A flurry of reports have erupted in the western corporate owned media that are claiming that a murderous holocaust is taking place in China to supply human organs for transplants. On June 25th CNN carried a story titled, “Report: China still harvesting organs from prisoners at a massive scale”. This was followed by many other mainstream media outlets making similar allegations. On June 28th, the Independent ran an article titled, “China kills millions of innocent meditators for their organs, report finds”, with a subtitle further declaring, “Experts estimate between 60,000 and 100,000 prisoners of conscience are executed annually.”
The report these mainstream media stories are based on is called “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, an Update” which was written by supposed “experts” Ethan Guttmann, David Matas, and David Kilgour. That report claims, without any meaningful evidence, that the Chinese government has murdered 1.5 million “prisoners of conscience” to take their organs. The arguments presented by Guttmann, Matas, and Kilgour depend almost entirely on the discredited fabrications of the Falun Gong in combination with wild speculation and conjecture.
A typical summary from the western corporate media on who the Falun Gong are can be found in the following quote from a National Review article:
“Falun Gong is a religion or spiritual philosophy or ‘mind–body system.’ It has its roots in Buddhism and qigong (a relative of yoga). In other words, it is very Chinese — unlike Marxism-Leninism (and Maoism). Its leading tenets are ‘Truth, Compassion, Forbearance.””
It is interesting that a western backed religious and political movement in China can be declared more Chinese than Maoism which mobilized millions of Chinese workers and farmers in one of the most important social revolutions in world history. A revolution that, among other things, doubled life expectancy during Mao’s rule, brought major gains for women’s rights, increased literacy from a small privileged minority to the vast majority of the people, abolished slavery, brought rapid development, and before Deng Xiaoping’s market reforms brought universal socialized medicine, full employment, and a fully collectivized planned socialist economy where production went almost solely towards meeting human needs rather than profit. Yes, it was a revolution that suffered from a lack of legitimate workers’ democracy under bureaucratic control and bureaucratic privilege as well as what was at times brutal repression, but it was also truly a popular social revolution, fully rooted in China, that brought massive gains to the great majority of the Chinese people.
So what is the reality of this group for which the western media claims the pious virtues of “truth, compassion, and forbearance.” The Falun Gong are a religious and political cult that were established in 1992. They adopted the swastika as their symbol, supposedly as an ancient religious symbol, but also adopted a program that is extremely racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-science. Their cult leader, Li Hongzhi, teaches that each human race was created by a different god and that people of mixed race have no god to look after them and cannot make it into paradise. Li Hongzhi teaches that the half-breed “mongrel” is the plot of extra-terrestrials who have invaded Earth and who are plotting to take over the planet as fewer people have gods to look after them due to race-mixing. Besides desiring a ban on mixed marriages to save us from extra-terrestrials, the Falun Gong would also like to see a ban on abortion while calling advocacy of women’s liberation “degenerate”. Cult leader Li Hongzhi sees nothing wrong with ancient treatments of women that included foot binding and enslavement. Regarding homosexuality, Li Hongzhi teaches his followers, "Repulsive homosexual behavior meanwhile bespeaks of a filthy, deviant state of mind that lacks rationality.” Li Hongzhi also claims that he can fly, that extraterrestrials have invaded Earth, that he has regular roundtable meetings with Jesus, Allah, and Buddha, that the French have discovered a 2-billion-year-old nuclear reactor of an ancient civilization that practiced the Falun Gong religion, and that the Chinese government is killing his followers for their organs.
The Falun Gong were outlawed by the Chinese government in July 1999 after the Chinese government began to see their growing popularity as an increasing threat. This was seen both as a political threat to the Chinese government and a threat to Chinese science and modernization. Leading the Chinese Communist Party’s ideological campaign against the Falun Gong has been theoretical physicist He Zuoxiu. He uses a combination of arguments from the natural sciences and Marxism-Leninism to discredit the Falun Gong. Interestingly enough, He Zuoxiu is also in opposition to China’s market reforms, played a role in China’s development of defensive nuclear weapons in the 1960’s, and argues in favor of scientific medicine in opposition to traditional Chinese medicine. He Zuoxiu’s ideological offensive was combined with the Chinese government’s open repression against Falun Gong members. Despite the lies of CNN, however, none of the Chinese government’s repression against the Falun Gong includes the death penalty. Instead, arrested Falun Gong cult members are treated like drug attics and subjected to reeducation. Whatever criticisms one may level against these policies, this reality diverges sharply from western media claims of 100,000 people being executed for Falun Gong beliefs a year and their organs being harvested for profit.
