“The fact that this is happening in Washington, D.C., a city that most associate with freedom, is particularly alarming.”
Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin at an event in her honor at The Spoke Club in Toronto on Dec. 15, 2015. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)
Anastasia Lin is known as fearless, feisty, and ferociously articulate in matters concerning the Chinese regime’s abuse of human rights—in particular, the forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience.
The Chinese communist regime appeared to take issue with the reigning Miss World Canada’s criticisms and blocked her from entering China for the 2015 edition of the competition, which was held in southern China. To make up for it, the Miss World organizers allowed Lin to again represent Canada when the beauty contest headed to Washington, D.C., this year.
In the lead-up to the pageant, however, Lin was silent, a stark contrast to her vocal, high-profile activism; she had even visited the Dalai Lama this March, just months earlier.
Epoch Times recently learned through friends of Lin that pageant organizers had, until Wednesday, Dec. 14, declined to grant her permission to speak to the media, and had threatened her with disqualification if she did, per a clause in the contract between contestants and the Miss World Organisation.
The move garnered widespread media attention and unflattering commentary on the beauty pageant organizer. Late in the day on Dec. 14, after articles appeared in major media in multiple languages around the world, the ban blocking Lin from speaking to reporters was apparently lifted and Lin spoke to The New York Times.
When reached via text message that night and asked if she could now speak to media, Lin replied with a smiley face emoji and said an interview could be set up through the official Miss World press contact.
The prior decision of the Miss World organizers to effectively censor Lin in the capital of the United States, seen as a bastion of democracy and freedom, brought them unwelcome attention and raised Lin’s profile considerably.
Afraid of a Beauty Queen
Lin, 26, won the 2015 Miss World Canada competition by campaigning on human rights issues, and almost immediately became a victim of the Chinese regime’s rights abuses herself: Lin’s father was and continues to be harassed by Chinese security officers over her advocacy, and she was later denied entry to China for the Miss World finals.
“Ask the Chinese government why it is afraid of a beauty queen,” Lin told reporters in Hong Kong on Nov. 25, 2015, where she made a last-minute effort to board a plane to the Miss World contest venue in Sanya, Hainan Province. “Ask them what kind of precedent this sets for future international events.”
An email request to the Miss World Organisation for an interview with Lin went unanswered; several media outlets had also reported a lack of response from the organization.
Pageant staff had been actively monitoring and vetting Lin’s meetings and appearances.
A Miss World official accompanied Lin when she met with David Saperstein, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, on Dec. 9. The State Department was asked not to post a tweet of the meeting.
Recently, Lin was whisked away by pageant staff after they spotted her speaking to the Boston Globe‘s Jeff Jacoby in the hotel lobby where the contest is being held. The Miss World Organisation, which controls all media interview requests with contestants, has allowed at least three other contestants—Miss World Germany, Miss World Myanmar, and Miss World Thailand—to speak to the press.
Also, Lin originally couldn’t attend the U.S. premiere of “The Bleeding Edge,” a film she stars in, according to event organizers Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. On Dec. 14, the date of the screening, Miss World Organisation CEO Julia Morley told Hollywood Reporter that Lin had “always been free” to attend the screening. A representative for Lin confirmed that she will be present for the premiere.
In contrast, there were no concerns over Lin’s attendance at the United Kingdom premiere of “The Bleeding Edge” at Speaker’s House in Parliament this September. The film, which dramatizes forced organ harvesting and the Chinese regime’s advanced surveillance systems, was directed and produced by Leon Lee, the winner of a prestigious Peabody Award for a documentary on organ harvesting.
Lin’s being censored by Miss World is an example of “the extension of China’s influence well beyond its borders … and how desperately China wants to prevent people from speaking out and exposing the truth on human rights generally, and particularly on the issue of organ harvesting,” Benedict Rogers, a friend of Lin and deputy chair of the U.K. Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, said in a phone interview.
“The fact that this is happening in Washington, D.C., a city that most associate with freedom, is particularly alarming.”
A History of Censorship
In censoring Lin, the Miss World executives appeared to be safeguarding their business relations with their sponsors, who are largely Chinese companies.
In the past, many Western companies, particular tech giants like Google and Yahoo, have been known to conduct censorship on behalf of the Chinese regime.
This phenomenon appears to be ongoing. Facebook employees recently revealed that the social media company is creating a “China censorship tool” as part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s efforts to break into the Chinese market. “It’s better for Facebook to be a part of enabling conversation, even if it’s not yet the full conversation,” Zuckerberg reportedly told employees.
