Tags: CCP, China, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
A prestigious Australian university has come under scrutiny recently for giving an honorary professorship to a former top Chinese health official who has been involved in unethical organ harvesting.
Researchers of organ harvesting in China spoke to the influential Australian news program the “7:30 Report” with information about Huang Jiefu’s involvement in organ harvesting in China; they called on the University of Sydney to rescind the honorary professorship they gave to Huang in 2008 and renewed in October 2011.
Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh, a member of the faculty of health science at the University of Sydney, regards Huang as one of the former leaders of an unethical system of organ transplantation.
In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials. – Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh
“In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials,” she said to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which produces the “7:30 Report.” This was meant to preserve the organs while the person is anaesthetised.
“They don’t die right away,” Singh said, giving the surgeon time to pull out organs before the lethal injection is finalized. “It’s done in a way that actually allows this very, very unsavoury mix of execution and medical care and treatment to be done by the same team of doctors,” Singh said. “It’s horrific, really.”
Huang was the vice minister of health from 2001 to 2013, and was the point person for international groups to hear the official word on the Chinese regime’s organ transplantation policies. He was also a member of the Party Leadership Group in the Ministry of Health, according to the Ministry’s website; and he is a reserve member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, ostensibly an advisory body for the Communist Party.
Huang also watched over a period of extensive harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience, according to the research of David Matas, a Canadian lawyer who co-authored the seminal “Independent Investigation Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” first published in 2006.
Practitioners of Falun Gong are suspected of being the preponderant source of illicit organs trafficked through the Chinese system from the early 2000s onwards; tens of thousands may have been killed in that fashion, researchers indicate.
Much of that activity was carried out by the medical-military complex, where military hospitals work with labor camps to source organs and carry out the transplants in secret. Such hospitals are not under the purview of the Ministry of Health—but as head of the transplantation system, Matas holds Huang accountable.
The University of Sydney defended itself with a note from Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Medical School: “Huang Jiefu is recognised internationally for having made significant changes to the regulation of China’s organ transplantation processes in an effort to curb the practice of organ retrieval from executed prisoners.” Robinson listed some of the initiatives that were attributed to Huang, including “publicly stating that executed prisoners are not an appropriate source of organs for transplantation.”
But it’s likely that Huang has himself extracted the vital organs of executed prisoners, says Singh. Singh notes that even up until November of last year Huang was still carrying out liver transplants.
“That would be 100 organs a year,” Singh says. “Using his own figures, 90 to 95 percent of those would have come from executed prisoners.” Huang previously gave estimates that 90 or 95 percent of all organ transplants in China were from executed prisoners.
Before an operation in 2005, he also contacted the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, which is affiliated with the Chinese military, as well as the Zhongshan School of Medicine located in Guangzhou, to obtain a blood-matched liver. Within about 24 hours, one arrived from Chongqing and he performed the transplant, according to a news report on a Chinese official website, recounting the incident in adulatory terms.
While David Matas, the lawyer and researcher, acknowledges that Huang played a public role in highlighting the need for the People’s Republic of China to reform its organ sourcing system, he said in a previous interview with The Epoch Times that it was far from enough.
“With Huang Jiefu, I mean, he says all the right things, but he’s a fellow traveller. This guy is sitting on top of a system of massive transplant abuse,” Matas said. “What I see is the system playing good cop/bad cop. Huang is the good cop. He has this notion of ‘Let’s change things gradually.’ He’s been saying this for many years now, and I don’t see a lot of changes. They do everything to hide the figures.”
Matas added: “I don’t buy the line that they’re doing what they can. They should stop it.”
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Tags: CCP, China, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, persecution of dissidents
By Genevieve Belmaker
An Epoch Times reporter is the winner of a prestigious annual award for his reporting on organ harvesting in China. Matthew Robertson, who specializes in reporting on China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, wrote a series of articles on forced, live organ harvesting published in The Epoch Times in 2012.
Robertson and the articles won the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for professional journalism. The SPJ, founded in 1909 under the name Sigma Delta Chi, promotes freedom of information, educates and advocates for journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of the freedoms of speech and press.
Winners for the 10 categories of the 2012 Sigma Delta Chi awards came from a pool of more than 1,700 entries in categories including print, radio, television, and online. The awards are in recognition of outstanding work published or broadcast in 2012. The Epoch Times collection won for the newspaper category Non-Deadline Reporting (Daily Circulation 1-50,000).
In the nomination letter from The Epoch Times, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Stephen Gregory said that the topic of the articles—forced, live organ harvesting in China—is important and under-reported.
“Hospitals are working hand in glove with the Chinese regime’s repressive security apparatus, and doctors, using the skills meant to heal, are killing helpless prisoners of conscience by removing their organs,” stated Gregory in the letter. He added that the four articles by Robertson submitted on the topic “are a sample of a larger body of work and are the fruit of over two years of consistent effort.”
In praising Robertson’s work on the extremely complicated and sensitive issue, Gregory pointed to his professionalism and dedicated focus.
“Matt [Robertson] has developed contacts with all of the major investigators and human rights organizations in the West concerned with organ harvesting in China and has proven adept at digging important stories out of information publicly available on the Chinese web,” wrote Gregory.
The award-winning articles include “Would Be China Defector, Once Bo Xilai’s Right Hand, Oversaw Organ Harvesting,” about a high-ranking Chinese security official’s forced organ techniques; “After Bo Xilai’s Purge, Searches For ‘Organ Harvest’ Suddenly Allowed,” which analyzes Internet traffic to examine the struggle within the Chinese leadership over accountability for these crimes; “Accused Chinese Organ Harvester Lurks in Transplant Community,” about a Chinese doctor who was head of the organ transplantation unit at a hospital implicated in organ harvesting; “Friendly Ties Come With Award, But Ethicists Object,” on how a major university may have sacrificed ethics for the chance to develop closer ties with China; and “Book Exposes Organized Killing for Organs in China,” a review of State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, a compilation of works from dozen specialists addressing the issue of organ sourcing practices in China.
In an interview about winning the award, Robertson said he found it gratifying.
“I think it’s awesome that SPJ gave this award because China is a controversial topic to some degree,” said Robertson. “Journalists in China—if they report on this—would probably have their visas denied, so it’s being pushed aside.”
Robertson began learning Chinese in 2007. He lived in Taiwan for eight months of immersion study. Learning aids included the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times, listening to NTD Television and Voice of America, studying reams of Communist Party propaganda, watching ancient Chinese drama serials, and reading the books of Falun Dafa.
To produce the articles, Robertson noted that he made all the phone calls and checked all the available sources, as good journalists do, but had to go well beyond.
“It’s much harder than reporting on subjects in the Western world, because the information is so much harder to get. You cross-check many sources and make some inferences.”
He said that he is “standing on the shoulders of the amazing research done by others, including my Chinese colleagues at The Epoch Times, and also the great work of other Chinese researchers.”
“Through my investigation I found not only gross abuses of human rights, evil things, really, that the Chinese regime has done, but also lack of fortitude in the West in the face of those things.”
“Tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience may have been killed from organ harvesting,” said Robertson. “In Mainland China, military hospitals and labor camps have worked together to carry this out.”
The winners of the Sigma Delta Chi awards were announced on April 23, 2013 on their website.
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Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Science
By Matthew Robertson
Originally he’d only planned to speak for five minutes, about the recently-concluded Boao economic forum. But as he began recalling the details of torture recently revealed in a Chinese magazine article, well-known television host Cao Baoyin went on for over 20.
“Curse the Boao forum!” Cao said at the beginning of the video, using an actual Chinese curse word. He had just read the article after coming home from his day job on April 9, and needed to speak out. Cao is a television personality and a columnist for Beijing News, a major newspaper in the capital.
At a number of points in his talk he visibly struggled to hold back tears. At one point he held up a board that he’d written a number of the main torture methods on.
“Hell on earth,” he had titled it. He announced the techniques one by one: “Small room,” “inmate-monitors,” “electric shocks,” “death bed,” “tiger bench,” while rapping on each with his Chinese fan.
“Behind every word there’s blood, inhumanity, lawlessness, immorality, and naked barbarism,” he said, before elaborating on specifically how Chinese communist prison guards use the “hanging an airplane” torture against inmates in the Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp.
Cao was one of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese to read and react to a recent article about that labor camp, published in the Chinese magazine Lens, which is known for its photography.
