting China seem to be having an effect on the lower levels of law enforcement, which could result in attempts to restrict the Falun Gong demonstrations as law enforcers follow the cues of the central government’s attempts to please China. This is a good example of how the administrative system has degenerated.

No other democracy has banned or fined Falun Gong followers. Even when one member made her way into the White House to protest when Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) visited former US president George W. Bush, she was quietly removed from the scene, but no charges were filed.

If Hsu’s fine had been confirmed, Taiwan would have become the laughing stock of the democratic world. Just like Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama or the Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, Falun Gong practitioners are not violent. Their human rights must be protected, and as long as their protests are peaceful, their freedom of speech remains constitutionally protected.

China does not subscribe to the internationally recognized values of human rights and freedom, and it therefore lacks the respect of the international community. The areas of freedom and human rights make up the most glaring differences between Taiwan and China, and this is the most fundamental reason why Taiwanese do not want to accept Chinese rule.

This incident is a very good lesson in human rights, democracy and freedom for Taiwan and clear evidence of the judiciary’s independence from the administrative branch. Even if administrative powers have sometimes been abused, the judiciary can still correct the mistakes of the executive branch and guarantee freedom and human rights in Taiwan.

The Taipei Times

Posted in Asia, China, Commentary, Falun Gong, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Law, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Religious, Social, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Protecting our freedom of in Taiwan: EDITORIAL by The Taipei Times

The Evening With Shen Yun “Was Like a Dream”, Says Denmark Architect and Fashion Designer

Posted by Author on April 4, 2010


AARHUS, DenmarkShen Yun Performing Arts delighted the Danish audience in Aarhus, on their premiere 2010 show in Scandinavia, on Friday evening, April 2, at The Concert Hall Aarhus (Musikhuset Aarhus). ”This evening was like a dream”, said Mr. Sukhdev Singh Kailya, an architect who attended the show for the first time with his wife, Ms. Gunnor Næsvold, a fashion designer.

Originally from India, Mr. Kailya has been living in Aarhus, Denmark, for the past 40 years. He and his Norwegian-born wife, Ms. Gunnor Næsvold, came to the show after he saw a poster for Shen Yun.

“I saw the poster in Aarhus for the first time. I think it was really amazing; it was standing out. So I got immediately interested and went home and told my wife that we should go and see it,” said Mr. Kailya, “It was beautiful and the movement—it was just like the feeling of flying—that is why we came here.”

Shen Yun Performing Arts is based in New York, and is the only performance company today that brings authentic classical Chinese dance to the stage in its pure form. The aerial techniques and noble deportment of the dancers have amazed audiences the world over. Shen Yun includes in its repertoire story-based dances depicting legends from ancient China all the way through modern times, as well as folk dances from many regions throughout China.

With the eye of a fashion designer, Ms. Næsvold was delighted by the classical Chinese dancing in Shen Yun, remarking on the “beautiful music, beautiful people, and beautiful dresses!” She said, “The dancing was amazing. I am going home to start training the way they are walking. It was fanstastic to see.” The elegant lady had a beaming smile on her face as she spoke.

Mr. Kailya commented on the faithful regional flair of the various dances as well as the realistic settings for the story-based dances. “This was very surprising, to experience all these different parts of China. Very nice how they introduce the culture of the East. It is the old knowledge, which they are trying to tell the world.” He felt that the many dances in Shen Yun worked to share a feeling as a whole. Additionally, he indicated that Shen Yun was quite a visual treat. “We were fascinated by the backdrop pictures,” he said, and he enjoyed “all the mountains from the northern parts.” Mr. Kailya recalled the Himalayas in the backdrop for the Tibetan Dance of Praise. He felt the content in Shen Yun was not only striking to watch, but deep in its meaning. “I think the message is very nice,” he said……. (more detals from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Arts, Chinese Culture, Chinese dance, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, performing arts, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on The Evening With Shen Yun “Was Like a Dream”, Says Denmark Architect and Fashion Designer

High House Price vs Affordability in China

Posted by Author on April 3, 2010


(excerpt) Chen Pokong, via secretchina.com –

……

Talking about forced relocation, it is closely associated with high house prices. At the time when China and the rest of the world were experiencing an economic crisis in 2009, house prices in China went against the trend and shot up. Based on official statistics, the average national growth of house prices was about 24 per cent. The real data is even higher. Just looking at Shenzhen City, in one year, house prices rose by 80 per cent. In Hainan Island in January this year, house prices rose by 40 per cent. The people exclaimed and remarked: “The price is changing every day.”