Western companies might not be aware that what the regime wants more often than not serves to help the Chinese Communist Party better control and suppress the Chinese people.
“Sadly, too many people in the Western world are willing to kowtow to China, and allow Anastasia be silenced,” Rogers said, speaking earlier in the day before the ban was lifted.
2010年諾貝爾和平獎候選人加拿大人權律師大衛．麥塔斯（David Matas）與「美國醫師反對強制摘取器官組織（DAFOH）」執行長托斯坦．特瑞（Dr. Torsten Trey）醫生共同編著的《國家掠奪器官：器官移植在中國被濫用 的黑幕》在2012年出版之後獲得世界各地來自醫學界、法律界及政界的正面迴響。人們在震驚之餘開始關注中共活 摘器官的真相，並且在全球各地，包括歐美國會在內，舉辦揭露及制止中共活摘器官的研討會、聽證會等活動；中國民眾甚至冒著危險在中國大陸發起制止活摘暴行的簽名義舉。然而，中共活摘器官的暴行至今仍在持續中。
At ‘Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution’, a public talk held at The Arts House on Sept 11, former photojournalist Li Zhensheng shared his insights on the most devastating period in Chinese history.
Li Zhensheng, a photojournalist for the Heilongjiang Daily in the 1960s, became the premier documenter of the Cultural Revolution. He was born in Dalian, China, in 1940. (Courtesy of Li Zhensheng, Singapore International Photography Festival 2016)
“My teacher told me that a photographer should not only witness history, but also record the true history.” – Li Zhensheng, a former Photojournalist
Born in Dalian, China, in 1940, Li Zhensheng, a photojournalist for the Heilongjiang Daily in the 1960s, risked his life to record the gruesome reality behind China’s most catastrophic political movement, the Great Cultural Revolution.
The wave of red terror, which shattered families and demolished ancient buildings, was orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and spread throughout China from 1966 to 1976 under the rule of Mao Zedong. The number of unnatural deaths during this bloody calamity was conservatively estimated at 7.73 million, according to the award-winning ‘Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party’
Instead of solely photographing the ‘glorious’ moments of the Cultural Revolution, which could appear in newspapers, Mr Li audaciously snapped images that framed a sombre account of this bloody 10-year revolution and stashed the negatives in secrecy underneath his desk. He thought: “Someday, people might want to see the light.”
These grim images of violent scenes, which allude to the dark side of the Cultural Revolution, were deliberately obscured from the public during the revolution.
Mr Li became the premier documenter of the Cultural Revolution, and his historic photographs have been exhibited worldwide. In Singapore, his exhibition run from Sept 10 till Oct 29 at The Arts House at The Old Parliament.
“My teacher told me that a photographer should not only witness history, but also record the true history,” he said.
In ‘Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution’, a public talk held at The Arts House on Sept 11, Mr Li shared his insights on this tumultuous period in Chinese history.
The Hidden Photos
These grim images of violent scenes, which allude to the dark side of the Cultural Revolution, were deliberately obscured from the public during the revolution.
Swimmers Prepare to Plunge into the Songhua River
WATCH: Part 1 – Li Zhensheng’s Public Talk (Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
Swimmers prepare to plunge into the Songhua River to commemorate the second anniversary of Mao’s swim in the Yangtze River, on July 16, 1968. (Courtesy of Li Zhensheng, Singapore International Photography Festival 2016)
The above photo captured a team of swimmers reading Mao’s little red book before diving into the water. At that time, according to Mr Li, Mao was believed to “help and direct your swimming, so that you won’t get lost in the water”.
The audience laughed upon hearing this.
“Back then, you would probably be in trouble if you laughed about this,” said Mr Li with a serious expression on his face.
‘Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party’ explains that “the Chinese people have not only been deprived of freedom of thought, (but) they have also been indoctrinated with the teachings and culture of the Party”.
The Destruction of Temple of Bliss
WATCH: Part 2 – Li Zhensheng’s Public Talk (Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
A scene of the Red Guards ransacking Jile Temple (Temple of Bliss) in 1966 (Courtesy of Li Zhensheng, Singapore International Photography Festival 2016)
The CCP’s Red Guards ordered three monks from Temple of Bliss to hold a poster board with these words: “What sutras? They are full of shit.” (Original photo from 5th SIPF 2016 – Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
When the Cultural Revolution first began, Mr Li was very hopeful and enthusiastic as he believed it could help advance the development of culture. However, the event turned out to be beyond his imagination. An inordinate outburst of violence and struggle sessions occurred soon after the onset of this socio-political upheaval. What struck him, in particular, was the assault on the party leader of Heilongjiang, Ren Zhongyi, who was “an amicable man”.
