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Beyond the Red Wall – Update
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // November 23, 2007 // China, David Kilgour, Justice & Law, Media, Rights & Social justice, Wednesday Nights // 5 Comments
November 27, 2007
David Kilgour had advised that the complete unedited version of the documentary is posted on YouTube , however it appears there was a copyright claim against Youtube so they took it down.
Interesting Canadian Press piece for tomorrow’s papers re Beyond the Red Wall production. I watched [it]. Despite the changes authorized and others presumably not by Peter Rowe, I think BRW remains a highly effective mirror on a totalitarian regime at war with Falun Gong practitioners and ultimately also with all the long-suffering peoples of China. David Gilgour
CBC denies it bowed to China because of the Olympics over documentary
TORONTO – The CBC is fending off accusations that it tinkered with a documentary about China’s repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement under pressure from Chinese officials and amid fears the broadcaster’s deal to broadcast next year’s Beijing Olympics would be jeopardized.
John Cruickshank, head of news for CBC, denied receiving any veiled threats from the Chinese about the Olympics.
While the public broadcaster’s reporters in China have been contacted by the country’s authorities about “Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong,” no one at CBC headquarters has heard from the Chinese, Cruickshank said Tuesday.
“It’s hard for me to answer the accusation because it’s just so beyond the realm of possibility,” he said.
“I would have had to go to the president or the chairman of the corporation about that and they’d be so offended if I did. I can’t imagine what Robert Rabinovitch would say. Probably ‘You’re fired’ if I went and said: ‘Should I compromise our journalistic ethics over the Olympics?’ I mean we’re the Canadian public broadcaster. The idea that we could be pushed around over venal stuff is just so crazy.”
But Peter Rowe, who spent three years making the documentary, said there has been much talk that the controversy is related to the Summer Games.
“Many people are suggesting that it has something to do with the Olympics, and the CBC certainly wouldn’t want to upset the Chinese because of the Olympics, but I have no proof of anything about that,” Rowe said.
Nonetheless, Rowe said, he was asked by the CBC to make a number of cuts to the piece even after it had aired, unedited, one night last year without promotion. He charged that many other documentaries have aired on the CBC, including “Fahrenheit 911,” that were potentially more incendiary than his.
The final edited version of “Beyond the Red Wall” … air[ed] Tuesday night on CBC Newsworld. Rowe had already made five minutes of cuts to the film at the CBC’s request, but the public broadcaster continued to tinker with it this week after he refused to edit it any further.
“I’ve never really heard of anything like this before but everybody does seem to handle China with kid gloves because of its massive control of our economy, because they’re the factory of the world and now they’re the host of the Olympics,” Rowe said. “And let’s face it – they’re a totalitarian government that has been known to do some nasty things to people.”
David Kilgour, a former Liberal cabinet minister who wrote a comprehensive report on the Falun Gong for the federal government [note from David K. “The Matas-Kilgour study was not done for the govt of Canada, although one CP journalist thinks it was”], said he suspected the CBC was nervous about the Olympics.
“No doubt, the first line of attack on the CBC was to threaten its broadcast rights at the Beijing Olympics, although CBC management can hardly admit this now,” Kilgour said.
“I give credit to the corporation for allowing the independent production on a vitally important issue to proceed. We’ll all know (Tuesday night) whether they allowed the embassy or the consulate to pressure them into removing anything offensive from the production. As a Canadian, I very much hope not.”
But Cruickshank said his only issues with the documentary, which aired once in late 2006 before he joined the CBC, were journalistic in nature once he took a closer look at it.
“What I was nervous about was the fact that it seemed to me in some cases we were treating allegations as truth and we didn’t have the evidentiary basis to do that,” he said.
“The Falun Gong – they want it all their way. They wanted it basically to be their show. Peter Rowe used an awful lot of Falun Gong footage, and just at a certain point we got uncomfortable with the degree to which we were basically putting their show on to television without there being a reflection about what was actually credible.”
He was backed up by CBC reporters working in China and acclaimed documentarian Mark Starowicz, a CBC veteran who felt the original version of “Beyond the Red Wall” presented allegations as fact and needed to be toned down.
“Our guys are good,” Cruickshank said of his team in Beijing. “They had seen an early version of the script and they were horrified by it – they said that what was being treated as truth in this show was not accepted by any credible organization.”
