A Hong Kong police officer threatened to send an Epoch Times distribution worker, who was arrested while spreading promotional material during a recent protest, to mainland China and have her “organs harvested alive.”
Chen Xiaojuan, who received the threat, was one of four Epoch Times distribution personnel who were arrested on July 1 in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay.
Thousands of Hongkongers had poured onto the streets in protest of the new national security law that Beijing imposed on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the city’s transfer of sovereignty from British to Chinese rule. The four were trapped behind police cordons along with protesters and subsequently taken into police custody at the North Point Police Station separately.
They were released on bail on July 2, with their phones confiscated.
After her release, Chen described a police officer making the verbal threat after Chen refused to change into police-issued outfits and removed the shirt that a female officer tried to put over her head three times.
“You don’t sign your names, nor do you wear the clothes. How about we send you to mainland China and have your organs harvested alive,” Chen recalled a male police officer telling her.
Chen said the officer’s remark, and the implied endorsement of state-sanctioned organ harvesting, sent tears to her eyes—as she previously learned about allegations that the Chinese regime harvested organs from prisoners of conscience for use in transplant surgery.
In July last year, a London-based independent people’s tribunal, after hearing testimony from over 50 witnesses, concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that state-sanctioned organ harvesting has taken place in China for years “on a significant scale,” and has continued until today. The tribunal also stated that the main source of organs were adherents of the persecuted spiritual group Falun Gong. Thousands have been arrested and detained in China’s prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers since 1999.
Since 2015, the Chinese regime has claimed that all organs for transplant surgeries are sourced from voluntary donations. But a 2019 study published in BMC Medical Ethics found that China’s organ donation numbers conform “almost precisely to a mathematical formula,” suggesting they are likely falsified.
The allegations have drawn scrutiny internationally, with Belgium and Austria being the latest countries to draft resolutions to combat such abuse.
Chen wondered whether Hong Kong police have actually sent anyone back.
“Do you all agree with organ harvesting? It’s such an evil thing,” she said in response to the officer, who did not reply. She continued to resist wearing the uniform despite the threats.
“I told them I didn’t do anything wrong,” Chen said. “They arrested me and put me in police custody, so they are at fault.”
The Hong Kong police did not immediately return a request for comment.
The following day, a female officer whom Chen observed to be more senior in rank insisted that Chen could not go to the restroom without wearing the uniform. When Chen tried to explain to her why she did not wish to wear it, the officer appeared agitated and said she was “about to join the Chinese Communist Party.” Eventually, the officer relented.
Zhang Yan, another Hong Kong Epoch Times worker who was arrested on July 1, was handing out promotional materials the day before at the Prince Edward metro station, when a police officer warned her that “this would be the last time” she would be allowed to do this. The officer gave the warning twice without explaining.
“I thought … Are they going to change their attitudes toward our Epoch Times distribution personnel after July 1? And they did.” Zhang said, referring to the first day the law came into effect.
The four are due to report back to the police station on Aug. 4.
While concerned for their own safety, Zhang and Chen said they would persist in doing their work so that the public can read diverse perspectives.
“A lot of Hong Kong media have been controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Zhang said. “If people miss out on the voice from the other side, and only receive the Party’s propaganda, the brainwashing will change them gradually just like in the mainland … and Hong Kong will become just another Chinese city.”
“Someone has to do it,” she added.
The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times has condemned the police for its indiscriminate arrests and the threat such actions pose to the city’s press freedom and freedom of speech. In a statement, the bureau also vowed to continue reporting on the truth and defending Hongkongers’ rights to be informed.
From The Epoch Times