Harvesting Eastern Lightning: A letter to a Mormon friend
The most disturbing aspect in the response to my Weekly Standard article (China’s Gruesome Organ Harvest, November 2008) has been the complete silence of the House Christian community to the finding that Eastern Lightning (EL) are also being targeted.
When I wrote the piece I was aware that the House Church Christians do not want to be affiliated with EL, but I also thought that might change “at the edge of the operating table” so to speak.
My book is about Falun Gong (FG), not EL. And no Buddhist organization that I know of considers FG to be real Buddhists. State Buddhist leaders in China took the lead in denouncing FG when the CCP started the crackdown. FG was accused of being an apocalyptic cult that makes people murder themselves (or their parents, or their children, etc.). That’s the mainland.
In Taiwan, few Buddhist leaders buy into any of that. They may not believe FG are “real” Buddhists in the strict sense of the word, but I know at least one key operative in the Taiwan/Tibet Exchange (run directly by the DL) who works very closely with FG on various political/human rights projects.
I’m no expert on EL. I browsed the web and I read Matt Fourney’s Time article. (I know Matt pretty well, BTW and, as much as I respect his intellect, I also understand how–and why–he subtly toes the CCP line again and again). But I bought his basic argument here. I walked away from that article thinking that EL are terribly misguided. But truly dangerous? I will have to preserve some skepticism on that point given the absurd charges that have also been heaped on FG.
Ultimately however, I walk away from my current research simply marveling at what a scorched earth, what a toxic, radioactive environment for spiritual growth the CCP has created. By placing the harvesting evidence out there, I was simply raising the question that occurred to you: Who’s going to stand up for these people?
When it comes to EL: If a fellow soldier from a platoon does not obey orders and strays, should the platoon put themselves at risk in their efforts to rescue him? Perhaps not. But it’s also true that If EL needs to be “deprogrammed,” if they need to brought back into some connection with a more reasonable concept of Christianity then shouldn’t that take place in the meager churches of China in an atmosphere of forgiveness and love? The first act in that deprogramming, the meaningful step, would be the decision by China’s house church leaders–particularly those who are based in the states–to follow the steps I outlined: lobby for a ban on organ tourism, ask doctors to boycott medical conferences with China, and so on. Nothing should be decided on an operating table.
My gut tells me that last sentence alone should be the battle cry. But I’m sure that there is much about this that I don’t understand. What I do understand is this: I’m providing a service. If global Christianity decides to turn it’s back on EL, they should consider the potential consequences of that decision in full. My job is to make sure that they can’t say: “we didn’t know.”
I’m currently involved in the start-up of a documentary, based on the article that you just read called “Shalu, Part 1”; I will try to work in the issue of EL there as well. If any of your folks would like to talk to me about this–no commitment implied, just to look the issue over–that would be welcome.
Thanks for your thoughtful response,