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Lies will collapse on themselves

Liu Zhengrong  

By Liu Zhengrong

(CNN) -- In Harry Wu's essay, nothing true can be found except sheer fabrications aimed at vilifying the Chinese government and people.

No matter how desperately he tries to spread his lies about the so-called "laogai" and "sale of human organs," Harry Wu cannot deceive anyone who has common sense and basic knowledge about today's China.

Harry Wu is a criminal who entered China a number of times under false names and conducted criminal activities from June 1991 to July 1995. In August 1991 he even disguised himself as a policeman to engage in illegal activities in Qinghai Province -- a serious violation of law in any country.

Labor camps reinforce China's totalitarian rule

Harry Wu once cooked up video tapes accusing China of exporting prison labor products and selling prisoners' organs. When Americans got upset while watching those videos on TV, Harry Wu confessed in China that his stories were "wrong, untrue."

He produced a TV documentary about surgery in a Chinese hospital, for example, claiming it was an organ transplant using a kidney from an executed prisoner. The video, however, clearly showed the surgery was carried out on the patient's chest instead of the waist, where a kidney transplant operation takes place.

Organ donations carefully regulated

The sale of criminals' organs does not exist in China. Saying that organs taken from criminals are sold in China is a deliberate fabrication with ill intentions. It is illegal to trade human organs in China, and any violation will be punished according to law.

Wu being questioned
Chinese officials question Harry Wu in 1995 following the release of his report on China's prison systems  

Regulations by China's Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the State Customs Administration strictly prohibit the sale and purchase of human tissues and organs. Human tissues and organs cannot be donated to overseas organizations and their personnel or exchanged with them.

Organ transplants are performed only in a small number of hospitals with adequate technical conditions and in strict conformity with regulations. These organs have been voluntarily donated following all regulations and procedures.

A Chinese citizen may voluntarily donate his body or organs upon death to health departments and research institutes. Such donations are used to save lives and for research.

In very rare cases, bodies or organs of executed criminals are used, but only if the criminals on death row have voluntarily signed a release before their executions or their families have given their permission. Such cases are subject to strict examination and approval by public health administrations and judicial departments. The convicts are treated as equally as other citizens.

Rights of criminals protected

As for criminal reform, China pays close attention to the principles of humanitarianism. Criminals are provided proper living conditions and their dignity is respected.

Humiliation of prisoners is forbidden. Chinese law stipulates that criminals must be provided with a humane level of material comfort and that the staff in prisons and reform-through-labor institutions must treat criminals in a civilized manner.

China strictly protects the rights of criminals. Criminals enjoy rights during the entire process from initial detention to release after time served, according to specific legal provisions.

Chinese law forbids any maltreatment of prisoners by prison staff. Prisoners have the right to file charges according to the law. The law clearly stipulates criminal sanctions for prison workers guilty of dereliction of duty.

In reforming criminals in China, the emphasis is on education. In addition to legal, moral, cultural and technical education, physical labor is of great importance.

Guard at a Beijing prison  

Criminals are encouraged to realize gradually the harm they have done to other people and to the society, to give up the idea of obtaining personal gain through criminal means, to form the habit of respecting other people and society in general.

A record of achievement

Through physical labor, moreover, criminals learn they can transform themselves from society's liabilities into society's assets. Physical labor also makes them aware they can obtain the skills needed for later employment so that after their release they may become law-abiding and useful citizens.

China brings the efforts of specialized state agencies and society together to reform criminals. Such efforts are carried out at reform-through-labor programs as well as at prisons.

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Reform of criminals receives energetic public support. Every sector of society supports and helps coordinate this work throughout the process of criminal reform, including resettlement and employment after a criminal is released.

China's success in reforming criminals is underscored by its 6 percent recidivism rate, which is among the lowest in the world. By contrast, the recidivism rate in some developed countries is around 20 percent or 30 percent. In some countries the rate is 50 percent, 60 percent and more. China's crime incidence rate is about two crimes per 1,000 people per year, which also is among the lowest in the world.

Liu Zhengrong is press officer at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States.

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