Going Digital: A Documentary That Asks What’s Hard to Believe About Forced Live Organ Harvesting

August 11, 2016 Updated: September 7, 2016

A crime this horrific almost defies belief—a state-sponsored harvesting of organs from still-living prisoners of conscience, killing them in the process.

Ken Stone, a two-time Emmy award-winner, had virtually no knowledge of the Chinese spiritual practice Falun Gong. He was also initially skeptical of the news that Falun Gong practitioners were targeted by the Chinese authorities for organ harvesting.

Hard to Believe director Ken Stone. (Courtesy of Kay Rubacek)
Hard to Believe director Ken Stone. (Courtesy of Kay Rubacek)

But Stone soon realized he had stumbled on a gruesome murder mystery that hardly anyone was taking note of.

“The story I wanted to tell was why no one was paying attention,” Stone said in a statement. “It reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., writing about the civil rights era in the United States: ‘History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.'”

After more than sixty screenings worldwide, broadcasts on PBS Television, and winning numerous film awards, the 2015 documentary film “Hard To Believe” is now available in digital format.

College educators are now adding “Hard To Believe” to their teaching resources. Lance F. Howard, a Senior Lecturer of Geography at Clemson University said: “I have shown shocking documentaries about human rights abuses in my World Geography classes before, but what I liked about ‘Hard to Believe’ is that it addresses the shock itself, and the fact that it is so hard to believe that we don’t want to tell anyone about it.  

“My students were riveted to their seats until the end,” Howard said, according to a press release.

Screening of the documentary "Hard to Believe" at Clemson University in South Carolina on Nov. 16, 2015. (Courtesy of Clemson University Falun Dafa club)
Screening of the documentary “Hard to Believe” at Clemson University in South Carolina on Nov. 16, 2015. (Courtesy of Clemson University Falun Dafa club)

The film was also included in the Global Bioethics Initiative Summer School Program at the New York Society of Ethics.

“‘Hard to Believe’ showed us how it is not difficult for healthcare professionals to be involved in something that is unethical and not realize it until later,” said Esma Paljevic, an assistant professor at Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing, according to a press release.

The film “gives us moment to pause and be sure we look at the big picture and be able to defend the vulnerable and underserved populations of the world.”

Director Ken Stone said: “One of the lessons from ‘Hard to Believe’ is that so many good people—so many of us—haven’t just been silent, we haven’t even paid attention. I hope this film prompts a few more people to do so.”