Hudson Institute Explores China’s Suppression of Religion

The tactics of suppression applied on faith groups are now threatening ordinary citizens and human rights everywhere

Hudson Institute is a think tank located in Washington D.C. On October 18, they hosted a virtual forum to discuss how Democratic countries can help promote religious freedom and protect human rights in China.

Hudson Institute is a think tank located in Washington D.C. On October 18, they hosted a virtual forum to discuss how Democratic countries can help promote religious freedom and protect human rights in China.

In 2019, an esteemed panel of experts came to the undeniable conclusion that organ harvesting was occurring in China.

Since then, however, action is still needed to end this crime against humanity, which remains widely pervasive and is not only threatening people of faith—such as Falun Gong, Ughyurs, Tibetans, and House Christians—but also ordinary Chinese citizens.

On October 18, the Hudson Institute called attention to these issues in an online forum called “China’s War on Religion”.  The panel, hosted by Nina Shea, director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, delves into the Chinese Communist Party’s abuse of different religious groups in China and sheds light on organ harvesting. The panel also discussed tangible ways the international community can take to combat the crime.

The panel features Sean Lin, spokesperson of the Falun Dafa Association in Washington D.C.; Robert A. Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; and Nury Turkel, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. 

Lin was especially invited to talk about the CCP’s forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China. The atrocities have expanded beyond Falun Gong practitioners to other minority groups.

Prisoners of Conscience treated as “Organ Farms”

Since the suppression of Falun Gong in July 1999, countless practitioners have been subjected to arrest, torture, forced labor, intense brainwashing, as well as organ harvesting. (Learn more about the persecution: Terror Unleashed – Falun Dafa Information Center).

A judgment by the independent China Tribunal in London also revealed Falun Gong practitioners are the main source of organ harvesting.

How exactly does the CCP carry out this illicit crime?

Lin explained that by collecting blood type, organ health, and tissue information from detainees, the CCP has built a large database for organ transplant centers.

When there is a need for a particular organ, officials could search the database, locate a specific detainee, and kill the person for the organ to make a profit. Many prisoners of conscience have been detained in China, including Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghurs, who are treated as if they are organ farms. —Sean Lin, spokesperson of the Falun Dafa Association in Washington D.C.

Such a supply chain is made possible by the Chinese police, procuratorate, court, and justice system, as well as the healthcare network. Evidence shows that CCP officials could go to a practitioner’s home–citing any excuse or no excuse–to arrest that individual and extract his or her organs during detention.

The CCP has extended its persecution to other religious groups. Even more alarmingly, there is suspicion that average Chinese citizens are also targets of organ harvesting.

Destro noted some students have gone missing under suspicious circumstances. Considering the amount of biometrics the CCP has connected from the Chinese people, it could perform tissue matching with organ transplant centers.

International Entities Repeatedly Turning a Blind Eye

Despite the ongoing atrocities, international entities have neglected to take critical action. For example, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) submitted millions of petition signatures to the United Nations Human Rights Council several years ago, urging the body to address the CCP’s forced organ harvesting, but no response was ever received from the United Nations.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) even worked with the CCP to form a special task force on organ harvesting, with Huang Jiefu, former Vice Minister of Health in China, serving on the task force.

Another important aspect is the CCP’s thorough infiltration of the media.

Virtually all newspapers with China sections tout the Chinese narrative of news. That includes censorship of topics such as Falun Gong and the coverup of the outbreak during the pandemic. There has also been a lot of misinformation. An example is human rights organizations in the U.S. neglecting the persecution of Falun Gong due to the CCP’s propoganda. 

Most platforms which broadcast Chinese news also sponsored by Chinese money. This has a great impact on brainwashing Chinese overseas, even those who have lived in Western countries for a substantial amount of time.

Transnational businesses have also turned a blind eye to maintain their business contracts.

A more comprehensive discussion can be found in our recent report: French Ministry of Armed Forces: CCP’s Extensive Overseas Influence Operations Target Falun Gong.

Holding the CCP Accountable for “Organized Criminal Enterprise”

China has built a multi-billion dollar industry around organ harvesting and will continue if the international community does not take a stance, as indicated by the recent World Summit on Combating and Ending Forced Organ Harvesting.

While independent tribunals have found evidence of organ harvesting and called the crime a genocide. Destro says these actions are symbolically powerful, but further action is needed to hold perpetrators responsible for their actions.

Destro likened the CCP to an “organized criminal enterprise” of “extraction experts”.

“They will sell, they will monetize everything from the national resources to your liver and [take action to get rid of] anything that gets in the way. Particularly religion… [For example, Falun Dafa] was originally pushed by the government as an effective way for people to get in touch with their inner selves … and then the ministry of state security figured out there’s more of them than there are of us… and to this day, the Falun Gong are perceived as an existential threat [to the CCP]”. —Robert A. Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The panelists proposed to sanction Chinese doctors involved in forced organ harvesting. For example, he said, they should be barred from entering Europe and the U.S., and prohibited from publishing articles in medical journals.

As an Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) during the Trump administration, Destro met with five Falun Gong practitioners on July 20, 2020. He said the U.S. government has been planning actions against CCP officials who participate in forced organ harvesting. They include measures such as lawsuits to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Shea also suggested the use of a social credit scoring of Chinese students and businessmen who go overseas.

Other factors the panelists discussed were making information available for the public.

Destro praised Falun Gong practitioners’ efforts to expose the CCP’s crimes, adding that practitioners have made remarkable contributions in investigating organ transplant hospitals in China, such as their “green channels” to speed up organ transportation. Destro called on more help to get the information out so that more people would know about it.

Lin also underscored that having independent Chinese news sources such as the Epoch Times and NTD TV would be valuable for the Chinese people living in the west. This would offer them a different perspective.

The CCP a Threat to Human Rights Everywhere

The CCP has waged a total war on religion. Through the development of surveillance technology, “Great Management” which manages the whole country, and social credit scores, the CCP can marginalize individuals and threaten their survival.

Turkel noted that more than  80 countries have adopted China’s surveillance model, which cuts into privacy, human rights, and threatens democracy.

Shea’s closing remarks were,

“American people and Congress should be looking very closely at what is happening to each of the [religious communities in China, …[the oppression that was being] pioneered on these communities … and coming towards a place near you if we’re not alert to it.” —Nina Shea, director of Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute