Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Carol Wickenkamp
Electric shock weapons, dart guns, stun shields, thumb cuffs, restraint chairs, and spiked batons are just some of the specialty weapons designed to inflict pain being exported by Chinese companies closely aligned with, or owned by the state, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
Some of the equipment discussed in the report, such as ordinary handcuffs and restraints, a limited number of controlled stun weapons, and certain blunt striking instruments, all have legitimate law enforcement purposes, the report says.
But many of the weapons are “intrinsically cruel, inhuman and degrading, and therefore should be prohibited” from manufacture in the first place, the report says.
There are currently no comprehensive international covenants governing the manufacture and export of police weapons, and part of Amnesty’s advocacy work following the report will be to begin establishing such a mechanism—with China perhaps serving as a negative example.
Read more: China Markets Tools of Torture
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights lawyers, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
The Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp was supposed to be closed down, but now it simply has two names
By Carol Wickenkamp
For years the tales of torture that came out of Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp in China’s northeast were a potent demonstration of the abuses of the country’s forced labor system. In turn, Masanjia’s apparent closure last year was seen as a hopeful sign that the system was, in fact, being closed down, as authorities had promised.
But recent reports from China tell a different story: the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp is alive and well, except for the fact that it’s no longer called the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. Instead, the same sprawling set of buildings and facilities appears to be now put to use as both a “drug rehabilitation center” and as part of the Liaoning Province’s prison system. These bureaucratic modifications disguise the fact that the same guards, in the same buildings, abuse and exploit the same or similar prisoners—just as before.
Masanjia made world headlines in 2013 when an Oregon woman, Julie Keith, discovered a letter from the labor camp in a plastic Halloween kit shipped from China. Shocked, she contacted the media, which set about exploring the background of the camp.
It was exposure of that kind that the Chinese Communist Party found deeply embarrassing, and was part of the reason for its high-profile move to—on paper at least—close the system of re-education through forced labor, which has been part of the Party’s coercive toolkit since the 1950s.
When a CNN film crew visited Masanjia last year, it had every impression of being empty. No guards were in the watchtowers, and no one came to trouble CNN correspondent David McKenzie as he strolled within feet of the chain-link fence. Minghui.org, a website that carries firsthand reports from the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, also reported last year that the remaining practitioners detained in Masanjia were being released. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999.
The Same Camp
Shang Liping, a female Falun Gong practitioner, was recently transferred from Shenyang Women’s Prison to the Masanjia Addiction Treatment Center, according to a March report in Minghui. The report continued that staff and police were the same people that had worked at Masanjia when it was a labor camp.
Yu Shuxian and Chi Xiuhua, two other female Falun Gong practitioners, were put into the same drug rehab center in Masanjia this January, according to Minghui. When family visited Chi, they found that “she had completely changed; her face was pallid and listless, she neither lifted her head nor opened her eyes, and she had no energy to speak,” according to Minghui. “Her family was distraught, extremely scared, and could not guess what torment she had been put through.”
Other sections of the large labor facility have been transferred to the provincial prison system, and operate as the Masanjia Prison District of Liaoning Province’s Shenyang Women’s Prison, according to Minghui.
The Shenyang provincial prison for women is extremely violent, with Minghui reporting 20 Falun Gong deaths since 1999. At present at least 84 Falun Gong practitioners are incarcerated in Liaoning Province’s women’s prison in Shenyang, many of them serving sentences of up to 13 years.
A group of Falun Gong practitioners who were held in the women’s prison in Shenyang were transferred to the Masanjia Prison District, most of them this year. Multiple telephone calls made by Epoch Times to phone numbers identified as belonging to Masanjia were not answered.
Niu Guifang, a female practitioner, in a trial thick with illegalities, was sentenced to the women’s prison in March 2013, and was transferred to Masanjia Prison District at the end of last year. Although her hands were injured by the prison police, and she couldn’t hold heavy things, she has still been forced to work every day in the workhouse at Masanjia, Minghui reported in April.
