US Website Hit with Cyberattack after Releasing Shocking New Testimony on Organ Harvesting
NEW YORK—On July 17, 2023, a group of researchers based in New York released a new report about forced organ harvesting in China based on testimony from a doctor in Heilongjiang province and comments made to her by a Falun Gong practitioner who briefly survived after her kidney was extracted at a local military hospital in Harbin.
Within hours of the report’s publication by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), the website was targeted with a massive denial of service attack that sporadically shut it down, indicating the Chinese regime’s awareness of the report and its devotion of resources to silence WOIPFG.
“The same night the report went online, the CCP was aware,” Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, one of the report authors and lead researcher at WOIPFG, told the Falun Dafa Information Center. “They started attacking our organization’s website the same day. We came under cyberattack three hours after the report was posted. The cyberattacks shut down the website multiple times per day, for a period of approximately one week.”
WOIPFG is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to systematically research and compile information about the perpetrators involved in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. They have been at the forefront of documenting evidence related to forced organ harvesting, including recorded admissions from Chinese doctors and officials during investigator phone calls. They are recognized as such by practitioners and rights activists in China, which is how the incident outlined in their report came to Dr. Wang’s attention in late 2020.
Chinese doctor aids organ harvesting survivor, records last words
The report WOIPFG published on July 17 relayed the shocking story of Ms. Zhang Xiuqin, a 46-year-old Falun Gong practitioner in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. Ms. Zhang allegedly became a victim of forced organ harvesting on April 28, 2019, but regained consciousness right before she was sent to be cremated. Near death, she grabbed onto the clothes of a doctor who was responsible for disposing of her body and pleaded for help.
The doctor, unaware of the live organ harvesting operations at the hospital, snuck Zhang to the basement and attempted to save her life. But due to the torture she had suffered and the absence of her extracted kidney, the trauma to her internal organs proved fatal. In the final moments of her life, Zhang requested that the doctor record a video of her testimony and last words. Two sections of that video have been translated and published in transcript form in the WOIPFG report. The video remains in China due to the doctor’s concerns over personal security, and therefore is unavailable for additional verification.
According to the doctor and Zhang Xiuqin’s recorded testimony, several dozen Falun Gong practitioners were detained in the basement of an unknown building as an organ harvesting pool. The demographic was mostly young adults, many of whom had lost their entire families to the persecution or who were cut off from their relatives. In the weeks leading up to their death, the detention guards tortured and raped the young practitioners “for fun,” according to Zhang.
“By…by the time you watch this video, I will definitely no longer be alive,” begins the transcript of Zhang’s recording published by WOIFPG. “Please remember that I am a Falun Gong disciple persecuted to death by the CCP through live organ harvesting. My name is Zhang Xiuqin. I was taken here this morning, and one of my kidneys was removed by force. As you can see, I am still alive right now. This is the live organ harvesting that the evil party has never dared to admit to. Several dozen people, who were detained with me, have all been taken away one by one, and their whereabouts are unknown. There was a dozen, several dozen people coming in and out, and today, it was my turn.”
‘We need to save people’
Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, the report’s author, is himself a former military doctor in China and cardiovascular biology researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health. He said that the cyberattack from the Chinese regime reaffirmed the truth of the incident, which he had verified through other contacts in China before publishing. Earlier arrests of Ms. Zhang for practicing Falun Gong and a three-year labor camp sentence she mentions in her testimony had also been reported by the overseas Minghui website, reinforcing the credibility of her account.
Wang said that he believed the report had created a temporary halt to organ harvesting operations across multiple facilities in Heilongjiang, having heard from a contact in China that the Ministry of Public Security had called the relevant hospital and said, “How could you lose a body? Stop all operations now.”
“We decided to release the report because we need to save people,” says Dr. Wang. “The entire world can help, once they know the truth.”
For more on how the Chinese party-state has been targeting Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience for organ harvesting: