Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Documentary Highlights the Hidden Price of Making an iPhone

New Documentary Highlights
the Hidden Price of Making an iPhone

NEW YORK—Like millions of young men and women in rural China, Yi Yeting journeyed to a coastal city for a better job prospect. In Shenzhen, a southeastern metropolis bordering Hong Kong, Yi found employment with a large state-owned manufacturing company.
Two years into his job, doctors told Yi, then only 24, that he had leukemia, the result of extended exposure to benzene, a sweet-smelling toxic chemical that is strictly regulated in the United States and other developed countries. In China, Yi had to breathe it in every day.
I still get tears when I watch the film.
— Heather White, director
Yi and other Chinese victims of global supply chains for products ranging from cargo containers to Apple’s iPhones are the focus of “Complicit,” a new documentary by directors Heather White and Lynn Zhang. Besides featuring testimonies from dozens of victims as well as Chinese and overseas media reports, the film also used footage shot by undercover activists.
“Complicit” premiered in the United States during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival to a packed theater at Lincoln Center on June 12. The film’s opening scene, the haunting funeral of a young factory worker, reminded some in the audience that they too played a part in the tragedy being highlighted.
Funeral procession
The funeral procession of a young factory worker, Yi Long. (Courtesy of Human Rights Watch)
“I felt guilty after watching the film, having a phone in my bag,” said Jhoe Garay, who attended the premiere. “I didn’t know anything about the people dying because of phones or iPads.”
As the film highlights, 90 percent of the world’s consumer electronics are produced in China. Many of the factories like Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and Apple supplier, employ migrant workers who leave their hometowns in search for higher-paying work. Official statistics counted over 280 million migrant workers in 2016, many of whom were teenagers.
Hungry for more profits, Chinese contractors to global brands force workers to use toxic chemical solvents like benzene and n-hexane because they are cheaper or more efficient than their safer alternatives.
This unethical manufacturing practice has led to many tragic stories, some of which are documented in “Complicit.”
In 2009, Ming Kunpeng contracted leukemia after two years of wiping electronic component parts with benzene in a factory then owned by the Dutch company ASM International. A spokesman for ASM denied that Ming was exposed to benzene, but the company did eventually offer a one-time settlement to Ming’s family after their protracted lobbying.
Ming’s health deteriorated, and not wanting to burden his family with high medical costs, he committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the hospital where he was receiving treatment. He was 27.
Tragedy sometimes brings out true inspiration, as the film shows with the case of Yi Yeting, the migrant worker in Shenzhen.
Despite battling leukemia and mounting health expenses since 2005, Yi has found time to volunteer with a Hong Kong-based NGO to help dozens of victims of occupational diseases or work-related injuries demand compensation and workplace reform from companies like Foxconn.
“I still get tears when I watch the film because I feel connected to those individuals,” said director Heather White in an interview. White, who formerly headed a watchdog NGO, has spent her entire career in China investigating labor violations in factories.
Making this film was “an incredible, personal journey” she said.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion with White and Todd Larsen, the executive co-director of Green America, which promotes environmentally sustainable consumer and corporate practices.
The panel noted that while electronics manufacturers across the globe violate workplace practices, entrenched government malfeasance and corporate abuses have exacerbated the situation in China. There, the authorities accept bribes from factories to suppress activists and squash NGOs instead of cracking down on malpractice.
Because of his activism, Yi Yeting was put under surveillance, evicted from his apartment, and blocked from exiting the country. Although he managed to attend the recent European premiere of “Complicit” in Geneva, he was questioned for hours by the Chinese authorities about his whereabouts upon his return.
Yi can be considered fortunate. A worker who was supposed to be featured in the documentary disappeared on his way to work. Previously, he had been organizing other workers in a neighborhood near a Foxconn factory where a cluster of leukemia victims was discovered.
“We just never heard from him again,” Heather White said during the panel discussion. “His family never found him.”
We consumers in the land of plenty are fundamentally connected to those people who make our goods.
— Jody R. Weiss, audience member
“China is a more extreme case because of its repressive authoritarian government and the inability of workers to have a voice at all,” she added.
White called on consumers to pressure the large global brands by signing petitions, writing letters, or dialing company hotlines to show concern about worker protection. Companies like Apple and Samsung are “able directly to influence the quality of the working conditions, at least in their own factories,” she said.  
“I feel like we consumers in the land of plenty are fundamentally connected to those people who make our goods,” said audience member Jody R. Weiss after the film premiere.
“It’s as though we’re one heartbeat—if they suffer, we suffer.”

