posted 25/April 1213
The report this week in Lens magazine documents the long hours worked by female inmates at the Masanjia labor camp and the punishments for breaking rules or not meeting production quotas for cutting fabric, making button holes, sewing and ironing clothes for apparel makers.
Based on interviews with ex-inmates, prosecutors and former and current camp officials, the 14-page report describes prisoners being locked in tiny punishment cells, shocked with electric batons, handcuffed to two bunk beds with arms stretched wide and bound to a bench with their backs hunched over and hands and feet cuffed.
While abuses in the labor camps are generally known among the public, the report – rare in that it appeared in a formally published domestic magazine – shocked Chinese in its details. Printed in a little-known magazine, it was posted online, where it quickly spread and became the most read story Monday on the four biggest news sites before it was censored and then re-posted on a few sites.
Legal experts and public intellectuals seized on it to renew their calls to end the punishment centers, known formally as re-education through labor. "Wait no time to repeal re-education through labor," sociologist Yu Jianrong posted on his Twitter-like microblog hosted by Sina Weibo, which has more than 1.6 million followers.
The Justice Department in Liaoning, the province where Masanjia is located, referred queries to the provincial Propaganda Department, which declined comment. A retired Justice Ministry researcher called the report far-fetched.
Even so, it lands in the middle of a debate about how and when to reform a much-disliked practice. Re-education through labor is a small part of the wider penal system and allows police to imprison people for as long as four years without a court trial or judge's review. Critics say the lack of judicial review violates the constitution and in recent years has increasingly been used by police to silence ordinary Chinese petitioning to redress grievances against local officials.
The Communist Party leadership installed in November has said it will reform the system and has promised to introduce plans to do so by the end of the year. Some legal experts say the Lens report should add to the momentum for change.
"I have heard about irregularities in the system, but this report exceeded the baseline of what I knew," said law professor Hou Xinyi of Nankai University in the city of Tianjin. "I doubt if the top leadership knows the situation on the ground. If the claims are true, this report will help the government firm up their determination to resolve the problem."
The abuses reported by Lens at the Masanjia camp match complaints made by members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement over a decade ago. Falun Gong practitioners called Masanjia one of the most violent forced deprogramming centers used by the government to suppress what it says is a cult.
Lens is a little-known general interest magazine that prides itself on contemporary photography. It is part of the SEEC Media Group, a reputable publisher best known for Caijing, a magazine that features hard-hitting reporting on business and finance.
The Lens article said inmates at Masanjia, located near the city of Shenyang about 400 miles northeast of Beijing, smuggled out diaries and appeals used in the report by hiding them inside body cavities or inside bars of soap.
It describes a punishing work schedule. Legally, work was supposed to be restricted to six hours a day and be fairly compensated, but inmates were frequently forced to work longer hours and were paid 10 yuan ($1.50) a month. State media said Monday that the provincial government has started an investigation.
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In showing there was systematic involvement by officials in the activities of Zheng Wei’s gang, Caijing hinted at much greater crimes carried out by the regime. A network such as Zheng described needs to have been in place to carry out the atrocity of forced, live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.
Harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners began soon after then-Chinese Communist Party head Jiang Zemin launched a campaign in July 1999 to eradicate the spiritual practice. He established the 610 Office, an extra-constitutional Party organ, to carry this out.
“There is a mechanism in China that facilitates 10,000 organ transplantations per year, many of them scheduled on two- to four-weeks notice,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, executive director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, a group of medical doctors who are working to end illegal organ harvesting.
“The findings of Xu Qianchuan come very close to what we have already anticipated in our analysis,” said Trey. “There are plenty of hints that suggest that military hospitals, the courts, and likely the 610 Office are involved in this organized, illegal organ business.”
Canadian international human rights lawyer David Matas, co-author with former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour of the groundbreaking investigative report “Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong For Their Organs,” estimates that approximately 8,000 of the organs transplanted each year are taken from Falun Gong practitioners, killing them.
Caijing magazine is rumored to be closely associated with the new CCP head, Xi Jinping, who has been involved in a power struggle with Jiang Zemin and his faction.
Both Caijing’s investigative report into organ harvesting and the April 6 exposé by Caijing’s Lens magazine of torture in Masanjia have put pressure on Jiang.
With both stories, crimes Jiang Zemin has sought to keep in the dark have been brought closer to disclosure.
Read more at the Epoch Times
Saturday, March 09, 2013
The Taipei Bar Association Committee for Human Rights, with endorsement by the bar’s board members, released a statement condemning the CCP’s conduct. The statement is expected to help pave the road for later legislation.
Mr. Weng Kuo-Yen, lawyer and Chairman of the Taipei Bar Association’s Committee for Human Rights, said, “We especially do not wish to see Taiwanese people traveling to mainland China for organ transplants, thus becoming co-conspirators in the CCP’s criminal enterprise of illegal organ harvesting.”
David Matas and David Kilgour, co-authors of the book Bloody Harvest, investigated over 50 organ recipients, including those from Taiwan, who went to China for organ transplants. Quoting from that book, David Kilgour read, “Four more sets of kidneys were tried out, until the 8th set of kidneys worked, were compatible. He is doing fine now, but you can imagine eight human beings, probably Falun Gong practitioners, at least some of them, have been killed, murdered, if you like … .”
On Feb. 25, Matas said to listeners of Radio Taiwan International that although many changes have taken place since the CCP’s organ harvesting was exposed seven years ago, the crime of organ harvesting is continuing, and a global effort to end it is necessary.
More at the Epoch Times
“One way of addressing this brutal trade is for countries such as Australia to impose a prohibition on its citizens and residents from receiving trafficked organs wherever this transplant occurs,” said Mr Parker during the Parliamentary debate. [...] More
Australian Legislator Proposes Criminalizing Organ Tourism
The research of two Canadians, human rights lawyer David Matas, and former parliamentarian David Kilgour, indicates that from 2000 to 2005, 41,500 organs were harvested from Falun Gong prisoners. The consultation paper produced as part of Shoebridge’s bill amendment includes reference to the Kilgour-Matas report. Gutmann estimates the figure was 65,000 by 2008.
Matas, in a telephone interview, said that the amendment is “certainly helpful.” Referring to a range of similar legislative motions in France, Canada, and Belgium, he said, “What I see with these proposals is a building momentum to do something.”
In their 2006 report, Matas and Kilgour had called for a clampdown on transplant tourism. “What this shows is that there is a gap in the system, and it needs to be filled, and without that abuse can happen with impunity.” He added that, given it’s a global issue, “every piece of legislation, even if proposed, helps set a precedent for other legislators.”
Gutmann suspects that a bill that criminalizes receipt of trafficked organs, and whose accompanying text refers to Chinese regime-led organ harvesting practices, will “drive Chinese officials nuts.” He added, “It’s precisely the time when they’re involved in their big initiative, going to reform their labor camps, the organ system, and this comes along. These issues will not leave them alone.”
More at the Epoch Times
The text below is an adaptation of a note presented on Feb. 5, 2013 to the Parliament of Canada, House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights, Ottawa. [...]
Then Party leader and president Jiang Zemin strongly appears to have been “jealous” of Falun Gong and...
the period 2000-2005 alone, Matas and I concluded that for 41,500
transplants done, the only plausible explanation for sourcing was Falun
1. United Nations
Since 2006, several U.N. Special Rapporteurs have asked the Chinese government for an explanation of the serious allegation of organ pillaging from live Falun Gong practitioners. They pointed out to the government that a full explanation would disprove the allegations, but the Party-state has provided no meaningful answer, simply denying the charges.
