Ethan Gutmann, in the Weekly Standard, delivers a gruesome look at one of the world’s greatest atrocities occurring during the last two decades, China’s harvesting of organs from sometimes-still-living condemned prisoners.
In 1989, not long after Nijat Abdureyimu turned 20, he graduated from Xinjiang Police School and was assigned to a special police force, Regiment No. 1 of the Urumqi Public Security Bureau. As one of the first Uighurs in a Chinese unit that specialized in â€œsocial securityâ€â€”essentially squelching threats to the partyâ€”Nijat was employed as the good cop in Uighur interrogations, particularly the high-profile cases. I first met Nijatâ€”thin, depressed, and watchfulâ€”in a crowded refugee camp on the outskirts of Rome.
Nijat explained to me that he was well aware that his Chinese colleagues kept him under constant surveillance. But Nijat presented the image they liked: the little brother with the guileless smile. By 1994 he had penetrated all of the governmentâ€™s secret bastions: the detention center, its interrogation rooms, and the killing grounds. Along the way, he had witnessed his fair share of torture, executions, even a rape. So his curiosity was in the nature of professional interest when he questioned one of the Chinese cops who came back from an execution shaking his head. According to his colleague, it had been a normal procedureâ€”the unwanted bodies kicked into a trench, the useful corpses hoisted into the harvesting vans, but then he heard something coming from a van, like a man screaming.
â€œLike someone was still alive?â€ Nijat remembers asking. â€œWhat kind of screams?â€
â€œLike from hell.â€
Nijat shrugged. The regiment had more than enough sloppiness to go around.
A few months later, three death row prisoners were being transported from detention to execution. Nijat had become friendly with one in particular, a very young man. As Nijat walked alongside, the young man turned to Nijat with eyes like saucers: â€œWhy did you inject me?â€
Nijat hadnâ€™t injected him; the medical director had. But the director and some legal officials were watching the exchange, so Nijat lied smoothly: â€œItâ€™s so you wonâ€™t feel much pain when they shoot you.â€
The young man smiled faintly, and Nijat, sensing that he would never quite forget that look, waited until the execution was over to ask the medical director: â€œWhy did you inject him?â€
â€œNijat, if you can transfer to some other section, then go as soon as possible.â€
â€œWhat do you mean? Doctor, exactly what kind of medicine did you inject him with?â€
â€œNijat, do you have any beliefs?â€
â€œYes. Do you?â€
â€œIt was an anticoagulant, Nijat. And maybe we are all going to hell.â€
Read the whole thing.