A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

Sunday, November 27, 2016

CELEBRITIES LOVED A TYRANT - They mourn the passing of mass murderer Fidel Castro - List of Castro's crimes against the Cuban people - Fidel Castro's fortune is estimated at close to ONE BILLION dollars

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Wall Street Journal:  By 2005 close to ten thousand names had been verified as victims killed by Fidel Castro's revolution.  The number could be ten times higher.   Many more have died trying to flee the dictatorship, fighting the regime, and as soldiers forced to participate in Fidel's revolutionary adventures abroad on behalf of the Soviets.  
  • In the aftermath of  Fidel Castro's death, it is relevant to note how much American celebrities contributed to this mass murderer's success because he was a leftist, and celebrities never met a leftist cause they didn't like. 
  • Augusto Pinochet, Chile's military dictator, was vilified by celebrities and their fans because he was right wing, although his crimes never reached the level of those perpetrated by Fidel Castro. 
  • These days bashing Israel is the favorite, and often only cause for celebrities and their fans, although China occupies Tibet.  China engages in extreme political oppression and the ongoing extraction of thousands of political prisoners' organs for the profitable China state industry of medical transplants (see more further down this page). 
  • When was the last time you heard celebrities or human rights activists boycotting and protesting against the government of China?   Or against the Cuban regime's oppression of its people?
  • Che Guevara, another mass murderer, is still an icon representing chic rebellion against authority.
  • Fidel Castro hired Nazi SS members to train his troops.
  • Fidel's fortune is estimated at $900 million

Art and celebrities are used by the elites to manipulate the masses, normalizing and mainstreaming certain political ideologies, as well as bad habits (smoking is still being promoted in films), and depraved lifestyles.
Whether celebrities represent glamour or faux-rebelliousness, they mesmerize the masses.  They can influence the articles you purchase, the way you dress, how you vote in national elections, and even how you live your life.
They don't always earn money in proportion to their talent but in how well they manipulate the media to promote their popularity.
Celebrities are both puppets and manipulators.  They, their work, and the elites are all part of  the same web of deception. 

As puppets celebrities themselves are manipulated and pressured to go along with liberal causes, lest they may be blacklisted.  Countless artists who had agreed to perform in Israel have been forced to retract because of peer pressure to boycott Israel.

So called celebrities rise to prominence not always due to their intellectual abilities or education, but to their good looks, artistic work, or their bizarre lifestyles. 
Celebrities preaching to the rest of us often cannot even manage their own lives with a minimum or self-control and decorum, engaging in substance addiction, promiscuity, and even outright depravity (idolized Michael Jackson was a well-known pedophile). 

Fidel Castro's crimes - A summary
Summary by Professor Carlos Eire of Yale University, writing for the Washington Post - Read entire article further on this page.

●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.
●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.
●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.
He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.
●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.
He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.
●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.
He censored all means of expression and communication.
●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.
He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.
●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them. 

 Fidel Castro, idolized by American celebrities
Breitbart.  Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90. Through the years, a long list of Hollywood elites have been bewitched by Castro, despite his Communist regime’s imprisonment of political opponents, homosexuals, and journalists.  Below is a list of some of the entertainers who have praised and  rubbed shoulders with the deceased dictator:

Continue reading this article and others exposing Castro's crimes, and related material such as China's own organ harvesting practices, ignored by celebrities.

APOliver Stone - He directed the 2003 documentary Commandante. The 93-minute HBO-produced film was the result of three days of interviews between Castro and Stone. The overwhelmingly flattering film faced fierce backlash from Cuban-Americans, who successfully forced HBO to pull its U.S. screening.
Stone has
described Castro as a “very selfless” and “moral” man who will be remembered as “one of the world’s wisest men.”

