Columbia University Forum Reveals Organ Harvesting in China
By Evan Mantyk | The Epoch Times (New York)
April 28, 2009
Chinese-Consulate-linked student group attempts to disrupt
NEW YORK—An International human rights lawyer brought his shocking investigative report into allegations of organ harvesting to Columbia University on April 20. The lawyer, David Matas, detailed 31 pieces of evidence proving that adherents of the persecuted spiritual practice Falun Gong are having their organs forcibly removed in state-controlled hospitals in Communist China. The forum was titled, "China's New Genocide."
Those in attendance included medical doctors, community members, as well as university professors and students, including foreign students from a Chinese student club—said to be under the direction of the Chinese Consulate of New York City—who mobilized to disrupt the forum.
Matas's report features recorded interviews with doctors in China, people who have traveled to China for transplants, and the wife of a surgeon who harvested organs from Falun Gong adherents. The report has stirred up the international community, leading some to seriously question the integrity of China's rulers and the appropriateness of its holding the 2008 Olympics, scheduled for Beijing.
"I think that people who turn a blind eye to human rights violations in China are hurting China not helping China," said Matas, who worked with a former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour to compile the independent report. The Chinese Communist regime has recently admitted to the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, likely in an attempt to shift media attention away from the harvesting of Falun Gong adherents' organs, which it denies.
The Communist regime's only reply to Matas' investigation amounted to a tacit acknowledgement of its claims. Matas said the "reply" consisted of a denunciation of Falun Gong and harped on a clerical error it spotted, listing two Chinese cities in the wrong provinces.
Matas said the report hits on deeper ethical issues plaguing China. "Aside from getting the harvesting to stop against Falun Gong practitioners, all three of these should be addressed: the persecution of Falun Gong should stop, the precautions that are not put in place should be put in place [to stop organ harvesting], and prisoners of no matter what source should not be the source of organs."
At the forum, Dr. Charles Lee, a medical doctor and Falun Gong adherent from California, shared his experience of being tortured and brainwashed with communist propaganda while a prisoner of conscience in China for three years.
Lee said, "We are not talking about China as a whole. We are talking about the Chinese Communist regime, who has been persecuting Chinese people for 56 years."
The forum was co-sponsored by Columbia University's Amnesty International chapter and the Falun Dafa Club.
Students Attempt to 'Refute'
Two dozen or so members from the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CUCSSA) attended the forum apparently in an attempt to disrupt and "refute" it.
CUCSSA students held signs bearing communist slogans and hate speech typically used by state-controlled media in Mainland China.
University police were dispatched to the forum after the CUCSSA email was intercepted and university officials alerted to their plans. Police sought to ensure that the students from the CUCSSA didn't interfere with the event, according to a statement from Columbia University.
Two students were forced to leave the forum after disruptively waving offensive signs and interrupting forum speakers.
One event attendee, a Columbia graduate student, remarked afterwards that the CUCSSA group made a "display of obstinance, narrow-mindedness, rigidness, and a lack of independent and critical thinking... and denial." She attributed the group's conduct to "early trauma from years of brainwashing imbedded in the culture [of Communist China] and its political history."
The CUCSSA group was likely put to task by the Chinese Consulate of New York City. The club's advisory board is composed of two high-ranking members from the consulate, Mr. Fanglin Ai and Mr. Da Yao, and the club's website boasts that its constitution was reviewed by the consulate.
A spokesman for the consulate, Mr. Wenqi Gao, said he had not heard of the forum and would not answer any questions regarding Mr. Fanglin Ai or Mr. Da Yao, and hung up the phone when directly asked if he knew who they were. He also refused to acknowledge that Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted in China, something that is regarded as fact by many international human rights organizations, the United Nations, the U.S. government, and several thousand eye-witnesses who have sought to document such abuses.
Speakers at the forum each devoted some of their time to addressing CUCSSA students and their apparent misunderstandings on events in China.
Matas pointed out that the student club's actions reflect the "demonization of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party" and how "easy it is, under such social conditions, for the Chinese Communist Party to harvest organs from Falun Gong practitioners."