The fourth session of the World Summit featured journalists from Italy, Taiwan, France, Japan, and Cuba as well as a Chinese witness. Journalism as a profession should safeguard freedom of the press and fight censorship and suppression of information. Yet the world’s mainstream media has failed in its duty to report on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) forced organ harvesting of innocent prisoners of conscience. Credible research and investigations made over the past fifteen years have been generally ignored, leaving many around the world unaware of these human rights violations. Those who have suppressed the truth about China’s transplant practices should be held accountable as accomplices to genocide.
Marco Respinti, Professional Journalist, Essayist, Translator and Lecturer, Italy
The first speaker of the session was journalist Marco Respinti, member of the International Federation of Journalists, member of the Advisory Council of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief, Director-in-Charge of the academic publication The Journal of CESNUR, and Bitter Winter, an international publication concerning issues of religious liberty and human rights.
Mr. Respinti said, “Forced organ harvesting has been decimating innocent people for decades, and in spite of a huge amount of evidence lately collected, for example by the China Tribunal in London (UK), very few in the world seem to be outraged, alerted, or even simply aware. Forced organ harvesting has massacred chiefly Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa practitioners, substantially reducing their number in China, but reports also document victims among Uyghurs, Tibetans, and members of The Church of Almighty God.”
In China, he said, “All religions and spiritual ways are systematically pushed to extinction, being deemed unnatural by the materialistic official philosophy of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, and the annihilation of believers is pursued through persecution, repression, unlawful incarceration, psychological and physical torture, humiliation, and death.”
Mr. Respinti explained how the CCP promulgates the “killing of innocence” with fake news and “mendacious answers” to establish “post-truths.” Additionally, the Chinese regime uses its propaganda machinery to murder knowledge, to misinform and disinform by means of co-opting the global media.
He pointed out that “Journalists cannot take for granted the official standard narrative on organ transplants in China… it is not enough to accept the supply and demand narrative on human organ transplants given by the Chinese Communist Party in the face of so many testimonies, statistics, research, and facts to the contrary.”
In conclusion, Mr. Respinti proposed the formation of a “pool of professional and good-willing journalists establishing and managing a web resource bank… on forced organ harvesting…” to directly challenge the Chinese regime.
Chang Chin-Hwa, PhD, Professor at the Graduate Institute of Journalism, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Dr. Chang Chin-Hwa, an acclaimed scholar, award-winning teacher, and former board member of the Chinese Communication Society (CCS), discussed issues surrounding media coverage of the CCP’s organ harvesting.
In 2019, The China Tribunal, “conducted thorough investigations, including questioning over 50 witnesses, experts, and investigators” over five days of public hearings. It concluded with certainty that Falun Gong practitioners have been the principle source of organs for forced organ harvesting though others, such as Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, and house church Christians are probably also at risk.
Despite the seriousness of the Tribunal’s findings, Dr. Chang was disconcerted to find only one report on the topic in all of Taiwan’s mainstream media which had a seriously misleading headline. The headline read, “Disclosing the lie! British hearing proved China persists in organ harvesting from executed prisoners.” The Tribunal was an international people’s court, not a British hearing, the victims primarily innocent, living prisoners of conscience, not criminals sentenced to death, and the CCP lies are habitual. She said, “The real critical point is that the findings of the Tribunal [are] a robust legal conclusion in response to the allegations of a serious human rights violation that has led to the death of thousands of prisoners of conscience for more than 20 years.” The news headline “significantly down-played the severity of the crimes and made light of the credibility of the Tribunal.”
In June 2021, twelve United Nations human rights experts issued a statement that they were “extremely alarmed” by reports of organ harvesting targeting minorities in China, including the Falun Gong. Again, the sparse coverage was deceptive. Taiwan’s Central News Agency headline read, “UN Human Rights Experts Shocked: Forced Organ Harvesting Targeting Minorities in China. Beijing Renouncing Furiously.” The article did not mention the Tribunal’s findings and “misled the readers to believe that the CCP’s forced organ harvesting was still an unconfirmed allegation.”
Dr. Chang remarked, “Sadly, the two examples discussed above are merely two of the numerous instances on the issue of the CCP’s organ harvesting crime where I have observed biased or problematic media reporting.”