The article detailed the brutal torture methods applied against inmates, most of whom are practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline that has been persecuted since 1999. The article did not mention Falun Gong—the persecution of the spiritual practice is off limits for China’s media.
The fact that the piece was published at all was stunning to many. Masanjia is known to have devised many of the extreme torture methods used to break the wills of Falun Gong practitioners, and then taught them to other labor camps.
Cao Baoyin spoke about how prisoners who go on hunger strikes are treated. “They tie them to a ‘death bed’ and use metal pliers to force open their mouths. Some of the victims have their teeth knocked out because of that. Even some of the workers ask for the day shift, so they don’t have to witness it when it happens at night.”
He became agitated and focused on the camera: “The ‘death bed,’ that’s really going to kill people. But in this women’s labor camp, if you die they don’t even care. They think the prisoners’ lives are worth less than flies. Women do this to other women, except that because some of them wear a uniform they can act like beasts, doing this crazy torture. Are these still people? Even beasts don’t do this to one another. When you hear all this, can you say it’s not hell on earth?!”
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Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Matthew Robertson
When a long news article is published in China explaining in detail how torture implements with names like the “Tiger Bench” and the “Death Bed” are used against prisoners in a labor camp, you can bet that it wasn’t by accident.
But whatever the thoughts were of those in the Chinese Communist Party who authorized an April 6 article in Lens Magazine, known for its photography, about the Masanjia Labor Camp, it’s unlikely they could have predicted the reaction: an online outpouring by hundreds of thousands, furious at the authorities for what the article depicted. The piece was quickly deleted from web portals.
The roughly 20,000 word article landed amidst discussion about reform or abolishment of the labor camp system in China, and relates the personal experiences of a number of former Masanjia detainees, describing some of the extraordinary torture they were subjected to.
These include how prisoners were shocked with electric batons, starved, hung up by handcuffs, forced to squat in small spaces, clubbed by guards, and tied onto tiger benches and death beds for further torture.
The publication of the piece is surprising because of the clutch of significant and sensitive issues it touches on: most prominently, the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been targeted since 1999, and which constitutes the primary population at the Masanjia camp, in northeastern China. It also highlights the ongoing struggle between the old guard of Jiang Zemin, the former Party head responsible for the persecution, and the new leadership of Xi Jinping. And it appears to give powerful ammunition to those in China who would argue for the abolishment of all labor camps.
The details of the torture depicted in the article make clear why.
A number of the vivid and gruesome depictions in the article came from diaries that were written by the female captives while at Masanjia, and smuggled out through bodily cavities.
Liu Hua was one of the women who wrote a “Diary of Re-Education Through Labor,” and got it out.
She describes one incident when she was stripped naked and shocked on the tongue with electric batons. According to a translation by Minghui, a Falun Gong website, she said: “It was one shock after another. The electricity ran through me. My heart pounded so hard, so unsteady. Electricity was applied to the tip of the tongue, like needles piercing into it. I could not stand steadily, and I couldn’t even try to.”
She was also made to work, matching nearly thousands of collars and cuffs every day.
Other accounts in the article described inmates being hung up on bunk beds by their arms and legs, and being left for sometimes a week.
Food for the prisoners was abysmal, consisting of only a meager serving of vegetables and rice.
The Unnamed Victims
The article made one oblique mention of the identity of the victims: it says that a victim “confirmed with a Lens reporter that the ‘Tiger Bench’ and the ‘Death Bed’ are both implements used in the labor camp. The former was originally used for a special group, and later was used on regular inmates. The latter is equipment used on inmates that hunger strike.”
It’s an open secret that Masanjia is most well known for its persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, who are specifically targeted by the camp, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center. The “special group” referred to is almost certainly Falun Gong, analysts say.
Minghui, one of the main Falun Gong websites, noted the publication of the article. “This is quite a remarkable occurrence because none of these horrific stories of torture, brainwashing and forced labor have ever before been admitted, much less reported, in mainland Chinese media.”
Minghui has registered thousands of cases of torture in Masanjia alone.
Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, noted that the treatment described in the Lens report “is stuff we’ve been talking about for more than 12 years.”
He added that, given that the Lens article validates the Information Center’s work, “we hope that people will pay attention to the things they didn’t cover, like the show tours, throwing women into male jail cells, and Masanjia being a groundbreaking entity for training and leading the way for torture.”
In interviews with victims from Masanjia, the Information Center found that the facility was unusual for a number of reasons: It is one of the few camps where guards and Party agents do most of the hands-on torture themselves, rather than coercing or incentivizing other prisoners to do so.
It is also “literally a training ground,” Browde said. “They fly other labor camp officials to Masanjia to learn ways to break Falun Gong practitioners.”
The treatment of the article by Chinese Internet censors has been sometimes contradictory. Searches for “Masanjia” on Sina Weibo, a major Twitter-like microblogging service, were at first allowed, and then restricted, and then free.
A hash-tag topic about the article was created — but later it disappeared. As of 1 a.m. Beijing time on April 10, it was available, aggregating the thousands of comments and forwards the news has received. Previously, a search for Masanjia only yielded a few hundred hits, indicating that censorship was loosened.
After publication, the article was immediately posted on a number of Chinese web portals — but soon after disappeared. The 70,000 comments on Sohu were still active, however, even though the article had been deleted.
Even People’s Daily Online, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, included the story in its “hot topics” news list on April 8. The news was ranked first, with a total of over 500,000 comments. That too later disappeared.
Lens continued to carry its chilling double-page spread, a photograph of the monolithic labor camp, on its website, on April 10 local time.
“It seems as though the Propaganda Department only reacted after the fact, but the news was already out,” said Wen Zhao, an analyst of contemporary Chinese affairs with NTD Television, an independent broadcaster.
He noted the fact that under the immense pressure of the news, Liaoning Province authorities gave a terse announcement that they would launch an investigation. “This kind of internal investigation will no doubt gather a lot of evidence, but whether or not it’ll be published, or how far they will take it — we can only watch and wait.”
Wen Zhao added: “There are hundreds of labor camps in China, all doing things along the same lines as Masanjia.”
“This is a blow to those in the Party trying to stop labor camp reform,” said independent political analyst Tang Jingyuan, in an interview with Epoch Times.
He said that the appearance of the article on People’s Daily Online “to a certain degree” reflects the thinking of top Party leaders.
But the fact that it was soon deleted “also shows that the Party has not reached a consensus, and that the resistance to abolishing the labor camp system is still terribly ferocious.”
Browde said that now is the time for the West to start publicly discussing the persecution of Falun Gong. “There are clearly people in China that want to get the truth out about Masanjia, and perhaps the persecution more broadly,” he said. “Now it’s critically important that journalists and others take that momentum they’ve created, at great risk to themselves, and don’t let their efforts sputter out.”
Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, film, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
The documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” co-produced by NTD, screened at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on Tuesday. The film is about a man and a woman who practice Falun Gong. They are imprisoned and tortured for standing up for their beliefs in China.
The film exposes some of the abuses behind China’s economic success—like slave labour—showing the cruel conditions in China’s forced labour camps.
The woman in the film, Jennifer Zeng was thrown into a Chinese labour camp because she practices Falun Gong. It’s a meditation practice the Chinese regime has been persecuting since 1999. In the labour camp she was forced to make handmade toy bunnies, shoes, Christmas lights and other products that are sold in the West.
[Jennifer Zeng, Main Character in Free China]:
“I hope that international companies must become aware. What kind of business partner and the whole environment inside there is? This is a state sanction system to use innocent people as free slavery that makes profit for the [Chinese Communist] Party. And the international companies and consumers overseas I think unknowingly become part of this. I don’t think they want to become part of this.”
China has the world’s second largest economy and is becoming increasingly more important in the world.
The producer of the film, Kean Wong and Jennifer pointed out that a better economy in China does not automatically grant freedom of speech for the Chinese people.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“You are dealing with a mafia that is willing to kill their own people. They don’t really care about your company. They want to do business with you, make as much money as they can and eventually steal your market share.”
Kean Wong says that companies today that are doing business with China can no longer put all the responsibility on politicians to work for human rights in China.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“If you don’t create an environment that is open, that is human, that allows freedom of speech as we are given here in Sweden and around the world, you can not have a proper trading partner.”
Several members of the Swedish Parliament, across party lines, support the film.
