Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Falun Dafa Newsline

Thanks to Peking Duck for the link. In the original post, I inadvertently omitted the credit for the photo. It's by Richard Hartog of the LA Times.

The Cult, the Christmas Parade, and the Organ Harvesting Allegations

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaack...

Falun Dafa, that is.

In the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Opening my local paper of record today, I was surprised to see that the Hollywood Christmas Parade, a cheerful schlockfest of marching bands and B-list celebrities presided over by “The Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant” was represented by a photograph of the Falun Dafa contingent doing a waist-drum dance.

This apparently was the second year in the parade for the Falun troupe. Hailing last year’s appearance, the FLG’s Clear Harmony site reported:

The Falun Gong contingent's lively and majestic waist drummers group, elegantly dancing "celestial maidens," huge pink lotus float, plus the brilliant and colourful costumes, gave the audience a pleasant surprise. People constantly exclaimed, "Wonderful!"
...

Practitioners in the dance group were like a group of celestial maidens coming to the human world. They held flower baskets, elegantly danced to the spectators lining the street and greeted them, "Merry Christmas!" People in the audience shouted back loudly, "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" Applause and singing echoed each other. When the parade was over, many people had photos taken with practitioners.

Apparently all it takes to participate in the Hollywood Christmas Parade is to fill out an application, pay a fee, work with a floatmaker, and convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that your organization has the wherewithal and commitment to make a decent account of itself during the parade.

Although the parade takes place in front of the Chinese Theater, Beijing has not attempted to contest this hallowed ground with Falun Dafa. It’s been a different matter in San Francisco’s Chinatown. At the beginning of 2006, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce banned Falun Gong from the Chinese New Year’s Parade, incurring the wrath both of FLG and SF Supervisor Chris Daly, in turn inspiring angry harumphing from by the Chinese consulate.

Rick Ross’s Cult News website reported on the controversy and publicized some of the goofier and less attractive elements of FLG, including the belief of FLG followers that Li Hongzhi can implant a special law wheel in their tummies, and got his comments page filled up with indignant posts from FLG defenders as a result.

A certain discomfort and unwillingness by outsiders to take this esoteric cult seriously has complicated responses to Falun Dafa’s most explosive allegation: that the Chinese government is slaughtering Falun Gung detainees and harvesting their organs while they are still alive.

Friends of FLG prevailed upon two distinguished Canadian jurists, David Matas and David Kilgour, to investigate the allegations.

Their report, issued this summer and available at http://organharvestinvestigation.net/ concludes:

Based on what we now know, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.

However, Matas and Kilgour admit that, without access to a broad range of data, evidence, or witnesses to create an ironclad case, they relied on circumstantial evidence and intuition:

We also used inductive reasoning, working backwards as well as forwards. If the
allegations were not true, how would we know it was not true? If the allegations were true, what facts would be consistent with those allegations? What would explain the reality of the allegations, if the allegations were real? Answers to those sorts of questions which helped us to form our conclusions.

I found the document relatively thin. From Matas and Kilgour’s big-picture perspective, one of the more damning inferences was that, given an execution rate of about 1680 per year over the last five years according to Amnesty International’s count, there was no way to account for the appearance of 41,500 “extra” organs available for transplant.

Executions cannot explain the increase of organ transplants in China since the persecution of Falun Gong began.
...
That means that the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period
2000 to 2005 is unexplained.

Where do the organs come from for the 41,500 transplants? The allegation of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners provides an answer.

I was, quite frankly, surprised that Matas and Kilgour assumed that the AI number represented actual—as opposed to the fraction of independently documented—executions in China. As was widely reported, a representative of the National People’s Congress stated that China’s execution rate was “around 10,000 per year”, which undercuts the assertion that only an extermination campaign against Falun Gong practitioners could explain the number of organs available for transplantation.

