Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—In the early afternoon of July 20, over 1,000 practitioners and supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline held a parade to protest 18 years of deadly repression by the communist regime in China. The parade goers, mostly wearing Falun Gong’s signature yellow T-shirts, marched from Capitol Hill through downtown Washington, D.C. to the Lincoln Memorial.

This year’s events also included a rally at Capitol Hill and a candlelight vigil before the Washington Monument.

Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that teaches a set of meditation exercises and cultivation of the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, was marked for persecution on July 20, 1999, by then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. Since then, the Chinese authorities have pursued a violent campaign of elimination against the practice.

“The Chinese regime’s persecution has been completely irrational and violent. We petition peacefully. We carry no weapons. We have only kind intentions. But what we face are police, police cars, armed police. The armed police face you as if you are a terrible enemy,” said Liu Zhaohe, a 64-year-old philosophy professor who came from Beijing to the United States this March.

 Liu Zhaohe, a former philosophy professor, and his wife Wang Lurui participate in a Falun Gong parade in Washington D.C on July 20, 2017. (Irene Luo/Epoch Times)

Liu Zhaohe, a former philosophy professor, and his wife Wang Lurui participate in a Falun Gong parade in Washington D.C on July 20, 2017. (Irene Luo/The Epoch Times)

His wife, 60-year-old Wang Lurui, was arrested 11 times while putting up Falun Gong banners and meditating in public, including several occasions when she went to Tiananmen Square. She was also fired from her position as a hospital administrator in Beijing.

“Since coming here, we continue to nonviolently, rationally oppose the persecution so everyone knows that Falun Dafa is good and that truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance are universal moral principles,” Wang said.

Millions of Falun Gong adherents in China and abroad have used a variety of peaceful means to raise awareness about and counteract the persecution, sometimes at great personal risk. Human rights researchers estimate that Chinese authorities have detained millions of practitioners, and that hundreds of thousands are held in forced labor camps and brainwashing centers.

Since 2006, investigations have revealed that a large but yet indeterminate number of Falun Gong adherents have been executed and had their organs harvested in state and military-run hospitals across China.

Li Jianying, a middle-aged woman from Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, was driven to escape China in 2015 when someone reported her practice of Falun Gong to the police. She now lives in Middletown, upstate New York, and raises awareness about Falun Gong in the community as a volunteer. Her 79-year-old mother, also a practitioner, is still in China.

“I want to see her again, but I can’t go back,” Li said. “You go back and they arrest you at the airport.”

Each year, Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. and around the world hold commemorative events to mark the anniversary of the persecution.

During the parade, practitioners carried banners calling for the end of the persecution and live organ harvesting and for Jiang Zemin to be brought to justice. A military-style marching band composed of Falun Gong practitioners joined in. Other marchers held photos of those who had been killed in the persecution.

Passers-by were shocked to learn of the violence against the group.

Wilna LaPorte, who works in a Washington, D.C. public defense service, was drawn to the serene, traditional Chinese music.

Wilna LaPorte. (Eva Fu/The Epoch Times)

Wilna LaPorte. (Eva Fu/The Epoch Times)

“I can’t believe this is going on,” she said between tears after hearing about China’s organ transplantation industry, which has heavily targeted Falun Gong practitioners. “I don’t see why human lives should be commercialized when there are so much that has already been commercialized from China.”

“People need to be made aware of what’s happening in different countries, not only here,” said Cynthia Simms, who works as an educational administrator.

“A lot of times, we don’t know what other people go through and what they have to deal with on a day to day basis.”

Liu Zhaohe, the former professor from Beijing, said that the Chinese authorities “persecute all independent thoughts, independent beliefs.”

He added: “There’s no freedom of belief, freedom of speech. This is the most immoral thing done by the Chinese regime. They don’t just destroy you physically, but also destroy you mentally, force you to ‘transform.’ They stifle your thoughts so you do not have your own thoughts.” 

With reporting by Eva Fu and Irene Luo.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2017. The parade is calling for an end to a brutal persecution in China that started on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

 

 

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  • Category: General
July 20, 2017

Chinese workers at a pier in Qingdao, China, on April 13. The Belt and Road Initiative is supposed to boost trade both by land and by sea. (STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)Chinese workers at a pier in Qingdao, China, on April 13. The Belt and Road Initiative is supposed to boost trade both by land and by sea. (STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The idea, at first, sounded good: Plow trillions of dollars into infrastructure projects in the barren wasteland that is most of central Asia, and trade will start to bloom, economies will prosper, and peace will reign. However, most experts believe real world problems will result in the whole idea turning into nothing but a pipe dream.

(VCG/VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES)

(VCG/VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES)

The concept is called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as One Belt, One Road, launched by Chinese regime leader Xi Jinping in March 2015. It has two elements: one landlocked route from China to Europe through Asia, called the Silk Road Economic Belt, and one seaborne route going from China to Europe past India and Africa, called the Maritime Silk Road.

Although estimates vary, China has called for up to $5 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next five years in the 65 countries along these routes. Ports in Sri Lanka, railways in Thailand, and massive roads and power plants in Pakistan are just a few examples of the planned investments.

Speaking at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May this year, Xi said: “In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries, and achieve economic integration and interconnected development, and deliver benefits to all.”

His statement sums up the problems with the multitrillion dollar project: It talks about desirable outcomes but is exceedingly vague on the details. This is just like the BRI’s official plans. They call for improving intergovernmental communication, coordinating infrastructure plans, developing soft infrastructure, and strengthening tourism and trade, but the specifics are shaded over.

“There are no concrete action items set out in the Chinese government’s action plan for what has become one of Xi’s most visible policy initiatives. The document contains a number of generic proposals interspersed with platitudes about cooperation and understanding,” research firm Geopolitical Futures states in a July report.

But despite the lack of concrete programs, the vast sums involved show that the BRI has garnered support from many countries. China-led institutions, like the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, have also pledged $269 billion dollars for the project. Even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced his support at the recent G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

It is completely overhyped. The numbers they published, $4 trillion to $5 trillion, they are completely unrealistic.

— Christopher Balding, professor of economics, Peking University

Objectives Measured Against Reality

China’s objectives, explicit and implicit, need to be measured against reality. On this account, most experts think the project is not economically viable—but it will allow China to gain political influence.

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“It is completely overhyped. The numbers they published, $4 trillion to $5 trillion, they are completely unrealistic,” said Christopher Balding, professor of economics at Peking University.

Economically, it is mostly about investment and exports. “China has surplus capital and excess productive capacity, which is motivating this set of initiatives. With a high savings rate in China and a slowdown in industrial investment at home, they are looking for overseas projects that can be financed and a new outlet for Chinese exports,” said James Nolt, professor of international relations at New York University.

The result is the BRI, which would see China team up with countries along the routes to raise money for building infrastructure to facilitate trade. And Chinese companies would do the construction.

The Chinese Overseas Ports Holding Company has expanded the Gwadar Port in Pakistan and has an operating lease until 2059. This is just the first, small step in connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Maritime Silk Road. Highways, pipelines, power plants, optical connections, and railways are planned for the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, with a total investment of $62 billion.

Of course, local and international companies are going to bid for these projects as well, but with China providing most of the funds, Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs) will get most of the contracts.

If Chinese companies got $5 trillion in contracts, this would indeed boost exports, but there are several problems with this notion even in theory.

First, infrastructure projects are very resource intensive, and with few exceptions China simply doesn’t produce commodities. Much of the value-added, therefore, will be absorbed by international commodity producers like Australia (though the Chinese steel industry will certainly get a boost).

Impossible to Finance

Then there is the question of financing these investments. The countries where the investments are going to take place, like Pakistan and Cambodia, don’t have the money to spend trillions and also can’t raise it in international financial markets. This leaves China to come up with a way to get the hard currency financing to achieve its economic goals.

At the beginning of the BRI, China still had almost $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, and it was looking to diversify. These have dropped to $3 trillion in 2017, a threshold the central planners in Beijing have made clear they will not cross.

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“They have to tap international bond markets for that money, or they have to exhaust their foreign exchange reserves and even then go out and borrow. Even by global bond market standards, a $5 trillion bond sales program spread out over a couple of years is an enormous number. They are not going to shoulder that type of repayment risk and they are not going to deplete their reserves,” said Balding.

Research by investment bank Natixis estimates that such a borrowing binge would increase Chinese external debt from 12 percent to 50 percent of GDP. This would expose the country to exchange rate risks and put it in the same vulnerable position that the Asian tiger economies were in during the financial crisis of 1998.

Loans from China denominated in yuan from Chinese banks are not an option for two reasons. This “poses its own risks to the overly stretched balance sheets of Chinese banks. In fact, their doubtful loans have done nothing but increase during the last few years, which is eating up the banks’ room to lend further,” especially for risky projects, wrote Natixis Chief Economist for the Asia Pacific Alicia García-Herrero, in a blog post.

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In addition, recipient countries could only pay back a loan in yuan by selling goods and services to China, thus procuring the Chinese currency. This would be directly counterproductive to the goal of promoting exports from China with construction contracts and eventually through improved trade infrastructure.

“How is Pakistan to repay a yuan loan? They are going to generate a trade surplus in yuan. So China has to run a trade deficit with all the countries it lends to. Even if they don’t do that, Pakistan is going to have to generate some type of trade surplus with another country to have enough capital to pay back China,” said Balding.

Given that most of the infrastructure will be built to facilitate trade with China, this is highly unlikely. So in the end, China will be left to vendor finance these projects. The only way to achieve its economic objectives will be hard currency loans that are completely repaid, with interest—which China currently has no clear means of financing.

Bad Risks

All of the economic indicators regarding the most prominent BRI projects point against this repayment scenario.

There is a reason countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Pakistan, and Mongolia don’t have good infrastructure. They have a generally poor macroeconomic framework, underdeveloped institutions, and a high degree of corruption. Building roads and railways will not change that.

Additionally, “Central Asia, a patchwork of states whose borders were drawn to make the countries more easily controlled from Moscow during the Soviet era, is hardly a promising market for Chinese goods,” states the Geopolitical Futures report.

“People talk about [the BRI] as if China is giving away money. In almost every case, it’s the Chinese credit card company giving a credit card to a despotic dictator, like in Sri Lanka or Venezuela. None of that has ended well,” said Balding.

