Seeking Clarity on the Crisis in China
WASHINGTON—The past four months in China have had an unusual amount of turmoil even for China, as China transitions to new leadership in the fall. We’ve seen a high-profile defection attempt at a U.S. Consulate by Wang Lijun, the ousting of a prominent Communist Party official, Bo Xilai, and the dramatic escape from house arrest and refuge taken in the U.S. Embassy of the blind rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng.
In order to make sense of these events and others, The Epoch Times sponsored a forum, July 19, on Capitol Hill. The participants sought to put the recent dramatic events in a larger context of tensions within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership. The panel endeavored to deepen the understanding of recent events by considering factors not normally discussed: the avoidance of accountability by CCP officials for egregious human rights violations.
The story of today’s events goes back to the decision to persecute Falun Gong made 13 years ago, said Matthew Robertson, China editor for the English-language edition of The Epoch Times.
When CCP leader Jiang Zemin decided to eliminate Falun Gong, which had 70 million to 100 million adherents, much of the Standing Committee of the Politburo would not endorse it. Jiang thought the campaign would be over in three months. But when the practitioners proved more resilient, he had to set up a separate power center within the Party—composed of officials who would execute the persecution and be loyal to him. This was the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC).
The PLAC’s power has grown immensely since it was formed. An ideological justification for its growth is the doctrine of Maintain Stability, said Yiyang Xia, is senior director of policy & research with the Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Law Foundation.
While the concept of maintaining stability began in the 1990s, it became a major focus of the PLAC’s work, Xia said. The PLAC cracks down on dissent and anyone the regime calls an enemy based on this doctrine. Ironically, its strong-arm tactics creates more instability, said Xia. But that suits the PLAC, Xia explained. “When more social unrest occurs, and more mass incidents happen, enforcers are able to ask for more funding, more personnel, and more power,” he said.
In addition to strengthening the PLAC, Jiang sought to hold power by creating a faction loyal to him. It’s understandable that the Jiang faction would not want to lose power and thereby become accountable for the persecution of Falun Gong.
“The crimes committed in persecuting Falun Gong will, once acknowledged, threaten the existence of the Communist Party,” Robertson said.
Once one understands the dynamic of this faction and its raison d’être, recent events appear less arbitrary and can be explained. Chongqing chief of police Wang Lijun fled to the American Consulate with information about a coup that Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang planned to spring after Xi Jinping became head of the CCP.
Robertson said the coup attempt was independently confirmed by Bill Gertz, a U.S. national reporter and by Epoch Times sources.
The media reports “infighting” in China. Robertson said that’s wrong and misleading. “This is not parliamentary maneuvering. It is deadly serious. Before this is over we may well see executions,” Robertson said.
“The removal of Bo is a crippling blow to the faction that Jiang formed to persecute Falun Gong,” Robertson observed. Without Bo to replace Zhou on the Standing Committee and as head of the PLAC, the power base that Jiang built to protect himself and his faction collapses.
The crime for which this faction most wants to avoid responsibility is the forced, live organ harvesting going on in China. Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai, and Zhou Yongkang were all heavily involved in organ harvesting operations.
Dr. Damon Noto, spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, said that during the period from 2001 to 2008, the number of transplants “exploded.” His group of concerned physicians was perplexed where the organs came from. He cited an example from a well-known surgeon in Israel, Dr. Jacob Lavee, whose patient was able to schedule a heart transplant in two weeks and received the organ at the appointed time. Former Vice President Dick Cheney had to wait 20 months, which was a little longer than the average of 6 months to a year, according to media reports.
“When Dr. Lavee investigated organ transplantation in China, he found to his horror that most of the transplanted organs are prisoners sentenced to death or prisoners of conscience, “whose death was timed for the convenience of the waiting recipient who could afford the cost of buying an organ,” says Dr. Levee in a chapter of a newly published book, State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China Dr. Noto held up a copy of this book in his hand. Dr. Lavee and colleagues were instrumental in getting a law passed in Israel that stopped the sending of Israeli patients for organ transplantation to China.”
Finally, in 2005, the regime admitted that most of the organs, as much as 95 percent, came from executed prisoners—”The only country in the world that allows the practice of organ harvesting from prisoners,” Noto said.
Still, the numbers didn’t add up, he said. In the United States, one needs 15 to 20 donors to find a match. For China to annually perform 10,000 transplants with organs drawn from random donors, as in the United States, would require 150,000 donors, he said.
David Kilgour, former Canadian secretary of state for Asia-Pacific (2002-2003), co-author with David Matas, of Bloody Harvest: the killing of Falun Gong for their organs, said that he spoke to a surgeon named Dr. Tan, who told him that eight different kidney transplants were required to get a proper match for an individual, a foreign organ tourist. Kilgour concluded that eight people were killed till the right match was found.
Noto came to the conclusion that “The majority of organs come from prisoners of conscience.” By far the largest group persecuted is the Falun Gong. The expansion in the number of China’s transplants coincides with the persecution that began in 1999.
“Last month we reported on phone calls made to top Communist Party leaders asking about the organ harvesting. None denied knowledge of the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners,” Robertson said.
Kilgour placed the problem China has as a lack of good governance that a genuine democracy could cure.
Kilgour called upon “governments of open societies and their private sectors” to examine why they are supporting violations of universal values “in order to increase trade and business with China.”
“A democratic China would not be killing Falun Gong citizens in forced labor camps,” he said.
Noto observed that Wang Lijun was rumored to have given information on organ harvesting to U.S. consular officials. He called upon the State Department to release any information it holds about the atrocity of forced, live organ harvesting.
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