[Boriana Åberg, Member of Swedish Parliament]:
“While there is one single person who is denied human rights, the rest of us have to fight and stand up for those values of freedom, to say what you think, express yourselves, write without fear of being thrown into prison or in labour camps like Jennifer here.”
The award-winning documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe” is directed by Michael Pearlman. Free China has also been screened at the European Parliament and the at the United States’ Congress.
The film team is planning to release “Free China” for threatrical release this summer.
NTD News Stockholm, Sweden
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
Editor’s note: Guo Jufeng, the author, was an engineer in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, who fled to Germany in 2008 after being persecuted for his practice of Falun Gong. Before leaving China, he had been arrested four times, sent to three labor camps, and persecuted using over 30 different methods of mental and physical torture. Twelve Falun Gong practitioners he personally knew died from torture: seven of those were from Dalian; five had children under the age of 18.
Last week, I was amazed to read the news about a plea for help hidden in a box of Halloween decorations exported from China to the United States. I was once in exactly the same situation as the person who wrote that message!
Five friends and I successfully hid and passed on a truth-clarification letter about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China to the overseas website Minghui, or Clearwisdom, which is dedicated to exposing the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong to the rest of the world.
Like the person whose plea made headlines around the world, I was also in Liaoning Province, China. Twelve years ago, I was imprisoned in Huludao City Forced Labor Camp, Liaoning, for 2.5 years for practicing the meditation discipline of Falun Gong. My companion Cao Yuqiang, who was eventually tortured to death, and I were watched 24 hours a day by two criminals, so that we could not exchange information regarding the persecution of Falun Gong.
One day, I came up with the bold idea to find a way to communicate information about the persecution to the outside world.
The first obstacle we faced was that we didn’t have pen or paper. So, as more and more information was passed on to me, it became quite a challenge to memorize everything! To improve my memory, I repeated the information to myself every day, since I couldn’t communicate regularly with Cao Yuqiang.
One day, out of the blue, Cao told me he had found a refill for a ball-point pen. I suspected he must have gone through a great deal of trouble to procure it, but I did not have the opportunity to ask him for any details at that time.
Now I had a pen, but there was still the question of what to write on. I finally realized that the only possibility was toilet paper, and to avoid being caught, I would have to write the message after midnight.
I had to keep strengthening my mind to overcome fear and anxiety as any negative thoughts could lead me to give up. Questions and doubts plagued my mind: “Would this work? How could we get the information out? Would I be able to withstand the torture if it was discovered? Had other prisoners found out about my plan? Were they waiting to catch me in the act?” I was certain that if my plan were discovered, I would be tortured mercilessly with electric batons.
It was really quiet after midnight. While laying in bed, I slowly pulled out the pen refill and toilet paper. When the prisoner on duty to watch me turned away, I began to make tiny adjustments to my position, creating the smallest possible space underneath my quilt. Whenever the prisoner on duty turned towards me, I had to immediately stop and be still, for I would need time to deal with any unexpected action on his part. If my mission were somehow compromised, I would have to swallow my written note immediately and secure the ball-point refill.
At last, this truth-clarifying article to expose the persecution was complete; I had written 2,800 words.
I carefully carried it on me, but now I had to figure out how to get it to the outside world. A few days later, a prisoner asked me, “Can I help you somehow?” I was surprised and also suspicious, “Is he trying to fool me to hand over my article to the guards? Could I trust the words of a prisoner?” I thought for a few minutes and then I said “I have to go to the restroom.”
Walking down the long corridor, I kept on thinking “What should I do?” It was difficult to make a decision, but I had to make up my mind. In the restroom, I gathered up my courage. Then I looked at the prisoner, and said, “Could you give me your cigarette box?” He handed it over, I took out my letter, put it inside, and said to him: “Please send it out to the address inside. Please.”
Over the next few days, I was extremely nervous, for I did not know what had happened to the letter. I kept thinking, what should I do if the guards suddenly rush into my room with electric batons? This thought lurked in my mind, overwhelming me like the ocean, a very deep and quite suffocating feeling.
But heaven be praised, the letter safely made it into the hands of a friend, and he immediately sent it to the overseas Minghui website! With this detailed report about several Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted, the cause of justice was righteously served. Looking back, I know that I was extremely blessed. If it hadn’t been for divine intervention, I suspect no one would have ever learned about the story—mine or the other Falun Gong practitioners’. Unfortunately, 4 of the 20 people in this story were later killed by the authorities in the persecution.
The only thing I can do now is to feel encouraged: in the face of great adversity, I had the courage and conscience to overcome evil. I also realized from this experience that I should never give up hope in any situation.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Tags: CCP, China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, human rights lawyers, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
It’s been over a year since human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was detained in the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, and only recently was he allowed to meet his family for the second time. They had not been permitted to visit since March 2012.
Gao, sometimes calling “China’s conscience,” was arrested, harassed and tortured from 2005 onwards after defending persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline, and other groups targeted by the regime.
Gao’s eldest brother told Sound of Hope (SOH) radio on Jan. 18 that he had been trying to visit his detained brother for a long time, and only after he threatened to appeal in Beijing did the authorities allow his family to visit Gao in prison.
Gao’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the United States with their children, maintained that Chinese communist authorities are afraid her family would expose her husband’s situation to the international community if they visited him.
His younger brother and father-in-law traveled far to see him, but were only granted a half-hour visit under strict monitoring and control.
During the short meeting, Gao could only ask about the family’s wellbeing. His only words for his wife were to raise the children well and don’t worry too much about him.
Geng told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that prior to their visit, the prison has forbidden them to ask any questions about Gao’s treatment; violating this rule would lead to immediate termination of the visit, she said.
During the meeting, Gao’s brother asked whether he could read newspapers or watch television but was abruptly interrupted before Gao was able to speak; a guard said that Gao wasn’t allowed.
Geng told RFA that the family made great efforts to get a chance to see him. The journey across the remote region of Xinjiang to the prison is harsh and takes around 10 days. The most important aspect of the encounter was to verify that Gao is still alive.
Sound of Hope Radio interviewed several well-known Chinese human rights activists after the short prison meeting.
Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia said that over the past eight years, Gao Zhisheng has constantly suffered brutal torture by the Chinese Communist authorities.
Hu said Gao is locked up in a place referred to by the Uyghur locals as a “terrorist prison.”
“The evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is fully implemented by the propaganda system and the politics and law system. Regardless of whether they are the Internet and media censors, or the political and local police that block petitioners, evil is being implemented through these various individuals. So when we are faced with these evil people, we must understand, fundamentally, it is the evil of the system, the evil of the CCP,” Hu said.
According to human rights lawyer Tang Jingling from Guangzhou, who is familiar with the CCP’s persecution of the prisoners of conscience, Gao has very likely been suffering from “strict control” and torture.
Tang added that “strict control” as implemented by guards is “very cruel”: the victim is forbidden to speak to anyone, or is often in solitary confinement in a small cell, or sometimes in a cage or small space, where they cannot stand up, or sit or lie down. Over time it is agonizing, Tang said.
Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Tags: CCP, China, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
Chinese taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of yuan so Communist Party officials can lock up and enslave other Chinese; Party security officials often force labor camp detainees to make products for export, then benefit from the profits of selling those products.
In Guangdong Province, known for its booming economy, the provincial Bureau of Reeducation disclosed on its official website that it has 12 sub units in its organization, and that its budget has increased by 9.5 percent annually for the last three years, reaching 511 million yuan (US$82 million) in 2012. Of this amount, 466 million yuan (US$75 million), or 91 percent, was provided by the government, using taxpayers’ funds, according to the 21st Century Business Herald, a popular business newspaper in China.
Another example is the 2012 budget of the Bureau of Reeducation in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, which was 323 million yuan (US$52 million), with 95 percent being supplied from public funding.
According to China news commentator Xia Xiaoqiang, China’s reeducation system has been central to the Party secretaries of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee for years. The system has also evolved into a generator of personal income for the secretaries. In essence, reeducation has become a big loophole for corruption, he says.
“Reeducation camps not only engage in persecution of individuals, they are also a community of slavery,” Xia said. “People imprisoned in the camps amount to virtually a free labor force, with wages being approximately 150 times lower than China’s national average, while the intensity of the labor is several times harsher. Consequently, the reeducation camps and the various levels of Communist Party secretaries in charge of political and legal affairs are realizing extravagant profits from the system.”
Xia continued: “Ironically, exports of goods made in camps with lowest labor costs are bringing in big money for China.”
