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Author, investigative journalist and Adjunct Fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Ethan Gutmann recently spoke about forced organ harvesting in China with NTD’s Simone Gao for our Zooming In program [Original in Chinese].
Allegations first surfaced in 2006 that imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China were being killed for their organs. When Chinese police chief Wang Lijun fled to the US Consulate in February this year, some believed he had revealed evidence of organ harvesting to US officials.
In October, 106 US Congress members wrote a “Dear Colleague” letter to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, urging the State Department to release any information it may have obtained on forced organ harvesting.
Ethan Gutmann has carried out his own independent investigation into the allegations. He believes it is likely that the US State Department is staying silent on this issue because the Obama administration is concerned about the economic ramifications of bringing it up during the elections.
The following is an excerpt from Zomming In, which aired last week:
[Ethan Gutmann, Author & Adjunct Fellow Foundation for the Defense of Democracies]: “There is a letter out there. This Dear Colleague letter has been passed around Capitol Hill that suggests that a lot of people share this view, that the State Department knows something. Do I know that they something some thing? No of course I don’t. There’s no way to really comment on that. All we can do is speculate. Why isn’t the State Department saying anything about it? I think that’s obvious. This is the election.
[Simone Gao, NTD Presenter, Zooming In]: “This is the election?”
[Ethan Gutmann, Author & Adjunct Fellow Foundation for the Defense of Democracies]:
“Yes, the Obama administration desperately wants to be re-elected and at this point, to do anything, which would upset China, upset the Chinese leadership to the point where they would retaliate in some way economically, fore example, which could have a dramatic effect on the American stock market.”
[Simone Gao, NTD Presenter, Zooming In]: “Well talking about that, this organ harvesting thing has been going on for [at least] six years now, and the Obama Administration and also the Bush Administration have both been informed and briefed on this on a regular basis, so if we think about ‘now is the election year and they don’t want to anger China’ but what about before? They didn’t do anything either.”
[Ethan Gutmann, Author & Adjunct Fellow Foundation for the Defense of Democracies]: “I think that’s a great question and a great point. I’m saying right now, the real reason why, I’m saying if the State Department recently learned something from Wang Lijun, and there is a suggestion of that because the State Department for the first time is talking about this in their own documents, in their own reports. They mention this issue for the first time. When they look at the China country, the overall China country report they never mention organ harvesting of political or religious prisoners, prisoners of conscience before. For the first time they are mentioning that. That seems to me to be a signal that they do probably know quite a bit about this, probably more than we do, than me and David Kilgour and David Matas and so forth.”
[Simone Gao, NTD Presenter, Zooming In]: “So you think they just know more about this because of Wang Lijun?”
[Ethan Gutmann, Author & Adjunct Fellow Foundation for the Defense of Democracies]: “Yes, that’s my guess that they know more about this because of Wang Lijun and probably because they may have some other deep sources within the Chinese government itself. But will they come out with it right now? No, they will not because of the election, because they are afraid of any sort of Chinese retaliation which would lead to instability in the market and President Obama is quite vulnerable to the charge that the economy is a mess.”