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Kilgour predicts China will 'shatter, disappear'

August 11, 2008

Retired MP joins speakers at protest
Liam Casey,
The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
August 8, 2008

Hundreds of protesters lined St. Patrick Street across from the
Chinese Embassy at noon yesterday to demand an end to human rights
violations in China.

On the eve of the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremonies,
representatives of persecuted cultures, religions and countries --
such as Tibet, Falun Gong, Burma, Darfur, Taiwan, Vietnam and Belarus
-- took part.

"Unless the (Chinese) government moves quickly in a host of areas,
the Beijing Games, for good reason, will be compared mostly with
those of the 1936 games in Berlin," said David Kilgour, retired MP
and former secretary of state.

"Democracies turn and twist, but totalitarian governments are like a
billiard ball, solid as a rock, but then, one day, they just shatter
and disappear. I think that will eventually happen to the government
in China," Mr. Kilgour said.

Mr. Kilgour said he is "pleased" that Prime Minister Stephen Harper
is not attending the Games.

"That does send a message, regardless of the reason given," Mr.
Kilgour said. The prime minister has blamed a scheduling conflict and
has sent Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson in his place.

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said, "there is a persistent and pervasive
assault on human rights in China today and a betrayal of the Chinese
government's own undertaking to respect the Olympic charter and
Olympic Games and the rights of its citizens."

He wants Canada and the rest of the world to make specific demands,
rather than a generalized plea to China to improve human rights.

A total of 19 speakers addressed the crowd, including Nazanin
Afshin-Jam, Miss Canada 2003 and an international rights activist.

Ms. Afshin-Jam invited Chinese Ambassador Lu Shumin to speak to the
crowd. There was no response.

"I didn't expect anyone from the embassy to come out," Ms. Afshin-Jam said.

The speeches focused on issues such as the liberation of political
prisoners, the cessation of capital punishment and censorship by what
media organizations have dubbed "The Great Firewall of China," which
limits use of the Internet.

Mr. Cotler said Chinese politicians continue to say the right things,
but "their deeds are mocking their words."

Katherine Borlongan, an executive director with Reporters Without
Borders, said, "there are over 100 journalists in prison in China and
we're asking for their liberation. Journalists like Hu Jia, who
denounced the Chinese government to a European audience by stating,
'Say No to the Olympic Games and Yes to Human Rights.' We want him
freed," she said .

A 100-strong Taiwan contingent from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
demanded that China remove 1,300 missiles "that are pointed at Taiwan."

While there was a strong police presence, the protest remained
peaceful and ended about 2 p.m.

Calls and e-mails to the embassy went unanswered.
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