Stories from the New China (and beyond)

Archive for the ‘Falun Gong’ Category

China’s Big Brother Internet: Ten essential publications

with one comment

Google the keywords “Cisco, Falun Gong, lawsuit and China” and you won’t get far in our memory-hole society. So here are my best picks for journalists and everyone else. Copy, distribute, and quibble if you like. But read to the last entry, because it’s important to accurately reflect history and the collective gathering of evidence.  This investigation has never been a silver bullet, but a slow chain reaction. A long time coming perhaps, but be assured that it has now gone critical.

1)   The Great Firewall of China

1997: Groundbreaking article on the early efforts to censor the Chinese web written by the only journalists to actually make it inside the PSB: Geremie R. Barme and Sang Ye.

In an equipment-crowded office in the Air Force Guesthouse on Beijing’s Third Ring Road sits the man in charge of computer and Net surveillance at the Public Security Bureau.

2)   The Anaconda in the Chandelier

2002: Prescient essay on Chinese (and Western) self-censorship by Perry Link.

Normally the great snake doesn’t move.  It doesn’t have to.  It feels no need to be clear about its prohibitions.  Its constant silent message is “You yourself decide,” after which, more often than not, everyone in its shadow makes his or her large and small adjustments–all quite “naturally.” 

3)   Government Counterstrategies

2002: Critical chapter from the RAND publication You’ve Got Dissent! by Michael S. Chase and James C. Mulvenon which traces the first hacking attacks on North American Falun Gong websites back to China.

The name of the organization, “Information Service Center of XinAn Beijing,” sounded innocuous enough, but the street address told a very different story. The address, #14 East Chang’an Street…in Beijing, is that of the Ministry of Public Security, China’s internal security service…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by eastofethan

May 26, 2011 at 10:31 am

Don’t mention the new cold war…

leave a comment »

Kissinger’s piece is here. Mine is here.

Written by eastofethan

April 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Tibet’s Endgame — My review of “Tragedy in Crimson”

leave a comment »

In this shaky, unsustainable age of free content and bargain-rate kindle, it is understandable that National Review would want to keep my review of Tim Johnson’s new book behind the paywall. Fair enough. Lord knows, I can relate. But David Kilgour informs me that he is putting it up for free on his website tonight. So go to David’s website and look around, lots of interesting stuff there. Alternately, since the barn door is open, you can read my take on the book here.

Written by eastofethan

March 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

“How many harvested?” revisited

with 22 comments

Back in 2009, I gave a talk at the Foreign Press Association in London. I’ve lost 35 pounds since then (made you look!) and I have also revised the numbers slightly based on new information (and some mulling as well). That’s what this post is about.  Since 2009, I have been quoted in several places, most recently here) on my estimates of how many Falun Gong were harvested during the last decade or so.

[UPDATE: I was also quoted recently (and fairly extensively) in CQ Global Researcher v.5-14 on the subject of Falun Gong organ harvesting and trafficking. Here’s a teaser: “At least 62,000 were victims of organ harvesting operations from 2000-2008, according to Matas and Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist.” Anyway, you can buy the entire report here

The truth is that outside of a few, select individuals in the Chinese military hospitals and the 6-10 office, we don’t know the answer to that question. But I believe estimates are possible, and even useful, as long as we do not engage in false precision and stay reasonably conservative. My estimates are based on a sample of approximately 50 Falun Gong refugees from the Laogai system. Not what I would like, but good enough for a wartime sample. Yet I also flag that inherent imprecision by coming up with a low estimate and a high estimate. I don’t truly believe in either extreme. The truth is probably found somewhere in the middle and that’s why I provide a best estimate, or a median.

Shrewd observers will note that I originally gave a best estimate of approximately 85,000, and now I’m saying about 65,000. I’ll give you the rationale for those new numbers in a minute, but here’s the main reason they changed: I sat down with the Laogai Foundation researchers in DC and they informed me that they had revised their total estimate of the Laogai System (defined as labor camps, prisons, black jails, psychiatric hospitals, long-term detention centers, the lot) down from 4-6 million to 3-5 million. I have reasonable confidence in their logic surrounding this point, so I have revised my estimates accordingly.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by eastofethan

March 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Into Thin Airwaves

leave a comment »

“All movements—even pocket-protector ones—have their legends and their origin myths, often set in an older, simpler place and time, as is this one. But although he never won a Nobel Prize, the man who died was real. And in 2002, when China experts in the West universally judged that his cause was a failure, he commanded the most successful Falun Gong action ever undertaken on Chinese soil—the hijacking of a massive city’s television signals for nearly an hour. Pulled off by a small gang with minimal experience or resources, the operation was strikingly uncharacteristic of Falun Gong at the time, but from it would grow far more sophisticated challenges to Chinese Communist party control over information in the years to come. Television hubs would become Internet routers, guerrillas would be replaced by geeks, infocops and robbers would go virtual, and the brawl would spill out from China into Atlanta, Tehran, and the State Department. But it all started in the city of Changchun with a man named Liang Zhenxing.”

Read it here. Over 5000 words, so get comfy.

BIG UPDATE: “Into Thin Airwaves” is being transformed into a graphic novel by one of the most talented artists ever to come out of China: Daxiong!  Raised in Changchun, Daxiong actually logged some hours in the same prison cells as Liang and his gang.

Go here for the occasional update on Daxiong’s progress.

Sneak preview:

Cover 2


Written by eastofethan

December 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

Eleven years ago…

leave a comment »

I watched as Chinese citizens were herded into vans in Beijing. Most returned a few days later, many didn’t quit. The police chartered new vans and special trains. This time, many did not return. I don’t know the exact meaning of Falun Gong’s sacrifice; China’s future is unknown. But spare a moment today to think of the families who were left behind.

I’ll be speaking at Parliament today, 4pm, Committee Room 6, Committee Corridor, Palace of Westminster, MP Julian Huppert chairing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by eastofethan

July 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

Posted in China, Falun Gong

Gutmann’s seven-minute guide to the Falun Gong conflict…

with one comment

Pour a cup, light a smoke, put your feet up, relax-ay-voo, and read my recent remarks given at a recent Congressional-Executive Commission on China roundtable.


(Cool drawing of Annie Yang’s son by Illustrator: Lam)

Written by eastofethan

July 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm