Part - 02
In an exercise to explore bone of contentions between Chinese president Xi Jinping and People’s Liberation Army- PLA/ Communist Party leaders, we have seen how Jinping is taking sweeping actions against political and military heavyweights. In Part 01 we have analysed profiles of the bigwigs which are stripped off of their positions and prosecuted by Jinping in goring mode. Jinping's so-called anti-corruption drive tossed and trounced Communist leaders and military/ paramilitary commanders with surgical precision and lightning speed, establishing his full command over Chinese politico-military ruling structure. Latest causality of the drive is politburo member Sun Zhengcai, which was assumed as future Chinese President.
In this second part, we will look at once sprawling Military Medical Inc. in the form of illicit, brazen and inhuman organ transplant industry, Business Empire of People’s Liberation Army spread across all verticals and laterals on which Jinping cracked the whip annoying PLA commanders and depriving them of the huge unaccounted source of money, which they were minting since decades.
Xi Jinping’s Crackdown on Chinese Army’s Inhuman Organ Transplant Industry and Military Medical Empire
China’s powerful Central Military Commission, whose head is President Xi Jinping ordered PLA in April 2016 to hand of medical business to civilian authorities. Many health activists and workers were demanding the same since long back as PLA run hospitals were in a spot for their illicit organ trade. In 2012 Chinese magazine started publishing reports on organising organ transplant racket operated my military hospitals. It has opened the can of worms placing People’s Liberation Army in a spot. In a country like China where information dumped behind iron curtains, it was unbelievable to see series of disclosures blaming military hospitals in a direct manner. Everyone in China believed that it was Xi Jinping who managed these disclosures to create strong foundations for crackdown and dismantling of Military Medical Industry! With a single move, Jinping put himself in a grave risk of being toppled by PLA in a staged military coup, for his bold move to choke jugular vein of mighty PLA commanders which have enjoyed unchecked financial and operational powers from Communist leaders to buy their loyalty.
De-militarization of medical facilities in China has far reaching consequences on Communist- PLA relationship and the move has placed Xi Jinping in direct collision with PLA generals.
Organ Donors Stockpiling: All independent investigations conclusively zeroed into Chinese Military as the sole owner of organ donor supply industry in China. Military detained political prisoners and killed them on demand to extract their vital organs for transplant industry.
While investigating the persecution of spiritual sect Falun Gong under Communist Chinese regime, many activists from the USA and Europe called hospitals in China under the guise of the person in seeking organ replacement and transplant. While answering the calls, the agents and doctors in China responded them with a full guarantee of quality of the organ to be supplied. They even offered them to choose a donor from captivity and operate him/her for necessary organ.
The 301 Military Hospital: China’s military i.e. People’s Liberation Army- PLA had a chain of hospitals under its command. These hospitals were used to do organ transplant surgeries on wealthy local Chinese and foreigners willing to pay for organs transplants. Under normal circumstances, there was nothing objectionable in it. But in China, the donors for organ transplants were political prisoners, such as followers of banned religious sect Falun Gong, Uyghur Muslim separatists or Tibetans held in military or paramilitary prisons for political or freedom related activities. The 301 Military Base Hospital in Beijing was the frontrunner in this business. In 2015 retired chief surgeon and physician of 301 Hospital Jiang Yanyong told The Cable Television of Hong Kong that his hospital was deeply involved in organ harvesting business from prisoners. In a country like China, where every word spoken on public domain is being monitored and censored, the revelations made by Dr Jiang Yanyong stunned many within and outside China. Many China experts believed that Dr Jiang Yanyong’s shocking exposure on organ harvesting in Chinese military hospitals was carefully planned and blessed from higher ups within Chinese leadership and none other than Xi Jinping ordered this exposure to morally push back PLA leadership. Interestingly Dr Jiang Yanyong was earlier prosecuted and jailed in 2003 for his exposure on cover up of respiratory epidemic disease-SARS by China’s Military Hospitals, which broke out worldwide and not handled properly in China. Many familiar with China affairs feared same fate for whistleblower Dr Jiang for his shocking revelation on multibillion dollar organ transplant industry flourishing within Chinese Military Health ecosystem. Despite his scathing attack on PLA’s organ black market, nothing happened to him, as he had blessings of Chinese president!
The 309 Military Hospital: This is the most shocking story of organised organ harvesting by any military hospital in the world. 309 Military Hospital is in Beijing. The organ trade was so transparent in nature that the hospital website published on its website, that within five years its organ transplant revenue shot up from $4.6 million in 2006 to $35 million in 2010, phenomenal 7 fold growth, at the expense of organs snatched from political prisoners!
‘Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting’, a group dedicated to eradicating medical malpractices including organ black trade reached to the conclusion that jailed followers of banned religious group Falun Gong was on the top of organ donors list.
The group estimated (based on government disclosed data on organ transplants) that some 100,000 deaths or say murders of Falun Gong followers occurred only for organ trade.
A Hong Kong-based NGO, the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation estimated that the prominent surgeon attached to the 309 Military Hospital, Dr Shi Bingyi, conducted 380 liver transplants and 2,130 kidney transplants surgeries. As a part of military run organ transplant industry!