Starowicz also weighed in, he said.
“Mark Starowicz saw it and he’s had a lot of dealings with the Chinese and has always been tough-minded about it, and of course he’s one of the great documentarians, and he just sat back and said: ‘We can’t let this happen.’ It wasn’t a matter of saying you can’t make allegations, and we’ve certainly allowed the allegations to go forward, but you can’t just treat them as fact.”
In the end, Cruickshank said, Rowe’s documentary remains a scathing indictment of the Chinese government, even after the cuts.
“It’s a very brave documentary, it’s a very harsh documentary, it charges the Chinese government of violations of both civil and human rights and pulls no punches in doing that.”
5 Comments on "Beyond the Red Wall – Update"
Covering up slaughter, with a little help from the CBC
November 23, 2007
Turkey denies the Armenian genocide. Sudan pretends the ongoing genocide in Darfur is not happening. The Soviet Union maintained that there was no forced famine in Ukraine. Neo-Nazis claim the Holocaust never happened. The pattern is predictable. Genocide Watch has identified eight stages of genocide. The last is denial.
The massive crimes that China has inflicted on the Falun Gong spiritual group follow this pattern. David Kilgour and I have written a report titled Bloody Harvest in which we showed that China has been killing the Falun Gong by the tens of thousands since 2000 for their organs. The organs are sold for huge sums, mostly to foreign tourists, for transplants. Beijing denies it all.
Bloody Harvest has been supported by two independent researchers — Kirk Allison at the University of Minnesota and U.K. transplant surgeon Tom Treasure. All the evidence on which we relied is independently verifiable and available on our Web site, .
Since the first version of our report came out in July, 2006, David Kilgour and I have been to over 40 countries publicizing its results. No one anywhere has refuted our report.
The Chinese government and its fellow travellers have responded with disinformation, denials and clumsy attempts at censorship. Beijing systematically tries to get our events cancelled. If that fails, it seeks to introduce its own propaganda into every forum to which we are invited.
When the CBC announced that it was broadcasting a TV documentary about China’s persecution of the Falun Gong that featured our report, it was predictable that the Chinese censorship machine would get into gear. What was not predictable was that the CBC would pay attention to it.
Beijing leaned on the CBC and the network pulled the originally scheduled Nov. 6 broadcast. …The CBC went back to the documentary’s producer, Peter Rowe, and asked for changes. The changes he made weren’t enough. So the CBC made more changes on its own.
The CBC version of the documentary was broadcast on Nov. 20. Since the original version is now available on YouTube, it is possible to compare the two.
The CBC’s deletions were telling. One expunged segment was the playing of tapes of telephone admissions from hospitals in China acknowledging that they were selling Falun Gong organs. (Chinese government denials remained in the CBC version.)
The additions were typical Chinese propaganda. The CBC on its own, for instance, added this screen to the documentary: “Amnesty International does not have conclusive evidence to back up the allegation the Falun Gong are killed for their organs.” (It should be obvious that Amnesty’s silence is not evidence of anything. The organization does not claim to be an encyclopedia of all human rights violations.)
The CBC claimed that the changes it made strengthened the documentary. But that is not what happened. Instead, the CBC has weakened itself.
I’ve spent literaly hours trying to find this film! I ran across a few websites that promise to show the original movie – WHERE IS IT?!
Diana, CBC was right to pull the film and review it.
The Falun Gong organ allegation Kilgour is promoting has been discredited, most recently by Ottawa Citizen:
Here are US government and Chinese dissident investigations disproving it:
http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf (section CRS-7)
Charles, I would suggest you read the Kilgour Matas report in full.
US diplomats were taken on a guided tour by party officials, of course they did not uncover anything.
The fact that Chinese hospital websites offered organs at short notice, (instead of having to wait till a suitable donor dies) is damning evidence, as is the undercover investigations over the phone and in person by Kilgour and Matas as well as the bbc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wtSV_BEf14
Louis, please look into all the facts. Prior to US Embassy’s official visit, US diplomats already made a secret visit:
http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf (section CRS-7)
“American officials from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Shenyang visited the area as well as the hospital site on two occasions — the first time unannounced and the second with the cooperation of PRC officials”