According to the ‘Nine Commentaries’, “struggle” was the primary “belief” of the Communist Party to create terror and maintain its rule in China. Through terror, the “Chinese people tremble in their hearts, submit to the terror, and gradually become enslaved under the CCP’s control”.
Mr Li was also shaken by the destruction of temples.
The photo above shows the destruction of the famous Temple of Bliss located in Harbin city, Heilongjiang Province. The temple, which housed many cultural relics and was the biggest Buddhist temple built in modern times (1921), was wrecked during the Cultural Revolution.
“The Communist Party does not believe in God, nor does it even respect physical nature,” the ‘Nine Commentaries’ points out. The Cultural Revolution motto (“Battle with heaven, fight with the earth, struggle with humans—therein lies endless joy”) had caused the Chinese people to suffer enormous suffering and agony.
“How could they ruin this culture in the name of Cultural Revolution?” Mr Li thought.
After witnessing this appalling spate of attacks and destruction, Mr Li started having ambivalent feelings towards the Cultural Revolution.
Public Shaming by the CCP’s Red Guards
WATCH: Part 3 – Li Zhensheng’s Public Talk (Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
Public shaming by the Red Guards in front of masses, 1966 (Courtesy of Li Zhensheng, Singapore International Photography Festival 2016)
Public shaming by the Red Guards in front of masses. (Original photo from 5th SIPF 2016 – Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
Public shaming by the Red Guards in front of masses. The victim was forced to wear a tall dunce hat with accusations written on it. (Original photo from 5th SIPF 2016 – Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
“Guess what was the placard made of?” Mr Li pointed to a photo on the screen and asked the audience.
The photo portrayed the humiliation of victims being criminalised during the Cultural Revolution. The victims were forced to hang placards around their necks, which accused them of being counter-revolutionaries.
“Cardboard? Wood?” the audience guessed.
“These are all answers from logical minds. In reality, the placard was actually made of metal attached with a metal string, which was tied to one’s neck. The accused had to struggle to hold the placard as it was heavy,” said Mr Li.
His words took the audience completely by surprise.
Next, Mr Li called attention to a photo showing a victim wearing a tall dunce hat with accusations written on it. When he was at the scene, he was baffled to see the accused standing straight, in a posture of subservience. To his amazement, he was told that bricks were hidden inside the dunce hat.
“They had to stand straight to support the bricks,” he said emphatically.
His First Love
Mr Li reminisced about his first love during the two-hour talk. The couple was acquainted with each other during their university days, but they broke up due to the revolution.
His girlfriend’s mother, a textile worker in Dalian, was accused of being a wife of a landlord. Tragically, this dignified, middle-aged woman became one of the first persons he knew to commit suicide during the Cultural Revolution.
“Her mother hung herself and lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she realised she had a watch. She left her watch to her daughter, and hit her head against the wall,” he said ruefully.
Overnight, his girlfriend was labelled one of the five ‘black elements’ – “landlord’s daughter”, which was a stigma at that time. His heart sank when his girlfriend approached him and suggested they broke up. She ascribed her ‘bad element’ as a hindrance to his career.
The Moment of Truth
WATCH: Part 4 – Li Zhensheng’s Public Talk (Witness: The Archive of Cultural Revolution)
In a twist of fate, he married Zu Yingxia, who was his colleague at Heilongjiang Daily.
Merely 10 months into their marriage, his wife was staggered when she received horrifying news about her father ending his own life. Her father, who was a low-level physician in a small township, was wrongfully accused of being a Japanese spy, for no reason other than the fact that he had cured a Japanese railway worker during the Japanese colonial period.
“They tried to make him confess. He succumbed to the inhumane torture and committed suicide,” Mr Li bewailed.
His wife cried her heart out throughout the night. The next day, she confessed to her work unit that her father had died of shame and she wanted to terminate her relationship with her father.
“My wife turned herself in and felt ashamed that she had betrayed the party and the people. That was the standard formula at that time if you had a family member who committed suicide,” explained Mr Li.
The ‘Nine Commentaries’ states that during the Cultural Revolution, “[if] a person committed suicide, he would be labelled as ‘dreading the people’s punishment for his crime’” and “his family members would also be implicated and punished”. Hence, “it was all too common that fathers and sons tortured each other, husbands and wives struggled with each other, mothers and daughters reported on each other, and students and teachers treated each other as enemies”.
