Written by Kathy Clubb
23rd Oct 2023
Forced organ harvesting has been taking place in China since the early 2000’s when the authorities began persecuting members of the Falun Dafa community. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a form of spirituality in the Buddhist tradition which the Chinese Communist Party considers a threat. Its adherents’ healthy lifestyle makes them perfect candidates for organ harvesting and this has led to the rise of China’s gruesome international trade in illegally acquired transplant organs.
The following is an interview with the President of the Victorian Branch of the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, Mr Xiao Fan. FLI recently conducted the interview with Mr Fan by email:
Hello Mr Fan, thank you for agreeing to do this interview with FLI. Can you give a little of your background? How did you come to be living in Australia?
I am a journalist from China who came to Australia as part of a cultural exchange programme.
I was tasked to be a news reader for our Chinese program broadcast to China shortly before the June 4 Massacre in 1989. I read all the news about the massacre when it broke out. At that time, I was told that someone had reported my activity of reading other news sources to the public security bureau and was advised to not return to China. I therefore had no choice but to stay in Australia.
How widespread is the Falun Dafa Association in Australia? How do members support one another?
There are Falun Dafa practitioners in all Australian capital cities, including regional and rural areas. Since we do not keep a name register, we do not know the actual figures in Australia. My rough estimation is around 2000-3000. The Falun Dafa Association is set up to coordinate all activities in Australia.
Practitioners come from all walks of life, and from a rich variety of nationalities and races. We help each other by reading Falun Dafa literature harmoniously together, sharing with each other, and participating in various activities that clarify the facts about the persecution in China.
Do you have any personal experience/evidence of the CCP’s illegal organ trade?
Since I learned Falun Gong here in Melbourne and have never been back to China since 1999, I don’t personally have any experience with forced organ harvesting or transplant tourism. However, through hearing accounts from practitioners who have come from China, the evidence and investigative reports by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), the independent China Tribunal led by Sir Geoffery Nice KC, and reports by other world organisations such as Amnesty and the United Nations, I have come to believe that forced organ harvesting indeed exists and is occurring on a concerning scale.
What kind of support exists in Australia for victims of this and other abuses committed by the CCP?
We are very grateful for the Australian government’s support in providing political protections for Falun Gong practitioners who were victims of torture by the CCP, or were potential victims of forced organ harvesting. These people were singled out during their detention in jail, or in forced labor camps, to undergo a thorough blood test and “health checkup.” All the data was entered into a database and then used to match those who sought an organ. Once a match is found, that practitioner is then killed, and their organs are harvested.
Does the average Chinese citizen know what is going on in his or her own country – regarding organ harvesting and other abuses? What about those Chinese living in Australia?
Not many Chinese citizens know about forced organ harvesting, but they are all aware of the persecution of Falun Gong. However, almost all of them will avoid any conversations on the topic out of fear it may get them into trouble. As for the Chinese living in Australia, it’s very divided. Some know about it and have shown their support, while others still believe in the CCP’s propaganda and do not believe it is happening in China.
Do international patients generally know the source of organs purchased in China? Are legally procured organs available in that country? Are Australians among the recipients of illegally gained organs?
I am not in a position to answer the question. Since the transplant operations have been done in all the major state-run hospitals and military hospitals, people might naively think it’s legal. Another scenario is that they might not care since their lives are in danger. Some people who know the truth would choose not to go to China.
I read reports about Australians going to China for organ transplants. Since Australian Customs has no specific requirements for checking whether someone has been overseas for an organ transplant, there are no exact figures for the number of Australians who have done so.
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration created a new law “Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023” which is meant to penalise the Chinese who are involved in illegal organ harvesting. Do laws like these actually deter or punish those involved? Would you like to see a similar law passed in Australia?
If all countries, especially western countries, adopt the same or similar actions, the CCP organ trade will have no market. Therefore, a lot of potential victims will be saved. I sincerely hope we can push our government to adopt similar laws in Australia. Now, Great Britain and Canada have amended their laws in this aspect.
Some sources are reporting that the CCP has largely moved on from harvesting organs from Falun Dafa practitioners to other minority groups such as Moslem Uyghurs and Kazakhs. They also speculate that organs from these groups are being sought out by wealthy Middle Eastern patients because the ‘donors’ have not been exposed to pork. Do you concur that the demographic of organ harvesting victims has changed? Does this mean that Falun Dafa members living in China are now ‘safe’?
To meet the ever-growing market, the CCP has targeted other dissident groups, but I think Falun Gong practitioners are still the main victims of organ harvesting. The CCP’s act serves two purposes: one is to pocket a huge profit and the other is to wipe out the dissidents.
Do trade sanctions work and do you see them ever being employed against China specifically for its human rights abuses? What can Australians do to support the Falun Dafa and help oppose China’s organ harvesting regime?
Trade sanctions will always work, but they’ve rarely been related to human rights abuses. Now, the western countries are not as united as they were many years ago. They put economic interests above human rights. Therefore, if one country employs trade sanctions against China, instead of supporting the sanctions, other countries will try to step in to fill up the trade gap left by the other country. Therefore, the CCP is not afraid of such sanctions. It can always find another partner if one country employs trade sanctions. This makes trade sanctions ineffective. Australia has provided political asylum to many victims of Falun Gong practitioners who have escaped from China. On the other hand, it still doesn’t dare to denounce the persecution of Falun Gong publicly.
Despite the difficulty of finding hard evidence of the CCP’s forced organ harvesting, some suspicious activities are taking place around concentration camps and in the Chinese hospital system. These confirm the testimonies of those relatively rare doctors and victims who have been able to speak to journalists in the West. One pattern known to occur in forced labour camps is that young people around the age of 28 routinely disappear during the night. They are often known to have recently undergone medical testing for no apparent reason. Falun Gong practitioners who have been able to escape from China report that only certain prisoners are tested. Further, it is obvious that since prisoners are often tortured, the authorities cannot be testing them to assist with the prisoners’ health.
Anomalies within the Chinese medical system also point to a trade in illegally-gained organs. It is well known that Chinese hospitals perform an enormous number of organ transplants with very short waiting times and that the number of organs available increased dramatically after the persecution of the Falun Gong began. Some of these hospitals are even on record as stating they can provide “Falun Gong organs” to transplant patients. One recent article by a doctor who escaped China, tells of his shocking experience assisting at the harvesting of organs from a live donor.
The CCP’s horrific and illegal trade is yet another indicator of the perverted Communist mindset. A mindset inspired by diabolical hatred of God and one which can only dehumanise and destroy.