Owing to the high prices of real estate, 85 per cent of the Chinese people can’t afford buying their own house. The recent television series called Snail House 蜗居truly depicted the lives of grass roots-level people in contrast to the luxuries enjoyed by those influential and powerful officials. The TV series vividly showed the painful and heavy-burdened white collar stories in the cities of China and labelled the people as “house slaves”. It shocked and moved the hearts of tens of thousands of people. Sharp comments filled the Internet and newspapers. High-level Chinese authorities, however, gave orders to stop broadcasting this series because the show pinpointed the corruption of current officials and showed sympathy to the small, humble people in Chinese society. These real life stories in China were put into a TV series in a vivid and appropriate way. Against a background of high house prices, it showed the corruption of government officials and businessmen who worked hand in glove to make dirty deals, seeking money by deceit and by force. It showed the wide gap between the poor and the rich, where the helpless minorities struggle to keep their homes or homeland intact, while the rich and powerful easily get what they desire.

From forced relocation to high-priced housing, the Communist regime and its citizens are on opposing sides. Tensions build up and clashes keep happening. Once again, by indirect evidence, it is proven that the Chinese regime, which became wealthy and powerful by hoarding resources and relocating people by armed force, is losing its credibility. To judge whether a government is strong or weak is not determined by how much armed force they use. Rather, it lies in whether a government follows the will of the people and whether it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. (The Secret China)

Posted in China, Commentary, corruption, Family, housing, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on High House Price vs Affordability in China

Shen Yun show review, by City Councilor, Taiwan

Posted by Author on April 2, 2010


TAINAN, Taiwan— Accompanied by his wife and daughter, Tainan City Councilor Lee Weng-Cheng watched the first show of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the Tainan Municipal Culture Center. In an interview after the show, he said, “Watching Shen Yun perform is spiritual joy and an artistic feast.”

Mr. Lee praised the show, saying: “The show was marvelous. All of the programs linked up each other in a well-knit manner. Classical dances and music were integrated with modern lighting and acoustic technology, so well that the show is truly excellent.

“There are many programs in the show illustrating historical stories, which make the audience recollect traditional values, such as loyalty and filial piety, taught in our textbooks. No matter from which angle we examine it, these stories always awaken gigantic echoes and feelings in us,” said Lee in an emotional tone, referring to Shen Yun’s presentation of Chinese legends through dances.

“The dynamic backdrop is unusual. It integrates dances, arts, and music so well and so accurately. I believe prolonged training and continuous refinement must have been done before the dynamic backdrop could work with the performance so seamlessly. This is another delight for the audience. I cherish this opportunity to see a performance, like Shen Yun, in which we are deeply moved by the presentation of arts and stories,” said Mr. Lee.

The lyrics of the solos had profound meaning for Mr. Lee. He said: “I seldom saw such a performance in the past. Through understanding the tenor’s singing, the audience enlightens to truths and facts. The songs they sang have abundant connotations. They are really excellent.

“What moved me the most is the exhibition of the good and the evil of humanity. Falun Gong practitioners do not have freedom of belief in China. Through dances, Falun Gong practitioners won ultimate victory upholding the truth. The artistic presentation greatly affected us,” said Mr. Lee referring to the idea manifested in the show that good and evil have their own rewards.

Lee has been paying continuous attention to human rights issues. He was deeply moved when he saw the scene in which Falun Gong practitioners remained steadfast to their beliefs in spite of the persecution in China. He said: “Freedom of belief is a basic human right. No matter which country is concerned, freedom of belief should not be withheld. The persecution that Falun Gong has been suffering in China needs everyone’s attention. Through the arts, we have a far deeper understanding about these issues.

“I think we should speak up loudly. If we pay more attention and provide more support from Taiwan, a place where freedoms in politics, democracy, and beliefs are secured, we may make freedom and democracy take root in China quickly so that people can freely choose their beliefs,” said Lee. With the power from the general public in Taiwan, he sincerely hopes that people in China can enjoy freedom of belief soon. (The Epochtimes)

Posted in Asia, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, review, Shen Yun show, shows, Taiwan | 2 Comments »

(video) Shen Yun music “fabulous”, says Vancouver symphony conductor

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010


Shen Yun’s four-show run in Vancouver drew in people from various musical backgrounds. Here’s what a symphony conductor and percussionist had to say.