The suicides – coming so quickly on the heels of one another – rattled Mr Li and made him waver in his support for the revolution. By that point, Mr Li was completely aghast at the cruelty of the Cultural Revolution. And that was the moment of truth for him.
In Mr Li’s opinion, those who committed suicide during the Cultural Revolution were “very courageous, because they were trying to defend their dignity”.
His China Dream
“I love China. I am using this method to show my love for my homeland. We should reflect on the true history, so as to prevent such tragedies from ever recurring.” – Li Zhensheng, a former Photojournalist
The Cultural Revolution was a dark period in China’s history, replete with paranoia, bloodshed, killings, grievance, loss of conscience, and confusion of right and wrong. Mr Li’s China dream would be that one day, he could hold his photo exhibition in China and share with the young people in China “the true history of the Cultural Revolution”.
“I love China. I am using this method to show my love for my homeland. We should reflect on the true history, so as to prevent such tragedies from ever recurring.”
Some people may think that these brutalities belong to the past, and that CCP has changed. However, the savage persecution of Falun Gong – a traditional Chinese meditation practice that adheres to the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance” – in recent years indicates otherwise.
The persecution of Falun Gong signals another oppression as vicious as the Cultural Revolution. CCP continues to use the same old methods of inciting hate and instigating violence against Falun Gong by “ruining their reputations, bankrupting [them] financially, and destroying [them] physically”.
Under the deceptive façade of the Chinese Communist Party, a state-run medical genocide has been carried out by the Chinese Communist Party since 2000, which may have performed up to 1.5 million organ transplants from unwilling live donors, mostly from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, according to a new China organ harvesting report published on June 22. 
 Robertson, Matthew. “Report Reveals Vast State-Run Industry to Harvest Organs in China.” Epoch Times. 22 June 2016. http://goo.gl/Bd8MR3
I grew up as a Catholic, though really only in the most basic sense of the word. Early on I tried to be a proper Catholic, was an altar boy, but I met with what I saw as sufficient hypocrisy in the church (no need for details here) that I proudly declared myself an agnostic in my teens. I came to see religion as a tool for powerful people to subjugate the masses.
I decided that science would be enough as a worldview, a paradigm. I dabbled in Daoist Tai Chi a bit, but purely for purposes of relaxation.
I studied to become a biologist, with particular interest in ecology, evolution, and conservation. I imagined myself becoming a professor. Things were going well. I was blessed with generous research scholarships. I made excellent contacts in my areas of interest, established great collaborations, found ideal field sites. What really interested me was non-Darwinian models of evolution. For my doctoral studies, I did field research in Madagascar to study apparent hybridization between different species of lemur.
Returning from the field, I began to feel weak, depressed, and after some time, my ability to do simple things progressively degenerated. Working with micro lab tools became progressively more laborious and difficult. I thought I was overworked, but no amount of sleep would help.
One day, running to catch a street light, my legs stopped working properly, and I barely made it to the other side. I checked myself into the university hospital.
I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. My immune system was attacking my peripheral nervous system, and I was slowly losing control. Having found a rare neurological disorder, doctors kept sending interns and residents to me to attempt a diagnosis. I wasn’t getting better or worse, but there was no known treatment. The day I checked into the hospital I also discovered that I had a parasitic worm infection, and later, mono. Basically, my body was toast.
A tough six months followed. I watched my career disintegrate. The academic partnerships I had developed evaporated, and I could no longer teach effectively. My already rocky romantic relationship further suffered.
I returned to my hometown, where my mother encouraged me to try “alternative therapies.” I did, but none were effective. So I went back to my university town. There, in a smoky coffee shop, I met an old acquaintance who had explored numerous Eastern disciplines. He gave me a DVD, saying that what was on it helped him recover from chronic fatigue syndrome, which he had experienced some years back.
I’ll never forget watching that video for the first time. It was a video introducing the exercises and meditation of Falun Gong—a style of Chinese yoga rooted in Buddhist principles, also known as Falun Dafa. After half an hour of trying to mimic the slow-moving exercises on the video, I started to feel better for the first time I could remember. It was really an indescribable feeling—my heart, body, and mind were all singing.
I read an introductory book of the Falun Dafa teachings, though many of the references to Chinese qigong and folk traditions were at first difficult to understand. All I knew was that, as I was learning these exercises day after day, I was feeling better. At some point, I realized that my reflexes had returned (reflex loss is a common symptom of Guillain Barre).
