A Most Devastating Cover-Up: The 17-Year Persecution of Falun Gong and Forced Organ Harvesting

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Because of the tight censorship of the communist regime in China, the persecution of Falun Gong, particularly the crime of forced organ harvesting from these prisoners of conscience, has become one of the most tragic cover-ups by the Chinese communist regime.

As more evidence of these crimes emerges, the seventeen-year persecution has become all too reminiscent of the Nazi slaughters, which humanity vowed to ensure would happen “never again.”
How the Persecution of Falun Gong Began

Seventeen years ago, on July 20, 1999, the then head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin, and his clique launched the persecution of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is an ancient Chinese practice for improving mind and body with teachings based on the core principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. After its public introduction in 1992, the practice spread rapidly by word of mouth, and the number of practitioners reached 100 million in China within a few years.

However, the CCP and Jiang Zemin were scared by the rapid growth of the group, which exceeded the number of official Party members. People who are familiar with the history of the CCP know that the Party has always tried to maintain the control of everything in the nation. Out of fear and jealousy, Jiang launched the persecution, which has reached every corner of Chinese society, from individual practitioners to their families and to their workplaces and communities.

The overwhelming propaganda slandered Falun Gong, and incited hatred towards the peaceful group. The propaganda even found its way into overseas media, and deceived many people worldwide.

Forced Organ Harvesting, Mounting Evidence
Firsthand accounts of torture and brainwashing revealed the persecution to be brutal and merciless. Still, few could have imagined the evilness of the state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners for profit until it was first exposed in 2006.

During 2000 to 2004, the number of organ transplant surgeries in China sky-rocketed. Many hospitals advertised their capacities for such surgeries in multiple languages.

For example, the International Organ Transplant Center at the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medicine University in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province had put out the answers on their website to Frequently Asked Questions by overseas patients, which mentioned several times “kidneys from living bodies.” The website claimed that the wait time for liver transplants ranged from one to two months, and that for kidneys it was from one week to one month. The website also gave detailed price list: $60K for kidney, $100K for liver, and $150K for heart and lung.

According to the official website of Shen Zhongyang, the director of Oriental Organ Transplant Centre that is associated with the First Hospital in Tianjin City, Shen has conducted more than 1600 liver transplant surgeries up to March 2005.

According to an article in Fenghuang Weekly in 2006 (a Hong Kong media), the price for liver transplant at the Oriental Organ Transplant Centre in 2004 was $32K and increased to $40K in 2005. Southern Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumo, a Chinese media) reported in July 2007 that the centre had reaped huge profits from such surgeries.

The forced organ harvesting operation has been closely related to the hospitals in the military and armed police force systems, which have also been a major driving force in the persecution of Falun Gong.

The president of the Second Military Medical School and the minister of the military health department Zhang Yanling said publicly in December 2008: “There were only three military hospitals in 1978 that were able to conduct organ transplant surgeries. In 2008, there are 40 that can operate transplants of liver, kidney, heart, lung, and multiple organ combined surgeries.”

Many Chinese academic journals have published articles on organ transplant cases from the military and armed police force hospitals. However, none of these papers mentioned where the organs came from.

The director of the Chinese Organ Transplant Association Chen Shi said, “Up to December 2005, the total number of organ transplants in China has reached 85,000.” “Since 2002, the field has rapidly increased. More than 10,000 surgeries were conducted each year, and in 2005, the number reached 12,000.”

In March 2010, He Xiaoshun the deputy director of Zhongshan First Hospital said in an interview by Southern Weekend: “The year of 2000 was a turning point in this field. The number of organ transplants in 2000 was 10-fold higher than in 1999. In 2005, this number increased another three fold.”

The Chinese government admitted in 2005 that the main organ source was death row inmates. However, according to the report by Minghui website “Minghui Human Rights Report: Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered in China for Their Organs," the number of Chinese death row inmates has been far below the rapidly increased number of organ transplants.

So, how did the number of transplants sky-rocket from 2000 to 2005? What happened during this period? This was the period when the persecution of Falun Gong had reached its peak. From 1999 to 2002, thousands upon thousands of Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing or provincial capitals to appeal against the persecution.

However, most of them were arrested. To avoid getting their families or workplaces involved, many of them refused to tell their real names in the detention centres. Many of those who didn't give their real names have disappeared since their arrest. Nobody has had contact with them. It is now suspected that they became victims of forced organ harvesting.

Worldwide Condemnation
Due to Falun Gong practitioners' global efforts to expose organ harvesting in China, many governments, organizations, and citizens have stood up against this crime.

More recently, on June 13, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 343 calling on the Chinese government to stop forced organ harvesting, stop the 17-year persecution of Falun Gong, and release all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. The resolution also calls for more independent and reliable investigations of the Chinese organ transplant system.

On July 13, more than half of the European Members of Parliament signed a Written Declaration, also calling for further investigations and actions to stop forced organ harvesting.

The End Is In Sight
The persecution has been doomed to fail from the very beginning. Many followers of Jiang Zemin, who were high-ranking officials, have been arrested for crimes of corruption. And more and more people in China and overseas have come to understand the real situation behind the persecution and what Falun Gong is about.

When the persecution finally ends, all the evidence of the crimes in the persecution will be used to bring the perpetrators to justice. Falun Gong practitioners who have lost their lives for upholding their belief will forever be remembered.

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