The New York Times

Early Reporting

April 27, 1999: The New York Times publishes “In Beijing: A Roar of Silent Protestors,” by Seth Faison, which states: “…the Government’s estimate of 70 million adherents represents a large group in a nation of 1.2 billion.”

April 27, 1999: The New York Times publishes “Notoriety Now for Movement’s Leader,” by Joseph Kahn, which states: “Despite that elusiveness, or maybe because of it, Mr. Li has become a guru of a movement that even by Chinese Government estimates has more members that the Communist Party. Beijing puts the tally of his followers at 70 million. Practitioners say they do not dispute those numbers, but they say they have no way of knowing for sure, in part because they have no central membership lists.”

Suspicious Silence Amid Terrible Atrocities

On the topic of organ harvesting, the reality of Falun Gong practitioners being killed for their organs in China is now widely accepted among human rights organizations, policy makers, and academic circles. In 2019, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a former prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, who led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic, convened an independent tribunal of medical, legal, and China experts in London. After assessing all the evidence, the panel concluded that Falun Gong practitioners were and continue to be killed for their organs “on a significant scale.” This story was covered by the BBC, Forbes, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, and NBC.

The New York Times failed to report on this story.

All this begs the question: in the face of such extensive documentation by human rights organizations, democratic governments in the West, the United Nations, and many of other media outlets, in this article why would the New York Times characterize the entirety of the evidence as “The group… accuses”? Is the New York Times reticent to tell the full story about the persecution of Falun Gong, and if so, why?

Perhaps, it has something to do with the meeting between New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and former CCP leader Jiang Zemin (who single-handedly started the persecution of Falun Gong) back in 2001? After this meeting, there was no meaningful reportage about the Falun Gong persecution for the next 20 years (with one notable exception: the work of Andrew Jacobs).

New York Times publisher meets with Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, who rose to power right after the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, and single-handedly ordered the persecution campaign against Falun Gong. After this meeting, the Times largely stopped reporting on Falun Gong.

Regardless of the reason, it is, ironically, one of the New York Times’ own that gives one of the most direct testaments to the silence.

Former New York Times Beijing correspondent Didi Kirsten Tatlow’s testimony to the China Tribunal suggests not only that forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience did take place in China, and that it was an open secret among transplant surgeons, but notably, that the New York Times actively discouraged her from reporting on this fact.

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