‘Bring a Shield in One Hand and a Sword in the Other’: An Interview With Chinese Lawyer Yu Wensheng

‘Bring a Shield in One Hand and a Sword in the Other’: An Interview With Chinese Lawyer Yu Wensheng

As a defense lawyer, Yu Wensheng tried to visit his client in a Beijing detention center in October 2014. After the police refused him access, Yu protested outside the detention facility and online.
Two days later, Yu himself was arrested. He wasn’t allowed to meet a defense lawyer during a 99-day detention stint where he was severely tortured. In one incident, police bound his hand behind an iron chair, which was agonizing.
“My hands were swollen and I felt so much pain that I didn’t want to live,” Yu told Amnesty International in their 2015 report on torture. “The two police officers repeatedly yanked the handcuffs. I screamed every time they pulled them.”
But police brutality didn’t stop Yu Wensheng, 50, from taking on more human rights and civil cases.
This year, Yu and other lawyers lodged legal complaints against the municipal authorities of Beijing and other nearby cities for being unable to properly control air pollution. Earlier, Yu represented several rights activists and many practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese meditation practice that has faced nearly 18 years of systematic persecution.
In a high-profile case in March 2016, Yu and three other lawyers defended Falun Gong practitioners in the coastal city of Tianjin. Yu also defended the teachings of Falun Gong—”truthfulness, compassion, tolerance.” The lawyers faced minimal retribution from the Chinese authorities, which is unusual given the sensitivity of Falun Gong cases and the defense they had mounted.
“In over a decade of defending Falun Gong’s innocence, it has long been clear who is lawful and who is committing a crime,” Yu Wensheng told Epoch Times in a recent interview.
In the first half of the interview, edited for brevity, Yu discusses his handling of Falun Gong cases.
Epoch Times (ET): You recently represented Falun Gong practitioner Qin Wei from Beijing. Can you confirm that he was sentenced to two and half years for passing out a book?
Yu Wensheng (YWS): To my knowledge, he was sentenced to two and a half years because he gave a passerby a copy of the “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party [Editorial series by Epoch Times].”
The “Nine Commentaries” discusses the past few decades of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule. I have flipped through that book and read some sections. Everything it discusses is true, and nothing is fabricated. Publishing and distributing the book are normal and legal acts of free speech. Using the “Nine Commentaries” as “evidence” to sentence Qin Wei for “undermining the law using a heterodox religion” is absurd.
China does not have a law saying that Falun Gong is a so-called “heterodox religion.” The Chinese regime use Article 300 of the criminal law to sentence practitioners without any legal basis.
The authorities say Qin Wei was undermining the law. Which law did he undermine? He was not at all involved in criminal acts. I cannot tolerate this type of suppression by the authorities. Sentencing Qin Wei is political persecution.
Qin Wei is a person of faith. The Chinese constitution protects freedom of belief. Freedom of religion and belief is written very clearly in the Declaration of Human Rights. I believe that Qin Wei was not involved in politics, and he poses no threat to the country or society. Throughout the entire process of defending him, I did not find any evidence against him. The prosecution was also unable to produce any evidence in this respect.
Of course in political cases, sometimes it does not matter how much evidence there is. The Nine Commentaries presents much historical truth. The authorities, however, don’t want Chinese citizens to know the truth.
ET: Have you encountered any case where people are sentenced because of a book?
YWS: Yes I have. I have even heard of someone being arrested and sentenced for a poem. A while ago I took on the Beijing Daxing Yu Yanjie case. Yu Yanjie was arrested and prosecuted for posting a short poem online. One line in the poem went, “The red scarf is blood stained, and behind it are evil spirits.”
At that time I said in court, “‘The red scarf is blood stained’ was something we learned as kids from communist education. As for the phrase ‘behind it are evil spirits,’ I recall in the ‘Communist Manifesto’ Karl Marx said, ‘A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.’ This is what Marx said. A specter. What difference is there between a specter and an evil spirit?”
When I said this, the court officials told me to stop talking, saying I was engaged in my own “reactionary propaganda.” This is the Communist Manifesto. It’s what you yourselves said. You even say that the Chinese red flag is blood stained. I am engaging in reactionary propaganda for repeating the Chinese Communist Party’s words!? Am I not allowed to use their own words?! Is it reactionary propaganda if it comes from my mouth? Is it positive publicity if it comes from their mouth!?