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The nature of the value proposition of the BRI leads to the worst countries needing the most infrastructure and the most financing. Economically stable and healthy countries like Malaysia and Vietnam need less investment than troubled states like the Kyrgyz Republic and civil war-torn Ukraine. These countries have an economic health ranking of 44 and 38.2, respectively, compared to Malaysia’s 66.8, according to a ranking by Oxford Economics.

“Where financial development is relatively weak and governments are heavily indebted, BRI financing will be crucial,” states the report by Oxford Economics. It is precisely these places that offer the lowest chance of repayment.

“While a new airport or railway can be built in just a few years, amassing the human and institutional capital needed for them to operate efficiently and contribute to economic and social progress is a slower process,” states a report by research firm TS Lombard.

Small Scope

Given the constraints in viable economic projects as well as available financing, the scope of the BRI will likely remain small, while China can still focus on its political objective to exert greater influence over the participating countries.

“What this leaves us with is a much more modest program of $15 billion to $30 billion a year,” commensurate with the $269 billion already pledged by the China-led institutions, Balding said. “I don’t want to say that it’s irrelevant, but it is irrelevant. The United States is spending $300 billion in direct investment every year overseas.”

One of the initiatives that makes sense but needs little infrastructure and investment is protecting ships from pirates. “The cooperation with Singapore to keep the sea-lanes safe is promising, and that would have happened either way,” said Nolt.

While Chinese propaganda is touting that the BRI will revive the spirit of the ancient Silk Road through central Asia to Europe, it may have missed the boat on that one.

Given advances in shipping technology, it is far easier and cheaper to transport goods by ship rather than by land. That’s why most of China’s and the world’s trade (80 percent) is done by sea.

In the end, keeping out pirates and building a few ports in Pakistan and East Africa is a worthwhile endeavor—but it’s one that falls far short of building trillions worth of landlocked infrastructure.

“The Silk Road was a constantly evolving marketplace that moved goods across a vast continent where they could be exchanged for other goods. And unlike today, Eurasia was the center of world civilization, home to the most important economies,” states the Geopolitical Futures report.

Today, the most important economy, also for China, is the United States, and it is best reached by sea through the Pacific Ocean, far away from the Maritime Silk Road and the One Belt.

CHINESE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN ASIA

BOATS AT THE GWADAR PORT IN PAKISTAN ON THE ARABIAN SEA. China Overseas Ports Holding Company is leasing the port until 2059 and has already started expanding it. China has been looking to secure sea trading lanes along the so-called Maritime Silk Road, and the Pakistani port is an important piece in the puzzle. (J. PATRICK FISCHER/CC BY-SA)

BOATS AT THE GWADAR PORT IN PAKISTAN ON THE ARABIAN SEA. China Overseas Ports Holding Company is leasing the port until 2059 and has already started expanding it. China has been looking to secure sea trading lanes along the so-called Maritime Silk Road, and the Pakistani port is an important piece in the puzzle. (J. PATRICK FISCHER/CC BY-SA)

A SKY TRAIN IN BANGKOK ON MARCH 20, 2013. Thailand will borrow a total of $69.5 billion to fund high-speed railways and other transportation mega projects, with most of the money coming from China and Chinese companies providing the construction. Thailand's railways will form part of the Kunming– Singapore railway system. However, Thailand will repay the loans with rice and rubber exports, thus running a trade surplus with China and going against the objective to generate export growth. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

A SKY TRAIN IN BANGKOK ON MARCH 20, 2013. Thailand will borrow a total of $69.5 billion to fund high-speed railways and other transportation mega projects, with most of the money coming from China and Chinese companies providing the construction. Thailand’s railways will form part of the Kunming– Singapore railway system. However, Thailand will repay the loans with rice and rubber exports, thus running a trade surplus with China and going against the objective to generate export growth. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

THE BANKS OF THE IRRAWADDY RIVER IN BURMA ON OCT. 2, 2015. Although not officially part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam project is an example of a Chinese infrastructure project in a very poor country that hasn't gone as planned. Construction has been suspended for six years, as both countries could not agree on how to proceed. (YE AUNG THU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

THE BANKS OF THE IRRAWADDY RIVER IN BURMA ON OCT. 2, 2015. Although not officially part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam project is an example of a Chinese infrastructure project in a very poor country that hasn’t gone as planned. Construction has been suspended for six years, as both countries could not agree on how to proceed. (YE AUNG THU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
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Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China that started on July 20, 1999 by China's former leader Jiang Zemin. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China that started on July 20, 1999 by China's former leader Jiang Zemin. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

For months, Li Guiqin, a 58-year-old retired scientist now living in the United States, would crowd into the back of an eight-seat van and cruise the streets of Harbin as she and others made phone calls to China’s public security officials, telling them to stop persecuting her faith community.

The constant motion was a must for this dangerous work. Staying stationary would have made it easy for the Chinese Communist Party’s omnipresent surveillance apparatus to triangulate her position and swarm in with the equivalent of a SWAT team.

So she and a few others—usually three or four, often retired, men and women who practiced the Chinese spiritual tradition of Falun Gong—plied the streets of the gritty northern industrial city near Siberia, making phone call after phone call from the van.

Some of the officials they reached responded with malice, some with indifference. But others responded with a hard-won acceptance of the truth that years of violence failed to conceal.

The Party began its nationwide persecution of the Falun Gong practice on July 20, 1999. Millions are believed to have been sent to labor camps, prisons, and illegal brainwashing centers, where practitioners are tortured in an attempt to force them to recant their beliefs. A large but unknown number are believed to have been killed for their organs.

And against all this has stood a stubborn group of meditators like Li Guiqin and her friends. They and numerous other Falun Gong practitioners in China have over the years adopted a range of creative methods for directly reaching the officials who have been ordered to persecute them, refuting the official narrative about Falun Gong and offering these public security agents a different course of action: to simply ignore the official orders.

‘I Have to Tell the Truth’

Li Guiqin, formerly a scientist at the Agricultural Science Institute of Heilongjiang Province, started to perform the slow-moving exercises of Falun Gong in the spring of 1995. She says she was cured of chronic gastritis and enteritis, which gave her frequent diarrhea.

By 1999, an official survey estimated that upwards of 70 million people were practicing Falun Gong—a number greater than the Chinese Communist Party’s membership at the time. Falun Gong sources say that in 1999, more than 100 million people were practicing.

Finding Falun Gong’s popularity unacceptable, the leader of the Party at the time, Jiang Zemin, demanded that the practice be wiped out.

Besides brutalizing practitioners, the regime launched a nationwide campaign of propaganda, marginalization, and incitement to hatred. Officials organized study sessions in work units and schools, forcing all employees and students to denounce the practice. State-run media manufactured stories of violence, insanity, and suicide, including the staged self-immolation incident of 2001.

Li Guiqin was detained three times, and in October 2002, she was was sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp for reeducation. In one incident, she had three of her front teeth knocked out as she was beaten unconscious by a frenzied guard.

Li’s response to all this is straightforward. “They make us tell lies and say what they want rather than how things actually are. But I have to tell the truth,” she said.

Falun Gong Calling

Across the country, dedicated volunteers like Li have been using both low- and high-tech methods to undercut the political campaign against Falun Gong. Grassroots initiatives like putting up posters and depositing fliers in bicycle baskets are at one end of the spectrum, while creating software that will automatically dial hundreds of phone numbers in sequence, or send one text message after another, is at the other.

Shao Changyong, now living in exile in New York City, uses high-tech methods. Practitioners like Shao—who was an engineering student at a military university when he began the practice, and later became a software lecturer—often create the tools and techniques that older volunteers like Li Guiqin use.

Shao came into contact with Falun Gong in the summer of 1994. He said he was stunned by its moral tenets: truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. “It was like finding a spiritual home,” he said. “My entire outlook on life dramatically changed.”

After a two-year labor camp sentence ended in 2005, he jumped feet first into “telling the truth”—the effort to show Chinese people and officials that Falun Gong was not the nefarious, mysterious organization that the Party claimed, but merely a collection of individuals who found meaning in a powerful faith practice.

In 2013, he learned of the phone-calling initiative, which had germinated a decade before when Falun Gong practitioners began contacting individual Chinese citizens to share the truth about Falun Gong and the brutal persecution. In 2004, practitioners had broadened their message by encouraging citizens to reconsider their membership in the Party, via a movement  to “tuidang”—Chinese for “quit the party.”

Since the communist takeover in 1949, “there has been decade after decade of tragedy, revolutionary movement after revolutionary movement,” Shao said. “They have resulted in the unnatural deaths of 80 million Chinese.”

The tuidang movement calls on Chinese people to take a moral stance against the regime by renouncing (often with an alias) the Chinese Communist Party, the Communist Youth League, and the Young Pioneers, a communist organization that nearly all Chinese children are made to join in primary school.

(Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

(Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

To ramp up efforts, Falun Gong practitioners developed software to dial phones automatically with recorded messages. The software then allows listeners to leave a response and indicate, by pressing a few buttons, if they agreed to renounce their affiliation with the Party, using an alias.

For the summer of 2014, Shao fine-tuned this initiative to maximize its safety and effectiveness in Beijing, right under the nose of the communist leadership. He learned how to change the IMEI number identifying each phone, and determined which SIM cards were safest to purchase and how to buy them in bulk, as they had to be frequently discarded for safety.

He then shared the project with other practitioners in Beijing, including many elderly Chinese practitioners, who circled the city on public buses making calls that reached thousands of Chinese citizens every day.

Every night, Shao left home with 14 phones and turned them on when he was a distance away. He then biked around the city with the phones automatically dialing people with tidbits of censored news or entreaties to quit the Party. After three hours, Shao turned off all of his phones, removed the batteries, and returned home.

Seven hundred miles away, Li Guiqin, the retired scientist, started making phone calls in December 2013 after younger, tech-savvy practitioners in her region had worked out the particulars just as Shao Chaoyong had in Beijing. Besides having two phones automatically making calls, she also made direct calls while riding in the van around Harbin City.

After a few months, in August 2014, the practitioners decided to try calling Chinese public security officials to urge them to stop bolstering the Chinese communist regime in persecuting innocents.

Many Chinese officials hurled threats and abuse at Li, but she showed compassion, knowing the officials had also been deceived by the pervasive propaganda.

Haunted by the time they’d spent in labor camps and brainwashing centers, the practitioners soon stopped their direct calls.

But after several months, they attempted again, beseeching officials to quit the Party or to release arrested practitioners.

“We treated them like family,” Li said. Over time, even many Chinese authorities secretly agreed to quit the Party with aliases.

