Sujiatun Death Camp: Putting Conscience on Trial


By Shizhong Chen
Conscience Foundation


Please remember the name: Sujiatun. It will one day be as infamous as Auschwitz and Dachau.

On March 8, 2006, a Chinese journalist on the run from the Chinese communist regime disclosed to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States some appalling news: a secret death camp in Sujiatun, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province in China.

According to this journalist, over 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been taken to Sujiatun. "I believe that once they are in they 100% cannot come back out," the journalist said. He also disclosed that there are incineration chambers and a large number of doctors there. "Why are there incineration chambers there? Why are there so many doctors inside? Certainly not for the benevolent treatment of prisoners. Something you simply cannot imagine…"

"The prisoners, the Communist Party definitely will not let them just waste food there. Why are they there then? … They will all be murdered, and all their organs will be harvested and distributed to hospitals. The sale of human organs is a vastly profitable trade in China."

Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of such crimes. One week after the journalist's disclosure, a former nurse whose ex-husband had taken part in harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners also stepped forward to testify:

"I used to work at the Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Center, which was next to the concentration camp. My ex-husband had taken part in removing corneas from Falun Gong practitioners. This brought disaster to my family."

"In early 2001, my husband was assigned by the hospital to secretly remove corneas from Falun Gong practitioners. He hid this from me at the beginning, but slowly I sensed he was in great agony, had nightmares often, and was always stressed. After my repeated inquiries, he told me the truth in 2003."

"He knew they were Falun Gong practitioners. Every doctor who took part knew. They were told that eliminating Falun Gong was not a crime, but helping the Community Party to do 'cleansing.' Those who were taken in on the operating tables were anesthetized. Elderly people or children were mostly used for harvesting corneas."

"At the time when my ex-husband told me about this, he could no longer bear the torment of doing such evil things, and decided to leave China to escape the horror. He said to me: you cannot possibly know my despair, because those Falun Gong practitioners were still alive. It was different from removing organs from dead people—they were alive."

"Because of this, I divorced him. I said to him: you are done with your career; you will not be able to hold a scalpel in the future."

"I know there are still Falun Gong practitioners in that hospital," this nurse said in the end. "I hope this crime can be exposed to the international society as quickly as possible, so their lives can be saved. I also hope, through my disclosure, to atone my relative's crime."

The victims are not even limited to Chinese. It is an open secret that China has become the world capital of organ transplantation, and ships human organs to nearby countries such as Thailand. Tens of thousands from different parts of the world have received organ transplants in China and Thailand, being assured that the organs have been legally obtained. How will they and their surgeons feel when they learn about the barbaric organ harvesting, even if the organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners turn out to account for a portion of all human organs used in transplant operations? Is there a way for them to remove the doubt? Will they want to find out? Or will they bear that doubt and forever avoid mentioning "transplanted in China"?

Another doctor recently stated that extracting organs from living prisoners is common across China. How many more camps like Sujiatun exist?

It was precisely because we abhor such appalling crimes that humanity vowed "Never again!" after the shock of the Holocaust. Yet, as this vow is still ringing in the ears of Holocaust survivors, we are in for another shock—or are we? How do we explain to ourselves and our children that we have watched the systematic eradication of Falun Gong for more than six years and allowed it to escalate to the emergence of human organ harvesting factories like Sujiatun?

It is not due to a lack of information. Ever since July 1999, Falun Gong practitioners in China have been taking great risks to collect and send abroad, on a daily basis, detailed information on the extensive and severe human rights violations committed by the Chinese communist regime. Falun Gong practitioners overseas have worked their hardest to disseminate this information to governments, media, opinion leaders, the United Nations, and the general public to appeal for their attention.

It is not because the information is unsubstantiated. In the past few years, many Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Commission have cited in their annual reports numerous cases of torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese regime. Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir wrote in her 2003 report: "The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description." On October 15, 2004, seven Special Rapporteurs sent a joint letter to China to express their concern about the persecution of Falun Gong. These Special Rapporteurs are the most-respected authorities on human rights. Their findings and opinions on the Chinese regime's persecution of Falun Gong have been reprinted to thousands upon thousands of copies and submitted to world governments and media.

History, unfortunately, repeats itself. Just as the Holocaust information provided by Jewish groups was cast aside or downplayed because of the "unsubstantiated nature of the information" and its "prejudiced sources," information from Falun Gong practitioners has received the same fate. History has also shown that all major atrocities occurred when there was not enough media exposure, when perilous signals were ignored because they were "incomplete" or "unsubstantiated" or from "prejudiced sources"—when evildoers' deceits prevail, when the silence allows the evildoers to carry on unnoticed and unhindered.

History, however, never duplicates itself exactly.

There is no major military or ideological confrontation in the world now. While the Allies did not have their focus on saving the Holocaust victims, at least they were fighting the Nazis and determined to win the war. We do not have that excuse now. On the contrary, we are apparently determined to win the market in China.

Technology is far more advanced now than it was in WWII, and we do not even need to be at Auschwitz or Buchenwald to know what is going on there. If 6,000 people have been taken in to Sujiatun and none has come out, how hard is it to see from surveillance satellites the suspicious traffic going in and out to figure out that it is a death camp?

There are now many international human rights laws that were not available before the Nuremberg trials, and there are now many surveillance and protection mechanisms implemented by the United Nations. How hard is it to demand an international investigation into the serious claim of the death camp's existence? What were those international human rights laws established for?

We do not always ignore incomplete or unsubstantiated information from China, however. When Dr. Jiang Yanyong disclosed the Chinese regime's deadly lies about the SARS epidemic, the retired doctor's letter to the media contained only what he had heard from his colleagues. Did the world hesitate for a second because the information was "incomplete" or "unsubstantiated"? Why didn't the information's incompleteness prevent decisive action by the international community? In fact, his letter was sent only to Chinese media, but Western media got hold of it and publicized it. Why does the world react so differently to the SARS news and the Sujiatun news, both of life-and-death importance? Isn't it because Sujiatun is about other people's lives?

If that is not enough to make us to look at the selfish side of our humanity, consider this: if Sujiatun happened anywhere else other than China, whether in democratic countries or in North Korea, Sudan, or Cuba, it would have caused major outcries. Only the human greed for economic gains from China has kept the Sujiatun death camp from being an international issue.

"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated." Justice Jackson knew the legacy that the Nuremberg trials would leave behind when he drafted his opening speech. If he have lived to see the post-Nuremberg wrongs, he might have been more introspective and lead a trial on human conscience and how it could allow the wrongs to continue to happen.

Shizhong Chen, Ph.D., is a co-founder of the Conscience Foundation


Mar 25,2006
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