TIME: 18:00-19:00, Wednesday 30th November 2016
VENUE: Committee Room 17, House of Commons,
Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA
Benedict Rogers, Author, The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on
Human Rights in China 2013-2016
Angela Gui, Human Rights Campaigner and daughter of detained Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai
Ethan Gutmann, China Analyst
CHAIR: Fiona Bruce MP
Fiona Bruce: a bell will ring, that’s to require me to go down to the house of commons chamber to vote so I will be returning then because I know I think this evening there will be two votes going to take the best part of half an hour to complete but you are welcome to stay here and sit for the speakers to conclude their presentations. So, don’t take it personally when I slip away and without further ado I’m handing over to Ben Rogers. Ben, thank-you.
Benedict Rogers: Thank-you very much Fiona and may I start by saying a very big thank-you to the Henry Jackson Society and all your staff who have worked so hard to organise this event. It’s always a privilege to speak at the Henry Jackson Society, I’ve had the opportunity on a few occasions before on other countries particularly Burma and I’m a big admirer of everything you stand for. In fact, I think the quote that should underpin our discussions today should be the one from Henry Jackson that I cite along with the Lord’s Prayer every day, almost every day: “If you believe in the cause of freedom and proclaim it, live it, and protect it for humanities future depends on it. Can I also pay tribute to you Fiona, not only for your leadership of the Conservative Party human rights but for taking a persistent and courageous stand on the issue of China at times when it’s not always that convenient to do so. I also want to say it’s a privilege to share this platform with my friend Ethan Gutmann who’s done so much to highlight the issue, specifically the issue of organ harvesting, with Yaxue Cao who we’ll hear from. I’m sad Angela Gui can’t be here in person but as has been said I will read some words from her when I have finished my own remarks.
It’s worth also just saying that Angela Gui spoke at the launch of the report that is really the focus of this discussion today and that’s the report that the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission launched in June this year which is available on our website, The Darkest Moment: the crackdown on human rights in China 2013-2016. That report was launched in Parliament with Angela Gui with Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin and with the former governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten. The report has also been warmly endorsed by both Lord Patten and the former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
I first went to China in 1992 when I was 18 years old and I went to teach English in my gap year before university. In all the 24 years that I’ve been following China since then, I can honestly say that I have not seen a period in which human rights have deteriorated so dramatically in such a short space of time as they have done over the last 3 years. That’s the reason why we conducted the inquiry and published this report. Let me just say a few words about how the report came about.
It was in July last year when hundreds of lawyers in china were rounded up and arrested that I first realised that something was very desperately wrong. China has always had a very bad human rights record, we all know that. But they used to be a belief that as China opened up economically it might eventually reform holistically with the crackdown on lawyers last year. I would add with the crackdown on protestors in Hong Kong in the umbrella movement in the previous year the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong, I knew that things were regressing very severely. So, last summer and autumn, Fiona and I were together. Fiona tabled a number of questions in Parliament, in particular an urgent questions that during President Xi JinPing’s state visit and following that we decided that it was time to hold a more in-depth inquiry in addition to raising questions in Parliament we can actually have a series of hearings that will enable us to establish the truth of what’s happening in China in detail. The crackdown on lawyers, the destruction of crosses in Zhejiang province, the wider abuses of freedom of religion or belief including restrictions on Christians throughout the country, the persecution of Falun Gong, the situation in Tibet and inaudible, the issue of organ harvesting, the repression of freedom of expression, the tightening of restriction on civil society, increasing censorship and propaganda and the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong. If that doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted then I’m not sure what will. We had two 3 hour hearings in parliament where we heard from a range of Chinese dissidents, Chinese scholars and human rights organisations and we also put out a call for written evidence and received over 30 written submissions including from people as distinguished as Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Anson Chan; the founder of Hong Kong’s Democratic party, Martin Lee; the leader of the Student protest movement, the Umbrella Movement, Joshua Wong; the blind human rights defender, Chen Guangcheng; and human rights organisations such as Human Rights Org. Amnesty International and others. And without exception the unanimous view of everyone who gave evidence was that the situation