Turning the Tide

In China, the persecution continues. Between January and May of this year, at least 392 practitioners were sentenced to prison, according to Minghui, a clearinghouse for information on the persecution.

Despite the continued risk of imprisonment, torture, and even death, between 7 million and 10 million Chinese citizens continue to practice Falun Gong in mainland China, according to Freedom House, a U.S.-based human rights organization. Falun Gong sources suggest the figure is between 20 million and 40 million.

Through consistent, unwavering grassroots efforts to expose the communist regime, Falun Gong practitioners are turning the tide.

Over 278 million Chinese people have chosen to renounce their affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party and its related organizations.

More and more local procuratorates have rejected Falun Gong cases because of “insufficient evidence.” Between January and May, at least 53 practitioners were released without charge by authorities, according to Minghui.

Many officials who oversaw the persecution have been purged by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, including Zhou Yongkang, the former security czar, and Li Dongsheng, the former head of the 610 Office, a Gestapo-like organization that coordinates the persecution.

And since May 2015, nearly 210,000 criminal complaints have been filed against Jiang Zemin at the Chinese regime’s highest court and procuratorate by Falun Gong practitioners and others who oppose the genocide Jiang oversaw.

Shao Changyong and Li Guiqin eventually left China to escape the persecution, and both now reside in New York City.

Li stands outside major tourist sites like Rockefeller Center talking to Chinese tourists, showing them how Falun Gong is freely practiced in every country aside from their homeland.

Shao works full-time for the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on exactly what he had long been doing in China—exposing a brutal persecution campaign, one phone call at a time.

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Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution, now entering its 18th year, began on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution, now entering its 18th year, began on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—On July 16, hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners from the greater New York area gathered near the Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil to mark 18 years since the Chinese regime launched a brutal persecution campaign against their spiritual community.

The rally featured Falun Gong spokespeople, practitioners who had endured severe persecution in China, members of human rights NGOs, and seven Chinese citizens who had just quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations.

A mother and daughter join Falun Gong practitioners for a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

A mother and daughter join Falun Gong practitioners for a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

“We are here gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York to call on the international community to help end this persecution and expose this crime against humanity that’s been going on for 18 years,” said Erping Zhang, a Falun Gong spokesperson, in an interview.

Over the past 18 years, numerous Falun Gong practitioners have lost their homes, jobs, even their lives,” Zhang continued. “Worse still, there is the horrific crime of organ harvesting against these prisoners of conscience.” Principal researchers of forced organ harvesting in China estimate that the Chinese communist regime has killed large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs from 2000 to 2015 to fuel a lucrative transplant industry, according to a 2016 report.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was first introduced to the Chinese public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Inspired and uplifted by the practice’s moral principles and tranquil exercises, 70 to 100 million people in China had taken up the practice by 1999, according to state and practitioner estimates.

Among them was Li Dianqin, a native of Liaoning Province in northeastern China. Li was practically on her deathbed when she first learned of Falun Gong in 1995—she had a massive liver tumor and intestinal adhesions that caused constant, excruciating pain in her abdomen.  

Li Dianqin with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Li Dianqin with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

After practicing Falun Gong, however, Li slowly overcame not only her illness, which doctors deemed incurable, but also gained the mental strength to weather the Chinese regime’s persecution.

In March 2000, Li was detained at a brainwashing center in a Shenyang City mental hospital where she was bombarded day and night with hate propaganda against Falun Gong.

Three months later, Li was thrown into Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, a detention facility notorious for its horrific treatment of female Falun Gong practitioners. Masanjia guards were known for shocking women practitioners’ genitalia with electric batons, as well as for stripping practitioners naked and locking them up in the cells of male prisoners to be gang raped.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Li, now 66, came to the United States last July. At the rally in New York, however, Li and other Falun Gong practitioners continue to be targeted by the Chinese regime.

Around 50 Chinese people dressed in red shirts with pro-communist slogans and hats had gathered on the opposite side of the street from the Falun Gong rally. They shouted anti-Falun Gong slogans into loudspeakers and waved the Chinese regime’s red flags.

Collin Ding, a 17-year-old high schooler, said he attended the event to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs.

Collin Ding, with Falun Gong practitioners for a rally and a candlelight vigil n front of Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Ding said he was there to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Collin Ding, with Falun Gong practitioners for a rally and a candlelight vigil n front of Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Ding said he was there to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

“As Falun Dafa practitioners, we cultivate ourselves based on the standard of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance,” Ding said.

Ding said that Falun Gong’s principles help him to self-reflect and improve himself when faced with adversity rather than harbor resentment towards others.

“There will always be some people around you who are nice to you and some who are mean to you,” he said. “But even if people are mean to you, you should be genuine towards them.”

Cristina Oz, 32, learned of Falun Gong in late May of this year after coming across practitioners doing the slow-moving exercises in Madison Square Park in downtown Manhattan.

“It was like finally coming home after a long journey,” Oz said. “I’d been looking for this all my life.”

Cristina Oz with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Cristina Oz with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

And coming from Romania, formerly part of the Soviet Union, Oz was familiar with how communist regimes trample spiritual practices. “A lot of people were killed, a lot of people were persecuted” by the former communist regime in Romania, she said.

“That’s why I relate so much to China because I feel and understand it very well,” Oz said. “Communism destroys people’s origins, people’s values.”

The Chinese people must learn the truth of the Chinese regime and see through the communist propaganda, said Falun Gong practitioner Li Dianqin.

“It requires our realization” of the Chinese regime’s repressive tendencies, Li said. And when the world’s people come to the same realization, the “Chinese regime will thoroughly disintegrate,” she added.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

 

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The Tianlangxing, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence ship, passed through the Tsugaru Strait off the coast of Japan on July 2, and stayed off the Alaskan coast during the July 11th test of a U.S. missile defence system. (Courtesy Japanese Ministry of Defence)The Tianlangxing, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence ship, passed through the Tsugaru Strait off the coast of Japan on July 2, and stayed off the Alaskan coast during the July 11th test of a U.S. missile defence system. (Courtesy Japanese Ministry of Defence)

The Chinese spy ship that sailed international waters off the coast of Alaska during a recent missile defense test was a class that had never been seen before in Northern Command’s area-of-responsibility, a spokesperson said Friday.

It was the first Chinese military vessel in the area since 2015 when a Chinese “surface action group” transited through, said Michael Kucharek, a spokesperson for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command.

Kucharek would not speculate as to what the ship was doing in the area, but mentioned several times that it was in international waters where it had the right of free navigation.

A military source familiar with the incident told The Epoch Times it was the same ship as reported by the Diplomat on July 4th, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) vessel.

Chinese state-owned media, the English language China Daily, reported on the ship in January in an article based on a report from a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) news outlet. The report focused on a newly commissioned ship, the Kaiyangxing.

The ship that was present for the missile test was the Tianlangxing, which passed through the Tsugaru Strait off the coast of Japan on July 2, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

According to the PLA report cited by the China Daily, the PLA Navy now operates six electronic reconnaissance vessels. The report also gave specific information about the ships such as their capabilities and functions.

“Until now, the PLA Navy has never made public so many details about its intelligence collection ships,” said the report.

The newly launched Kaiyangxing was capable of conducting all-weather, round-the-clock reconnaissance on multiple and different targets,” the China Daily reported.

“The ship is so sophisticated that only a few countries, such as the United States and Russia, are capable of developing it,” it continued.

The China Daily quoted an unnamed source in the shipbuilding industry saying that the United States had 15 such ships.

The Tianlangxing arrived off the coast of Alaska shortly before the July 11 test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

A spokesperson for the Missile Defense Agency told The Epoch Times it was the fastest target the system has been tested against so far.

The ship stayed approximately 100 miles off the Alaskan coast.

The THAAD system is designed to protect against intermediate- and short-range ballistic missiles, like those North Korea has amassed and threatened to launch against Japan and South Korea.

China is North Korea’s closest ally and major trading partner, accounting for 75 percent of North Korea’s imports and exports.

China’s ruling Communist Party, which has a faction that is close to the North Korean regime, has denounced the THAAD system that is now partially deployed in South Korea.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on July 5, the day after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say could reach Alaska, representatives of China and Russia both called for the system to be dismantled.

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Sailors with the Chinese navy stand on the deck of a missile frigate in Manila on April 13, 2010. The Chinese regime is building a military base in Djibouti that will extend its military reach. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)Sailors with the Chinese navy stand on the deck of a missile frigate in Manila on April 13, 2010. The Chinese regime is building a military base in Djibouti that will extend its military reach. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s first overseas military base—located at a critical choke point for global trade looking to navigate the Suez Canal—could be a geopolitical game changer, but it has less impact in military terms.

Establishing the Djibouti base at the Horn of Africa signals the Chinese regime’s long-term strategic intentions, say experts. A Chinese Communist Party that once pledged to stay out of the affairs of other countries is now building military capacity far beyond its immediate border. 

But the change is less important to China’s military capability than to its ability to directly intervene in global shipping. Earlier this year, the regime convinced Panama—home to the world’s other great shipping pass—to cut ties with Taiwan and fully back China’s claim on the island nation, which the regime describes as a breakaway province. 

These moves follow a series of port deals that have given the regime the ability to ensure its critical shipping lanes. 

Until now, however, none of those facilities have been for direct military use.

Establishing the Djibouti base reverses a long-standing military policy, said Gabe Collins, a researcher and co-founder of China Signpost.

“If you look at basic foreign policymaking throughout the vast majority of the PRC’s history, overseas bases are major redlines they weren’t willing to cross, and they pretty clearly crossed that now,” he said. Collins co-authored a report on the base and its implications two years ago.

Territorial claims in the South China Sea. (VOA News)

Territorial claims in the South China Sea. (VOA News)

The change comes as the Chinese regime becomes increasingly bellicose in its expansive claim to a major swath of the South China Sea. The regime has also been vocal and threatening in its ongoing and multiple border disputes with India. Those disputes have reached an intensity not seen in decades.

Military reform

Personnel from China are now en route to build out the facility, carried on ships that are part of the regime’s rapidly modernizing military.

That military is being reformed to develop the capability to fight battles beyond its shores.

The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aims to, among other things, “improve its ability to fight short-duration, high-intensity regional conflicts at greater distances from the Chinese mainland,” reads the secretary of defense’s 2017 report to Congress on Chinese military developments.

While the regime is most intent on potential conflict in the South and East China seas, Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled concern in strategic rival India that the PLA is gaining another position that could threaten Indian interests.

