By Richard A. Lyons | Epoch Times Staff
A Bloody Prelude
It was the early autumn of 1997. A young Uyghur doctor was pursuing a promising medical career in a large hospital in Xinjiang, China. One day, his instructor had a task for him. Five senior Chinese government officials required new organs. The young Uyghur was to take blood samples from the Uyghur political prisoners.
The routine was simple. The political prisoners with matching blood types and tissues would be marched to the execution ground, with vans and doctors standing by.
The victims were to receive a bullet to the right side of the chest (the heart is on the left). With a few swift and deep incisions, the livers or kidneys would be removed from the warm and convulsing bodies, and subsequently transplanted into the ailing Chinese officials.
The human livestock of the day were approximately fifteen young Uyghur men in their late-twenties. When the first victim saw the needle in the young Uyghur doctor’s hands, he began pleading. Then, under the strong grip of the Chinese guards and amidst screams of innocence, the blood taking began.
The above dire account is based on a personal interview conducted by investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, published in his book, The Slaughter.
By early 1999, Chinese officials have stopped coming to the Urumqi hospital, and the young Uyghur doctor was no longer tasked to take blood. Perhaps it was over, he thought. Little did he know that what he witnessed was only the harbinger for a much wider atrocity. Organ harvesting at the remote Urumqi hospital stopped, because a larger nation-wide culling had begun.
Shattering the Rose-Tinted Glass
For the past two decades, the world has viewed China behind rose-tinted glasses. In the concept map of the contemporary man, the word “China” is foremost associated with fast economic development and world political power. Few would identify China with its human rights crises, as the details and depth of its contemporary human rights violations are seldom made known beyond its great walls.
But this rose-tinted glass is beginning to crack. On June 22, 2016, a team of relentless investigators published an unprecedented report on the ongoing practice of live organ harvesting in China. The report, spanning 680 pages and 2,364 footnotes, investigated in astonishing details the transplant programmes of hundreds of hospitals in China.
Its conclusion: The Communist regime of China has been carrying out a secret, large-scale medical genocide in China from 1999 to this day. Kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs and corneas are cut out from healthy prisoners of conscience while they are still alive, at a rate of somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants per year, with an emphasis on the higher numbers. This means that the current death toll of live organ harvesting in China may stretch to 1.5 million, and this number is still growing.
Serious allegations and research of live organ harvesting have been circulating for a decade, but they were mostly ignored or dismissed as tinfoil hat theories by governments, the media and the international community. However, this situation is reversed in June 2016.
On June 15, just a few days before the release of the report, the United States House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution titled “Expressing concern about China’s systematic, state sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups”, with House members denouncing this practice as “ghoulish” and “disgusting”.
The release of the 680-page report also enjoyed unprecedented coverage and attention from 19 global media outlets including Voice of America and CNN, many of whom engaged with the issue of this atrocity for the first time in a decade. With these landmark developments, the communist regime in China is quickly being associated with a new set of words—“Nazi Germany” and the “Holocaust”.
A Statistical Anomaly
The discovery, investigation and startling allegation of China’s human harvest began with the notice of a disconcerting but unexplained statistical anomaly.
In 1999, there was a dramatic and unprecedented increase in the number of healthy organs available for transplant in China. For decades, China is a country without an organised organ donation system. Yet, China transformed from a country in dire shortage of transplant organs to a commercial giant in the organ transplant industry—all within the span of a year.
The figures tell an astonishing tale. According to CCP’s own statistics, only an average of 9.7 cases of liver transplants were performed in China per year from 1991 to 1998. However, from 1999 to 2006, the average number of liver transplants performed yearly shot to 1,760. Even though the Chinese official statistics on organ transplant volumes are shown by the June 22 report to be a gross underestimate, the official statistics still demonstrate a 180 fold increase in transplant volumes since 1999.
More alarmingly, since 1999, Chinese hospitals have begun openly advertising organs for sale, marketing short wait times of only 1-2 weeks for perfectly matched organs. Hospitals even provide back-up organs should the initial transplants fail. As David Matas, co-author of the June 22 report, noted, “The presence of a large bank of living organ ‘donors’ is the only way for Chinese hospitals to assure such astonishingly short waits to customers.”
In all other countries, recipients wait for organs. But in China, organs wait for recipients. This is only possible if the faceless donors that have been fuelling a sprawling industry for almost two decades are not altruistic donors or accident victims, but captive persons killed on demand.
