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“This Is the Best in the World” – Stories of Falun Gong Practitioners

As part of a week of World Falun Dafa Day celebrations in New York City, hundreds of people gathered in Central Park on May 10 to do the exercises together. Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is mind-body practice—in addition to practicing 5 gentle exercises, practitioners attempt to live their lives according to 3 core principles: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. Some people at Central Park on Saturday morning were asked: “Why do you practice Falun Gong?”

As part of a week of World Falun Dafa Day celebrations in New York City, hundreds of people gathered in Central Park on May 10 to do the exercises together. Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is mind-body practice—in addition to practicing 5 gentle exercises, practitioners attempt to live their lives according to 3 core principles: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. Some people at Central Park on Saturday morning were asked: “Why do you practice Falun Gong?”

Tom McGrath, 61, IT Senior Manager, New Jersey

“Because I feel it provides me answers for things I’ve always been looking for. I started understanding things that I never understood before. I really felt like Falun Dafa really brings me to what I want and what I need as far as spiritual enlightenment and growth goes. I used to have a bed temper, but since practicing, that is gone. I take things much easier now. I really try to develop a more compassionate view towards people, towards everyone. As I develop more compassion, other things just melt away and I just don’t have that anger anymore.”

Chidra Devnani, 55, Housemaker, India

“I looked for various things in my life and meanwhile I started suffering also, with arthritis and back pain. [When] I came upon Falun Dafa, I just thought that my back ache would get cured. But when I started reading Zhuan Falun [main book of Falun Dafa], all my questions were answered and I felt that this was the right path. When I was suffering from back ache, the doctors told me it is not curable, ‘You won’t get back again your health.’ But [after] practicing Falun Dafa, it was just one week and I was fine—I didn’t get back pain again. I was a person who would get irritated a lot. I was pretty angry person. Because of my pain, my mind was always disturbed. When I started practicing Falun Dafa I noticed the change that I wasn’t getting angry.”

Derong Zhang (L), 50, Flower Arrangement Teacher, Flushing, Queens

(translated by her son) “Before I practiced Falun Gong my body was unhealthy. Eighty percent of my body was burned in a gas explosion. My sister introduced Falun Gong to me and told me that practicing Falun Gong makes you healthy. A doctor said I needed plastic surgery, but after I practiced Falun Gong my skin healed in a few days. Before I practiced Falun Gong I was very selfish. Now I’m more sympathetic to other people. Everything I do is for other people, rather than for myself.”

Anne Sun, 38, Software Developer, New Jersey

“At first I didn’t know what Falun Gong was, but when I did the exercises following the pictures in the book, I felt very strong energy. I felt it was amazing. And very quickly my chronic illnesses were healed by practicing Falun Gong. That’s how I started. I followed the Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance and then I became brighter and followed the way to become happy and relaxed.”

Scott Li, 31, Finance Analyst, Elmhurst, Queens

“I practice because I was interested in spiritual truth and qigong and I continue to practice because I find the principles good. I feel more clear-minded and see life in a different view. More energy, less stress. [My family and friends] noticed I’m more laid back, I guess.”

A Letter to President Donald Trump from Artist Jinyu Li

A Letter to President Donald Trump from Artist Jinyu Li

Greetings Honorable President Donald Trump,

My name is Ms. Jinyu Li.  I am an artist and a member of AAFOH (Artists Against Forced Organ Harvesting).  I am proud that you are our 45th President of the United States.  My friends and I are very moved by your efforts to make America great again.  We fully support you, and we believe you will be a great President.  I will tell all the people I know that. I drew a portrait of you in oil painting, I hope you will like it. 

The United States was once very glorious in humankind’s history.  The founding of the United States tells the world that the United States is a defender of justice and an example of freedom and democracy.  Therefore, at the critical moment of humankind, whether to maintain justice to support goodness and stop evil will become the foundation of whether the United States can rejuvenate the prestige of the present world.  The whole world is looking at the United States. God is also looking at the United States and its people.