The law does not have the word “reactionary.” Which regulation of the Criminal Procedure Law says that going against the Party is a crime? If you are wrong, then you must be opposed, but you aren’t even allowing criticism or an opposing voice. Then you don’t need the “People’s Congress,” public prosecution laws, lawyers, inspection institutes, or courts. All you need is the Public Security Bureau.
If an ordinary netizen is unhappy with the government, nothing severe will happen. They may be released after several days of detention. However, Falun Gong practitioners may be prosecuted. The issue becomes political, and the authorities hold up a book or a poem as their excuse for charging someone, arresting them, and engaging in political persecution.
In that case, why do we need laws?
ET: The Chinese authorities have prosecuted Falun Gong practitioners with the explanation of needing to “maintain stability” in society. Do you think that practitioners are a threat to society?
YWS: This is a country run by atheists. The Communist Party forbids people from believing in God. They do not allow you to detach from atheism. They have formed organizations for all traditional religions, such as the Three-Self-Patriotic Catholic Church and the Buddhist Association. There are division-level and section-level monks. Religion is essentially being managed by the Party.
I have interacted with many Falun Gong practitioners. I feel that if everyone believed in Falun Gong, then in the words of the Party, society would become too harmonious. I have nothing but respect for Falun Gong practitioners. They have extremely high standards for themselves that I cannot hold myself to because I cannot give up many worldly things. Falun Gong teaches you to be a better person and let go of your egotistical desires.
Most of us blame others when problems arise to alleviate our own responsibilities. Falun Gong practitioners are different. When problems arise they first look inwards and consider what shortcomings they have. They take responsibility for their own actions and more. This has really moved me.
I sometimes have disagreements with Falun Gong practitioners, but whatever the problem is, practitioners always search within themselves for the reason. After interacting with them for a while, I have also learned to first look for my own problems before blaming others. Once I am sure I am not at fault, then I can start to consider whether others are at fault. However, I am not yet at the realm of letting go of ego.
ET: You have taken on many Falun Gong cases. Is your defense logic different from that of what other lawyers used in the past?
YWS: From 2016, I took on many Falun Gong cases from all over the country. At first I thought I could just do a few cases and then proceed on to other stuff. However, I did not imagine that the authorities would arrest this many Falun Gong practitioners that year.
I think ten years ago, lawyers had a primarily defensive and protective strategy. Prosecutors would bring their swords while lawyers brought their shields. However, a shield can only protect you. I think this strategy is no longer enough. A shield can protect: though you cannot hurt me, it does not threaten the authorities who persecute Falun Gong.
My thinking now is that lawyers who go to court should bring a shield in one hand and a sword in the other. If you arrive with a sword and point out the truth behind them committing an illegal crime, the prosecutors become afraid of harming themselves. Whether it’s the police, the procuratorates, or the courts, they must consider that if they continue persecuting Falun Gong, they will be held responsible in the future.
I observe the prosecutors all the time. They have handled many Falun Gong cases, so usually when you are speaking in court, they do not listen and make little side movements. However, as soon as you mention that they are involved in a criminal offense, they start paying attention. The prosecutor suddenly raises his head to listen. The judge also listens. In fact they understand clearly in their hearts: those who persecute Falun Gong will be held responsible in the future!
They must be clear that persecuting Falun Gong is a crime! We must point this out not only from a technical perspective, but also at the fundamental legal angle as well.
From a legal point of view, there are no laws in China that specifically criminalizes the practice of Falun Gong. Falun Gong is not one of the 14 cult organizations identified by the Party. Actually labeling even those 14 organizations as cults is illegal because the Ministry of Public Security and the General Office of the State and the Party do not have the power to determine what is a cult.
The shift in my thinking of going on the offensive in representing my client finally led to my defense of Zhou Xiangyang and Li Shanshan in Tianjin. Though it was just one single case, I felt that it is in fact a defense of the entire Falun Gong community. The defense summarized everything that has happened since 1999, the authorities’ politically-motivated persecution of Falun Gong, and pointed out that the authorities are the ones who are committing crimes.
This case gave me the opportunity to make the contributions I should be making to this group of people. Falun Gong practitioners have really been through a lot. I believe that the Falun Gong community has created an opening for the Chinese people. Without them, China’s human rights situation could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

