Introduction

Over the past decade, reports have emerged that the Chinese regime is killing prisoners of conscience to supply its vast, lucrative organ transplantation industry. New evidence and figures mined from primary Chinese sources are now uncovering the nature and scale of these abuses.

On June 22, 2016, three respected independent investigators published a 680-page report illustrating a state-driven industry that transplants far more organs—by an order of magnitude—than can be accounted for by official sources, which China says are executed prisoners and voluntary donors.

China’s organ harvesting has become a focus of media outlets around the world. Hearings have been held by U.S. Congress, the British Parliament, and the European Parliament. The U.S House of Representatives and the European Parliament have passed resolutions condemning the practice.

“The [Communist] regime's ghoulish and inhumane practice of robbing individuals of their freedom, throwing them in labor camps or prisons, and then executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants is way beyond the pale of comprehension and must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally.”

— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. Congresswoman (R-FL)

A Decade of Investigation

The issue first came to light in March 2006, when a whistleblower claimed that as many as 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs at the hospital in northeast China where she worked. She also said that her former husband, a surgeon at the same hospital, had disclosed to her that he had removed the corneas from more than 2,000 living Falun Gong practitioners between 2000 and 2001.

In response, David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, and David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, launched an independent investigation and came to “the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true.” They compiled their findings in the book Bloody Harvest.

Investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann later spent seven years doing his own research. He reached similar conclusions in his book The Slaughter.

In 2016, the three investigators joined forces, evaluating primary source research about the activities of hundreds of transplant hospitals around China. Drawing on media reports, official statements, medical journals, hospital websites, and web archives, their findings show that China’s transplant industry became among the most prolific in the world in just a few years, despite the lack of any organ donation system.

“Across China, a gruesome trade in human organs is taking place on a mass scale. Like something out of a horror movie, livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs, and corneas are being cut out from prisoners of conscience while they are still alive. If anything proves the meaning of the term ‘crime against humanity,’ it is this bloody, ghoulish practice.”

—Benedict Rogers, Deputy Chair of the U.K. Conservative Party Human Rights Commission

On-Demand Transplants

In countries with advanced healthcare capabilities and well-organized organ donation and allocation systems, patients must usually wait years for a donor to become available. Yet, in China, waiting times for kidney and liver transplants were commonly listed in weeks. According to the 2006 Liver Transplant Registry Report, 26.6% of 4,311 sampled liver transplants were performed under “emergency” conditions – that is, the organ was obtained within days, or sometimes just hours.

Some hospitals even advertised “donors seeking matched recipients” and also promised, “in case of failure, we will continue to perform transplants until one is successful.” Vast arrays of transplant types and their prices are as of this writing still available on hospital websites.

Doctors could procure multiple organs for the same patient in quick succession, either due to rejection or as spares. In one case, a doctor prepared eight pairs of kidneys for a single patient before a match was successful.
It is not uncommon in China for patients to receive multiple transplants of the same organ. A chief surgeon of organ transplant center at a traditional Chinese medicine hospital published a study of 50 patients at his hospital who had each received kidney transplants two, three, or four times.

A large amount of evidence points to an abundance of readily available organ sources waiting to be matched to patients.

“There is credible evidence that Chinese prisoners of conscience are murdered on demand for their organs, in a process of reverse matching not practiced anywhere else in the world. In most countries with well-regulated deceased donor programs, legally and ethically procured organs from a dying person are offered to recipients on the waiting list who are the best ‘match’ for the available organs. In China, this process is turned on its head. Wealthy recipients are matched against a large pool of prisoners, with the best matched prisoner scheduled for execution at the convenience of surgeon and recipient.”

— Wendy Rogers, Professor of Clinical Ethics, and Deputy Director of the Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics, Australia

Huge Numbers of Transplants

The investigators found widespread reports of surgical teams performing transplants around the clock, multiple transplants being carried out concurrently, dozens of kidney
transplants being conducted in a single day, bed utilization exceeding capacity, expansion of transplant wards, construction of new buildings, and ambitious plans to almost double the current number of transplant-qualified hospitals from 169 to 300.

China officially claims to perform 10,000 transplants each year. However, this number is surpassed by just a few hospitals.

Based on government-imposed minimum capacity requirements for transplant centers, the 169 approved transplant hospitals could have conducted 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year, the total capacity since 2000 would have reached 1 million transplants.

However, even this is far from the full picture. The investigators found that more than 1,000 transplant hospitals applied for permits from the Ministry of Health in 2007 to continue business. That suggests these hospitals also met the Ministry’s minimum capacity requirements for transplant centers. And many of them keep doing transplants despite not having been certified.

Unidentified Organ Sources

Traditional Chinese custom requires bodies to be preserved intact after death. China did not start piloting organ donation programs until 2010 — yet donations have been sparse. International organizations estimate the number of executions in China at a few thousand each year, a rate that has been decreasing since 2000. The government promised to stop using organs from death row prisoners beginning in 2015.

Therefore, since the year 2000, when the Chinese organ transplant system began to take off, the organ sources identified by the Chinese government—voluntary donors and executed prisoners—have numbered in the low thousands each year. They thus account for a tiny fraction of the transplants in China. The vast majority have simply not been accounted for.

“We carry out kidney transplants from living sources. It’s completely different from cadaveric kidney transplants.”

—The International Transplantation Network Assistance Center’s website

“In the U.S., in Europe, you have to be dead first in order to be an organ donor. In China, they make you dead.”

—Arthur Caplan, Leading U.S. Medical Ethicist

The Victims

The dark secret of China’s transplant industry is that another source entirely has been used: non-consenting prisoners of conscience. Those targeted include prisoners of conscience as far back as the 1970s, then Uyghurs, a Turkic, Muslim people residing in the northwest region of Xinjiang during the 1990s, and over the years that follow, some anecdotal evidence indicates, Tibetans and House Christians in captivity were also used. But by far the largest group to be targeted for organ harvesting is Falun Gong.

The serious, large-scale development of China’s transplantation system coincided with the Communist Party’s campaign to wipe out Falun Gong.

