A past ailment that attacks the liver and causes inflammation allegedly saved a New Yorker from having organs carved up and sold to wealthy Chinese and overseas patients.
Jennifer Zeng believes she could have become a victim of forced organ harvesting, if she had failed to declare to a Chinese doctor that she had been infected with hepatitis C.
The 53-year-old human rights author made the spine tingling realization after being held in a mainland Chinese labor camp, simply for refusing to give up her belief in behaving truthfully, compassionately, and tolerantly—three main principles of the Falun Dafa meditation practice.
Zeng revealed that during her yearlong detention in late 2000 she was ordered to squat for 16 hours a day, shocked with electric batons, and forced to stay awake for several days at a time.
“To sum it up it is a living hell on earth,” she told United Inland Empire in a video shared on YouTube. “At any minute when we were awake, we were to squat down and our eyes were lowered to look at our feet. We were never ever allowed to rest our heads.”
She also saw labor camp guards recruit former adherents to prevent persecuted Falun Dafa practitioners from sleeping for up to six weeks.
“Any newcomers to the camp were not allowed any sleep at all until you collapsed, unless you signed the document [to promise to give up Falun Dafa,]” she said. “When I was in the camp the longest period a woman held up was 15 days, 15 nights, no sleep at all. After I was released there was a longer period, a longer record created by someone in New York … she was not given any sleep for 42 days and 42 nights … if she fell asleep [they] just beat her up or kept her awake.”
Zeng was also taken to a medical facility in the country’s capital of Beijing where she would participate in eye tests and internal organ examinations. Her blood was taken without explanation, and she was also one of several thousand inmates who were transported in large buses with darkly tinted windows to hospital for X-rays.
When clinicians asked whether she suffered from any chronic diseases, she said she had previously contracted hepatitis C from an infectious blood transfusion during child birth. She added the condition was completely cured through regularly practicing Falun Dafa’s standing and sitting exercises, and becoming a more truthful, compassionate, and tolerant person in daily life through reading Falun Dafa books.
In the seven years to 1999, Falun Dafa enjoyed immense popularity with an estimated 70 million to 100 million people practicing in mainland China alone. The practice has also spread to the United States and more than 70 countries across the world while Falun Dafa books have been translated into over 40 different languages.
However, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) grew increasingly unsettled by the group’s rapid growth and high number of influential party members who joined. In late 1999, Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin decided to arbitrarily arrest and torture adherents to death, confiscate and destroy more than 2 million Falun Dafa books, and order state-run media to publish hundreds of articles that defamed the practice.
The two decadeslong human rights crisis has caused at least 4,363 known Falun Dafa adherents to be persecuted to death, with “tens of thousands more [cases] to be confirmed” according to the latest data collected by the Minghui website. The CCP’s policy to cremate the deceased bodies of victims without asking permission from family members, has only added to the difficulty in ascertaining exactly how many Falun Dafa adherents have been persecuted to death since 1999.
It was only several years after she was released when Zeng finally suspected her medical tests in China were probably meant to see if she was a suitable live organ donor who could die during the transplant process.
“Only at that stage, I realized what a narrow escape I had,” she said according to the Daily Mirror. “If I had not told the doctor I had had hepatitis C, I could have become a victim as well.”
Since 2006 a variety of independent reports, more notably by human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian MP David Kilgour, have revealed the CCP has conducted mass organ harvesting for profit against Falun Dafa adherents and other persecuted groups at state-run hospitals, military institutions, and medical universities since the year 2000.
A 2020 independent tribunal into forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in mainland China found no reason to doubt “physical acts have been carried out that are indicative of the crime of genocide.” The China Tribunal, which was led by Sir Geoffrey Nice who prosecuted former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic for genocide, identified Falun Dafa adherents as a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group worthy of protection under the Genocide Convention.
Governments around the world have either condemned the practice or supported an end to the CCP’s arbitrary detention, torture, organ harvesting, and killing. The U.S. Congress unanimously passed House Resolution 343 in June 2016 to condemn state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting in mainland China, and demand the CCP immediately end organ harvesting of all prisoners of conscience.
Jennifer Zeng is the author of “Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.”