According to official figures, there are currently 350 reeducation camps across China, with approximately 160,000 people imprisoned. Non-official estimates indicate that the actual number could be in the seven digits.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents
Award-winning documentary focus of gathering by human rights groups at National Press Club
WASHINGTON—While China has one fifth of the world’s population, the Chinese regime racks up far more than that proportion of the world’s human rights abuses. Responsible for Equality and Liberty (REAL) and several other human rights groups marked Human Rights Day with that unfortunate fact in mind by screening the award-winning documentary “Free China” and hosting a talk by one of the subjects of the film, in an event held on Dec. 10 at the National Press Club.
“You can’t be a human rights group if you’re ignoring 20 percent of the world,” said Jeffrey Imm, the founder of REAL and master of ceremonies for the event. “It’s in humanity’s interest,” to pay attention to human rights abuses in China, he said.
“Free China” tells the stories of two Falun Gong practitioners who each faced detention and torture for their beliefs and portrays the efforts of people around the world to stop the persecution by the Chinese regime of this traditional spiritual practice.
Dr. Charles Lee is one of the two individuals featured in the film and spoke at the event. Lee is of Chinese origin but held U.S. citizenship when he visited China in 2003. He was thrown into prison for three years.
Lee had returned to China to oppose the regime’s campaign against Falun Gong. He had plans to insert into television broadcasts documentary information about this persecution—information that is heavily censored in China.
Lee explained how this persecution came about. “We found a way of life which is much better than the doctrines given by the Communist Party,” he said, explaining the attraction of tens of millions of Chinese to Falun Gong during the 1990s. That led to paranoia from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Lee says, which was terrified of losing power.
Lee also spoke of the large number of human rights crimes committed by the CCP over its decades of rule, some of them particularly grotesque. These included descriptions of violent torture, public executions, mass starvation, cannibalism, and other atrocities.
This led Lee to a discussion of the most recent round of systematic and concentrated human rights abuses in communist China, carried out against Falun Gong practitioners since 1999. Lee focused in particular on the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong adherents.
Organ harvesting targets Falun Gong practitioners detained in labor camps and prisons. They are blood-typed and then forced into having their organs pillaged when a matching donor requires an organ.
According to Corinna-Barbara Francis, a senior East Asian researcher at Amnesty International speaking at a recent European Parliament hearing, “Thousands and thousands of organ transplants occur in China… Belatedly, after a number of years of the issue having been exposed, [the regime] stated that the majority of the organs were harvested from executed prisoners.”
Francis said that much more horrifying and disturbing is the “allegation that these organs may be taken from live people. So in other words, individuals in China have their organs harvested and in the process of that they die… There are many groups that these organs may be taken from, the Falun Gong being one of the main groups. There are many things that provide supporting evidence that this may have occurred and may still be occurring.”
Lee not only spoke about the crimes of the Chinese regime, but also about how China could recover from those crimes.
He considers the Tuidang movement the foundation for China’s future. That movement calls for Chinese people to renounce their ties to the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Lee said the Tuidang movement leads people to understand “the basic principles and moral structures of being a human being,” something that he believes that 60 years of communist rule has distorted.
Other speakers on the day included Niemat Ahmadi of Darfur Women Action Group, Carolyn Cook of United for Equality, a gender rights group, Nathalie Nguyen, with the International Committee To Support The Non-Violent Movement For Human Rights in Vietnam, and Ahmar Mustikhan, Senior Balochistan journalist. Balochistan is a region divided among Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Pakistani part is that nation’s southwestern province and holds rich mineral deposits and a robust nationalist movement.
Mustikhan spoke about the persecution of Balochistani dissidents and the struggle of his people for independence. “China is deeply involved,” he said. “Some of those being tortured report the presence of Chinese intelligence personnel. I hope the U.S. will not be sleepy on this.”
- Fighting for One’s Belief: ‘Free China’ at the US Capitol
- ‘Free China’ Film Wins Award at Houston Festival
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
There is new evidence that Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced former Chinese Communist Party CCP politician Bo Xilai, was involved in selling the organs of prisoners of conscience, including adherents of the persecuted Falun Gong meditation practice, according to a report from a human rights organization.
The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, or WOIPFG, said in a recent report that Gu, who was convicted of killing British businessman Neil Heywood, was profiting from selling bodies to body plastination factories. Body plastination involves replacing body fluids with certain plastics in order to preserve them.
A source previously told The Epoch Times that Gu profited from the plastination of bodies while her husband Bo Xilai was mayor of Dalian. Bo was later made head of the Chongqing mega-city but was sacked earlier this year after his right-hand man Wang Lijun attempted to defect to a U.S. consulate, triggering factional strife in the regime.
Bo advanced through to nearly the top echelon of the Chinese regime by following the charge of former CCP leader Jiang Zemin to persecute Falun Gong adherents, as recalled by journalist Jiang Weiping.
“You must show your toughness in handling Falun Gong much like the toughness shown by Hu Jintao in handling the 1989 Tibetan riot; it will be your political capital,” Jiang Zemin told Bo years ago, according to Jiang Weiping, who was later arrested and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Bo was this year stripped of his position and Communist Party membership for corruption and nepotism.
Bo, Gu, and Wang were involved in the selling of bodies and harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners, the WOIPFG report said.
“Falun Gong practitioners were victimized in several ways. One was having their organs forcibly removed, and being killed in the process,” Wang Zhiyuan of the WOIPFG said, according to the New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television.
“Secondly, Wang Lijun had a center to research legal injections where Falun Gong practitioners were experimented on and killed. Also, others were tortured to death, or killed directly so their bodies could be used for plastination.”
Wang cited several pieces of evidence, including taped phone calls that the group says incriminate Gu. An investigator posed as Liaoning Province Communist Party secretary Xia Dereng, calling Dalian police chief Sun Guangtian. Dalian is in Liaoning.
In the recorded phone call exchange, the two said:
Investigator: “A lot of things have happened. No matter what, do not reveal that Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai, was selling bodies of Falun Gong practitioners, in case anyone asks.”
Sun Guangtian, Dalian police chief: “Who are you?”
Investigator: “My surname is Wong.”
Sun Guangtian: “Party Committee Secretary Xia’s secretary is surnamed Wong?”
Investigator: “Yes, I was transferred here recently.”
Sun Guangtian: “Oh.”
Investigator: “Are you able to do this?”
Sun Guangtian: “Oh, go on.”
Investigator: “If other departments ask about this, make sure you don’t reveal anything.”
Sun Guangtian: “Hmm, what else do you want to tell me?”
Investigator: “Also, Secretary Xia wants me to tell you to make sure those from the Dalian Public Security Bureau back then also keep things a secret.”
Sun Guangtian: “Please tell Secretary Xia to trust me; I will make sure this is carried out.”
WOIPFG believes the statements from Sun are a tacit admission to knowledge of the atrocities. Later, the WOIPFG contacted an official with the 610 Office, an organization that was created by Jiang Zemin to enforce the persecution of Falun Gong. The phone call exchange between an investigator and the 610 Office official, who was identified only by the surname of “Zhao,” reads:
Investigator: “Don’t you know you guys are a criminal group? Once the persecution ends, have you thought about what will happen to you? Look at Gu Kailai … on the surface.”
Zhao, the 610 Office official: “Gu Kailai was selling organs of Falun Gong”
Investigator: “What did you say?”
Zhao: “I said, Gu Kailai, she was selling organs of Falun Gong people.”
Zhao: “It wasn’t just Falun Gong either.”
The rights group also contacted Sui Hongjin, the assistant professor with the Dalian Medical University and who set up the Plastination Company of Dalian Medical University, was a former general manager of the Von Hagens Dalian Plastination firm, which specializes in body plastination. He was also part of another plastination company, the Dalian Hongfeng Biological Technology firm.
Sui told the WOIPFG investigator that many of the bodies his companies received are from the Dalian Municipal Public Security Bureau.
The recording reads as follows:
Investigator: “What was the main source of the bodies your company used?”
Sui Hongjin: “We received dozens [of bodies] from the Public Security organs … that was … from the Public Security Bureau.”
Investigator: “From the Public Security Bureau, how many bodies have you received?”
Sui: “I don’t remember. Probably dozens of them.”
Investigator: “What Public Security Bureau?”
Sui: “Dalian City. The Dalian City Public Security Bureau.”