Limited military value

Fortunately for India, the actual military strategic value of the base is limited, said Collins. While it may be useful to launch attacks against much weaker foes in the Middle East or North Africa with limited attack capabilities, it is as much of a liability as it is an asset in a conflict with a greater power.

“I suspect that base would become a high explosive sponge fairly quickly. It’s a targeter’s dream because it’s built a way outside of the town,” he said.

Using Djibouti as a base of operations to fight another great power would be like throwing stones from a house made of “very, very, very thin glass,” said Collins. The base wouldn’t last long, he said.

The base is more useful for power projection into regional conflicts, a refueling and resupply depot rather than a base of operations. The fact that the United States, France, and Japan have bases there reinforces the point. To date, China has used its commercial facility there for years in ongoing anti-piracy efforts and to evacuate 500 Chinese nationals from Yemen in 2015.

Those operations gave China the pretext to forward-deploy naval forces in the region. With its Djibouti foothold now being expanded for military use, the regime gains a base in a country that is relatively stable in a region rife with conflict. For an expansionist China looking to build geopolitical influence in Africa and with oil-rich Gulf states, it’s an important gain.

“If you have an amphibious ship with some armed helicopters on it, and you are dealing with insurgents in some countries in East Africa, or even Yemen or place like that, you just came to the table with a lot of currency and you can play all night long,” said Collins.

Even if India can have some confidence that the base has limited military value, the ability China gains to forward deploy its navy along a critical shipping lane has unsettling implications.  

Pax Sinica

The Chinese regime has been working to secure its presence at the world’s most important chokepoints for shipping oil: the Strait of Malacca, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, the Panama Canal, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Turkish Straits.

The Chinese reigme is working to gain influence at every major oil trade chokepoint. (Epoch Times)

The Chinese reigme is working to gain influence at every major oil trade chokepoint. (Epoch Times)

In doing so, the regime could play a major role securing or controlling world trade. That trade is now assured through the “Pax Americana,” a state of relative international peace overseen by the United States.

But a “Pax Sinica,” or “Chinese Peace,” could look very different, said Collins.

“One of the things you have to look at is the countries that are serving as security guarantor, you have to see what sort of mentality they bring to the table. Are they coming to this with a mercantilist mindset or much more with a globalist and trading oriented mindset,” asked Collin.

The United States has been an equal opportunity security provider, he said, basically indifferent to where oil was going, whether it be Europe or East Asia.

“We don’t discriminate at all in how we provide security based on the destination of the shipment and so I think that’s something that makes the Pax Americana unique,” he said.

While China’s intentions are unclear, its aggressive claims in the South China Sea and habit of using PLA hackers to steal commercial technology for China’s state-owned companies and high-priority industries are just two of many examples fueling allegations that the regime takes the mercantilist approach to trade.

At the moment, China can do little more than fly its flag in Djibouti, said Collins. It naval assets are limited to the few warships and support vessels that have made a passing presence there.

But that could change, and China could take a tactic it has used successfully in the South China Sea—using “coercive tactics, such as the use of law enforcement vessels and its maritime militia, to enforce maritime claims and advance its interests in ways that are calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict.”

From that perspective, even if the base has little value in an actual war, it could boost efforts to otherwise assert the interests of the Chinese regime.

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Protestors prepare to post postcards written and addressed to the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (pictured on cards) outside the General Post Office in Hong Kong on July 5, 2017. Liu, who was suffering from late-stage liver cancer, passed away on July 13, 2017. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)Protestors prepare to post postcards written and addressed to the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (pictured on cards) outside the General Post Office in Hong Kong on July 5, 2017. Liu, who was suffering from late-stage liver cancer, passed away on July 13, 2017. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died on July 13, according to the Chinese regime. 

The Shenyang Bureau of Justice said in a brief statement on its website that Liu, 61, had suffered multiple organ failure and efforts to save him had failed. Liu was being treated for late-stage liver cancer, and was not allowed to leave the country for treatment.

Liu was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition calling for political reforms in China.

He was recently moved from jail to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang to be treated.

Despite being given multiple forms of treatment, Liu’s illness had continued to worsen, the official statement added. 

Rights groups and Western governments had urged China to allow Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, to leave the country to be treated abroad, as Liu had said he wanted. 

But the Chinese regime had warned repeatedly against interference and said Liu was being treated by renowned Chinese cancer experts.

Beijing did allow two foreign doctors, from the United States and Germany, to visit Liu on July 8. The doctors later said they considered it was safe for him to be moved overseas.

The doctors said Liu and his family had requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the United States.

Reuters contributed to this article. 

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

This picture taken on May 14, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (3rd R) inspecting a ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)This picture taken on May 14, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (3rd R) inspecting a ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Prospects for an amicable resolution to the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile crisis faded on July 4, when Pyongyang launched its latest Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. Dictator Kim Jong Un called it an Independence Day “gift.”

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test last September, exploding a 20-to-30-kiloton bomb and sparking the saber-rattling that has characterized the last few months of Pyongyang’s interactions with the United States and countries throughout Northeast Asia.

Trump has expressed disappointment with Beijing’s role in the crisis, saying via social media that Xi and China had “tried” but failed to help with North Korea. Since the July 4 missile test, Washington has begun to move unilaterally on sanctioning Chinese banks and firms that it says have been helping funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly requested that China and its leader Xi Jinping assist with the effort to make North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program. However, China’s relationship with Pyongyang has been made ambiguous and fractured by different interests within the Chinese regime, a result of behind-the-scenes Communist Party factional intrigue.

Nevertheless, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs pose an immediate national security risk for China, which shares a border with the aggressive state. Meanwhile, the Kim regime’s continued existence—which hinges on Cold War-style brinksmanship and isolationist communist tyranny—does a disservice to both the Xi Jinping leadership, which is struggling to consolidate power internally, and a China attempting to present an image of peaceful rise.

Politics in the Party

In China, the ascent to power of Xi Jinping means that the Kim family’s links to the Chinese regime are growing distant. Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has purged hundreds of powerful cadres, among them key associates of an informal Communist Party clique centered around former Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Jiang headed the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002, and wielded power behind the scenes through 2012. Under Jiang, relations with North Korea were warm, even if the Chinese regime outwardly disapproved of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, which produced its first working weapon in 2006.

One of the legacies of the Jiang leadership is widespread human rights abuses and mass murder, particularly the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice ordered by the former leader in July 1999. Falun Gong adherents and those belonging to other repressed groups have been harvested for their organs and murdered on a nationwide scale.

For Jiang and his lieutenants involved in this gruesome business, holding onto power as long as possible is necessary to keep their atrocities under wraps and to avoid being held accountable for these crimes.

Today, Jiang associates are doing whatever they can to put the brakes on Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, including stirring up trouble for him on the North Korean issue. While many of Jiang’s allies have been purged, the faction’s influence still extends deep into Chinese state and business institutions.

Between 2003 and 2015, Jiang’s protégé Wang Jiarui was head of the Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, which conducts diplomacy with other revolutionary parties and North Korea in particular. Wang often accompanied Chinese leaders to North Korea.

Some of Jiang’s most powerful backers, including Politburo Standing Committee members Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, and Zhang Gaoli, all have a history of close ties with Pyongyang.

Last September, the purge of Jiang’s cohorts in the provincial leadership of Liaoning Province was quickly followed by the arrest and investigation of Ma Xiaohong, a businesswoman whose trading firm was singled out by U.S. authorities for supplying Pyongyang with materials blocked by U.N. sanctions for their use in nuclear weapons production. Ma’s firm was based in the city of Dandong, which borders North Korea.

Referring to the Ma Xiaohong scandal, U.S.-based political commentator Wen Zhao said the illicit trade had “gone far beyond the realm of normal commerce.”

“This is not something that the local authorities, or Ma Xiaohong herself, would dare to do,” Wen said.

According to China analyst Don Tse, “Jiang Zemin made use of the nuclear threat from North Korea to distract American attention from Chinese human rights violations, as well as resist political attack from factions within the Communist Party that don’t have the blood of innocents on their hands.”

A Faded Alliance

China under Xi has placed a variety of restrictions on Sino–North Korean trade, including banning coal imports, curtailing petroleum sales, and supporting U.N. sanctions.

This has evoked ire from Pyongyang. In early May, North Korean state media issued seldom-seen direct criticism, warning Beijing that it “should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s [North Korea’s] patience.”

Referring to China’s censuring of its nuclear program, the Pyongyang-controlled Korean Central News Agency condemned the “reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”

In response, China’s Communist Party-controlled Global Times declared that China was able to strike back “at any side that crosses the red line.”

Xi himself has expressed support for tougher action against North Korea, in line with official Chinese policy statements that support U.N. sanctions. Chinese regime-run media have also lauded his conversations and meetings with Trump as “fruitful” and as having made progress.  

At the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, Xi reiterated the demand for Korean denuclearization and said that he would order Chinese forces to take part in U.S.-led military exercises in the Pacific.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks after his tour of the Boeing assembly line in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 23, 2015. (Mark Ralston - Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks after his tour of the Boeing assembly line in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 23, 2015. (Mark Ralston – Pool/Getty Images)

“Let me just say that it’s an honor to have gotten to know you. We are developing and have developed a wonderful relationship,” Trump said to Xi after their second meeting on July 8 at the summit. “I appreciate the things that you have done in regard to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea.”

As the U.S. Navy positions aircraft carrier groups near the Korean Peninsula, there have been hints that China is making its own military preparations. In April, unconfirmed reports suggested that over 100,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army had been deployed to the Sino–North Korean border.

In June, an elite Chinese airborne division was reorganized for combined arms operations and part of it redeployed to Northeast China, hinting at Beijing’s planning for a scenario in which it must quickly secure the North Korean nuclear arsenal.

North Korea’s ‘Survival Diplomacy’

The Kim leadership, now in its third generation under 33-year-old Kim Jong Un, runs an inefficient, oppressive regime reminiscent of Maoist China or Stalinist Russia.

According to Andrei Lankov, a Russian scholar of North Korea’s society and regime, Pyongyang is forced to run what he calls “survival diplomacy” because it is in the “peculiar and unenviable position” of being “stuck with an outdated economic system that cannot generate growth.”

Unable to support itself on central planning, or to enact Chinese-style economic reform without risking total collapse and absorption by South Korea, Kim’s regime instead subsists on nuclear blackmail in hopes of scooping up international aid and other concessions, Lankov says.