When the Communist Party announced the death of the re-education through labor system in early 2013, seasoned observers of the regime’s security system began expecting what has now transpired.
“Cosmetic changes” won’t stop the abuses, said Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch. Instead, they “might only further entrench the system,” she said.
A detailed report by Amnesty International nearly one year later observed: “Abolishing the RTL [re-education through labor] system is a step in the right direction. However, it now appears that it may only be a cosmetic change just to avert the public outcry over the abusive RTL system where torture was rife,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, China researcher, in a December 2013 paper.
“It’s clear that the underlying policies of punishing people for their political activities or religious beliefs haven’t changed. The abuses and torture are continuing, just in a different way,” she said.
That same month the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy noted, in its own report in the matter, that re-education through labor has simply been replaced with other forms of detention, like forced drug rehab and “legal education classes.” The group said, “These systems are already used in Tibet and merely continue the abuses associated with RTL under a different name.”
The Same Work
While the new division at Masanjia appears to be between a prison and a drug rehabilitation center, the latter, as far as prisoners of conscience go seems to be used in the same way that the old labor camp was used: Falun Gong practitioners are sent there by police, without a trial, regardless of their drug-free lives.
The mixing of prisoner types has taken place for years in China. “People from the Liaoning Provincial Labor Education Bureau came to audit us in 2011, and ordered that every Falun Gong practitioner needed to take a test. Our medical examination document listed us as drug addicts, but in fact, out of the nearly 400 inmates, only four were drug users,” former Masanjia inmate Qiu Tieyan wrote in October 2013 about her incarceration.
“We had to work six hours every day making military coats, forest coats, and firefighter jackets for the Jihua 3504 Limited Corporation in Changchun City. Outside of the workshop, we had to load and unload things, clean, and do other chores. Guard Wang Guangyun brought in her dirty laundry from home, and we had to wash it. We had to keep this a secret and do it quickly,” she said.
The same Minghui report said there are about 300 prisoners in the Masanjia Prison District, but did not give a total for Falun Gong practitioners held there.
Drug offenders are treated in the same way in detention as when the facilities were called re-education camps. They are forced to do factory work, light manufacturing, and repetitive labor.
Once locked up, there is little rehabilitation either—only brutality and hard labor, said Human Rights Watch in a 2012 paper.
“If people weren’t working hard enough we would beat them with a one-meter board, or we would just kick them or beat them with our hands,” a former re-education through labor guard from Guangxi Province told Human Rights Watch. “Sometimes people got beaten to death. About 10 percent of people who come into re-education through labor centers die inside.”
Additional research and reporting by Lu Chen
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Matthew Robertson
It is the latest attempt by the Chinese authorities to give a veneer of credibility to their organ transplant industry: new regulations. But the long anticipated rules about how organs should be procured and allocated, made public on Sept. 1, still don’t answer a few basic questions.
They do not explain, for example, whether the organs of executed prisoners will be included in the registry of organs that the authorities say they are establishing.
It was not until 2008 that Huang Jiefu, the then-Chinese vice-minister of health, acknowledged publicly and in writing that the Chinese transplant system relied heavily (to the tune of 90 percent) on organs from executed prisoners.
That was two years after reports emerged that prisoners of conscience, overwhelmingly practitioners of Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual group, were the targets of widespread organ harvesting.
It was also nearly a decade after credible testimony was given that the Chinese system widely used death row prisoners. For many years, the Chinese authorities simply said that all organs from China came from voluntary donations, and attacked those who suggested otherwise.
Now, the authorities have admitted that they did in fact take organs from prisoners, and without consent—though they have never admitted to the harvesting of Falun Gong.
Chinese medical officials this year said that they intend to “phase out the dependency on organs from executed prisoners,” rather than promise to immediately cease the practice, as would be in line with international medical ethics.
Will executed prisoners be part of the organ registration system? It is unclear. Article II of the regulations says that it applies to all “citizens.” Do prisoners count?
