A Canadian citizen has been detained in Beijing for more than 2 1/2 months – held against her will, according to supporters, for being a follower of the Falun Gong spiritual movement that is banned in mainland China.
Sun Qian, 51, who was born in China and obtained Canadian citizenship in 2007, was arrested in February, say Conservative foreign-affairs critic Peter Kent and Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.
It’s the second high-profile case in the past few months of a Canadian citizen winding up in the custody of the Chinese government.
And it emerges during the middle of a national debate over whether the Trudeau government should have agreed to negotiate an extradition treaty with China, a pact that would commit Canada to transfer fugitive Chinese to a country known for biased courts and harsh interrogation methods and where the death penalty is routinely imposed, even for non-violent crimes.
Ms. Sun’s case came to light this week when Mr. Kent raised the matter with Canada’s new ambassador to China, John McCallum, when he appeared before the Commons foreign-affairs committee. Mr. McCallum acknowledged the detention, saying he had been briefed on it, but offered little else.
In the second recent case, Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua mysteriously disappeared Jan. 27 from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, reportedly spirited away to the Chinese mainland by a phalanx of plainclothes policemen. Chinese political analysts think Mr. Xiao was wanted by President Xi Jinping and supporters because they believe he possesses incriminating evidence against political enemies of Mr. Xi.
Asked for comment on the Sun case, a spokesman at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa could offer none. It also did not confirm the nature of Ms. Sun’s detention.
The Chinese embassy, however, urged Canadian media to distrust any information provided by practitioners of Falun Gong, including its information websites. “Falun Gong is an evil cult that is anti-humanity and anti-science in nature, having caused enormous harm to Chinese society. It was banned by Chinese government in 1999, according to law,” embassy spokesman Yang Yundong said.
Referring to a Falun Gong website, Minghui, which has written about the Sun case, Mr. Yang urged The Globe to “believe no tales from them,” calling it an “anti-China” tool “that consistently makes up stories and spreads rumours.”
Mr. Wang said he had “no information” about Mr. Xiao.
Falun Gong emerged in China in the early 1990s as an exercise discipline focusing on meditation. It was soon seen as a threat, prompting a crackdown by the Chinese government. In 1999, authorities harshly suppressed the popular movement when some 10,000 practitioners gathered to protest outside Beijing’s elite leadership compound. International human-rights groups have for years documented the mistreatment of Falun Gong adherents in China.
On the issue of Canadians detained in China, Mr. McCallum said he doesn’t think discussing the cases is a good idea. “That doesn’t always help the person in detention if we broadcast their own situation in public. I think in those cases, almost all the time it is better to proceed in a low-profile way in order to do the best we can to help those individuals,” he told the foreign-affairs committee this week.
Mr. Kent disagreed and urged the Trudeau government to speak out in defence. “By staying silent or being less enthusiastic about speaking out, they are designating those folks as second-class Canadians.”
The department of Global Affairs refused to discuss Ms. Sun’s case, saying it needs to protect her right to privacy.
“Consular services are being provided to the Canadian citizen who has been detained in Beijing, China. Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information,” said Austin Jean, a spokesman for Global Affairs.
Falun Dafa’s Mr. Li, who called the Chinese embassy’s characterization of the movement “hate speech,” wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday, asking him to press Beijing to release Ms. Sun. “For the past 18 years, Falun Gong continues to be the most severely and illegally persecuted group in China,” he wrote. “The Canadian government has an obligation to protect Canadian citizens in China and also protect the dignity of Canadian values from being eroded by this repressive regime,” he wrote of the Chinese government, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party with no substantial political opposition.
He said Ms. Sun is being held in the Beijing First Detention Centre. He said she is a vice-president at a Chinese biochemical firm based in Beijing called Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co. and that a Canadian embassy official visited her recently.
Mr. Li also said he believes Ms. Sun entered China on a Canadian passport on her most recent trip to the country.
Unlike Canada, China does not recognize dual citizenship and refuses requests from foreign governments in cases where Chinese-born people have not formally relinquished their passport or used their Chinese documents to enter China.