in China and including Hong Kong has indeed deteriorated dramatically. Some have said it’s the worst situation since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 and the reason we titled the report The Darkest Moment is that those words come from the testimony of a Chinese activist, Yang Jianli, who told us this is the Darkest moment for human rights in China in years. I should say that it is continuing as we speak, just in the last week or so prominent human rights lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, has disappeared. Two editors of news websites have disappeared. The issue of the Hong Kong legislators, democratically elected who refused to take the oath that they were required to take, they’ve now been stripped of their seats. New regulations that have been issued in the last month or so, tightening restriction even further on religious practice and so the question that we ask and continue to ask is this: is now really the time to be declaring that we wish to be China’s best friend and to pursue a so called golden era? To use Lord Patten’s phrase “Do we ever have a bottom line?” Too much kowtowing does not make for good foreign policy. As James McGregor, the Chairman of APCO, said on the Radio 4 Today Programme during JinPing’s visit: If you act like a panting puppy, the object of your attention is going to think it’s got you on a leash. China does not respect people who suck up to them and so in our report we put forward no less than 22 recommendations for what the British government should do in its China policy. We urged the British government, especially I think it’s so good that we’re having this meeting now because we launched the report when we had a different Prime Minister and a different foreign secretary. We now, as we all know, have a new prime minister and a new foreign secretary so we urged our current government as we tried to urge their predecessor’s to conduct a radical review of China policy. To adopt a position where we put concern for human rights in china and Hong Kong at the centre of our relationship with China. When China is experiencing its darkest moment for human rights in years, it is not the time to pursue a golden era. It is right, of course, to engage to change to build a relationship, no one would suggest we just ignore the worlds, one of the world’s largest economies. But it must be a relationship where human rights are raised actively, repeatedly and publically as well as privately. Other world leaders have shown that that can be done. Germany’s Angela Merkel has consistently spoken out publically on human rights. She’s made something like 12 visits to china during the time she has been in office. I think on every visit she has made a speech about human rights, publically. I wrote an article for the Wall St Journal that set out the comparison between the approach she has taken and the approach the British government has been taking. Because she has spoken out and remains China’s largest European trading partner. So it’s a myth to say that you have to, in order to trade, you have to be silent on human rights. Let me conclude before I read Angela Gui’s words, let me just conclude that it is not only morally right to be speaking out but it is also in our interest to speak out for the values that we in this country hold dear, values of freedom and human rights. Nowhere is that more true than in our relationship with China. Daniel Johnson, the editor of Standpoint magazine, said in a recent lecture that: “To be a conservative means to reject the politics of negativity; anger, revenge, guilt and resentment and instead to pursue a positive vision. A vision of generosity and justice, of peace and prosperity, of democracy and conviviality, under the rule of law. We are responsible for the preservation for the civilisation that has formed us and of which we in turn must endeavour to be worthy.” Our primary duty isn’t to our own civilisation but our responsibilities do not stop there, wherever in the world, he says, the forces of barbarism seek to destroy humanity and liberty, we must resist and overcome them. If we do not, they will seek us out sooner or later and even if they fail in their attempt to annihilate us, physically and culturally, the barbarians may do great damage. I want to suggest provocatively, I know, that under Xi JinPing, the barbarians are in charge. In 1949, Chairman Mao said that the Chinese people had stood up, I believe now it falls to us and everyone in the international community to stand up for the Chinese people. Thank-you.
And now, if I may, I’m going to read on Angela Gui’s behalf, her short statement:
ANGELA GUI’S STATEMENT.
Fiona Bruce: So, now we’re going to turn to… I’m so sorry we don’t have video but we have audio so hopefully you’ll be able to hear. (Inaudible)
Yaxue Cao: Hi.
Fiona: Good evening.
Yaxue Cao: Hello. Hi.
Fiona Bruce: Hi, thank-you for joining us here in the House of Commons in the select committee room. You’re speaking to us from where?
Yaxue Cao: Washington D.C.
Fiona: Wonderful, thank-you for joining us. Before you speak to us, could you just introduce yourself to the audience here so that we know a little bit more about you? I do apologise, is it (inaudible)?
Yaxue Cao: Yes, it’s Yaxue Cao. Yes. My name is Yaxue Cao. I’m calling from Washington DC. (Inaudible) It’s been around for four years and we report about human rights in (inaudible) civil society advance in China. So we are a (inaudible) to bring these authors supressed views to the world and (inaudible) rather successful in that, thank-you.
Fiona: Thank-you very much for joining the Henry Jackson Society event this evening. Just to introduce myself, I’m Fiona Bruce. I’m chair of the Conservative Party Human rights Commission and we have heard the vice chair, Ben Rogers, who I’m sure is very well known to you.
Fiona Bruce: Ethan Gutmann who has written authoritatively on organ harvesting in China and then we also have John Hennings who is from the Henry Jackson Society as well as a number of people in the audience. So thank-you for joining us. Would you like to give us your take on the latest situation regarding the issues you’ve just referred to that you monitor in china.
Yaxue: yeah, I would like to (inaudible) Ben and the Conservative Party’s report has made a great impact in this (inaudible) when this report came out this year, it has a said a lot of the things we have been reporting but in the recent month, I want to bring up the lawyers situation. The lawyers who were detained last July and their situation several cases have been delayed and (inaudible) for trial and them of course is a procedural violence by itself. They haven’t been able to meet their own lawyers and in recent weeks the two lawyers, their own parents in rural china were (inaudible) on video asking their sons to plead guilty in order to get the less sentence. But they haven’t committed any crime so a lot of these despicable practices continuing in treating these cases and the suspicions that several trials might be scheduled around Christmas because in china, I think you are all probably aware that, the (inaudible), thanksgiving and Christmas they like to hold these trials for example the Zhiqiang trial, some of the very prominent trials in order to deflect the international attention and of course recently this very week, in fact the last week, one very prominent human rights lawyer named Jiang Tianyong has been missing for nine days today, ten days in China’s time and there has been no official explanation about his whereabouts he has been in the past years a constant target of the government for surveillance, detention and the torture so the fear surrounding that he could have been as mistake could be tortured in an undisclosed locations. Of course, we don’t know where he is. And what’s striking about these cases is that Western governments including UK and US and Germany, France, they all speak to Chinese governments many, many times including Jiang Tianyong’s disappearance and the Chinese government has ceased to pay any attention to these pressure or these concerns. That itself is rather remarkable that I want to come back a little later.
In terms of freedom of speech, it comes in waves and it hasn’t stopped in the last few years since xi JinPing took power. Of course censorship existed before he came to power but it was.. there was some space for censors to speak. The last couple, few years basically free thinking liberal leaning Chinese citizens have had no space whatsoever on the internet to speak. They get their little, they get their (inaudible) or rather easily and this mandate, this very Monday people are calling it the Black Monday but we’re seeing these days rather often these days.
So this past Monday about scores of WeChat groups were deleted and some of the opinion leaders on WeChat which is Chinas’ most leading social media platform at this point. Some of the opinion leaders were warned and given a so called baseline which is that they’re not supposed to discuss the leadership and Chinas internal politics and etc. So the situation is rather, the internet, China’s internet and social media these days is filled with (inaudible) government censorship, armies of propaganda workers and they are, they have not long populated the Chinese social media, that every now and then when there are immense incidents, they engage what they call the (inaudible) they went to Facebook and twitter to curse people and resist the voice of government opinion. Also, this Monday a man called … who this past January was sentence 19 years for 69 WeChat posts and 200 some tweets many of them were retweets simply because of the anti-communist, anti-regime party, anti-regimen in his speech. So his case was pressured by the US government because Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, these are US government institutions, comments made by this man… with Voice of America and Radio Free Asia was sided in this court decision as evidence of a crime and VoA and RFA in black and white in the court decision described as anti-China foreign organisations so I personally asked US department to intervene because I asked them to defend US interests and they did but to no result. The appeal was announced this Monday and they upheld the original sentence which was rather appalling. Cases like this is the determination of Chinese government’s part and the length it’s willing to go to take out one by one our internet whether you are an anonymous average citizen or someone with a bigger voice. So, that’s the situation. Another thing I want to bring up is a phenomenon that’s not new but in recent months, especially this year, it was beating up rather ferociously. So China is pushing a narrative which is the human rights lawyers, the dissidents, the activists, all of them whatever they are doing is part of a conspiracy by the foreign government to instigate a colour revolution in China. This was made very very clear in the first week of harvest when four, one human rights lawyer and 3 activists were tried in the first week of harvest. During that week, the China government launched a propaganda war with several videos and (inaudible) smearing foreign journalists and diplomats which was rather, which is very very vicious. On our website we have a translation of these, the transcripts. If I may, I would like to submit that to you for further reading. It’s also rather spectacular and once the media, the media article in July, in fact named three amnesties which is the US embassy, UK embassy and German embassy in Beijing as quote “foreign anti-China forces” end quote. I know when will we talk about this, I mean (inaudible) a lot of people when I tell people about this they go “Ahhh” (inaudible) I would argue that we should pay serious attention because these propaganda matters and these propaganda really (inaudible) a tiny population. In the long run it’s a security issue because speech like this, the nationalist, the kind of hatred and hostility is eventually a matter to (inaudible) and the recent occasion I told a group of elite people, I said if you want to get a measure of the kind of impact of such a hostile propaganda anti-west propaganda all you need to think about is the propaganda against Hilary Clinton in the last 25 years. How it has been based almost on nothing, how it left 40% of the American population believing without much evidence, believing that Hilary is somehow a bad person. I mean, I’m not going to argue that Hilary is perfect, my point is that this kind of long term propaganda does change people’s mind and it steers us from the truth. That’s something on this particular occasion I want to bring to your attention. Thank you very much.