The South China Morning Post quotes an unnamed surgeon saying that organs harvested from prisoners would enter the electronic allocation system. But China Daily, a state mouthpiece, says that only organs from the “general public” will be registered.
If the new system, called China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS), did include executed prisoners, it would make it a very simple matter to launder the organs of Falun Gong detainees by representing them as death row prisoners.
Organ donation registration fraud in hospitals has been reported in the Chinese media, and official institutions in China are widely seen to lack probity and credibility. The security apparatus, and the military-medical complex, in particular, which have been heavily involved in organ harvesting, are notoriously secretive.
The regulations, moreover, do not provide any real transparency to the allocation process. The idea that the source of organs can be verified is bedrock for the trust that, for example, the United States organ donation system is based on.
Verification of the source is also a condition that the World Health Organization and The Transplantation Society, both international health groups that are attempting to work with the Chinese regime on its organ transplantation system, require from countries. They have shown little appetite for challenging Chinese authorities on their practices, however.
If organs were still “harvested and allocated in secrecy,” as Arne Schwarz, an independent researcher, put it, it would mean that none of the promises made by the authorities could be tested or trusted.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), a medical advocacy group that typically attempts to strike a reserved tone, published a press release showing exasperation at what has become an exercise in avoidance by the Chinese regime.
China’s announcement of phasing out the harvesting of organs from prisoners is deceptive and insufficient, they titled the statement.
DAFOH’s primary problem with the regulations was similar to the issues articulated by Schwarz: no external safeguards or monitoring, and a miasma of ambiguity about whether unethically procured organs would be allowed into the new computerized system.
Failing to obtain these two items, DAFOH said, “We might need to ask ourselves, if China were successful in using a computerized organ-allocation system, whether the announcement of a phaseout is like a Trojan Horse that undermines and dilutes our ethical standards.”
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
The West is deeply enmeshed in China’s questionable and lucrative organ trade, a major German newspaper says.
In China, executed prisoners’ organs are removed and sold for transplantation, including into patients from the West. Western hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors support Chinese transplantation centres without asking questions, according to an investigative report in the German newspaper, Die Zeit.
The German-language report, titled “Herz auf Bestellung,” or “Heart to Order,” and written by Martina Keller, said it intends to expose China’s practice of execution on demand, and to shine a light on doctors who go against the ethics of their profession.
As they maneuver on a narrow path “between co-operation and complicity,” participants become entangled by moral conflicts, professional ambitions, and money, with many preferring to remain silent about the issue, writes Keller.
“A human being dies, just in time, so that another can continue to live. In the Chinese transplant system, this is possible. In the name of progress, in the name of making money—including Western money,” states the report.
The article poses the question, “Where must the West draw its boundaries so as to not become an accomplice?”
China holds second place in organ transplant statistics worldwide after the United States, “a fact that fills the government with pride,” writes Keller.
“More than 10,000 kidneys, livers, hearts, and lungs are being transplanted annually, [former] deputy minister of health Huang Jiefu—himself a transplant surgeon—wrote in the scientific journal The Lancet last year. According to his statics, close to 60 per cent of these organs come from executed prisoners, an open admission that surprises,” states Die Zeit.
Until a few years ago, the government had dismissed as propaganda all foreign reports regarding questionable Chinese transplant practices, and the number of executions in China is a state secret.
“Insiders say that transplant hospitals work together with prisons and send out their own teams to harvest the organs. It cannot be excluded that doctors are participating in the execution,” the report states.
Short Waiting Times
Patients from Western countries also get their new kidneys, livers, and hearts thanks to Chinese executions, the report claims.
Die Zeit conducted an interview with 63-year-old Mordechai Shtiglits from Tel Aviv, who flew to China in November, 2005 to receive a new heart at Shanghai’s Zhongshan hospital. There he met patients from Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong who were all waiting for new, life-saving organs.