Shen Yun’s performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver really impressed symphony conductor Lindsay Mellor.

[Lindsay Mellor, Conductor, Fraser Valley Symphony]:
“The music was just a wonderful blend of sounds and really enhanced the performance on stage. It was fabulous.” …… (more details from NTD TV News)

Posted in Artists, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, Shen Yun show, shows, Video, World | Comments Off on (video) Shen Yun music “fabulous”, says Vancouver symphony conductor

Shen Yun Contains All of the Culture, Says Chair of Music Institute in Taiwan

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010


CHAIYI, Taiwan— Jun-Hsien Chang, director of the Department of Music and chair of the Graduate Institute of Music in Chaiyi University, attended the performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company in Chaiyi on the afternoon of March 27.

Mr. Chang believes that New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts is not simply some artistic show, but the content included all of the culture, classical Chinese dance, music and art; a combination of an integrated whole.

He happily shared his feelings after seeing the show. He said that the combination of music and the traditional Chinese culture touched him most. The composers’ clever arrangement and combination of the Chinese and Western instruments was particularly special for him, evoking deep feelings.

“The music I’m familiar with is mostly classical music.It’s stunning to see that Shen Yun Performing Arts combines dancing, live orchestra, and backdrop-such diversity of changes.”

In addition, Mr. Chang admired the dynamic backdrop scenes. “The design of the backdrop is quite fabulous. The backdrops match the music. The clever changes with music and dances take people into the scene seamlessly. It’s very great.” Mr. Chang said that the backdrop was very advanced technology and the producers had put a lot of effort into it. “It is worthy of learning,” he said.

For the performance of the Shen Yun Orchestra, Mr. Chang thinks that Shen Yun Orchestra was high quality. “It’s excellent. The pieces written by the composers are very good. In the aspect of combination of the Chinese and Western instruments, it’s rich of imagination. The music contains a lot of the features and material of our Chinese music. It’s quite outstanding. Both the performance and the composing are quite marvelous.”

Of the dancing, Mr. Chang said, “Although I’m a layman, I can see that they have a very good foundation. The dancers are confident when performing and the dancing movements are very beautiful. Overall, I think it’s an artistic show.”

In conclusion, Mr Chang said,“Through personally being at the scene of the show, I experienced the feeling that Chinese culture can get inside your heart and directly feel that it can cultivate your temperament as well.” ( By the Epochtimes)

Posted in Artists, Asia, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Music, News, Opinion, People, review, Shen Yun show, shows, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun Contains All of the Culture, Says Chair of Music Institute in Taiwan

“What I had seen tonight surpassed everything I have heard”, says Austria trading company president after Shen Yun show

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010


BREGENZ, Austria— Manuel Reiter, president of Bo’s Farm, a hemp products trading company from Hamburg, and his wife Ms. Sabrina Hartmann bought tickets to the Shen Yun Performing Arts show in the Bregenzer Festspielhaus (Festival House) on recommendation of a business friend.

“A business friend told us that the show was not an everyday extravaganza, but something that is very unique. Every time we saw him he told us more about the show. We wanted to enjoy something special after my wife delivered our baby and he told us that he had found the extraordinary for us.”

They were looking forward to seeing the show by the New York-based Shen Yun Touring Company artists, which promised stories of old and modern China and many stories handed down through folklore.

They were delighted that the audience honored the performers with resounding applause throughout the show, standing ovations and three curtain calls just before the last curtain fell for the evening.

“The show was, just as we expected, outstanding. I had heard a lot about the show and have to admit that after seeing this show, that one can’t truly do justice to the show unless one sees it personally. It was phenomenal,” said Mr. Reiter.

He also had been told that throughout the show one hears beautiful music from the Shen Yun Touring Company Orchestra, which includes musicians that play on eastern and western instruments, pleasing to the ears of all hearing the music.

“I expected dazzling colors, much fun, beautiful costumes and great music that was different than I heard before. My expectation was very high. And, I can only say, what I had seen tonight surpassed everything I have heard.”

Ms. Hartmann couldn’t agree more, “I was fascinated by the colors, the instruments and the music. I was completely mesmerized. It was so different from what we usually see. It truly was very interesting and I loved the entire show.”