Fiona: Thank-you so much. If you’ve got time for a question from Ben Rogers? Have you a question Ben? No? My mistake, I thought he wanted to ask a question. Does anybody else from the panel want to ask a question? No? I think in this case we will say thank-you very much for this very helpful and very timely presentation to us that I know many people here will have appreciated very much. Thank-you.
So, Ethan. Over to you.
Ethan Guttman: Okay, so first of all I just wanted to thank the Henry Jackson Society for hosting this and I just want to apologise to you Fiona and you Ben because you’ve heard a lot of this before. I’m just not one of these persons… this is a tough subject because it’s very complex and it’s taken years of investigation so I think it’s not really fair to go over… I’d like to give kind of a good background on this but you’ve heard it before so I’d like to apologise. What I’ll talk about today is basically the waste product of Chinese repression. It’s interesting I’ve never come up with a metaphor as eloquent as this (inaudible) It’s a metaphor for the gulag and he’s called it a plumbing or a waste management system. There is some similarities to what I’m looking at which is this is a vast, isolated captive population in which human life is considered expendable, it is also true that what makes the Chinese population unusual is the widespread exploitation of medical professionals and high finical profits that evolved. I just want to add that there’s a couple of ground rules when you’re, when we talk about organ harvesting or receiving an organ we are talking about something where you have to go to China. Organs don’t last very long outside of the body, they’re useless often in a couple of hours so you have to do it right there. It’s also true that the rate of rejection by the new host goes up dramatically when it is not taken from a living human being so the most efficient successful way of doing organ transportation is from a living human being or somebody who just perhaps just died in a car accident or something like that. So those are sort of the, these organs can’t be shipped around the world or anything like that. I want to add one more point before I start getting into it, none of this what I’m going to describe in my view based on my research was inevitable in anyway. It was not written, it was not a master plan, the system as I see it that I’m going to describe developed organically or more accurately, opportunistically over time and I’ll come back to why that might be important at the end of my talk.
Now, it decides that it doesn’t want to do what I said. That’s just great. Now it decide, just a bad moment. Yeah well okay.
Now in order to piece together the story of how mass organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience evolved in China, I spoke with medical professionals, Chinese law enforcement, well over 100 refugees. My interviews began in 2006, my book the Slaughter was published in late 2014. I was not the first to examine this issue in depth that distinction belongs to David Kilgour and David Matas, the authors of the seminal bloody harvest report of 2006. I also acted as consultant on the world organisation investigation persecution of Falun Gong (?) in 2015. This report which was done by Falun Gong practitioners sort of scattered throughout the world who are not really professional researchers but who are awfully good at this stuff demonstrated that the transplant volumes were exponentially higher than the Chinese medical establishment had claimed for over a decade. Also showed to existence of a large staple of living tissue types that could be selected for organ harvesting at any given time. Now, on June 22nd of this year David Kilgour, David Matas and I joined forces and published an update to our previous works. It was not a repetition at all, it was purely an update but it is approximately 700 pages long and has over 2300 footnotes. You could fine it at endorganpillaging.org, it’s searchable and all that good stuff. I’ll brief you on some of those findings but I’d like to start with a brief timeline of how organ harvesting evolved in China.