Sean PennSean Penn -  In 2008, actor Sean Penn flew to Cuba to interview Castro. In what was a seven-hour conversation with Castro, Penn described the hardliner as having the “agility of a young man” who “exercises every day, his eyes are bright and his voice is strong.”  Penn flew to Cuba once more in October 2009 to interview Castro.
Steven Spielberg - The Academy Award-winning director attended the Cuban film institute’s annual festival in November 2002. Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall blasted Spielberg in an interview with 60 Minutes.  
Spielberg went down there recently and said, ‘The best seven hours I ever spent was actually with Fidel Castro,'” Duval said. “Now, what I want to ask him [is],” Duval said of Spielberg, “‘Would you consider building a little annex on the Holocaust museum, or at least across the street, to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed?’ That’s very presumptuous of him to go there.”

Jack Nicholson - Legendary actor Jack Nicholson visited Cuba in 1998. The A Few Good Men star once called Castro a “genius” and gushed that the Cuban despot “is a humanist like President Clinton.” Nicholson also called Cuba a “paradise.”

Ted Turner - The media mega mogul and founder of CNN and TBS said of Castro after meeting him in 1982, “Fidel ain’t a Communist. He’s a dictator, just like me.”  Turner’s CNN is the first major broadcaster to have a bureau in Havana, Cuba.  Turner told Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly that he “admire[s]” Castro because he’s “trained a lot of doctors, and they’ve got one of the best educational systems in the developing world. And you know, he’s still popular with a lot of people down there.” 

Kevin Costner  -  Actor Kevin Costner appeared at a screening for his 2001 film 13 Days and heaped praise on Castro, who was being treated to a private screening of the drama based on the Cuban Missile Crisis.  “It was an experience of a lifetime to sit only a few feet away from him and watch him relive an experience he lived as a very young man,” Costner said of Castro.  Refusing to make a judgment about Castro’s oppressive government, Costner said, “I think humanity is a great experiment. Who is to say … the United States is right and Cuba is wrong?”
Chevy Chase -  Actor Chevy Chase said that Cuba is proof that “sometimes socialism works.”
Harry Belafonte - The legendary singer described Fidel Castro’s murderous rise to power in Cuba as “very heroic.”  A longtime Castro supporter, Belafonte said he deems Castro a “very, very attractive” leader, a “whiz,” in whom he saw a “lot of heroics.”
Associated PressDanny Glover Longtime screen legend Danny Glover has spent years visiting Castro in Cuba.




 - Fidel Castro ordered the killing of thousands and has oppressed his people for decades
 - Fidel hired Nazi SS members to train his troops
- Fidel's wealth is estimated at $900 million.

Obama Takes Castro’s AdviceIt is a sign of the times that the West bows to tyrants and lauds imperialistic ideologies such as Islam, with all its racism and oppression of women and minorities. 
The European Union General Court says that Hamas should no longer be considered a terrorist organization, on the same day Hamas launched another rocket towards the civilian population in Israel.  
The US State Department says that Arabs throwing firebombs at Israelis is NOT terror.

The White House has been considering sanctions on Israel - while it tries to lift them from Iran and Cuba.  After Congress demanded clarification on the president's punitive measures against Israel, the White House backtracked.  The State Department feared that sanctions at this point might strengthen the right wing in Israel's coming elections.
So considering this administration's foreign policy track record, it's not surprising that the US president has apologized to the representative of one of the bloodiest regimes in the world.

Raul Castro blindfolds prisoner for execution. 
On this page:
  • President Obama apologizes to Raul Castro
  • Fidel Castro hired Nazi SS members to train troops
  • Book exposes Fidel Castro's hypocrisy, preaching communism but living like a king.
  • Forbes has estimated his wealth at least $900 million. 
  • Fidel Castro's crimes and firing squads.  Thousands executed. Ongoing oppression.

