“How [do] the most respected people in a society turn into murderers? This is the most asked question to me,” former Chinese surgeon Enver Tohti told Irish officials in July, according to The Journal.
Video: How do doctors in China turn into murderers?
“I have seen at least three children [who] had scars on their bodies. [It] indicates their organs had been stolen. And in 1995, it comes to my turn to do it,” said Dr. Tohti, recounting his involvement in an operation to harvest an organ from a living man in China. According to researchers, the Chinese communist regime engages in state-sanctioned forced organ removal from prisoners of conscience to sell for profit, in what has now become a multi-billion dollar business.
“I killed him. This is haunting me. I have to tell the world… to release the things inside my heart… to get a little relief.”
Tohti said he was turned into a killing “robot” while thinking he was working for “a great cause.”
He was so haunted by this that he eventually fled China to the United Kingdom in 1999 and was granted political asylum three years later.
Since then, he has testified about his experiences at similar parliamentary hearings in the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States to expose the ongoing organ harvesting in his home country of China.
The video containing his confession has attracted tens of millions of views on the internet.
Video: Doctor reveals reality of organ harvesting in China
So, why do surgeons like him, entrusted with the mission of “saving people,” become part of the “killing” machine that is operating in China?
Development of a Multi Billion-Dollar Operation at Ultra-Rapid Pace
Shortly after 1999, China rapidly became the country with the second-largest number of organ transplants in the world.
“Around 1999, there were around 150 transplants centers. Six, seven years later, they had 600 transplantation centers. This is an increase by 300 percent within such a short period of time without an organ donation program,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, the executive director of the Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), a U.S.-based medical ethics advocacy group.
In response to scrutinizing questions about this suspicious growth, China set up a nationwide voluntary organ donation system.
However, the Chinese people traditionally attach importance to “after-death” matters and believe that the dead still need to have their body intact. As a result, China’s organ donation rate is among the lowest in the world: Only 2.98 donors in a million, as revealed by the Financial Times based on information obtained from a Chinese official in March 2017.
China had previously publicized that the organs had been taken from executed prisoners. In the face of international criticism over organ harvesting, China claimed to have only used voluntary organ donation for transplants since 2015.
Voluntary donors and death row inmates combined, however, cannot provide enough organs for the large number of transplants being carried out in China. This number is estimated to be between 60,000 and 90,000 each year since 2000, according to a report released in June 2016 by a group of three investigators.
“It is bringing in about 9 or 10 billion dollars a year with this industrial transplant operation going on across China now. It’s a lot of money. A lot of hospitals are financing a lot of their activities through that,” said David Kilgour, a former Canadian MP and secretary of state for Asia-Pacific, and one of the co-authors of the report.
Where Does China Get the Organs?
The investigators say that China has a huge bank of organs from living people, most of them are prisoners of conscience who are practitioners of Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese qigong discipline that consists of five meditation exercises and teachings centered on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Other groups of victims include Uighurs, Tibetans, and Christians.
“It went to an industrial-scale operation against the Falun Gong community, a peaceful community of 70 to 100 million people targeted by the chairman of the Party,” Kilgour said.
The individual he referred to is former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, who launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999 upon seeing the practice’s great popularity among Chinese citizens. Since Jiang’s order, millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to arrest, torture, forced labor, and forced organ harvesting.
Genocide Reminiscent of Nazi Germany
The persecution of Falun Gong can be compared to the Nazi genocide, according to Edward McMillan-Scott, then vice-president of the European Parliament, speaking at a meeting at the European Parliament in 2010.
“Just as during the war the Nazis singled out the Jews’ special characteristic and did what they did to the Jews, the same is happening today to Falun Gong in China. That is why it is genocide. That’s why I say it’s so serious,” he said.
McMillan-Scott further elaborated that “the organ transplant industry is in the hands of the military. The People’s Liberation Army is responsible for the hospitals, the transportation of body parts, and the sale of them. It is, therefore, a governmental activity, and constitutes genocide under Article 2 of the Genocide Convention.”
Investigative journalist and author Ethan Gutmann also pointed to the involvement of the Chinese military and police in this atrocity. He said at the meeting: “And where does organ harvesting begin? It starts in the military hospitals. And then the armed police get involved and, in fact, it becomes almost competitive between the armed police hospitals and military hospitals. It is impossible for the Chinese Communist Party not to be watching that activity and blessing that activity.”
Video: Hitler-like massacre is taking place in China
How did this happen?
Experts say China has launched a series of propaganda campaigns to justify the persecution of Falun Gong and cover up the organ harvesting.
“As I said, because between 70 and 100 million people in 1999 were practicing Falun Gong, this was seen by Jiang Zemin, then the leader of the Communist Party, as a threat to his own position. It wasn’t of course, but he saw the opportunity of creating the enemy within,” said McMillan-Scott.
Referring to the hate propaganda spread by the Chinese communist regime to vilify Falun Gong, McMillan-Scott said, “I’ve met, as I said, hundreds of members of Falun Gong. It is not a sect, it is not a cult, nor is there money involved, there is no brainwashing; all the normal characteristics of a cult simply don’t exist. These [are] the people who practice the spiritual exercises on their own.”
Canadian international human rights lawyer David Matas pointed out some of the factors that make organ harvesting possible in the face of Chinese social indifference. Speaking at a roundtable organized by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China earlier this year, Matas said: “I think if you’re asking about how this comes about in terms of motivation, I think there’s a number of factors at play. One of them is compartmentalization. People at different parts don’t know what the rest is doing. And this helps to make willful-blindness function.”
He continued, “People will say: ‘Well, I don’t know. I see a body on the operating table. I don’t know whose body it is,’ or ‘I see a corpse that I’m cremating. I don’t know whose corpse I am cremating,’ and so on. So that’s one thing.”
The second factor, he said, is censorship. “None of this is reported. You can’t see through the media what’s happening. You don’t have the normal sources of information.”
The third factor “is incitement to hatred… The Communist Party is always making up these enemies, but it doesn’t just say it designates somebody or some group as an enemy, they start this propaganda campaigns,” Matas said.
“And that was certainly true with the Falun Gong, which [the Chinese Communist Party] depersonalizes, dehumanizes, marginalizes these people to the point where there’re few people actually see and know what’s going on. They’ll say, ‘Well, Falun Gong are enemies’, ‘Falun Gong are not people. We can do whatever we want with them.’”
And, of course, there’s the greed factor. “All this money that’s being poured into it and the pressure of the Party if you break away from them; so this combination, this confluence of events, leads to this awful result,” Matas concluded.
That is how doctors like Tohti, former Chinese surgeon, were turned into killing robots. He clarified: “They made you disabled to think yourself. My whole body just became a robot, just performed to do what it had been programmed to do. They made you genuinely believe what you are doing is for a good cause. It is a little later, I realized, I shortened this man’s life. That is equal to [being] a killer.”
Video: Why the Chinese government suppressed Falun Gong despite being condemned by the world?
Stopping the Genocide
China is increasingly facing international pressure to stop organ transplants and human rights abuses against Falun Gong.
“I strongly believe that the 17-year campaign to eradicate Falun Gong will be seen as one of the great shames of recent Chinese history,” said Chris Smith, a U.S. congressman, who was chairman of Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC).
“It’s a crime against humanity. It’s abhorrent, and it needs to stop!” Gabriel Danovitch, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, commented.
Investigative Journalist Gutmann has called for joint efforts from people across the world to stop the on-going genocide in China. He concluded, “This is a new form of genocide and it’s using the most respected members of society to implement it. This is one of the central tests of our time. We can’t avoid this any longer.”