The Search for the Nameless Donors
What happened in 1999 that suddenly created this new source of transplant organs? Who are these nameless donors? 1999 is an unremarkable year for China in most aspects. The conventional wisdom is that transplant organs in China since 1999 are sourced from Chinese death row prisoners. Yet according to Chinese statistics, China did not increase its rate of executions in 1999 and in the years after. Moreover, the Chinese people were not donating their organs any more than they did in the years before 1999.
But something did happen in 1999. In July 1999, a large group of Chinese people were suddenly arrested and deprived of all rights under the law. That group is Falun Gong.
It is clear that the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999 created a large and fresh pool of vulnerable captives—in other words, a perfect organ source for commercial transplants.
Falun Gong emerged in 1992 as a peaceful Chinese spiritual discipline of the Buddhist tradition that had an estimated 70 million adherents by the late 1990s. On July 20, 1999, it suffered a nationwide ban and persecution by the communist regime in China that is still ongoing today. The prevailing wisdom is that the CCP seeks to eliminate Falun Gong because it sees in Falun Gong an intense ideological threat.
Falun Gong practitioners are rounded up by the millions and asked to denounce their faith. Those who do so are released. Those who do not are tortured. Those who still refuse to recant after torture disappear into the Chinese gulag and prison systems. According to the U.S. Department of State, Falun Gong practitioners, numbering at an estimated three million, account for at least half of the Chinese forced labour camp population at any given time.
These Falun Gong practitioners of conscience often refuse to disclose their names and personal details for fear of implicating their families, friends and colleagues. In these prisons and gulags, they are placed outside all protection of the law and treated with unprecedented brutality. UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak reported in 2006 that two-thirds of reported torture cases are against Falun Gong practitioners. Under CCP’s direct order to “destroy their reputation, bankrupt them financially and annihilate them physically”, violence, hatred and even killing of Falun Gong practitioners are not only countenanced, but also actively encouraged.
Through hundreds of interviews conducted by investigators, it is also revealed that Falun Gong practitioners in detention are systematically subjected to blood tests and organ examinations. Other prisoners, sitting right beside these practitioners are not tested. In these “routine” checkups, doctors check practitioners exclusively on their retail organs and nothing else. When asked whether the practitioners could actually be seen for their health, a practitioner who was previously detained once said, “If people came in on a stretcher, they were given cursory treatment; in good health, a comprehensive exam.”
It is clear that the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999 created a large and fresh pool of vulnerable captives—in other words, a perfect organ source for commercial transplants.
Confirming the Worst Fears
When the improbable meets the impossible, the improbable is true. The vast amounts of human organs provided by Chinese hospitals for transplant every year cannot be grown on trees or cultivated in the labs. The mass murder of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs is hard to accept, but it offers the easiest and the only explanation for China’s anomalous transplant practices.
After a decade of relentless research and investigations by a handful of investigators, rummaging through thousands of hospital websites, over 3,000 medical journals, and conducting over 10,000 telephone interviews with Chinese surgeons and government officials, what began as a conjecture is now established beyond all reasonable doubt. As the June 22 report confidently stated, “Many claims of human rights abuses suffer from having too little evidence. With this claim of transplant abuse in China, the volume problem is the opposite – too much evidence.” About the killing of Falun Gong for their organs, there is now more than just a collection of evidence; there is a field of knowledge.
In hindsight, the allegation that Falun Gong practitioners are murdered for their organs is not even as improbable as it first seems. As David Matas insightfully noted, Falun Gong practitioners constitute a prison population whom the Chinese authorities vilify, dehumanise and marginalise even more than prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences. It would seem that the Falun Gong would be a target for organ-harvesting even before death row prisoners.
Great Horror of the 21st Century
Murders and human rights abuses happen daily, so why should we care about this practice of live organ harvesting? There are a few important features of this atrocity that sets it apart from the kinds of human rights abuses we are accustomed to seeing on the news. These features confirm this practice as a transcendental horror of the 21st century that is likely to alter the collective self-understanding of humanity.
1. Unprecedented cruelty—The act of evisceration is often conducted when the victims are conscious and alive. This is because an organ recipient’s immune system is significantly less likely to reject a live organ and buyers will pay more for one. Eyewitnesses recount harrowing accounts of Falun Gong practitioners eviscerated without anaesthesia while they are conscious and screaming. Nurses in hospitals reported that harvested victims are being cremated in the incinerator while still alive.