Mr. McCallum, meanwhile, defended the extradition talks, which the Trudeau government agreed to last September, saying the Liberals are a “long, long, long way” from actual negotiations. He says right now they’re just talking. “We’ve agreed to talk about the issues that need to be addressed for China or any other country to meet our high standards. This includes things like the death penalty and the importance of high standards of evidence in court proceedings. We lose nothing by explaining our system and talking about the values we hold dear.”
- China says it performs 10,000 organ transplants a year
- But shocking report says the real figure is closer to 100,000
- Incarcerated followers of Falun Gong religion are targeted for transplants
- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said findings are ‘baseless’
China is forcing up to 90,000 prisoners a year to have organs removed, a shocking new report has claimed.
The widespread practice of removing organs from political prisoners has fuelled ‘organ tourism’ in China with foreigners paying for transplants.
Medical professionals and human rights advocates at The International Coalition To End Organ Pillaging In China have published a damning report which examines the transplant activity at hundreds of hospitals in China.
Co-author of the report Ethan Gutmann said in a video posted online:’If somebody goes to China to get an organ at this point, chances are they are getting it from a Falun Gong practitioner who was murdered on their behalf.’
‘Even if voluntary donations of organs have gone up, they can’t reach this level. This is live organ harvesting,’ he warned.
China has struggled to receive voluntary organ donations due to culture concerns so prisoners are primarily used to fill the demand for transplants.
The Chinese medical establishment claims that China performs 10,000 transplants per year but the report says the figure is closer to 100,000.
The report investigated the amount of transplant activity, surgical staff and beds in China and predicted an average of up to two transplants a day in China, over 100,000 transplants a year.
‘Many of the hospitals are relatively new or have new transplant wings or beds. This development would not have occurred without confidence in a continuing supply of organs for transplants,’ the report states.
‘The transplant business in China has developed with not only an abundance of available organs from 2001 on, but also with a confidence that this abundance would continue into the indefinite future,’ it continues.
Gutmann explained that removing organs from prisoners in China began in the 1980s but has dramatically increased in recent years.
‘By 2001, over one million Falun Gong incarcerated within the Laogai System were subject to retail-organ testing, and Chinese military and civilian hospitals were ramping up their transplant facilities. By 2002, it was select House Christians. By 2003, it was the Tibetans’ turn,’ he wrote on the End Organ Pillaging website.
Falun Gong is a Taoist-Buddhist sect that practices spiritual exercise and meditation regime. It has tens of millions of followers in China but in 1999 the Communist Party leadership initiated a nationwide crackdown to eradicate the practice.
Among the methods used to obtain the shocking transplant figures, researchers reviewed data from telephone surveys, hospital websites, and medical journals for the 865 hospitals in China which perform organ transplants (about 13 per cent of all hospitals).
They tracked 712 liver and kidney transplant centres and collected and analysed information about them and examined individually 165 hospitals approved by the Government of China to conduct transplantation.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying claimed the report’s findings are false.
‘The testimony and the published report, I want to say that such stories about forced organ harvesting in China are imaginary and baseless — they don’t have any factual foundation,’ she said.
In concentration camps throughout China, practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong have been detained with the approval of the Chinese communist regime since 1999 simply for practicing their belief. During the spring of 2006, much evidence of the most ghastly aspect of the persecution emerged. Falun Gong practitioners have been executed for their organs.
The existence of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners for transplantation has been proven beyond any doubt. From 2002 to 2006, more than 41,500 organ transplants were done in China. However, the Chinese government did not provide any information about the source of these organs. Despite the outspoken protests of citizens, organizations, and governments around the world, criminal organ harvesting for profit in China continues.
On Sept. 17, 2006, Wang Lijun, then police chief of Jinzhou, and his research center were rewarded for research on “organ transplantation after medication injection” by the China Guanghua Foundation. The award included research funding of two million yuan (US$325,000).
