Inside the high-tech cocoon of the Olympic Games, it's literally a different world. Robots whip up fresh pots of coffee and cocktails, while bowls of noodles magically appear from the ceiling. There are nail and hair salons, flower shops, menus with 678 food options, even "zero-G" beds. It's the closed loop the Chinese government wanted -- the "bubble" that would keep the questions at bay. Athletes go about their days, writing sports greatest stories -- while outside, a dirty secret lurks. There's a second genocide ripping through the provinces, a bloody trail almost too ghoulish to believe.
Like most people brought to the camps, Gulbahar Jeliova was beaten within an inch of her life. And unlike everyone brought to the camps, she was treated in the hospital afterward. While she was there, Gulbahar noticed two young girls, both dressed in orange uniforms. It was a sign, another prisoner told her, that they were being taken "to sleep." That's odd, Gulbahar thought. Why can't they sleep in their rooms? Because these girls, the other patient explained, were being put to sleep "forever."
Gulbahar will never know for sure, but the disappearance of those girls -- and so many others -- could only mean one thing: China's forced organ harvesting ring had come to Xinjiang. For weeks, she would watch the young and healthy prisoners be divided into groups. It usually happened after a medical examination, Gulbahar told the Uyghur Tribunal. They were roused by guards in the middle of the night and taken, never to be seen again. Human rights advocates, who've been following this gruesome trade through every province in China, think they know why. "It's organ harvesting," Nina Shea said somberly on "Washington Watch," "forcible harvesting of religious minorities' body organs. It's unbelievable, absolutely ghastly.... Their organs are being excised -- their hearts, their livers, their kidneys, their corneas -- and sold for a profit throughout China. It's been going on for 20 years..."
For years, witnesses say, doctors would be paged in the middle of the night to come to their hospitals. New truckloads of dissidents would have arrived -- Falun Gong, usually, but sometimes Uyghurs or Christians. Annie, who escaped to the U.S., talked about her husband, a brain surgeon, who used to wake up from horrible nightmares of the things he'd been asked to do to living, breathing people. Her husband, she says, forcibly removed over 2,000 corneas alone. "Every time he did this, he got lots of money and cash awards -- several dozen times his normal salary... hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars," she explains.
But the personal toll was steep. He would wake up screaming and terrified. "He would stare blankly at the TV," Annie remembers. "When our child or I touched him, he would shriek. I found him becoming abnormal. He told me, 'You have no idea of my agony. These Falun Gong practitioners were alive. It would be okay if we removed organs from dead bodies, but these people were truly alive.'"
One medical student from China says he still replays the day over and over in his mind when he was drafted to be part of an organ-harvesting team at Shenyang Army General Hospital. "The young prisoner was brought in, tied hand and foot, but very much alive. The army doctor in charge sliced him open from chest to belly button and exposed his two kidneys. 'Cut the veins and arteries,' he told his shocked intern." The young man did what he was told. When it came time to remove his eyeballs, he froze. He was so unnerved that he fled, moved to Canada, and started living under a different identity.
For the monsters of the Chinese government, it's a profitable way of disposing of inconvenient ethnic groups. A lowball estimate puts the trafficking at a $1 billion dollar industry for the Chinese. And as the supply of Falun Gong prisoners wanes, there are valid fears that the Uyghurs are next in line. As many as two million are already wasting away in concentration camps for their beliefs, where they would be easy pickings for a regime with no sense of humanity. Shea worries about that as well, explaining that these new testimonies point to an underground "shift" to the Uyghurs for organ harvesting, "because they're in these detention camps where there is no oversight."
Ethan Gutmann, who's been tracking the horror story since the mid-90s, has managed to locate "nine industrial-scale crematoria in Xinjiang, too large to be dealing only with the local population. One such crematorium was found to be within minutes of two camps." The communist regime would need incinerators of that size if the numbers the U.N. has uncovered are accurate. More than 100,000 transplants have been facilitated over these past several years, Gutmann believes, meaning that Chinese doctors are performing surgeries within one or two weeks. Here in the U.S., Shea says, the average waiting time for a kidney is four years.
In China, she says, "the way it works is that you call up and say, 'I need a kidney,' and they say, 'Come on in.' And within days or weeks, you get a kidney that's a perfect match. And if it isn't, they keep trying..." Researchers have even archived ads that Chinese hospitals are sending to places like Japan, saying "our organs are better because they're from live donors. They're much better than cadaver donor organs."
Meanwhile, inside the bubble, the bright logos of Coke, Visa, Intel, and Airbnb blink as if nothing is happening. The cash registers ring, sending more money to American sponsors -- while a car ride away China's butchers are carrying out the mass executions of innocents, killing any sense of real social justice along with them.
** For more on the dark side of the Beijing Games, don't miss FRC's new op-ed from Bob Fu and Arielle Del Turco, "Don't Let the Bright Lights of the Olympics Blind You to the People Suffering in its Shadows."