Translated into recent events, this has meant ever more radical provocations from North Korea. In his six years of power, Kim Jong Un has test-launched dozens of ballistic missiles, compared to just 16 during the entire 17 years when his late father Kim Jong Il ruled the country.

Provocation is just one of the ways that North Korea disturbs the peace. Aside from normal cross-border trade with China, North Korea also has various means of illicit fundraising and resource procurement. Regime authorities have set up and encouraged a drug production and export industry. North Korean hackers carry out bank robbery. Pyongyang sends tens of thousands of laborers to work abroad in countries like China and Russia in slave-like conditions, receiving in return hundreds of millions, or possibly billions, of dollars. These activities sustain the regime’s ambitions.

Strategic Liability

Conventional analysis holds that China sees North Korea as a useful buffer state between itself and South Korea, a strong U.S. military ally.

But in a time when China no longer seeks Marxist revolution, North Korea only undermines its larger neighbor’s goals in the region.

According to Zang Shan, a veteran journalist of China affairs based in Hong Kong, “North Korea’s aggressive nuclear tests have brought great harm to China’s interests, far worse than the THAAD system deployment in South Korea. North Korea not only acquired nuclear weapons, but forced Japan to work with South Korea, enforcing their cooperation with the United States.”

Zang believes that a significant goal of Chinese foreign policy in Northeast Asia is to prevent an alliance between South Korea and Japan, something that a belligerent North Korea makes more rather than less likely.

Meanwhile, Zang wrote in an article published by the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times: “North Korea is just a chess piece that justifies the United States to have a military presence in the area. The threat from the nuclear weapons and missile program come second in its calculus.”

Russia, for its part, can use North Korea in its overarching strategy to confound and redirect U.S. and allied efforts—and lessen North Korea’s dependence on China in the process. New Russian technology may be behind the latest North Korean missile designs, wrote Tetsuro Kosaka of Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review in June.

Ri Jong Ho, a high-ranking North Korean official and defector, revealed in an interview with Voice of America last month that much of the Kim regime’s fuel needs are covered by Russian rather than Chinese oil, but that the ships traveling to North Korea are transported with forged documents showing destinations in China.

In an interview later adapted to an article and published on Duowei, top Chinese scholar of Korean affairs Jin Qingyi argued that an isolated North Korea was not only a political nuisance but was also in direct contradiction with China’s market economy.

“The only way to change it is to induce North Korea to reform and open up; there is no other way. If North Korea reforms and opens up, the entire region will thrive,” Jin said.

The northeastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, which are widely known as the economically depressed rustbelt of state-run heavy industry and resource extraction, would benefit from a reformed North Korea. Liaoning and Jilin border the country, and Heilongjiang is north of these two provinces.

“I think what the three northeastern provinces lack most is an open economy. The best way to have an open economy is to have a unified Korean Peninsula,” Jin said.

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A Chinese policeman asks not to take pictures outside Zhongnanhai which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China after the sacking of politician Bo Xilai from the countries powerful Politburo, in Beijing on April 11, 2012. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)A Chinese policeman asks not to take pictures outside Zhongnanhai which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China after the sacking of politician Bo Xilai from the countries powerful Politburo, in Beijing on April 11, 2012. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the Chinese regime’s constant fear that U.S. policy makers have long been plotting a U.S.-led “regime change” in China, a senior former official under the Obama administration said there was never any such plan nor even any discussion remotely associated with the idea. This revelation sheds further light on the paranoid nature of the Chinese regime, but likely also raises questions concerning the Obama administration’s commitment to promoting such U.S. principles such as democracy and freedom in the world’s largest authoritarian nation.

Evan Medeiros, who served six years from 2009 to 2015 in the Obama administration as a senior China specialist, attended a Thursday panel at the Center for Strategic & International Studies to discuss his thoughts on the latest U.S.-China Relations reports published by American and Chinese think tanks and scholars.

Medeiros said that the fear of a U.S.-orchestrated “regime change” has been one of the most defining features of the Chinese regime’s perceptions toward the United States for decades, and that such fear still dominates the Chinese regime’s thinking about U.S.-China relations even today. Speaking on the basis of his six years of experience steering U.S.-China policy for Obama’s White House, however, Medeiros attested that there was never any discussion among Obama and senior officials concerning the possibility of regime change in China.

According to Medeiros, there was “not a single conversation” in which neither President Obama, nor Vice President Biden, nor the national security advisor raised any issue concerning China’s political system and its potential threat to American national security. Behind the curtain, the Obama administration never contemplated let alone attempted a change to the authoritarian rule of the Chinese regime. “Not even once, not even remotely close,” said Medeiros.

President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on June 7, 2013. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on June 7, 2013. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Evan Medeiros was regarded by many as being among the most pro-China policymakers in the White House during the Obama administration. According to Bill Gertz, a conservative critic of the Obama administration’s China policy, Evan Medeiros had written in academic writings before his White House posting that the Chinese military posed little or no threat to the interests of the United States, and that Beijing’s policies are generally benign.

Medeiros’s remark on Thursday likely provides additional evidence to support the long-held criticism among conservatives and many rights activists that the Obama administration did not do enough to influence the Chinese regime nor to assert fundamental U.S. principles such as democracy and freedom.

The Obama administration’s belief that China’s authoritarian regime poses no threat to American national security has been hotly contested by many others. Peter Navarro, a former professor in economics who now serves as President Trump’s director of the National Trade Council is known for his view that China’s Communist Party regime and its expansionist foreign policies pose direct threats to U.S. national interests and national security.

Although the Obama administration showed no interest in changing China’s political system, Evan Medeiros insisted that it still paid attention to “questions and concerns about human rights in China, [the regime’s] crackdown on political freedom.”

Just last week, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) held a public hearing on China’s human rights abuses, in which Congressman Chris Smith, who is also the chairman of the CECC, criticized the Obama administration’s lack of effort in promoting human rights issues in China and slammed Obama’s China policy as “eight years of retreat.” The Congressionally-mandated CECC had been “pleading” with the Obama administration to take firm action on China’s human rights abuses to no avail, said Chris Smith.

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Wang Yu, the lawyer of late Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli, poses during an interview in Hong Kong on March 20, 2014. The 52-year-old Cao, who died in police detention on March 14, 2014 in Beijing, was said to have dark marks all over her body, her lawyer disclosed, citing Cao's relatives. Cao was set to travel to Switzerland to take part in a UN Human Rights Council review last September but police detained her at Beijing's international airport, her lawyer Wang Yu told AFP on March 14. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)Wang Yu, the lawyer of late Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli, poses during an interview in Hong Kong on March 20, 2014. The 52-year-old Cao, who died in police detention on March 14, 2014 in Beijing, was said to have dark marks all over her body, her lawyer disclosed, citing Cao's relatives. Cao was set to travel to Switzerland to take part in a UN Human Rights Council review last September but police detained her at Beijing's international airport, her lawyer Wang Yu told AFP on March 14. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing-based human rights lawyer Wang Yu was released on bail last August, but she continues to languish under house arrest at her parents’ home in Ulanhot, Inner Mongolia.

Over ten internal security agents monitor Wang and her family around the clock, restricting their communication with the outside world and barring them from returning to their home in Beijing, according to Chinese human rights lawyer Wen Donghai, who recently visited Wang on June 23.

“Their every move is being watched, and at least two security agents follow them whenever they leave home. There are surveillance cameras everywhere in the house, even in their bedroom,” Wen told Radio Free Asia. “Indeed, surveillance of Wang Yu is at an intolerable level.”

Wang, 46, was among the first human rights lawyers to be arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers and activists in 2015. The Chinese authorities have questioned or detained over 300 lawyers, activists, and legal personnel, including Wang and her activist husband, Bao Longjun.

Wang was one of China’s leading rights defenders, having championed dissidents and prisoners of conscience. She advocated for the Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti, the activist Cao Shunli, as well as several practitioners of Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin marked for brutal persecution in 1999.

The Chinese regime reacted to Wang’s best legal efforts by slandering her reputation and squashing her defense of China’s downtrodden.

In July 2015, a week prior to her arrest, Wang was dragged out of a court in Hebei Province and “tossed out like a bag onto the street,” for trying to attend the cross-examination of a Falun Gong practitioner, according to an eyewitness.  

After months of being held incommunicado, Wang was officially charged in Jan 2016 with “subversion of state power,” a major offense often levied upon human rights defenders.

Prior to Wang’s supposed release on bail in August 2016, she gave a confession—likely coerced—that was aired widely on state media. In the footage, Wang said she wouldn’t accept a human rights award from a United States professional organization, denounced her colleagues, and suggested “foreign forces” had used her firm to smear the Chinese regime.

Wang and her family remained under constant surveillance after her release. In a statement published on human rights blog Weiquan.net, Bao Longjun, Wang’s husband, said that his family was accompanied by internal security agents during the entire duration of their trip to Tianjin to visit family on June 25.

After the Wangs returned to Inner Mongolia on June 30, they realized that their travel bags had been searched by the security agents at some point in their travels. Some of their personal belongings in the bags has also gone missing, Bao said.

Bao had demanded that the security agents produce paperwork justifying the surveillance of his family, but received no response. The agents also refused to explain why the Wang family was kept under house arrest in Inner Mongolia, and not allowed to return to their home in Beijing.

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**

Terms commonly used during the Cold War have again emerged amid allegations that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. These words and phrases, which were all but forgotten in recent history, include “active measures,” “agents of influence,” and “disinformation,” and they are tied to campaigns meant to alter public perception and influence political decision-making.

While it has been a struggle to prove that Russia’s alleged campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election had any effect, these strategies of influence are in fact being used heavily against the United States—only now, most are carried out not by Russia, but by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

All of these systems fall under an umbrella strategy known as “political warfare,” and the Chinese regime has at least an entire military branch and two political branches, as well as large-scale systems for information control, to carry out its aims on a massive scale.

“We haven’t even begun to coordinate ourselves to take on this challenge,” said Richard Fisher, senior fellow on Asian military affairs with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“Any political activity undertaken by a dictatorship that, at its core, is devoted to the destruction of freedom, warrants the broad attention of Western security organs,” he said.

Political warfare is a unique system of fighting that targets many things we would not normally think of as military targets, using systems most of us would not regard as weapons.

“Political warfare seeks to influence emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to one’s own political-military objectives,” states a 2013 report on the CCP’s political warfare operations from politics and security think tank Project 2049 Institute.