Matas and Kilgour have marshalled some important information on China’s persecution of Falun Dafa and disturbing anecdotal evidence concerning China’s organ trade, but the case for an organ-harvesting conspiracy targeting Falun Gong practitioners hasn’t been made yet.

Indeed, the Amnesty International factsheet on persecution of Falun Gong (available at the same site) refrains from endorsing their conclusions:

· Report on alleged live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners
· A report published by independent researchers David Matas and David Kilgour on 6th July 2006, concludes that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners are victims of 'systematic' organ harvesting, whilst still alive, throughout China.
· Amnesty International is continuing to analyse sources of information about the Falun Gong organ harvesting allegations, including the report published by Canadians David Matas and David Kilgour.
· Amnesty International is carrying out its own investigation on this issue. These investigations are being hampered by the particular difficulty of collecting reliable evidence in China, including official restrictions on access for international human rights organizations

Having said that, it’s clear that China’s transplant business is booming, the main source of organs is executed prisoners, and the Ministry of Public Security has jumped into the lucrative organ business in a big way.

And I suspect the government has a queasy awareness that the MPS is faced with a dire conflict of interest when the organs of a dead prisoner—of any felony class or religious denomination—can fetch tens of thousands of dollars not just from a prestigious hospital that might be scrupulous about the paperwork and procedures, but also from some half-assed clinic that will pay extra squeeze to get a rotten kidney that some unqualified surgeon will stuff into a desperate and soon to be dead patient for a quick, dirty, and substantial payday.

It makes one cringe to realize that China has 500 locations performing liver transplants, when the United States has only 100—and has discovered that quality and accountability cannot be guaranteed even for this limited number of facilities.

So I look at China’s transplant regulations announced July 1—which tightened regulation of transplant facilities and required for the first time written permission from organ donors—as a tacit acknowledgement that the transplant system was out of control and creating secret horrors.

The new regulation stipulates that medical institutions must get written agreement from the donors or their relatives before the transplant, regardless of whether the donors are ordinary citizens or executed criminals.

Requiring that the MPS obtain a written release from a potential executee/donor might literally be a lifeline for a prisoner who might otherwise be victimized by a greedy warden...if China’s hospitals decide to take the Hippocratic oath—and their new responsibilities under the law to organize medical science and ethics committees to manage the collection and allocation of organs--seriously:

A key task of the committee is to ensure that the organs used for transplants are voluntarily donated instead of being sold or randomly taken from people

That’s nice!

And “randomly taken from people” has a nice sound, better anyway than “ripped from their still-living bodies during extrajudicial executions-to-order”.

In one of those moves that might make one nostalgic for the command economy (or at least government oversight and regulation) the chances of compliance may be improved by squeezing the fly-by-night operations out of the business.

...there are too many hospitals performing organ transplants, and many of them are not qualified to do so.

Managers of many small hospitals invite doctors from other hospitals to carry out one or two organ transplants and then claim they are able to provide the service in order to attract more patients.
....
The July 1 regulation also brings a set of medical standards for organ transplants in an effort to guarantee medical safety and prevent the waste of limited organs.


Only Class-3A hospitals, China's top-ranking comprehensive hospitals, can apply for registration if they have doctors with clinical organ transplant qualifications, the related transplant equipment, a good management system and a medical ethics committee.

The measure is aimed at preventing unqualified hospitals from performing organ transplants. Medical institutions wanting to carry out transplants will need to register with provincial-level health departments...

Shanghai Changzheng Hospital did 181 kidney and 172 liver transplants in 2005. Of these, nearly 30 had bad outcomes and were done by unqualified doctors, according to Shanghai-based Life Week magazine.

I would not be surprised if prisoners were being executed in greater numbers—and that Falun Gong practitioners were suffering disproportionately—in response to the perverse incentives created by the Chinese transplant market.

I would also not be surprised if the Chinese government was appalled at the MPS, not out of considerations of humanity, but because those brutal and greedy troglodytes were squandering two unique resources that China wants to exploit scientifically and efficiently—its growing stature in the field of transplant medicine and the biological assets of the thousands of prisoners it executes annually.