Wang Lijun, former police chief of the city of Jinzhou, speaks to policemen and doctors at a secret research center that he lead. Courtesy of WOIPFG
Wang Lijun, former police chief of the city of Jinzhou, speaks to policemen and doctors at a secret research center that he lead. Courtesy of WOIPFG
A report issued by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) on December 12, 2009, “Witness to a Killing during Live Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioner,” provides testimony that confirms Wang’s personal involvement in forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. For this crime against humanity, he was awarded government funding. This is just one of many pieces of evidence of Chinese officials’ criminal involvement in organ harvesting from living persons for profit.
Forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners authorized by Chinese regime
In early March 2006, a Chinese journalist from Shenyang, Liaoning Province, disclosed to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States that there was a secret concentration camp in Sujiatun, Shenyang. Detained Falun Gong practitioners were held there for the purpose of having their organs harvested for sale. Later, independent investigations revealed that there was—and still is—a network of such death camps throughout China, operating under the authority of the communist regime.
Canadian human rights expert David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour conducted a comprehensive investigation into this matter and published the “Report Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” which was later incorporated into the book Bloody Harvest.
The book includes more than 50 pieces of evidence, which confirm that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs have been extracted on demand for use in transplant surgeries in China. It also points out that Falun Gong practitioners are not sentenced to death by any court but are executed solely because their organs meet transplantation requirements and yield profit.
The following is an excerpt from Bloody Harvest:
“In a telephone conversation with a Chinese doctor, one of the investigators presented himself as a patient who was interested in getting a donor organ and, after the doctor admitted that they are obtaining organs from prison, asked:
M: And they were obtained from healthy Falun Gong practitioners?
Lu: Correct. We could choose the good ones because we assure the quality in our operations.
M: Does the person know that his organ will be removed?
Lu: No, he does not know about it.”
In another telephone conversation, the caller wanted to know whether he could get organs of Falun Gong practitioners. The doctor immediately replied, “We use only their organs here.”
The waiting periods for compatible organs in China are incredibly low … only one to three weeks. That is not possible without an unlimited supply of organs. Please note that the usual waiting times for organs in the United States and Canada are one to three years. This confirms the chilling fact that military doctors in China have a living organ bank, which means that they have people who are kept alive until the moment when orders are placed for their particular organs.
For the full report by Kilgour and Matas, please visit:
Matas has emphasized the special role of drugs in transplant operations: “If you keep the body alive with the help of drugs,” you can harvest organs “for a long period of time.” Western drug companies operating in China may unknowingly be supplying the needed medications for these horrific crimes.
Innocent people are being killed for their organs. Harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience is a crime against humanity, the likes of which the world has never known.
Ongoing persecution of Falun Gong
Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is an ancient spiritual practice based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. The practice was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China and has since spread to over 100 countries. It includes self-cultivation to improve one’s moral character and five gentle, meditative exercises that work together to improve health and well-being, enabling people to find peace of mind amid the stresses of modern life.
Falun Gong practitioners are not interested in political power. They are law-abiding citizens who strive, first and foremost, to treat others with tolerance and kindness.
Why did the former head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, decide to launch a brutal attack on Falun Gong in 1999? Because he was jealous of the extraordinary popularity of Falun Gong. According to a state-run census, 70 to 100 million Chinese citizens were engaged in the practice of Falun Gong at the time the persecution began, which exceeded the membership of the Communist Party.
Jiang Zemin vowed to eradicate the peaceful meditation discipline and established the “610 Office,” which is specifically tasked to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Jiang’s orders were to “ruin their reputation, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.” All TV channels and publications—controlled by the communist state—were deployed to defame Falun Gong day and night, to brainwash the Chinese, and to incite hatred of Falun Gong.
The slander and violent suppression have continued to this day. Countless Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested, imprisoned, and tortured to death or disability. They have been subjected to slave labor and imprisoned in psychiatric institutions. Many thousands have been killed for their organs.
The impact of this human rights travesty spreads far beyond Chinese borders—it affects everyone.
In the East, people say that good will be rewarded with good and evil will meet with retribution. In the West, many call it reaping what one sows. Jiang Zemin and his cohorts will pay for their crimes. And they have failed to eradicate Falun Gong. On the contrary, tens of millions in at least 114 countries currently partake in the practice.