Chinese organ harvesting developed in the 1980s, the source for transplanted organs was executed prisoners. The vast majority of these death row prisoners were common criminals: murders and the like. They were dutifully convicted under Chinese law which is why we have this picture. This is a woman who murdered her husband and in 1994 this man, a member of a public security bureau regiment heard screams coming from an organ harvesting medical van that was parked at the execution grounds of Xinjiang in North-West china. In 1995, Enver Tohti, a Uyghur surgeon based in the capital of Xinjian, Urumqi was ordered to extract liver and kidneys from a prisoner who had been shot, not to kill but enough to send the body into shock. He removed the organs, the prisoner died. He first confessed to this crime right here in Westminster. Now, in 1997 following the Ghulja massacre the first political prisoners, Uyghur, Muslims and political activists were harvested on behalf of high ranking Chinese communist party converts. Again, these were not political prisoners they weren’t in any sense, they had not been accused of a capital crime, they had been accused of demonstrating. In 1999, Chinese state security launched it’s largest action of scale since the cultural revolution: the eradication of the Buddhist revivalist group of Falun Gong. In 2000, hospitals across China began wrapping up their facilities for what would become an unprecedented explosion in China’s transplant activity and by the end of that year well over 1,000,000 Falun Gong practitioners were imprisoned by the Laogai System, there is evidence, this is actually, there are Falun Gong in that picture so it’s not just window dressing.
Now when I say the Laogai system I’m referring to labour camps, detention centres, psychiatric facilities, prisons and black jails. Pretty much anywhere where you can detain someone. By 2001, Chinese military hospitals were unambiguously targeting select Falun Gong prisoners for harvesting. This is just a tiny selection of some of the institutions that were involved. It’s from my book, these are ones I mention in my book. The actual map practically turns black when you get to these codes because of all the dots.
By 2002, according to this Falun Gong refugee from labour camp, House Christians were also being examined for their organs. Just Falun Gong and Christians. By 2003, the first Tibetans were being targeted as well. These 2 made it back alive which is why we were able to interview them on it. By the end of 2005, surgeons have actually become the new executioners and China’s transplant apparatus (inaudible) prisoners had increased so dramatically that a matched organ can be located within two weeks for any foreign organ tourist with cash. That’s actually, now we’re up to we’re actually capable of doing emergency liver transplants in several hospitals in China which means a patient comes in with a severe failure of the liver and in four hours they get you a new liver.
You see where this is leading. The execution of death row prisoners, hardened criminals supplied some of these organs, the majority were extracted from Falun Gong practitioners according to our research. This fact wasn’t even being kept all that secret from the prisoner population or visiting surgeons such as Dr inaudible.
In early 2006 the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong newspaper revealed the first allegations of the organ harvesting of Falun Gong and the Chinese government denied them. But this was followed by the Kilgour-Mavis report that estimated that the 41,500 transplants were sourced or had no other source than Falun Gong from 2000-2005. Now Beijing responded to the allegations, Beijing responded quite dramatically. They responded by banning all foreign organ tourism to China, at least on paper anyway and insisting that prisoners should have patient forms duly signed before they were harvested for their organs. Now I estimate that 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were murdered for their organs from 2000-2008, a different kind of comparison using a different kind of method. If you take out the guy in the middle you have a pretty accurate mathematical representation of Falun Gong refugees. All these women were in labour camps, usually different labour camps, all of them were tortured. The one on the left there inaudible, was given very suspicious organ examinations, I mean endless blood tests and very clearly they were aimed at establishing the health of her organs and nothing else. And that’s pretty much mathematically how I approached the question after speaking to about 50 refugees and then making some calculations on it. Obviously there, you know, these are sort of shots in the dark. By 2008, many analysts, I was among them, assumed the Chinese state would simply stop harvesting prisoners of conscience after fears of international condemnation during the Beijing Olympics. Yet the physical examination of Falun Gong in detention for their retail organs actually showed a slight uptake. In 2012, Wang Lijun, he was Bo Xilai’s right hand man. Bo Xilai was a contender for the presidency of China at the time. Wang Lijun was arguably the most famous law enforcement figure in Chinese politics. Now he attempted to defect at the US consulate in Chengdu because Bo Xilai had a vendetta for him but I don’t want to get caught up in that story. The interesting thing, again take a look inaudible two weeks later the World organisation to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong revealed Wang Lijun has opened and received a prestigious award for directing thousands of organ extractions and transplants in his own chop shop in city. Now the Chinese leadership was thus fatally exposed fortunately for them, this information only came out in a Falun gong source so of course the media paid no attention. But they realised the danger and in an emergency response Chinese medical authorities such as inaudible declared the Western press that they would cease organ harvesting of death row prisoners and this was widely reported by the Wall street Journal and New York Times. Eager to clean up the reputation of transplant surgery which was now pretty well damaged, Francis Delmonico, that’s him right here, president of the transplantation society signed on as head janitor and in 2015 when the Chinese medical establishment declared they were no longer harvesting prisoners for their organs, transplantation officials and doctors went on guided hospital tours in china and declared the Chinese transplant environment was now ethical and legitimate.