 President Obama apologizes to Raul Castro

The Weekly Standard - Barack Obama apologized to Cuban president Raul Castro during their phone conversation after the American commander in chief's opening remarks. Speaking to reporters at his final White House press briefing of 2014 Friday afternoon, Obama gave more details about his phone call with the communist leader of Cuba earlier this week before the announcement of a change in U.S. policy on the Caribbean island nation.
Obama began the phone call with Castro with what he described as 15 minutes of opening comments. It was the first conversation between the heads of state in both countries since 1961.
"I apologized for taking such a long time," Obama said. Castro responded by reminding Obama that the American president was still young enough to beat Castro's brother, former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who once gave a 7-hour-long speech.
According to the president, Raul Castro proceeded to speak to Obama uninterrupted for 30 minutes.

Fidel Castro 'recruited Nazi SS members
 to train troops during Cuban missile crisis'

Man of the people? Fidel Castro gestures while addressing the crowd during the May Day parade on Havana's Revolution Square on May 1, 2005
Fidel Castro (Reuters)
The Telegraph - October 15, 2012 -  Fidel Castro recruited former members of the Nazi Waffen-SS to train his troops at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, declassified German intelligence files show.
The Communist leader also sought to buy weapons from arms dealers connected with Germany's extreme Right, showing the extent to which he was prepared to collaborate with his ideological enemies to prevent a US invasion on the Caribbean isle.
Papers released this week by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – the German foreign intelligence agency – show information gathered by German operatives 50 years ago during the tense days of the Cuban missile crisis.
They reveal that Castro personally approved a plan to hire former Nazi officers to instruct the Cuban revolutionary army, offering them wages that were four times the average salary in Germany at the time and the chance to start a new life in Havana.
They papers, dating from October 1962, show that four former officers from the elite Nazi death squads had been invited to the Cuban capital, although subsequent reports could only confirm that two had arrived.
It also showed how the Castro regime negotiated with two traffickers linked with Germany's far Right to purchase Belgian made pistols to arm the Cuban forces.
The conclusion drawn by German secret service officials was that the Cuban regime wanted to free itself from total dependence on Soviet backed training and supplies.
"Evidently, the Cuban revolutionary army did not fear contagion from personal links to Nazism, so long as it served its their own objectives," said Bodo Hechelhammer, historical investigations director at the BND, in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt.
The papers provide insight into Cuban actions during a Cold War period that brought the US and Soviet Union to the brink of war.
The 13-day missile crisis began on Oct 16, 1962, when then-President John F. Kennedy first learned the Soviet Union was installing missiles in Cuba, barely 90 miles off the Florida coast.
After secret negotiations between Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the United States agreed not to invade Cuba if the Soviet Union withdrew its missiles from the island.
Book exposes Fidel Castro as a hypocrite,
preaching communism, but living like a king.
In a new, 338-page memoir, titled The Hidden Life Of Fidel Castro (published in France by Michel Lafon and co-authored by Axel Gyldén), Sanchez, an employee of 20 years’ standing, lifts the lid on the luxurious excesses enjoyed by the autocrat and his inner circle.
The book portrays a man obsessed with power and money, who styled himself as a hero of the working classes while living the opulent existence of a medieval potentate.
Read more
Fidel Castro's wealth - At least 900 million dollars
Forbes magazine estimated Castro's fortune in at least 900 million dollars. Many of those who are familiar with the dictator's business believe that Forbes is being too conservative. 
Forbes - For another controversial dictator, Fidel Castro, we assume he has economic control over a web of state-owned companies, including El Palacio de Convenciones, a convention center near Havana; Cimex, retail conglomerate; and Medicuba, which sells vaccines and other pharmaceuticals produced in Cuba.
Former Cuban officials insist Castro, who travels exclusively in a fleet of black Mercedes, has skimmed profits from these outfits for years. To come up with a net worth figure, we use a discounted cash flow method to value these companies and then assume a portion of that profit stream goes to Castro.
To be conservative, we don’t try to estimate any past profits he may have pocketed, though we have heard rumors of large stashes in Swiss bank accounts. Castro, for the record disagrees, insisting his personal net worth is zero.
Fidel Castro's firing squads
There's perhaps no more grizzly atrocity committed by Fidel Castro than the firing squads which he implemented. Beginning as a rebel, before he would eventually take power in Cuba, Fidel Castro used firing squad executions to enforce discipline, punish followers deemed disloyal or intimidate potential opposition. 
At the beginning of the Castro regime there was a reign of terror typical of revolutions in which the firing squad was used prominently but the executions continued for decades.