In recognition of the extraordinary contribution to society in improving people’s health, as well as spiritual and moral culture, Mr. Li Hongzhi has been honored with thousands of proclamations and awards from governments and organizations around the world. Mr. Li has also been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 and in 2001, and he was awarded the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
On the other hand, Jiang Zemin has been sued for crimes against humanity, including genocide and torture, in 17 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, and Taiwan—though to this day, he remains unpunished.
In December 2009, after a four-year examination of evidence from numerous Falun Gong practitioners who have escaped from China, Judge Araóz de Lamadrid in Argentina issued an international arrest warrant for Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan, a former member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee who instigated the persecution along with Jiang. Interpol had issued an arrest warrant called for the culprits’ extradition to Argentina to face justice.
Due to intense pressure from the Chinese regime, the ruling was later reversed. However, on April 17, 2013, the Argentine Supreme Court overturned this reversal and ordered a new trial.
The suffering facing millions of innocent people in China cannot be alleviated by the silent complicity of the international community. The economic relations between various countries and China cannot take precedence over human rights.
If governments and citizens around the globe unite and demand that the Chinese regime immediately cease the terrible repression of innocent people and the horrendous practice of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, our world will see a ray of hope that will benefit us all.
For more information on this topic, please visit the Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) website. Please consider signing DAFOH’s petition.
This video also provides an excellent overview: Interview with DAFOH Spokesman Damon Noto, M.D.
Text of David Kilgour’s speech to the Knesset of Israel
17 February, 2014
Honourable members of the Knesset,
Permit me to thank you for the welcome given to the recent delegation from Canada. The visit and our prime minister’s address to the Knesset were widely reported across our country.
Permit me to repeat four excerpts from the speech:
“Canada supports Israel fundamentally because it is right to do so … The special friendship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values … Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law … when (universal values) are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.”
When human dignity is denied in a major way in China, it can threaten us all, so I hope the legislators and peoples in both our countries will do what is correct without misplaced fear.
All of us in the international coalition to end organ pillaging/trafficking in China can be pleased that you’re holding this important hearing.
Time is urgent; I am certain that men and women convicted of nothing are currently being killed in China so that their vital organs can be sold.
The principal victim community, Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa), uses a set of gentle exercises for the body. For the mind, its core principles are “truthfulness, compassion and forbearance”, which echo those of many spiritual faiths.
Falun Gong was introduced to the general public in China only in 1992; it grew within seven years to 70-100 million practitioners by the government’s own estimate. Its belief system differs sharply from the atheism/materialism of the Communist Party.
In July, 1999, then Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a violent campaign, the stated purpose of which was to “eradicate” Falun Gong.
A U.S. government report concluded several years ago that at least half of the inmates in the vast network of forced labour camps across China—one estimate is about 350 camps—are Falun Gong. Former detainees interviewed by David Matas and myself in various locations outside China, consistently indicated that Falun Gong were both the largest group in the camps and were singled out for systematic torture and abuse.
Tens of millions of peaceful/non-political Falun Gong from all regions and walks of life have been in effect deemed subhuman by the Beijing government. The party-state policy is that they can accordingly be killed on demand without any recourse.
In May 2006 the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) asked David Matas and me to investigate the claims of organ pillaging/trafficking from living Falun Gong practitioners. We released two reports and one book and have continued to investigate this issue. (Our revised report is available in 18 languages, including Hebrew, from www.david-kilgour.com). We concluded that for 41,500 transplants done in the years 2000-2005 alone in China, the only plausible explanation for sourcing was Falun Gong.
Our main conclusion reads that there “continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners (…) Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers, corneas and hearts, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.”
Evidence of Pillaging/Trafficking
Permit me to mention only a small fraction of the evidence that led us to our conclusion:
- Investigators made many calls to hospitals, detention centres and other facilities across China claiming to be relatives of patients needing transplants and asking if they had organs of Falun Gong for sale. We obtained on tape and then transcribed and translated admissions that a number of facilities trafficking in Falun Gong organs gave us.
- Falun Gong prisoners who later got out of China testified that they were systematically blood-tested and organ-examined while in camps across the country. This could not have been for their health, since they were regularly tortured, but it is necessary for organ transplants and for building a bank of live ”donors”.
