Giving life to some by killing others – organ harvesting and the crushing of Falun Gong

Ding Yan, demonstrates a police shackling procedure to the NY Times and other papers.  Two years later she died in a water dungeon.
Ding Yan demonstrates a police shackling procedure to the NY Times and other papers. Two years later she died in a water dungeon.

The Falun Gong practitioner was puzzled by Ethan Gutmann. She wanted to tell him about the abuse she had suffered, but he was interested in seemingly irrelevant details, such as why the doctors gave her blood tests, or why they looked at her cornea (a big transplant market exists for those) but did not give her any normal eye exams.
But Ethan was getting a chill at her answers.
Ultimately, he wrote a book titled The Slaughter about organ harvesting of executed-to-order prisoners of conscience in China.
I’ll highlight some interesting points about it, but first we could ask, what is so wrong about harvesting organs? For instance, when I got my driver’s license, I signed up to donate mine. Chinese medical schools have taught that many otherwise wicked criminals volunteered their organs as a final penance. Suppose a murderer is executed. Why shouldn’t we take his kidney, for example, and give renewed life to someone else?
As one policeman, Wang Lijun, said “…to see someone executed and within minutes to see the transformation, in which this person’s life was extended in the bodies of several other people–it was soul-stirring.”
The story of what happened to Falun Gong, which was basically a Buddhist revival movement, demonstrates the ultimate consequences.

Falun Gong took the Chinese leadership by surprise. There were plenty of semi-mystical exercise groups in China, but Falun Gong grew to have 70 million adherents. The leadership came to see it as a threat, and proceeded to crush it.  For foreign consumption, Westerners were told that it was not only an evil cult, but also racist and homophobic! Chinese who otherwise didn’t understand what the fuss was about turned against Falun Gong after several adherents burned themselves to death in Tiannamen Square, including a woman burning herself and her child. (The woman turned out not to be a member of Falun Gong, and there were other holes in the story, but it did turn Chinese against the sect). They were also told that Li Hongzhi, the originator of Falun Gong, was an agent of American imperialism who caused an attack by his followers (this was a lie, it was not an attack, it was a demonstration ).

There are several interesting questions we could ask at this point:
1. Why would a non-political movement, by people who generally believed that their rulers were good people, be seen as a threat by that government?
2. Why would the Chinese government and its enforcers treat these people with the most unbelievable brutality?
3. Why would a government that preaches the socialist doctrines of caring for the “people” then imprison vast numbers of those people, and execute perhaps 65,000 on order, and sell their organs to desperate Westerners and to wealthy Chinese?

Organs are less likely to be rejected if they are removed from a person who is still alive. Some of those live persons, due to slip-ups, may have even been conscious, as their bodies were dissected.

Here is Gutmann’s theory on question #1:
Li Hongzhi, the originator of Falun Gong, had made not just a mystical exercise system, but a system of morality.
To the party, suggests Gutmann, Li’s principle of “Truthfulness” was really just a form of unilateral disarmament–since to negotiate, one must lie. “Compassion” boiled down to a China too soft to pull the trigger. “Forbearance” was the worst– instead of getting rich and powerful, Han Chinese were expected to quietly suffer blows of those who were already powerful, in the international context it meant that China should be good at taking crap, not dishing it out. In short, Falun Gong was weak, feminine, inviting of domination.

Jiang Zemin, the leader of China at the time, took a look at the protesters at one demonstration against the start of the crackdowns, and then released a letter to the politburo saying that the demonstration was the most serious since Tiananmen, and he added that the protestors’ impressive discipline and ability to mobilize could be the product of foreign influences. Then he ended it with “If the CCP cannot defeat Falun Gong, it will be the biggest joke on Earth.”