Explosive development in China’s organ transplant industry after 1999

Falun Gong is a meditation practice based on ancient Chinese traditions of health and self-improvement, and the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

By the end of the 1990s, the Chinese government estimated that over 70 million people were practicing Falun Gong. The former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin saw the group’s popularity and revival of traditional values as a threat to his rule, and launched a violent campaign to “bankrupt them financially, ruin their reputations, destroy them physically.”

Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from around China traveled to Beijing to appeal to the central government, only to be arrested and tortured. When many were unwilling to disclose their identities to protect their families and friends, they became part of a large anonymous population held captive by the state. More practitioners were rounded up all across China. This is when large numbers of them started to disappear without a trace.

In contrast to a large portion of death row inmates, Falun Gong adherents refrain from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs — making them healthier than the general prison population. There are widespread reports of Falun Gong practitioners being forcibly subject to blood tests and organ examinations not given to other prisoners. The researchers view these tests as an indicator that they are targeted for organ sourcing.

Video: The Persecution of Falun Gong by Swoop Films
Video: The Coalition Roundtable by The International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China (EOP)  

“The ultimate conclusion of this update and indeed our previous work, is that China has engaged in the mass killing of prisoners of conscience, primarily practitioners of the spiritual based exercises Falun Gong, but also Uyghurs, Tibetans, and select House Christians, in order to obtain organs for transplants.”

—David Matas, co-author of new China organ harvesting report, international human rights lawyer, nominee for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

State-Sponsored Killing

Since 2000, China’s national plans, programs and other national funds have incorporated a large number of projects related to organ transplantation.

The vast majority of medical universities and their affiliated transplant centers, military and civilian, have received significant funding from all levels of government, and for over a decade now the Chinese regime has included organ transplantation in its national strategy, and invested heavily in research, development, industrialization, and personnel training in transplantation technology.

Thus, the demonization and brutalization of Falun Gong went alongside increased demands by the health system for organs — and the catastrophic result is not difficult to predict.

“We need to give all of thanks to the government for the support extended for our completing such a large number of organ transplants every year. In particular, the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Public Security system, judicial system, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Civil Affairs have jointly promulgated laws to establish that organ procurement receives government support and protection. This is a one-of-a-kind in the world.”

China International Transplantation Network Assistance Center (CITNAC) website

“China is the only country in the world where a government runs an industrial program, kills people, and sells their organs.”

—David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, Nominee for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

History of Live Organ Transplantation in China

1960s

  • China performs first human organ transplant.

1970s

  • Clinical organ transplantation begins in China.

1980s

  • Executed criminals become a source of organs under a regulation promulgated by the state.

1990s

  • Uyghur political prisoners begin to be targeted for their organs.

1999

  • Persecution of Falun Gong begins.

2000

  • Number of transplants and transplant centers begins to grow exponentially.

2006

  • Independent investigations conclude that forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong has taken place on a large scale.

2007

  • China promises to end organ procurement from death row prisoners (not to be confused with prisoners of conscience).

  • The Ministry of Health issues permits to 164 hospitals to continue doing organ transplants.

2014

  • Huang Jiefu, former Vice Minister of Health, announces that death row prisoners will become part of the unified allocation system and will be counted as voluntary citizen donors.

2015

  • China announces that it has stopped using organs from executed prisoners.

2016

  • On June 22, three independent investigators jointly published a 680-page updated report on the on-demand nature and scale of organ transplantation in China, finding that the transplant volume is far larger than previously estimated.

China Communist Party Background and History

Learning about the Chinese Communist Party

—by David Matas

  • The state is a facade behind which the Party rules
  • The law does not apply to the Party
  • The Party engages in repression without legal authority
  • The Party shift to capitalism left a moral vacuum
  • The Party gives priority to Falun Gong repression
  • The Party views Falun Gong as an organization
  • The Party motivation and justification for persecution of Falun Gong diverge
  • The Party is not uniform
  • Power struggles within the Communist Party revolve around Falun Gong
  • Party dehumanization of Falun Gong leads to brutality against Falun Gong
  • Party dishonesty is blatant
  • Party cover up is systematic
  • The Party distorts vocabulary
  • The Party propagandizes abroad
  • The Party harasses abroad
  • The Party uses its power abroad for persecutory purposes
  • The Party attempts censorship abroad
  • The Party uses fronts abroad
  • The Party bullies abroad
  • The Party benefits abroad from those who work towards it
  • Bilateral human rights dialogues with China are pointless
  • The Party oscillates between charm and rudeness with the same result
  • Peer pressure works better on the Party than political pressure
  • The Party refuses to account for the past
  • The Chinese Communist Party is not Chinese

The state is a facade behind which the Party rules

The relationship between the Communist Party and the state is unlike anything we see in democratic countries. In democratic states, those in government rule. In China, it is the Party that rules. State functionaries are puppets. It is the Party which pulls the strings.

Up and down the government political and legal structure, for every state officer, there is a Party official. The state is a facade behind which the Party operates.

At the pinnacle the two systems merge. The President of China is also the head of the Communist Party of China. Everywhere else the two systems separate, with a Party official instructing a state official.

The Party mostly does not operate publicly. The state makes policies, decisions and laws. It is the Party which decides behind closed doors what those policies, decisions and laws will be.

An instructive example is the case of Zhou Yongkang. Zhou Yongkang used to be Minister of Public Security in the Government of China from 2002 to 2007. Then he resigned that function to become Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China, from 2007 to 2012.

In democratic countries, such a move from a Government position to a party position, even in the governing party, would be considered a lessening of status and power. Such positions in political parties in democratic countries are mostly filled by part time volunteers.

In China, it is the reverse. Zhou, by moving from Minister of Public Security of the Government to secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Party, became the boss of his successor as Minister of Public Security, Meng Jianzhu. By becoming secretary of the Legal and Affairs Commission, he ended up telling the Minister of Public Security what to do.

The law does not apply to the Party

Because the Party rules the state, the state organs do not control the Party. That is true of the legal as well as the political system. The Party is above the law, because the Party tells the legal system what to do.

This is not corruption. It is the structure of the state. The Party instructs the judges, the court registries, the police, the prisons, the prosecutors, the investigators, even the defense counsel.