2. Innocent, young and healthy victims —The victims of this human harvest are mostly young and healthy Falun Gong practitioners in their twenties. Their organs are often flaunted by hospitals for their good health and quality as Falun Gong practitioners engage in healthy meditative practices and abstain from smoking and alcohol. Moreover, Falun Gong is a non-violent community. Their only crime is their refusal to renounce their beliefs in “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance”, the three fundamental tenets of Falun Gong. As U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrbacher said, “To rip open the body of someone who is simply involved in a religious or personal or political idea that is contrary to the wishes of the ruling elite, and not a physical threat to the regime, this is about the most monstrous crime that I can conceive of.”
3. Holocaustic scale—According to the June 22 report, the victims of this human harvest number not in the thousands, but very possibly in the millions. The scale of this genocide is potentially comparable to the Holocaust.
4. Perpetrated by doctors—Unlike any other genocide in history, this human harvest is primarily perpetrated by doctors, who belong to a noble profession trained to heal. This perversion of medical ethics and the medical community poses a serious threat to the larger Chinese population. As investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann asserts, “This is a new form of genocide. It’s using the most respected members of society to implement it: the medical profession. And for these reasons we can’t avoid this any longer.”
5. Full state involvement—This human harvest is conducted with the full involvement of the powerful Chinese state apparatus, from the judiciary to the military, armed police, prison, detention facilities, media, propaganda and diplomacy. Organs are often harvested by military surgeons in military hospitals, under the protection and supervision of armed guards. The Chinese government’s media, propaganda and foreign affairs departments function on a global scale to vilify and erode sympathy for Falun Gong and to suppress news and information of this genocide. The gears and cogwheel of state machinery is harming them in the worst ways imaginable. A government becomes a human farm.
6. A global industry—This final feature is what makes the human harvest a history changing event that is likely to alter man’s collective self-understanding of humanity. The medical genocide of Falun Gong is not just a human rights atrocity confined within China. It is a global industry with participation—whether intentional or wilfully blind—from medical institutions and organ tourists from all over the world. It is an industry that commoditises the bodies of victims and operates through a systematised and institutionalised form of contract killing—with the rest of the world as the contractors.
To date, only Israel and Taiwan have enacted legislations to outlaw organ tourism to China. Meanwhile, patients from places such as Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, US, Canada and Europe continue to travel to China to contract for the organs—and the deaths—of these Chinese prisoners of conscience.
It is not surprising that David Matas described this human harvest as “a new form of evil on this planet”, while U.S. Congressman Chris Smith commented, “I strongly believe the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong will be seen as one of the great horrors.”
A Brief Word on Scepticism
The claim of organ harvesting continues to attract, very regrettably, a considerate amount of scepticism till this day. Apart from a number of media organisations, governments, NGOs and individuals who keep a deliberate policy of self-censorship and silence on this topic either in fear of the Chinese communist regime, or in exchange for lucrative economic relationships with China, a good deal of people genuinely reject the plausibility of this claim.
The problem with these bona fide sceptics is a failure to distinguish between moral scepticism and logical scepticism. It is simply difficult to believe that man is capable of such morally depraved acts, or that a group of habitually vilified and demonised people could be telling the truth.
But such disbelief is disjointed from whether these acts truly occurred in reality. The distinction between moral scepticism and logical scepticism is vividly demonstrated in the famous pronouncement by U.S. Supreme Court judge Felix Frankfurter.
When confronted with claims of Holocaust from a young Polish resistance fighter, Frankfurter said, “I did not say that he was lying, I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference.”
This failure to distinguish led the world to reject claims of the first Holocaust which claimed the lives of six million people. The same failure to distinguish leads the world to reject claims of the second Holocaust that is happening today.
It is actually not difficult to distinguish between moral scepticism and logical scepticism. The logical sceptic arrives at his conclusion after studying the evidence; the moral sceptic arrives at his conclusion before studying the evidence. Therefore, the antidote to moral scepticism is simple and straightforward—study the claims and the available evidence before arriving at the conclusion.
Dr Jeremy Chapman, former president of the Transplantation Society, famously slammed the conclusions of the recent June 22 report as “pure imagination piled upon political intent”. The report’s co-author David Matas, speaking before a U.S. congress hearing on June 23, remarkably replied, “If Jeremy Chapman wants to insult me, I am not going to insult him back. I am just going to say, look at our work. I don’t care what people think of me, just look at the stuff we have done.”
A Tentative Conclusion
The crime of human harvest committed by the Chinese communist regime is not just an unprecedented attack on the victims; it is also an unprecedented attack on all humanity and human dignity. To be apathetic or acquiescent to the practice of human farming is to deny our own sanctity and dignity as man and accept the status of mankind—of ourselves—as livestock.
The world must act to bring this perverted practice to an end. The Second Holocaust happened under our watch and we bystanders of this era will be judged, together with the perpetrators, by posterity.