Premier Exhibitions, which receives bodies from Sui’s Plastination Company of Dalian Medical University, issued a warning to visitors of its body exhibitions after the connection was discovered.
Sui Hongjin also did business with more than 100 world-renowned museums and from that, received more than 200 million yuan (US$32 million), reported the Bandao Daily in November 2010.
According to the WOIPFG, Sui Hongjin has exported at least 1,000 plastinized specimens made from Chinese bodies to the United States and Europe for exhibition.
Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
What impact is the killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs having on Communist Chinese Party control of China? Are we seeing now, because of these killings, the end of communism in China?
Falun Gong is a blending of ancient Chinese spiritual and exercise traditions. It was brought out to the public in 1992 by Li Hongzhi and quickly spread throughout China with the encouragement of the government officials who considered the exercises as beneficial to health and to the finances of the health system. By 1999 Falun Gong practitioners were, according to a government survey more numerous than the membership of the Communist Party. At this point, out of fear of losing its ideological supremacy and jealousy of its popularity, former Party head Jiang Zemin declared Falun Gong banned.
Those who did the exercises after 1999 were arrested and asked to denounce the practice. Those who did not were tortured. Those who refused to recant after torture disappeared.
What happened to the disappeared? David Kilgour and I, in two reports dated July 2006 and January 2007 and a book dated November 2009 all under the title Bloody Harvest, concluded that many were killed for their organs used in transplants sold to patients, many of them foreign, for large sums. While it would take me too far afield to go through all the evidence which led us to that conclusion, I will mention a few bits.
Investigators made calls to hospitals throughout China, claiming to be relatives of patients needing transplants, asking if the hospitals had organs of Falun Gong for sale on the basis that, since Falun Gong through their exercises are healthy, the organs would be healthy. We obtained admissions throughout China on tape, and transcribed and translated them.
Falun Gong practitioners who were detained and after torture recanted and who then got out of detention and out of China told us that they were systematically blood tested and organ examined while in detention. Other detainees were not. The blood testing and organ examination could not have been for the health of the Falun Gong since they had been tortured; but it would have been necessary for organ transplants.
Waiting times for transplants of organs in China are days and weeks. Everywhere else in the world waiting times are months and years. A short waiting time for a deceased donor transplant means that someone is being killed for that transplant.
There is no other explanation for the transplant numbers than sourcing from Falun Gong. China is the second largest transplant country in the world by volume after the U.S. Yet, until 2010 China did not have a deceased donation system and even today that system produces donations which are statistically insignificant. The living donor sources are limited in law to relatives of donors and officially discouraged because live donors suffer health complications from giving up an organ.
The Ministry of Health of China accepts that organs for transplants are coming almost entirely from prisoners. The Ministry claims that the criminals sentenced to death not executed prisoners of conscience.
The number of prisoners sentenced to death and then executed that would be necessary to supply the volume of transplants in China is far greater than even the most exaggerated death penalty statistics and estimates. Moreover, in recent years, death penalty volumes have gone down, but transplant volumes, except for a short blip in 2007, remained constant.
Politics of Organ Transplant Abuse
The Ministry of Health acknowledges that sourcing of organs from prisoners is wrong and promises eventually to end the abuse—in five years but not immediately. The reason the Ministry gives for not ending the abuse immediately is politics.
I and others had pressed the World Medical Association to expel the Chinese Medical Association because of organ transplant abuse in China. Dr. Wonchat Subhachaturas, President of the World Medical Association, in a letter dated July 18, 2011, to Dr. Torsten Trey, Executive Director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, wrote: “[Deputy Health Minister] Professor Huang … said that he would not get the necessary political support to change the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners immediately.”
The use of the word “immediately” is a euphemism. Deputy Minister Huang had been advocating an end to the practice at least since August 2009. Why in the intervening years had the abuse not stopped?
To understand the politics of organ transplant, it is necessary to understand the politics of repression of Falun Gong
And what did politics have to do with it? Organ transplants are done by medical practitioners, not politicians. One could maybe understand Deputy Minister Huang’s pleading economics, that too much money was being made from transplant abuse to stop it. But instead, he pleaded politics.
To understand the politics of organ transplant, it is necessary to understand the politics of repression of Falun Gong. According to an April 9, 2012 Epoch Times article by Cheng Jing, the political dynamic preventing the end to organ transplant abuse was explained in a cryptic nutshell by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in March this year. According to a source, the Premier, at a closed Communist Party meeting in Zhongnanhai on March 14, 2012, stated: “Without anesthetic, the live harvesting of human organs and selling them for money—is this something that a human could do? Things like this have happened for many years. We are about to retire, but it is still not resolved. Now that the Wang Lijun incident is known by the entire world, use this to punish Bo Xilai. Resolving the Falun Gong issue should be a natural choice.”
The Party announced the next day that Bo lost his position as Communist Party General Secretary of Chongqing.
So, the Chinese Premier Wen urged using the Wang Lijun incident to punish Bo Xilai. Live harvesting of organs for money, he was asserting, is tied up with the Falun Gong issue. Resolve the Falun Gong issue, that is to say end the banning of Falun Gong, and the killing of people for their organs, according to Premier Wen, would end.
This statement of the Premier needs unpacking. What does organ transplant abuse have to do with the ban on Falun Gong? A lot, if you conclude, as David Kilgour and I have, that Falun Gong are being killed for their organs.
What is the Wang Lijun incident? On Feb. 6 this year, Wang Lijun, then deputy mayor and police chief in Chongqing, visited the American consulate in Chengdu for a full day. When he left, the Chinese security police arrested him. Wang went on trial for his attempted defection secretly on Sept. 17 and publicly on Sept. 18. He pleaded no contest.
What is the connection between organ transplant abuse and Bo Xilai? That takes a bit of explaining.
Although this is a simplification, the civilian power struggle in China revolves around three factions—the hardliners, the reformers, and the harmonizers. The leader of the hardliners used to be former President Jiang Zemin who led the banning of Falun Gong in 1999. His successor in the current Standing Committee is Zhou Yongkang, the Party head of Chinese security apparatus and also of the repression of Falun Gong. The man designated to replace Zhou Yongkang in the Standing Committee at the 18th National Congress was Bo Xilai.
The position of premier has sporadically been held by a line of reformers—Zhao Ziyang from 1980 to 1987, Zhu Rongji from 1998 to 2003, and Wen Jiabao from 2003 to the present. Before Jiang Zemin began his campaign to ban Falun Gong, Premier Zhu Rongji was encouraging the practice of Falun Gong as beneficial to health.
The harmonizers, exemplified by current Communist Party chief Hu Jintao and his designated successor Xi Jinping, are not trying to keep everybody happy, just the various factions within the Party. They attempt to avoid confrontations and paper over differences.
Bo Xilai was not just tough on Falun Gong. He and his assistant Wang Lijun were central to the killing of Falun Gong for their organs.
The investigation David Kilgour and I did was triggered by a statement by a woman using the pseudonym Annie. She told The Epoch Times in Washington D.C. in a story published in its March 17, 2006 edition that her ex-husband harvested corneas of Falun Gong practitioners in Sujiatun hospital between 2003 and 2005. Annie said other doctors at the same hospital harvested other organs of these victims, that Falun Gong were killed during the harvesting and that their bodies were cremated.
The details of the story Annie told about the work of her husband were not that different from the details of the story Doctor Wang, another speaker here, who told this Congress about his own work, a story which, as you can see, was initially vehemently denied by the Government of China and then years later admitted. The only substantial difference in the two stories, Annie’s and Doctor Wang’s, was a difference in the type of prisoner from whom organs were extracted.
Sujiatun, where Annie’s husband worked, is a district in the city Shenyang. Shenyang is a city in the province Liaoning. Bo Xilai was appointed Mayor of Dalian City in Liaoning Province from 1993 to 2001. He was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for Liaoning Province in 2000. From February 2001 to February 2004 he was Governor of Liaoning Province.
While he was in Liaoning, Bo developed a reputation as a brutal leader of the persecution of Falun Gong. The period that Annie’s husband worked in Sujiatun hospital and the period that Bo Xilai was Governor of the province in which the hospital was located overlapped, for the years 2003 and 2004.
From 2003 to 2008, Wang Lijun was the head of the Jinzhou City Public Security Bureau Onsite Psychological Research Centre (OSPRC), Liaoning Province. He conducted research on a lingering injection execution method which would allow organ removal for transplants before the person died from the injection. He conducted further research to prevent patients who received organs of injected prisoners from suffering adverse effects from the injection drugs.