Because the law does not apply to the Party, the law serves a different function in China than it does in other countries. The law, for the Party, is essentially a propaganda exercise, its public face to the world and a set of directive to those outside the Party.

The law in China does not tell the Party what has to be done. The law rather is a public veneer, hiding the arbitrary rule of the Party, and imposing discipline on those not in the Party.

The Party engages in repression without legal authority

The Party not only directs the state. It runs a parallel state. The Party does not need the law or the courts to engage in repression. Sometimes, it uses the police and the prisons without any law which supports their activity. The Party has as well its own cadres and detention centres which engage in repression.

When I first learned about the repression of Falun Gong, I had assumed that it had been banned. But it never was. There is no law against the practice of Falun Gong, in spite of the massive detention of Falun Gong practitioners.

Some Falun Gong practitioners are prosecuted and convicted, but not for the offense of practising Falun Gong, an offence which does not exist. They were rather prosecuted for the vague offense of disrupting social order, which can mean more or less anything the Party wants it to mean.

It is quite common for Party officials to justify their repression of Falun Gong by saying that the laws must be respected. Yet, there are no anti-Falun Gong laws to respect.

One example can be drawn from the Olympics. According to an Associated Press report of November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, in reacting to news stories of a Bible ban during the Olympics said texts and other items from major religious groups that are brought into China for personal use by athletes and visitors are permitted. Li also said religious services Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist will be available to athletes in the Olympic Village. However, he said, the policies do not apply to Falun Gong. Li said
“Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden. Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China.”

Similarly, when I heard of the 610 office, a vast bureaucracy spreading throughout China with the operational responsibility of repressing Falun Gong, I had assumed it was a state office. The office was nicknamed 610 for the date, June 10th 1999, when the Party Standing Committee decided to repress Falun Gong. It is formally called the Office for Dealing with Heretical Religions.

However, the 610 office is not a state institution. It is a Party institution. It is the element of the Party which tells the state officials what to do about Falun Gong, whom to arrest, whom to torture, whom to release.

Moreover, it is not one office, but rather a network of offices throughout the country. Every police station, every government enterprise and bureaucracy has its own 610 component. It is a vast parallel Party structure spread throughout China.

The Party shift to capitalism left a moral vacuum

The shift in China from socialism to capitalism led to a moral vacuum. Communist socialism was economic gibberish, but it had a simple moral line – from each according to his means, to each according to his needs. Socialist communism was a form of communitarianism.

With capitalist communism, that moral line disappeared. Vast income inequalities developed. Capitalist communism was a trade off – allowing the Communist cadres to remain in power by allowing citizens to accumulate wealth.

Falun Gong sprung up to fill the moral vacuum created by the abandonment of socialism. Falun Gong is a blending and updating of the Chinese spiritual and exercise traditions. It has three straightforward moral principles – truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

The Communist Party initially encouraged Falun Gong because its exercises are good for health and cut down on the costs of the health system. However, the rapid spread and wide popularity of the practice of Falun Gong led the Party to fear for its ideological supremacy. So a crackdown ensued. The crackdown became in effect a repression of morality. With the repression of Falun Gong, China was left without a moral compass.

The Party gives priority to Falun Gong repression

What matters most to the Communist Party is staying in power. The shift from socialism to capitalism meant that communist control was power without a purpose. There was no goal for the Communists to achieve other than their own continuation in office. The Communist Party in China today stands for nothing other than itself.

The biggest threat Communists saw to this continuation in power was Falun Gong. The repression of Falun Gong was not, for the Communist party, one activity amongst many. It became, rather, their number one priority. Every other activity, including economic success, takes second place.

The Party views Falun Gong as an organization

The Communist Party view of Falun Gong is quite different from the reality of Falun Gong. The Party views Falun Gong as an organization controlled by an undisclosed “mastermind”.

Yet, the reality is that Falun Gong is a set of exercises with a spiritual foundation. It is the Chinese equivalent of yoga.

Some of those who practice Falun Gong have created or joined various volunteer organizations of practitioners. Yet, anyone can do the exercises anytime, anywhere, and also stop at any time. There is nothing that needs to be joined, no money that needs to be paid, no one that has to be told.

The Party has made its number one enemy an organization that does not exist. Repression of Falun Gong is founded on delusion and paranoia.

The Party motivation and justification for persecution of Falun Gong diverge

There is a substantial gap between the Communist motivation for repression of Falun Gong and the public justification given for that repression. The Party does not say that they are repressing Falun Gong because it is popular. They rather make up slanders against Falun Gong in order to discredit it.

The rubric for the conglomeration of slanders of Falun Gong, the tag line, is “evil cult”. The phrase “evil cult” like much of Communist party language makes little sense, suggesting that there is such a thing as a good cult. The slanders under this evil cult rubric include such allegations as induced suicide, money laundering, forcing women into prostitution, bestiality and vampirism or blood sucking.

There is, needless to say, no evidence for any of this. Falun Gong is not a cult of any sort, good or bad. Falun Gong practitioners lead normal lives in their communities; they are a cross section of the global community, no different from their neighbours other than doing the exercises and, one would hope, adhering to the moral constraints of the Falun Gong teachings.

What the Communists say about Falun Gong does not tell us anything about Falun Gong. But it does tell us a lot about Communism, that they are prepared to say more or less anything about Falun Gong, no matter what its connection to reality. It is not a big step from that to realize that the Communists are prepared to do anything against Falun Gong no matter what is connection to morality.

The Party is not uniform

The decision to repress Falun Gong was not unanimous in the Party. It was led by former President Jiang Zemin when he was head of the Party, but many opposed it. The practice of Falun Gong was widespread within the Party before its repression and to many it seemed cruel, or at least pointless, to repress something which was beneficial, or at least harmless.

The 610 bureaucracy within the Party was a parallel power structure for Jiang Zemin and his acolytes. For the Jiang Zemin faction of the Party, the repression of Falun Gong was an instrumentalization, a way of spreading their tentacles of control throughout the Party.

Was the fear of Falun Gong supremacy just a tactic that Jiang Zemin used as a means of maintaining control of the Party after he left office, all the time knowing that Falun Gong represented no real threat? Or was the former President truly delusional? Whatever the answer to these questions, the result is the same, repression of Falun Gong without rhyme or reason.