Sad world.

5 comments:

bobby fletcher said...

While China's human rights record should be examined, I'd encourage you to look into all the facts surrounding Falun Gong's live organ harvesting allegation. Here are some contrarian facts:

http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=April&x=20060416141157uhyggep0.5443231&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html

http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20060806_1.htm

http://www.cicus.org/news/newsdetail.php?id=6492

bobby fletcher said...

Here's another bit of contrarian information from US Congress.

The name of the brief is "The Collateral of Suppression", written for Senator Dianne Feinstein, member of US Congressional Executive Committee on China, where congressional researchers Emma Ashburn and Thomas Lum were quoted.

Here's a relevant portion:

"Specialist in Asian Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, Thomas Lum, noted that the evidence could have easily been distorted. The individuals calling the hospitals were all affiliated with FLG, and Lum said that it is unlikely for doctors and officials working for the state to casually divulge such sensitive and damaging information so easily.

Moreover, Lum’s efforts to contact both the Chinese journalist and doctor’s wife have been fruitless, as FLG members direct all communications toward these individuals and they often do not respond. Harry Wu, a longtime political activist known for his hardline anti-PRC views, announced on August 9, 2006 that he would challenge the allegations made by FLG about targeted organ harvesting, especially the claim about the Sujiatun concentration camp.

About the report, the South China Morning Post reports, “Mr. Wu, who has spent 15 years gathering evidence on the harvesting of organs from executed Chinese prisoners, said the information was based on the testimony of two witnesses, neither of whom had first-hand information. He believed the reports were fabricated.” Wu had tried to follow up with the witnesses just as Lum had—to the same futility. In the face of these criticisms, including from even Wu, who formerly held friendly relations with FLG, all things considered the allegations FLG has made about a targeted campaign of state-sponsored genocide are most likely untrue."

MaKina said...

Hey guys, I thought you might be interested in reading this piece from the Western Standard about Bobby who's commented on your blog. He's been all over the blogosphere discrediting the organ harvesting report. Have a look.


Western Standard (Alberta): Sowing Confusion; Embarrassed by reports of live organ harvesting, China's sympathizers launch a high-tech disinformation campaign
http://organharvestinvestigation.net/media/WesternStandard_040907.htm

April 9, 2007 Monday
Final Edition

HEADLINE: Sowing Confusion; Embarrassed by reports of live organ harvesting,

China's sympathizers launch a high-tech disinformation campaign

BYLINE: Kevin Steel, Western Standard

He posts his messages everywhere under several different names on Internet blogs and discussion groups. He writes letters to the editor anywhere and sends e-mails to anyone--anyone who might take seriously shocking evidence that the Chinese government "harvests" and sells live organs from political prisoners. His main message is that the Falun Gong--the group which first brought evidence of live organ harvesting to light--and the Epoch Times newspaper that broke that story are spreading propaganda against China's Communist government. And he's not even Chinese. He is Charles Liu, a 40-year-old Taiwanese-born technology consultant who lives in Issaquah, Wash., and does business in China.

Liu has been so active and so pro-Beijing in his writings that some Falun Gong supporters--in particular Epoch Times reporter Jana Shearer--have accused him of being an agent for the Chinese government, waging a disinformation campaign against them, trying to confuse people, and deliberately wasting everyone's time.

It's a charge that upsets Liu, who dismisses it as "a bunch of kooky friends making unfounded accusations. It's just a bunch of blog BS." As for why he devotes so much energy to attacking the Falun Gong and the organ harvesting allegations, he says, "My position is that I simply don't agree with their brand of politics, because I observed their politics turning from anti-Communist party, to anti-China, . . . and recently it's morphed into this anti-Chinese hysteria and that's going to be hurting people," he says. As an Asian-American, he says he decided to speak up.

