China in Transition: It is Time for Canadians to Speak out

The Green Party of Canada is calling for Canadians to demand accountability for human rights abuses in nations with which we trade.

“China is a nation in transition. In the past couple of decades, it has made tremendous economic strides but this has been accomplished through ruthless suppression of its own people and of Tibet. Cheap labour has been augmented by nearly a million slave prisoners, mostly those being persecuted as Falun Gong practitioners. Moreover, these prisoners have been providing not only free labour but a source for the infamous live organ transplants estimated in the tens of thousands,” commented Joe Foster, Green Human Rights Critic. “Canadians need to speak out against trade agreements that allow purchase from countries where human rights violations are flagrant.”

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, asked, “At what cost has China’s economic miracle been achieved and have we abetted human rights crimes by pretending ignorance?”

While other faith groups, such as House-Christians, have also been persecuted, the Communists fear the strength and growth of the Falun Gong which is reputed to have adherents throughout the country with a membership of between 70 and 100 million. This non-violent faith organization was anathema to the Communist regime.

The outcry against the lack of freedom and human rights in China has been rapidly increasing. This has been led by a few courageous citizens inside China and dissidents who have escaped to inform outsiders of internal atrocities, combined with pleas from the Dalai Lama.  The confirmation of live organ transplant by David Kilgour and David Matas has created an international campaign demanding change. This has sufficiently embarrassed the Chinese government to demote Bo Xilai, the party leader who initiated the campaign against the faith groups. This change must be supported.

May continued, “Questions need to be asked of our Trade Department and of the Canadian business community. With the well-documented and long-standing abuses in China and Tibet and the human rights law suits against Bo Xilai in at least 13 countries, including Canada, how could they be totally ignorant of these horrendous crimes? Why would the Prime Minister, as recently as this February, seek an audience with him? Why is the budget for the Political and Legal Affairs Department, which directs the secret police, now larger than China’s military budget?”

 While the Green Party applauds the diversification of our trading partners, the Canadian government has also turned a blind eye to the atrocities of regimes in Latin America in its rush for trade expansion.

“It is time for Canadians to re-evaluate our priorities against our traditional values of social justice and human rights,” said Joe Foster. “Unless all Canadians speak out, including those originally from countries where human rights abuses are rampant, there will be little incentive for change both within our own government and in those countries that flagrantly abuse human rights.  As a start, the Green Party urges our Prime Minister to create a trade document that insists that no products will be purchased where slave labour is involved.”