The Cuba Archive which documents deaths and disappearances resulting from Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution has documented 3,615 firing squad executions conducted by the Cuban state since Castro took over on January 1, 1959.

Most of Castro's firing squad victims were afforded only a perfunctory show trial the outcome of which was predetermined, some didn't even get that. Ernesto "Ché" Guevara is a popular culture icon, his face adorns posters and t-shirts around the globe.
Most people don't realize that he was Fidel Castro's chief enforcer and had a personal hand in at least 100 firing squad executions, often delivering the coup de grace personally.
In response to questions about Castro's firing squads Guevara once said, "To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution. And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."
Read more

Link to article of December 2014 on this blog


 Farewell to Cuba's
Brutal Big Brother

By Carlos Eire
Carlos Eire is an author and the T.L. Riggs Professor of History
and Religious Studies at Yale University.
NOTE:  Included on his article was the summary of Castro's crimes listed above on this page. 
One of the most brutal dictators in modern history has just died. Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him. Millions of Cubans who have been waiting impatiently for this moment for more than half a century will simply ponder his crimes and recall the pain and suffering he caused.

One of the most brutal dictators in modern history has just died. Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him. Millions of Cubans who have been waiting impatiently for this moment for more than half a century will simply ponder his crimes and recall the pain and suffering he caused.

Why this discrepancy? Because deceit was one of Fidel Castro’s greatest talents, and gullibility is one of the world’s greatest frailties. A genius at myth-making, Castro relied on the human thirst for myths and heroes.
His lies were beautiful, and so appealing. According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind.
This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor.
Many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth, too — though they would have been among the first to be jailed or killed by Castro in his own realm — and their assumptions acquired an intensity similar to that of religious convictions.
Pointing out to such believers that Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator was usually futile. His well-documented cruelty made little difference, even when acknowledged, for he was judged according to some aberrant ethical code that defied logic.
This Kafkaesque moral disequilibrium had a touch of magical realism, for sure, as outrageously implausible as anything that Castro’s close friend Gabriel García Márquez could dream up.
For instance, in 1998, around the same time that Chile’s ruler Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London for his crimes against humanity, Cuba’s self-anointed “maximum leader” visited Spain with ample fanfare, unmolested, even though his human rights abuses dwarfed those of Pinochet.
Even worse, whenever Castro traveled abroad, many swooned in his presence. In 1995, when he came to New York to speak at the United Nations, many of the leading lights of that city jostled so intently for a chance to meet with him at media mogul Mort Zuckerman’s triplex penthouse on Fifth Avenue that Time magazine declared “Fidel Takes Manhattan!” Not to be outdone, Newsweek called Castro “The Hottest Ticket in Manhattan.” None of the American elites who hobnobbed with Castro that day seemed to care that he had put nuclear weapons to their heads in 1962.


Wall Street Journal, 2005 article:

Counting Castro's Victims

"On May 27, [1966,] 166 Cubans -- civilians and members of the military -- were executed and submitted to medical procedures of blood extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong Communist aggression.

"A pint of blood is equivalent to half a liter. Extracting this amount of blood from a person sentenced to death produces cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. Once the blood is extracted, the person is taken by two militiamen on a stretcher to the location where the execution takes place."
-- InterAmerican Human Rights Commission, April 7, 1967

Cuban reconciliation won't come easy, even if Fidel's ruthless, money-grubbing little brother Raul is somehow pushed aside. One painful step in the process will require facing the truth of all that has gone on in the name of social justice. As the report cited above shows, it is bound to be a gruesome tale.