As the government moved against FG, there were some truly remarkable acts of resistance. I’m not talking about the sometimes incredible heroism of prisoners who would not recant under torture, though that happened often, but of one small group of a few men that found a way to divert the local TV station. Near “People’s Square” in Changchun, Tang Feng, who knew of the plot, saw it in action when he viewed people watching a bearded man on the TV set tell them that the self-immolation was a “false fire,” a lie, and a criminal propaganda campaign by President Jiang Zemin. The hijacked broadcast had reached an audience of over one million people.

Unfortunately, the men who accomplished this remarkable feat in their closed totalitarian society met a terrible fate, as you might expect.

Falun Gong members abroad devised ingenious ways to penetrate the great internet wall that China had erected to keep wrong-ideas away from its population.

The Chinese took this so seriously that Chinese hit men attacked Falun Gong’s system administrator in Atlanta Georgia, beating him and rolling him into a carpet, and other agents went to South Africa and shot at a car that contained Falun activists. A Chinese diplomat defected in Australia, and told Ethan that there were more than a thousand Chinese agents in Australia, monitoring the “five poisons”: Tibetans, Falun Gong, democracy activists, and activists for an independent Taiwan, and Uyghurs (Chinese Muslims).

One could ask – why should we believe the testimony of people who have left China, and belong to groups that have a gripe with the government? Surely they could be lying.
One investigator tried an experiment. She called a hospital that was near a labor camp, and asked if they performed kidney transplants.
“Yes, we have kidneys. All of them are from living young people. You should come quickly. The wait is only one or two days.”
The investigator wondered – why, if in other countries there is such a shortage of organs, did this hospital have such a large supply, and why was there not a delay for the normal procedure with death-row prisoners, a court order to set a date for execution, and a signed statement by the criminal on his willingness to donate?

This type of investigation hit pay dirt eventually – recorded conversations that positively affirmed that hospitals were harvesting Falun Gong – in seven medical centers.

A Dr. Ko from Taiwan, who obtained organs for his patients, was told that his patients would “receive nothing but the best: all the organs will come from Falun Gong. These people may be a little fanatical, but you know? They don’t drink. They don’t smoke…

Eastern Lightning is a fringe Christian group to us – to the Chinese they were incurable deviants. They too were probably harvested, given the medical tests that other prisoners saw them getting.

To sum up, Ethan estimates that about 65,000 individuals before 2008 were harvested, hearts still beating. And despite Chinese government denials, he believes it is still happening.

We could ask how a government that preaches that it is for the people can be against so many of the people? And if you have a soft spot for “socialism”, you might wonder how such a thing could happen in a socialist country. But though socialism to some may mean “fairness”. I can speculate that it also appeals to any power-hungry government more than the alternative of economic power being decentralized among many different companies of all sizes. And socialism makes for a good indoctrination tool – you learn from kindergarten on that your government defends you against the capitalist imperialist exploiters.

Ethan does not think the Chinese rulers want just a powerful nation. He thinks they are expansionist. I would add that such a government sees power – military especially – as something to be pursued, and any internal movement that might interfere with that pursuit as a threat to be crushed – and not only crushed, but its hard-core adherents annihilated – in this case to be reprocessed into organs for others.  And if they do that to their own people, what might they be planning to do to us?

There is an irony here as well. A Swedish paper (Aftonbladet) came out with an article accusing Israel of organ harvesting, and the same belief is echoed among some of the British “peerage”. Israelis got upset, seeing this as an extension of the medieval accusation that they killed Christian children so they could drink their blood. It turned out that some Israeli freelancers had taken organs from dead people, including from Israeli soldiers, but it was not a systematic government policy of killing people to get their organs. The oldest organ-recycling I’ve heard of was in the U.S. in the Civil War when dying soldiers on the battlefield would sometimes have their teeth pulled out by people who were trying to supply dentists with false teeth.

But I digress.

For more evidence of the above, you can read The Slaughter, or if you lack time, you can watch the videos below. The first is from  

Also see:
The Slaughter – by Ethan Gutmann (2014)


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