Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949, it has been employing unethical ways to persecute citizens and suppress spiritual groups. Recently, several reports have confirmed how the CCP is using sexual abuse as a tool for re-educating and transforming prisoners of faith, regardless of their age.
Rooted in atheism and materialism, the communist regime has been brutally suppressing Uyghur Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners for years. Those who refuse to comply with the CCP’s orders are detained and taken to secretive “re-education camps” where they are subjected to unimaginable abuses, including gang rape and electrocution.
“In the event of my extradition, my fate will be sealed”
– If Poland surrenders me to China, I will die – says an activist of the movement fought by communist authorities of the Middle Kingdom. He is supported by the Swedish embassy of which he is a national and the Ombudsman. However, the Polish court believes that it is not about activities in the community fought by China, but about economic crimes and agreed to surrender the detainee.
In China, we are seeing forced televised confessions, a mass surveillance state, the killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, and what many are calling a genocide of the Uyghur people. Eighty-three global brands, including major U.S. companies, are tied to Uyghur forced labor in China.
Over in Hong Kong, 53 pro-democracy activists, lawmakers, and lawyers were arrested on Jan. 6 under the draconian national security law.
The numbers of organ transplants performed in China and the speed with which organs become available has raised international concern about the source of organs. It is publicly declared that organs come from executed criminals and that consent is given.
However, there are allegations of an even more macabre scenario—that prisoners are systematically subjected to surgery specifically to remove their organs for transplantation. In this essay I explore the plausibility of this claim against our knowledge of doctors’ complicity with the events leading to the holocaust and the practicalities of contemporary organ transplantation.
Organ transplantation has increased in China at a remarkable rate.
Forty-nine Virginia state lawmakers recently drafted a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted faith group Falun Gong in China.
This July marked 21 years of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s suppression of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice with meditative exercises and moral teachings based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
First introduced in China in May 1992, the practice grew in popularity. By 1999, 100 million people in China—or about one in 13 Chinese—were practicing Falun Gong, according to Chinese state reports.
Then-head of the CCP Jiang Zemin launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, with authorities rounding up practitioners and detaining them inside prisons, jails, and brainwashing centers. Thousands have since died under torture, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that documents the persecution.
The lawmakers described in the letter the torture methods used by authorities, as described by Falun Gong survivors currently residing in Virginia.
“Left in death bed with four limbs tied.” “Handcuffed and hung in painful position.” “Violently face-fed.” “High-voltage electric shock.” “Not allowed to sleep for three days,” the letter recounted.
“Wherever the readers are, wherever the viewers are, that is where propaganda reports must extend their tentacles.” — Xi Jinping, February 2016
1A widely used digital television service in Kenya includes Chinese state television in its most affordable package while omitting international news outlets.2 Portuguese television launches a prime-time “China Hour” featuring content from Chinese state media.3 Chinese diplomats intimidate a cable executive in Washington, DC, to keep New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), a station founded by Chinese Americans who practice Falun Gong, off the air.4 And a partly Chinese-owned South African newspaper abruptly ends a writer’s column after he discusses repression in China’s Xinjiang region.5
These examples, which have come to light over the past three years, illustrate the various ways in which Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media influence—in the form of censorship, propaganda, and control over content-delivery systems—extend beyond the borders of mainland China to reach countries and audiences around the globe.
The report below updates and expands on a 2013 study by the same author, The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship: How the Communist Party’s Media Restrictions Affect News Outlets around the World, published by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy.6 Drawing on recent scholarly research, media reports, interviews, Chinese government documents, and official speeches, the present report addresses the following questions:
What are the goals of the CCP’s efforts to influence media outlets and news reporting globally?
How does the CCP promote state media content and desired narratives internationally, while deploying various tactics to suppress critical news reporting?
How have these dynamics evolved over the past three years under the consolidated CCP leadership of Xi Jinping?
To what extent do the CCP’s efforts appear to be achieving the desired effect?
How are governmental and nongovernmental actors responding to the challenges to press freedom and democratic governance posed by the covert, corrupt, and coercive aspects of the CCP’s transnational media influence?
A 45-year-old seamstress is arbitrarily taken away by police for detention at a “transformation through education” session held at an old munitions factory guesthouse, where she is pressured to renounce her religious beliefs. Nine days later, her husband is informed that she has died in custody and see signs of abuse on her body, but is pressured by local officials to permit rapid cremation.
For those following the current campaign of detentions, indoctrination, and torture in Xinjiang, such a scenario may sound familiar. But this incident did not occur in Xinjiang in 2019, and the victim was not Uighur—this happened in Hebei province in 2010 to Yuan Pingjun, a Han Chinese and an adherent of the Falun Gong spiritual practice (Human Rights in China, September 2011). However, there is a link to current events in Xinjiang: Hebei’s deputy party secretary at the time was a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) named Chen Quanguo (陈全国), now party secretary in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Much analysis to date has noted Chen’s previous experience in Tibet, and the similarities between securitization policies implemented there and those expanding under his tenure in Xinjiang (China Brief, September 21 2017; International Campaign for Tibet, December 10 2018). Less serious attention has been given to the Xinjiang campaign’s commonalities with the party’s long-standing struggle to eliminate Falun Gong—another massive CCP effort at “transformation” targeting millions of spiritual believers. But as is outlined below, Chen’s own career path is not an isolated example: rather, it would appear that the CCP’s nearly 20-year experience implementing the anti-Falun Gong campaign has shaped policies and tactics in Xinjiang, a dynamic that yields insights into how events may unfold in that region and beyond.
“Transformation Through Education” in the Repression of Falun Gong
WASHINGTON—While the West has only recently recognized the potential security threat posed by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, some China insiders have long known that the company is part of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) apparatus.
Huawei toes the party line very closely on issues including, for example, the persecution of Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation and spiritual practice based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. In cooperating with that persecution, Huawei has developed tools that should be of concern to everyone around the world, not just the practitioners of Falun Gong in China.
Censoring and Spying
Huawei has done far more in the persecution of Falun Gong than simply policing its own employees. It has helped put in place the tools used by the Chinese regime to track Chinese citizens and censor what information they can access, thus enabling the persecution.
A 172-page internal document from Huawei, written in 2015, was leaked this year and circulated on the internet. The file was entitled “VCM (video content management) Operation Guide” and was used to train the Chinese regime’s internet police on how to monitor, analyze, and process video content in real time. The police were expected to send out alerts should they find anything “suspicious.”
In July 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin began a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong out of fear of the large numbers of Chinese who found its traditional moral teachings more attractive than the party’s atheist ideology.
“This Falun Gong practitioner didn’t want to sign this kind of contract,” Mindy said. “As a result, he couldn’t be employed by Huawei. And Huawei not only had this item in the contract, but also actively asked every would-be-employee if they practiced Falun Gong.”