NEW YORK—Harry Wu, head of the China Information Centre, has made a number of statements attacking and undermining reports that Falun Gong practitioners have been targeted for organ harvesting by the Chinese authorities. He has actively approached the media and members of US Congress to persuade them the allegations are fraudulent and has even accused Falun Gong practitioners of fabricating the story, even though the initial witnesses and investigators of this atrocity are not Falun Gong practitioners.
The Falun Dafa Information Center feels it is time to respond to Mr. Wu's actions so the public can discern the facts for themselves.
We acknowledge the work that Mr. Wu has done over the years in exposing many of the atrocities in China. It was Mr. Wu himself who, years ago, was instrumental in bringing to light the PRC's gruesome policy of harvesting organs from death row inmates. Of course, even petty thieves can be sentenced to death in the PRC, let alone political prisoners.
In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced its aim to “eradicate Falun Gong at any cost.” Now, with the lucrative organ harvesting trade already in place, the witnesses' claims, shocking as they would seem under different circumstances, only confirmed our greatest fears. After all, the Chinese regime considers Falun Gong its No. 1 enemy, and practitioners are treated as non-persons who can be tortured and murdered with no consequence. In recent years, tens of thousands of these innocent men and women have been locked in labor camps and not allowed any contact with the outside world or have simply gone missing.
Given such a background, these shocking claims—of organs being harvested from a readily accessible supply of captive, healthy people who practice Falun Gong—are not only believable, but also paint a picture that is highly probable.
Our reaction to the witness accounts was to immediately call for help from the US government and international agencies and to call for an investigation. We were thus shocked and puzzled to hear that Mr. Wu had taken it upon himself to write a secret letter to certain members of Congress undermining our efforts before he had a chance to speak with us or meet with the witnesses. If he truly felt it was a “greater expression of sympathy and support to keep them [Falun Gong] from straying too far from the facts” as he claims, why try to keep the letter hidden from us?
In fact, Mr. Wu already seemed intent on refuting the allegations before he fully understood the situation. His March 21, 2006 letter to members of Congress stated that news of a concentration camp in Sujiatun was fabricated, and that his position was based on “first hand investigations conducted.” Yet, in a later statement he says his “team” did not investigate the hospital in Sujiatun until March 27. The witnesses saw Mr. Wu's disposition as hostile and refused to meet with him under such circumstances.
It should be noted that where Mr. Wu failed to find evidence, others have found plenty. Most notable are independent investigators David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia Pacific. In their 140-page report (http://investigation.go.saveinter.net), they state:
We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners… Our conclusion comes not from any one single item of evidence, but rather the piecing together of all the evidence we have considered. Each portion of the evidence we have considered is, in itself, verifiable and, in most cases, incontestable. Put together, they paint a damning whole picture.
Regarding the fact that journalists and diplomats visited Sujiatun weeks after the initial reports surfaced and found no evidence that the site was being used for organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, Matas and Kilgour considered the findings of such show-tours insignificant: “We would not have expected these visitors to find anything… An operation leaves no trace in an operating room after it is completed. Operating rooms are cleaned up, sanitized, made antiseptic after each and every operation.” Instead, Matas and Kilgour highlighted a series of telephone interviews with medical staff from hospitals across 10 provinces in China. During the interviews, these staff members openly admit that organs used in transplant operations at their hospitals come from Falun Gong practitioners.
With all due respect to Mr. Wu's many accomplishments and the difficult time he spent while imprisoned in the laogai 20 years ago, things have evolved in often terrifying ways since then. He assumes many things are not feasible or are false just because, perhaps, he himself did not experience them decades ago.
In many ways the labor camp system's operations have become more covert in recent years. How could Mr. Wu know which new torture method is promoted among the prison guards today? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China are living this reality today and every day. They are, sadly, the real experts.
Mr. Wu says there are no facilities that can hold over 1,000 prisoners or detainees either in Sujiatun or its vicinity. China is a big place. If authorities want to hide more than 1,000 people from external investigators, they can. By now Mr. Wu should know about the expansive network of hidden tunnels and thousands of acres of underground facilities in Shenyang. Even Chinese state-run media has widely reported on them.
In another instance, Mr. Wu finds the idea of 4,500 live organ extractions carried out over three years to be “impossible in theory and unfeasible in practice.” Given the fact that these victims are to be cremated afterwards anyway, medical doctors have said it is now possible to remove organs quickly enough (some in 20 minutes) to reach this figure.
Throughout his career, Mr. Wu has shown how the Chinese regime does not follow rules or laws in treating labor camp prisoners. It is, therefore, surprising to see Mr. Wu now assume that the Chinese penal system, including hospitals closely tied to labor camps, strictly follows the rules of “organ transplantation” when dealing with Falun Gong detainees.
As a result of Mr. Wu's attempts to discredit the witness reports, some members of Congress have chosen to dismiss this humanitarian issue when they could put real pressure on the regime to end such atrocities. Whose interests, then, is Mr. Wu really serving with his campaign? Whatever his intentions, it is clear his actions have not been constructive. We urge him to reconsider his approach and instead continue to contribute his valuable lifetime knowledge to exposing the crimes of the CCP.
The witness reports are horrifying, and in a way, we all wish they weren't true. But when a Chinese surgeon cheerfully tells a potential transplant customer they have a supply of livers from Falun Gong practitioners, from living bodies, what are we to conclude? How should we, as human beings and members of the international community, react to this kind of information? For the CCP to hold spiritual practitioners in camps like livestock until it is time to slaughter them for their organs is an evil greater than we can imagine. If it is one day fully revealed, this is an issue that could shake our humanity to the core.