Some months into it, I went for a checkup with my neurologist. I’ll never forget her words: “Congratulations. You’re in complete remission. I have no explanation, but keep doing whatever you’re doing.” I did, and didn’t really look back.
There were some curious side effects, however. Within about a week of starting, I started hating the taste of cigarettes. I was never a heavy smoker, but I enjoyed the social aspect, and it was consistent. Some time later, I experienced the same thing with alcohol. As it happens, both these states are described in Falun Gong’s seminal book of teachings, Zhuan Falun. As a Buddhist school teaching, Falun Gong encourages the abandonment of unhealthy addictions and attachments. I was fascinated, because it wasn’t something I really expected or necessarily wanted to happen.
One night while meditating, I experienced what really set me on the path of Falun Dafa. I had the proverbial experience of having my whole life flash before my eyes. I’d read about such things, but it’s really difficult to imagine until you experience it. Basically, I saw vignettes from my life, step by step, from an early age. I experienced this as one would a film, I suppose, yet at the same time, time it was moving very quickly; I was able to see a lot of my life in a matter of minutes.
But it was odd: It was clearly my life, yet it wasn’t somehow how I remembered it. Not exactly. Mid-way, it dawned on me: It was my life seen through my mother’s eyes. It blew my mind. I cried for several hours.
My mother and I had a complicated relationship. We loved each other, wanted it to work, but we couldn’t be in the same room without tension for more than 15 minutes. With this experience, I really, for the first time, understood her, understood her trials and tribulations, understood what her pains and motivations were.
I also knew how to fix our relationship. The next time I was back home, I was able to initiate mending process in a matter of 24 hours. Not perfectly, of course, but the relationship became something completely different: fully loving and respectful.
I knew then that I had found something deep and profound. I understood from Falun Gong’s teachings that cultivation was a path of constantly getting rid of attachments, and of gaining a broader and broader, more tolerant and compassionate perspective of the world. Here I saw it manifest in my life in reality. Initially, I was physically healed, and now, I saw I was able to change behavioural patterns that didn’t think I had the power to change. With this, I decided to commit to the discipline.
It’s fascinating that many of the issues I’d had with organized religion are absent from Falun Gong. Collecting money? Forbidden, according to one of the few strict rules. Hierarchy? None, amazingly. One can only measure one’s progress against the teachings and against oneself, not against others. Taking others as role models is not an option, nor is imposing on another how they should behave.
Studying the teachings, I saw myself becoming more truthful, compassionate, and tolerant day by day. (Truth, Compassion and Tolerance are the core tenets of Falun Dafa.) I came into it being enthralled by physical healing, but what I found along the way was something much deeper—spiritual healing, and dare I say, in a sense, salvation.
From – http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/09/a-scientist-finds-salvation/500516/
He is a righteous guy!
He made a video to inform his friends: “The Chinese Government Has Murdered 65,000 Falun Gong Practioners For Their Organs Since 2001!” — For more info, visit:http://www.stoporganharvesting.org/
作证的加拿大人权律师大卫．麦塔斯（David Matas）和美国作家、资深调查记者伊森．葛特曼（Ethan Gutmann），根据他们联合发布的最新调查报告指出，中国数百家器官移植医院的所有公开资料，包括已被删除的网页存档等，进一步对这些医院的移植手术量，病床使用率，专业人员数量，政策法规等进行了深入分析。他们说，中共官方一直宣称每年器官移植约10,000例，但最新调查报告表明，仅仅几家医院的年移植量就已超过该数字。
剪辑：黄千容 – See more at: http://www.ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/2016/06/26/a1273266.html#sthash.oo1aK0SZ.dpuf
New report details how China built a massive transplant industry through harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience—believed to be mainly Falun Gong practitioners
Parts of the report, drawing from whistle blower testimonies and Chinese medical papers, state that some donors may not have even been dead when their organs were removed.
The report analyzed all known organ transplantation centers in China—over 700 of them. (Illustration by Jens Almroth/Epoch Times)
WASHINGTON—Transplant surgeons in China are awash in human organs. Some complain of working 24-hour shifts, performing back-to-back transplant surgeries. Others ensure they’ve got spare organs available, freshly harvested—just in case. Some hospitals can source organs within just hours, while others report having two, three, or four backup organs, in case the first organ fails.
All this has been taking place in China for over a decade, with no voluntary organ donation system and only thousands of executed prisoners—what China says is its official organ source. In phone calls, Chinese doctors have said the real source of organs is a state secret. Meanwhile, practitioners of Falun Gong have disappeared in large numbers, and many have reported being blood tested while in custody.