In China, one gets a new heart in two to three weeks. If you are lucky, it is even faster…
“In China one gets a new heart in two to three weeks. If you are lucky, as Mordechai Shtiglits, it is even faster,” writes Keller. One week after his arrival in Shanghai, a Chinese surgeon told him he would get his new heart the following day, saying it came from a 22-year-old “donor,” the victim of a traffic accident.
The report claims that this situation is extremely unlikely, however. Although more than 60,000 Chinese people die annually in traffic accidents, Chinese doctors cannot know in advance when someone will die through an accident. In addition, China to this day doesn’t have a central system for rapid organ distribution.
Organ removal from executed prisoners is outlawed worldwide, according to Die Zeit—transplantation is based on the principle of voluntary donation. Prisoners, however, are not in a position to make a free decision. This is how the World Association of Doctors sees it, as does the International Transplantation Society.
Dr Jacob Lavee, director of heart transplantation at Sheba Medical Centre, took care of Mordechai Shtiglits for years before Shtiglits received his new heart in China. Lavee said he was almost out of hope for his patient. But when Shtiglits told him he was going to China to get a heart transplant in two weeks, Lavee smiled at him and said, “That is not possible.”
You can take a kidney or part of a liver from a living donor, Dr Lavee explained. “But when somebody gets a heart, it means someone else must die,” he told Die Zeit.
The article quotes New York ethicist Arthur Caplan, a contributor to the book State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China: “Prison authorities have to specifically search for potential donors, test their health, blood, and tissue type, and execute them while the tourist is in China. That is simply killing on demand.”
Organ trafficking that is tolerated by a government is frightening, as are executions that supply the material for transplantations. But it is not all—there is another, even worse suspicion. Canadian lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, a former Canadian Secretary of State, both nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, have meticulously gathered facts since 2006.
The two Canadians have tried as far as possible to keep everything in their research independent of statements made by Falun Gong practitioners, according to the Die Zeit article. They gathered not only material about Falun Gong prisoners who were medically examined in prisons, disappeared without a trace from camps, or whose corpses were missing body parts. They also interviewed foreign patients who received kidney or liver transplants in China.
They’ve even succeeded in questioning former accomplices about organ removal from Falun Gong prisoners. And they documented phone calls by investigators, who posed as patients or their relatives inquiring at Chinese transplantation centers and institutions about the availability of Falun Gong organs—Falun Gong practitioners are regarded as particularly suitable donors, while other prisoners are frequently infected with Hepatitis B.
They also cite a March 2006 phone conversation with Zhongshan Hospital, four months after Mordecai Shtiglits received his new heart there, Die Zeit reports. To answer the question of the caller on whether organs from Falun Gong practitioners were being transplanted, a doctor responded: “Ours are all of this type.”
Keller’s article quoted Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Law at the University of Vienna and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture until the year 2010, as saying that the allegations of the two Canadians are “well-researched and very serious,” and an important indication is the strong increase in the numbers of transplantations in China coinciding with the persecution of Falun Gong.
On behalf of the United Nations, Nowak sent an urgent call to the Chinese government to provide accurate information regarding the sourcing of all the transplanted organs. According to Nowak, China has rejected all accusations as propaganda, but never explained them.
“Elsewhere in the world, such announcements raise horror,” reports Die Zeit. “But what almost nobody knows is that the West is deeply enmeshed in the Chinese system.”
Pharmaceutical companies supply the Chinese market with anti-rejection medication, and carry out transplantation research that most likely uses organs from executed prisoners. Western hospitals and doctors support Chinese transplantation centers without asking questions, Die Zeit reports.
Western advisors of the Chinese government purport to help advance change in China’s transplantation practice, while at the same time pursuing financial interests in China.
Automobiles from the West are being outfitted as so-called ‘execution-mobiles’. A Chinese car dealer, for example, offers a European-brand van on the internet that is equipped with medical monitoring and infusion apparatuses—a grisly symbol of the hand-in-hand co-operation between executioners and doctors, reports Die Zeit.
