Ms. Li never returned home after she left her aunt's house on a summer day in August 2003.
Seeking help from the police certainly wouldn't have helped: Ms. Li is a Falun Gong practitioner–a group of people persecuted for their beliefs by the Chinese Communist regime since 1999. In fact, she had just returned home a year ago after serving a two-year-sentence for petitioning the central government in Beijing to stop the violent persecution.
Fully aware of the regime's brutality, her family agonizes over her mysterious disappearance and worries about her safety and whereabouts.
When the horrendous practice of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners was brought to light in March 2006, Ms. Li's family was shocked and in great fear. Knowing that she underwent a comprehensive physical exam while detained in the labour camp, they kept wondering whether their loved one was murdered for her organs.
On the other side of the planet, in New York City, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Huang Wanqing worries for his brother Mr. Huang Xiong, who disappeared from his Shanghai apartment in April 2003.
“I'm really worried for him. I don't want to think about him being victimized by such a cruel crime of organ harvesting. But for years, despite help from the UN and the US government in searching for him, I still don't know where he is,” Mr. Huang said.
“The last time we talked over the phone, he told me that police were looking for him. I never heard from him again,” Mr. Huang recalled.
Prime Targets for Organ Harvesting
When Falun Gong practitioners are arrested, they often refuse to reveal their names to the police to protect their family from being implicated in the persecution.
As a result, they became healthy individuals without identities. In a country lacking an established organ donation system but with great demand for transplant organs, these “unidentified Falun Gong practitioners” became prime targets for organ harvesting.
When former Chinese president Jiang Zemin launched the persecution of Falun Gong, he vowed to “ruin their reputation, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.” Killing imprisoned practitioners for their organs falls in line with the third tenet of this policy.
434 Practitioners Missing
According to data collected by Minghui so far, 434 disappearances have been confirmed during the 15-year-long persecution.
Due to the Communist regime's tight control of information, this number is believed to be much smaller than the actual number of missing practitioners.
According to Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist and China expert, about 65,000 practitioners had been killed for their organs by 2008.
When the Chinese Communist Party announced that they would end organ harvesting from executed prisoners in December 2014, many see it as an attempt to pacify international criticism and cover up the atrocities.
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