‘They Will Monetize Everything’: Experts Highlight How Beijing Has Turned Rights Abuses Into an Industry

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The Chinese Communist Party has become an expert in profiting off its human rights abuses, according to a former State Department official, who pointed to the regime commercializing slave labor—and even body parts from slain prisoners of conscience.

Robert Destro, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, said that the Chinese leaders would go after anything that could present a challenge to their rule.

“They are extraction experts,” Destro told an Oct. 18 panel at the Hudson Institute.

“They will monetize everything, from the national resources to your liver,” he added.

Extractive, coercive, repressive, and intrusive—these are the four words Destro chose in describing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Religion has been particularly hard hit, Destro said, pointing to the regime’s about-face on spiritual group Falun Gong as one example.

Introduced in 1992 to northeastern Chinese city Changchun, Falun Gong enjoyed considerable state support in the early years as it spread rapidly by word of mouth. By official estimates, the practice had garnered more than 70 million adherents by the end of the decade. Chinese state media praised the practice for its health benefits, and a State Sports Commission official noted the billions of medical savings it brought to the state.  

Alarmed by the group’s vast following, the regime withdrew all such support in July 1999, launching a national campaign in an effort to eliminate it.

“And to this day, the Falun Gong is perceived as an existential threat,” Destro said.

The adherents have been identified by experts as the primary victim group in Beijing’s industrialized forced organ harvesting campaign. Organs from imprisoned practitioners are extracted, and sold, often for tens of thousands of dollars—in a macabre medical process leaving no survivors.

“[The] Chinese government have utilized the police system, judicial systems, the medical system, working together to enable this chain of profits,” said Sean Lin, communication director for Falun Dafa Association in Washington. “If they identify a match they can go to your house to arrest you in any name and harvest your organs.”

By Eva Fu

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