Wen Chen told the Palisades Rotary Club in February that she initially believed that the Tiananmen Massacre never happened.
Born and raised in China, she came to Cal Tech as a graduate student in 1995. “My friends asked me about Tiananmen Square, and I said there was no massacre; that students had killed the soldiers.
“I believed that no students were killed by the government,” Chen said, noting that even when she was shown photos, “I thought Hollywood had made them.”
But, around 2000, she realized she had been brainwashed and decided to speak on human rights, especially about the prosecution of those practicing Falun Gong – a traditional Chinese meditation practice.
Chen said the practice is famous for its health benefits and taught for free, because there is a belief that no one should profit from it.
Chen said there were two reasons that the Chinese government started to persecute the Falun: 1) it became really popular – with more than 100 million people practicing it in more than 100 countries. 2) and more people joined Falun Gong than the Communist party.
In 1998, it was estimated that more than 17 million Chinese were practitioners. “It made the communists nervous because it’s important for them to control people’s minds. But since Falun Gong does not have leaders, the Communists started a massive persecution.”
Chen said that the Communists maintain authority through violence and propagation. She said that it has been estimated that about half million Falun Gong had been sent to labor camps.
A Chinese nurse came to America in 2006 and made an allegation that her ex-husband, a doctor, had killed more than 2,000 Falun Gong and took their corneas.
At the time, organ transplants were easily obtained in China. The waiting time for kidney and liver transplants in the United States was two to three years, but in China it was only one to four weeks.
In one year, China performed 100,000 organ donations, “where did they find all those organs?” Chen asked, thinking that one explanation could be the larger population.
But, “The people in China are Buddhists, Taoist and believe in Confucianism,” Chen said, noting that the common thread for all of those religions is the people believe in reincarnation, which means they don’t donate organs.
In 2006, two Canadians interviewed different hospitals pretending to be organ buyers. They specifically asked about the Falun Gong as donors because those who practice are considered healthy, because don’t smoke or drink.
The investigative reporters were told that a donor could be found in 14 hours, that they just needed to come with cash and “the doctors said they guaranteed the quality,” Chen said.
There was a 2015 Peabody Award Winning Documentary “Human Harvest” and there were several books written “Bloody Harvest,” “State Organs” and “The Slaughter.” Based on data analysis from Chinese medical journal publications, and updated June 2016 report, there were 60,000 to 100,000 transplants annually in China. About 90 percent of the organs came from those identified as Falun Gong and about 10 percent from Christians, Tibetans and Uighurs.
Why did doctors use the Falun Gong? Chen said it was because “they are demonized. People were told that Falun Gong were crazy, that they kill themselves, kill others and eat babies. The doctor and police don’t consider these people as human.”
She said the Israeli government was the first not to allow insurance to cover organ transplants in China, and several other countries followed suit.
In the U.S. in 2016, a non-binding resolution was passed condemning forced organ harvesting in China. “Why did reaction take so long and why was it so weak,” Chen asked. “The Chinese government was pressuring our elected officials not to speak out.”
Ten states passed legislation against the organ harvesting and in 2017, California tried to pass SJR-10, introduced by Senator Anderson. “Before the resolution, the Chinese embassy sent a message to every official and Senate President Kevin De Leon blocked the resolution,” Chen said.
She also addressed the amount of money that China sends to mainstream newspapers to “run its propaganda.” Papers receiving advertising money include the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Chen also advised people to look at the Confucius Institute, a free program from China that is offered in some universities and high schools, which offers language courses.
“It also teaches the Chinese communists party version of history,” she said, noting that the course blocks topics about Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Massacre. “They teach that the Americans started the Korean War because they wanted to invade North Korea and then China.”
Chen said, “The Chinese people are awakening because 50,000 signed a petition (2015) against organ harvesting.” She hopes that human rights will continue to grow in China because people are learning that “so many people taking action together, means the individual risk is much smaller.” And she is encouraged because others like her are quitting the Communist Party.
She lists several websites to visit: stoporganharvesting.org; theepochtimes.com and challengesweface.org.