This form of warfare can include any number of methods that can alter public opinion or political policy. It can take the form of an agent of influence laughing and shaking hands in political or business circles; beautiful female spies being sent to date or marry foreign policymakers and thought leaders; financial deals allowing agents to exert influence over a targeted industry; or professors and think tank employees getting friendly invites to speak in China, where they are wooed into thinking the world is wrong about the CCP.

Even civilian populations are targeted. Campaigns include paying for CCP propaganda to run in foreign news outlets, such as the “China Watch” inserts published by American newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Through these means, the CCP’s political warfare systems aim to alter foreign views on its policies, lay down new interpretations of its authoritarian rule, or influence foreign policy to advance its interests.

“In an orchestrated campaign of good cop/bad cop, Chinese officials have gone directly to U.S. public opinion, trying to appeal to sentimental feelings of cooperation and partnership while literally threatening war,” states the Project 2049 report, quoting a report from J. Michael Waller of the Institute of World Politics.

“The operation is aimed at five levels: the American public at large, journalists who influence the public and decision-makers, business elites, Congress, and the president and his inner circle,” it states.

An Unseen War

The CCP has several departments heavily focused on political warfare. These include its military’s General Political Department, as well as its Propaganda Department, United Front Department, and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

According to Fisher, however, its operations are not limited to just these departments, and “there could be extensive overlap between them—this is not uncommon in Chinese active measure endeavors.”

“In China, intelligence is stratified,” Fisher said. The regime’s intelligence departments at nearly any level, in any city, “can be approved to run independent and international operations.”

He also noted that there is a formlessness to political warfare operations—the focus is the goal, not the method.

“In no given order of priority, they could include compromising a political target, enlisting a political target, and defaming, damaging the reputation of a political target. It could also include short-term or sophisticated long-term propaganda, or directed information campaigns,” he said, adding that among many other things, political warfare includes altering information or manufacturing false information.

Political warfare has different names under different regimes. The Chinese regime’s lexicon refers to it as “liaison work,” according to Project 2049, while the Soviet Union referred to it as “active measures.”

It also overlaps with many other forms of unconventional warfare. Among its main components is psychological warfare, used to impact an opponent’s will to fight, or to change its interpretation of events. An example would be Soviet propaganda that fed popular opinion in the United States with the aim of ending the Vietnam War.

Psychological warfare under the CCP’s military “is the employment of psychology, through such means as propaganda, to sap the will of an opponent’s military and civilian populace, as well as to counter an opponent’s effort to do the same,” states Dean Cheng, in a 2012 report in Special Warfare, the U.S. Army special operations bulletin.

Under the CCP, these same strategies are employed directly in its military strategy. The communist regime’s “Three Warfares” concept uses psychological warfare, media warfare (to spread propaganda), and legal warfare (to manipulate legal systems), according to a 2015 report from U.S. Special Operations Command.

It notes that under the CCP, “media warfare seeks to influence domestic and international public opinion to build support for military actions and dissuade adversaries from actions contrary to China’s interests,” while legal warfare “uses international and domestic law to claim the legal high ground or assert Chinese interests.”

Subversive Movements

The goals of the CCP’s political warfare operations, and its agents of choice, need to be examined in context.

Carrying out visible, “overt,” and technically legal intelligence operations requires the use of foreign agents of influence, who are typically recruited from the diaspora of the regime’s citizens living abroad or from devotees to the regime’s ideology.

The main culprit of political warfare used to be Russia under the Soviet Union. Its main tools for these operations were its ideological supporters in foreign societies—journalists, professors, and activist community organizers, for example.

It recruited these often unofficial “agents of influence” through ideological subversion, converting them into believers of its communist doctrine. Fisher said that “by and large, the Soviet ground force was ideologically inclined,” since the Soviets did not have major ethnic communities around the globe they could call upon.

This differs from Russian political warfare operations today, which are comparatively limited in scope. Its supporters are typically region-locked, in Eastern European states, and only among the ethnic Russian communities.

Most of its political warfare operations further abroad, such as in the United States, are carried out by smaller numbers of more official spies, and through electronic means—such as online state media, social media posts, and cyberattacks.

The CCP, however, maintains agents from both its ethnic diaspora and supporters of its ideology, in levels close to those the Soviets had during the Cold War. The key difference, according to Fisher, is what they’re aiming to accomplish and what steps they’re taking to achieve their goals.

According to a 2013 report from the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States used to run and counter such operations, but “the U.S. government has gotten out of the habit of waging political warfare since the end of the Cold War.”

The Long-Term Objective

The CCP’s political warfare systems are still under the influence of a faction led by former CCP leader Jiang Zemin, who officially ruled the Party from 1989 to 2002. Jiang’s faction still has sway over several key regime organs—such as propaganda and security—and has put the current leader, Xi Jinping, in a life and death struggle.

The objectives of Jiang’s system differ in several ways from past political warfare systems. The Soviet Union’s political warfare operations, for example, were aimed more directly at destabilizing foreign societies in order to foment communist revolution, and thereby export its political and ideological model.

The CCP’s political warfare goals, however, aren’t as simple, and according to Fisher, they appear to be playing out in two stages.

The first stage, he said, is to grow the CCP’s political and economic power globally, and to “promote the notion and to convince most of the world of the inevitability of China’s rise.” The communist regime will continue this stage, he said, until it is able to displace the United States as the “central political and strategic authority around the globe.”

If it can achieve that goal, it will move to the second phase of exporting its authoritarian “China model” of governance. Fisher said at this stage, its operations “would be much closer to the Soviet method of ‘active measures,’ which would mean going out and defending the China model—attacking and defeating all opposition to China’s position.”

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/joshua-philipp/" rel="author">Joshua Philipp</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
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Mr Chen Yonglin, former Chinese diplomat who defected to Australia in 2005, speaking at the Sydney rally. (Shar Adams/The Epoch Times)Mr Chen Yonglin, former Chinese diplomat who defected to Australia in 2005, speaking at the Sydney rally. (Shar Adams/The Epoch Times)

Australian news outlets ran a series of reports in June exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) infiltration of Australia’s political system. The joint investigation by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Fairfax Media found that Chinese businessmen with ties to Beijing had in the past decade donated millions of dollars to the major political parties in an attempt to sway national policy and even sabotage Australian national interests.

The Chinese communist regime further extended its influence abroad by manipulating local Chinese communities, suppressing Australian-based Chinese dissidents, co-opting Chinese student associations, and controlling Chinese-language media, according to the investigation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has since launched a major inquiry into Australia’s espionage and foreign interference laws, according to the ABC.

The topic of CCP infiltration is one that former Chinese consular official Chen Yonglin is very familiar with. Disillusioned with the CCP, Chen defected to Australia in 2005 and proceeded to expose the CCP’s subversive actions, an episode that The Epoch Times covered extensively.  

In a recent interview with this newspaper, Chen expounded on the latest CCP operations that were uncovered by the Australian media.

Buying Political Influence

Chen Yonglin said that the CCP plans to “infiltrate Australia from all directions so that Australia would eventually cooperate strategically with the CCP,” and veer away from its alliance with the United States. The CCP has employed similar tactics in other countries, “but with Australia, the CCP has managed to achieve significant results,” he added.

The recent Australian media investigation illustrates Chen’s point.

In 2015, Australia’s domestic spy chief, Duncan Lewis, warned the nation’s political parties that some of their major donors—including wealthy property developers Chau Chak Wing and Huang Xiangmo—were closely tied to Beijing, according to ABC.

Chau (also known as Zhou Zerong), a Chinese-born Australian citizen, donated over $1 million  (AU$1.35 million) to Australia’s political parties through his investment companies between 2013 and 2014. Chau happens to be a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Chinese regime’s top political advisory body.

Sheri Yan, a well-connected Chinese-Australian socialite and the wife of a former high-ranking Australian intelligence official, used $200,000 of Chau’s money to bribe the former UN General Assembly president John Ashe in November 2013. Yan pleaded guilty to bribery charges in Jan. 2016 and is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence in the U.S.

Huang Xiangmo, the other wealthy Chinese donor included in Lewis’ brief to Australian party leaders, had contributed over $400,000 (AU$525,000) in political donations to the Liberal Party and the Labor Party between 2014 and 2015.

Huang and his associates had also donated $37,900 (AU$50,000) to the campaign financing vehicle of then-Trade Minister Andrew Robb on the same day the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was finalized in 2014, according to disclosures from the Australian Electoral Commission.

In 2016, Huang pledged $303,160 (AU$400,000) to the Labor Party, but backed out in June after the Labor defense spokesman criticized Chinese policy in the South China Sea. The next day, Labor Party Senator Sam Dastyari appeared in a media event with Huang and said that Australia should not interfere with China’s activities in the South China Sea.

“[Dastyari] openly advocated for the CCP and contradicted the foreign policy of his own party, damaging Australia’s national interests,” Chen the former Chinese diplomat said.

Huang and another Chinese donor were later revealed to have paid for some of Senator Dastyari’s expenses in the past, including a travel expense and a $3,788 (AU$5,000) legal bill in 2014. Dastyari later resigned from his position on Australia’s shadow cabinet.

The impact of CCP bribery “can be seen with a large number of decision-makers in the Australian government, so the infiltration is quite serious,” Chen said. “Aside from political contributions, a larger amount was actually being handled out as secret bribes,” including lavish tours around China, Chen added.

The CCP “bring those guys to China for a first-class tour and treat them like emperors,” Chen says. “With such temptations, many Australian officials and even some journalists change their attitude drastically after they return, and start to support Chinese policies.”

According to Chen, when the son of Henry Tsang, a former member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, wanted to study abroad in China, the Chinese consulate covered all his tuition and living expenses.  

Controlling Strategic Infrastructure and Resources

Chen Yonglin said: “As early as August 2004, the CCP decided that among the countries in China’s periphery, Australia would be a major target for strategic deployment.”

He elaborated: “The CCP’s main consideration, for one, was that resources and energy in Australia would be key to ensuring the CCP’s economic expansion in the next two decades. And the other consideration was that Australia would be a stable supply base.”

For instance, in 2015, Landbridge Group, the company helmed by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng, paid over $383 million (AU$506 million) for a 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin.

“What was strange was that the Australian federal government and Department of Defence both consented to leasing Darwin Port,” Chen said. “The Australian public was in an uproar when the media reported on it. The public felt that Australia’s most important national security asset had been forfeited.”

