David Matas, The Ottawa Citizen

September 7, 2006 Thursday

[Editor note: Since the publication of REPORT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ORGAN HARVESTING OF FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS IN CHINA, many Canadian public figures proposed to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games to protest the Chinese Communist Regime's persecution of Falun Gong. The Chinese Communist Embassy to Canada recently published a letter in the Ottawa Citizen to discredit the evidence provided in the Report. In the letter, the Embassy tried to bewilder readers by claiming "Seeing is believing" and "Visiting China may be the best way to see what China is really like." Attorney David Matas, one of the two authors of the Report, refutted the Embassy on September 7 with their personal experience of "visiting China." When investigating the organ harvesting claims, they applied for visas in order to perform investigation in China. However, their application was simply denied.]

Re: Games boycott is based on false premise, Sept. 1.

In a letter opposing the boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Zuo Wenxing of the Canadian Embassy of the People's Republic of China attacked a report David Kilgour and I wrote on the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Mr. Wenxing wrote: "Seeing is believing. China is an open country. Visiting China may be the best way to see what China is really like ..."

We sought entry to China for the purpose of writing our report. An embassy political counsellor met with Mr. Kilgour about our request for entry but was interested only in denying the evidence about organ harvesting, and not in arranging for our visit.

We sent to the Chinese Embassy in support of our request for entry an invitation to visit China from human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Chinese officials have since arrested Gao Zhisheng; he remains today in detention without charge. There are reports he has been tortured.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur against Torture asked in 1995 to enter China. China acceded to this request only in December 2004 for a visit that took place in December 2005. The rapporteur, Manfred Nowak, wrote this about his visit: "Security and intelligence officials attempted to obstruct or restrict his attempts at fact-finding, particularly at the outset of the visit when his team was followed in their Beijing hotel and its vicinity.

Furthermore, during the visit a number of alleged victims and family members, lawyers and human rights defenders were intimidated by security personnel, placed under police surveillance, instructed not to meet the Special Rapporteur, or were physically prevented from meeting with him."

China has not been open about its human-rights violations, its torture, and its organ harvesting. Seeing is believing.

David Matas,