I hope you are aware of the crime of organ harvesting in China.  In June 2016, Congress passed H.Res.343 - Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.  Now, more than 50 cases (types of lawsuits) from over 30 countries have been filed against the former dictator-president of China, Jiang Zemin in the name of torture, mass genocide and crimes against humanity.  More than 200,000 people have filed criminal cases against Jiang Zemin.  Crimes against Falun Gong are egregious evils human history has never seen before.  Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deceives the world with lies, corrupt the world with materialism, and threatens the world with violence.  All nations and peoples of the world should stop the CCP’s behavior and bring Jiang Zemin to justice.  God will not allow such inhumane evil to continue to spread throughout the world.  

Organ harvesting in China is conducted by the Chinese government and its military.  This system has been in operation for at least 17 years, killing at least one million people, most of whom are Falun Gong practitioners.  The evidence is irrefutable.  Please visit the website WOIPFG: http: //www.upholdjustice.org/

At present this evil still occurs every day, live organ harvesting in China has never stopped.  I feel heart broken, and I believe you feel the same way.  People in China with views, beliefs, and opinions that are different from the CCP often get disappeared, being held in secret underground concentration camps, and unknowingly waiting to be organ harvested.  Victims’ bodies are then incinerated.  No one knows where they are or how their relatives feel.  Today, the CCP murders people in China; who can guarantee that tomorrow, they will not kill other people?  If in the future, our descendants ask us, “what have you done to defend justice and help save these people?”  “What did the US government do to stop the persecution of Falun Gong during the era of President Trump’s administration?”  I hope, by that time, we can say that we have done our best to stop this brutal atrocity and made a difference.

Falun Gong has since spread to more than 100 countries and has received more than 3,000 awards from various countries around the world.  In fact, before the persecution started in 1999, Falun Gong also received awards from various governmental departments in China.  

The CCP is demonic in nature.  One technique the CCP uses to suppress Falun Gong is the self-immolation.  The Chinese public security department hired several people who did not practice Falun Gong, so that they could self-immolate at Tiananmen Square while Chinese policemen armed with fire extinguishers put out the flames.  The Chinese media was onsite to prepare excellent video and photo footage.  The CCP began to spread rumors through its fake news to defame Falun Gong and deceive the whole world.  The CCP successfully incited hatred of Falun Gong among the masses in China and the world.  At that time, dictator-president Jiang Zemin had ordered: to eliminate Falun Gong in three months, defame their reputation, cause their financial collapse, and harm them physically.  No means are too excessive and any deaths are counted as a suicide.  The persecution against Falun Gong has been going on for almost 18 years.  The CCP rules China with lies and violence.  Its citizens are brainwashed from cradle to grave.  While ruling China for over 60 years, destroying five thousand years of Chinese culture and civilization, killing more than 80 million of its own people, and secretly fought against the U.S. in both Korea and Vietnam. 

China has its own five thousand years of culture and tradition.  The communist party is a foreign cult originating from Europe’s 19th century.  The people who know about the history of the CCP know that the CCP has always used lies and violence and are untrustworthy.  I have a book for you titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" which explains China's 60 years of modern history in order to understand the characteristics of this Chinese regime.  The CCP has manipulated the Chinese people's thinking, way of life, and destroyed morality.  From the spiritual and material life, the Chinese people have been completely controlled by the CCP.  I hope that China can return to its five thousand years of traditional culture.  This culture will enable the Chinese people to return to their rational and human nature under a normal state of living.

When you meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, I hope this is an opportunity to establish American prestige, save lives and change the status of human rights in China.  I hope that you will ask President Xi to fulfill his own promises.  If he believes in the rule of law, then arrest Jiang Zemin.  If he believes in the freedom of faith, then stop the arrests (abductions) and persecution of Falun Gong.  If he cherishes traditional Chinese culture, then welcome U.S. based Shen Yun Performing Arts to perform in China.