No mention was made by either side of prisoners of conscience. Third party verification was rejected so in June at a congressional hearing prompted by our report, Delmonico admitted that the Transplantation Society had no access to Chinese military hospitals where the bulk of the transplants were taking place. Further pressed by congressman Rohrabacher, Delmonico admitted under oath that they had no ability to verify Chinese medical reform at all. He also expressed support for the Chinese Transplantation Society activities and the TTS, transplantation society, is actually financed by the Beijing friendly Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, the real point is that during this period from 2012 to the present day when this reform is supposedly taking place and even as Chinese medical authorities spoke publicly of shortages due to relying on voluntary organ donations that a series of strange anomalies occurs. A single day in 2013, this woman watched over 500 Falun gong labour camp prisoners be subject to medical examination of their organs again only Falun gong. Now, at the same time the leader of Tibet enforced this disappearances accelerated dramatically during this period and it’s very hard to get good numbers on this but it’s clearly there. Now, these are not people who are in anyway accused of a capital crime or something like that, these are bloggers who simply disappeared. Now Falun Gong practitioners across China’s provinces, police forcibly administered blood test and this new method DNA cheek swabs, these are tissue typing methods not in prison, not in a detention centre but in their homes. This has occurred now in 8 provinces.
So what’s happening here? One answer to these anomalies might be found in this app which is encouraging foreign organ tourists on the web, this isn’t translated it actually was in English. This archive from 2014 and used to be my favourite party trick was to make people look at this. Now if you take a closer look at the hospital in the bottom right hand corner that is Tianjin Central hospital. They had already performed a grand total of 5,000 kidney transplants by 2006 and that same year there was a construction of a new transplant centre. Anyways, they were doing about less than 1,000 kidney transplants per year and after 2006 this becomes an issue and the hospital carefully avoids updating it’s transplant numbers. But, recent evidence culled from academic medical theses and internal hospital newsletters and phone calls exposes a very different picture. It exposed that they actually had 500 dedicated transplant beds, 110 surgeons, that’s 20-30 surgical transplant teams and 70 transplant operating rooms. They also have 131% occupancy which means they’re putting people in hotels. In other words, the capabilities of Tianjin Central Hospital are staggering. Their current performance we estimated at 5000 liver and kidney transplants per year. Now, the Chinese routinely claims they do 10,000 transplants per year in the entire country. In fact, Tianjin hospital has the theoretical capability to perform that number, over that number, on it’s own. One hospital. Now this PLA 309 hospital, Beijing, is a notorious centre for harvesting political and religious prisoners. It used to come up again and again with various witnesses. What bothers us here is the velocity the growth over time by 2006, hospital 309 was performing over 460 kidney transplants a year, by 2010 1,000 kidney transplants per year. Now it has 316 beds, patient turnover rate of over 100% and they have built the capability to process 3000-4000 transplants per year, so somethings very wrong. We’ve only looked at two hospitals and we’re already close to 10,000. 712 hospitals in China have performed transplants and here’s just a few: Nanjing general hospital, Nanjing general military hospital – they do well over one thousand we believe up to 2000 transplants per year, This is Xijing hospital affiliated with four medical military universities, theirs is well over a thousand transplants per year. But if we put aside even these hospitals and we just look at the average transplant centre, again the Chinese medical establishment commonly claims 10,000 transplants per year. This is a typical state license, one that the ministry of health has licensed to do transplants, they have 3 to 4 transplanters, they have 30-40 beds, they have a 20-30 day recovery period and they have an occupancy rate 80-100%. The patient demand is at least 300,000 Chinese waitlisted for organs at any given time and that’s not counting foreign organ tourists. Would it be plausible to suggest that such a facility might do one transplant per day? These people do not sit on their hands. Well, we got 146 of those. These