The backdrop, which showed pictures of China during all of the performances, and also displayed the translation to the songs was highly appreciated, as it gave the feeling of being in China.

“The choreography and the backdrop pictures in conjunction with the costumes was perfect,” she added after a short thought……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Life, Music, News, Opinion, People, review, Shen Yun show, shows, World | Comments Off on “What I had seen tonight surpassed everything I have heard”, says Austria trading company president after Shen Yun show

Canada can help imprisoned Chinese hero Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010


By The Hon. David Kilgour on March 25, 2010, via The Metro Politain, Canada-

Members of Gao Zhisheng’s international legal team, on which I am privileged to work, have submitted a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, urging the UN to declare that the Chinese government’s detention of Gao violates international law. Our team hopes that the UN will decide accordingly, but also that the Harper government and opposition party leaders will speak out on behalf of this extraordinary human rights lawyer, who ‘was disappeared’ by the Chinese party-state over a year ago.

China’s rise is not happening in a vacuum. China depends on the rest of the world for the ingredients of its growing importance; it looks abroad for natural resources, export markets, and diplomatic legitimacy. Canada, as a significant trade partner and fellow member of the G-20, has an important role to play in shaping the path of Chinese ascension.

But that role must not be defined by trade alone. Prime Minister Harper recognized this after taking office in 2006. “I think Canadians want us to promote our trade relations worldwide,” he said. “But I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values.” And, in his first trip to China in December, he reiterated Canada’s commitment to being a “vocal advocate and an effective partner for human rights reform” in China.

It is time to put these words into action. The Canadian government can begin by urging China to follow its own laws and release Gao Zhisheng or, at the very least,  notify him and his family of the charges he faces.

Gao  has been missing since Feb. 4, 2009, when security agents seized him from his ancestral home in Shaanxi province. More than one year later, he has yet to be charged with a crime. No-one has notified his family of the reasons and location of his detention- blatant violations of China’s own criminal procedure laws.

Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Washington claimed that Gao is working in Urumqi in China’s far West. But authorities have not provided any evidence of this (though a few patently doctored photos surfaced on the Internet); nor have they given any notice to his family. Canada should press China to verify Gao’s supposed location and well-being.

To those of us who know Gao and his work, his detention by Chinese authorities was inevitable. His work on behalf of those persecuted for their religious beliefs brought the wrath of the Chinese government upon him. He was convicted in 2006 of “subversion,” detained again in 2007 and horribly tortured. Gao’s current unconscionable detention is even more terrifying; China experts say that even as Beijing has stepped up its crackdown of political dissidents, its near-complete silence on Gao Zhisheng is chilling and unprecedented.

Over the past decade trade with China it rose by $35.8 billion, or 340 percent. It is no mystery why trade is at the top of the agenda with China. But this is not unique to Canada. China’s trade with nearly every country in the world is growing at exponential rates. And so far, nearly every country in the world has used trade as justification for dropping human rights from the agenda with China.

Canada can step into this void by speaking out about Gao Zhisheng. As the Speech from the Throne declared recently, “Our communities are built on the rule of law…Canadians want a justice system that delivers justice.” We should also promote justice and the rule of law in China. With the disappearance of Gao and the imprisonment of other leading rights lawyers, Chinese authorities are clearly targeting lawyers, one by one, as key agents of change within China. And so, as with Gao, the authorities are stripping  them of their licenses, shutting down their law firms, and imprisoning them.

It might already be too late for Gao Zhisheng. But if we have the courage to tell Beijing that its current culture of impunity cannot last, there may be hope for other rights lawyers, for the rule of law, and for justice to be delivered, in China as it is in Canada. All we need to ask is that China follow its own laws, and respect the rights guaranteed by its own Constitution. Is some amount of trade at stake? Perhaps. But so is the full measure of our conscience.

The Metro Politain

Posted in Canada, China, Commentary, David Kilgour, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Canada can help imprisoned Chinese hero Gao Zhisheng

Truth, justice and the Chinese government’s way of business

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010


Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific editor, The Australian, March 27, 2010 –

SINCE Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and his three Chinese colleagues were arrested last July, a weight of expectation has hung on their having their day in court to explain what on earth this is all about.

Courts are usually the places to clear up mysteries and bring murky deeds into the light, but the three-day trial this week in the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court only added to the speculation that has engulfed Hu, Ge Minqiang, Liu Caikui and Wang Yong.