When posing the question as to why the coverage on organ harvesting has been far from satisfactory, Dr. Chang explained the CCP has successfully used “sharp power” to exert control internationally “across all fields, including business, technologies, entertainment industries, publication, academics, as well as media. Therefore, any media company that has been connected to the Chinese market is possibly subjected to the CCP’s authoritarian control in order to maintain or expect more profits.”
The CCP has “aggressively extended their media apparatus to other countries by building international media networks, [and] connecting or cooperating with international media in many ways. For example, for many years, the CCP has bought ‘advertorial’ inserts in major U.S. newspapers such the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.
It is therefore understandable, though not acceptable, that “in the case of the CCP’s human rights violations, the free world media, including several major mainstream media outlets, have shown a total lack of interest or biased reporting that down-plays the severity of the CCP’s human rights violations, such as forced organ harvesting.”
Dr. Chang offered a strategy to remedy this situation. First, the world must treat the CCP’s media outlets as agents of the Chinese regime, as the U.S. has done with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Second, the CCP’s propaganda needs closer monitoring and analyzing so that “the public can have more information to make their own independent judgements without being misinformed and misled by the CCP’s propaganda.” Lastly, she expressed hope that more media could “restore and abide by their professional ethics” and “disclose the truth so that we can stop the crimes as early as possible. ‘Never again’ is a solemn oath we should not forget… This is the duty of all the free world media: ‘Never again, now!’”
Maurice Droin, Economist and Freelance Journalist, France
Maurice Droin, French economist and journalist, has worked for the French Ministry of Defense, New Caledonia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was lead consultant of negotiations for the Pacific region under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. For the past ten years, he has been a freelance journalist.
Mr. Droin questioned why the United Nations, the World Health Organization as well as the global media are silent on the issue of forced organ harvesting in China, a crime against humanity and postulated three main reasons.
The first is financial. Changing demographics have led the press to be more reliant on revenue from the state, industry, and wealthy individuals. Moreover, China has bought “publication space at a high price” resulting in “corruption of newspaper owners, editorial staff and journalists, most often through gifts, such as all-expenses-paid trips to China.”
The second is ideological, as “more than 80% of young graduates of journalism schools [are] socialist-communists, replacing constructive dialogue by opposition with insults such as ‘right-wing conspiracy theorist’ as soon as the Chinese Marxist doxa is questioned.”
The third is strategic. In addition to the French press being under the influence of the CCP “with the mission of promoting Maoist propaganda,” the Chinese have established Confucius Institutes at “those with laboratories or close to scientific or military research centres.” Mr. Droin pointed out that, “Oddly enough, the discoveries they work on are patented in China before they are patented in their country of origin. This surprises only those who do not know that the Confucius Institutes are an offshoot of the Chinese intelligence service. A Chinese law defines the amount of bonuses to be paid to teachers and students who have stolen and transmitted interesting information to Beijing via the local embassy. Since then, China has led the world in the number of patents it registers.”
Mr. Droin revealed that China’s ambassadors, who he calls Xi Jinping’s “warrior wolves,” pressure “governments to vote in favour of China in international institutions, to prevent sanctions being imposed to force China to respect human rights and international laws” and “for governments themselves to put pressure on their national press to respect the taboo on forced organ harvesting.” This results in doctors, elected officials, and policymakers turning a blind eye and ignoring or pretending to ignore China’s human rights abuses.
To stop China’s abuses, Mr. Droin appealed to each individual “to influence your social, professional and political environment, … to think about what you can do… Start by reading more of the free media, compare, analyse and draw your own conclusions, since the mainstream media no longer do this.” He advised us all to seek truth to preserve freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and to preserve human rights.
Hataru Nomura, Journalist, Japan
Mr. Nomura is the Secretary General of the SMG Network in Japan, an organization to address the issue of organ transplantation in China. He said that, due to media silence, it has taken three years of effort to raise enough awareness of China’s transplant abuses to get Japan’s parliament to start taking action.
He blamed the Japanese media’s reluctance on the country’s sense of atonement regarding damage Japan inflicted on China in WW II and that “the Japanese media, academia, and educational circles have widely fostered a phobia of China,” and if “the media doesn’t say anything… politicians don’t do anything.”
