Edmonton-A press conference to raise awareness for the Human Rights Torch Relay was held in Edmonton's city hall on January 30.
The Relay, with its slogan—"The Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China"—seeks to bring an end to human rights abuses in China, according to its website.
Speaking at the press conference was David Kilgour, Canada's former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific and longtime Alberta MP.
Kilgour highlighted two of the current Chinese regime's most egregious human rights abuses: abetting genocide in Darfur and the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.
A 2006 report , co-authored by Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas, investigated allegations that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience were being murdered in China for their organs.
"We concluded that since the end of 2000 the party state of China and its agencies has killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners mostly without any form of prior trial and sold their vital organs for large sums of money often to organ tourists from wealthy countries."
Kilgour said that despite the compelling evidence presented in the report , Western governments have remained mostly silent because, "they are afraid that if they admitted it [the accuracy of the report] they would have to change their policies with China including policies with respect to the Olympic Games."
Using the term "carnivore capitalism" to characterize the current society of China, Kilgour went on to describe a horrific scene of forced relocation in the Sudan, in which villagers of town Nhialdiu, in the Nuba Mountains, were massacred to make way for the Chinese, who wanted to drill for oil.
China, which provides financial backing to the Sudanese government (largely in the form of oil royalties), is Sudan's largest arms supplier and also has a record of holding up U.N. intervention in Darfur. The atrocities in that region have left an estimated 400,000 people dead.
"The government of China's outrageous human rights violations, both at home and abroad, in the run up to the games has led to an understandable call for a boycott," said Kilgour.
In an apparent attempt late last year to dispel to Western criticism of China's human rights situation, Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics announced that China would extend religious freedoms leading up to the Games.
However Li Zhanjun also clearly reiterated the Chinese communist regime's brutal policy of repressing Falun Gong.
"Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden," and, "Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China." This despite the fact that the meditation discipline can be freely and openly practiced in every non-communist country the world over.
Kilgour noted that when a nation is allowed to host the Olympics while it so shamelessly violates the ideals of the Games—such as the unity and equality of mankind—"the modern Olympic movement itself comes into question."
"Does the IOC have conscience? Some people are already asking that."
Also speaking at the press conference were representatives from Walk for Darfur, Amnesty International, and the Falun Dafa Association. Lu Decheng, a Chinese democracy activist who was sentenced to 16 years in jail for throwing paint filled eggs at Mao's portrait during the 1989 democracy demonstrations, also spoke at the press conference.
The Human Rights Torch Relay will move through Western Canada this spring.