China is already boasting about its planned "New Silk Road" venture

China is hoping if it brags long and loud enough, maybe the world will pay attention to themselves. China is trying very hard to look important with such globalist plans, it goes overboard in this manner of marketing and in so looks stupid. Like a spoilt child they need constant attention and inso doing lose the very credibility it seeks. As with all Chinese ventures one mustn't forget they all posess a military component.

Dr. Tim Ball Crushes Climate Change: The Biggest Deception In History

Dr. Tim Ball Crushes Climate Change: The Biggest Deception In History

With a 50-year academic career focusing on Historical Climatology, Dr. Tim Ball is uniquely qualified to address man-made climate change, and he demonstrates that it is a flat-out hoax. Thinking people everywhere should get multiple copies of this book and hand them out to everyone they know.  TN Editor
President Trump was correct to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. He could have explained that the science was premeditated and deliberately orchestrated to demonize CO2 for a political agenda. Wisely, he simply explained that it was a bad deal for the United States because it gave a competitive economic edge to other nations, especially China. A majority of Americans think he was wrong, but more would disagree if he got lost in the complexities of the science. I speak from experience having taught a Science credit course for 25 years for the student population that mirrors society with 80 percent of them being Arts students. Promoters of what is called anthropogenic global warming (AGW) knew most people do not understand the science and exploited it.
Dr. Tim BallThe plants need more atmospheric CO2 not less. Current levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) are close to the lowest levels in 600 million years. This contradicts what the world was told by people using the claim that human production of  CO2 was causing global warming. They don’t know the UN agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established to examine human-caused global warming, were limited to only studying human causes by the definition they were given by Article 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is impossible to identify the human cause without understanding and including natural causes. Few know that CO2 is only 4 percent of the total greenhouse gases. They assume that a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. It doesn’t, in every record the temperature increases before CO2. The only place where a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase is in the computer models of the IPCC. This partly explains why every single temperature forecast (they call them projections) the IPCC made since 1990 was wrong. If your forecast is wrong, your science is wrong.
I studied weather as aircrew with the Canadian Air Force, including five years of search and rescue in Arctic Canada. After the Air Force, I went to university to study weather and climate, culminating in a Ph.D., in Historical Climatology from the University of London, England. When I began in the late 1960s global cooling was the consensus. I was as opposed to the prediction that it would continue cooling to a mini-Ice Age, as I later was to the runaway AGW claim. I knew from creating and studying long-term records that climate changes all the time and are larger and more frequent than most know. I also knew changes in CO2 were not the cause.
The Club of Rome (COR), formed in 1968, decided that the world was overpopulated and expanded the Malthusian idea that the population would outgrow the food supply to all resources, especially the developed nations. COR member Maurice Strong told Elaine Dewar in her book Cloak of Green that the problem for the planet were the industrialized nations and it was everybody’s duty to shut them down. Dewar asked Strong if he planned to seek political office. He effectively said you cannot do anything as a politician, so he was going to the UN because:
He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, control the agenda.
After five days with him at the UN she concluded:
Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the Global Governance Agenda.
He created the crisis that the by-product of industry was causing global warming. Even Obama claimed that 97 percent of scientists agree. If he checked the source of the information, he would find the research was completely concocted. It is more likely that 97 percent of scientists never read the IPCC Reports. Those who do express their concern in very blunt terms. Consider German meteorologist and physicist Klaus-Eckart Puls experience.
“Ten years ago, I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day, I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”
He discovered what I exposed publicly for years. My challenge to the government version of global warming became increasingly problematic. They couldn’t say I wasn’t qualified. Attacks include death threats, false information about my qualifications posted on the Internet, and three lawsuits from IPCC members. Most people can’t believe that such things occur about opinions in a democratic society. Test the idea by telling people that you don’t accept the human-caused global warming idea. The reaction from most, who know nothing about the science, will invariably be dismissive at best.
I documented what went on in a detailed, fully referenced, book titled The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science. A lawyer commented that it lays out and effectively supports the case, however, it was “a tough slog.” I recently published a brief ‘non-slog’ handbook (100 pages) for the majority of people, not to insult their intelligence, but to help them understand the science and its misuse for a political agenda.  Titled, Human Caused Global Warming: The Biggest Deception in History. Presented in the logical form of a criminal or journalistic investigation it answers the basic questions, Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
It provides the motive and method for the corruption of science to substantiate and bolster Trump’s decision.