are certified to perform transplants and they meet that description and that yields a back of the envelope answer of not 10,000 but 50-60,000 transplants per year. Now if we actually hold those same hospitals and transplant centres to the actual state minimum requirement of transplant activity: beds, surgical staff and so on, it becomes 80-90,000 transplants per year. Just these 146 hospitals. Now admittedly we’re not there with a clipboard but nonetheless we haven’t even accounted for the emergence of the hospitals I described at the beginning Tianjin first central, PLA 309, this list is extraordinary, it is the heart of the report and a detailed examination easily yields an average of up to 2 transplants per day coming from these hospitals now that’s over a 100,000 transplants per year. It’s a mind blowing number. Now the figures that I’ve given you are based on Chinese numbers not from official statements but my favourite source is nurses weekly. These are all sources the Chinese never dreamed anybody would look at. They’re all internal documents and now all these sources are simply disappeared. They’re all gone. They’ve all vanished. Fortunately we archived them all before we went public but this is a one trick pony we can’t do this or study ever again. We can supply a casualty list of Uyghur or Falun Gong, Christians based on these alone because they could be using up to three organs from each political or religious prisoner. Maybe four. But we can say that our original casualty estimates – 41-65,000 – these are very low and the real number is steadily increasing. Now profits drive hospital production, what drives the party wrap it up. I don’t pretend to have special insight into that block box or the Marxist practice of covering up crimes against humanity by liquidating anybody who is familiar with the crime.
Very quickly on policy and recommendations. The key thing here is that several countries have banned organ tourism to China: Israel, Spain, Taiwan and just this month Italy. Not a single Israeli has gone to China since 2008, since they banned it. Now the fact is this was an open process in Israel, the doctors had to come out and say look, we’re Jewish doctors, the phrase “never again” is very important, we mean it. For Taiwan this was an amazing event because given the Chinese military threat. But at the time when the medical establishment and the political sector can join hands surely we can too. Now the fact is we made FOI requests to 27 transplant hospital units across the UK.. You got to go? Let me…
Fiona Bruce: No, no, you’re fine Ethan. For my… This
Ethan: I will skip harping about… I’ll just got right to the substitute. We’re asking for the NHS to give us a number: how many people die? And they owe us that number. It doesn’t mean we want to see their credit cards or their names any more than I need to give you the name of the man in Birmingham who got a kidney transplant from Tianjin medical hospital – he’s out there but I’m not going to give you his name. I don’t need to give you his age but the point is that I said in the beginning that forced organ harvesting developed opportunistically and theoretically it could end the same way. The organ trade is actually only worth 8-9 billion dollars per year for the Chinese that’s not big money in China really. The Chinese medical establishment knows, this is different from the political establishment, they know the real money is in big pharma but for china to realise big pharma as a pillar industry requires less than acceptance and this is where we. I have no illusion that if the UK end organ tourism to China the bottom would fall out from the Chinese organ harvesting trade. But it would send a powerful message to the Chinese medical establishment for we don’t trust them and that they should provide a full account of their medical inaudible.
Fiona: Thank you Ethan that was exemplary as ever because it really is important that someone who has done that research talks to this issue and gives the likes of me confidence that I can then relay your concerns and we are pressing for UK parliament and indeed the government to make a statement that organ tourism from this country should not happen so we will take that up. Thank-you very much. I apologise that I have to leave. John, I will leave them in your good hands as chair. Thank-you everybody.
John: I realise some people may want to go now if you need to leave please do so quickly and quietly. I think what we’ll try to do is maybe have 10 or 15 minutes questions and answers so as I said earlier please remember to state your name, your affiliation and if the question is addressed to a particular speaker could you do that as well. I was too abrupt for you wasn’t I? Yes.