The 304 Military Hospital: This military hospital was specialised for treating Communist bigwigs in Beijing. This hospital was at the centre of controversy after a report published in the business magazine Caijing regarding Falun Gong detainees and Jiang Jemin campaign against Falun Gong. The reporter of magazine Xu Qianchuan interviewed urologists and surgeons from Hospital 304 and found the murky trade going on in the hospital in fully professional manner. The whole business started and flourished after Jemin’s campaign against Falun Gong.
In July 1999 President Jiang Zemin ordered a crackdown on followers of religious sect Falun Gong. At the same moment, organ harvesting from Falun Gong detainees started in full swing. 610 Office were established countrywide to execute Falun Gong eradication. Dr Torsten Trey of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting estimated that about 10,000 organ transplantation operations were conducted in China per year.
Investigative journalist Xu Qianchuan attached to business magazine Caijing accessed documents which convincingly proved linkages between agents engaged in selling kidneys and the courts and PLA military hospitals. Xu noted that tonnes of evidence and clues point the finger towards military hospital 304, the trial courts, and the 610 Offices earmarked for Falun Gong control are deeply involved in this well-oiled, illicit organ transplanting business.
The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong ( WOIPFG), the Falun Gong rights advocacy group in its own investigation found an extensive and disturbing network of organ trade of Chinese Military. Near about 865 hospitals, 9,500 physicians and surgeons were part of organ harvesting, belonging to 712 hospitals. They were engaged in liver and kidney transplantation. The network was spread across 22 Chinese provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities along with 217 cities. Military hospitals, para military and armed police force hospitals and vast category other medical facilities. More than 865 Chinese medical agencies were involved in organ harvesting business from living healthy Falun Gong followers.
But the backbone of whole organ transplant trade was Military Hospitals working under the direct command of PLA Commanders. The decisive, lethal blow to this most lucrative business by Xi Jinping placed him in loggerhead with PLA. In days to come the cold war or at some point of time open fight for supremacy cannot be ruled out.
PLA’s General Business Empire
Apart from traditional business verticals like agricultural and animal farms or mining raw materials, PLA had a nearly monopolistic business presence in high-value technology driven areas like telecommunication, transportation, space and satellites industry, consumer goods like bikes and television. The PLA had also enterprises in service sectors like discotheques, hotels, discotheques, shares and securities and real estate.
During peak commercial activities PLA had 20,000 registered business enterprises under its control with later settled at 15,000 in due course. Though President Jiang Zemin tried his best to snatch control of PLA held businesses in 1998, it didn’t work because his stature couldn’t enforce the order on the ground and a formidable alliance of PLA officers could ignore it easily.
The fundamental of Mao’s principle that Party is supreme was no more reality in China given the amount of cash and businesses in PLA’s hand. PLA commanders were so powerful with a gun in one hand and treasury keys in another that no party leader could dare to scrap PLA control and influence on Chinese business firms.
After Xi Jinping’s arrival at the help of Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, the scenario drastically changed. He launched a most aggressive campaign in modern Chinese history against huge corruption in Chinese military and party. Simultaneously he ordered the withdrawal of PLA from medical services and all business ventures which Chinese army was running since decades. Practically Chinese generals have become traders than army commanders. Xinping’s sweeping actions against PLA corruption has purged 1600 officers and witnessed complete withdrawal of PLA from commercial activities, converting it into professional fighting force.
Cold War Between Xinping and PLA
Xi Jinping convened a major meeting of top officers in November 2014 to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the historic Gutian Congress, In 1929 Gutian Congress Mao stressed that the ‘Party is absolutely above the military’. Jinping convened his selected 420 senior officers at the small town of Gutian in Fujian Province. This was the first time an after Mao, The Chinese leader convened top military leadership at Gutian. The loud symbolism of Gutian-2014 was to remind, stress and inculcate Mao’s message of Party’s supremacy over the military.
After the vigorous anti-corruption drive, ousting PLA from medical and other commercial and industrial domains by Xi Jinping, both sides are exploring various options to establish supremacy over each other. At present, Jinping is by and largely successful in his efforts and he has pushed back PLA from its November 2012 position, where it was before Xinping regime started. But that might not be same in future. The signs of open discontent between Xi and PLA are tangible.
Visible Signs of Jinping & PLA Rift
Chumur- Ladakh Infiltration by PLA on day one of Jinping’s visit to India on November 17, 2014, shocked Indians. Over 1000 PLA troops intruded in Chumur and Demchok in Ladakh region almost 5 km in Indian border creating tension. The standoff later calmed down after series of flag meetings, but it created diplomatic embarrassment for Chinese president meeting Modi on Indian soil. The attempt was seen as PLA efforts to create problems for Jinping following his moves against PLA on all fronts.
Jinping-Modi meet ruled out during G-20 meeting in Hamburg by Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in July first week. But actually, Jinping and Modi met during G-20 meeting. It was PLA which forced the statement denying possible Jinping-Modi meet at Hamburg and it was Jinping’s firm resolve to supersede and dominate PLA on foreign policy issues just to reinforce principles of 1929 Gutian Congress Principle of “Party above Military”
Discontent between Jinping and PLA are bound to grow and gap sure to widen in near future. It would be interesting to observe in near future, what turn it takes and who emerges winner of the Chinese Cold War!
Read here Part - 1
(Part- 03- Reform in PLA)