One of the calls the investigative callers made which we used for the reports and book David Kilgour and I authored was placed to the First Criminal Bureau of the Jinzhou Intermediate People’s Court. The call, dated May 23, 2006, had this exchange:
Investigator: Starting from 2001, we always [got] kidneys from young and healthy people who practice Falun Gong from detention centres and courts … I wonder if you still have such organs in your court right now?
Official: That depends on your qualifications … If you have good qualifications, we may still provide some … .
Investigator: Are we supposed to get them, or will you prepare for them?
Official: According to past experience, it is you that will come here to get them.
In September 2006, Wang Lijun received the Guanghua Science and Technology Foundation Innovation Special Contribution Award for his research and testing of this lethal injection method. In his acceptance speech, he talked about “thousands” of on site organ transplant cases from injected prisoners in which he and his staff participated. He said “to see someone being killed and to see this person’s organs being translated to several other person’s bodies is profoundly stirring,” a remark that would have been worthy of Josef Mengele.
Wang Lijun worked directly under Bo Xilai in Liaoning Province in 2003 and 2004. Bo in February 2004 went to Beijing where he became Minister of Commerce. While Minister of Commerce, Bo traveled around the world to promote international trade with China and investment into China. His traveling gave victims the opportunity to serve him with lawsuits for his role in the persecution of Falun Gong in Liaoning Province. Lawsuits commenced against him in thirteen different countries, including one in Canada in which I am acting as counsel.
The American Consulate in Shanghai wrote in December 2007 to the State Department in Washington: “Gu [Nanjing's Professor Gu] noted that Bo had been angling for promotion to Vice Premier. However, Premier Wen had argued against the promotion, citing the numerous lawsuits brought against Bo in Australia, Spain, Canada, England, the United States, and elsewhere by Falun Gong members. Wen successfully argued Bo’s significant negative international exposure made him an inappropriate candidate to represent China at an even higher international level.”
Bo became a member of the Politburo and went from Minister of Commerce in Beijing to Communist Party head of Chongqing in November 2007.
In 2008, shortly after Bo was moved from Beijing to Chongqing, Bo brought Wang Lijun from Liaoning Province. Wang held various positions in public security in Chongqing and in 2011 became deputy mayor of the city under Bo. Wang attempted his defection from that position in February this year.
Superficially, the attempted defection of Wang Lijun related only to the murder of British national Neil Heywood by Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai. However, as the remarks of Premier Wen Jiabao at the March Communist Party meeting indicated, there was more going on than that.
What happens in China behind closed doors at Communist Party meetings is, by its very nature, not a matter of verifiable public record. What could be seen though by anyone at this time was the lifting of censorship on the killing of Falun Gong for their organs.
In late March 2012, search results about organ transplants on the officially sanctioned Chinese search engine Baidu showed information about the work David Kilgour and I did, Bloody Harvest and the involvement of Wang Lijun in organ harvesting. There appeared to be an active attempt to discredit the Bo faction through disclosure of organ transplant abuse in which Bo was complicit.
The banning of Falun Gong and their killing for their organs are issues too big for the Party to handle easily.
The focus on the murder of Neil Heywood looks to be the work of President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping to minimize the scope of the dispute between the factions. The banning of Falun Gong and their killing for their organs are issues too big for the Party to handle easily.
President Hu and his successor Xi then, in the grab for places in the new Communist Party Standing Committee, were prepared to sacrifice Bo, but wanted to take Falun Gong and organ transplant abuse off the table. I suggest that those of us who are interested in ending organ transplant abuse in China should make every effort to prevent that from happening.
There may be a tendency to watch from the sidelines and speculate on what the future holds. We must not forget that, when it comes to human affairs, we hold the future in our hands. We do not need to sit idly by and predict the future. We can make the future. We should be making effort to fashion the future in a way that respects human rights.
The struggle to shape the new Standing Committee of the Communist Party shows that the Party is far from monolithic. Bo Xilai was moved from the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing to the City of Chongqing because of the lawsuits against him abroad. Foreign resistance to Chinese Communist Party oppression, when it is knowledgeable and directed, has an impact.
Killing innocents for their organs is a tragedy and a disgrace, a delegitimization of the whole Communist Chinese regime. Wen Jiabao used the killing of Falun Gong for their organs to discredit Bo Xilai. In reality, it discredits the whole Communist Party control over China.
Repressive regimes look stable because they are not threatened by elections. However, their repression is brittle. Each human rights tap on the hard shell of a repressive regime may seem to have little impact. The accumulation of these taps over time though leads to the shattering of the shell unpredictably, at any time, all at once.
That is the experience through which we lived with the apartheid regime in South Africa, communist tyranny over the Soviet Union, Soviet control of Eastern and Central Europe, and the national security states of Latin America. Yesterday they were there and looked impervious to change. Now they are gone.
Communist China awaits a similar fate. We can not be sure when it will happen. But we can help to make it happen, accelerate its happening. We should not stand idly by in the face of Chinese Communist Party atrocities, wringing our hands, hoping for the best, when we can actually do something to counter these atrocities.
The book State Organs that Torsten Trey and I have co-edited, which addresses organ transplant abuse in China and which has just been published, begins with a quote from Athenian ruler Solon from the 7th century B.C., almost three thousand years ago. He said: “When will we end injustice? When those who are not victims feel as much outrage as those who are?”
That is a universal truth. Not only will the concerns of outsiders have an impact on the evolution of events in China. Only when those outside China who are not victims of the communist regime show as much outrage at the crimes of the regime as the victims themselves will Communist Party oppression in China end.
This article is an edited version of remarks prepared for delivery at a public forum at the Koreana Hotel, Seoul Korea, October 31, 2012.
David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents
Half a dozen villagers from a small town in a Chinese province surrounding Beijing have been rounded up, detained, and tortured by local police, after they attempted to secure the release of another villager and friend who was persecuted for his belief in the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
Three individuals have been sent to forced labor while three are being punished through the judicial system, according to Amnesty International, which has followed the case and released an Urgent Action Alert about it recently.
Trouble started in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, in June, around the time of a visit to the province by Chinese Vice-Chairman Xi Jinping and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Local authorities struck on the occasion to carry out a “clean up” of Falun Gong practitioners in the area.
Falun Gong has been persecuted in China since 1999 after then-regime leader Jiang Zemin began to fear that the Chinese people would prefer Falun Gong’s traditional moral teachings to the Communist Party’s ideology.
Li Lankui, a Falun Gong practitioner and well-liked man in Donganfeng village in Zhengding County, was targeted by police during the security mobilization earlier this year.
After Li’s capture on June 7, villagers rallied in strong support of him, defying the authorities and risking violent retaliation. They collected 700 signatures, stamped with red wax thumbprints, from villagers calling on the authorities not to persecute their friend.
They also sent a letter to Branstad’s office in Iowa calling on him to support their plight. Branstad’s office did not respond to requests for comment in August.
A prolonged campaign of payback was then waged by communist security forces, with a series of arrests carried out and leading so far to at least one death.
Amnesty recently drew attention to the arbitrary detention of Gao Suzhen and her husband Zhang Tianqi, who were captured on Aug. 7. A week later, on Aug. 13, a villager named Jia Zhijiang was also detained. Those three were charged with “criminal offenses,” Amnesty says, and are being held in the Zhengding County Detention Center.
Gao Suzhen on the night of her arrest was sent to the No. 260 hospital for emergency treatment, indicating that she may have been tortured soon after being detained to the extent that she needed immediate medical treatment to stop her from dying. She was transferred to a special investigative group afterwards, Amnesty said, where she was “further tortured during interrogation.”
The other three captives are Bai Suqin, Wang Yuexia, and Yang Rongxia, who were also detained on Aug. 7 and transferred to a re-education through labor camp in Shijiazhuang, a large city in Hebei Province, on Aug. 29. There they are at the mercy of camp guards and may be tortured, Amnesty indicated. They are not allowed to hire their own lawyers.
Up to now at least 16 people have been detained in the retaliatory crackdown against supporters of Li Lankui, according to Amnesty International. The group says that one woman was tied to an iron chair for 10 days and beaten with electric batons, as police attempted to find out who was behind the petition, and who sent information overseas.
The six individuals above remain in detention while the other 10 have been released, Amnesty indicated.