With such entanglements, many Western participants prefer to be silent.
According to a presentation in Madrid by former Chinese deputy minister of health Huang Jiefu, organ transplantation experienced a remarkable upturn, saying kidney transplants increased between 1997 and 2005 from 3,000 to 8,500 per year, livers from two to approximately 3,000. The boom was possible in part thanks to new and better medications.
They are medications that come from the West, Die Zeit said.
The Swiss company Sandoz has supplied China since the mid 1980s with Cyclosporin A, which is vital to the survival of transplant patients. Roche and Novartis, who now own Sandoz, as well as Japan’s Astellas, now sell their anti-rejection drugs in China, according to Die Zeit. At the latest, since 1994, these corporations were able to know about the accusations against China: At that time the NGO Human Rights Watch published a detailed report, Die Zeit said.
At the End of 2005 Roche even began producing their drug Cellcept in China. During a grand opening celebration at their plant in Shanghai, according to a report in the Handelsblatt, Roche chief Franz Humer defended their decision why, of all places, Cellcept should be produced in China: In contrast to Japan, there were no ethical or cultural inhibitions in China against the transplant medical field, Die Zeit said.
The Western pharmacological industry is also responsible for research studies in China, Die Zeit said. Research journals have published nine clinical studies of around 1,200 transplantations in which the companies Wyeth and Pfizer from the U.S., Novartis and Roche from Switzerland, and Astellas from Japan have tested their transplant drugs. Altogether, these companies have collaborated with 20 hospitals in China for these studies.
Training Chinese Surgeons
In the journal Liver Transplantation, Huang Jiefu wrote that “whole transplantation teams from the PRC” have received their training abroad. He himself perfected his abilities in Australia.
Some Australian medical centers, meanwhile, have put requirements in place when training Chinese surgeons, writes Keller. For example, Dr Stephan Lynch at the Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane asks applicants to supply a written assurance by their clinic directors, or someone responsible in the provincial government, that the acquired abilities will not be used in transplant programs that use executed prisoners as donors.
However, German doctors are less scrupulous, Die Zeit reports. The German Heart Centre in Berlin, where nearly 2,300 hearts have been transplanted since its founding in 1986, works together with more than 30 hospitals in China, including transplantation centers. In 2005, the personal assistant to medical director Roland Hetzer proudly reported on Radio China International about their strong co-operation.
At the opening of a heart surgery conference in Shanghai in May, 2012, Hetzer announced: “More than 500 doctors…from China have participated in our work in Berlin over the years. Some of the surgeons have completed an entire five-year training. They all have done good work after returning to their homeland,” Die Zeit quotes.
Keller provides another, different interpretation: “Put another way: In Germany, Chinese doctors get the tools that allow them to transplant organs from executed prisoners in China—the tools for human rights abuses.”
Liu Zhongmin is one of the surgeons who has worked in Berlin for several years, Keller writes. He is now the executive director of the Chinese-German Heart Institute in Shanghai, which was founded in 2000 by the German Heart Centre and the Shanghai East Hospital. The hospital is the German’s closest co-operation partner in China.
Liu’s qualifications are listed on the website of the Heart Institute: He is responsible for clinical research into “heart transplantation, artificial heart, and combination heart-lung transplantation.”
In total, how many hearts have been transplanted at the Chinese-German Heart Institute? What is the source of the organs? To these questions posed by Die Zeit, Liu did not reply.
Weng, Hetzer’s long-time representative, and now a senior physician at the German Heart Centre, is, like Liu, an executive director at the Chinese-German Heart Institute. Several times a year, he travels to China, according to Die Zeit.
He, too, failed to answer questions from Die Zeit. As did Hetzer.
Stopping the Organ Trade
Since Mordechai Shtiglits returned from China, Dr Jacob Lavee has been active politically in seeking to stop more Israeli citizens from obtaining hearts in China, Keller writes. In 2008, a transplantation law was enacted in the country to prohibit medical reimbursement for transplants received in foreign countries if organ trade was involved. Since that time, no patients from Israel have gone for organ transplants to China.