I hope that you remind Xi Jinping, to immediately stop persecuting Falun Gong, and stop the live organ harvesting.  Five thousand years of traditional culture and civilization will make China into a free country.  This will also affect the world.  The people of the world will thank the United States for helping China to become a better place, they will thank you, President Trump.  The United States will become the world's greatest country.  You will be called the great president of the world.  God will also give you and your family the best blessings and the best wishes.

 

 

Sincerely,

Jinyu Li

The following links, are helpful to understand the CCP in various work.

  1. Harvested alive in English
  2. Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and free download of the Book <Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party>  
  3. Agenda: Grinding America Down
  4. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Committee on China (CECC)'s 2016 Annual Report shows a thoroughly poor human rights record of the Chinese regime. 
     

Ethan Gutmann, Author of ‘The Slaughter,’ Speaks of His Interview With Dr. Ko Wen-je

Ethan Gutmann in a video about his interview with the Taiwanese surgeon Dr. Ko Wen-je. (Ethan Gutmann)

Ethan Gutmann in a video about his interview with the Taiwanese surgeon Dr. Ko Wen-je. (Ethan Gutmann)

Ethan Gutmann is the author of two books about China, and a variety of long articles of reportage on the topic of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in the PRC. His most recent book, The Slaughter, was published earlier this year—it focuses on the mass harvesting of organs of practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice. The core new information in the text comes from interviews conducted by Gutmann with survivors of torture, researchers, former security agents and police, surgeons, and others around the world, who illuminate one or another aspect of the abuse, which researchers say has taken place since around 2000.

One of Gutmann’s interview subjects was the well-known Taiwanese surgeon Dr. Ko Wen-je, who helped build Taiwan’s voluntary organ transplantation system. Gutmann’s book describes how Dr. Ko went to mainland China and, by accident, discovered that the organs of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience were used in transplants. He attempted to help mainland doctors come up with a system that would minimize this abuse, but it was not taken up. Dr. Ko now also happens to be mayor of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, after an electoral campaign fought bitterly by his opponents, of the incumbent Nationalist Party. Gutmann’s book was published in August; the mayoral election took place on Nov. 29. Prior to election day, Dr. Ko’s political opponents sought to attack the surgeon—in part by misrepresenting the content of Gutmann’s book, with an admixture of political invective, to claim that Dr. Ko was an organ broker. Dr. Ko’s lawyer at one point sent Gutmann legal correspondence requesting that Gutmann retract the passages in his book that relate to Dr. Ko’s statements.

Gutmann’s lawyer, Clive Ansley, responded by saying that the problem was not the content of the book, but the misrepresentation it had been given by Dr. Ko’s political opponents. The incident stopped there, until after the election. Recently, Gutmann released a video and lengthy question and answer—the questions having been posed by an English-language Taiwanese newspaper which later declined to run the interview, for unspecified reasons—clarifying his position on the contretemps, and making available documentary evidence demonstrating that Dr. Ko had reviewed Gutmann’s account of their exchange, and signed off on it. The question and answer was published along with a video in which Gutmann expands on his responses. The text as it appeared on Gutmann’s website follows.

 

Setting the Record Straight: The Dr. Ko Interview from Bjorvand on Vimeo.

How did your book end up as a centerpiece of the Taipei mayoral campaign?

Gutmann: In “The Slaughter,” Dr. Ko describes visiting a mainland hospital to look into the quality of organ transplants in China for his clinic’s Taiwanese patients. After he became aware that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs were being used to source the transplants, Ko quietly attempted to introduce more transparency into the organ donation system in China. He failed, but in my book, I described Dr. Ko as a man of “singular courage.”

Somehow, many in Taiwan skipped over that part. In October, with Dr. Ko Wen-je looking good in the polls, partisan elements seized on The Slaughter to accuse Dr. Ko of being an “organ broker.”