An unprecedented report by a small team of relentless investigators published on June 22 documents in sometimes astonishing detail the ecosystem of hundreds of Chinese hospitals and transplant facilities that have been operating quietly in China since around 2000.
Collectively, these facilities had the capacity to perform between 1.5 and 2.5 million transplants over the last 16 years, according to the report. The authors suspect the actual figure falls between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants per year since 2000.
“The ultimate conclusion of this update, and indeed our previous work, is that China has engaged in the mass killing of innocents,” said co-author David Matas upon the report’s launch at the National Press Club in Washington on June 22.
The study, titled “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update,” builds on theprevious work of the authors on the topic. Released shortly after the passage of an official censure of organ harvesting in China by the U.S. House of Representatives, the research poses an explosive question: Has large-scale medical genocide been taking place in China?
David Kilgour (L) with David Matas (C) and Ethan Gutmann, authors of “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update.” (Simon Gross/Epoch Times)
The People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, whose main task is to provide health care for top Communist Party and military officials, is among the most advanced and well-equipped hospitals in China. The number of organ transplants it performs is a military secret—but by the early 2000s, its clinical division, the 309 Hospital, was making most of its money from them.
“In recent years, the transplant center has been the primary profitable health care unit, with gross income of 30 million yuan in 2006 to 230 million in 2010—a growth of nearly eightfold in five years,” its website states. That’s a jump from US$4.5 million to US$34 million.
The PLA General Hospital wasn’t the only health care institution to stumble across this lucrative business opportunity. The Daping Hospital in Chongqing, affiliated with the Third Military Medical University, also managed to boost its revenue from 36 million yuan in the late 1990s, when it had just started performing transplants, to nearly 1 billion in 2009—a growth of 25 times.
Even Huang Jiefu, China’s spokesman on organ transplantation, stated to the respected business publication Caijing in 2005: “There’s a trend of organ transplantation becoming a tool for hospitals to make money.”
How these remarkable feats were achieved in so short a time across China, when there was no voluntary organ donation system, when the number of death row prisoners was decreasing, and where the waiting times for patients expecting transplants could sometimes be measured in weeks, days, or even hours, is the subject of the new 817-page (including citations) report.
“This is extremely difficult research to have done,” said Li Huige, a professor at the medical center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, and a member of the Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting advisory board, after reviewing the study.
The report contains a forensic tally of all known organ transplantation centers in China—over 700 of them—and counts their bed numbers, utilization rates, surgical staff, training programs, new infrastructure, recipient waiting times, advertised transplant numbers, use of anti-rejection drugs, and more. The authors, armed with this data, estimated the total number of transplants performed. The number stretches past 1 million.
This conclusion, though, is only half the story.
“It’s a mammoth system. Each hospital has so many doctors, nurses, and surgeons. That in itself isn’t a problem. China’s a big country,” said Dr. Li, in a telephone interview. “But where did all the organs come from?”
Organs for transplant can’t be removed from dead bodies and simply placed into storage until needed; they need to be recovered before or soon after death, and then quickly implanted into a new host. The often desperate timing and logistics around this process make organ matching in most countries a complex field, with waiting lists and dedicated teams who encourage family members of accident victims to donate organs.
But in China, the donors seem to be captive, waiting around for the recipients.
Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai, a major PLA medical center, reported performing 120 “emergency liver transplants” as of April 2006.
The term refers to when a patient with a life-threatening condition is admitted to the hospital or transplant ward, and a matching organ is found within only hours or days. This is rare in other countries.
But Changzheng Hospital published a paper in the Journal of Clinical Surgery, a Chinese medical journal, about its success with emergency transplants. “The shortest time for a patient to be transplanted after entering the hospital was four hours,” it stated.
In a one-week period from April 22 to April 30, 2005, the hospital performed 16 liver and 15 kidney transplants.
Chinese doctors carry fresh organs for transplant at a hospital in Henan Province on Aug. 16, 2012. (Screenshot/Sohu.com)
The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University published its own study in a similar vein, documenting that between early 2000 and late 2004, 46 patients received “emergency liver transplants”—meaning that recipients were all matched with a donor within 72 hours.
Even the official China Liver Transplant Registry, in a set of slides presenting its 2006 annual report, compares the number of “selectively timed” transplant surgeries with the emergency transplants. There were 3,181 regular transplants in the year, and 1,150, or just over a quarter, were made under emergency matching conditions.