The experts then asked for the source of organs for China’s organ
transplant operations. The first allegation was sent on Aug. 11, 2006,
jointly by Special Rapporteur on Torture Prof. Manfred Nowak, Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion Ms. Asma Jahangir, and Special
Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons Ms. Sigma Huda:
passed a law banning the sale and brokerage of organs. The law also
ended funding, through the health insurance system, of transplants in
China for Israeli nationals.
“It is reported that employees of several transplant centres have indicated that they have used organs from live Falun Gong practitioners for transplants. After the organs were removed, the bodies were cremated, and no corpse is left to examine for identification as the source of an organ transplant. Once the organs were removed they were shipped to transplant centres to be used for transplants for both domestic and foreign patients. Officials from several detention facilities have indicated that courts have been involved in the administering the use of organs from Falun Gong detainees.”
The Chinese authorities replied to the Special Rapporteurs’ allegation with a categorical denial. To that, Jahagir and Nowak followed up with a second joint letter on Jan. 25, 2007. In a later report submitted to the Human Rights Council, Tenth session, Nowak stressed that “New reports were received about harvesting of organs from death row prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners.”
Independent experts of the United Nations Committee against Torture also addressed the issue of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in Nov. 2008, referring to “information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants.”
The committee then recommended that the Chinese authorities investigate and punish those responsible for forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong: “The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished.”
2. European Parliament
In September 2006, the European Parliament conducted a hearing (David Matas and I testified) and adopted a resolution condemning the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners, and expressing concern over reports of organ harvesting. The issue was also raised by direction of the EU troika leadership through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China’s Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the EU-China summit in Helsinki.
On Dec. 1, 2009, the European Parliament Human Rights Subcommittee
held hearings on organ transplant abuse in China. The European
Parliament resolution of May 19, 2010 “Action plan on organ donation and
transplantation (2009/2015)” states:
policy of the World Medical Association includes now a paragraph that
organ donation from prisoners is not acceptable in countries where the
death penalty is practiced.
“Notes the report of David Matas and David Kilgour about the killing of members of Falun Gong for their organs, and asks the Commission to present a report on these allegations, along with other such cases, to the European Parliament and to the Council.”
Organ pillaging in China was among the main topics in a hearing at the European Parliament on Human Rights in China on Dec. 6, 2012. David Matas testified.
In August 2007, Hou Sheng-mao, the Director of Taiwan’s Department of Health, reported requesting Taiwanese doctors to not recommend to their patients to travel to mainland China for transplants.
In late 2006, the Australian Health Ministry announced the abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors in organ transplant techniques at the Prince Charles and the Princess Alexandra Hospitals, as well as banning joint research programs with China on organ transplantation. New South Wales is also considering legislation against organ trafficking.
5. Belgium and Canada
Two Belgian senators, Patrik Vankrunkelsven and Jeannine Leduc, introduced into the Belgian Parliament on Nov. 30, 2006 a law, which addresses organ transplant tourism. Former Canadian MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj introduced into our House of Commons extraterritorial legislation banning “transplant tourism” in 2008. Both would penalize any transplant patient who receives an organ without consent of the donor where the patient knew or ought to have known of the absence of consent.
French Parliamentarian Valérie Boyer on Oct. 19, 2010, along with several other members of the National Assembly, proposed a law which sets out certificate and reporting requirements similar to Canada’s proposed law. The proposed law requires every French citizen and habitual resident who undergoes an organ transplant abroad to acquire at the latest 30 days after the transplant a certificate stating that organ was donated without payment. The organ recipient must provide the certificate to the French Biomedical Agency before returning to France.
The proposed legislation requires every doctor to report to the Biomedical Agency the identity of every person the doctor examined who underwent a transplant. The proposed law in turn requires the Biomedical Agency to report to the Public Department any person who there are reasonable grounds to believe was involved in a financial transaction to obtain an organ.