Power struggles within the Party revolve around Falun Gong

Ever since the repression of Falun Gong began, there have been elements of the Party pushing against that repression. The Party has been split since the Jiang Zemin days into a pro and anti Jiang Zemin faction. The factions are ideological. Repression of Falun Gong is a fault line. It no coincidence that the lead Falun Gong persecutor after Jiang Zemin himself was Bo Xilai, the darling of the pro Jiang movement.

However, after the Cultural Revolution, the Party decided that engaging the power struggle on ideological grounds was too harmful for the Party. So the Party chose a surrogate target, corruption, an abuse over which there is no division of principle.

The immediate successor to Jiang Zemin was Hu Jintao. He saw himself as a harmonizer. Harmony to him did not mean accommodating public opinion, but rather preventing the factions from engaging in too extreme a conflict.

Xi Jinping is not so restrained. He has gone after the Jiang Zemin faction with gusto. Hundreds of Jiang acolytes have been removed from office and detained, on charges of corruption. The charges of corruption may, in some cases, be real, but the choice of targets, if one considers only corruption, are arbitrary. These targeted Jiang Zemin minions, have been, far from coincidentally, the lead persecutors of Falun Gong.

Because the leadership cadre of persecution of Falun Gong have been, through the anti-corruption campaign, disappearing from office, some people have expressed hope that the persecution of Falun Gong itself will wither. However, so far there is no sign of that, no abatement in the persecution of Falun Gong.

It may seem odd for Xi Jinping to go after the persecutors of Falun Gong but retain the persecution of Falun Gong intact. One reason may be that the system has become imbued with the persecution. There are now so many people implicated in it that the persecution continues to function even once its leadership is gone. Another reason may be that the goal of Xi Jinping is not so much to end the persecution as to end the use that Jiang Zemin had made of that persecution to build and maintain a hold on the Party after he ceased to President.

Party dehumanization of Falun Gong leads to brutality against Falun Gong

The link between dehumanization and brutality is a common place of persecution. Persecution almost always begins with words.

The case of Falun Gong is a classic example of this phenomenon because of the stark contrast between the propaganda against Falun Gong and the reality of Falun Gong. Not only is what the Party says about Falun Gong – evil cult, vampirism and so on – not true. It is immediately apparent that it is not true to anyone who has even the slightest passing acquaintance with Falun Gong.

The link between incitement and violence nonetheless even in this extreme case holds true. Partly it is a matter of licence.

Jailers and hospitals know that they can kill Falun Gong for their organs with impunity, precisely because the Party propaganda is so venomous against them. Practitioners of Falun Gong who got out of prison and out of China would tell David Kilgour and me that their guards would tell them “you are not human, we can do anything we want with you.”

David Kilgour and I had investigators who called hospitals, pretending to be relatives of patients who needed transplants and asking for organs of Falun Gong on the basis that Falun Gong exercise and their organs would be healthy. Hospitals, at least when we began our investigation, would openly admit to our investigator callers that they were engaged in killing Falun Gong for their organs; they assumed that the callers were local and were well aware of the Party tirades against Falun Gong.

Party dishonesty is blatant

The dishonesty of the Communist Party of China was, to me, startling. It is not that I expected the Communists to be honest. But I was surprised how indifferent they were to appearing honest. There has been no attempt to conform in even the most rudimentary way to reality.

As a court room lawyer, I am used to having people disagree with me. But I have never seen anything like the disagreement with our report from the Government of China. The Chinese government disagreement studiously avoids the plausible and gravitates towards the outrageous.

Here is just one example, which gives a flavour of what the Government of China is doing. I went to Israel to speak on May 30, 2007 at a symposium on organ transplants at Beilinson hospital near Tel Aviv. The Chinese Embassy to Israel circulated a statement at the symposium that the report David Kilgour and I wrote on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners contains:
“verbal evidence without sources, unverifiable witnesses and huge amount of unconvincingly conclusive remarks based on words like ‘probably’, ‘possibly’, ‘maybe’ and ‘it is said’, etc. All these only call into question the truth of the report.”

Yet, all one has to do to is to look at the report to see that every statement we make in our report is independently verifiable. There is no verbal evidence without sources. Where we rely on witnesses we identify them and quote what they say. Our study has been corroborated by independent disinterested researchers.

The report is on the internet and is word searchable. Anyone who searches it can see that the words “probably”, “possibly”, “maybe” and the phrase “it is said” are not used in our report, not even once.

Party cover up is systematic

Another phenomenon which surprised me at first but I got quite used to over time was systematic cover up. Every time I or others identified a piece of evidence from China in support of the conclusion that practitioners of Falun Gong were being killed for their organs, the evidence disappeared. We were able to archive the electronic evidence, so that outsiders can see it. However, those inside China are put into the dark.

Here are some examples
• China runs four transplant registries for heart, liver, lung and kidney. Hospitals report directly to the registries. The registries for heart, lung and kidney are housed in mainland China and were never public. Aggregate data for the liver registry used to be public. Public access was shut down once I and other researchers started citing the data found on it.

• Doctors used to issue letters to foreign patients who had transplants in China indicating to the after care doctors abroad the type and dose of drugs given, standard tests results, clinical summary and post operative findings. After the report that David Kilgour and I did on organ transplant abuse in China was released in July 2006, the issuance of these letters ceased.

• Hospital websites used to advertise short waiting times for transplants. An official Chinese website geared to transplant tourists advertised prices for transplants in US dollars for various organs. Once David Kilgour and I published our research these advertisements disappeared.

The Party distorts vocabulary

The Party takes words in standards usage and gives them its own meaning. Interpreting standards words to have non – standard meanings is bound to mislead. To understand what the Party is saying, it is necessary to know the special meanings that the Party gives to the words used.

To the Party, “voluntary” sources include prisoners, provided they go through the procedure established for the donor system. “Donations” means paying family members of organ sources for consent. “Transparency” means an announcement that hospitals are no longer sourcing organs from prisoners. “Rule of law” means control by the Communist Party and the state health system rather than hospitals acting on their own. Ending sourcing or organs from prisoners “now” means ending sourcing from prisoners eventually. In assessing what Communist Party officials say, we must keep in mind the way that the Party has redefined standard words to mean what the Party wants them to mean.