Additionally, former Trade Minister Andrew Robb started working as a financial consultant at Landbridge Group right after retiring from the Australian Parliament, and commanded an annual salary of $666,000 (AU$880,000), according to the ABC.

As for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Chen said that while Australia did gain in terms of trade, “Australia made considerable compromises in national security and sovereignty.”

“First, a Chinese company took over Darwin Port for 99 years. Second, China was free to invest substantially in strategic industries as well as agriculture and livestock farming. Third, it pushed forward the ratification of a bilateral extradition treaty, despite concerns over the differences between the two nations’ judicial systems,” Chen said.

The extradition treaty with Beijing was rejected in May this year because lawmakers objected to China’s inadequate protections of human rights and rule of law. “The dissenting voices were so overwhelming that Prime Minister Turnbull had to revoke that treaty proposal,” Chen said.

The Chinese regime continues to target Australia’s resources, Chen added. Chinese state-owned firms, the CCP elite, and CCP-affiliated Chinese businessmen have made extensive investments in Australia’s agriculture and mining sector.

Chinese buyers have also dominated real estate investment in Australia, and have driven up Australian housing prices in the process, Chen said.

Manipulating Overseas Chinese

The CCP has for many years maintained a vast intelligence network in Australia, according to Chen Yonglin, the former Chinese diplomat. This network has been tapped for intelligence gathering, as well as commercial and military espionage.

“China has about 300 to 500 professional spies in Australia,” Chen said. “There are also another 500 to 700 steady, part-time CCP agents or temporary informers. These agents are scattered in various organizations, industries, and even in Australian government departments.”

By infiltrating overseas Chinese communities and organizations, the Chinese regime aims to bring them all in line to form an overarching “united front” that is aligned with the CCP’s interests. Two CCP organs, the United Front Department and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, spearhead the Chinese regime’s efforts to control ethnic Chinese living abroad.

An opaque organization, the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, ensures overseas Chinese toe the Party line, according to Chen. The Council is headed by the Chinese political donor and businessman Huang Xiangmo.

“Former Australian prime ministers were all recruited by the ‘Reunification’ council to be their advisors,” Chen said. “It was revealed that former U.S. President Clinton accepted $300,000 from the organization to deliver a speech.”

The Chinese regime also recruits informers from within the Chinese community to keep a close eye on ethnic Chinese dissidents and activists in Australia.

Tony Chang, a pro-democracy activist and university student in Australia, had suspected for months that he was being monitored, according to Australian investigative documentary television program Four Corners. Chang’s fears were confirmed when a family member called and said his parents in China had been harassed by state security agents because of their son’s activities, Chang told Four Corners.

Chen Yonglin said that the Chinese consulates mobilize Chinese students through Chinese students associations.

For instance, when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Australia in March, thousands of Chinese students were on hand to welcome him in Canberra. Lupin Liu, President of the Canberra University Students and Scholars Association, told Four Corners that the Chinese embassy sponsored the rally by providing transportation, flags, food, and legal aid.

Chen said that the CCP has managed to muddy Australian politics with its funneling of large sums of money to local politicians. Australian democracy, Chen added, is being slowly eroded by the CCP’s cash.  

 

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends an inauguration ceremony in Hong Kong, China on July 1, 2017. (Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends an inauguration ceremony in Hong Kong, China on July 1, 2017. (Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Official speeches by Chinese officials are sleep-inducing stuff—until you get past the obligatory Communist Party rhetorical verbiage and sift out the new content.  

At first glance, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s final speech at the end of his three-day Hong Kong visit, marking the 20th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to mainland China, bodes ill for Hongkongers—especially in light of inflammatory comments made a day earlier by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang declared that the 1984 Sino–British handover treaty was merely a “historical document” that “no longer has any realistic meaning,” which elicited responses from the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States.

On July 1, the anniversary of the handover, Xi said that “any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government” or to “use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage against the mainland” would “cross the red line and is absolutely impermissible.”

He added that “making everything political or deliberately creating differences and provoking confrontation” is no way to solve problems and “can only severely hinder Hong Kong’s economic and social development.”  

Xi’s talk of needing to go tough on “infiltration and sabotage” recalls the Chinese regime’s efforts to get Hong Kong lawmakers to enact Article 23, anti-subversion legislation that observers argued would target free speech and groups being targeted by the communist regime for suppression. Over half a million Hongkongers protested a 2003 proposal to pass the controversial bill, and the city’s residents have held out ever since.  

New Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam might decide to try to push through Article 23, but exactly whom Xi is really addressing in his speech is open to interpretation.

Hong Kong's chief executive-elect Carrie Lam in Hong Kong on March 27, a day after Lam won the Hong Kong chief executive election. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Hong Kong’s chief executive-elect Carrie Lam in Hong Kong on March 27, a day after Lam won the Hong Kong chief executive election. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Xi could be targeting the youthful pro-democracy activists of the 2014 Umbrella protests, or the fringe “Hong Kong independence” movement, which advocates independence for the city-state. Yet Xi could also be targeting the Chinese and Hong Kong officials and businessmen who are part of a rival political faction helmed by former Communist Party don Jiang Zemin.

There is a case to be made that Xi is singling out Jiang’s faction rather than the passionate youngsters or veteran pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

The Jiang faction’s various attempts by t over the past five years to fracture Hong Kong society in the hopes of creating crises to embarrass the Xi leadership have been well documented.

The 2014 Umbrella protests, for instance, became a mass movement overnight after the police, under ex-Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying‘s oversight, fired 87 cans of tear gas into a crowd of protesters. Leung also magnified pro-independence elements in Hong Kong—probably knowing full well that the Chinese Liaison Office and the Chinese state press would follow up with anger—even though most Hongkongers aren’t in favor of a sovereign Hong Kong.  

The Jiang faction appears to have made an even more blatant attempt to trip up Xi when he was in Hong Kong.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has been under the thumb of Jiang’s faction since the 1990s, and it remains one of several parts of the state that Xi does not appear to have full control over. The ministry’s unreasonable statement about the 1984 handover treaty seems construed to make Xi look duplicitous to Hongkongers. The treaty guarantees the freedoms Hongkongers enjoy, and declaring the treaty void would be akin to enacting Article 23 by imperial edict.  

Considering everything Xi said in Hong Kong, however, it seems he wants to build rapport with Hongkongers, not increase repression.

“Hong Kong has always tugged at my heartstrings,” Xi said after arriving at Hong Kong airport on June 29. He added that his leadership is willing to work with “different sectors of Hong Kong society” to build a “far-reaching future.”

In other speeches, Xi has tried his hand at Cantonese, the Chinese dialect spoken in Hong Kong that Hongkongers strongly feel is part of their native identity. He has also cited a popular Cantopop tune from the 1980s and used a local saying. Peng Liyuan, Xi’s wife, used Cantonese phrases when engaging with the elderly at a nursing home.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

From left to right, Dr. Teng Biao, Chinese human rights lawyer, Xia Chongyu, son of the imprisoned Chinese human rights lawyer Xia Lin, Xiaorong Li, an independent scholar. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)From left to right, Dr. Teng Biao, Chinese human rights lawyer, Xia Chongyu, son of the imprisoned Chinese human rights lawyer Xia Lin, Xiaorong Li, an independent scholar. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Amidst reports of the Chinese regime’s continuing persecution of its political dissidents and rights advocates, witnesses before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) slammed the communist regime’s human rights abuses in a a public hearing on June 28. To help curb the regime’s gross mistreatments of dissidents, the U.S. government must confront China firmly and publicly since the regime has “very thin skin,” according to one expert witness who testified.

Speaking of the attempts by U.S. Congress to seek redress for the persecuted dissidents in China, CECC co-chairman Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) said that he had heard too many reports of the “horrifying and sadistic accounts of torture and enforced disappearances experienced by [Chinese] lawyers and rights advocates.”

Xia Chongyu, son of the imprisoned Chinese human rights lawyer Xia Lin testified at Wednesday’s hearing that due to his campaign for his father’s case, Chinese regime agents had threatened his family and friends back in China. Currently living in the United States and enrolled as a student at Liberty University, Xia Chongyu has gathered more than 90,000 signatures petitioning for his father’s release.

CECC co-chairman Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked the panel witnesses whether it would be a good idea at all for the U.S. government to voice some of the human rights concerns more privately and discreetly to its Beijing counterpart, in the hope that the dissidents might receive better treatment or be released early.

Senator Marco Rubio, the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) speaks on Wednesday's hearing on China's human rights. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

Senator Marco Rubio, the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) speaks on Wednesday’s hearing on China’s human rights. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

Terence Halliday, co-director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation opined that based on his experience working with many rights activists in China, “there is absolutely no doubt that Chinese regime must be spoken to publicly and the Chinese government must be publicly shamed.”

According to Halliday, whenever there is an international call for the release or news about a particular jailed dissident in China, his or her treatment is noticeably improved. “The Chinese government has very thin skin,” said Halliday.

Teng Biao: Dr. Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer testifies on Wednesday's hearing held by Congressional-Executive Commission on China. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

Teng Biao: Dr. Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer testifies on Wednesday’s hearing held by Congressional-Executive Commission on China. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

The congressionally mandated CECC is noted for its vocal criticism of China’s human rights abuses, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, and Beijing’s strong-armed control of Hong Kong. In the past few years the CECC’s approaches were in sharp contrast to that of the Obama administration, whose State Department preferred low-key, discreet communications with the Chinese regime when it comes to issues related to human rights.

Congressman Chris Smith, the chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) speaks on Wednesday's hearing on China's human rights. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

Congressman Chris Smith, the chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) speaks on Wednesday’s hearing on China’s human rights. (Leo Shi/The Epoch Times)

The CECC and many rights activists on the other hand believe that the Chinese regime can only be held accountable for its human rights abuses by exposing its misdeeds to the world. “The Chinese government doesn’t want to lose face,” said Xiaorong Li, an independent scholar who testified on Wednesday.

Chris Smith said that U.S. leadership is more important than ever when it comes to human rights in China, as China’s growing economic power and persistent diplomatic efforts have succeeded in dampening global criticism of its escalating repression.

“We cannot, and will not forget those in China bravely seeking liberty and justice and the unalienable rights we all share,” said Chris Smith.

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WASHINGTON—The evidence of forced organ harvesting of large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners in China continues to mount.

