When I speak to groups about the forced, live organ harvesting that is taking place in China, I am often asked, “How is this possible? Aren’t doctors in China educated about the Hippocratic oath and the principle of doing no harm?”
Yes, they are educated about how a doctor’s duty is to do no harm, but the atrocities continue nonetheless. In June in Boston, I met a Chinese doctor whose words help make clear how this could happen.
I was in Boston for the American Transplantation Conference (ATC) meetings this year. I was helping to host an informational booth for the organization Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) in the ATC exhibit hall. Three other doctors, all like me, originally from mainland China, were helping to staff the booth.
On the afternoon of June 4, Dr. Zhang Weihua and another doctor from the Tianjin City Oriental Transplant Hospital (affiliated with the First Tianjin Central Hospital) stopped by our booth.
After the two doctors looked through our materials, Dr. Zhang said to the four of us with DAFOH: “You are all doctors originally from China, so you know China used to rank 70th or 80th in transplant medicine. Now China has advanced to be No. 1 in the world. During this process, some people sacrificed their lives, but it’s okay and not a big deal.”
My heart and soul cried out when I heard his words, but for anyone like me, who grew up under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), his words, however heartbreaking, were not surprising.
The late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai once said, “Treat your enemy as cruel and heartless as the severe winter.”
From the Party’s standpoint, in order to eliminate any enemy or any people deemed to be the enemy, there should be no restriction on what means are used.
Nothing is higher than the Party.
In China, the Party instills in everyone that the Party’s dictates must be followed in all situations. Nothing is higher than the Party—not God, not individual conscience, not any idea of rights.
Communist youth organizations, the Chinese regime’s media and the propaganda it disseminates, and China’s arts all pound home the message that the Party is “great, glorious, and correct.”
Throughout the CCP’s history, it has periodically identified different groups to be targeted as enemies. Anything can be done to an enemy. Each time a group is targeted, the Chinese people are taught to fear the Party and to recognize that the only safe course in life is obedience.
Growing up in this Party culture, people take humiliating, torturing, and even killing as the norm as long as they can justify their actions from a political point of view
Those who practice Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) are the group the CCP has most recently targeted. This ancient spiritual practice was first taught to the public in 1992 in Changchun, in northeastern China. Falun Gong involves doing five meditative exercises and living according to teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Practitioners reported extraordinary improvements in their health and well-being, and the practice spread very rapidly by word of mouth throughout China. By 1999, there were more people practicing Falun Gong than were members of the CCP.
This scared then-CCP head Jiang Zemin and also aroused his jealousy. He hated Falun Gong for its popularity, and he feared the people of China would prefer its traditional moral teachings to communist ideology.
On July 20, 1999, Jiang launched a full-scale campaign to eradicate this practice from China.
Three months later, he issued an order to “destroy them [Falun Gong practitioners] physically, bankrupt them financially, and ruin their reputations.”
In April 2006, The Epoch Times broke the story that Falun Gong practitioners in detention were being used as donors for forced, live organ harvesting. Practitioners would be blood-tested and tissue-typed and then, when a patient presented who matched with a detained practitioner, the practitioner would be hauled into an operating room where the organs would be removed, killing the practitioner.
That Dr. Zhang practices at the Oriental Transplant Hospital is not surprising.
After The Epoch Times first started reporting on the forced organ harvesting, two Canadians, the former Canadian secretary of state (Asia-Pacific) and crown prosecutor David Kilgour and the international human rights lawyer David Matas investigated the allegations and found them to be true.
In their report, later published as the book Bloody Harvest, Kilgour and Matas provide screen shots from the Oriental Transplant Hospital website.
On one web page, the site posted a graph with a sharply ascending line showing the number of liver transplants done by the center. In the background appear the words “our achievements.”
The graph shows in 1998, the year before the persecution of Falun Gong started, that the hospital had done nine liver transplants, with the numbers increasing dramatically each year until it did 1,647 liver transplantations in 2005 alone.
The average wait time for a liver transplant was two weeks.
The website boasted that in 2005 the average wait time for a liver transplant was two weeks. The relevant pages are now offline although they were cached by Kilgour and Matas.
In the years 1971 to 2001, only 0.6 percent of organs came from family donors. Donation accounted for a negligible amount of the total number of organ donations.
Kilgour and Matas point out that China’s vice-minister of health, Huang Jiefu, had admitted in 2005 that 95 percent of the organs used in transplantation came from executed prisoners.
A look at the number of executions done in China each year, however, showed there were not nearly enough executions done each year to provide organs for the number of transplantations being done.
Kilgour and Matas found that in the years 2000–2005, 41,500 organ transplantations were done in China for which no organ source could be shown. They concluded the most likely source for the organs was Falun Gong practitioners.
They also point out what is immediately obvious to any transplantation doctor, that a two-week wait time is only possible if reverse tissue matching is done—that is, if living donors are kept on hand to match the patient. The wait times in countries outside China, all of which use conventional organ donation, are years long.
The Oriental Transplantation Hospital is notorious, but it is hardly alone. There are 500 hospitals in China doing kidney transplants and 200 doing liver transplants.
When Dr. Zhang stopped by our booth in Boston, he reflected the attitudes held by many doctors working at these hospitals: The murder of tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners is not a “big deal” next to the chance to give the Chinese regime the glory of being No. 1 in transplantation.
Of course, Dr. Zhang did not mention another important consideration: This taking of life is also easy to do because it is so profitable. A heart transplant earns Oriental Hospital US$180,000 (the average urban per capita income in China is approximately US$3,500), and all the staff involved, including the surgeons, benefit.
The Party culture helps explain why doctors can profit this way. Someone like Dr. Zhang is able to turn a human being into a commodity because his soul has been hardened and twisted by communist brainwashing.
Traditional Chinese civilization stands directly opposite to the CCP’s culture. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes the harmony of human beings with the universe and respect for one another.
By practicing truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, Falun Gong practitioners strengthen their kindness and learn to suppress selfishness, greed, and the desire for fame and power.
In targeting Falun Gong for eradication, the CCP has targeted the best of China’s traditional culture, which is also the fundamental alternative to the Party’s culture.
A political culture that encourages the plundering of organs violates our human nature and God’s will. It cannot be sustained.
Wenyi Wang graduated with an M.D. from Jilin Medical University in China and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Chicago and served as a resident physician of pathology at both the University of California in San Diego and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. She received the Human Rights Warrior’s award from Asian-Pacific Human Rights Watch in 2006 and is a member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.
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Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.