The Party propagandizes abroad

The Party does not limit is propaganda to China, where it has a captive audience. It propagandizes abroad. That propaganda abroad, which can be rebutted by counter speech, is less likely to be effective at home, but does have its impact.

Politicians or civil servants who meet with Falun Gong as well as media who interview them are often the recipients of spammed antiFalun Gong propaganda. A lead spammer (or group of spammers) goes under the name of Charles Liu, who also uses the name Bobby Fletcher. He is (or they are) a down the line Chinese government apologist(s), generally parroting positions of the Government of China including denial of the existence of the Tian An Men square massacre of 1989. But his (their) main efforts have been directed to discrediting the Falun Gong, through directed emails, discussion groups, letters to the editor and internet blogs. The Western Standard reports:
“Liu’s actions mirror disinformation campaigns waged by the Chinese government in the past. Typically, these include the deliberate spreading of false or misleading facts to sow confusion or doubt among the conflicting accounts.”

The Government of China publishes, prints and distributes both Chinese and local language newspapers in foreign countries which are nothing more than antiFalun Gong propaganda tracts. In Canada, an example is La Presse Chinoise.

La Presse Chinoise is a small Montreal newspaper with a print run of 6,000 copies. But in August 2006, it published an issue thirty two pages long, printed 100,000 copies and distributed it across Canada. This issue had no advertisements. It was distributed for free. And it contained no news whatsoever, only an attack on the Falun Gong. The issue did not say it was financed by the Government of China. But according to an investigative report by Mark Morgan of La Grande Époque, that was the reality.

Embassy and consular officials wander around to public gatherings handing out antiFalun Gong literature. One such set of flyers, handed out by officials of the Calgary, Alberta, Canada consulate led to a hate crimes investigation. The Chinese officials placed antiFalun Gong hate literature outside a conference room of the American Family Foundation Conference at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in June 2004. The Edmonton Police recommended hate crimes prosecution of Chinese consular officials Cao, Jianye and Wu, Junyi for this distribution.

There is a similar story with the electronic media. CCTV4, a Chinese government TV satellite broadcaster sought permission to broadcast into Canada on a digital basis. The Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission in December 22, 2006 concluded that this broadcaster had a history of abusive comment, incitement to hatred and contempt, incitement to violence and threats to physical security against the Falun Gong. The CRTC approved the application, but with a warning that unless CCTV4 is free of abusive comment it would be removed from the list of eligible satellite services authorized for digital distribution in Canada.

The Government of China uses its embassies and consulates to mount public displays against the Falun Gong. For instance, the Chinese consulate in Toronto Canada has displayed an array of anti Falun Gong posters along the wall where people wait in line to apply for visas. The exhibition is titled “Combat Cults and Protect Human Rights”. The posters state “Falun Gong is a Scourge”.

The Party harasses abroad

China in some ways is like every other gross human rights violator, going after their chosen targets with abandon. In one way, China is quite different.

Most countries are content to repress their chosen targets at home and leave them alone abroad. Indeed, for some gross human rights violating regimes, having their opponents abroad is welcome, because, so these regimes reason, the opponents can not cause trouble at home.

The Government of China/Communist Party of China is virtually unique in the systemic global spread of its repression against its fantasized enemies. The title of this forum is “China is everywhere”. The Communist Party of China is not just a problem for China. It is a global problem.

The Government of China, outside its borders, does not arbitrarily detain Falun Gong and attempt to torture them into recantation or kill them for their organs. Yet, in other less extreme ways, the repression of Falun Gong is, for the Government of China, a global activity.

China engages in spying or what is euphemistically called intelligence gathering on the Falun Gong. Defectors state that this spying or intelligence gathering on the Falun Gong is the primary task of Chinese embassies around the world. Falun Gong practitioners everywhere are constantly being monitored and spied on by the Government of China. This intelligence gathering and spying is an invasion of privacy of Falun Gong practitioners. But the consequences are a good deal worse than that.

A form of harassment Falun Gong practitioners report is incessant phone calls with taped messages. The messages harangue the listeners in Chinese and English in three minute recorded statements demonizing the Falun Gong. The tapes include Chinese patriotic songs.

Some practitioners have received as many as twenty five calls a day. Calls have been made to homes, cell phones and work places. The calls fill up message machines. Calls made to cell phones pile up charges which are based on use. The high frequency of the phone calls prompts phone owners to turn off their cell phones.

Complaints to phone companies or the police lead nowhere. The calls have been traced to mainland China. Foreign police and phone companies can do nothing about such calls.

Falun Gong practitioners find that their email accounts are hacked. It is possible for a customer to find out from his or her internet service provider the locations from which the email account has been accessed. Falun Gong practitioners who have made inquiries discover that their email accounts are being accessed from places they have never been.

One use to which the Chinese government puts information gathered through its intelligence efforts or spying is to send viruses to Falun Gong practitioners and those in contact with them electronically. In the course of arranging a visit I made in 2007 to Australia to speak at NGO events paralleling the APEC summit, I, along with the rest of a list serve I was on, received such a virus. A technical expert traced back the virus to mainland China. The virus sender assumes the identity of one person on the list serve so that the message with the virus appears to be coming from someone known to the list serve.

Fortunately, the virus did not infect my computer because of the systems I use. Others were not so lucky. The receipt of viruses by Falun Gong practitioners traced to mainland China is commonplace.

Web sites hosting information about the Falun Gong are subject to cyberattacks from China. For instance, the website Bestnet, which hosted a mirror site of a Falun Gong site, reported on July 30, 1999 a denial of service attack which “appears to be coming from sources inside China”. Web master John Walker wrote:
“The Government of China may use intimidation to rule inside it’s own borders but I’ll be damned if I will let them get away with it here.”

A denial of service attack is a flooding of requests with incomplete information which eventually causes the target machine to crash. Internet sleuths were able to trace the internet protocol address. From that they were able to find the name and street address of the owner of that IP address. Though the name of the owner was innocuous, the street address was the headquarters of the Government of China Ministry of Public Security.