These phenomena are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to explain according to official pronouncements. And they stand as prima facie evidence that a captive donor population is on standby for its organs to be harvested.
“This is very emotive for me,” said Wendy Rogers, an Australian bioethicist at Macquarie University, whose close friend suffered liver failure due to hepatitis and needed a transplant within three days if she was to live.
“She was extraordinarily lucky to get one in that timeframe,” Dr. Rogers said.
“But to do 46 of them in a row? It’s hard to think of another plausible explanation, apart from killing on demand.”
Parts of the report, drawing from whistleblower testimonies and Chinese medical papers, state that some donors may not have even been dead when their organs were removed. This includes the testimony of a former paramilitary police officer, who said he witnessed a live harvest operation conducted without anesthesia, and that of a former health care worker in Jinan.
Targeted for Elimination
The authors of the new report, relying on previous evidence and new findings, contend that the primary population in China that could have been targeted in this way are prisoners of conscience, composed primarily of practitioners of Falun Gong.
Falun Gong is a traditional discipline of the Buddhist school that became extremely popular in China throughout the 1990s. It involves doing five meditative exercises and living according to teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The state tacitly supported Falun Gong, and an official survey indicated there were upward of 70 million practitioners by 1999—more than the number of members in the Communist Party.
In July 1999, the leader of the regime, Jiang Zemin, unleashed a national campaign to eliminate the practice. He initially met with high-level opposition, but quickly turned the anti-Falun Gong mobilization into a means of consolidating his power within the Party, as he promoted loyalists and sidelined resisters.
Organ harvesting as a means of eliminating the Falun Gong population appears to have begun by the following year.
The evidence that this has been taking place has been available for a decade now—but this is the first time the estimated death toll has been so formidable, the sheer volume of evidence so overwhelming, and the central role of the state as enabler so clear.
The three authors of the report—David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann—have previously published reports on the topic, but this is the first time they have joined forces. Even they were surprised by the results of the study.
“When you were a kid, did you ever pick up a big rock and see all this life underneath it—ants and insects? That’s what the experience of working on this report has been like,” said Gutmann, a journalist whose book on the topic, “The Slaughter,” was published in 2014.
Kilgour is a former Canadian parliamentarian and Matas is a well-known human rights lawyer; the pair published a book on the topic, “Bloody Harvest,” in 2009, which followed a groundbreaking report by the same name released in July 2006.
In the last few years, researchers of transplant abuse in China had largely been under the impression that the scale of organ harvesting had retreated considerably, or at least that Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience were no longer targeted.
The authors discovered this was not so. “They’ve built a juggernaut,” Gutmann said. “We’re looking at a gigantic flywheel, which they can’t seem to stop. I don’t believe it’s just profit behind it, I believe it’s ideology, mass murder, and the cover-up of a terrible crime where the only way to cover up that crime is to keep killing people who know about it.”
The backbone of the report, and its single largest section, is an exhaustive account of every hospital in China that is known to perform transplants. Of the 712 hospitals that are identified, 164 are given detailed, individual treatment in the report.
Centers of Harvesting
The Nanjing General Hospital, in the Nanjing Military Command, for instance, is given two pages. The report discusses the prolific career of Li Leishi, the founder of the kidney research center at the hospital; there was even a Communist Party document that made it mandatory to study the “model” he had established. Li was commended by the regime for building one of the fastest growing kidney transplant centers in the country.
In a 2008 interview, Li, then 82 years old, said that in the past he typically performed 120 kidney transplants a year, but now does only 70. Another chief surgeon was reported to be performing “hundreds of kidney transplants a year” as of 2001. With 11 chief and six associate surgeons engaged in kidney transplants, the total volume of transplants at the hospital may have reached around 1,000 annually, the report states.
Astonishing transplant volumes like this appear throughout the report.
At Fuzhou General Hospital, also in the Nanjing Military Command, Dr. Tan Jianming had personally directed 4,200 kidney transplants as of 2014, according to his biography on a website belonging to the Chinese Medical Doctor Association.
The Xinqiao Hospital, affiliated with the Third Military Medical University, in southwest Chongqing, said it had performed 2,590 kidney transplants by 2002, including 24 in a single day.
Zhu Jiye, director of the Peking University Organ Transplant Institute, said in 2013: “There was one year in which our hospital did 4,000 liver and kidney transplant operations.”
In a June 2004 paper published in the Medical Journal of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Forces, a handy table is provided that notes that the Beijing Friendship Hospital and the Guangzhou Nanfang Hospital had conducted more than 2,000 kidney transplants by the end of 2000. Three other hospitals each recorded performing 1,000 by the end of that year. Most of these must have been performed only in a year or so, given that up until the end of the 1990s, transplantation in China was a boutique medical niche.