He doesn't really explain, when asked, why he started a blog last year called "The Myth of Tiananmen Square Massacre" under the name of Bobby Fletcher (one of his online aliases, which he also uses to comment on the Western Standard's online blog). On that blog, he pushes the minimal 250 casualty figure that the Chinese government has always maintained died that night in 1989 (more reliable estimates put the figure at at least ten times that).

Liu's actions mirror disinformation campaigns waged by the Chinese government in the past. Typically, these include the deliberate spreading of false or misleading facts to sow confusion or doubt among the conflicting accounts. The classic example is the Tiananmen Square massacre; the Chinese government has maintained that no one died in the square itself, that there was only pushing and shoving on the streets around the square, resulting in a few military casualties. Overseas, the CCP relies on its United Front Work department, part of the Chinese intelligence service, to propagate its message. During the Cold War, the Soviets employed many overseas flunkies through their Disinformation Department.

Former Canadian MP David Kilgour, who co-authored a report on China's macabre organ harvesting industry, has received many propaganda e-mails from Liu. For instance, Liu has written repeatedly that a U.S. congressional committee looked into the organ harvesting allegations and found nothing.

"[David] Matas and I gave evidence to that subcommittee and got support from both the Republican chairman and the Democratic vice-chair," says Kilgour. "I just came to the conclusion he was trying to waste my time, and I have other things to do."

Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer, and Kilgour's co-author, David Matas, really doesn't know what to make of Liu. "I don't know who he is, but what he does is spend a lot of time replicating nonsense to defend the Chinese government," Matas says.

The only concern Matas has is that Liu seems to know who he and Kilgour met with in the United States to discuss their report. Matas discovered Liu had sent e-mails to politicians--and their staff--prior to the meetings. "The only people who would have that information would potentially be the Chinese government. I can't imagine how Liu would know we were meeting with those people," Matas says. "We're not super-secretive, but you can't find information on the Internet or in any public place about who we're meeting with, where and when." He himself has received at least 10 e-mails from Liu, all of which he's ignored. Maybe Matas is onto something with that approach.


GRAPHIC:
Colour Photo: CP, Dave Cahn; David Kilgour (left) and David Matas, co-authors of a report on China's organ harvesting industry: How does Liu know who they're meeting with?

LOAD-DATE: March 29, 2007

Dave said...

Hi,

I think the article touched on the truth about Liu - he does business in China.

Perhaps those business interests have blinded poor Liu - or rather backed him into a corner - he must do this or risk his business in China?

Or perhaps he simply does it to curry favor with officials in China.

In any case, the fact that Liu does business in China is at the very least suspicious when considering is Internet activities.


His downplay of the Tiananmen slaying of masses of college students in 1989 sounds a lot like the Iranian president claiming the holocaust never happened.

To be honest, I feel kind of sorry for Liu.

I've written a bit about the the human rights violations in China. So, I do have an idea of what goes on there.

In addition, I've been to Beijing and I've witnessed the behavior of the police there first hand.

I feel sad for both the people that have been abused by the Chinese Communist Party and for the oppressors themselves.

In my personal opinion, the notion of "what goes around, comes around" is real.

We don't know what happens after death with 100% certainty, of course. But it seems to me that it is pretty likely that there is an intelligent force in the universe that extracts payment for our crimes during this lifetime.

Therefore, the oppressed suffer now and the oppressors later.

Maybe you don't agree with me? That's ok. As I mentioned before, there is no way to prove or disprove such things. It just seems to me that a person would rather err on the side of caution.

The Chinese authorities have certainly missed this finer point somewhere, despite being immersed in a culture that has been around for thousands of years.

They completely ignore the teachings of the ancients.

I do hope they get their act together someday. People are suffering under the opression of the Chinese Communist Party.

Regardless of political views, opinions, propaganda or whatever, the human rights abuses should stop. I think every rational person would be willing to agree on that point.

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