Exploiting inaccurate, out-of-context, translations of my writing, the issue dominated Taiwanese media coverage for nearly a week, culminating in a press conference where Dr. Ko denied the press charges and portrayed aspects of my book as inaccurate and unauthorized.

Yet Dr. Ko was responding to a claim that I never actually made in The Slaughter. As my lawyer, Clive Ansley, stated: “No English-speaking reader to date has understood for one moment that Dr. Ko was acting as an ‘organ broker'”.

Did Dr. Ko show any interest in purchasing human organs or actually getting involved in the Chinese organ trade?

Gutmann: Would an organ broker have given me an interview? Of course not. Dr. Ko was simply concerned with the welfare of his clinic’s patients.

How did Dr. Ko become part of your book in the first place?

Gutmann: In July 2008, my research assistant and I initiated an interview with Dr. Ko because we had heard that he might know something about organ harvesting in China. Dr. Ko began with a rather generic story: A clinic with aging patients who need organ transplants. A surgeon who visits mainland China to scout out the quality of the care. The surgeon inquires at a hospital about transplant procedures and prices. After getting to know the Mainland doctors, they respond that his clinic’s patients will receive the discounted Chinese price.

People bargain in China. That’s not news. So the interview wouldn’t have made it into my book except for one critical twist: the surgeon was told that the Taiwanese patients, should they come to this hospital, would receive particularly healthy organs. Why? Because the organ “donors” were Falun Gong–that is, prisoners of conscience.

This occurred in 2004-2005, before any allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong had surfaced. So the scale was a mystery. But Dr. Ko sensed he had stumbled into something terrible: Mainland doctors, in at least one hospital, were killing Falun Gong for their organs.

Perhaps other Taiwanese doctors were given glimmers of that same discovery. What sets Dr. Ko apart is that he tried to do something about it, single-handedly creating a standardized medical form that would force mainland doctors to actually enter the organ “donors'” identity. Dr. Ko thought this might drive the practice of harvesting Falun Gong underground, although, as he told me ruefully, it would “only remove 95% of the problem.” Over the years, Dr. Ko tried to get Mainland doctors to adopt the form. They refused. So Dr. Ko did something else. He spoke to a journalist.

That’s you. How exactly did Dr. Ko’s interview end up in your book? What was the process?

Gutmann: The entire process was outlined in my book: by prior mutual agreement, the conversation was confidential. I did not record it. And my memory for dialogue is actually pretty good, but memory alone clearly wouldn’t justify the account that you see in the book.

Over the years, my researcher called Dr. Ko occasionally. I also called him to ask whether a central database of Falun Gong practitioners existed in China. Dr. Ko responded that harvesting operated in an informal eBay-style system. His English wasn’t smooth on the phone, but it was obvious to both of us that we were discussing the harvesting of Falun Gong.

In June 2013, I decided to try to get Dr. Ko’s permission to publish his account as an “anonymous Taiwan surgeon.” I seldom run my writing by an interview subject before publication, but because we did not record the interview, my researcher e-mailed Dr. Ko an advance draft–karaoke bar and all–and posed the following questions in Chinese:

“1. Under the circumstances that we don’t mention your name, specific situations, or any details, is it okay to write this content?

2. Is his draft of the story (below) according to reality? Is it factual? Because at the time we didn’t record and didn’t ask you too much about this direction, so there are some situations we are not too clear about, we just remember the general drift. Could you take a look and tell us where the story has inaccuracies? If it’s incorrect, how should it be correctly stated?”

Dr. Ko’s response: “the story seems Ok.”

In January 2014, we asked asked Dr. Ko to allow his real name to appear with the account in The Slaughter, to be published in August. Dr. Ko’s response was: “OK, for what I say I can be responsible.” He then provided, upon request, a high-resolution portrait of himself to be published in the book. In short, Dr. Ko had three clear opportunities to say: “Just a minute, let me take a look at that account again.” The emails show that no substantive differences between what Dr. Ko received and what was published in the book–even after my publisher’s rigorous editing.

