Don’t we care about prisoners?
Accusations of illegal organ harvesting are again roiling Taiwanese politics, said Yang Pengsheng. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who is running for re-election, was in charge of caring for patients who visited China for organ transplants back when he was a surgeon at National Taiwan University Hospital. A 2014 book by U.S. human rights campaigner Ethan Gutmann alleged that Chinese doctors told Ko they used healthy organs taken from living prisoners—all of them members of the banned Falun Gong religious movement. Ko denied the allegations when they were raised during his previous mayoral campaign, but the accusations have now been resurrected by Gutmann’s Taiwanese publisher, which has taken out full-page ads in local newspapers detailing the alleged organ theft. What horrifies me is that this is front-page news in Taiwan only when it touches on our politics. The only facts we dispute in Gutmann’s book, The Slaughter, involve whether Taiwanese doctors were complicit, not whether China killed prisoners to take their organs. We as Taiwanese can’t remain silent about Chinese human rights crimes, or we will be as culpable as the Germans who failed to condemn the Nazi genocide. If we don’t stand up for Falun Gong today, will it be “Taiwan tomorrow”?