Actual executions do occur in China and there has been a practice, at least in the past, of harvesting organs of the condemned to save the lives of people in need of organs. The Cornell Law School based research and advocacy group “Death Penalty Worldwide” estimated that there were 2,400 executions in China in 2014. That’s only 2.4% of the numbers claimed in the CNN article, and none were executed for being Falun Gong. The practice of harvesting organs from the condemned has saved lives, but a number of ethical questions tied to the practice have caused people to put pressure on China to end it. The Chinese government responded in 2014 with promises to phase out the practice of using organs from condemned prisoners and to take private interests out of the organ trade. While ethical questions can and should be raised both about the death penalty and harvesting organs of the condemned, practicing Falun Gong is in no way a capital offense. Therefore, none of this even remotely resembles the mass executions of hundreds of thousands of “innocent meditators” being claimed by the Falun Gong and their western propagandists in the mainstream media.
The report “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, an Update” presents as credible the Falun Gong story of the so-called “Sujiatun Concentration Camp”. The Falun Gong claim that the Chinese government carried out organ harvesting of their members at the so-called “Sujiatun Concentration Camp”. This is based on the testimony of “Annie”, a Falun Gong member who, according to the Falun Gong controlled website “Epoch Times”, was a site where her husband was a cerebral surgeon who removed corneas from victims. She claimed that large numbers of organs were being removed from victims at the site and sold in Thailand. Besides the extremely questionable nature of this source, the story itself is riddled with problems. For starters, why would a cerebral surgeon be removing corneas? Multiple inspections have also found that the Sujiatun site in question is simply a public hospital and is actually too small and primitive to carry out the kinds of operations “Annie” describes. In fact, it was due to this Epoch Times report that U.S. government officials toured the hospital and found no wrong doing. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang carried out two separate investigations which were the basis of a report released by the U.S. State Department that says that they "found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital." A supposed crematorium for the mass disposal of organ harvested bodies was exposed as a normal boiler room with no such capabilities.
Most of the claims made by Guttmann, Mattas, and Kilgour come directly from Falun Gong and the rest is just wild speculation. The discredited story told by “Annie” in the Epoch Times remains the bedrock of the horror stories being told by Guttmann, Mattas, and Kilgour. Guttmann has also come up with his own interviews of Falun Gong members who are former prisoners. Yet, despite the wild implications that Guttmann reads into these interviews, they really don’t reveal anything. All that comes to light is that medical examinations were allegedly conducted on Falun Gong members that weren’t fully understood. To extrapolate from this that these examinations, even if they did happen, were carried out for the purpose of potentially removing these people’s organs at some future date qualifies more as a stretch of the imagination than actual evidence.
Further speculation exists in the report that can only be seen as transparent fabrication based purely on conjecture. For instance, the report delves into the number of transplants in China and tries to use this as proof. Yet, everything in their conjecture is flawed. Yes, the US performs about 25,000 transplants per year. If all things were otherwise equal one could extrapolate from this that China, with a population approximately four times the U.S., would yield 100,000 transplants. Yet, all things are not equal. Chinese access to medical care is more limited than the United States due to Chinese market reforms that eliminated free universal access to socialized health care. So the situation of Chinese patients is similar to that of patients in India. In India only 2% of the 300,000 patients who need kidney and liver transplants receive them for a total of about 6,000 transplants. This would be similar to Chinese access, while populations of 1.3 billion Indians and 1.4 billion Chinese makes the Chinese government’s estimate of about 10,000 transplants a year sound about right. Not only does the report fabricate a number of 100,000 transplants out of thin air, they then use that number to speculate that the discrepancy is the result of massive organ theft from political prisoners with absolutely no real evidence to back up the accusation.
