Human Rights Activists Sound Alarm!



The Shadowy Side of Shanghai, Hamburg's Sister City


By Peter Luehr and Alexander M. Hamrle
The Epoch Times

Sep 30, 2008

Humanright111
Ulrich Delius (Organization for Threatened People, Germany) and Helmut Steckel (Tibet Initiative in Germany) with their “Human Rights Report, No. 55” (Alexander M. Hamrle/The Epoch Times)
Organ Harvesting in China

Co-authors Delius and Steckel (see photo) have once again collaborated on their most recent human rights expose, “Human Rights Report, No. 55”. The report was introduced to the public in September 2008. The 53-page report chronicles and documents hundreds of human rights transgressions by the Chinese communist regime that occurred between 2006 and August 2008.

Those featured in the report include Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, journalists, petitioners against the government, human rights advocates, writers, attorneys, professors and guest workers. While the report mainly relies on eyewitness reports and personal accounts, it also includes information from other sources the authors have deemed reliable.

The report highlights torture accounts and deaths in Shanghai's prisons. Its coverage also extends to forced labor situations in prisons and camps (known as laogai) that have taken place in eastern China's commerce metropolis of more than 18 million inhabitants. The report discusses the bans on press freedom and Internet use. It also details the gross abuse of psychiatric practices in Shanghai–practices used to control those individuals critical of the regime. The report reveals that many dissidents have been incarcerated for several years.

Mr. Delius's reporting covers the mass persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Shanghai, ongoing since 1999. Intimidation, unwarranted arrests, illegal search and seizure, extortion, torture and stints in forced labor camps or psychiatric facilities are the order of the day in Shanghai, according to his research. He also briefly included the harvesting of organs from non-consenting, living Falun Gong practitioners, and organs from incarcerated individuals executed by the state. The atrocities of organ harvesting came to light in 2006. (The Hon. David Kilgour, Canadian MP, and international Canadian human rights attorney, David Matas have exposed these practices in a detailed joint report entitled “Bloody Harvest”.) Another little-known issue is the fate of approximately 200 ethnic Mio guest workers, who are subjected to deplorable working and living conditions, and are victims of extreme discrimination, particularly on the east coast of China, including the Shanghai region. Sixty percent of them have no binding labor contracts, which severely compromises their basic existence.

The duo also expressed that it is not their aim to condemn the Shanghai-Hamburg sister city relationship. On the contrary - they insist the partnership needs to be fostered, but they object to Chamber of Commerce representatives and the Senate placing emphasis on merely the commercial aspects of the relationship, while ignoring the cultural and scientific exchanges. Mr. Steckel in particular wants to see action, not just talk. He maintains it is insufficient just to hold high-level political discussions. He expressed that there is a need to be informed first-hand of conditions in forced labor camps and prisons–it is a matter of dire urgency that access to these facilities in China be granted to the outside world.

The duo also expressed that it is not their aim to condemn the Shanghai-Hamburg sister city relationship. On the contrary - they insist the partnership needs to be fostered, but they object to Chamber of Commerce representatives and the Senate placing emphasis on merely the commercial aspects of the relationship, while ignoring the cultural and scientific exchanges. Mr. Steckel in particular wants to see action, not just talk. He maintains it is insufficient just to hold high-level political discussions. He expressed that there is a need to be informed first-hand of conditions in forced labor camps and prisons–it is a matter of dire urgency that access to these facilities in China be granted to the outside world.

Shanghai boasts a vast skyline of more than 4,500 towers, but the glamor hides many human rights abuses according to a new German report.
Shanghai boasts a vast skyline of more than 4,500 towers, but the glamor hides many human rights abuses according to a new German report. (Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Getty Images)

Steckel said, "We have noticed for the past several years that China, particularly Shanghai, keeps the subject of human rights on the back burner. And the Chamber of Commerce won't discuss this topic at all. Some in the Senate, yes [will discuss it]: they think we are on the right track. That amounts to Sisyphus-like work: this Chinese city aspires to become an interactive European-influenced Chinese city, while advancing booming trade benefits for China.

We want the Senate to become more discerning, to pay more attention. And we want a Hamburg society that is not merely pro-China, and grooms relationships with the ambassador, who invites Tibetan scientists and then prevents them from speaking, period, by surrounding them with CCP cadres. That is the wrong approach.

We are not against friendship and connections or trade with the PRC (Chinese communist regime), but we must also insist on not compromising our ethics and values. We don't want to join in with the prevailing euphoria: that is not the purpose of our report. We want to steer people's attention towards neglect of human rights in China, and do so bluntly. We have held many awareness events in this regard, but unfortunately have not yet found the echo we know is needed. We appeal particularly to the business community to show their positioning. It all revolves around upholding our values, and our desire to be connected with a city that aspires to uphold complementary values."

Mr. Delius added, "Concerning Internet usage, Hamburg's commerce interests eagerly connect with Chinese counterparts whose Internet usage is not curtailed, who have free Internet access. We are not endeavoring to point out the dark sides, but cannot shake the impression to constantly point out areas of differences as proclaimed in China Time, to keep a close look on the sunny side of things as politics portray them.

Viewed this way, our report serves also as a recommendation to place more weight on questions of justice between the Sister Cities. We appreciate the opportunity to have been included for the first time in a China Time-sponsored event, but won't assume the function of a fig leaf. We have expectations that our suggestions would find an echo in the Senate and Chamber of Commerce in one form or another."



Sep 30,2008
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