International Initiatives7. Israel
Israel passed a law banning the sale and brokerage of organs. The law also ended funding, through the health insurance system, of transplants in China for Israeli nationals. Jay Lavee, in his contribution to the book “State Organs,” explains this law as a reaction to transplant abuse in China.
8. United States
In September 2006, the U.S. Congress held a hearing on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. Four witnesses testified at the hearing, including Matas and myself.
Wang Lijun was directly involved in organ harvesting practices. In his capacity as police chief, he founded a research centre on organ transplantation in Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province. The centre conducted several thousand organ transplant operations, with unexplained organ sources.
The State Department acknowledged in its 2011 Human Rights Report, released in May 2012, that “Overseas and domestic media and advocacy groups continued to report instances of organ harvesting, particularly from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs.”
Since June 2011, the online U.S. non-immigrant visa application, Form DS-160, requires the following information from applicants from every country: “Have you ever been directly involved in the coercive transplantation of human organs or bodily tissue?”
9. NGOs and Medical Organizations
Various NGOs and medical organizations have issued statements urging the investigation and measures to stop the forced organ pillaging from prisoners of conscience, particularly Falun Gong. Some examples:
In August 2006, the New York-based National Kidney Foundation issued a statement expressing deep concerns over allegations that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners were being executed for the purposes of organ donation, as well as opposition to such a scheme and to organ transplant tourism generally.
In 2007, the Transplantation Society introduced new policy on interactions with China, against using the organs from prisoners.
The policy of the World Medical Association includes now a paragraph that organ donation from prisoners is not acceptable in countries where the death penalty is practiced. This is a newly adopted policy.
UN NGO International Education Development made a statement on Organ Harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners at the United Nations during its September session 2012.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) is a non-government organization founded by medical doctors who were alerted by the coerced organ harvesting from prisoners and prisoners of conscience in China. DAFOH seeks to promote ethical standards in medicine and to end the forced organ harvesting (FOH) practices in China. DAFOH informs medical communities as well as publics about these practices by articles and essays in medical and non-medical journals, presentations at fora and media interviews.
In 2012, DAFOH provided speakers for both U.S. Congressional hearings on the FOH topic (Sept. 12 and Dec. 18). In 2012, DAFOH initiated several petitions in Europe, Australia and U.S. (including the so-called White-House-Petition) calling for an end of the FOH in China and further investigation through the UNHRC. Within 3 months, the petitions garnered 250,000+ signatures. At a follow up visit, the UNHRC recognized the number of signatures as “impressive.”
10. Individual Initiatives
Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the EU’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, traveled to China in May 2006 on a fact finding mission to investigate organ harvesting and has since repeatedly condemned the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.
In 2007, Dr. Tom Treasure, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, “The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust, and ourselves,” found the allegations credible, particularly in the context of the role doctors played in the Holocaust.
In 2007, a petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians was presented to the House of Commons urging the government to issue travel advisories warning people that organ transplants in China include the use of organs harvested from non-consenting donors such as Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2008, a special rabbinical council in Israel ruled that the Beijing regime has been responsible for the killing of Falun Gong practitioners, perhaps because of material benefits derived from organ harvesting.
In 2008, The Weekly Standard featured a cover story on organ harvesting, authored by Ethan Gutmann, adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The article described systematic medical testing of Falun Gong practitioners.
In July 2012, Dr. Torsten Trey and David Matas published a volume on organ transplant abuse in China, including the killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. The book, “State Organs,” is a collection of essays by leading medical professionals and other commentators from four continents who have researched organ harvesting in China. It consolidates evidence of these abuses, discusses their ethical implications, and provides insight on how to combat these violations. The Ebook is available from amazon:
On Dec. 2, 2012, three medical doctors, Arthur Caplan, Alejandro Centurion, and Jianchao Xu, initiated a petition calling upon the Obama administration to investigate and help stop forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong in China. The petition is posted within the “We the People” section of the White House website.