The only new piece of evidence found in the report are supposed phone calls to hospitals where people posing as potential transplant patients asked for Falun Gong organs. Supposedly these people got answers in the affirmative. Yet, everything about this smacks of potential fraud like the rightwing stings on Planned Parenthood and ACORN in the United States where edited footage was used to create the results intended. In this case, however, we have no real way of knowing that any of the alleged conversations were actually with any actual hospital staff. To understand the motives of these three authors in potentially creating these fabrications we can consider the regurgitated Falun Gong lies they have asked us to swallow combined with their absurd conjecture. This should be evidence enough of how dishonest these people are. Yet, delving into their backgrounds also shows these three authors to be paid agents of pro-war and pro-imperialist operations that have all the ear-marks of being front groups of the U.S. and Canadian governments. Their libelous work demonizing China then falls into a wider strategy of the U.S. government using a combination of anti-Chinese propaganda, capitalist economic engagement, multiple attempts to undermine Chinese international trade and investment, and military encirclement of China all as a combined means of undermining, confining, and destroying the remaining gains of the 1949 Chinese Revolution.
CNN simply identifies “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, an Update” author Ethan Guttmann as a “journalist”. Yet, among his other credentials, Guttmann is a member of a think tank called the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” (FDD). The FDD actively campaigns in favor of the so-called “War on Terror”, for the overthrow of Syria’s government, advocated and designed the sanctions against Iran, and supports Israel while opposing Palestinian rights. Besides working for the FDD, Guttmann is also an advisor for the CIA, a journalist for the far right Wall Street Journal, and the author of "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem” (2014) and "Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal" (2004).
Guttmann’s 2004 book “Losing China” is supposedly based on the three years he lived in China, but questions have been raised by at least one China observer in contact with this author of his actual acquaintance with Chinese culture. Apparently the book shows extreme ignorance that caused my contact to question the authenticity of all of the book’s claims. Anyway, on face value, Guttmann’s book is filled with disappointments. Disappointments of traveling to China to make money and being confronted with mutual corruption coming from U.S. corporations and officials of the Chinese Communist Party. Disappointment that the Chinese socialist system hasn't been fully dismantled with market reforms. Disappointment that the U.S. company Cisco Systems aided in the Chinese government’s repression against the Falun Gong. Disappointments that the Chinese people, rather than developing an admiration for the United States as they carried out market reforms, actually had strong anti-American feelings and were extremely angry at the U.S. bombing of Belgrade in 1999. That bombing, besides killing a lot of innocent people, targeted Yugoslavia’s industry and was a critical component of the U.S. government’s strategy used to eliminate Yugoslavia’s socialist economy. Chinese anger at the U.S. for such a crime was, in reality, justified. Likewise, unlike Guttmann’s fictional stories of the mass slaughter of innocents in China for organs, the U.S. bombing campaign of Belgrade produced a plethora of well documented innocent casualties.
Guttmann’s 2014 book “The Slaughter” is actually mostly about the source of his allegations, the Falun Gong. Interestingly enough he describes Falun Gong "as a set of exercises with a spiritual and ethical foundation" and states that the "Falun Gong, simply put, is a Buddhist revival movement." Obviously he is presenting the Falun Gong in a distorted manner that ignores the insanity and politically extremist views of the group in order to try to make the Falun Gong’s charges seem more credible and to make his audience more sympathetic. Once again, it is another act of obvious dishonesty.
CNN lists “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, an Update” co-author David Kilgour as a former Canadian lawmaker. That he was. He was a mainstream MP representing both the Liberal and Conservative parties at different times. Despite supposedly campaigning for human rights in China, he publicly abstained when given the opportunity to vote in favor of the right to same-sex-marriage in Canada, citing his religious convictions as his reason for opposing same-sex-marriage. He is also the co-chair of Friends of a Democratic Iran, an organization that backed the economic sanctions against Iran that hurt the civilian population. In addition, he is a director of the Council for a Community of Democracies, a Washington D.C. based organization established by Madelyn Albright in 1999 that openly interferes in countries like Cuba and Belarus in opposition to socialism. Madilyn Albright famously declared the price worth it when asked about U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq killing over half-a-million children. Kilgour has followed in her footsteps with his support of sanctions against Iran. For such ilk who can calmly support the massive loss of innocent children in pursuit of U.S. imperialist goals, surely the loss of the truth in pursuit of the U.S. propaganda goal of demonizing China would be no big deal.
Groups like the “Council for a Community of Democracies” and the “Foundation for the Defense of Democracies” are more than a little bit reminiscent of the many front groups the CIA has set up to fight against democracy, socialism, and freedom the world over. All of the names and activities of the organizations are reminiscent of the “National Endowment for Democracy” which is openly a CIA front funded by the U.S. government. The third author of “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, an Update” is no other than David Matas, who since 1997 was the director of the “International Centre for Human Rights & Democratic Development”, an organization directly funded by the Canadian government that repeatedly pretended to be a nongovernmental organization.
CNN simply identifies David Matas as “a human rights lawyer” without mention of him being a paid agent of the Canadian government. Yet, far from supporting human rights, David Matas opposed the appointment of Professor Christine Chinkin onto the investigative board that would eventually produce the Goldman Report on the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza in 2008-2009. His argument against her was that she was biased due to stating previously that Hamas missiles, as bad as they were, could not be seen as a justification for Israel carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people. No authentic “human rights lawyer” would have any problem with Chinkin’s opposition to collective punishment against an entire people for the crimes of a few as Matas does. In reality, Matas has zero credentials as a supposed “human rights lawyer” and CNN should have, if they were being honest, instead identified him as a paid agent of the Canadian government.
While it is impossible to prove a negative, all evidence suggests that Falun Gong members, while being jailed for their outlawed beliefs and political activities, are not being executed for their organs. Instead, these accusations are being promoted by radically racist, sexist, and homophobic religious extremists with no connection to reality. Those accusations have since been amplified by pro-war and pro-imperialist scoundrels in the west who are, at least in part, on government pay-rolls. And now, after many attempts to elevate these unsubstantiated claims to credibility, supposed news organizations like CNN and The Independent have now bitten into these obvious fabrications hook-line-and-sinker. There is something extremely sinister in the western media’s devaluation of the most ancient continuous civilization in the world into a bunch of organ thieving ghouls. China is a country that has advanced rapidly through social revolution. Despite market reforms, a quarter of the economy remains socially owned and this includes some of the most critical sectors. As a result, the Chinese people enjoy rapid economic development and a system that has been able to greatly reduce its carbon footprint in a rapid manner in the past few years. Likewise, it is a country with a high literacy rate and advanced science and culture due in the large part to their communist revolution.
The western media’s dishonest portrayal of the Chinese carrying out a genocide to steal organs is, in fact, all part of a wider western propaganda ploy. This subterfuge is meant to justify all potential U.S. sponsored counterrevolution in China as well as to make legitimate the continuous economic and military escalations of the U.S. government against China through military encirclement, the TPP, the economic blockades of Nepal and North Korea, arming Vietnam, undermining Chinese defense by challenging Chinese control of Chinese islands, arming Taiwan, and carrying out joint military maneuvers with U.S., Japanese, and South Korean forces that at times even violate Chinese territory.
While the genocide claimed by the Falun Gong is a myth, there are of course still major ethical problems with executions anywhere they are carried out, including China. Just as the U.S. government has executed many innocent people, including the racist legal lynching of Troy Davis and the executions of political dissidents like Sacco and Vanzetti, the Haymarket martyrs, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, likewise a controversy has erupted in China over the execution of an innocent man. Huugjilt, an 18-year-old man, was executed in 1996 for the murder of a woman. It was later found that a different person, a serial rapist and murderer who confessed, had actually committed the crime for which Huugjilt was executed. In response, post-execution, Huugjilt was exonerated, twenty-seven officials were found guilty and punished for their mistakes in Huugjilt’s case, and his parents were paid 2 million yuan ($320,000) in compensation. Still, no exoneration or compensation can free Huugjilt from the grave.
It is the finality of execution that makes the death penalty barbaric and usually unjustified. This author does make exceptions of its use by the people as a tool of revolutionary insurrection or by revolutionary governments during extreme situations like answering a counterrevolutionary war. Situations where revolutionaries don’t always have the resources or ability to take prisoners. Yet, the People’s Republic of China is a relatively stable country with no real excuse for its continued use of the death penalty, not even against alleged rapists and murders. In such cases, sentences of life in prison are far more appropriate because they can be, at least in part, reversed when mistakes are made. Of course nobody can give back time served, but at least an exonerated prisoner who is not dead can be set free.
