Pressuring foreign governments, big and small, is a bit of a habit for Chinese officials working from embassies and consulates.
In fact, representatives of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) working abroad like to pressure anyone or anything they can, mirroring their behavior within China’s borders.
If it’s a group or a cause that the Party tries to squash inside China, it will do its best to do so elsewhere.
The top of a list of issues they like to apply pressure to would be anything to do with Taiwan, Tibet, the Muslim Uyghurs of Xinjiang, democracy and civil and human rights, and the peaceful Falun Gong meditation practice.
Just last week, we wrote about Chinese officials in Europe kicking up a fuss about a hot air balloon that had the Tibetan flag on it.
This week in Australia, Chinese officials tried intimidating another event at the New South Wales State Parliament that involved human rights concerns—or to be more exact, the issue of organ harvesting in China.
Again, the Chinese official’s intimidation got attention from the media, which detailed a letter that was sent by the Chinese consul general in Sydney, Li Huaxin, to pressure state MPs from attending the Parliamentary Briefing on the International Organ Trade held on Tuesday.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the letter was addressed to Don Harwin, the president of the N.S.W. Legislative Council, and it implied that economic cooperation with Australia and N.S.W. could be threatened if MPs attended the event.
Part of letter also attacked the Falun Gong practice, which the Chinese Communist Party has been brutally persecuting in China since 1999. The majority of China’s secretly state-sanctioned organ harvesting victims are Falun Gong practitioners.
Attending the briefing was Dr. Damon Noto from Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, who you can see in the below video providing testimony for a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. regarding forced organ harvesting by religious and political dissidents by the CCP.
The briefing at the N.S.W. Parliament was organized by N.S.W. Greens MP David Shoebridge, who said the event was a success, but there were politicians—9 government, opposition, and conservative cross-bench MP’s—who did confirm their attendance, but did not show up.
“It is pathetic that MPs, who had previously confirmed their attendance, suddenly didn’t turn up after a threatening letter was sent by the Consulate,” Shoebridge said in a statement.
“It is truly disappointing that they felt that they could not stand up to these inappropriate bullying tactics employed by the Chinese Consulate. Just today, 71, 000 signatures were presented to N.S.W. Parliament calling for an end to forced organ trafficking; this is clearly an important issue for MPs to consider,” he said.
“I sincerely hope that MPs will be principled enough to overcome this heavy-handed politicking and support important law reform that prevents N.S.W. residents engaging in unethical organ dealings,” he added.
“This is the oldest parliament in Australia, but today, most MPs buckled to one of the oldest political problems, a bully,” Shoebridge said.
See a video below of Shoebridge tabling petitions at the N.S.W. Parliament calling for an end to organ trafficking and organ harvesting:
Sydney resident John Deller, who is a spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Australia Inc., said this type of official Chinese interference is an ongoing issue.
“The Chinese Consulate has a history of sending messages to state and federal MPs over the past 15 years to pressure them to ignore events related to Falun Dafa (Falun Gong),” said Deller. The Consulate extends the Party’s propaganda campaign against Falun Gong into Australia, he said.
“They use veiled threats to try and silence MPs and avoid scrutiny of the persecution and killing of Falun Gong prisoners for their organs,” he said.
“The Consulate wants the N.S.W. government to follow the Party’s lure of economic benefit for silence on human rights. The briefing on the international human organ trade should not be linked to economic cooperation. It is a matter of reviewing N.S.W. law to preserve the intent of protecting human life and deterring complicity in illegal organ procurement,” Deller said.
Despite the challenges, Deller said that the briefing was very well received by the parliamentarians who attended. “We also received many messages of support and well wishes from other MPs who could not attend due to other commitments,” he added.
Like Shoebridge, many Australian politicians have spoken out about the issue of organ harvesting in China. See Victorian independent Senator John Madigan recently do so in the below video: