On August the 9th in Athens a Human Rights Olympic Torch Relay will begin, with the aim of preventing the Chinese Communist party from turning the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games into a "Bloody Harvest Games".
"Bloody Harvest" is the name of a report written by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian MP David Kilgour investigating claims of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners detained in China.
Published in March 2007, it is Kilgour and Matas' second report on organ harvesting in China.
The pair concluded that harvesting the organ of living Falun Gong practitioners was a wide spread practice in China.
"Based on our further research, we are re-inforced in our original conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners." their report concludes.
Mr Matas and Mr Kilgour have both visited Ireland in the last year to present their findings to the Committees on Human Rights and Foreign Affairs and also to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said, when answering questions in the Irish Dail regarding Organ Harvesting, "I view very seriously the allegations relating to the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners."
He added, "Although allegations regarding the involuntary harvesting of human organs, including from the Falun Gong, remain unproven, I do believe that it is in the interests of the Chinese authorities to re-assure the international community that everything possible is being done to ensure that all practices involving the use of human organs conform to international standards."
To date the Chinese Communist party has failed to answer any of the questions raised regarding illegal harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. The EU and UN have both raised questions to the Communist regime after reading the Kilgour/Matas Report. A number of respected medical journals, including the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, have also called the report 'credible'.
The Olympic Contradiction
"The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play," states the official Olympic Games web-site.
This statement is a stark contradiction to the past fifty years of communist rule in China where at one stage during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970's children were used in political movements to attack their teachers.
Thirty years have passed but the nature of communism remains the same as reports continue to emerge from China about heinous human rights violations.
A provision of the Olympic games being awarded to China was that they considerably improve their human rights situation, including removing the restrictions placed on the local and foreign media operating in that country.
To date they have failed to fully live up to these commitments although they have made some token gestures to appease critics. A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Epoch Times yesterday, "Ireland, with our EU partners, continues to call on the Chinese authorities to lift remaining restrictions and to fully extend these press freedoms to local journalists as well."
When asked if the Irish government supported the Human Rights Relay which aims to place the spotlight on the persecution of Falun Gong and the harvesting of organs from living practitioners a spokesperson said that it presented a valuable opportunity to bring the world's attention to human rights issues in China.
Beijing twinning with Dublin
Sinn Fein spokesperson for Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh told the Epoch Times that in principle he supports the Human Rights Torch Relay.
He also said that renewed efforts by the Chinese Ambassador to twin Dublin with Beijing will meet with opposition from Sinn Fein councillors on Dublin city council.
"The Coiste Seasta (Standing Committee) has recently issued a direction to our Dublin councillors to vote against the twinning of Dublin City with Beijing on the basis of human rights concerns, including workers' rights concerns, and consistent with the party's policy of support for the Tibetan struggle for self-determination."
The Global Human Rights Torch Relay will begin in Europe; it will then cover five continents before ending in Asia.