There is now almost no way in which the accused can convincingly be viewed as either wholly innocent or wholly guilty. They will be sentenced on Monday, perhaps to serve five or so years each, and so will be in no position to give their side of the story until most of the world has lost interest.

Since the four were arrested, the more fervent backers of Beijing, especially in the business community, have been nudging and winking hard: “no smoke without fire”, and so on. These people will have felt vindicated by the guilty pleas.

Those pleas could be part of a deal to cut sentences, since 98 per cent of people charged in China are convicted. But they add to the questions to which we still have no convincing answers.

First, why, in a country where bribery and the stealing of commercial secrets are ubiquitous, were these four singled out? The tensions over Rio’s eventual rejection of the move for 19 per cent of the company by Chinese state-owned giant Chinalco framed the context, but that is all we know for sure.

Second, how is it that the four were the recipients rather than the givers of the bribes? What services did they provide? Who was the victim? If it was Rio Tinto, should the company not have been asked whether it wished them to be prosecuted?

And what about those who dispensed the bribes? The implication is that the four were offered money to give precedence to iron ore shipments in a tight supply situation. But we do not really know.

And what about the commercial secrets they were charged with stealing? One pleaded guilty, apparently, and three denied the charge. But since this part of the trial was in camera, again, no one really knows.

There is a supposition that it is about the tactics involved in the annual benchmark negotiations for the ore price, but outside China a company that learns about such negotiations by talking to people who work for its competitors or clients is perceived as smart rather than criminal. And that structure is giving way to more flexible price arrangements now anyway.

Though it appears that prominent Shanghai lawyer Duan “Charles” Qihua was appointed to defend Hu, despite not taking on many criminal cases, he did not appear in court.

Andrew Forrest, the billionaire chief executive of Fortescue, Australia’s third biggest ore producer, says he does not think Australia-China relations will be damaged by the trial. He is doubtless thinking of the damage in China. But in Australia the trial has educated people about how China’s highly political legal system works, shocking some. It also has served as a warning to Chinese-born managers – whatever their nationality – of foreign enterprises in China, that their ultimate loyalty is to the People’s Republic. The ruling Communist Party certainly needs the economic growth that Australian resources help to ensure. But the reality behind this is that key decisions are ultimately made for political reasons and that sometimes this requires that commercial commonsense is overridden.

It’s also unclear why the Rudd government has responded the way it has. We may know more about this after Monday’s verdicts when the government promises a “considered statement”.

Canberra’s position so far has been to respect China’s legal process, but what does this mean?

Trade Minister Simon Crean has said that key questions about the trial cannot be answered until we know “what the full evidence presented is and the basis of the findings”. The chances of this happening are slim indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Commentary, Company, East China, Law, News, Opinion, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, World | Comments Off on Truth, justice and the Chinese government’s way of business

Google’s noble withdrawal from China

Posted by Author on March 26, 2010


By Will Inboden, The Foreign Policy, Friday, March 26, 2010 –

One year ago, who could have imagined that the most significant international gesture of the year on behalf of freedom in China would come not from the United Nations, the United States, or another government, but from an internet search company? Such was Google’s principled decision this week to follow through on its earlier threat and withdraw from China rather than acquiesce in continued Chinese government control. Beijing reacted with predictable bluster, but I suspect the Politburo leaders were stunned when Google called their bluff and chose to lose access to the most potentially lucrative emerging market in the world rather than keep censoring itself. Google’s concern was not just China’s restrictions on its search results but, more ominously as my FP colleague Blake Hounshell highlighted, the co-opting of Google technology to use in surveillance and entrapment of political dissidents (not to mention from a commercial standpoint the potential theft of sensitive intellectual property). No longer was Google just complicit in restricted information flow; it was now potentially a new tool for the persecution of Chinese activists.

