The crime is appalling and beggars belief—prisoners of conscience in China are being cut up for their organs while still alive in a massive state-run operation.
Filmmakers who move past disbelief to action—interviews with researchers, eyewitnesses, doctors, and straight-talking politicians—have in recent years produced compelling documentaries on organ harvesting in China.
Millions of people in several countries around the world have since learned of the Chinese communist regime’s forced organ harvesting of tens of thousands of Uyghurs, Tibetans, house Christian, and Falun Gong prisoners of conscience from the documentaries in private screenings and on national television. The power narratives also have won recognition in the form of dozens of awards, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.
“Harvested Alive: Ten Years of Investigation” is the latest organ harvesting documentary to receive acclaim in winning the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards best foreign documentary feature category for January 2017.
Produced by Deerpark Productions and released in November 2016, “Harvested Alive” is a Chinese language documentary centered around the primary source research of organ harvesting by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a United States-based nongovernmental organization.
Wang Zhiyuan, the president of WOIPFG and a former aviation doctor in China, said in the film that he was shocked but skeptical of the first account of forced organ harvesting in 2006 by the wife of a Chinese doctor.
“It went beyond common sense,” Wang said. “This was too serious, and the scale too big.”
After discussions with other WOIPFG members, Wang decided that they should immediately start investigations “with an open mind” and without drawing any conclusions from their opinions.
For the next 10 years, Wang and the others scoured hospital and government websites, as well as media reports, for evidence of organ harvesting. They also made countless secretly recorded phone calls to Chinese hospitals, doctors, judges, and even top Chinese officials in the government and military.
Some Chinese doctors openly declared that Falun Gong practitioners were source of organs. A former top military health officer, Bai Shuzhong, was recorded declaring that former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin had ordered the organ harvesting of practitioners.
“At the time, it was Chairman Jiang. There was an instruction to start this thing, organ transplantation,” a voice that WOIPFG identified as that of Bai said in the recording played in the documentary. In videos online, Bai Shuzhong sounds identical to the voice in the recording.
Practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese meditation practice that involves physical exercises and teachings of “truthfulness, compassion, tolerance,” are being targeted by the Chinese regime for persecution since 1999, a decision of Jiang’s.
Inside detention centers and labor camps, practitioners are subjected to regular blood and cornea tests, the purpose of which to allow the regime to facilitate a national organ harvesting system where practitioners are killed to provide organs on demand, according to researchers of organ harvesting.
The slaughter of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs remains very much in action, researchers say.
An English subtitled version of the “Harvested Alive” is currently available for free viewing on the internet. The English language version of the film will premiere in Washington D.C. in March.