Dr Lavee told Die Zeit that he has been subjected to online abuse for having blocked patients from going to China.
“About this accusation, I am very proud,” Lavee said. But he has not reached the end of his mission because international organ tourism to China continues, even as the Chinese leadership is—officially, at least—trying to reform, he told Die Zeit.
You may also like:
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
China’s 5000-year-old civilization deserves the respect of the entire world. This talk is about governance and violence committed by its current party-state since 1949 on those deemed its opponents, which has most recently resulted in large scale pillaging of organs from Falun Gong practitioners for commercial transplantation purposes. No Falun Gong “donors” survive transplantation operations anywhere in China because both kidneys and all other vital organs are invariably seized and their bodies are then cremated.
David Matas and I located 52 kinds of direct and circumstantial proof about this commerce occurring since 2001. For the period 2000-2005 alone, we concluded that for 41,500 transplants the only plausible explanation for sourcing was Falun Gong. We arrived at this figure by deducting from the government figure of 60,000 transplantations over the six-year period, which appears accurate, the best estimate available about executed convicts (18,550) for the same years.
In the 2012 book, State Organs, researcher/writer Ethan Gutmann’s best estimate is that about 65,000 Falun Gong were killed for their organs during the years 2000-2008, selected from about 1.2 million practitioners he considers were interned in China’s forced labour system (Laogai). A police signature is sufficient to send anyone to the camps for up to three years. As Mark Mackinnon of Canada’s Globe and Mail put it recently, “No charges, no lawyers, no appeals.” In 2007, a U.S. government report estimated that at least half of the inmates in 340 camps were Falun Gong. Leninist governance and “anything is permitted” economics created the conditions for organ trafficking to occur and persist today.
Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a spiritual discipline, which seeks to improve health and ethics. It contains features of traditional systems, like Chinese Qigong, Buddhism and Daoism, combined with a set of gentle exercises. Because it grew astonishingly rapidly in popularity from its inception in 1992, former Party head Jiang Zemin saw it as a threat, labeled it a cult, and commenced persecution against its practitioners from mid-1999 on.
After 1980, the post-Mao Party began withdrawing funds from the health system across China, requiring it to make up the shortfall from service charges to mostly uninsured patients. Selling the organs of executed convicts became a source of income for surgeons, the military and other participants. After 1999, Falun Gong prisoners of conscience became a vast live organ bank for wealthy Chinese patients and “organ tourists” from abroad, the former often preferring that the “donors” were Falun Gong, being normally healthy persons.
Matas and I visited about a dozen countries to interview Falun Gong practitioners sent to China’s forced labour camps, who later managed to leave the camps and the country. Practitioners told us of working in appalling conditions in camps for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay and little food, crowded sleeping conditions and torture. They made a range of export products as subcontractors to multinational companies. This is both gross corporate irresponsibility and a violation of WTO rules; it shrieks for an effective response by all trading partners of China. Each government should ban forced labour exports by enacting legislation which places an onus on importers in each country to prove their goods are not made by slaves.
The responsible international community should nonetheless engage as constructively as feasible with the new government in Beijing, while pressing it to end organ pillaging.
Tags: archaeology, Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, environmental issues, film, funny things, health, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development
And some more…
By Michelle Yu
“When I die, bury me on the sunny side of the hill, because I’m afraid of the cold,” a child, now nameless and faceless, said to his fellow teenage prisoners over half a century ago. For the 4,000-5,000 juvenile prisoners at the Dabao labor camp, such requests were common, as the children were surrounded by death every day.
By Gu Qinger
Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia.
By Matthew Robertson
It would have been impossible even very recently in China to produce a documentary about torture and slavery in an officially-run labor camp, and not be thrown in jail for it. Chinese independent filmmaker Du Bin, however, has done just that, and he’s now in Hong Kong speaking at film screenings and blithely taking interviews from overseas media.
