One of the calls the investigative callers made which we used for the reports and book David Kilgour and I authored was placed to the First Criminal Bureau of the Jinzhou Intermediate People’s Court. The call, dated May 23, 2006, had this exchange:
Investigator: Starting from 2001, we always [got] kidneys from young and healthy people who practice Falun Gong from detention centres and courts … I wonder if you still have such organs in your court right now?
Official: That depends on your qualifications … If you have good qualifications, we may still provide some … .
Investigator: Are we supposed to get them, or will you prepare for them?
Official: According to past experience, it is you that will come here to get them.
In September 2006, Wang Lijun received the Guanghua Science and Technology Foundation Innovation Special Contribution Award for his research and testing of this lethal injection method. In his acceptance speech, he talked about “thousands” of on site organ transplant cases from injected prisoners in which he and his staff participated. He said “to see someone being killed and to see this person’s organs being translated to several other person’s bodies is profoundly stirring,” a remark that would have been worthy of Josef Mengele.
Wang Lijun worked directly under Bo Xilai in Liaoning Province in 2003 and 2004. Bo in February 2004 went to Beijing where he became Minister of Commerce. While Minister of Commerce, Bo traveled around the world to promote international trade with China and investment into China. His traveling gave victims the opportunity to serve him with lawsuits for his role in the persecution of Falun Gong in Liaoning Province. Lawsuits commenced against him in thirteen different countries, including one in Canada in which I am acting as counsel.
The American Consulate in Shanghai wrote in December 2007 to the State Department in Washington: “Gu [Nanjing's Professor Gu] noted that Bo had been angling for promotion to Vice Premier. However, Premier Wen had argued against the promotion, citing the numerous lawsuits brought against Bo in Australia, Spain, Canada, England, the United States, and elsewhere by Falun Gong members. Wen successfully argued Bo’s significant negative international exposure made him an inappropriate candidate to represent China at an even higher international level.”
Bo became a member of the Politburo and went from Minister of Commerce in Beijing to Communist Party head of Chongqing in November 2007.
In 2008, shortly after Bo was moved from Beijing to Chongqing, Bo brought Wang Lijun from Liaoning Province. Wang held various positions in public security in Chongqing and in 2011 became deputy mayor of the city under Bo. Wang attempted his defection from that position in February this year.
Superficially, the attempted defection of Wang Lijun related only to the murder of British national Neil Heywood by Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai. However, as the remarks of Premier Wen Jiabao at the March Communist Party meeting indicated, there was more going on than that.
What happens in China behind closed doors at Communist Party meetings is, by its very nature, not a matter of verifiable public record. What could be seen though by anyone at this time was the lifting of censorship on the killing of Falun Gong for their organs.
In late March 2012, search results about organ transplants on the officially sanctioned Chinese search engine Baidu showed information about the work David Kilgour and I did, Bloody Harvest and the involvement of Wang Lijun in organ harvesting. There appeared to be an active attempt to discredit the Bo faction through disclosure of organ transplant abuse in which Bo was complicit.
The banning of Falun Gong and their killing for their organs are issues too big for the Party to handle easily.
The focus on the murder of Neil Heywood looks to be the work of President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping to minimize the scope of the dispute between the factions. The banning of Falun Gong and their killing for their organs are issues too big for the Party to handle easily.
President Hu and his successor Xi then, in the grab for places in the new Communist Party Standing Committee, were prepared to sacrifice Bo, but wanted to take Falun Gong and organ transplant abuse off the table. I suggest that those of us who are interested in ending organ transplant abuse in China should make every effort to prevent that from happening.
There may be a tendency to watch from the sidelines and speculate on what the future holds. We must not forget that, when it comes to human affairs, we hold the future in our hands. We do not need to sit idly by and predict the future. We can make the future. We should be making effort to fashion the future in a way that respects human rights.
The struggle to shape the new Standing Committee of the Communist Party shows that the Party is far from monolithic. Bo Xilai was moved from the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing to the City of Chongqing because of the lawsuits against him abroad. Foreign resistance to Chinese Communist Party oppression, when it is knowledgeable and directed, has an impact.
Killing innocents for their organs is a tragedy and a disgrace, a delegitimization of the whole Communist Chinese regime. Wen Jiabao used the killing of Falun Gong for their organs to discredit Bo Xilai. In reality, it discredits the whole Communist Party control over China.
Repressive regimes look stable because they are not threatened by elections. However, their repression is brittle. Each human rights tap on the hard shell of a repressive regime may seem to have little impact. The accumulation of these taps over time though leads to the shattering of the shell unpredictably, at any time, all at once.
That is the experience through which we lived with the apartheid regime in South Africa, communist tyranny over the Soviet Union, Soviet control of Eastern and Central Europe, and the national security states of Latin America. Yesterday they were there and looked impervious to change. Now they are gone.
Communist China awaits a similar fate. We can not be sure when it will happen. But we can help to make it happen, accelerate its happening. We should not stand idly by in the face of Chinese Communist Party atrocities, wringing our hands, hoping for the best, when we can actually do something to counter these atrocities.
The book State Organs that Torsten Trey and I have co-edited, which addresses organ transplant abuse in China and which has just been published, begins with a quote from Athenian ruler Solon from the 7th century B.C., almost three thousand years ago. He said: “When will we end injustice? When those who are not victims feel as much outrage as those who are?”
That is a universal truth. Not only will the concerns of outsiders have an impact on the evolution of events in China. Only when those outside China who are not victims of the communist regime show as much outrage at the crimes of the regime as the victims themselves will Communist Party oppression in China end.
This article is an edited version of remarks prepared for delivery at a public forum at the Koreana Hotel, Seoul Korea, October 31, 2012.
David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.