Real-Life Horror: The Beijing Scavengers
Hollywood has made a number of movies on this theme. Whether they are cloned humans who suddenly awaken to the knowledge that they have been created only to have their organs scavenged or normal humans kept alive in a coma, the creepy idea of being kept alive only to have one's organs taken is enough to make our flesh crawl. The very idea almost goes beyond our ability to communicate.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) has raised the specter of condemned prisoners in China having their organs taken -- without any meaningful consent. This is a real-life horror movie.
Congressman Smith has long locked horns with the Communist regime in Beijing. He brought veteran China-watcher Stephen Mosher to testify before his House subcommittee on the pervasive human rights violations implied in the Beijing regime's one-child policy. That policy has had devastating effects in the vast rural heartland of China. There, peasant families desperate for a son cannot bear their only children being daughters. Chinese girl babies have thus been put in grave jeopardy. The stories of forced abortions and drowning of newborn girls are surely heart-wrenching.
But now, Chris Smith has held subcommittee hearings that show disturbing evidence of forcible extraction of organs. Very few Chinese people voluntarily donate their organs, yet China is still a world leader in the availability of organs for transplant. How can this be? Smith's subcommittee learned that there are some 600 transplant centers in China, making this a world center for what is grimly called "transplant tourism."
Congressman Smith's pioneering work on human rights provided evidence -- from a Chinese government source, no less -- that these organs are coming from Chinese prisoners condemned to death. China leads the world in capital punishment. There are no Miranda warnings there. The rule of law has yet to be embraced by a Chinese ruling clique that broadly advertises its McDonalds & Kentucky Fried Chicken consumerism. Don't be gulled by Golden Arches. China does not respect human rights.
There are even more organs available in China than there should be based solely on the number of executions that the Beijing regime admits to carrying out. What does this mean? Can it be that prisoners in the Laogai -- China's forced labor "re-education" system -- are being used for organ-scavenging? China has thousands of prisoners of conscience: Falun Gong religious worshipers, Huigars, a Muslim people living for centuries in the northwest portions of the country, and, of course, Chinese Christians.
We know little of this vast system of forced labor. Smith's subcommittee heard testimony that Falun Gong adherents will often not provide their names because they fear retribution against their family members. Thus, these nameless prisoners of conscience are harder to track, harder to advocate for in the free world.
All of this brings to mind a chilling episode from the BBC television series World at War. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's sister-in-law was interviewed by producers of the award-winning chronicle. She described standing in line for vegetables in her bombed-out German city. She could no longer bear the silence about what was happening "in the East." No, she assured fellow housewives queuing up between allied bombing raids, they are not just taking the Jews to work in the East. "Zey are killing zem. Und zey are making soap with zeir bodies."
It's a line never to be forgotten. We thought all such horror was left behind us in World War II. We thought such monstrous acts had been consigned to history. But they are not. Scavenging organs from prisoners unjustly held and brutally executed is morally no different from making soap from the bodies of Auschwitz inmates. It cries out to Heaven for mercy and for justice.
Thank you, Congressman Smith, for not turning a blind eye to this latter-day horror. The Chinese regime is the same party clique that has presided over 63 years of cruelty and oppression. A regime that forces women to undergo invasive physical exams to prove they are not pregnant, that forcibly aborts them, and that gives medical checkups to condemned prisoners is leading the world in human rights violations we thought we had left behind us at the gates that said, Work will make you free.
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are seniors fellows at the Family Research Council. Mr. Blackwell is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.