The Party uses its power abroad for persecutory purposes

The Government of China, by virtue of the fact that it represents a state, has some powers it can exercise abroad. The Party employs the Government to use these powers for persecutory purposes.

Chinese nationals abroad whom the Chinese government has identified as Falun Gong practitioners will be denied passport renewal unless they renounce in writing their belief in Falun Gong. I have visited over thirty countries in order to promote the recommendations of the report David Kilgour and I wrote on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. In the course of those visits, I have met many Falun Gong practitioners in different countries who have been denied passport renewal. They have been told by their embassies that the reason is that they are Falun Gong.

China uses its visa entry and exit system for antiFalun Gong propaganda purposes. Known Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to leave China.

No one is allowed entry who is known to be Falun Gong or sympathetic to Falun Gong, especially where the purpose is as benign as even simply meeting other Falun Gong practitioners in private. This is true even of Hong Kong. More than 70 Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan were denied entry to Hong Kong in February 2003 to attend an experience sharing conference.

While journalists who the Government of China has identified as sympathetic are given a royal tour, all expenses paid, journalists identified as likely to report on Chinese human rights violations are denied visas. An example is the visas granted reporters accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on his visit to China in January 2005. Originally, Danielle Zhu and David Ren of NTDTV were granted visas for the trip. But then the visas were revoked. PEN Canada protested the revocations, but to no avail.

China insists that the people with whom it does business are not Falun Gong practitioners. For instance, the Government of Canada funds projects in China through the Canadian International Development Agency. Canadian recipients of CIDA funding provided through contribution agreements which mandate the beneficiaries to do work in China are required by China not to allow any Canadian citizen Falun Gong practitioners to participate in the work funded by the contribution agreement.

The Party attempts censorship abroad

The Chinese Government/Communist Party abroad uses its embassies staff to attempt to shut down speech critical of the human rights violations of the Government/Party. The effort is directed to public forums as well as media.

I have had a number of events and appointments cancelled at the last minute, around the world, when I was scheduled to speak to the killing of Falun Gong for their organs. With one exception, those who cancelled did not attribute the cancellation to a request from a Chinese consulate or embassy.

The exception was the Canadian television network the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which acknowledged that it pulled a documentary in November 2007 featuring the research David Kilgour and I did at the request of Chinese Government officials. The CBC then on its own revised the documentary over the objection of the producer Peter Rowe and broadcast the revised version.

More typical was what happened at San Francisco State University or Bond University in Brisbane Australia. In April 2008, I was scheduled to speak at San Francisco State University. The organizers of this event bought a display ad in the San Francisco Chronicle advertising the event. Shortly before the event, the University cancelled the venue.

The organizers rescheduled the event to a nearby hotel. The University put up signs saying the event, not just the venue, had been cancelled. The organizers had to place volunteers at the University to redirect people to the hotel.

I was scheduled to speak at Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia August 4th, 2008. The booking was made July 7th through a University staff person who said that everything had been cleared from superiors and that the University would notify all students and staff about the forum internally. The organizers of the event were allowed to put up posters around the campus promoting the event, which they did. On July 28, less than the week before the event, the organizers received an email that advising that the venue was no longer available. The Vice Chancellor, when phoned, said that, no matter what was said, he didn’t care and said that the decision was final.

Though those who cancelled would not normally say they did so on request of Chinese officials, many who did not cancel indicated that they had received a less than polite request from the Chinese embassy or consulate urging cancellation. An example is what happened in Israel.

At an organ transplant forum at which I spoke in May 2007 at Beilinson Hospital in Israel, I was told, when I arrived in Israel on the Sunday before the event, that the Chinese embassy had asked Israeli Foreign Affairs to cancel the event. The Foreign Affairs Assistant Deputy Minister Avi Nir and the Health Assistant Deputy Minister Boz Lev put the request to the Beilinson hosting hospital, which refused. Foreign Affairs and Health then asked the hospital to withdraw the invitation to me to speak even if the program continued. The hospital refused that too.

Foreign Affairs and Health then asked the hospital to withdraw the invitation to Roy Bar Ilan, a Falun Gong practitioner, to be part of the closing panel. This the hospital did, even though the program, as advertised even on the day of the event included his name.

On a trip to Australia, in August 2006, David Kilgour spoke on our report at a forum in Melbourne hosted by Liberal Party member Victor Perton. The Melbourne Chinese consulate sent a letter to all members of the Legislative Assembly asking them not to attend the forum.

Similarly, when I was in Finland in September 2006 meeting with the Finnish parliamentary human rights committee, their chair informed me that the Chinese embassy had called, urging them not to meet with me. The chair replied that embassy officials were welcome to meet separately with the committee, but that the committee would nonetheless meet with me.

Where events go ahead despite the best Chinese efforts to stop them, the Government of China tries to discourage people from attending them. Letters are sent from embassies and consulates to notables and dignitaries slandering the events, the Falun Gong and urging nonattendance.

One particularly sorry example of this censorship effort is the global Chinese government effort to undermine the touring dance spectacular sponsored by New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV). For instance, the Chinese embassy in Sweden called on city officials in Stockholm and Linkoping to cancel the venues for the Chinese dance spectaculars scheduled there for January 2008 because the performers had links to the Falun Gong.

A similar effort was successful in Seoul and Pusan South Korea. In 2007, two venues in Seoul, the National Theatre of Korea and the Convention and Exhibition Centre terminated their contracts with the dance company as the result of pressure from the Chinese embassy. A successful lawsuit against Convention and Exhibition Centre meant that the event was eventually performed at a later date. In 2008, the Korean Broadcasting Corporation theatre in Pusan behaved in a similar fashion, backing out of a contract for a dance performance after the Government of China protested.

A letter from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China to New York Assemblyman Michael Benjamin dated December 11, 2007 urges him not to support in any form the dance spectacular. Assemblyman Benjamin indicated he would attend the event regardless and made the letter public.

The Party uses fronts abroad

The Party does not always function in its own name or in the name of the Government of China. Sometimes it establishes innocuous seeming front organizations and uses these organizations to carry its message. These fronts are nominally independent from the government but in fact act as its agents.

