SANTA MONICA, Calif.—More than two hundred Falun Gong practitioners and supporters held an annual rally on a high bluff overlooking a Southern California beach on July 17.
The event aimed to raise public awareness of the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, and participants called on residents and tourists to help stop atrocities that have persisted for 17 years, such as forced organ harvesting.
Growing National and International Support
UCLA Professor Wu Yingnian said that Falun Gong practitioners have been holding peaceful rallies to expose the persecution and dispel rumors against Falun Gong practitioners spread by the Chinese communist regime for 17 years. Over time they have gained more and more support.
On June 13, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 343 calling on the Chinese regime to stop forced organ harvesting, stop the 17-year persecution of Falun Gong, and release all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.
On July 13, more than half of the European Members of Parliament signed a written declaration, also calling for further investigations and actions to stop forced organ harvesting.
At the Sunday rally, Jan Eastgate, president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said her organization has been following psychiatric human rights abuses in China relating to the Falun Gong.
“I’m very passionate about it, because I’ve worked in this area for 36 years,” she said.
Eastgate wondered how psychiatrists in China, a signatory to the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, could get away with such crimes, with seemingly no accountability. At the same time, she said it would be easy to end such atrocities.
“It can do something about what’s happening currently,” she said. “It’s very simple. It’s just a decision not to abuse the Falun Gong or anybody who’s trying to help their countrymen or the country itself.”
Some Falun Gong practitioners who currently live in the Los Angeles area, who have endured violent persecution and were illegally detained in China, spoke during the rally about the torture they have suffered, including Chen Li Yan, Xu Aihua, Li Jun, Zhang Jin, Li Shuying, and Zheng Quan.
78-year-old Xu Aihua was paralyzed after being shocked by electric batons, and she still cannot walk to this day. Li Jun’s left ear was severely deformed, and his hearing was also damaged. Zhang Jin’s foot was fractured, and a joint was deformed.
Awakening the Conscience of Humanity
These firsthand accounts of torture and brainwashing alone have revealed the persecution in China to be brutal and merciless. Yet few could imagine the additional horror of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners for profit until it was first exposed in 2006.
During 2000 to 2004, the number of organ transplant surgeries in China sky-rocketed. Many hospitals advertised their capacity for such surgeries in multiple languages online. This was the period when the persecution of Falun Gong had reached its peak. From 1999 to 2002, thousands upon thousands of Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing or provincial capitals to appeal for an end to the persecution.
President of the Conscience Foundation Dr. Chen Shizhong said the wait time for organ transplants in America is typically several years. However, a website in China claimed that the wait time for liver transplants ranged from two weeks to two months, and that for kidneys it was from one week to one month. The websites also gave a detailed price list: $60,000 for a kidney, $100,000 for a liver, and $150,000 for a heart.
Gao Yadong, a resident in Los Angeles, was a nurse in China. She was detained four times because she didn’t give up practicing Falun Gong. She testified during the Sunday rally that during her fourth detention, she would have likely been the victim of organ harvesting in a detention center in Dalian city if the holding center had not already been too full of prisoners. She had been given blood tests and X-rays, which she knew could only be explained by the purpose of testing her tissue type and organ health.
Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been given such blood and other tests. Yet there is no database in China for patients who need organ transplants. Instead, there seems to exist a database of organ providers. Dr. Chen said, “What is this database for? If an American needs an organ, they will search the database for a match. If there is a match, that person’s organ will be harvested, and that person will be killed. This is organ transplant murder.”
David Tuckman, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) San Fernando Valley Chapter President, gave a supporting letter to the Falun Gong group.
“We in the UNA-USA join with you in solidarity this afternoon and raise our voices in support of the recent action by the House of Representatives, which formally expresses ‘concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.’ We applaud your commitment to end this flagrant abuse of human rights and hope there will come a day when your efforts are no longer necessary,” stated the letter.
Dr. Dana Churchill, the West Coast delegate for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH.org) said some American tourist organizations have revealed that organ transplant tourism to China is still happening.
The evidence for organ harvesting surfaced in March 2006, and now 10 years have passed. Dr. Chen said “Falun Gong practitioners defend the conscience and the core values of humanity. Endorsing and supporting them is defending ourselves.”