Last year, two reports were published that broadened our picture of the scale and method of this atrocity. “Bloody Harvest/ The Slaughter—An Update” by investigators David Matas, David Kilgour, and Ethan Gutmann was released on June 22 in Washington, D.C. This report shows detailed evidence of the massive number of organ transplants taking place in Chinese hospitals. It analyzed hospital revenue, bed counts and utilization rates, surgical personnel and other data and reached the conclusion that China is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year, far exceeding the Chinese government’s claim of 10,000 per year.

The other report, “Summary Report of the Crime of Live Organ Harvesting in China,” by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), was published in August. It provides extensive evidence that the organ harvesting is orchestrated from the top levels of the Chinese government and is not a crime of just some rogue hospitals and unethical surgeons. The WOIPFG report claims that organ harvesting is a state sanctioned crime on a massive scale that is going on at this moment, with the aim to kill practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline, who will not renounce their faith.

Now comes WOIPFG’s second major documentary film, “Harvested Alive – Ten Years of Investigation,” which samples the key findings of their report from last year.

Hearing actual audio of high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, surgeons and hospital personnel speak nonchalantly of their role in the forced organ harvesting of innocent prisoners of conscience provides a horrifying perception that the printed page of the WOIPFG report cannot come close in emotional impact. 

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary,

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary, “Harvested Alive, 10 Years of Investigation,” answers questions after the English premiere of the documentary, June 23, at a Congressional building in Washington, D.C. To his right is Dr. Peng Tao, who is the co-producer of the awards-winning film. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

The film won the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards best director and foreign documentary feature for January 2017.

WOIPFG was founded on Jan. 20, 2003. Its stated mission is to investigate and expose the criminal conduct of individuals and organizations involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. Seeking hard data to make its case, WOIPFG investigated more than 865 hospitals and over 9500 surgeons in China.

The English language premiere of the film was held on Capitol Hill at the House of Representatives’ Rayburn Office Building, on June 23. Producer and director Li Jun, co-producer Dr. Peng Tao, and Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, who narrates the film, were present at the showing and answered questions from the audience. WOIPFG officials and Ethan Gutmann, one of the principle investigators of live organ harvesting in China, also spoke before the screening.

Shortly before the U.S. premiere, the film became available for viewing online. This film and the original Chinese language version were produced by Deerpark Productions, with the latter released in Nov. 2016.

Hospital Boiler Room ‘Cremations’

The host of the film is Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, whose words are translated. Dr. Wang spent 30 years as an aviation military doctor in China and then came to the U.S. in 1995 to conduct research in cardiovascular disease at Harvard School of Public Health. He was the founder of WOIPFG, and is its president. In the movie, he says that after practicing medicine and saving lives for 30 years, he never imagined he would devote the next 10 years investigating doctors taking the lives of innocent people.

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

In the film, Wang said his life changed forever on March 9, 2006, when he heard allegations of large-scale organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners while they were alive in the Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang. A woman using the alias “Annie” claimed her ex-husband, an eye surgeon driven by guilt, confessed to her that he had extracted corneas from more than 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. 

Wang, who was skeptical, said that he and his WOIPFG colleagues decided they must investigate further. They were looking for evidence, but the doctors and nurses at the Sujiatun hospital were no help. Then Wang called the hospital boiler room and learned that corpses were being burned there. From his own experience, he thought that was most unusual as deceased patients are normally moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang thought that [burning corpses in the hospital boiler room] was most unusual as normally the deceased patients are moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang found this matter disturbing and so based on it and the other allegations at Sujiatun, he and his WOIPFG colleagues began a preliminary investigation. WOIPFG investigators in 2006-2007 called 23 hospitals in China asking if there were liver organs available from Falun Gong practitioners. In the movie, we hear a recording on Mar. 6, 2006 of a doctor from Shanghai Fudan University, Zhongshan Hospital Transplant Center, reply, “All we have is of this type.”

High Level CCP Officials Know

WOIPFG investigators, posing as working out of other CCP offices, elicited several statements via telephone from high level officials, who unbeknownst to whom they were really talking to, acknowledged and confirmed their involvement in organ harvesting. Here are some examples from the documentary.

Tang Junie, Vice Chairman, Liaoning Province Political & Legal Affairs Commission, was asked about orders to take organs from Falun Gong practitioners for transplant surgeries. He said, “I was in charge of this. The [CCP] Central Committee was actually managing this issue, and it had widespread impact.” Tang also said the matter was discussed at Central Committee meetings.

Li Changchun, Politburo Standing Member, was asked about Bo Xilai, who, a week before, had come under investigation by the CCP Discipline Committee. When the caller (WOIPFG investigator) asked on April 17, 2012 about Bo’s involvement in the crime of harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, Li answered immediately, “Zhou Yongkang is in charge of this; he knows; go ask him.”

Zhou Yongkang was at the time a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most important decision making body in the Chinese regime. As domestic security czar, Zhou wielded enormous power in general, and specifically over the Falun Gong detainees in concentration camps. He was later sentenced in June 2015 to life imprisonment on corruption-related changes.

When active on the Standing Committee, Zhou was once asked by investigators about the more than 20 Falun Gong practitioners who had escaped a military post (i.e., concentration camp). He was not in denial or surprised, and said he would investigate himself, according to WOIPFG’s Director for Public Awareness Dr. Charles Lee, who spoke at the Capitol forum.

WOIPFG investigators played a careful ruse on serving Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli to get him to unwittingly acknowledge Jiang Zemin’s principle role in the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners. Jiang, the former CCP boss, launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, and coerced the other members of the Politburo to go along with his wishes.

WOIPFG knew when Zhang would be out of the country in Kazakhstan. After Zhang arrived and checked into the hotel, WOIPFG investigator called him, posing as “Secretary Liu,” who works at Jiang Zemin’s office. The investigator told Zhang that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had lodged criminal complaints against Jiang at the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for harvesting the organs of millions of Falun Gong practitioners, and that the subject will be brought up at the next Politburo meeting. In the recording, he asked Zhang if he could stop it from discussion and investigation. We hear Zhang’s voice reply, “Yes! Yes!”

The WOIPFG investigator repeats four times that Jiang had ordered the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners and that the responsibility was very serious. Without any reservation or disagreement, Zhang promised he would prevent the investigation and told the caller to tell Jiang not to worry. He ended the call wishing Jiang a long life and good health.

All phone recordings are tagged with receipts from the telephone companies with the time, duration and phone numbers called. The voices of the high-level officials in the recordings can be compared to their voices available online and elsewhere and verified by acoustic labs, states WOIPFG.

Altogether, WOIPFG holds the recordings as evidence that organ pillaging in China is a crime that is directed by the CCP and carried out by the military, state institutions, hospitals, and transplantation professionals.

The above is only a sampling of the recordings pertaining to high-level officials’ knowledge and influence in a massive state sanctioned crime in the murder of thousands of practitioners since 2000. There is more evidence in the documentary on other aspects of the crime.

Police Guard Comes Forward

One recorded interview is especially chilling and shocking. It was from the only actual witness of the gruesome surgery in the film. At a military hospital in Shenyang, an armed security guard from Liaoning Province witnessed the killing of practitioners for their organs in 2002.

What the security guard described was “too vividly horrible,” said WOIPFG president Wang Zhiyuan, and said he suffered from insomnia and depression after hearing the testimony. In 2009, the security guard’s conscience bothered him and so he contacted WOIPFG with which he had been in contact for over a month. The security guard recalled witnessing two military doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain (“sucked the brain pulp out”) from a still-living female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

He witnessed two doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain from a female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

“When the knife touched her chest, she shouted, ‘Falun Dafa hao,’” which means Falun Dafa is good. The heart was carved out first. She had been tortured with electric batons for a week, he said. Wang concluded that this was not normal surgery but instead was “a continuation of torturing of Falun Gong practitioners.”

Why Premiere at the U.S. Capital

Li Jun, the director and producer of “Harvested Alive,” said after the screening that they consciously chose the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Congress to hold the English premiere. Speaking through a translator he said, “It is very apparent that this crime [of pillaging organs from Falun Gong practitioners on a massive scale] is state-sanctioned by the CCP. We want the U.S. government as the world leader, to do something about it.”

Dr. Peng Tao, the co-producer of “Harvested Alive,” hopes the film will enable everyone to “understand the crimes the CCP has committed and we have to stop it.”

Dr. Wang expressed frustration that the world does not pay much attention to what is going on in China. “It’s a shame to the human race. That’s why I wanted to tell the U.S. government and the entire world, we should really work to stop this.”

If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.

— Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), letter, June 23, 2017

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission of China (CECC), wrote a letter to be read at the premiere screening of “Harvested Alive.” Observing that he held a hearing on this issue in 1998, Rep. Smith said that trafficking organs for profit has been happening in China for two decades and that the evidence in the documentary shows that not much has changed.

“If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.”

Rep. Smith continued, “We need a concerted effort to stop this barbaric practice—in China and globally.”

Dr. Wang said that in this month of June, a hospital in Jilin Province is giving away free liver transplants to 10 children. (He noted that on April 28, 2006, a hospital in Hunan Province, where the persecution of Falun Gong had been particularly severe, ran a promotion announcing 20 free liver or kidney transplants.) Wang said the hospital’s “give away” could only mean an abundance of organs and a very large pool of practitioners available to be harvested and killed.

In the U.S. which has a much more mature system of organ donation, the wait time for a liver organ is two to three years. In China, however, the wait time is one to two weeks.

When asked by The Epoch Times what is behind the free organs, Wang said, “I think [the CCP] very likely wants to eliminate all the Falun Gong practitioners who still remain in the concentration camps as soon as possible.”

Data Tipping Point

Ethan Gutmann said regarding the past year, 2016-2017, that the two reports alluded to at the beginning of this article were significant for the power of raw data and have brought on a “global tipping point” in the acceptance of live organ harvesting. Referring to the emergency liver transplants discussed in the film, he said, “There is a stable of people ready to be killed.” There is no question there is live organ harvesting going on, he said.

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of “The Slaughter (1914) and its 2016 updates, participates in a forum on forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. Event took place on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., June 23. (Leo Shi/ Epoch Times)

Gutmann, who is also the author of the 2014 book “The Slaughter,” noted that both reports had received rigorous scrutiny by researchers at the CECC. After devoting two months checking over the sources, the CECC researchers authenticated the documents, which Gutmann said was a testament to their validity.

Forced organ harvesting in China has gained widespread acceptance in the past year, Gutmann said. The human rights organizations Freedom House and Amnesty International report on it now, and even the New York Times, which had ignored the issue for over a decade, is now reporting on it, he added. 

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