Article: Who is the Falun Gong and what do they support?

In Articles, Religious Persecution by TechnoOwl

  • The Falun Gong (FLG) has been widely recognized as a fanatic religious cult on par with Scientology (source). Among their beliefs are:
    • Homosexuality, sex liberation, democracy and science are amongst the 10 greatest evils in the world source 1 (source 2)
    • Modern science was invented by aliens (source)
    • Feminism, environmentalism, and homosexuality are part of Satan’s plan to turn humanity towards communism (source)
    • Race-mixing severs our connections to the gods (source)
    • The founder, Li Hongzhi, stated that “drug use, sex changes, homosexuality, sexual freedom, organized crime, modern art, rock and roll,… [and] the soccer field” are absolutely evil” source
    • Li claimed in a 1999 Interview that Enlightened Beings can levitate, perform faith healing and walk through the Great Wall of China just as David Copperfield did source
    • Modern Medicine cannot cure illness, only complete obedience to Li’s teachings can do so source
  • The newspaper Epoch Times is the FLG’s official mouthpiece (source)
  • No direct evidence has ever been produced which corroborates the accusations made: In the original organ harvesting document published by Matas and Kilgour, they state themselves that:”The allegations, by their very nature, are difficult either to prove or disprove. The best evidence for proving any allegation is eye witness evidence. Yet for this alleged crime, there is unlikely to be any eye witness evidence.”
  • report by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade states that the Kilgour and Matas based their findings on largely circumstantial evidence including
    • more transplants in China than could be explained by identifiable sources
    • a “witness” to some transplants (an unidentified woman who claims her ex-husband told her he had performed cornea removals from Falun Gong practitioners)
    • “admissions” from unnamed doctors and officials, who told telephone investigators that organs from Falun Gong practitioners were available for transplants.
  • The original Kilgour-Matas report was a two month long investigation commissioned by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), an organization registered by the US branch of the Falun Dafa Association.
  • Both Kilgour and Matas were denied visas to travel to China and consequently never set foot in China as part of their investigation. Their findings were largely based on telephone investigations and recordings provided to them by CIPFG members. source 1 source 2
  • In the US, a Congressional Research Service report by Thomas Lum stated about the Kilgour–Matas report:”For the most part, however, the report does not bring forth new or independently-obtained testimony and relies largely upon the making of logical inferences. The authors had conducted their investigation in response to a request by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), a U.S.-based, non-profit organization founded by the Falun Dafa Association in April 2006. In addition to interviewing the same former Sujiatun hospital worker as featured in the Epoch Times, Kilgour and Matas refer to recordings of telephone conversations provided by CIPFG. In these recorded calls that CIPFG members allegedly made from locations outside China to PRC hospitals, police bureaus, and detention centers, telephone respondents reportedly indicated that organ harvesting of live Falun Gong detainees was common. Although many claims and arguments in the Kilgour-Matas report are widely accepted by international human rights experts, some of the reports’s key allegations appear to be inconsistent with the findings of other investigations. The report’s conclusions rely heavily upon transcripts of telephone calls in which PRC respondents reportedly stated that organs removed from live Falun Gong detainees were used for transplants. Some argue that such apparent candor would seem unlikely given Chinese government controls over sensitive information, which may raise questions about the credibility of the telephone recordings.” source
  • Following the allegations made by Matas and Kilgour in their 2006 investigation, the Australia Refugee Review Tribunal conducted their own independent review and found that:”No conclusive evidence has been located to either prove or disprove the allegations made by the report” and “while there are many reports from other agencies indicating that China has been taking organs from executed prisoners for some time, and, while some find the new report plausible and have called for China to allow investigation of the claims it makes, no major human rights commentator has fully supported its conclusions about the killing and taking of organs from live unwilling Falun Gong prisoners. At the current stage the allegations made by the report remain unproven and unsupported.” source
  • Harry Wu, a renowned US-based activist on human rights in China, has stated that “evidence” of Falun Gong organ harvesting is hearsay: “No pictures, no witnesses, no paperwork, no detailed information at all”. Wu is critical of China’s persecution of Falun Gong, and has had first-hand experience of Chinese labour camps, but he questions whether the sort of large-scale, systematic organ harvesting that Falun Gong claims could take place without any actual eye-witnesses coming forward. source
  • Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, undertook to investigate the allegations and said he would submit his findings to the Chinese Government if he concluded that the allegations were serious and well-founded. To date, Mr Nowak has not submitted any findings to the Chinese Government. source
  • In addition, the US State Department conducted their own investigation into the claims concluding:”U.S. representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northeast China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong practitioners and harvest their organs, according to the U.S. Department of State. Officers and staff from the U.S. embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site on two separate occasion. In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital,” the response said. source
  • Amnesty International have stated that “claims of systematic organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners cannot be confirmed or denied”
  • The most recent allegations made by the China Tribunal are a continuation of the organ harvesting claims made by the Falun Gong. The China Tribunal was initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC). It is a seven-member panel with no legal authority and unaffiliated with any statutory body. The top management of ETAC are heavily affiliated with the Falun Gong.
    • The executive director of ETAC, Susie Hughes, works as a photographer for the Epoch Times (although an attempt has been made to scrub her name from the photo attribution, changing it from “Susie Hughes / Epoch Times” to simply “Epoch Times”) (source 1) (source 2)
    • Margo MacVicar, National Manager for ETAC in New Zealand, also works for the Epoch Times: (source)
    • Rebecca “Becky” James, UK National Manager, has organized FLG fundraisers and art exhibitions as well as contributed to the Epoch Times: (source), (source 2)
    • Andy Moody, UK National Manager, has been credited as an NTDTB (New Tang Dynasty Television, (FLG’s broadcast media arm)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Tang_Dynasty_Television]) reporter in an article by the Epoch Times (source)
    • Victoria Ledwidge, UK Communications Coordinator, is a prominent FLG member based in New York (source)
    • David Thompkins, National Manager in the United States, is an Epoch Times contributor (source)
  • Neither ETAC nor the China Tribunal have disclosed their affiliations with the FLG
  • Despite the China Tribunal distancing themselves from ETAC, they relied heavily on information curated for them by ETAC and the Epoch Times. For instance, they cite many materials from Epoch times contributors such as Matthew Robertson and Ethan Gutmann.
  • China Tribunal’s report relied on evidence supplied to them by ETAC. In the Tribunal’s report, they state “Evidence was submitted by ETAC for the first hearing, amplified by further evidence following the first and second evidence hearings.” (source)
  • Research and testimony from Matthew Robertson, a research fellow in China studies, was used in the China Tribunal’s findings. He is a prominent contributor to the Epoch Times (source)
  • The China Tribunal’s final judgement rests upon a claim that there are not enough ‘eligible donors’ under the PRC’s voluntary donor scheme for the amount of transplant operations currently taking place. In addition, they found that there were “extraordinarily” short waiting times promised by PRC doctors and hospitals for organs to be available for transplantation. Both findings were based in-part on a SocArXiv paper co-authored by Epoch Times contributor Matthew Robertson (source 1 source 2)
    • Francis Delmonico, chair of the World Health Organization’s Task Force on Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues, commented that he is not convinced by the SocArXiv evidence because it is not direct or substantive. source
  • Lawyers who have defended Falun Gong practitioners also reject allegations that those prisoners’ organs are being harvested. (Source)
    • “I have never heard of organs being taken from live prisoners,” said Liang Xiaojun, who said he had defended 300 to 400 Falun Gong practitioners in civil cases and knew of only three or four deaths in prison. (Source)