- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Chinese journalist has uncovered a secret detention center in northern China that is being used by a hospital to harvest human organs for sale to domestic and international buyers.

Jin Zhong, a pseudonym for the journalist who fled China recently, also said in an interview that a failed Chinese intelligence operation led to the 2004 death of a Japanese diplomat who committed suicide rather than give up secrets.

On the prisoner abuse, Mr. Jin said he first learned of the harvesting operation between October and December and that the prisoners used were members of the outlawed Falun Gong religious group.

“This is murder, and murder sponsored by a state,” said Mr. Jin, who in the past has been a contributor to a Japanese news agency. “It must be stopped.”

Mr. Jin said he came across the underground detention center while researching the Chinese government’s response to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

A Chinese official was the first person to reveal that secret medical work was being done at the Liaoning Provincial Thrombosis Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, in Sujiatun, a suburb of Shenyang, the major city in northeastern China, he said.

Mr. Jin then said he found out that a large underground prison was built beneath the hospital and that members of the outlawed Falun Gong religious group were being held there. As many as 6,000 people are thought to be held prisoner at the underground facility, he said.

The hospital is harvesting the organs of the prisoners, including kidneys, livers, and eye parts, he said. The organs are then sold to people, from both China and abroad, who need medical organ transplants.

One source for Mr. Jin was the wife of a hospital doctor who was involved in the organ harvesting. The doctor suffered psychological problems as a result of the gruesome medical work and disclosed the secret activity. The Chinese woman also has fled to the United States.

Several other hospital workers also revealed details about the prisoner organ harvesting.

Mr. Jin said he had to hide his true identity after being threatened by Chinese government agents. He was arrested twice for his reporting and recently fled to the United States, where he hopes to seek political asylum.

Mr. Jin said bodies of the prisoners were burned in the boiler room of the hospital and that boiler room workers had taken jewelry and watches from the dead and sold them. He said he has provided information about the organ harvesting to U.S. government officials, including members of Congress.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Regarding the Japanese diplomat, Mr. Jin said he first learned of the intelligence operation in December. Japan’s government protested the Chinese intelligence operation, which Beijing dismissed as a groundless accusation.