Forced organ harvesting – a mechanism of insidious “cold” genocide in China

On November 30, 1999, in the Great Hall of Beijing, Li Lanqing, under Jiang Zemin’s direction, announced to 3,000 fellow CCP officials a policy against Falun Gong to ‘defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially and destroy them physically.’”

 A recent publication in Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal argues that the Chinese government’s forced organ harvesting program targeting Falun Gong practitioners is part of a subtle, covert genocide. Authored by Maria Cheung, Ph.D. a sociology professor at the University of Manitoba, David Matas, human rights lawyer and co-author of Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter, a preeminent study on forced organ harvesting in China, DAFOH executive director Dr. Torsten Trey and Toronto lawyer Richard An, “A Cold Genocide: Falun Gong in China” describes the intentional elimination of Falun Gong as a “cold” genocide, in that the destruction of this group is slow, hidden, and normalized. Unlike a “hot” genocide that is quick, often chaotic, and overtly brutal, a cold genocide, which aims to eliminate a group not only by physical means, can go relatively undetected by the public. This article, which has become the journal’s most popular publication to date, can be downloaded for free here.

In “Cold Genocide,” Cheung et al. detail the slow progression of the 19 year-long persecution of Falun Gong in China, which has used numerous measures to enact a program of mass elimination. Even before the persecution was formalized on July 20, 1999, the government was systematically invalidating and demonizing the practice by employing heavy propaganda and misinformation, first domestically and later overseas. The authors note that publicly available data has been distorted or deleted, particularly those documents related to organ transplantation. Online search terms related to Falun Gong are censored.

The Chinese government has spent billions on measures to eradicate practitioners’ beliefs such as brainwashing, reeducation, social framing, detention and torture. The most vicious means by which the government is acting to eliminate Falun Gong is forced organ harvesting, an abominable form of medical abuse where victims are killed for their organs while the government fills its coffers from the proceeds of transplant procedures.

The authors submit that by normalizing the persecution of Falun Gong through propaganda and misinformation, the act of genocide has not been recognized as such. Rather, the annihilation of this group remains unseen throughout the world. In China, this cold genocide has been considered unimportant at best and necessary at worst. In an interview with The Epoch Times, Cheung noted that the number of hospitals performing transplants is now more than 170. “[I]t is just like a normal business…but under cover, said Cheung. “It is a big crime.”  Furthermore, the hidden dimension of the eradication campaign against Falun Gong, Cheung and her colleagues note, has contributed to the persecution being underrepresented in genocide studies today.

“Cold Genocide” was recently discussed at a forum organized by DAFOH in recognition of the Department of State’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, DC.  In his presentation, DAFOH Executive Director Dr. Torsten Trey stated that the absence of a strong international response during the initial phase of the persecution in 1999 helped to bring about this cold genocide. Dr. Glynn Gilcrease, a professor at the University of Utah and DAFOH representative, offered recommendations for both the medical community and governments for how to respond to this subtle genocide. He quoted Professor Arthur Caplan from the NYU School of Medicine who has written extensively on the persecution of Falun Gong, “It is not up for discussion whether murder for parts is taking place in China. The question is whether we will continue to put up with it.”

We ask our readers a similar question: Will we continue to put up with the cold genocide of Falun Gong in China?