The Cuba Archive project ( has already begun the heavy lifting by attempting to document the loss of life attributable to revolutionary zealotry. The project, based in Chatham, N.J., covers the period from May 1952 -- when the constitutional government fell to Gen. Fulgencio Batista -- to the present. It has so far verified the names of 9,240 victims of the Castro regime and the circumstances of their deaths. Archive researchers meticulously insist on confirming stories of official murder from two independent sources.

Cuba Archive President Maria Werlau says the total number of victims could be higher by a factor of 10. Project Vice President Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, has spent years studying the cost of the revolution and he estimates that almost 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship.

Another 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs. An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Fidel's revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.

The archive project can be likened to the 1999 "Black Book of Communism," which documented the world-wide cost of communism, noting that "wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established it quickly led to crime, terror and repression." The Castro methodology, Cuba Archive finds, was much like that used in Poland and East Germany, less lethal than Stalin's purges, but equally effective in suppressing opposition.
In the earliest days of the revolution, summary executions established a culture of fear that quickly eliminated most resistance. In the decades that followed, inhumane prison conditions often leading to death, unspeakable torture and privation were enough to keep Cubans cowed.
Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in "extrajudicial assassinations." Che Guevara was a gleeful executioner at the infamous La Cabaña Fortress in 1959 where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot. Children have not been spared. Of the 94 minors whose deaths have been documented by Cuba Archive, 22 died by firing squad and 32 in extrajudicial assassinations.
Fifteen-year-old Owen Delgado Temprana was beaten to death in 1981 when security agents stormed the embassy of Ecuador where his family had taken refuge. In 1995, 17-year-old Junior Flores Díaz died after being locked in a punishment cell in a Havana province prison and denied medical attention. He was found in a pool of vomit and blood. Many prison deaths are officially marked as "heart attacks," but witnesses tell another story. The project has documented 2,199 prison deaths, mostly political prisoners.
The revolution boasts of its gender equality, and that's certainly true for its victims. Women have not fared much better than men. In 1961, 25-year-old Lydia Pérez López was eight months pregnant when a prison guard kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby and, without medical attention, bled to death. A 70-year-old woman named Edmunda Serrat Barrios was beaten to death in 1981 in a Cuban jail. Cuba Archive has documented 219 female deaths including 11 firing squad executions and 20 extrajudicial assassinations.
The heftiest death toll is among those trying to flee. Many have been killed by state security. Three Lazo children drowned in 1971 when a Cuban navy vessel rammed their boat; their mother, Mrs. Alberto Lazo Pastrana, was eaten by sharks. Twelve children -- ages six months to 11 years -- drowned along with 33 others when the Cuban coast guard sank their boat in 1994. Four children -- ages three to 17 -- drowned in the famous Canimar River massacre along with 52 others when the Cuban navy and a Cuban air force plane attacked a hijacked excursion boat headed for Florida in 1980.
The horror of that event cost one more life: After visiting survivors in the Matanzas hospitals, the famous revolutionary guerrilla Haydée Santamaría, already in despair over the massive, inhumane boat exodus from the Port of Mariel, killed herself. That was a tragic admission of both the cost and failure of the revolution. The only riddle left is how, 25 years later, so-called "human rights" advocates like Argentine President Nestor Kirchner still embrace the Castro regime.


References mentioned above:

Another source for Fidel Castro's crimes:

Cartoon by Shreyas Navare - The legacy of Fidel Castro...


China, another regime whose crimes celebrities and liberal activists ignore.

Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs
Chinese hospitals are conducting far more organ-transplant operations than the country has officially acknowledged, according to a lengthy new report that raises troubling questions about the source of human body parts used to heal China’s elite and the foreigners who pay high prices to receive new kidneys and livers.
Although much of China’s transplant industry is shrouded in secrecy, Chinese officials have said 146 approved hospitals transplanted 7,785 organs last year.
But a team of researchers, including two prominent Canadian human-rights activists, has sifted through a huge number of hospital records, accounts from doctors, press clippings and public statements to tabulate numbers of Chinese transplant-centre beds and doctors – and from that has calculated how many transplants take place.
By their count, Chinese surgeons are transplanting between 60,000 and 100,000 organs a year, a number they say far surpasses the volume of kidneys, livers and hearts available from voluntary donors.
One hospital alone, the Oriental Organ Transplant Centre at the Tianjin First Centre Hospital, is probably doing more than 6,000 transplants a year, they estimate.
Authors David Matas, David Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann have over the past decade published evidence that China is using Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans and Christians as a pool for human-tissue extraction.
Their new report is a joint 798-page document that is being released as a U.S. congressional committee convenes a hearing on Thursday on organ harvesting.
They accuse China of plundering the bodies of prisoners of conscience to meet the demand.
“What we’re trying to do is get the government, the party state in Beijing, to stop killing their own people for their organs,” David Kilgour, a human-rights activist and former Canadian MP, said. “An industrial-scale crime against humanity is going on in China.”
China’s organ-transplant industry is deeply controversial, and Chinese doctors and government officials have fiercely disputed research by the three men. Last week, China lashed out at “groundless accusations” in a resolution passed by the U.S. Congress that “condemns the practice of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China,” and specifically calls out “the killing of religious or political prisoners for the purpose of selling their organs.”
Mr. Matas and Mr. Gutmann are both witnesses at the congressional hearing.
For their new report, they and a team of researchers surveyed hundreds of hospitals in China, amassing evidence showing that, in addition to 146 approved hospitals, many unapproved clinics were transplanting organs.
The gamut of body parts on offer in China is breathtaking: livers, kidneys, hearts, spleens, hands, breasts, arms, hearts, corneas, intestines, pancreases, thyroids, stem cells, hair and bone marrow.
Hospitals with transplant departments advertise five-star services, swimming pools, sky gardens and award-winning architecture. One boasts a $1.3-million grand piano.
“China is not the only country with organ-transplant abuse. There’s a huge demand for organs, and huge money to be made,” Mr. Matas, a Winnipeg refugee and human-rights lawyer, said. “What’s different about China is it’s institutionalized, it’s state-run, it’s party-directed. It’s not a few criminals in back alleys trying to make a fast buck.”
He estimates that 80 per cent of the organs used in China come from prisoners of conscience, although “in the presence of total cover-up and the absence of total access to data, that’s just an estimate.”
China has acknowledged the use of prisoner organs in the past, but said the practice stopped last year.
In subsequent Chinese media reports, officials said prisoners are citizens who can make “voluntary” donations. Critics scoff at the idea that someone behind bars can make a free decision.
Those inside the system argue that it is much reformed and now relies on voluntary donations – particularly from families who decide, for payment to allow surgeons to extract organs from brain-dead relatives.
“We now have a significant source of lungs from brain-dead patients,” said Chen Jingyu, deputy director at Wuxi People’s Hospital and one of China’s top lung-transplant specialists.
China does not yet harvest as many organs from individual donors as other countries. But Dr. Chen, who studied at Toronto General Hospital, said the country’s modern transplant system does not use prisoners and has come “completely into the sunshine.” As proof, he sent a picture of an organ-verification document, including the donor’s national ID card number, which he partly redacted.
He disputed the idea that official transplant statistics are understated. Higher estimates, such as those done by the report’s authors, “have no basis and are absolutely wrong,” he said in an interview this week.
Then he had to go. It was 8 p.m., and he had another lung transplant to do.
Other experts also have defended China. Jeremy Chapman, an Australian transplant surgeon and former president of the Transplantation Society, which is based in Montreal, called the estimates in the new report “pure imagination piled upon political intent.”
