Today we salute one of the few genuine heroes of our era. And we pray for his safety and his survival in the hands of the barbaric regime which has taken him into custody for the crime of exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, who has shown more courage than Gao Zhisheng, staring down the most brutal and vicious oppressor in modern world history? Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, whose courage has been so married to integrity, ethics, and morality?
Has there ever been a man at any time, in any country, who has been more ready to sacrifice his own life for the good of his fellow citizens; citizens not only of China, but of the world?
There may well have been a precious few in human history whose sacrifices and courage have equaled those of Gao Zhisheng, but I can think of none who surpasses him.
Just days before the arrest of this noble and selfless man, President George W. Bush accepted the invitation of Hu Jintao to attend the Bloody Harvest Olympics of 2008 in Beijing. Is it any wonder that Gao Zhisheng, a humble man who epitomizes respect and tolerance, wondered openly in his recent letter to the American Congress what can possibly be going on in the mind of George W. Bush?
The Spirit of "Berlin 1936" is alive and well 72 years after the Olympic Games were awarded to the last regime which could be compared to this present Beijing regime in terms of mass murder, terror, crimes against humanity, and a general antipathy to the Rule of Law.
In the 1930's, the Nazis were the worst violators of human rights on the planet. The International Olympic Committee rewarded this achievement by awarding the 1936 Games to Berlin.
Today, the fascist government in Beijing is without doubt the worst violator of human rights on the planet. Moreover, most of the world's thugocracy regimes which rival Beijing in terms of sheer brutality and bestiality are supported, sustained, and in some cases made viable by Beijing. Burma, Sudan, and North Korea come readily to mind. But Beijing itself is today perpetrating at least some atrocities which exceed even those of the Nazis for sheer barbarity. And, in an eerie historical parallel, the International Olympic Committee has once more chosen to award the Games to the most chillingly brutal perpetrator of Crimes Against Humanity which our generation has known.
The German Nazis in the 1930's, the Soviets in 1980, and now the Beijing fascists have all used the Olympic Games to showcase their regimes and shower themselves in glory. For Beijing, the quest to host the Games has from the outset been the most important political propaganda exercise in the post-revolution history of the regime. Yet the International Olympic Committee can dismiss, on the grounds that the Games should not be politicized, even the fact that this regime keeps "herds" of human beings alive for the purpose of slaughtering them on demand so as to sell their organs on the international market.
The 2008 Games are now being shamelessly employed to glorify and idealize the most brutal, bestial, and benighted regime the world has ever seen.
As you gather here before the United Nations, every Falun Gong practitioner arrested in China undergoes an immediate blood test. No other prisoners in China are tested unless they have already been sentenced to death. Every young and healthy Falun Gong practitioner is given regular medical examinations. Why?
Because organ tourists request Falun Gong organ donors, knowing that practitioners follow healthy lifestyles, exercising regularly and shunning alcohol and tobacco.
Unknown thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are kept alive in herds, with their blood types, tissue types, DNA, and related information all readily available on computers. They are slaughtered on demand for their organs and then cremated. Compatible kidneys, livers, hearts, corneas are all available on notice ranging from two days to two weeks.
In 1945, when the gates were opened at Belsen, Dachau, Auschwitz, and Treblinka, the Jewish Defence League initiated the slogan "Never Again," and it became the slogan of decent people the world over. "If only we had known!" said an appalled international community. And no doubt all would have agreed that if they had only known, there could have been no earthly excuse for awarding the Olympic Games to this most evil government in the history of the world.
History will not allow our generation to once more fall back on the lame excuse "If only we had known!" We can't say that, this time. The evidence is there and we know about it. We know that the fascist government in Beijing has been carrying out a campaign of genocide for the past eight years. We know that it is systematically murdering thousands of human beings in order to harvest their organs for profit.
We know that this regime routinely imprisons, tortures, and kills Catholics, Protestants, Tibetans, Muslims, Human Rights lawyers and advocates, and pro-democracy dissidents.
But so many leaders of western democracies, apparently including George W. Bush, are apparently prepared to once again overlook little things like genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity, in deference to trade issues. They are prepared to facilitate and be co-opted by the Beijing fascist regime, just as almost the entire business and political elites of Britain, France, and America assisted Adolf Hitler to assemble his military juggernaut. But those elites had an entire generation of young men whom they could send to salvage their own "mistakes" when Hitler launched his war.
Gao Zhisheng has called for the civilized world to boycott the 2008 Games in Beijing. The 2008 Games are not for China. Their only purpose is to glorify and sanitize the criminals who operate the Beijing thugocracy. We must heed the pleas of the Chinese people, articulated by courageous advocates for human decency, such as Gao Zhisheng.
We must demand that our own leaders express our outrage at the inhuman practices of the Beijing fascist regime. And we must urge George W. Bush in the strongest possible terms not to repeat the mistakes of his grandfather.
I close, in fervent hope for the triumph of civilization over cynical greed and hypocrisy.
Clive Ansley is a Canadian lawyer and expert on China's legal system. This speech was given at a rally on Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City on Sept. 28 at a rally for the global Human Rights Torch Relay.