Former Defense Minister’s Admission
In an October 2014 phone call from an undercover researcher working for the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong to Liang Guanglie, China’s former defense minister and head of its military General Staff Department, Liang is recorded admitting his knowledge of the Chinese military’s involvement in a murder-for-profit operation.
The investigator said he was inquiring about a statement made by Wang Lijun, the former vice-mayor and head of the Public Security Bureau in Chongqing. Wang is famous for fleeing to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu in February 2012 in an event that sparked the current anti-corruption campaign in China. Wang is also famous for having received an award for research this police chief had directed on organ transplant surgery, research that involved thousands of organ harvesting operations.
The investigator told Liang that Wang said he once cooperated with China’s military hospitals to research organ transplant surgery, and the people used as sources for the organs were imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.
During the recorded phone call with the undercover investigator, Liang first responded with caution. The investigator then asks, “Did you hear about this when you were the Chief of the General Staff?”
Liang replied, “Yes, I did,” adding “I am in charge of military work, not these logistics matters.”
Liang then said, when asked whether China’s troops were responsible for those providing the organs used for organ transplants, “I have heard of this thing.”
The investigator continued, asking whether the Central Military Commission—the Party organ that rules the military—discussed the forced organ transplants. Liang replied, “They discussed this matter.”
While short, Liang’s comments are telling. His mention of “logistics matters” was in reference to the Chinese military’s General Logistics Department, which operated alongside the department Liang once headed.
While Liang’s department is in charge of warfighting and runs many of China’s spy operations, the General Logistics Department controls the military hospitals—and researchers say it’s in those hospitals that one of the world’s most atrocious crimes is now taking place.
The General Logistics Department has built a national live organ bank in China, using blood samples from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, Epoch Times reported in August 2014. Supervisors in the military were given the power to arrest, detain, and execute anyone who tried leaking information about their crimes.
The General Staff Department headquarters, which Liang was in charge of from 2002 to 2007, took part by using its intelligence systems to block information about the organ harvesting from leaking out of China, according to the earlier report. The department heads China’s military hackers, its foreign spies, and agents involved in electronics intelligence.
Wang Zhiyuan, chairman of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) and a former doctor at a Chinese military air force hospital, said the new information gives additional evidence on the military’s role in the Chinese regime’s persecution against Falun Gong.
“Basically, the hospitals—the military health department—is managed by the General Logistics Department,” Wang said in a phone interview. “This work is carried out by the General Logistics Department.”
In an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television, Wang spelled out one implication of the involvement of the General Logistics Department and the knowledge the Central Military Commission had about the practice of organ harvesting: “This means that the live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners has not randomly happened, but is a national massacre carried out by the government and CCP authorities.”
According to Gutman, military doctors have often appeared in his own research into the Chinese regime’s system for forced organ harvesting.
“This has happened several times—in several cases where organs are being harvested and military doctors appear,” Gutman said, noting that in his own research “it became obvious the military centers were the main centers for this.”
Gutman said based on interviews he has conducted he has found at least seven military hospitals are involved in forced organ harvesting of China’s prisoners of conscience. He added, however, “that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” and noted that in addition to using Falun Gong practitioners, the Chinese regime’s systems for forced organ transplants also use Tibetans and Uyghurs as living sources.
The involvement of China’s military in the murder-for-profit scheme comes from a deeply rooted system that even China’s leaders have warned could become a cesspool for corruption.
From its inception, the CCP granted its military extra leeway to conduct business. Under the regime’s founder, Mao Zedong, the military dominated China’s agriculture sector, and played a large role in China’s industrial and political systems—although its business ventures were mainly limited to goods for the military itself.
The system changed after Mao’s death in 1976, when Deng Xiaoping came to power. Deng was known for opening China to foreign trade, and his relaxation of restrictions on business started with the Chinese regime’s military.
“He basically said you need to find ways to pull your weight,” Gutman said, referring to Deng’s role in China’s business-military complex.
The Chinese regime’s military businesses began by opening sales to the domestic market. It led to the creation of major state-run companies under its military including giants like China Poly (international trade and real estate) and China Xinxing (import and export, with 54 subsidiary companies), and to involvement in markets ranging from banks to farms, and from hotels to brothels.
It wasn’t until the early 90s that the Chinese regime’s leaders decided to start reining in the military’s business ventures.
According to a 2008 report from Dr. Gary Busch, publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations Ocnus, “The reforms were intended to keep management of PLA enterprises under the control of senior military leaders and prevent lower-ranking officers from becoming involved in the daily functioning of military companies.”
Then, in 1998, the system burst. The then-CCP leader, Jiang Zemin, called a meeting where he announced that “China’s military is no longer in business.”
At the time, according to the Hong Kong-based but Beijing-influenced Phoenix News, the People’s Liberation Army troops owned 70 car factories, close to 400 laboratories, and 1,500 hotels.
The announcement did not actually end the Chinese military’s alternative sources of income, however. Instead it merely changed how the military’s officers got their pockets stuffed.