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Sunday, April 02, 2006


Does the Chinese government operate a death camp called Sujiatun, where thousands of Falun Gong followers are taken to be tortured and killed? China banned Falun Gong as a cult in 1999. Allegedly, prisoner organs are "harvested" at Sujiatun and sold by the Chinese government. I recently received an email making these allegations -- complete with disturbing photographs. Most of the charges are made by two eyewitnesses, said to be the wife of a doctor who worked at the facility and an investigative journalist.

Reuters had this report on March 31:
THE United Nations is looking into allegations by the Falun Gong group that thousands of its followers are being held at a Chinese "concentration camp" and some had been killed.
The spiritual movement banned in China has alleged that up to 6000 people at a time were being kept at a state-run camp in the Sujiatun district of the northern city of Shenyang, where it said some had been killed and their organs sold.

"The allegation is Falun Gong practitioners are being used for the sale of organs and human tissues ... According to the allegation nobody has so far left this concentration camp," said Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

"I am presently in the process of investigating as far as I can these allegations ... If I come to the conclusion that it is a serious and well-founded allegation, then I will officially submit it to attention of the Chinese government," he told a news briefing in Geneva today.
China denies the allegations. Nowak is a law professor from Austria.

The U.S. State Department says it does not know whether the charges or accurate or not. This is from a press briefing with State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli, March 31:
QUESTION: About the recent revealed Sujiatun concentration camp where it is said thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs, what is the State Department's comment about that?

MR. ERELI: Well, obviously, any such reports are taken very seriously by us. We haven't been able to confirm them. We have contacted the Government of China about them. The Chinese have publicly denied the allegations. We've made the point that a further investigation would be helpful. We urge that it be done. So at this point, they are basically unconfirmed reports and we've raised them and we've urged a full investigation.

QUESTION: Did you suggest any international investigation or a third party --

MR. ERELI: No. We've raised it with the Chinese and urged them to investigate.
Amnesty International frequently criticizes China for its use of the death penalty -- the Chinese state kills more people than the rest of the world's governments combined -- and notes that there have long been allegations of "organ harvesting" in this "strike hard" context. Those about to be killed are forced to surrender organs without their consent.

U.S. exports to China totaled nearly $42 billion in 2005, while imports topped $243 billion. That $200 billion deficit likely has economic implications, but U.S. government officials have essentially stopped talking about the human rights dimensions of trade since China was admitted to the WTO and granted permanent normal trade relations.

Perhaps the U.S. should think of that $200 billion trade deficit with China as a very large amount of negotiating leverage -- to demand a thorough investigation of Sujiatun by international human rights authorities.

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