Phone Logs Reveal Top Chinese Officials’ Knowledge of Organ Harvesting

Human rights group’s investigation tapes implicit admissions to knowledge of atrocity

The cadres who picked up the phone—among them some of the most powerful men in the Chinese Communist Party—knew that they shouldn’t have been speaking about the subject on an unsecure line. Yet the brief answers they gave to a covert caller from a human rights group are implicit admissions of knowledge, and in some cases participation, in the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

WOIPFG representative Wang Zhiyuan revealed recordings, also covertly made, showing knowledge of organ harvesting in the Chinese military hospital system in 2006.

The World Organization to Investigate the persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a human rights group, on April 30 published audio recordings of six phone calls, made between 2008 and mid-April 2012, which show that knowledge of organ harvesting is apparently widespread among top-level Party leaders.

Wang Zhiyuan, the spokesperson of WOIPFG, would not say how they obtained the target phone numbers, nor provide the identity or location of the caller. Experts who have listened to the calls believe they are genuine.

“These calls clearly show that the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), and Zhou Yongkang, were directly involved in the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. This is the first time we’ve provided this evidence. This is a genocide,” Wang said.

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Last month, Propaganda Minister Li Changchun was asked about using “Bo Xilai’s involvement in murdering and removing organs from Falun Gong practitioners to convict Bo.”

Li Changchun responded by saying, “Zhou Yongkang is in charge of this specifically. He knows it.”

In May 2008, Zhou Yongkang was asked by the investigator about a group of Falun Gong practitioners who escaped from military compounds in Sichuan Province after the earthquake in 2008, Zhou responds with the question “How many people [escaped]?”

A call placed last month to Tang Junjie, who served as head of the PLAC’s regional branch in Liaoning Province, indicates that in meetings of top Party officials the forced organ harvesting was discussed.

The investigator asked, “What kind of directions did Bo give regarding removing organs from Falun Gong practitioners?”

Tang Junjie said, “I was asked to take care of this task. Actually Party central is taking care of this… At that time we mainly talked about it during the meetings within the Standing Committee.”

Party central refers to the top CCP leaders in Beijing; the Standing Committee in this instance would refer to the Liaoning Province Standing Committee, which would be the top Party authority in the province.

The calls do not answer the question of whether organ harvesting against Falun Gong was carried out as part of a deliberate, systematic, top-down strategy, or whether it was carried out locally as a revenue-generator, which central leaders later consented to.

No direct admission to involvement or participation in organ harvesting are made by the target officials. Those who are on the phone often become wary quickly and talk about speaking on the “red phone,” a line used to communicate securely between top-level officials.

But the responses indicate familiarity with the practice.

“Nobody denies anything, and everything is consistent with what we know,” said David Matas, an international human rights lawyer who co-authored a report on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

“This is the most striking aspect,” says Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist who has published extensively on the abuse of organ transplantation by Chinese security forces. “Not a single one of the subjects simply says: ‘What is this garbage? I don’t know what you are talking about.’” The Epoch Times’ conversation with Ethan Gutmann:

Ethan Gutmann was provided with a translated transcript of the calls and asked to evaluate the information they provide on the subject of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. He also listened to the audio files on the WOIPFG website.

The Epoch Times (ET): What are your initial thoughts on the significance of these notes?

Ethan Gutmann (EG): The investigators were severely hampered by not being able to call on a secure line, a “red line.” They have no relationship to the subject, not even the fig-leaf of common associates or a well-known ongoing investigation. It’s the investigative equivalent of a crank call; every subject eventually realizes that it is wildly inappropriate to be discussing harvesting on a non-secure line with a potential imposter. Yet—and this is striking—not a single subject simply says: “What is this garbage? I don’t know what you are talking about.” Or alternately: “That’s a stupid rumor spread by Falun Gong. Who are you anyway?”

ET: Do you believe the calls are genuine, and if so, why?

EG: That’s the critical question. I suspect the calls are genuine for four reasons:

1) There is no perfect smoking gun, no point where the subject confirms Falun Gong harvesting in a nice, clean soundbite (although Li Changchun and Tang Junjie come awfully close). Fabricated evidence, because it takes more time and creativity than actual investigative work, is usually far more ambitious.

2) The investigator screws up in several calls, falling apart under counter-questioning. Same point: especially if you’re faking it, you want to appear professional. I applaud WOIPFG for releasing unsanitized tapes.

3) Subject transparency between 2008 and 2012 rises dramatically. That makes sense. China is in a leadership struggle and Jiang’s faction is on the defensive. Officials want to save their own hides; Tang Junjie appears eager to implicate Bo Xilai. It fits.

4) Wei Jianrong [head of the “Team Construction Office” of the PLAC] appears to sense that he is being recorded. To contain the damage he repeatedly insists that harvesting occurred “very early” and long ago. Precisely the way a guilty man operates under questioning: What exactly did I admit before? How much do they know? So you minimize the crime, suggest that the statute of limitations applies, and say that no one is a position to talk further.

ET: What role do you believe the security apparatus has played in the development of organ harvesting? Does this information change anything we know about organ harvesting in China, in particular the alleged practice of live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners?

EG: It confirms some points we knew. Liaoning Province was a harvesting center. Military bases, and presumably, military hospitals, were used as detention bases. As we surmised through Wang Lijun’s oversight of thousands of transplant operations, Bo Xilai was involved.

It also helps to confirm something we strongly suspected. We know China is a surveillance state and military hospitals are no exception. Thus the PLAC had to know. Well, as Li Changchun says: “Zhou Yongkang is in charge….He knows it.”

Finally, it creates some tantalizing leads. Tang Junjie says “I was asked to take care of this task.” He mentions direct involvement of “Party central” and meetings at the “Standing Committee.” Okay. Exactly how far did the involvement go?

Wei Jianrong says it happened long ago. We’ll hear much more of this sort of talk before the full truth is revealed. We’ll hear about how it all came down to various bad actors: Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang and Jiang Zemin. We’ll even hear how various officials were just following orders.

And secondary questions will be raised: Did Luo Gan order the original harvesting? Did Zhou simply continue the program? Or did the program start, organically if you will, at the hungry-for-profit military hospitals and the Chinese leadership went along for the ride? We may never get a clear answer—if there was a Wannsee-conference-equivalent [held by the Nazis in the context of the Holocaust] the notes have probably been destroyed.

But the key question: Did the Politburo Standing Committee know? Did Hu [Party head Hu Jintao], Wen [Premier Wen Jiabao] and Xi [presumptive next head of the CCP Xi Jinping] know? That question has not been answered today, but I suspect they did. And I suspect the Chinese Communist Party is faced with a choice of a limited internal purge which attempts to bury the harvesting issue—assuming the West meekly accepts that “final solution”—or a Party that faces inevitable and complete dissolution.

Click to read about the most recent developments in the ongoing power struggle within the Chinese communist regime. In this special topic, we provide readers with the necessary context to understand the situation. Get the RSS feed. Get the Timeline of Events. Who are the Major Players?


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