Still, regarding these punishments, China is different from the United States in several ways. Unlike the United States where the legal system and death penalty was born as a weapon of terror for the preservation of white supremacy and slavery and continues to protect only the wealthy, the Chinese legal system was born out of the abolition of capitalism, landlordism, and imperialist control throughout China as well as out of the abolition of chattel and feudal slavery in the most backward regions like Tibet and Uyghuristan. Despite some pretty big backsliding with market reforms, this is a legal system unlike the United States. While in the U.S. wealthy banksters and other capitalists generally get away with massive white collar crimes that rob working class people and cause deaths, these kinds of crimes can get one executed in China. For instance, Zheng Xiaoyu was executed in 2007 for accepting bribes that allowed unsafe drugs to make it to the public that killed people. In the U.S., this is simply standard operating procedure with no real punishment. Class action suits are filed, companies pay out to the victims far less than they made from the drug, and corrupt government officials continue to maintain lucrative connections with the companies they supposedly regulate. There is no question that a deterrent is attached to such a penalty for white collar crimes in China, but the potential for mistakes and abuse causes this author to advocate the abolition of the death penalty everywhere, including China. While I do defend the remaining gains of the Chinese revolution from imperialist attack and internal capitalist counterrevolution, I also consider the use of the death penalty to largely be a barbaric practice that the world and China would generally be better off without.
Yet, criticizing the Chinese and U.S. governments for the actual executions they carry out is far different than a recent statement by U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who declared the Chinese government's "ghoulish and inhumane practice of robbing individuals of their freedom, throwing them in labor camps or prisons, and then executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants is beyond the pale of comprehension and must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally."
Her allegations come directly from Matas and Guttmann who testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 23rd. Their testimony can be seen as another act of modern atrocity propaganda similar to Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ who gave false testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990 claiming that Saddam Hussein was killing little premature babies in Kuwait by stealing their incubators. At the time, the story was even corroborated by Amnesty International, but it was later revealed that the whole thing was simply a lie concocted by the Kuwaiti monarchy used to convince the American people of the humanitarian need to go to war against Iraq.
While the Falun Gong are in fact imprisoned for their beliefs, they are not in reality executed for them. Nor is the Chinese government simply cracking down on a “meditators”, they are in fact cracking down on a western backed counterrevolutionary movement of the extreme right. During the almost daily Falun Gong demonstrations in Beijing in 2000, the imperialist mouth piece the Wall Street Journal declared with excitement on April 20th, 2000 that the “Falun Gong faithful have mustered what is arguably the most sustained challenge to authority in 50 years of Communist rule.”
Some have compared this Falun Gong religious revivalist movement to the Boxer rebellion of 1900. It is an interesting comparison. Both Li Hongzhi and the Boxers believe(d) in the magical power of qigong exercises. The Boxers actually believed qigong could make them bullet proof. Yet, while the Falun Gong are a tool of western imperialism, the Boxer Rebellion was against the imperialist powers that were partitioning China. As Lenin wrote:
“… the European governments have already started the partition of China … They have begun to rob China as ghouls rob corpses and when the seeming corpse attempted to resist, they flung themselves upon it like savage beasts, burning down whole villages, shooting, bayoneting and drowning in the Amur River unarmed inhabitants, their wives and their children. And all these Christian exploits are accompanied by howls against the Chinese barbarians who dared to raise their hands against the civilized Europeans.”
Today, western propaganda continues to portray the Chinese as the most brutal of barbarians with the lie that China has executed 1.5 million people for their organs. Likewise, they are using the far right religious movement that first raised this false accusation as a force to help drive capitalist counterrevolution in China itself. While the Democrats and Republicans alike demonize China, the Chinese won their independence from imperialism in 1949 and China today has the right to defend itself from all internal and external counterrevolutionary forces. As Mao Tse-tung asked of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion:
“Was it the Boxers, organized by the Chinese people that went to stage rebellion in the Imperialist countries of Europe and America and in Imperialist Japan and 'commit murder and arson'? Or was it the Imperialist countries that invaded our country to oppress and exploit the Chinese people .... This is a major question of right and wrong which must be argued out.”
It is a duty to combat the dishonest Sinophobia that dominates mainstream political discourse in the west while opposing all imperialist intervention against China.