A letter was later sent anonymously, presumably by a number of local Falun Gong practitioners, to the Hebei provincial prosecutor’s office and a number of other law-enforcement agencies, describing the acts committed by the Zhengding County Public Security Bureau deputy director Gao Guo.
Gao Guo and others “set up secret torture chambers, shackled people to chairs for long periods of time, deprived them of sleep, threatened, intimidated, and savagely beat them, and even used high-voltage electric batons to torture them. They used torture to extract confessions from innocent citizens, violently obtained evidence, and carried out ransackings related to this 700 fingerprint incident.”
The letter continued: “They caused immense physical and mental harm, terrifying family members and friends. We call on all related leaders and judicial agencies to investigate and deal with this matter according to the law and safeguard the justice of the law!”
Related Articles: Hundreds of Chinese Villagers Defend Falun Gong Adherent
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents
On Oct. 9, the same day that the Chinese State Council issued white papers titled “Judicial Reform in China,” a press conference was held at 10 a.m. where Jiang Wei, the office head of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform, discussed information on the white papers and answered reporters’ questions.
At the press conference, a reporter with the German newspaper Die Welt (The World) brought up the issue of China’s labor camp system, pointing out that the system was not addressed in the White Paper and asking why the problems existing in the labor camps have not yet been resolved despite many representatives of the People’s Congress advocating for its abolishment.
Jiang Wei replied that the labor camp system has played a role in “maintaining social order,” but admitted there are “regulatory problems” within the system. The labor camp system is frequently used to repress dissidents.
“We have come to a common agreement on labor camp reforms,” he said. “Relevant departments have conducted large amounts of research and taken the advice of experts and representatives of the People’s Congress in order to come up with a specific action plan.”
Critics say that the labor camp system disregards human rights and makes it convenient for police to abuse their power. In 2009, around 190,000 Chinese people were held in 320 labor camps nationwide, with another 1.6 million people in prison.
Originally established in the 1950s to suppress opponents of the government, the labor camp system today allows police to detain victims for three years without trial and to add another year if detainees “misbehave,” in the eyes of the Party.
Although the system is often used to punish drug abusers, prostitutes and other accused of misdemeanor crimes, it is also used to persecute political dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners.
Guo Jun, the editor-in-chief of the Chinese editions of The Epoch Times, was invited to speak at the 21st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where she noted that: “In our investigation we found that prisoners, detained in labor camps and jails, were almost the sole source of transplant organs in China. The vast majority were practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual practice.”
Arne Schwartz, a researcher of forced organ harvesting in China, said that informed estimates give the number of Falun Gong practitioners killed for their organs at 65,000. The organs were often harvested from the practitioners’ bodies before they died.
Read the original Chinese article.
- Fighting for One’s Belief: ‘Free China’ at the US Capitol
- Chinese People Want Labor Camp System to End
Tags: CCP, China, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
WASHINGTON—Some lucky people in the nation’s capital had a first look at the documentary Free China: The Courage to Believe, which had a private showing at the U.S. Capitol. The 53-minute documentary has won four international awards.
Directed by Michael Perlman of Tibet: Beyond Fear, and produced by Kean Wong of NTD Television, Free China tells the story of two prisoners of conscience and how they survived against physical torture and enormous pressures to recant their beliefs.
“There are not enough human rights fighters in Congress,” Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett told The Epoch Times. She is the Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Swett said that Free China is “a truth-telling film.” It “lifts the curtain on what is really going on in China—the horrible religious persecution of Falun Gong, the appalling practice of organ harvesting, and the slave labor in [the re-education through labor camps] and prisons. Tragically, we have a Western press that so often turns a blind eye to the stunning revelations of human rights abuses going on in China on an ongoing basis. I think this film can be a powerful tool for telling the truth and spreading the story. I hope it is going to be widely seen.”
Swett is the daughter of the late Congressman Tom Lantos and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
After the showing, a panel discussed the film. Sixteen term Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) led off with the statement, “With story-telling of the film, [it] puts a human face on China’s human rights abuse and arbitrary detention of dissidents, harvesting of organs from live prisoners of conscience, and export of products made by prison labor to the West. The film also examines how Chinese citizens are awakening to demand their rights of conscience in the intense Internet censorship and the end of censorship that is so prevalent in China today.”
The sponsor of the film screening at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 20 was the Congressional-Executive China Commission (CECC).
Rep. Smith is chairman of CECC. The week before, he co-chaired a congressional hearing on “Organ Harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party.” The day before the screening, Smith co-sponsored a Dear Colleague letter with Congressman Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), asking the State Department to release any information it may have that relates to organ transplant abuse in China.
In Free China, Jennifer Zeng, a mother and former Communist Party member, and Dr. Charles Lee, an American Chinese businessman, practice the spiritual beliefs of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). Both get caught up in the forced labor camps ubiquitous in mainland China.
There, they have to endure a life of torture of electric batons, forced feedings, risk having their organs harvested, and working all day on products exported to the West. They manage to survive without bitterness and become determined to end the persecution of their fellows and help China become free.
Both Zeng and Lee were in attendance at the Capitol preview. Lee said that in prison he held two letters for two years that sustained him during the time. One was from the late Congressman Tom Lantos and the other from Congressman Smith. Lee said, “I knew so many people were working together to stop the persecution.”
Courage to Believe
In addition to all the physical abuse, Zeng and Lee were subjected to the communist party’s brainwashing techniques to make them renounce their beliefs. If one breaks down, the practitioner will have to write slandering articles in the labor camp that are recorded.
Furthermore, one is used to break the will of other practitioners. One doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Renouncing your beliefs is shown in the film by willingness to “reform” others, especially newcomers, an ordeal that is particularly troublingly to the conscience. Hence, the words in the subtitle of the film “Courage to Believe” were chosen for a good reason.
Zeng is the author of the best-selling book, Witnessing History: One Woman Fights for Freedom and Falun Gong. In the film, she recounts going from being upper class society and Party member to prisoner in one day. On her first day in prison, she was made to squat down and look down at her feet in the hot sun for 15 hours. When she challenged the requirement, she was taken away and tortured with electric batons. Her whole world began to collapse, she said.
After she was released, she fled to Australia, to avoid being detained again. About one year ago Zeng moved to New York, where she is now a New Tang Dynasty news reporter. Later her daughter and husband were able to join her.
As an American citizen, Dr. Lee led a comfortable and secure life. But he wanted to do something to break through the propaganda machine of the regime that brainwashes most of China’s 1.3 billion people. He had an idea on how to do it, but on his second visit to the mainland, he was arrested and sentenced to three years. He was released in 2006. Lee is a medical doctor by training and continued his medical studies at the University of Illinois and Harvard Medical School.
Products Made from Prison Labor
Zeng knitted rabbit dolls, hats and scarves. It took her 10 hours to make one rabbit, for which, of course, she was not paid. Lee was forced to make Homer Simpson slippers for export to the West.
Film director Michael Perlman said the film shows that products illegally made and exported that made him wonder how many other products are out there that we don’t know about. He said he spoke to Congressman Smith about the law that disallows goods made with prison labor, and Smith told him that the law is like Swiss cheese, with many holes.
“No goods made with prison labor should be imported in the United States,” Perlman said. Consumers need to be educated and pressure needs to be brought to get enforcement and legislation to end this, Perlman said.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, Children, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
My daughter was born in Beijing in 1992, the Year of the Monkey. At the time, I almost died from birth complications and the whole family was distressed. Her grandma exclaimed, “What kind of person could this child be, entering this world in such turmoil?”
My daughter learned to say “no” when she was only 1-1/2 years old. That day she had done something naughty. I had put on a stern face and begun to scold her, but surprisingly, she was not scared or upset at all. Looking at me, she just frowned and said very clearly with much effort, “No, mom! No angry!”
It was her first attempt to say “no,” clearly and forcefully. It seemed as if she cared more about my well being than about being reprimanded. Instantly I knew that everything I had gone through, and would go through for her, would be worthwhile.
My daughter began to worry about life when she was just 2-1/2 years old. One day I took her for a walk to a primary school and we sat in the playground.
She looked longingly at a classroom and asked me, “Mom, can I go to school too?” “No, you are too small,” I said.
She was silent for a while, then with a deep sigh, she said, “Mom, when will I EVER be taller?” She emphasized the word “ever” with such force, as if she had been bothered by this problem for a long time.