Mr. Nomura detailed how the Japanese media even praised China’s transplant system with a story of a Japanese woman who needed a heart transplant. “A Japanese hospital, a Japanese doctor, a Chinese consulate, and the Chinese government worked together to fly a chartered flight especially for her and brought her to a hospital in Wuhan to undergo a transplant operation. They had four hearts prepared for her. There were four donors prepared for her. The fact that the transplant surgery went well was seen as a great opportunity to advertise to Japanese society that Chinese transplants are so fast and can be done so cheaply. The TV station, whose mission is to report the news in Japan, broadcast the story as if it were complicit in the Chinese propaganda.”
Rather than believing the propaganda and becoming complicit in China’s organ harvesting, Mr. Nomura said “the whole world should speak out to stop medical genocide, stop organ harvesting.”
Zoé Valdés, Journalist, Author, Cinematographer and Visual Artist, Cuba
Ms. Valdés has long confronted the communist tyranny in Cuba and abroad. She has been professor and prestigious guest lecturer at such academic centers as La Sorbonne in Paris, Harvard University, Florida International University, and Queen Mary University in London.
Ms. Valdés adamantly declared, “I denounce, and will denounce with all my strength through my literary work and as a journalist, these crimes against dissidents who are punished, tortured, and killed for their beliefs, for their ideas and spiritual practices; who by now we know are, in China, the followers of Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa), adopted by millions of Chinese citizens since 1992, as well as against the Uyghurs. These criminal practices must end at once.”
She said, “Communist totalitarianism is responsible for all sorts of outrages and vandalisms against humanity. We believe that these atrocities are often overlooked or forgotten in an attempt to justify an ideology that is placed above the full rights of man of life and liberty.”
Ms. Valdés related how, beginning in the 1960s in Cuba, political prisoners were purposefully drained of blood prior to execution and Fidel Castro bragged about selling their healthy blood. The invasive and complicit silence that surrounded this horrendous practice is analogous to the “silence [from the press] we are witnessing in the face of organ harvesting in China that has claimed, and continues to claim, the lives of thousands of dissidents, of prisoners of conscience. We cannot allow it.”
She continued, “The press has been weakened, wounded in its very credibility, in its freedoms: it does not inform, does not denounce, does not investigate. But it copies, blurs, erases, and annihilates. The press is today the great ally of communism and its horrors. And we must also denounce this imperiously.”
Ms. Valés explained how “writers and journalists who have decided to [expose the truth], to denounce at our own risk, have doors closed to us, publishing houses closed. We are expelled from newspapers. Our actions are restricted, our thoughts and freedom to denounce are censored – everything on which our work and sustenance depend and therefore, our lives and the lives of our families.”
Despite the goals of communism “to shatter, to tear down, to annihilate, to erase, through the murder of credibility, and actual murder,” she urged “We must denounce these injustices committed by communism. Where? Is there any press and space left for us? If there is not, we should reinvent that press and those spaces. That is what I am trying to do, although without resources, without anything, but with truth and compassion. No one should live, and much less sleep peacefully, with this weight on the soul and conscience. We all have the right to a dignified life and to freedom. The abuses of Sino-communism must cease once and for all.”
Jiang Li, Falun Gong Practitioner and Witness, USA
Jiang Li, originally from mainland China, now living in the U.S., related her family’s story surrounding the imprisonment and death of her father who had been illegally detained and sentenced to a re-education-through-labor camp in 2008.
The day after visiting their father in the camp where he “looked all right,” the family received a call saying he had died an hour ago and were directed to the morgue. Upon viewing the body in the morgue’s freezer, they discovered that his face and chest were still warm. After pulling their father out of the freezer onto the floor to examine him further and start resuscitation, the family was forcibly removed from the morgue and never allowed to see him again. He was cremated without the family’s consent.
In an attempt to obtain justice for their father, the family hired lawyers in 2009 to help them, but both lawyers were detained and tortured by police. As recently as 2013, the police were still trying to coerce Ms. Li into dropping the case.
Ms. Li has joined thousands of other Falun Gong practitioners in suing the CCP. She said, “In June 2015, I went to the Supreme Court, Supreme Protectorate, and Ministry of Public Security to file charges against former CCP leader Jiang Zemin. He was the diabolical perpetrator, who caused the massive tragedy happening to hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong families. I hereby call upon the good and upright people around the world to join forces to stop the evil perpetrated by the CCP, end the persecution against Falun Gong, and bring those who have participated in persecuting my father and all the dead and injured Falun Gong practitioners to justice.”
Five members of Ms. Li’s family were illegally imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong, including both her parents, two sisters, and one brother.