Over 100 witnesses were interviewed for my book. Some actually risked their lives–and the lives of their families–for this investigation. Not one has objected to The Slaughter. If Dr. Ko had expressed even minor reservations, I would have struck the account.

Do you hold a grudge over any of this? Do you think Dr. Ko does? And what do you see as the way forward with Dr. Ko at this point?

Gutmann: My best wishes go out to Dr. Ko and the people who have worked to elect him. I continue to believe that Dr. Ko is an ethical man who—in agreeing to be named in my book—was doing his part to end a human rights atrocity. It is unfortunate that Dr. Ko felt the need to distance himself from his account in the heat of a political campaign.

Yet people say a lot of things in political campaigns. I don’t take remarks personally. And, as my researcher suggested, it’s entirely possible that Dr. Ko and I have different recollections of some aspects of our interview. So I will address Dr. Ko’s concerns in the preface to the Chinese edition of “The Slaughter” and I have no problem sticking an asterisk next to certain statements. Perhaps Dr. Ko negotiated in China on behalf of his clinic and not individual patients. Perhaps Dr. Ko and the surgeons never visited a karaoke bar. Perhaps Dr. Ko never made appointments for Taiwanese patients on the Mainland.

But none of this changes the fact that Dr. Ko signed off on my account of the interview. And none of it alters my thesis: that we were discussing organ harvesting from Falun Gong. Why else would Dr. Ko have discussed Falun Gong harvesting being temporarily halted for the Beijing Olympics? I played with Dr. Ko’s standardized medical form on his computer. Did Dr. Ko create the form to defend the rights of murderers and rapists? No, when Dr. Ko said the form would only remove 95% of the problem, he was referring to Falun Gong. There can be no asterisk on this point.

Yet I still wonder: why did Dr. Ko sign off on my account during his election campaign? Odder still, why didn’t he have a prepared response when the account surfaced? The simplest explanation is probably correct–Dr. Ko is an honest man who, particularly in January 2014, was still a political neophyte, unprepared for the cynical personal attacks that accompany political campaigns.

Yet I’m guilty of that same naiveté so I can hardly stand in judgment on this point. We learned our lessons the hard way, you might say.

In your view, what’s the way forward for Taiwan?

Gutmann: I’m sure it feels quite different to anyone who worked in the campaign, but as a human rights investigator, I see this as just one more skirmish in a very long war over forced organ harvesting. The Chinese Communist Party would have loved to see Dr. Ko and I rip each other apart. Instead, my attorney’s legal responses exonerated Dr. Ko. I remain hopeful that he will further advance the cause of saving innocent lives in China.

But let’s talk about political reality. The Taipei mayoral position may be a stepping stone to the Taiwan presidency. Well, can a Taiwanese president openly acknowledge the harvesting of political and religious dissidents in China? Can a witness even negotiate with the Party on Taiwan’s behalf? A candidate for mayor of Taipei, and potentially, the presidency, might want to keep that in mind.

Yet no matter how normal, level-headed, even justified, those words might sound, isn’t this a sort of cancer, this endlessly creeping rationalization for not offending Beijing? And isn’t there a whiff of hypocrisy in this entire affair?

Elements in Taiwanese society were eager to accuse Dr. Ko of being an “organ broker.” Yet Taiwanese citizens regularly go to the mainland for organs, even though the odds are that a Uyghur, a Tibetan, a House Christian or a Falun Gong practitioner will be killed so that a Taiwanese citizen will live. So unless Taiwan bans organ tourism outright, as Israel has, shouldn’t Taiwan itself be characterized as an “organ broker state”?

Taiwan cannot change China, but Taiwan can follow its own values. If anything good has come out of the Dr. Ko controversy it is this: Taiwan has stumbled into something terrible. And more than any other people in the world, the people of Taiwan are in a unique position to know the truth.

Originally published on Epoch Times.