Many universities have Chinese student organizations which are tightly connected to the local Chinese embassy or consulate. The Chinese government uses threats of exit visa denials and intimidation of the family back home to get students abroad to spy on their classmates and intimidate the Falun Gong.

I personally was witness to the activities of these groups in Columbia and Princeton Universities when I spoke there in April 2007. At Columbia, an organization titled the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association posted this threat on its web site “Anyone who offends China will be executed no matter how far away they are”. When I spoke there, a group came to the address with banners and red flags which security required them to leave outside. They nonetheless held up placards which said in Chinese and English that Falun Gong is an evil cult. I had obtained the email which they had used to bring their colleagues out and for my talk proceeded to read through it and react to it. Not liking what they were hearing, the group left my talk and the room en masse in mid stream. In Princeton, there was a similar gang protest, though this time the Chinese government agents were allowed to bring in posters which they held up at the back of the room.

The Chinese government also gives grants for universities to establish Confucius institutes. These institutes are supposedly for Chinese studies. But once established, they become spy outlets for the Chinese government and leverage on the university to attempt to ban Falun Gong activity.

The use to which a Confucius institute is put depends on the local embassy or consulate which grants the funds. But I have been to some universities which report that the ethnic Chinese staff of these institutes, once established, become targets of Chinese government officials seeking out information about Falun Gong activity on campus.

Tel Aviv University removed in 2008 an exhibit on Falun Gong meditation. Professor Yoav Ariel, a lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department, confirmed that he had ordered the exhibit removed because of a request by the Chinese embassy. Ariel said that the university must take into consideration its ties with Chinese universities, with which it conducts student exchanges. The University has had a Confucius Institute, endowed by the Government of China, since 2007.

The Party bullies abroad

The Party uses the political and economic weight of the Government of China to pursue its Party objectives abroad. The Party is a bully which throws the considerable weight of China around.

For instance, in a letter in March 2003 to Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Peterson, the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Canada “advised the Canadian government of the sensitivity of the issue [of the Falun Gong] in the overall bilateral relations [between Canada and China]”. In other words, sympathy to the plight of the Falun Gong would impact adversely on Canadian Chinese bilateral relations.

The Chinese consulate in Toronto wrote city councillors in 2004 urging them to oppose a motion for the proclamation of a Falun Gong week. The letters said: “If passed, the motion will have a very negative effect on our future beneficial exchanges and cooperation.” Among the “beneficial exchanges and cooperation” Toronto City Councillor Michael Walker heard mentioned were threatened were the sale of a Canadian made nuclear reactor, the CANDU, to China, the construction by the Canadian company Bombardier of a rail link to Tibet, and a two panda loan to the Metro Toronto zoo.

Businesses which advertise in the newspaper the Epoch Times report threatening telephone calls. So do businesses which serve as distribution depots for the newspaper, places where the newspaper can be picked up by customers.

The Epoch Times is a globally distributed newspaper which is general in nature but which has a focus on Chinese human rights violations. Many Falun Gong practitioners are involved in the paper.

The telephone calls slander the Falun Gong and warn the advertisers and distributers of a loss of business if they persist. For instance, a travel agent in England was warned that, if his agency continued to advertise in the Epoch Times, his agency would no longer be able to book flights on Chinese airlines. Though the callers do not identify themselves as Government of China representatives, only representatives of the Government of China would be in a position to utter such threats.

These threats have had an impact. The Epoch Times reported a drop off in advertising and distribution points after the calls began. In England, these calls were the subject of a complaint to the UK Foreign Office. However, the Foreign Office refused to take any action, claiming that there was insufficient proof that the calls were made.

The Party benefits abroad from those who work towards it

In some cases, individuals take their own initiatives in an attempt to meet the perceived wishes of the Government of China. These individuals work towards the Communist Party of China.

Outside of China, the obsession of the Chinese Communist Party over the Falun Gong is apparent and the level of its intervention both to propagandize against the Falun Gong and to block any attempts to expose their persecution is quite detailed. Nonetheless, it would be going too far to say that every bit of silence about Party led violations is the result of compliance with specific requests from the Government of China.

For instance, in Chinese studies departments at universities around the world, almost without exception, there are no courses, no research projects, no publications, no guest lectures on Falun Gong. There is a thunderous silence in China studies departments around the world about the persecution of the Falun Gong, despite the fact that this persecution tells us more about China than virtually anything else. In China studies departments, the Falun Gong is studiously ignored.

When universities ignore something so central to China, so obvious, it is not out of ignorance. It is rather out of a desire not to antagonize China. China scholars feel they need cooperation of the Government of China, at the very least to get visas to enter China, to pursue their work. In order to ensure that cooperation, they stay away from a subject the Government of China would not want them to consider. Scholars have enough integrity not to take the Chinese government line on the Falun Gong. But if they say anything else, Chinese officials hit the roof. To avoid that reaction, they say nothing.

Bilateral human rights dialogues with China are pointless

The predecessor to the UN Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Commission used to see presented, if not adopted, resolutions about the human rights situation in China. The Chinese government negotiated these resolutions away, offering bilateral human rights dialogue in exchange for abandonment of resolution proposals on human rights in China. All the proponents of the resolutions accepted this devil’s bargain.

The dialogues have now existed for many years. Canadian academic Charles Burton evaluated in April 2006 the Canada China bilateral dialogue at the request of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He reported that Chinese participants in the dialogues were low level officials who spent much of the time of the meetings just reading scripts, and what is more, the same scripts year after year. There was no obvious connection between these dialogues and what actually happened in China. Senior Chinese Communist officials resisted taking the dialogue seriously; they saw it as an affront to China’s national dignity for China to be made to answer to foreigners for domestic policy decisions.

Katrin Kinzelbach reached a similar conclusion for the European Union China human rights dialogue. She writes:
“Over the years, [Chinese officials] had become human rights dialogue professionals. . . . [T]he regular confidential talks behind closed doors had served as intensive training for a small number of Chinese officials on how to engage with – and effectively counter – human rights related inquiries, criticism and recommendations.”
The futility of this dialogue is underlined by the Falun Gong experience. Many foreign affairs officials in various governments with whom I have spoken over the years indicate that they regularly raise the persecution of Falun Gong in these dialogues to no avail. They report that their Chinese counterparts are either unresponsive or rude. The persecution of Falun Gong, as a result of these dialogues, has not lessened one bit.

