Unprecedented Evil Behind Forced Organ Harvesting:
The Choice to Die Spiritually or Physically
by Torsten Trey
Unprecedented evil and an absurd medical practice
People everywhere embrace human dignity, basic freedoms and the right to live peacefully. The medical profession is dedicated to serving human beings in recovering from illness and, if successful, in helping to prolong life. This is the mission of the medical profession. The medical oath speaks of doing no harm. Thus, it is appalling that the medical profession in China is taking part in ending the lives of prisoners of conscience for the purpose of harvesting and transplanting their organs. It is both, transplantation for profit and a method of persecution.
A Chinese law, passed in 1984, permitted organ harvesting from prisoners, but it was only after 1999 that transplantation in China soared significantly. Where did the transplant organs come from? After millions of spiritual believers and members of ethnic groups became subject to dehumanization, ostracism and persecution, the 1984-conditioning of harvesting organs from executed prisoners expanded to an even larger pool of organ sources— prisoners of conscience. In short, transplant medicine in China became an absurd medical discipline; it is incomprehensible to provide health care to one group of people by forcibly ending the lives of another group.
Since 2006, investigative reports and other published evidence pointed out that prisoners of conscience, particularly adherents of the persecuted spiritual discipline Falun Gong, were subject to forced organ harvesting. Within five years, three books on the subject were published discussing the issue from various angles: Bloody Harvest (2009), State Organs (2012) and The Slaughter (2014). Investigators compiled compelling, although mostly circumstantial evidence. Yet, since July 2006, after the first publication of the Kilgour and Matas report (that resulted in Bloody Harvest three years later), no international inspection of Chinese transplant centers has taken place. To date, China has failed to respond to the body of evidence in an adequate manner.
Instead, the China Medical Tribune(1) from November 2014 quotes Professor He Xiaoshun at a press conference, discussing the demand for further investigation with Professor and former deputy health minister of China Huang Jiefu, “Let us open the doors, and let the international scholars come to investigate these rumors [about unethical organ harvesting].” Professor Huang replied, “It is not time yet.” If it is not time yet, when will it be time? What are they waiting for?
Attempts to deceive
On June 27, 2001, Chinese surgeon Wang Guoqi testified before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the United States House of Representatives that in China organs were harvested from prisoners after execution.(2) On June 29, 2001, the New York Times quoted China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Zhang Qiyue, saying that Dr. Wang’s testimony was ‘’sensational lies,’’ and ‘’a vicious slander’’ against China. “The major source of human organs comes from voluntary donations from Chinese citizens,” she said.
In 2006, The Guardian reported that Huang, in December of the previous year in Manila, “made the first official admission that the country harvested organs from executed prisoners.”(3) In November 2006, Huang reiterated in Guangzhou that most of the transplant organs came from executed prisoners, except for a small number of traffic accident victims, thereby completely contradicting Zhang’s early statement.
In 2007, one year before the Beijing Olympic Games, at the annual General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA) in Copenhagen, the WMA announced an agreement with the Chinese Medical Association (CMA). The CMA stated that “organs of prisoners and other individuals in custody must not be used for transplantation, except for members of their immediate family.”(4) In a letter to the WMA, Vice President and Secretary General of the CMA, Dr. Wu Mingjiang said:
“A consensus has been reached… that organs of prisoners and other individuals in custody must not be used for transplantation, except for members of their immediate family.”
Yet, after 2007, the transplant numbers were reported to remain as high as 10,000 per year. In 2012, the Washington Post quoted the Chinese health ministry stating that “10,000 organ transplant operations are performed annually,” and that 65% of those transplants are performed with organs from executed prisoners. It is unlikely that all the tens of thousands of transplant patients after 2007 were “members of the immediate family” of executed prisoners.
In 2009, The Telegraph quoted Huang saying death row inmates were “definitely not a proper source for organ transplants.”(5) On May 17, 2013, an Associated Press article quotes Huang at a Beijing conference, saying that the organ procurement from executed prisoners is “profit-driven, unethical and violating human rights.”(6) But three days later, when asked about using prisoners as an organ source in an interview with Australian ABC TV on May 20, Huang stated:
“Why do you object? I have no objections to using the executed prisoners’ organ donation if he or she has freely demonstrated that this is his last will.”(7)
In March 2012, Huang said that China will establish an organ donation program and promised to end the government’s reliance on executed prisoners’ organs within three to five years.(8)
Eight months later, in November 2012, Huang said, “China will end its reliance on executed prisoners’ organs in one to two years.”(9) Then in March 2014, Huang stated, “executed prisoners are also citizens. We cannot deny their rights to donate organs,” indicating that China will continue to use organs from prisoners. He also stated that, once the executed prisoners are entered into the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) as citizen donations, there would be only one concept, namely citizen donation.(10)
Between 2001 and 2014, Chinese officials repeatedly made contradictory statements on the sourcing of transplant organs. This flip-flopping has misled and deceived the international community, making it quite clear that China’s assurances are unreliable. In this context, Huang’s comment that it is “not time yet” is not surprising. China is buying time.
China’s flip-flopping is not a coincidence. It is intentional. It causes confusion, distracts from the underreported organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience and prevents the international community from seeking outside investigations and inspections of Chinese hospitals. Any delay in demanding international inspections results in the delay of what our professional responsibility demands: ending this horrendous medical abuse. Our delay comes at the cost of human lives. There is no doubt that Western organizations and officials have certainly demonstrated patience, but the past 14 years of micro-actions after Dr. Wang’s testimony are paved with more than 150,000 transplant organs sourced from a more or less equal amount of convicted prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
To die spiritually by being forced to sacrifice one’s belief, or to die physically by being forced to sacrifice one’s life for transplant is a stark reality for Falun Gong practitioners in China. While the perpetrators give their victims the choice to die either spiritually or physically, the people in the free world have the choice to act or to ignore. The transplant cannibalism in today’s China is unprecedented in known history and requires unprecedented actions.