- In a few cases, family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see mutilated corpses of their loved ones between death and cremation. Organs had been removed.
- We interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon from Sujiatun in Shenyang City, Liaoning. He told her that he had removed corneas from 2,000 Falun Gong prisoners between 2001 and 2003. He made it clear to her that none of these sources survived the experience because different surgeons removed other organs and their bodies were then burned.
In 2006, the European Parliament conducted a hearing and adopted a resolution condemning the detention/torture of Falun Gong practitioners and expressing concern over reports of organ harvesting. At recent hearings, Tunne Kelam on the Foreign Affairs Committee noted, ”if we don’t take knowledge seriously about this practice, we have become morally and politically co-responsible for what’s going on.”
Since June 2011, the online U.S. non-immigration visa application (Form DS-160) asks applicants if they have been involved in transplant abuse.
In July 2013, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) introduced Resolution 281 in the Committee on Foreign Affairs which calls on China to stop immediately organ trafficking from its prisoners. It adds, “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience” is the basis for concern, and then provides a summary of the evidence that links most organ trafficking with a single-minded campaign to persecute and “eradicate” the practice of Falun Gong.
The Knesset admirably passed legislation banning the sale and brokerage of organs. The law also ended funding through the health insurance system of transplants in China for Israeli nationals. Transplant surgeon Jay Lavee in his contribution to the book, State Organs, explains your law as a reaction to transplant abuse in China. Israel now leads the world campaign to end trafficking.
In Ireland this past July, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade conducted a hearing and unanimously passed a motion which called on the Irish Government to support the UN and Council of Europe initiatives to oppose forced organ harvesting in China.
In the parliament of New South Wales, legislation was proposed in 2013 against organ trafficking, which would bar any resident of the state from buying a trafficked organ anywhere. Last March, the Australian Senate unanimously passed a motion urging the government to oppose organ harvesting in China. The motion also calls on the government to follow the example of the United States in implementing a new visa requirement.
The NHS blood and transplant data, I’m told, confirm that some UK nationals still travel to China for organ transplants and subsequently receive aftercare from the NHS. For UK and other foreigners who go to China as organ tourists, one hopes that they do not understand the horror inflicted on the ”donors”.
Various medical organizations have issued statements urging measures to stop organ pillaging. For example, in 2006 the World Medical Association (WMA) demanded that China stop using prisoners as organ donors. Recently the policy of the WMA includes a paragraph that organ donation from prisoners is not acceptable in countries where the death penalty is practised.
I should single out for praise Dr Jay Lavee and Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), who have been effective in a number of nations.
Matas and I engaged in extensive interviews of organ recipients and family members. The surgery is conducted in almost total secrecy. Recipients and their support networks are not told the identity of the donors; nor are they shown written consent from donors. The identities of the operating surgeon and support staff are often not disclosed, despite requests for information.
One organ recipient told us that a military doctor, Major Tan, in Shanghai tested the compatibility of seven sets of kidneys before a successful match was found. The doctor would leave the hospital in army uniform and return later with containers holding kidneys.
The international coalition to end organ pillaging will not rest until this inhuman commerce ends in China completely. Until the growing loss of face, often achieved through ‘naming and shaming’ the party-state, proves effective, other countries and their legislators have a responsibility to end complicity with this inhuman abuse by our own nationals.
Other governments should follow Israel by enacting measures to criminalize the purchase of trafficked organs at home or abroad. They could also require reporting of ‘organ tourism’, ban entry of those involved in trafficking organs, and prohibit their pharmaceutical companies from doing transplant field tests and clinical trials in China.
Responsible business people should reduce trade and investment in China until its government ceases organ trafficking. As Beijing has also directed all of its embassies to spread hatred and false information against Falun Gong, how can anyone continue to do business as usual? In so doing, they are financing and nurturing a party-state, which pillages organs from its citizens for commercial purposes.
Standing for human dignity here would in all likelihood not cost a country trade or other business with China. Consider Norway, the Czech Republic and Canada. When Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, the government of Norway received considerable pressure from the embassy of China in Oslo, yet the award was made and nothing appears to have resulted to harm the economy of Norway.
