NEW YORK - Dr. Wenyi Wang has become somewhat of a household name in the past week since she broke with decorum and upbraided President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao during a ceremony on the White House lawn. She called out to Bush to stop the organ harvesting being conducted on Falun Gong detainees in China, and she warned Hu that his time for doing the right thing is running out. Wang was at the ceremony reporting for The Epoch Times newspaper.
Her breach of reporting protocol has landed her in hot water with her media peers as well as with the feds who have charged her with "intimidating a foreign dignitary". Dr. Wang asserts that it was a spontaneous act of conscience.
Many people in the world have now heard of the seven-year-long, ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong meditation group in China, but never before has the issue been thrust so prominently into the public sphere.
Dr. Wang spoke out to the world media from the Crown plaza Hotel in New York on Friday, in an attempt to clarify her motivation for her controversial act, and to offer more information about the ongoing organ harvesting operation.
"This is a life and death situation," said Wang, referring to the plight of the tens of thousands of Falun Gong detainees being warehoused for their organs. "They are being surgically cut into with minimal application of anesthesia and their organs are being cut out and sold. This is being done for profit by doctors who've all taken an oath to protect human life. This is being sanctioned by a government whose leader stood before me on the White house lawn."
She said that she had not planned to cause a disruption, but only to ask her questions of Hu and Bush as a reporter, but when she was told that there would be no questions taken from the press, she felt she had to speak out.
"People are being slaughtered for money every minute. Myself as a doctor, I've taken an oath to protect life. How could I not speak out at that moment?" asked Wang.
When questioned on the inappropriate nature of her behavior, Wang repeatedly stressed the urgency of the organ harvesting issue, and tried to explain the scope of the killing involved. She said that as a doctor familiar with organ transplantation she knows that in order for the Chinese doctors to be able to offer organ transplants virtually on demand they would need a huge supply of fresh organs to choose from when attempting to match blood and tissue type to that of the patient.
The typical wait for an organ is anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks and costs anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000. In contrast she pointed out that in the U.S., a person in need of a new kidney or liver could expect to wait anywhere from two to seven years.
Well known media analyst Danny Schechter, who has written a book and produced a film about the Falun Gong issue in China, weighed in on the response of Western media to Dr. Wang's actions. He made it clear that he was not commenting directly on the facts of the organ harvesting allegations. Rather, he questioned the reluctance of the major U.S. media to pursue investigations into the story.
"When we look at the press coverage of the event involving Wenyi—and there was a lot of it—there was very little investigation by these media of any of the issues of organ harvesting raised by Ms. Wang," said Shechter.
He added, "I'm a news dissector not an organ dissector and I haven't investigated the facts of this story, however neither have most of my colleagues in the media, and that is what I'm here to talk about."
He dismissed the criticism leveled at Dr. Wang that she violated her reporters' mores by "getting personally involved" with her story, saying that she did what she felt she had to do to call attention to a major issue that was being mostly ignored by the world.
Shechter insisted, "If she had to yell, if she had to screech to be heard—so be it, because no one was asking the questions politely, as one would expect or demand that they do."
First Hand Witnesses of Organ Harvesting
Also on hand at Friday's press conference were the two Chinese citizens who originally stepped forward and offered information about the organ harvesting to The Epoch Times.
Both are living in fear that the CCP regime will kill them or members of their families for revealing the sensitive information, so they go by the assumed names of 'Peter' and 'Annie.' Dark sunglasses hid their eyes as they told their stories.
Peter told the story of how he first came across the organ harvesting operation at the Sujiatun medical facility while investigating SARS in 2002. He was in the area doing interviews with medical professionals when they tipped him off to the situation at Sujiatun. With some of their help, he went undercover to Sujiatun to investigate the camp and found the horrific details of the organ harvesting operation.
When he first laid eyes on the chimney rising up from the crematorium ovens, his will was hardened to investigate and uncover the details of the operation no matter what the cost. And the cost to himself and his family has been quite high. He is now a man on the run from the Chinese government, separated from his loved ones, worried constantly about his safety and that of his family back in China. But his principals would not allow him to do nothing in the face of such unbelievable human rights abuses.
"It's hard to express just what sort of a chilling feeling I had upon seeing the chimney with this smoke just wafting out of it in big white puffs, it's hard to explain to one who was not there too see it. It was then that I made the decision to continue the investigation," said Peter.
From 2003 to 2006 he spent much time and effort on the investigation. Many doctors told him face-to-face of the organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners.
"It took me awhile to think and consider what it really means to harvest organs from live human beings, and then I came to realize how shocking and horrible the situation really was," he said.
He said that he tried to no avail to give the story to various news media both inside and outside of China—they would not report on it. He thinks that a lot of media do believe it is happening, but are afraid to report on it because of the severity of the issue. "I used to be a person with a normal, stable life," said Peter, explaining why he has risked everything to come to the United States and spread the facts about the organ harvesting, "but I have given that up and am now sitting in front of you my colleagues in the media, here in the United States, because I believe that it is here that there is the best chance that the information will get out and will motivate the US government to do something to this horrible situation."
Annie gave a heart wrenching account of how her husband's involvement with the organ harvesting slowly destroyed him and eventually their family, even landing her in the hospital with stab wounds. When her husband stopped playing along and performing the hated operations, an assassin was sent to knife him. Annie saved her husband's life by jumping in the attacker's way, receiving the knife wounds in his stead.
She relayed the story of the pivotal moment when her husband knew that he could no longer continue removing organs from Falun Gong practitioners.
She said, "They were cutting the clothes off of a female practitioner, preparing her for operation, when a small box fell from her shirt pocket. He opened the box and inside was a small Falun (Falun Dafa's symbol) emblem and a note. The note read: Happy birthday Momma."
While Annie was in the hospital recovering from the stab wounds, her husband filed for divorce. He felt it was the only way to protect her and their children.
Annie's story echoes the desperation mixed with determination expressed by Peter. She wanted everyone to know that before the Sujiatun issue, her family was loving and well-off. Her days were happy. She has now been stabbed, exiled, lost her husband, and fears being killed by the CCP.
"There will be no more bright days for me," said Annie, but none of this has shaken her determination to speak out about the horrors of organ harvesting in China.