One such action was the founding of the medical NGO, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH). DAFOH focuses on a niche topic within the field of transplant medicine: forced organ harvesting without free, voluntary consent. Yet, the underlying issue, the intentionally induced death of “organ donors,” shakes the foundation of medicine and must not stay unanswered by the medical community.
The call to end the killing for organs is not interfering with internal state affairs—it is a moral obligation
In a country where verdicts are known to be decided before a court case opens, where defense lawyers are prohibited from defending death row candidates, and where courts approve of organ harvesting after executions, there is no rule of law. Consequently, if we are to be completely frank in addressing China’s practices, the terminology “organ procurement after execution” should be replaced with “state-sanctioned killing for organs.” It is our moral obligation to call for an end to transplant medicine that is taking part in such abuses.
The exponential increase of transplant numbers within four years after the onset of the persecution against Falun Gong is noteworthy. Why did the practice become subject to this abuse? Falun Gong practitioners aspire to improve their moral character by following the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. After July 1999, they became subject to brainwashing, forced labor and torture. Death by torture of Falun Gong practitioners is widespread in China.
A few moments of browsing the website www.faluninfo.net provides insights into the extent of the brutality of the persecution. The basic problem is that once respect for human beings is lost, and the right to live and the right to believe is refused, nothing remains. From the perpetrator’s side, there is literally no difference between death by torture and killing prisoners of conscience for their organs, except that, in the latter case one can turn the bodies of tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience into a profit of several billion dollars.
With the Kilgour and Matas report in 2006, China’s unthinkable crime lost its cover. The investigations of the past years have generated persuasive pieces of evidence, with each piece like a piece of a puzzle. And, like a puzzle, the more pieces that are in place, the more visible the picture and what were once only allegations are now shown as irrefutable facts. Refusing to recognize the picture because the last five or ten puzzle pieces are missing is equivalent to ignorance. The initial Kilgour and Matas report carried 17 pieces of evidence, three years later, their book Bloody Harvest (2009), carried more than 50 pieces of evidence. Additional reports and published works with new evidence have followed in the years since while the response from China has remained evasive. Instead of simply proving the allegations wrong by allowing for international inspections, an array of announcements and promises have served to distract the public. The government’s measures of deception succeeded in preventing the international community from calling for inspections of Chinese hospitals and detention camps.
Pilot research by DAFOH in 2014 looked into the phenomenon of widespread medical exams from Falun Gong practitioners in China’s forced labor camps. Those camps, by their very nature, exploit forced labor without paying adequate salaries. Yet, according to the number of testimonies collected in the study, it is would appear that tens of thousands of costly medical exams have been imposed primarily on Falun Gong practitioners detained in forced labor camps.(11) The medical exams were forced upon the practitioners, who did not ask for or agree to it. Instead, it was routine to take blood from inmates when they arrived in the labor camps. These blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, ultra-sonograms, etc., are costly. If the wellbeing of the inmates was of concern, why not simply provide fresh food and water, clean restrooms and less than 17 hours a day of forced labor? Amortization of the medical expenses through transplants would certainly balance the costs and help to provide a sufficient amount of organs.
Why is Falun Gong being persecuted without adherents of the practice having violated any laws and without having done any harm? The reason for the persecution and its subsequent forced organ harvesting comes down to the principles of goodness for which the practice stands: truthfulness, compassion, forbearance, which lie in direct opposition to Communist Party ideology:
- While Falun Gong aspires to truthfulness, the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is based on biased information, propaganda and deception.
- While one side aspires to goodness and compassion, the other side preaches class warfare, expropriates farmland and rules with an iron fist.
- While one is tolerant, the other punishes anyone who has an opinion or thought other than the Party’s guidelines.
The only aspect of civil disobedience of Falun Gong practitioners in China lies in the wish to freely believe in truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, and freely practice a set of five gentle, qigong-like exercises. Outside China, this is not considered civil disobedience but a precious, laudable contribution to society. In this regard, to answer the question why Falun Gong is persecuted in China and subject to forced organ harvesting, one might look to Henry David Thoreau:
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”(12)
Under the totalitarian regime in China, where the rule of law does not exist and court sentences are decided before a hearing begins, we are more likely to find just people in prisons. Falun Gong carries the most valuable principles for humankind and has, since 1992, irrefutably done more for human dignity and the good of mankind than the CCP. The government’s hatred of Falun Gong and other kind-hearted freethinkers is neither a problem of Falun Gong nor a problem of the people. It is a problem that the CCP has with mankind. The Chinese regime gives detained Falun Gong practitioners a choice: recant your free belief or suffer. This is also the choice that the CCP gives to the people of the world.
Killing people for their organs contradicts everything for which humankind and the medical profession stand
When human life and universal principles are at stake, speaking up and calling for an end to forced organ harvesting is not only a basic right, but a moral obligation. Calling for an end to forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience requires calling for an end to the persecution. Human dignity and basic rights do not terminate at a country’s borders. By definition they are inherent in mankind. China’s assertion that discussing human rights is interfering with the country’s internal affairs is blatant hypocrisy: by suppressing basic human rights and global initiatives to improve quality of life, the Chinese regime has interfered with the internal affairs of the world’s people and their nations.
Calling for an end to forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience is the basic right of all people, and the Chinese government should refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the world’s people. The persecution against Falun Gong and its three principles is a persecution against goodness in mankind. The driving force behind China’s forced organ harvesting is unprecedented in its evilness and necessitates an unprecedented, determined action from humankind. It is a choice of life.
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