Similar threats were made to the late Vaclev Havel when he invited the Dalai Lama to Prague, but His Holiness came and nothing harmful resulted. Prime Minister Harper received a lot of threats from Beijing when he said he would not let the “almighty dollar” determine his government’s China policy. Bombardier announced its biggest deal ever in China at about the same time that the threats were coming from China’s party -state. I think a number of party bosses respect democratic nation leaders who stand for human dignity.
Many of us and beyond China ought to be having a greater impact on this grave matter, not only because it is necessary to protect thousands of innocent people from being killed, but also because it is good for China and the international community as a whole. We all want a China that enjoys the rule of law, dignity for all and democratic governance.
Hon. David Kilgour, JD
On Dec. 12, 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution (that I sponsored) unequivocally condemning the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting, especially from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, and calling for an EU investigation into the practice.
The same week, a U.S. congressional sub-committee on Asia & Pacific adopted a parallel resolution, and a 1.5-million signature petition was presented to the United Nations.
This global response came on top of a series of similar resolutions by parliaments and professional associations in recent times.
These actions are ending the credibility gap about the genocidal crime of selecting and killing prisoners, especially Falun Gong practitioners, for body parts. Falun Gong are a benign, Buddha-school of qigong spiritual exercises, once practiced by 70–100 million in China. Today they are the only prisoners in China to be blood- and urine-tested as part of the selection process, and thousands have been tissue-matched and then literally killed to order at 1 of the 169 transplant centers across China. Some 10,000 operations are carried out each year and the organs mostly come from prisoners, because organ donation hardly exists in China, for cultural reasons.
As European Parliament Vice President for Democracy & Human Rights, I met former Falun Gong prisoners of conscience secretly in Beijing in 2006. One of them told me that his friends had disappeared from their prison cell and the next time he saw his body was in the prison hospital with holes where, evidently, body parts had been removed, for sale.
Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, researchers David Kilgour and David Matas estimate that tens of thousands have lost their lives through organ harvesting.
I have campaigned against this appalling crime against humanity since my visit to Beijing.
There I also first made contact with Gao Zhisheng, the Christian human rights lawyer, whose 2005 report into the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners led to the closure of his Beijing law office.
After my visit, Gao and I kept in touch about reform in China but he was arrested on August 15, 2006, and was later convicted of “subversion.” He suffered a series of imprisonments and house arrests, and then—for a long period—disappearance.
This did not stop him from his activities in the early days, including writing open letters through me to the European Parliament and to the U.S. Congress. Eventually he was silenced through imprisonment in an unknown jail.
According to press reports, members of his family finally made contact with him in January 2013 at a prison in Xinjiang Province. Fortunately, his wife (whom I met in Washington in March 2013), son, and daughter were spirited to the United States.
On Dec. 2, 2012, I opened the latest in a series of hearings on human rights in China at the European Parliament in Brussels with a plea for the release of Gao, amplified by a video testament from his daughter, Gege.
One of Gao’s “crimes” was a meeting he had with former U.N. torture rapporteur Dr. Manfred Nowak in early 2006. Nowak—my predecessor when I was awarded in 2013 the Medal of Honor from the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization—asserted that two-thirds of the prisoners undergoing “re-education through labor” across China were Falun Gong practitioners.
I have no doubt, after meeting hundreds of exiled former Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, that this is true, and further, that thousands of practitioners have lost their lives in the vile organ transplant business organized through and by the People’s Liberation Army.
This activity is contrary to Article 2 of the Genocide Convention. I am campaigning for an international register of those who torture and kill to be maintained for future prosecutions under the International Criminal Court. These can be done only once China is free.
Unlike China, the European Union is a democracy. On May 22–25 elections are held across the EU and I hope to be re-elected to continue for another five years to spread the truth about the persecution and killing of Falun Gong practitioners from the European Parliament.
Edward McMillan-Scott is European Parliament vice president for democracy and human Rights. This article was previously published in EP Today: the independent magazine that keeps European Parliament and the world in touch. For more information www.KeepEdwardIn.com.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.