I was lost for words as I looked into her eyes, pondering silently whether she was actually some sort of a reincarnated philosopher. At last, I answered her in a very non-philosophical way. “Eat more, and then you will gradually grow taller.”
When my daughter was 3-1/2 years old, she actually taught me a lesson. In a serious tone of voice she asked me, “Mom, why are there bad people in the world?”
Astonished, I looked at her and thought, “Yes, why indeed? If there were no bad people, only good people, wouldn’t the world be great?” Hundreds of thoughts and thousands of possibilities flashed across my mind, but in the end I couldn’t answer her question in a way that a three-year-old could comprehend. I could only tell her honestly, “I don’t know.”
She tilted her head and said proudly, “Well, I know!”
Taken by surprise, I said, “Really? Then tell me why there are bad people.”
“They keep on doing bad things, so they turn into bad people!” Gosh, that is it?
One day when my daughter was 4-1/2 years old, my husband and I took her for a car ride. It was probably an auspicious day. We saw many wedding cars along the way, each one more luxurious than the last. My daughter gazed excitedly out of the window.
After a while my husband teased her, “When you get married, do you want to ride in a limousine?”
Sinking back into the seat, she answered instantly in a serious tone, “We will see when the time comes.”
After that she didn’t take a second look. Once more, her reply shocked and amazed me. How did she manage to remain so emotionally unmoved at that age?
My daughter was bright for her age. She was already in the second year of primary school when she was five and a half. When I went to a parent-teacher meeting I saw a big sign near the school gate, which read: “Learning to be. Learning to know. Learning to do. Learning to be healthy and strong.”
After returning home, I asked her, “What does the saying ‘learning to be’ mean?” While I was preparing to give her a lengthy sermon on the subject, she smiled and said with ease, “I know! It is just to be a good person!”
Instantly I forgot the speech I had prepared and just wanted to admire her.
When my daughter was six, one day I overheard her talking to her grandma in the next room. “Grandma, please practice Falun Gong. It’s really good for your health. Believe me!”
It’s true. My daughter knew that I had been extremely weak and in poor health for several years, but after practicing Falun Gong (which is a meditation practice based on truthfulness, compassion and tolerance) I had completely recovered. So she was making a similar plan for her grandma—wanting her to become well too.
Grandma said, “I don’t know how to.”
“Let mom teach you.”
“But my eyesight is bad and I can’t read the books.”
“I can read to you!”
Grandma couldn’t find a reason to refuse her, so she tried to satisfy her by saying,
“Fine, fine, I will learn when I have time.”
My daughter, however, would not give up so easily. She was overcome with emotion when she finally said, “Grandma, I don’t want you to die.”
When my daughter was nearly seven, the local television stations started broadcasting many defamatory and offensive programs against Falun Gong. The lies were so bizarre that I couldn’t believe my ears, and the bombardment was so heavy that I could barely think rationally.
While watching one program my daughter asked with wide open eyes, “Mom, why do they say Falun Gong practitioners are bad people?”
My heart ached like it had been “bitten by a thousand snakes.”
I knew she would never think of Falun Gong practitioners as “bad people” since she never saw any of them doing “bad things.” Besides, I had reminded her to be a good person all the time.
I could not handle the confusion in her eyes or her expectations and forthright demands for an immediate answer. I just did not know how to answer her question. I had the bitter thought of telling her to ask the television people, but then a friend answered her well,
“They distort the truth and have a guilty conscience because of their own wrong deeds!”
When my daughter was seven and a half, I was sent to a forced labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. My daughter came to visit me a few months later. The moment she saw me she started talking intently, “Mom, I’ve learned to play the flute. We now have a ‘little tinkle bell’ in our house.”
She kept on chattering about the fun she had with the “little tinkle bell”, though by the end of her twenty-minute visit I still had no idea whether it was a toy, a pet or a person.
At least I was relieved to hear her talking like that. I thought to myself, “Thankfully, a young child doesn’t know the harsh taste of sorrow. It seems that she is happy and untroubled by her mother not being around.”
More than a year later I learned that her grandma had strictly forbidden her to tell others about my detention in a forced labor camp, where only criminals are supposed to be held. No matter how unjust it was, detention is considered shameful and demeans a family’s reputation.
Being young, however, she was unable to restrain herself. She confided her secret to her teacher in an essay. Perhaps, subconsciously, she thought of her homeroom teacher as the mother she was missing.
Grandma scolded her for that, because she wished to avoid any discrimination against her granddaughter. To avoid this, her father had to transfer her to a new school.
By the time of my release from the camp my daughter was eight-and-a-half. I was lucky to be alive at all after narrowly escaping certain death. A few days later, I found a note on the table in my daughter’s handwriting. She had written, “Mom, I advise you to stop practicing Falun Gong. Please take a look at this book.”
Her school teacher had given her a book that described Falun Gong practitioners as murderers and psychopaths. I tried to explain to her that I was a good person, and that the book had been fabricated and was full of lies.
But she interrupted and shouted desperately at me, “I know you are a good person! But the television says Falun Gong practitioners are bad people! I don’t know who to believe!”
Her dark, sorrowful eyes were sad and she looked like someone who had already gone through too much in life.
My heart felt a stabbing pain. I wondered how much this young life had endured during my absence? How much had her young heart been hurt? How did she respond when her teachers and school friends asked where her mother was? What other torment did she suffer during my absence?
It hurt me to watch her trying to choose who to believe among her teacher, the media, those around her, and her own mother.
I had to tell her about many things that I would not normally discuss with such a young child: the Cultural Revolution, Party Chairman Liu Shaoqi, who was killed during the Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Although these happenings were very brutal, there was no other way to confront the lies, and convince her to believe me and love me again.
A few days later, she nodded her head knowingly while telling me what she had discovered. “It seems that whoever is in power stirs up something: Mao Zedong had the Cultural Revolution; Deng Xiaoping had the Tiananmen Square massacre; and Jiang Zemin has the persecution of Falun Gong.”
When my daughter was nearly nine, I faced the danger of being sent back to a forced labor camp. I had no choice but to flee my country, leaving her behind with her father to manage without me. A year later, still having not found me, the police took her father away to an unknown place.
On my daughter’s tenth birthday I phoned her to wish her a happy birthday. She said,
“I am not happy at all!”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I asked her, “Is there any news about your father?”
“It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” was her answer.
I was speechless. Coldly she said from the other end of the line, “Do you have anything else to say?”
Tears flooded down my cheeks. I knew she didn’t mean to hurt me so deeply, and that these weren’t really her own words—she must have heard them from others. Still, my heart ached all the same.
It reminded me about a story I had read a long time ago. It was about a female author from the former Soviet Union who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Her teenage daughter wrote to her and asked, “Mother, please tell me, are you guilty or are those who imprisoned you guilty? If it is you, I shall hate you; if it is those who imprisoned you, I shall hate them!”
The mother feared that attacking those in power would put her daughter’s life in danger, so she decided to swallow a bitter pill and tell her that she was guilty. As a result, they both suffered for the rest of their lives.
I did not intend to walk the same path as this author. But living in a foreign country made communication difficult. Also, the telephone in our house back in China was tapped and the letters I wrote to my daughter were confiscated before she received them.
It was very difficult for me to protect an innocent young heart from being poisoned by the constant lies coming from the country’s propaganda machinery.
Recently my daughter turned eleven. In my dreams I often flew back to my home and worried about her losing her innocence and in-born intelligence and thus getting lost. But on many other occasions I thought of sending word to my extraordinary daughter.
This is what I wanted to say: In order not to be enslaved by lies, in order to reunite with you in dignity, in order that your future daughter and your daughter’s daughter would never have to suffer what you have suffered, in order that thousands upon thousands of little girls like you could remain by their mothers’ side, to be loved and pampered, your mother is doing her utmost. This is the darkness before dawn!
Soon you will be able to witness an amazing phenomenon—the truth will overpower all lies and falsehoods; brutality cannot subdue compassion and justice; our days of enjoying happiness and merriment under the sun will once again be here.
This memoir was written just before the author and her daughter were reunited in Australia, in 2004. The daughter is now a university student in Sydney and is doing well.
Jennifer Zeng is the author of “Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.” Before being persecuted in China for her faith, she was a researcher and consultant in the Development Center of the State Council, the state cabinet. Her story is featured in the award-winning documentary, “Free China,” co-produced by New Tang Dynasty Television and World2Be Productions.