Laogai Research Foundation

September, 1996 Newsletter


Harry Wu and other experts testified in U.S. Congress concerning public executions and organ harvesting in China
















Mohammed Ferhat, former reporter and editor of Xinjiang People’s Broadcasting, and Abulajiang Baret, a former judge and official of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, testify before the United States Senate












Harry Wu Leads Distinguished Panel Before Congressional Committee

On June 18, 1996, Harry Wu, Executive Director of the Laogai Resarch Foundation, was invited to testify before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights. He was joined by a distinguished panel of two Chinese physicians and a researcher. They shared their experiences concerning public executions and organ harvesting.

The hearing, titled "China MFN: Human Rights Consequences", was called by Congressman Chris Smith. In his opening statement, Smith called the delinking of Most Favored Nation status from human rights "a betrayal." He also found the Clinton administration to have "coddled as few have coddled before." He presented an affidavit from a Golden Venture passenger who informed Congressman Smith of actions taken by the Chinese government against passengers denied asylum in the United States and forcibly returned to China. He concluded with a plea to the Clinton administration to grant these people freedom and to secure their "fundamental and God-given human rights."

Representatives Frank Wolf and Nancy Pelosi, long time supporters of Harry Wu and advocates of human rights in China gave their well established positions on the issue of MFN at the hearing. Representative Wolf expressed hope that this issue would be dealt with more adequately in the future given the large number of young people in the audience. Congresswoman Pelosi made the point that revocation of MFN is not the goal, but rather it is to gain leverage to improve human rights in China.

Congressmen Matt Salmon and James Moran questioned Representative Pelosi’s position on the issue. Congressman Salmon expressed concern that revokation of MFN would not directly help improve the human rights situation in China. Obviously in support of possible economic growth over improved human rights, Congressman Moran spoke of the potential size of the Chinese market and the improvements that American businesses can secure in China by engagement. Congresswoman Pelosi effectively responded that engagement is a two way street, one that the Chinese have not yet chosen to take.

Others testifying included Dr. William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA; Nina Shea from Freedom House; Lodi Gyari, President for the International Campaign for Tibet; and Mike Jendrzejczyk of Human Rights Watch/Asia. They all discussed the deteriorating human rights situation in China.

Also present was Dr. James Feinerman of Georgetown University. He fully supported extension of MFN to China based on his belief that MFN is responsible for the betterment of Chinese society since 1949. He stated that the focus in U.S.- China relations should be economics rather than human rights, a position questioned vigorously by Chairman Smith.

Harry Wu began his testimony with the video "Undisguised Killing", a documentary produced by the Laogai Research Foundation and Freedom House. It showed indisputable evidence of public executions. The film showed actual events and newspaper clippings that made known the regular occurrence of public executions in China. Mr. Wu expressed sincere concern over these executions and the fact that young Chinese children were watching such brutality. He explained the process of the execution and highlighted the lack of decency granted to the prisoner. His testimony was especially relevant and timely given the recent rise of public executions as a result of the anti-crime crackdown in China.

He also responded to the earlier concerns of Congressmen Salmon and Moran and Dr. Feinerman. He noted that the MFN debate was going in the wrong direction. "The question is not ‘why revoke MFN?’, but ‘why was it given in the first place?’" Mr. Wu continued, saying that although Congressman Moran and Dr. Feinerman believe the status to be normal, in fact, it is not. The normal treatment of Communist countries, like Cuba and the former Soviet Union, was to deny MFN. Instead of giving China the normal treatment, the United States has "provided the economic fuel needed to propel China’s Communist giant into the twenty-first century."

Mr. Wu also made a statement regarding Wei Jingsheng. In it, he expressed his disgust at the use of such an honorable man’s comments for devious political purposes. He called such action "shameless" and a "base, immoral exploitation of a brave man."

Following Wu was the esteemed writer, Zheng Yi. Mr. Zheng testified to the gruesome practices surrounding execution, citing official documents which refer to the severing of one woman’s windpipe and the stuffing of others’ mouths with cotton and nails to prevent final words before death.

Two doctors, Dr. Qian Xiao Jiang and Dr. Zhou Wei Zheng, gave testimony concerning the use of executed prisoners’ organs for transplant surgery. Dr. Zhou described the process of testing prisoners for blood compatibility, the use of special ambulances, and the instruction of the People’s Armed Police to shoot not to kill, but to cause a coma, thereby preserving the organs.

Dr. Qian told of one executed prisoner whose kidneys, spleen, heart, and corneas were extracted. He went on to say that in some instances, the prisoner was still trembling, and one still had a pulse while the organ removal was performed.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Harry Wu proposed to Congressman Smith that the U.S. Congress condemn the public executions and organ harvesting in a resolution that may induce the Chinese government to adjust its policy— "I want the U.S. Congress to inform China that it will not tolerate public executions that children are allowed to watch. What kind of government permits such barbaric education?" Mr. Wu concluded, "We must put a halt to such human rights abuses and trampling of prisoners’ decency, which are an insult to civilized human society."

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