Canada's Opioid Crisis All Stems From China, But No One Wants To Talk About It In The Media

Opioid overdoses could be factor in growing number of donor organs: B.C. experts

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Amid the growing death toll of Canada’s ongoing opioid epidemic, there’s evidence of a correlating increase in the number of healthy human organs available for transplant.
The agency that manages organ donations and transplants in British Columbia recently began tracking the data after physicians there began to see more organs coming from patients who had died of a drug overdose.
B.C. Transplant says one-quarter of the organs transplanted in the first six weeks of this year were donated by a patient who died of a fentanyl overdose.
The agency also says out of the 51 people in B.C. who donated at least one organ after their death between Jan. 1 and June 8, 25 had a positive toxicology test.
Not all died of a drug overdose, nor did they all use opioids, but the spokeswoman for B.C. Transplant says the agency is definitely seeing an increase in organs from opioid-related deaths and is continuing to track and analyze the data.
The agency doesn’t have comparison data on fentanyl deaths and organ donors from previous years because it hadn’t started tracking it yet.
B.C. has been ground zero of the opioid epidemic in Canada, with 575 deaths from fentanyl alone in 2016 — five times the number of 2015 deaths.
Across the country, Canada saw an estimated 2,500 opioid-related deaths in 2016.
And the number of organs available for transplant in the country has been on the rise in recent years, largely as a result of more education about the benefits of organ donation.
In B.C. there were 20 organ donors in the first six weeks of 2017, exactly twice the number in the first six weeks of 2016.
The number of fentanyl-related deaths in January and February went from 73 in 2016 to 139 in 2017.
The most current national data on organ donors is from 2015, when there were 652 deceased donors, as compared to those who donate an organ while they are still alive. That was up from 598 in 2014.
Half of that increase came in B.C.
The United States is also seeing data which suggests a correlation between the opioid crisis and organ donors.
Dr. Randall Starling, head of heart failure and transplant medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told a Toronto conference last week about a record number of heart transplants in the United States in 2016, up 13.8 per cent compared to 2015.
The United Network of Organ Sharing, which manages the U.S. organ donation network, said the total number of organ donations in the United States was up nine per cent in 2016, and up 20 per cent compared to 2012.
“Nobody knows why this happened, it’s all speculation,” said Starling.
However, he said, the network has reported a higher percentage of organ donors dying of drug overdoses.
“Our perception — and it’s not a proven fact — is there, in part, are more organ donors of otherwise young healthy people that are dying from opioid overdoses,” Starling said.
“It’s a very, very sad situation, and ironic that horrible epidemic is perhaps helping some people.”
Most people who die of a drug overdose end up brain dead with a fully functional circulation system, in much the same way as a car crash or drowning victim leaves behind many healthy organs.
All organs are tested for diseases like HIV or hepatitis; Starling said provided those tests are negative, he does not believe there’s a medical reason not to use an organ from a known drug user.
Policies in both the U.S. and Canada require patients to provide informed consent before receiving a donated organ from an injection drug user.
Starling said there remains a significant shortage of organs: in the U.S., only 1.2 per cent of patients with advanced heart failure who are awaiting a transplant actually receive a new heart.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information said more than 4,500 people were waiting for a donor organ in 2015, with 262 people dying on the waiting list that year.
Starling said the opioid epidemic is not how he wants to see the shortage problem solved, however: “I hope this source of organ donors goes away.”