Unfortunately, these and other developments have not yet ended the trafficking in organs from involuntary “donors” across China.
International Initiatives11. China
The government of China now accepts that sourcing of organs from prisoners is improper. Deputy Health Minister Huang Jeifu in 2009 stated that executed prisoners “are definitely not a proper source for organ transplants.” In 2005, Huang admitted that over 95 percent of the organs transplanted in China came from executed prisoners. China had been denying using prisoners’ organs prior to this admission.
In 2006 a World Medical Association resolution demanded that China stop using prisoners as organ donors, and in 2007 the Chinese Medical Association agreed to do so.
In 2010 at a transplant conference in Madrid, Minister Huang stated that between 1997 and 2008 China had performed more than 100,000 transplantations, with over 90 percent of the organs being from executed prisoners. In no other country on earth are there more executions than in China.
“The actual number of executions is a closely guarded state secret,” says John Kamm, the head of the U.S.-based nonprofit Dui Hua Foundation. “However, in recent years to some extent the curtain has been raised somewhat by officials or scholars who have access to the real numbers and earlier this year we did get some indication as to the number of people executed in 2011--approximately 4,000, more than all other countries in the world combined.”
Human rights organizations fear the number could be even higher. Roseanne Rise, from Amnesty International says, “We’re concerned that prisoners aren’t really independent enough to give meaningful consent.” She adds, “When they’re under the control of the state and dependent on it for all of their daily needs it’s difficult to assess whether they’re really giving voluntary consent.”
In February 2012, Huang again stated that the practice of organ harvesting from prisoners continues in China today, but that the government wants to phase it out by 2015 and build up a national donation scheme. This will be very difficult to do because many Chinese are unwilling to donate their organs.
“It’s … a cultural taboo,” explains Kamm. “The Chinese traditionally believe that when they leave this world and enter the next they have to be in possession of all their organs. So the number of people who have been willing to donate organs is very small.” The state will have to inform citizens and convince them to donate their organs instead as part of a nationwide scheme. There is some hope that the younger generation will be less intent on keeping all their organs before entering the next world.
In 2009, 10 provinces introduced an organ donation program. In 2010, in order to meet the increasing demand for donor organs, China launched a trial program allowing people to voluntarily donate their organs after they die. In February 2011, it was reported that, in total, 37 people had donated 97 organs through the trial program. By March 2012, the pilot programs had persuaded just 207 people to donate their organs after death, according to the Red Cross Society of China, which operates the transplant system. The donors were mainly from the rural poor, and 90 percent of them or their families asked for financial aid in return for their organs.
Despite public pressure to donate, hundreds of organ donor coordinators employed by the new system are having little success. In Shandong Province, none of the coordinators managed a successful case in 18 months. The city of Tianjin had only a total of 19 donations since 2010. No organ donor materials were on display at the large Tianjin No. 2 Hospital.
Before the government abolishes the practice of organ harvesting from executed prisoners, tens of thousands more will be killed for their organs in the meantime. Since Matas and I began our voluntary work, the number of convicted persons sentenced to death and then executed has decreased overall quite dramatically, but the number of transplants, after a slight decline, rose to earlier levels. Since the only other substantial source of organs for transplants in China, apart from Falun Gong, is prisoners sentenced to death, a decrease of sourcing from that population means an increase in sourcing from Falun Gong.
In the past, the death penalty was administered by gunshot. Today, lethal injection is the most common practice. The latter is beneficial for such purposes as retrieving organs, as they remain intact. Most executions in China take place in mobile buses. These “execution buses” are often parked right next to hospitals.
12. Corporate Social Responsibility
Some pharmaceutical companies, such as Novartis and Pfizer, have voluntarily pulled away from pharmaceutical trials of anti-rejection drugs in China because of ethical concerns. There is, however, still need for binding national regulation in this area. Arne Schwarz in “State Organs” and David Matas in a speech in Philadelphia detailed a wide range of pharmaceutical trials of anti-rejection drugs done in China. Some were conducted in hospitals from which our telephone investigators obtained admissions that they were selling organs of Falun Gong.
