Falun Gong in the News: Olympic Prisoners, Organ Transplants, U.S. Statement

  • Wall Street Journal: China’s Olympic Prisoners (August 9, 2016)
  • The Epoch Times: US Officials to China: Let Long-Suffering Falun Gong Practitioner Meet Family in America (Aug. 11, 2016)
  • The Australian: China’s organ harvest furore (Aug. 24, 2016)
  • The Epoch Times: Ending Organ Tourism to China (Aug. 29, 2016)
  • The Independent (Singapore): Falun Gong’s Resilience for Survival (Aug. 30, 2016)
  • The Diplomat: China’s Latest Crackdown Is Not Its Worst (Sept. 8, 2016)
Wall Street Journal: China’s Olympic Prisoners (August 9, 2016)
“From a statement issued Friday, as the Olympics opened in Brazil, by the Falun Dafa Information Center in New York:
Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and their families in China are living with the aftermath of a Communist Party crackdown ahead of the 2008 sporting event. At least 150 people detained at the time are believed to still be imprisoned, according to a list compiled by the Falun Dafa Information Center.
“These innocent Chinese people were abducted in advance of the 2008 Olympics simply because they practice Falun Gong. Today, they continue to languish in prisons across China,” says Levi Browde, Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. . . .” (full story)
The Epoch Times: US Officials to China: Let Long-Suffering Falun Gong Practitioner Meet Family in America (Aug. 11, 2016)
The United States is calling on the Chinese communist regime to restore traveling privileges to a longtime political prisoner Wang Zhiwen so that he may leave China and visit his family in America.
[After 15 years in prison], Earlier this year, Wang obtained a Chinese passport and a visa from American consular authorities. However, when he tried to leave China to visit the U.S. on Aug. 6 with his daughter and son-in-law, the Chinese airport authorities cancelled his passport.
Tina Mufford, a Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal agency, said, “After wrongful imprisonment and house arrest, Zhiwen deserves to be with his family, and if that means traveling outside of China, then he should be afforded every opportunity to do so. It is within the Chinese government’s power to reunite Zhiwen with his family by swiftly issuing him another passport, and we strongly urge it to do so immediately,” in a written statement.
A spokesperson with the U.S. State Department said in an email: “We are concerned by reports that Chinese authorities cancelled the passport of Wang Zhiwen, a Falun Gong practitioner released from prison in 2014. We call on the Chinese government to allow him to travel unimpeded and reunite with his family. We continue to urge China to protect religious freedom for all citizens…” (full story)
The Australian: China’s organ harvest furore (Aug. 24, 2016)
A teaching hospital of the University of Sydney has been accused of cultivating questionable links with a Chinese transplant centre, amid a growing furore over organ harvesting.
Westmead Hospital has pursued a decade-long relationship with the Third Xiangya Hospital in Changsha, central China, which is regarded as a national base for transplantation research.[…]
“The Chinese are claiming 10,000 transplants a year,” said co-author Ethan Gutmann, a China analyst and human rights investigator. “We estimate it at 60,000 to 100,000 a year.”
Mr Gutmann said the scale of transplantation at the Third Xiangya Hospital, particularly liver transplants, could not be met without harvesting organs from executed prisoners — including prisoners of conscience such as Falun Gong members, Uighurs and Tibetans, because many Chinese criminals had hepatitis and so were therefore unsuitable liver donors.
“We estimate the hospital does well over 1000 transplants a year, based on its dedicated transplant recovery beds.” (full story)
The Epoch Times: Ending Organ Tourism to China (Aug. 29, 2016)
The following is an excerpt from an op-ed authored by David Kilgour, a former Canadian MP and diplomat. 
“The three of us [Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Guttman] released a comprehensive update on the two books in June 2016, concluding that at least 60,000 transplants per year are being done across China, notwithstanding the approximate 10,000 the Beijing government claims.
We provide much evidence of an industrial-scale, state-directed organ transplantation network, controlled through national policies and funding, and implicating both the military and civilian health care systems. Some of our conclusions include the following:
  • The source for most of the massive volume of organs for transplants is the killing of innocents: Uyghurs, Tibetans, House Christians, and primarily Falun Gong;
  • Organ pillaging in China is a crime in which the Communist Party, state institutions, the health system, hospitals, and transplant professions are all complicit;
  • The global intergovernmental community should establish an institution-based, independent investigation into organ transplant abuse in China;
  • The global transplant community should connect and collaborate with its Chinese counterpart only if and when set criteria are met;
  • No nation should allow its citizens to go to China for organs until China has allowed a full investigation into organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, both past and present.”

(full story)

The Independent (Singapore): Falun Gong’s Resilience for Survival (Aug. 30, 2016)
“The crackdown on Falun Gong occurred long back.  Seventeen years later, the persecution still continues. It is estimated that as many as 1.5 million followers have been killed since 2000. Many practitioners have been imprisoned over the years and became prisoners of conscience. A range of reports from people inside China show that over 930 Falun Gong practitioners are incarcerated after farce trials since January 2015 alone. […]
Last month, hundreds of police officers congregated in Mexico City to practice Falun Gong as a means of quelling violence.  Over 600 members of the School’s Security Units participated in the training session for an hour for an unprecedented time.[…]
Despite 17 years of oppression, Falun Gong’s grassroots outreach efforts are still bearing fruit. Its followers are continuing to spread the practice and are growing in numbers. The members are taking steps peacefully to defy the government’s persecutory policies and promote the traditional values of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. (full story)
The Diplomat: China’s Latest Crackdown Is Not Its Worst (Sept. 8, 2016)
“The crackdown on legal activists is disturbing and highlights the expansion of repression to new targets under Xi, but focusing on the Communist party’s latest victims has the effect of erasing critical context. The scale and severity of this assault pales in comparison to the party’s campaigns of persecution against millions of religious believers and ethnic minorities over the past 20 years. To overlook this vast population of existing targets is to distort the nature of repression and dissent in China today. Ironically, such skewed analysis also risks inadvertently reinforcing the very censorship and impunity surrounding these groups that the human rights lawyers have sacrificed so much to combat. […]
The scale of the repressive forces deployed against Falun Gong is itself mind-boggling. In 1999, when Jiang Zemin initiated the party’s project to eradicate the spiritual and meditation practice, its followers numbered at least 70 million, according to the government, international media, and the group’s own estimates. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been sent to labor camps, prisons, and extralegal detention centers for practicing Falun Gong or advocating on its behalf.
Even today, Falun Gong adherents make up a significant proportion of prisoners of conscience in China. Recent Freedom House analysis of Chinese court documents found over 800 cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced to prison since January 2014. In the first half of 2016 alone, 59 people around the country were sentenced for Falun Gong-related activities, according to available published verdicts. Notably, all of them were punished for exercising their right to free expression—for example, by disseminating leaflets or DVDs about Falun Gong, human rights abuses, or the CPC’s broader history of persecution against Chinese people—highlighting the close connection between religious persecution and restrictions on dissent. (full story)