He questioned whether China has sufficient transplant surgeons to carry out tens of thousands of operations. “Pharma companies in China have been providing nowhere near enough medication for this number, and felt the downturn with the reduction in transplants as the executed prisoner organs dried up,” he said.
Dr. Chapman does not dispute China’s high demand. Organ transplants are life-saving operations, and sick Chinese need as many as 300,000 transplants a year. But there are places to legitimately source organs, he said: “They have 60,000 road deaths.”
He also questioned the underpinnings of the new report. “Look at the sources of those documents. They are all Falun Gong,” he said.
Many of the report’s researchers, a network of Chinese-speaking volunteers, are Falun Gong practitioners. The primary authors – including the Nobel-nominated Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas – do not adhere to Falun Gong.
They heavily document their work, with 2,360 footnotes. Of the small number verified by The Globe and Mail, each matched with the report contents, although some point to unattributed Falun Gong research.
The authors contend that no one has more reason to pry back official secrecy than those persecuted. “The only places reporting on the Holocaust during the Holocaust in ’43 and ’44 were the Jewish papers. And they were discredited for exactly that reason,” Mr. Gutmann said.
Falun Gong practitioners who have escaped China have also recounted frequent medical examinations that led to no treatment. They believe that they were being profiled for organ-donation compatibility.
Xu Menglan, a refugee who arrived in the United States late last year, said her blood was tested an “uncountable” number of times during several stays in Chinese detention.
In 2002, a senior Beijing police officer “directly threatened to ‘take your organs’ ” if she refused to recant Falun Gong, she said in an interview. The following year, the director of a labour re-education camp in Harbin, in northern China, also told her: “If you keep this up, I will take your organs.”
In prison, she said, people simply vanished. “Based on my observations and my analysis, they were all killed for their organs. Some are still missing after so many years,” she said.
For the researchers behind the new report, further proof lies in wait times, which in China are dramatically shorter than in other countries, suggesting a large pool of donors from which doctors can readily choose.
Although price lists are largely kept secret, the researchers found evidence that foreigners are paying six-figure sums for transplants. Only a few places, including Taiwan, Israel and Spain, have created legal barriers to such organ tourism.
The researchers also collated evidence of statistical manipulation that points to deliberate underreporting of Chinese transplant numbers.
Take the Tianjin organ centre. On its Chinese-language website, it says it has 120 beds and has completed 5,500 liver transplants from 1994 to 2015. On its English website, it claims 200 beds and 3,300 liver replacements until 2009, suggesting a recent annual rate of 366 a year, or no more than three a bed each year.
This contrasts with a biography on the Tianjin government website that notes the centre’s director, Shen Zhongyang, “has led his team to complete nearly 10,000 liver transplants.” And it contrasts with a 2006 Chinese academic journal article that reports 700 transplant beds at the hospital. If that number is true, the transplant centre that calls itself Asia’s busiest has two beds for every one procedure it claims to complete every year.
The report estimates that the real tally in Tianjin lies between 6,000 and 10,000. The uncertainty comes in part from the need to estimate workload for doctors and hospital beds.
Using the same methods nationwide, the new report estimates 60,000 to 100,000 transplants across China each year.
Where do those organs come from?
Car crashes, for example, present difficulties for organ transplants, since medical teams often cannot work quickly enough to extract viable tissue. In the United States, where 38,500 people died on the roads last year, “blunt injury” deaths made up only 1,853 organ donors, fewer than 5 per cent.
China’s own statistics show only 2,766 voluntary organ donations last year, although doctors extracted 7,758 organs, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said. That number almost exactly matches the official Chinese transplant tally – but remains a vast distance from estimates in the tens of thousands.
“It’s inconceivable that any of these, other than an increasingly tiny fraction, could have been obtained by voluntary donors,” said Maria Fiatarone Singh, a University of Sydney geriatrician who serves on the medical advisory board of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.
“There’s nowhere you can get even close to the number of transplants that are going on based on any kind of source that you could name – other than prisoners of conscience.”


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