A Formidable Organ Supply Chain in China Based on Killing – New Report Released at National Press Club

June 24, 2016 | By Minghui correspondents He Yu and Mu Wenqing

(Minghui.org) Three international investigators released an in-depth update on the killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs in China at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2016.

Their extensive research, based on media reports, medical journals, hospital websites, and web archives, concludes that the number of transplants performed in China–and the number of victims–are much higher than previously estimated.

David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, and human rights lawyer David Matas, published Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China in 2009 to shine a light on the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, millions of whom have been detained or imprisoned for their belief.

Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning China analyst and investigative journalist, published The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem in 2014, after conducting an independent investigation.

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David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, led a press conference on the release of their new report at the National Press Club on June 22.

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Human Rights Lawyer David Matas, published Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China in 2009, together with Kilgour.

This report’s release and press conference came several days after the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Res. 343 on June 13, condemning the systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

“China has been perpetuating perhaps some of the most gruesome and egregious human rights violations against Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience, yet has hardly faced any criticism, let alone sanctions, for these abuses,” explained Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who initiated this resolution last year. She stated that the persecution and organ harvesting “must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally.”

In-Depth Investigation

This new 680-page report (available for download at www.endorganpillaging.org) provides a comprehensive update to the investigation work by the three authors over the past decade. With more than 2,300 references, it includes a large volume of information collected from media reports, promotional materials in China, medical journals, and hospital websites.

Because many Chinese transplant-related websites were deleted or modified after forced organ harvesting came to light in 2006, the report also delved into information found in website archives. In addition, the investigators examined the number of transplants, hospital bed capacity, medical staff training, and government policies and funding.

Organ Transplants On Demand

In most countries, patients have to wait years for a kidney or liver transplant. In China, however, many matching organs were located within weeks–or even days, including thousands of emergency liver transplants for patients requiring a new organ within 72 hours. Some hospitals even offered guarantees of finding a living or kidney donor within two weeks.

From promotional materials or websites of Chinese hospitals, it was claimed that donors are readily available for patients who need organs. In case of rejection, some hospitals were able to source multiple organs for one patient.

Moreover, hospitals listed their fees for organ transplants online. Some have built amenities to attract attract foreign patients (transplant tourists), a number of whom were charged hundreds of thousands or even millions of USD for an organ transplant. Waiting times were generally short, many on the order of weeks.

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Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning China analyst and investigative journalist, presented updates for forced organ harvesting in China.

Large Number of Organ Transplants, Few Donations

Another phenomenon the investigators found was the huge number of organ transplants performed in China. According to hospital websites, doctors’ experiences, or media reports, some medical teams performed organ transplants one after another, with hardly any breaks. Some transplant centers’ bed utilization regularly exceeded 100%. As new buildings are constructed, facilities expanded, and beds added, organ transplant chief Huang Jiefu announced his plan in 2015 to issue transplant licenses to more hospitals, from 169 to 300.

Because of Chinese traditions requiring that bodies be preserved whole after death and the lack of an effective donation system, voluntary organ donation is very rare in China. However, the large number of organs located within such short timeframes raise questions regarding their sources. The sources claimed by Chinese officials–executed prisoners (before 2015) and voluntary donations–account for only a small fraction of the number of transplants performed.

After forced organ harvesting first attracted international attention in 2006, Chinese institutions rushed to modify or delete online data related to organ transplantation. Although China’s official number of transplants is around 10,000 a year, this number could easily be surpassed by just a few hospitals. In 2007, more than 1,000 hospitals applied for organ transplant permits from the Ministry of Health in 2007, indicating that they at least met the minimum transplant bed counts required.

Based on minimum capacity requirements stipulated by the Ministry, the 146 hospitals permitted to conduct kidney and liver transplants could have conducted at least one million transplant surgeries since 2000. In reality, all of these institutions are operating well above the minimum capacity. In addition, many institutions without permits from the Ministry are also conducting organ transplants at scale.

A State Crime

After news media exposed forced organ harvesting in China in 2006, evidence has shown that this practice has continued, although it became more secretive. Because of “problems with the organ sources,” as stated by a well-known transplant doctor, the number of transplants are often under-reported and poorly documented, making a determination of accurate numbers very difficult.

The report also covered the involvement of military, Communist Party, and government organizations in carrying out organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the disappearances and forced medical tests of Falun Gong practitioners in state custody.

From sources of patients to hospitals’ credentials, capacity, personnel qualifications, and funding, the report collects detailed information in conjunction with whistleblower testimonies from witnesses to establish a network of systematic supply chains of organ harvesting, a profit-driven and state-sanctioned crime.

The tragedy does not end with organ harvesting and organ transplants. When many plastinated body exhibitions toured around the world, the sources of the bodies—most of them from China—was a mystery. Increasing evidence has linked them to detained Falun Gong practitioners, and many of them are discussed in the report.

Chinese version available

Category: Organ Harvesting

U.S. State Department 2015 Human Rights Report: Repression and Coercion Markedly Increased in China

April 19, 2016

(Minghui.org) The U.S. State Department released on April 13, 2016, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. The report on China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) stated, “Repression and coercion markedly increased during the year against organizations and individuals involved in civil and political rights advocacy and public interest and ethnic minority issues. The crackdown on the legal community was particularly severe,” including human right attorneys. Groups including Falun Gong continued to suffer torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Regarding organ harvesting, the report pointed out, “International medical professionals and human rights advocates, however, questioned the voluntary nature of the system, which allows donations from prisoners on death row.”

The Secretary of State said during his remarks, “These are universal standards of human rights that have been adopted and accepted and are agreed to by most nations in the world, and even some nations that have agreed to them but violate them. These are the international standards… The United States is opposed to the use of torture in any form at any time by any government or non-state actor.”

Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski said during his special briefing, “Now, these reports contain a lot of unhappy stories from many countries. And they come at a time when it seems that authoritarian governments, beginning with influential powers like Russia and China, are striking out with particular ferocity against the freedoms of expression, association, and the press… In China, given all of the hardships that people working for better governance there now face, we think it is especially important to stand by the lawyers being imprisoned for doing their jobs, by the religious minorities persecuted for their faith, the activists and journalists being abducted—in some cases from other countries—for speaking out.”

Severe Crackdown on Human Rights Lawyers

The report states, “Starting in July, authorities launched a nationwide crackdown on the legal community, detaining more than 300 lawyers and law associates on charges ranging from ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ to ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ Many of them were held for months under ‘residential surveillance at an undisclosed location,’ without access to attorneys or to their family members, in violation of criminal procedure laws.” These “disappeared lawyers” included Wang Yu, Li Heping, Xie Yanyi, Zhang Kai, and others. Wang and Li are still in custody.

“Human rights lawyers reported that authorities did not permit them to defend certain clients, or threatened them with punishment if they chose to do so. The government suspended or revoked the licenses of lawyers or their firms to stop them from taking sensitive cases, such as defending prodemocracy dissidents, house-church activists, Falun Gong practitioners, or government critics. Some lawyers declined to represent defendants in politically sensitive cases, and such defendants frequently found it difficult to find an attorney.”

Continued Repression of Falun Gong

The following are some excerpts regarding Falun Gong,

“Authorities used administrative detention to intimidate political and religious activists and to prevent public demonstrations. Forms of administrative detention included ‘custody and education’ (for women engaged in prostitution and those soliciting prostitution), ‘custody and training’ (for minor criminal offenders), and ‘legal education’ centers for political and religious activists, particularly Falun Gong practitioners.”

“Family members of activists, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, journalists, unregistered religious figures, and former political prisoners were targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment.”

“The government continued to refuse re-entry to numerous citizens considered dissidents, Falun Gong activists, or ‘troublemakers.’”

“The government also automatically censored e-mail and web chats based on a list of sensitive key words, such as ‘Falun Gong,’…”

“International medical professionals and human rights advocates, however, questioned the voluntary nature of the system, which allows donations from prisoners on death row.”

Chinese version available

Category: Falun Dafa in the Media

Chinese Legal Professionals’ Attitude Changing Towards Falun Gong

April 10, 2016 | By Ta Shan

(Minghui.org) After reading recent reports on the Chinese Minghui website, there seems indication that many Chinese legal professionals are changing their stance on Falun Gong and are no longer strictly following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) policy on persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. Several recent instances are listed below.

Case Re-Opens for New Trial

Falun Gong practitioners Zhou Xiangyang and Li Shanshan from Tianjin were tried and sentenced by the Dongli District People’s Court. Their lawyers and families filed a lawsuit against the judge for violating legal procedures during the trial. The court then decided to hold a new trial.

Such an occurrence usually wouldn’t have happened in the past. According to analysts, there could be two reasons for the new trial. First, the judge is afraid of being held accountable for his violation of legal procedure. Second, those who participated in the first trial are trying to show that they are following the rule of law, making the case that they should not be held accountable for prior legal violations when the persecution of Falun Gong ends and perpetrators are brought to justice.

Procuratorate Returns Filed Case

Falun Gong practitioners Gao Jianping, Wei Ningju and Wu Jinlan were arrested by officers from the Litong District Domestic Security Division in Wuzhong City, Ningxia Autonomous Region, on November 10, 2015, because they filed a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the CCP who launched the brutal persecution. The case was sent to the Procuratorate, but was twice returned to the Domestic Security Division.

Prosecutor: “I Hope the Case Will Be Dealt with Leniently”

Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Zhang Jinsheng’s case underwent a second hearing at the Gucheng County Court of Hengshui, Hebei Province. The charge was the usual boilerplate “using a cult for sabotaging implementation of law.” The defense lawyer refuted the charges and pointed out that Mr. Zhang had been tortured by the police.

The prosecutor took out the Falun Gong CD that Mr. Zhang had distributed as “evidence.” Mr. Zhang requested that it be played in the court. The judge consented. The prosecutor didn’t want to allow the CD to be played, but had to follow the judge’s order. The content of the CD included articles such as “Bring Jiang to Justice,” “Global Trial of Jiang Zemin,” a letter to Qu Hongjun and an article titled “Disintegrate Party Culture.”

Mr. Zhang’s lawyer argued that the content on the CD proved that Mr. Zhang was not guilty of any criminal activity, and only showed Falun Gong practitioners’ compassion for the Chinese people.

When the judge asked the prosecutor if he had anything to add, the prosecutor replied, “Nothing to add. I hope the case will be dealt with leniently.”

Judge Does Not Uphold Verdict

Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Cai Suping’s case was heard for the third time at the Industrial Park Court of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, on March 25. Ms. Cai’s lawyer argued that she was innocent. The judge finally read a verdict, announcing an 8-month prison term, and then notified Ms. Cai’s husband that he could take her home on April 7.

Court Refuses to Try Practitioner

A practitioner was recently released after the local court refused to try her for exposing the persecution of Falun Gong.

Ms. Li Meiling, a Falun Gong practitioner from Houma City, Shanxi Province, was arrested on September 25, 2015, while distributing information about the persecution. The local Procuratorate issued a formal arrest warrant on October 30 and forwarded her case to the local court.

The court, however, declined to prosecute Ms. Li. The local judicial bureau also showed no interest in getting involved.

The police had no choice but to issue Ms. Li a retroactive six-month detention, and released her on March 25, 2016.

Chinese version available

Category: Opinion & Perspective