By Shar Adams
WASHINGTON—After five days and 40 testimonies from international witnesses from the military, scientific and academic fields, a committee of six former Congress members agreed to seek international support to break a “truth embargo” on encounters with extraterrestrial life.
By Jack Phillips
Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.
By Matthew Robertson and Carol Wickenkamp
A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.
By Cassie Ryan
While the latest official news from China says that the H7N9 bird flu outbreak is now under control, a new international study urges continued caution.
By Gao Zitan
Chinese media recently exposed quality issues in the bottled water industry, saying its regulation levels are from the Soviet era.
Beijing News reported May 2 that over 10 Chinese experts had found that the standards for bottled water are very low, with only 20 test indices versus 106 for tap water quality.
By Will Hickey
One reason behind greater pollution leading to global warming has been artificially lowered gas prices brought by subsidies. Governments have carried on this shortsighted policy to foster growth and satisfy consumers. But as world fuel prices begin rising again, the costs of subsidy—both budgetary and environmental—will come to the fore.
By Matthew Robertson
University professors and administrators in China have been given clear instructions recently about precisely what topics of discussion are off-limits in the classroom.
By Sally Appert
Communist officials in Shaanxi Province have resorted to hiring fake monks to collect donations in an attempt to recover the debt they incurred from a large development project near the ancient Famen Temple.
Accused of violating one-child policy, Zhang Yimou’s real crime was backing Jiang Zemin
By Xia Xiaoqiang
A successful Chinese film director becomes entangled with the propaganda schemes of a brutal dictator. The director enjoys a rich and privileged life, but then loses everything when the dictator’s political opponents charge him with violating the nation’s family-planning laws.
By Zachary Stieber
Byzantine mosaic floor: The “extraordinary” floor was in a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Isreal, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, documentary, environmental issues, film, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development, technology
Since I have not posted any articles in a long time I will post some so you can select those that are of interest to you.
By Sarah Laskow
We have seen a lot of solar chargers in our day. And among all of them, this is the first one we’ve seen that we will definitely run out and buy as soon as it’s made available in the U.S. It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy.
By Joshua Philipp
Epoch Times Staff
Watching the soft glow of fireflies could become a more common activity if researchers at Syracuse University have anything to do with it. They’re developing a method to artificially create luciferase, the chemical behind the soft glow of fireflies, and are working to create commercial lights that mimic the insects’ bioluminescence.
These migrants know why they keep moving
By Francisco Gavilán
When I was going to travel through Central Asia for the umpteenth time, I was looking for new and enriching experiences, including living for a while with the nomads of Song Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.
By Tara MacIsaac
Earth permanently deformed: Geologists have discovered that the Earth’s crust may not be as elastic as previously thought. Quakes in Northern Chile have permanently deformed the Earth.
Celebrating compassion and higher living across the globe
By Arshdeep Sarao
In India the full moon day of May 25, 2013, is being celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birth anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni. This year the Buddha becomes 2,556 years old.
By Matthew Robertson
‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people,’ says Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Silicon Valley inventor.
By Leonardo Vintini
Everybody longs for happiness, but it seems like a hidden treasure. One way or another—consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly—everything we do, our every hope, is related to a deep desire for happiness.
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.”
You may also like:
More in China Human Rights
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.
You may also like:
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?!”
You may also like:
- Magazine’s Account of Wrenching Torture Shows Split in Chinese Regime
- Europe Would Like to See Democracy in China, Says Parliament President
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.
- Note From Chinese Regime Labor Camp Sparks US Discussion
- Reports of China Labor Camp Closures Good News to the Persecuted
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.
Related Articles: LA Protesters Call for Release of Gao Zhisheng for Human Rights Day
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.
- Public Security Official Commits Suicide in Southern China
- The Difficulty of Smuggling a Slip of Paper From a Chinese Labor Camp