The Party oscillates between charm and rudeness with the same result

The Communist Party/ Government of China responds to criticism in one of two ways. One is rudeness. The second is charm.

When the Party/ State is rude, critics are attacked personally and in detail. Logic is met with bafflegab. Hard evidence is met with cover-up and denial. The Party flies the flag of cultural relativism, that outsiders are trying to impose Western cultural standards on China. It engages in mock indignation, claiming interference in internal affairs.

That is the typical response the Party/ State gives to criticism of repression of the practice of the exercises Falun Gong. The repression itself is denied. But the denials are accompanied by such vituperation against Falun Gong that the responses in themselves are an incitement to repression, evidence that the repression exists.

When the Party/ State dons the disguise of charm, it says to its critics: you are right. We agree in principle. We will change. Give us time. Help us. You know more than we do. We do not have the technological knowhow. Come to China. Tell us what to do.

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. For the Communist Party of China, hypocrisy comes easy. Laws can change without varying the practice, since the Party controls the application of the law. The Party never applies the law against itself.

A charm offensive has been the typical response to the criticism that China has been harvesting organs from prisoners. As long as the words Falun Gong are not used and the critic restricts the criticism to sourcing of organs from prisoners, the response of the Party/State has been accommodating.

The difference between these two responses, rudeness and charm, is style, not substance. In neither case is there real change. These two responses are variations on the good cop bad cop routine.

Peer pressure works better on the Party than political pressure

The Party itself is mostly impervious to change from outside. Changing China means developing leverage on those inside China who can impress on the Party the need for change.

Peer pressure has turned out to be a more effective lever for change in organ transplant abuse in China than governmental or inter governmental pressure, because the Chinese transplant profession is more sensitive to the views of their colleagues abroad than the Chinese government is to the views of other governments or inter governmental agencies. One can understand why this is so.

Transplant professionals in China both learn and achieve status in their profession through contact with their colleagues abroad. Moreover, their connection with the Communist Party is a good deal more tenuous than those in the Government of China.

An article in the China Medical Tribune, an official medical publication available in Chinese. in China, reports on a press conference held by Huang Jiefu at the Chinese medical transplant congress in Hangzhou October 30th, 2014. The article refers to a number of foreign criticisms of Chinese organ transplant abuse.

Huang Jiefu told the China Medical Tribune that all the cited foreign sources are “nonsense”, “rumour”. He asserts “Over time, the truth will be restored”. He states “Justice may be late, but never absent.”

Why did Huang Jiefu feel the need on October 30, 2014 to make this point? The evidence of organ transplant abuse in China had, after all been accumulating for years. The China Medical Tribune article reports the refusal to allow 35 Chinese participants for ethical reasons to attend the World Transplant Congress in San Francisco in July 2014. It also notes that for the most recent Hangzhou transplant conference “many overseas transplant experts failed to attend”. A year before, in October 2013, the China Transplant Congress, also held in Hangzhou, had a raft of foreign expert attendees.

Many attendees to the 2014 Hangzhou conference were likely asking where all the overseas transplant experts were. Huang Jiefu must have felt compelled to say something to explain and counter their absence.

Those doctors who applied to attend and participate in the World Transplant Congress in San Francisco in July 2014 and were rejected, and their colleagues who knew they were applying to attend, also needed an explanation. The Communist Party may have felt that they could ignore the evidence of the killing of Falun Gong for their organs. However, they could not ignore the fact that Chinese transplant doctors were denied admission to an international transplant congress or that foreign transplant doctors who had come before to China were no longer coming.

Huang Jiefu is then complaining about the global rejection of his colleagues. That, he claims, is an injustice which will eventually be remedied. He parlays the global concern about killing of innocents for their organs into a complaint of ostracization where he and his colleagues, rather than those killed for their organs, become the victims. Though the Party was not willing to do anything to remedy the victimization of Falun Gong, transplant professionals in China were prepared to act to counter what they saw as their own victimization.

The Party refuses to account for the past

While the Party is more than happy to slough off the losers in internal power struggles with charges of corruption, there is no such thing as accountability for past misdeeds. Though a Party official may be convicted for this or that wrongdoing, what the Party itself has decided is never brought into question.

The Party changes, but never reforms. It just moves on to new abuses, and new ways of describing old abuses. There is no willingness to disclose and be held to account for the past.

The organ transplant field, which is as rife with Party led abuse as any, exemplifies this tendency. In one interview, Health Ministry Official Huang Jiefu is asked:
“Have you actually been involved in obtaining organs from executed prisoners?”
His answer is
“I hope that I can lead people to flip this page over as soon as possible and look at now.”
In the same interview he says:
“So, we shouldn’t always dwell in the past, always concerned about the page of death row inmates. Flip over the page and look at the future. … We should pay attention to the future, not the past.”
“Do not always look at the past embarrassing page, do not cling to the past.”

The best indicator for future abuse is impunity for past abuse. The notion that we can just ignore past crimes and all will be right is a denial of the human experience.

The Chinese Communist Party is not Chinese

The Chinese Communist Party likes to characterize its critics as anti-Chinese. Indeed, that is a primary form of criticism emanating from the Party about the work David Kilgour and I have done, that we are anti-Chinese.

Yet, there is nothing specifically Chinese about the Chinese Communist Party. Communism, on the contrary, is a Western ideological import. Its features I have set out here are the same as those of Communist parties of the old Soviet bloc or Cuba.

One reason, though not the only, the Falun Gong phenomenon so frightened the Chinese Communist Party is that Falun Gong is authentically Chinese and the Communist Party is not. Be that as it may, you can learn far more about the Communist Party of China by looking at the behaviour of its Soviet bloc counterparts than by studying Chinese culture and traditions.

Conclusion

Looking at the Chinese Communist Party from the perspective of the killing of Falun Gong for their organs means seeing the Party through a telescope. Everything becomes clearer. Features of the Party that would not otherwise be noticeable become unavoidable. The picture is not pretty. But someone who wants to understand China must stare the Communist Party of China in the face and see it for what it is.