(by Julia Duin, WashingtonTimes.com) – China’s hidden policy of executing prisoners of the forbidden quasi-Buddhist group Falun Gong and harvesting their organs for worldwide sale has been expanded to include Tibetans, “house church” Christians and Muslim Uighurs, human rights activists said Monday.
In a news conference on Capitol Hill, several speakers, including attorney David Matas of B’nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said their investigations have unearthed a grisly trade in which an estimated 9,000 members of Falun Gong have been executed for their [organs]. …
The newest wrinkle, they said, is that organs from other religious prisoners – specifically dissidents from China’s Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist communities – are also being harvested to satisfy an insatiable global demand.
“These groups are useless to the state,” Mr. Gutmann said. “They are toxic, so you can’t release them. But they’re worth a great deal of money in terms of their organs.”
Organs from just one person can fetch a total of $100,000 on the worldwide market, he added.
The Falun Dafa Information Center issued at Monday’s news conference its annual report on China’s persecution of Falun Gong.
The charges of organ harvesting and its spread to other religious and ethnic groups were made by the researchers and activists based on their extensive interviews with former prisoners and families of prisoners, and based on analysis of statistics, including health numbers, released by the Chinese government.
Although the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners has been documented as early as 1992 by Chinese dissident Harry Wu’s Laogai Research Foundation, it was not until 2006 that the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong publication, accused the Chinese government of using its adherents for the practice.
In 2005, Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu acknowledged that 95 percent of all transplanted organs come from executions, said Mr. Matas, whose 2009 book “Bloody Harvest,” co-written with David Kilgour of Ottawa, a former member of the Canadian Parliament, details the practice.
“This is an abuse that can end,” Mr. Matas said. “The Chinese may feel it can abuse the Falun Gong to stay in power, but it doesn’t have to take their organs.”
Falun Gong is a highly visible Buddhist revival movement that had spread across class and educational lines throughout the 1990s. The Chinese government has banned it since 1999, denouncing it as a “dangerous cult.”
Founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, who now lives in the United States, it grew dramatically in only a few years. Its philosophies incorporate ideas from Buddhism and Taoism and include slow-motion meditative exercises on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Its estimated membership in China is more than 70 million. Mr. Gutmann said 450,000 to 1 million Falun Gong members are in prison at any given time.
When contacted Monday, Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, said, “The sheer lies of organ harvesting are nothing but Falun Gong’s propaganda tactics. …
In the past, Chinese government representatives have denied the allegations, saying the country abides by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs and require written voluntary consent from donors.
Still, in December 2006, the Australian government said it had abolished training programs for Chinese doctors in organ-transplant procedures in two hospitals and also banned joint research programs with China on organ transplantation. In early 2007, Israeli health insurance carriers stopped sending patients to China for transplants.
On March 16, the House of Representatives passed Resolution 605, urging the Chinese Communist Party to end its campaign against the Falun Gong and expressing “sympathy to Falun Gong practitioners and their family members who have suffered persecution, intimidation, imprisonment, torture and even death … because of adherence to their personal beliefs.”
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1. From what groups is the Chinese government executing religious prisoners to “harvest” and sell their organs?
2. How much money can the Chinese government make off of the sale of organs from one prisoner?
3. What evidence do researchers and activists provide to prove their accusation against the Chinese government?
4. What did the Chinese government admit to in 2005?
5. a) What is Falun Gong?
b) How has Chinese government spokesman Wang Baodong responded to the accusations about Falun Gong made by human rights activists?
6. In the more recent past, how have Chinese government representatives responded to the accusations about their practice of harvesting prisoners organs?
7. How have several governments around the world attempted to hinder the Chinese government’s practice of harvesting the organs of religious prisoners?
8. How would you explain the value we place on human life in the U.S. to a Chinese government official?