Ethan: I think that’s a really great question and it’s I think there are a couple of answers. I mean inaudible told the military that as a good army man you have to start earning/carry your own weight. You’ve got a lot of resources, use them, and find way to make money, be entrepreneurial. This is certainly part of that but it’s also true that the reason why they took the lead role in harvesting Falun gong and harvesting other dissidents were because these were enemies of the state and they could be trusted. It’s also true that this is still a top down structure, people get watched it’s a surveillance society but as you know the people who really get watched are the communist party and the military and the military hospitals are no exception to this. So this is another indication of how close this is to the top leadership, how much this came from the top down. Having said that what are their actual motives these days? We have heard of bidding wars going on between armed police, hospitals and the military hospitals over actual dissidents: Falun Gong and Uyghurs and that’s come up again and again. Beyond that I can’t say what, between greed and following government orders it’s unclear. All I’m suggesting by my ending is that if you’re really greedy, if you really want to make the big money you want to move into big pharma, this will lead you nowhere. Eventually this is going to dry up and it’s my theory at least, maybe I’m grasping at straws here. But the Chinese medical establishment which has gained a lot of reputation and a lot of money and has grown and grown and grown can actually put up a little bit of a fight now and say “look we don’t really want to be associated with this organ harvesting we want to be associated with pharmaceuticals and that’s where we make a difference.” It’s possible that can influence some figures at the top but I don’t inaudible I have no illusions that this would be an easy process. But the military, and I don’t know which way the military would stand on that either that they would see this as interrupting a revenue stream..
John: next question?
Audience: inaudible what I have noticed about China is the number of students that come here every year for various reasons and I’ve sort of bumped into these people during summer course and things like that. I expect it’s the same with America and other European countries, is this going to affect the atmosphere of ideas in China in the long run or do they get roped into the bribery that falls upon the so-called system that has ways of making people do what the state wants?
Ethan: Great human rights situation.
Audience: Yes it’s probably…
Benedict: Well I think it’s a great question, I think it certainly has the potential to over time to make the difference the more people are exposed to ideas of freedom and democracy and freedom of expression however I also think there’s inaudible Chinese students who should be welcome here who inaudible but I think there is a danger that the opposite could happen and indeed it sometimes is already happening not from the students but from the Chinese governments but the influence that is having on our academic institutions with universities for example avoiding sensitive issues. I was at a conference in Cambridge a few weeks ago and organised by Rowan Williams, the former arch-bishop of Canterbury who is now the master of inaudible at Cambridge College. He, the previous year he had the same conference but he’d had the Dalai Lama come and he had been told by the university authorities that “we can’t stop you having the Dalai Lama but you are doing it purely in your personal capacity and you must not involve the name of the university or the college because of our relationship with china.” So there’s that kind of thing going on and then there’s the presence of Confucius institutes which I think are a very dangerous influence. The short answer to a short question is yes potentially but there is a danger of the reverse happening and it eroding our own academic institutions.
Ethan: I wish Anastacia Lin was here to talk about inaudible and as a student herself inaudible
John: Just as an aside I wrote a inaudible for an American news website an analysis, if I wrote on East Asia often there’d be 50 commentators who were debating the issues but they disguised themselves as western. The only way you can tell is syntax and the gung ho false sounding American expressions like “we’ll kick the world’s butt.” So sometimes you get the impression that… so we have time for one more, I apologise that this has been a very brief discussion. This lady and that gentleman.
John: I can feel that some people would really like to continue this conversation and some probably must get away because of the room.. Can I suggest that some people, we can go out into the hallway and exchange cards and we can carry on the conversation. The important part is that this is beginning a conversation and we have two amazing experts share their information. Get the cards, read their books, promote these ideas. I did not know as much about the harvesting and I was kind of shocked. Why don’t you come up to us right now and have a chat?
Benedict: I profoundly agree with you, I think Britain has, I know we have legal obligations to Hong Kong under the joint declaration so if we can’t even uphold our legal responsibilities to Hong Kong what hope do we have of helping on mainland China. Inaudible
John: And everything we can do, like having the conversation and getting the word out you know these tiny things change people’s minds. Can I just say can we have a really big thank you to Ethan Guttman and inaudible. Thank you very much for coming and as I said please come up to us and have a chat.