Hospital after hospital, page after page, volume figures like this are laid down, sourced back to official Chinese publications, including speeches, internal newsletters, hospital websites, medical journals, media reports, and more.
Without exception, these hospitals only discussed such impressive volume figures beginning in the year 2000. The massive infrastructure development and surgeon training programs also only began to be reported then—soon after the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong.
State Killing Machine
The Chinese regime’s official line on its organ sources has shifted over time. In 2001, when the first defector emerged from China claiming that the regime was using death row prisoners as an organ source, official spokesmen denied it, claiming that China relies primarily on voluntary donors.
In 2005, officials began hinting that death row prisoners were used instead. And after allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners were made public, in 2006, Chinese officials insisted that death row prisoners, who consented to having their organs removed after death, were the primary source.
But the menacing conclusion that slowly emerged through the research published in the report—which includes nearly 2,000 footnotes—is that the entire industry was deliberately created, almost overnight—right after an abundant new organ source became available.
This is suggested by the immense state involvement, both at the central and local levels, in the industry. Beginning in the 1990s, China’s health care system was largely privatized, with the state only paying for infrastructure, while hospitals had to finance themselves.
The liver transplant center at Renji Hospital saw a leapfrogging number of transplant beds: from 13 in late 2004, to 23 only two weeks later, to 90 in 2007, to 110 in 2014.
In 2006, Tianjin First Central Hospital added an entire 17-story building, with 500 beds, just for organ transplants. There are many other such cases; the report contains photographs of the often impressive buildings.
Organ transplantation quickly became a profitable business, and the central and local governments underwrote research and development, the construction of palatial new transplant facilities, and funded doctor training programs, including the overseas training of hundreds of transplant surgeons.
The Tianjin First Central Hospital. (Hospital files)
An entire industry of Chinese-made anti-rejection drugs came online, while Chinese hospitals began developing their own preservative solutions, chemicals in which organs are kept while being transported between the donor and the recipient.
As the transplant center associated with China Medical University in Shenyangsaid on its website: “To be able to complete such a large number of organ transplant surgeries every year, we need to give all of our thanks to the support given by the government. In particular, the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Public Security system, judicial system, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Civil Affairs have jointly promulgated laws to establish that organ procurement receives government support and protection. This is a one-of-a-kind in the world.”
The authors of the report have declined to give a death toll. While it is possible that in some cases multiple organs came from a single victim, until 2013 China had only an ad hoc and localized matching system. Chinese surgeons have also complained about the great wastage in China’s transplant industry, where often only one organ comes from one donor. Thus, if 60,000 to 100,000 transplant surgeries were performed annually, the death toll of organ harvesting in China may stretch to 1.5 million.
As China Medicine Report wrote in a late 2004 summary of the transplant industry: “Currently, because China has no interactive organ registration system, sometimes only a kidney is taken from a donor and many other organs are simply wasted.”
Matas, at the press conference on June 22, said: “The phenomena of multiple organs from one person has been happening, but in a statistically insignificant way.”
According to Lan Liugen, the deputy director of surgery at the PLA’s No. 303 Hospital in Guangxi Province, as of early 2013 there were only two hospitals in China that could procure and transplant multiple organs from a single donor. “Such surgeries are the best use of donor resources,” he said. “Currently only countries like the United States, Germany, and Japan can do multiple organ transplants from the same donor simultaneously.”
The authors are publishing their findings at a time when the climate of opinion on this issue seems poised for a shift: Journalists are more willing to look into the topic; documentaries on it are being produced and winning awards; and the number of transplant doctors and ethicists who are learning about China’s transplant system, and who are appalled by it, is growing.
Recently, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing concern about China’s practices, with House members denouncing them as “ghoulish” and “disgusting.”
A 2015 documentary titled “Hard to Believe,” now screening on PBS stations, explores how the issue has been received by the fields of journalism and medicine. The gravity of what has taken place in China for a decade and a half is only now beginning in sink in. (Disclosure: The author of this article was interviewed for the documentary.)
Rogers, the Australian bioethicist, says she has found that others have difficulty taking in what is happening in China.
“I had to explain it in detail to a German friend who’s a bioethicist, who deals with many challenging international topics,” Rogers said. “She literally couldn’t believe me, and asked, ‘Why didn’t I know about this already?’”
Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.
– Jimi Hendrix