This recalls another recent landmark moment in the turbulent encounter between Chinese state capitalism and Western technology companies, but with a less happy outcome. The Chinese Government’s overconfident posture towards Google likely drew inspiration from Yahoo’s shameful capitulation to the Public Security Bureau in 2004 by turning over Chinese dissident Shi Tao, whose only “crime” was using his Yahoo email account to communicate with overseas Chinese democracy activists.  Shi Tao is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Yahoo publicly admitted its role in late 2005. I was working at the National Security Council at the time, and shortly after Shi Tao’s arrest, some NSC colleagues and I met with a senior Yahoo executive to get their side of the story. It was a thoroughly disillusioning meeting. The Yahoo exec maintained a defiant, defensive posture, clinging to the talking points that Yahoo was just following the local laws in the country it was working in, couldn’t get involved in a “political case” like this, and besides didn’t U.S. Government policy encourage economic engagement with China? To which we reminded him that U.S. policy also encouraged human rights and free speech in China, which Yahoo’s actions directly undermined. Perhaps even more distressing was that the Yahoo exec made clear that his company felt no obligation, even in private, to remonstrate with the Chinese authorities over the arrest or to do anything to assist Shi Tao or his family. It was not an auspicious moment for the argument that Western technology companies will inevitably bring freedom to China. Following months of bad publicity and Congressional pressure, Yahoo eventually reversed course and expressed remorse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Commentary, Company, Google, Human Rights, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, Trade, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Google’s noble withdrawal from China

Shen Yun a ‘Colorful cultural shock’, Says Austria Media Head

Posted by Author on March 25, 2010


BREGENZ, Austria— Andreas Seeburger, head of the Austrian media firm Radio Television Management, and Ms. Nikola Fritsche, a nurse, attended the Shen Yun Performing Arts show at the Bregenzer Festspielhaus.

The artists were honored with frequent rousing applause and before the last curtain was drawn with four ovations and curtain calls.

Mr. Seeburger and Ms. Fritsche had come from Bludenz, located about 60 kilometers from Bregenz.

“Wow, I can’t find the perfect word for what I just have seen and heard,” said an amazed Mr. Seeburger in the lobby.

After a few moments he tried again to find words that would perfectly fit the show. “I must say that it was very impressive. The colors, the choreography were something seldom seen. Given my position, I’m invited frequently to cultural shows. But something like that …”

He added; “Overall, I have to say, a colorful cultural shock presented in a manner I have never seen before. Wonderfully presented, great choreography and wonderful music and classic dance culture.”

Ms. Fritsche agreed. “It was fascinating … the costumes, just about everything—the entire performance.”

This was the first time they have come across a traditional culture show that brought stories from ancient to modern China through dance, song and music.

“We have never been presented Chinese culture in such a manner. We have never seen it presented like that,” he said.

Not only the artists, costumes and stage design were impressive in the eyes of these two, but also the fusion of Eastern and Western music, played on modern and ancient instruments.

“My friend and I are musically inclined. Music is able to express feelings. Listening to this music one hears feelings. When closing the eyes, one can paint pictures in one’s mind,” he said.

“But, I couldn’t deny myself to close my eyes and let the soothing music affect me.”

Ms. Fritsche agreed and added, “especially the gracefulness of the ladies and the kaleidoscope of colors remains in my mind. It all was very fascinating to me.”

Both had lots of praise for the male dancers.

“The men are the companions to the delicate ladies. The man that holds a protective hand over the delicate dancing creatures. This is how I would write it in the playbill,” said Mr. Seeburger.

“They were manly and exuded a lot of strength, on the other hand, the women exuded the same, but in different ways.”

Both will come and see the show again when it comes back to the area and concluded with a message. “We hope that many people will come and see this show.”

The Epochtimes

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Taiwan’s Award-Winning Musician Calls Shen Yun Orchestra ‘Terrific’

Posted by Author on March 25, 2010


TAIPEI, Taiwan— Renowned music arranger Jiang Yifan, who has received many awards, including the Gold Horse Award, the Gold Tripod Award, and the Gold Melody Award, attended the Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company’s sixth show in Taipei on March 22, along with his wife and a friend.

Mr. Jiang said the Shen Yun orchestral performance was terrific. “The combination of the Chinese and Western instruments was perfect. I felt the music was wonderful. The music was basically classical Chinese music, and the resonance of the Western musical instruments complemented the Chinese musical instruments very well,” he said.

As to the dance, he said, “The movements and formations were really spectacular, and their dancing in unison made the overall performance very beautiful.”

Mr. Jiang’s wife said, “The various ethnic folk dances this year had the characteristics of the harmonization between the soft and the hard. I think it is a good idea to have some innovation. With the perfect coordination, the ambience of the show was exceptionally good.”…… (more details from the Epochtimes)

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