RecommendationsFor organs trafficked in China, Matas and I would encourage Canadian MPs and senators and legislators in all parliaments to consider our recommendations, including, urging the Party-state in China to:
- cease the repression of Falun Gong;
- cease organ-pillaging from all prisoners;
- remove its military from the organ transplant business;
- establish and regulate a legitimate organ donor system;
- open all detention centres, including forced labour camps, for international investigation; and
- free Gao Zhisheng and many other prisoners of conscience.
Implement the following measures until organ pillaging from prisoners ceases:
- medical professionals in Japan and every country which respects human dignity should actively discourage their patients from going to China for transplant surgery;
- no government should issue visas to Chinese MDs for training in organ transplantation;
- MDs from outside China should not travel there to give training in transplant surgery;
- contributions submitted to medical journals about experience with transplants in China should be rejected; and
- pharmaceutical companies everywhere should be barred by their national governments from exporting to China any drugs used solely in transplant surgery.
ConclusionCanada’s House and Senate should also enact measures to combat international organ transplant abuses: extraterritorial legislation, mandatory reporting of transplant tourism, health insurance systems not paying for transplant abroad, barring entry of those involved in trafficking organs.
David Kilgour was a Member of the Canadian Parliament from 1979 to 2006, and also served as Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) during 2002 and 2003. David Kilgour was nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. For further information, go to www.david-kilgour.com
More at the Epoch Times
Europe’s 20th century experience of genocide and the failure of political will to stop it still resonates today on the continent, with a hearing in the European Parliament recently reflecting on a particular 21st century barbarism: communist China’s massacre of prisoners of conscience for their transplant organs.
“This is morally devastating,” said Member of the European Parliament Tunne Kelam after hearing a number of panelists discuss the topic. “If we don’t take knowledge seriously about this practice, we have become morally and politically co-responsible.”
Gutmann was also in attendance at the panel. He provided a median estimate of 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners having been killed so that their organs could be removed and sold, since 1999. The actual number could be much higher.
Falun Gong is a popular Chinese spiritual practice that the communist regime began persecuting in 1999, after the number of adherents surpassed members of the Party.
Those in government in major Western countries appear to find disquieting the idea of confronting a communist regime growing daily in international clout, according to Gutmann and other speakers on Jan. 29.
“A criminal will never admit that they are the criminal,” Ng said. “So in this case the criminal is the state and that differentiates organ harvesting in China from all other countries. That is why it’s so serious.”
More: The Epoch Times
Centurion said that officials in the United States likely have information about organ harvesting in China. The White House “We the People” petition that Centurion launched Dec. 2 asks President Barack Obama to make these records public.
“As a world leader in protecting human rights,” the petition reads, “the United States has a moral obligation to expose these crimes, stop them, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Another initiator of the petition, Dr. Arthur Caplan, who heads the Division of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told The Epoch Times earlier this month that he hopes the petition will put an end to the practice of organ harvesting in China.
“It’s a serious, serious violation. It’s certainly about as bad as things can get. We do not accept killing for getting organs. It’s a basic principle of medical ethics that you don’t do that,” Caplan said.
Please sign the Petition here
Thursday, December 06, 2012
The December 6 hearing covered various topics, including China's rule of law, its leadership change, its international obligations, democracy, and organ transplants. The issue of organ harvesting in China was among the main topics.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
“The respondent (McMaster) cannot evade its responsibility to respect the Ontario Human Rights Code standards by delegating its hiring responsibilities to an agent outside the jurisdiction and turning a blind eye to discriminatory hiring practices of its hiring agent,” Matas wrote in a submission to the OHRT, obtained by The Epoch Times.
CSIS head Richard Fadden has said CIs are under the control of Chinese embassies and consulates.