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Retired Chinese Doctor Recounts Live Organ Harvesting in Military Hospital: Exclusive Interview

Speaking with Vision Times, Zheng Zhi, who witnessed and participated in the extraction of organs from a living victim, hopes to clear his conscience—and encourage others to come forward with evidence of the CCP's crimes.
Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: July 27, 2023
Zheng Zhi, a former Chinese military doctor now living in Canada. In July 2023, Zheng Zhi spoke with Vision Times about his experience taking part in an organ harvesting operation in 1994. (Image: Provided to Vision Times by Zheng Zhi)

A retired Chinese doctor now living in Canada has stepped forward to reveal his eyewitness knowledge of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience by the communist regime, and encourages others in the Chinese medical industry to submit their own evidence of the atrocity. 

In an exclusive interview with Vision Times, Zheng Zhi described how surgeons in Chinese state-run and military hospitals murdered those imprisoned for their faith in Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual practice that has been repressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999. 

Previously, in 2015, Zheng Zhi had anonymously disclosed to overseas media his participation in an organ harvesting operation that occurred in 1994 during his internship at the Shenyang Military Region General Hospital (now the Northern Military Command General Hospital). 

However, the recent testimony by a female doctor who described the death of a woman murdered for practicing Falun Gong compelled Zheng to come clean about his own knowledge about how adherents of the meditative discipline became the main targets of organ harvesting. 

“I’ve always known about it because, in China, it has been done on victims when they are still alive to boost the organ’s survival rates and the freshness of organs. The practice started a long time ago, and I wasn’t surprised” to hear about it, he said.  

‘You know too much’

Zheng’s interview adds to the growing trove of evidence that the CCP has been killing tens of thousands of innocent people to extract and sell their organs over the last two decades and beyond. 

He is the first Chinese medical professional who has knowingly come forward with his identity to expose organ harvesting by the CCP.

“I just want to share everything I know about Falun Gong practitioners having their organs harvested while still alive,” Zheng told Vision Times. “Only after I expose it publicly can I be free of guilt and redeem myself.”

In 2002, Zheng was acquainted with a military officer who needed a kidney transplant. The officer, who was hospitalized at the Shenyang military hospital, told him that he was guaranteed to receive a new and high-quality organ from a Falun Gong practitioner. 

The officer succumbed to his ailments before he made it to the operating table, however. 

Before he died, the man warned Zheng Zhi of the danger that being involved with organ harvesting put him in: “The further away you run, the better. You know too much.” 

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, spiritual discipline that enjoyed massive popularity in China during the 1990s, with an estimated 70 to 100 million people practicing it nationwide by the end of the decade. 

Allegations of organ harvesting targeting Falun Gong adherents first surfaced in 2006, prompting human rights researchers, investigative journalists, and others to look into the claims. While direct proof of the grizzly crime is hard to come by, investigations have uncovered a growing amount of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the allegations are valid.

In March 2020, the non-governmental China Tribunal, based in London, reviewed the available information and determined in its Final Judgement that “in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.”

Gruesome internship

China has not admitted to murdering prisoners of conscience for their organs, but in 2015 said that it would stop harvesting the organs of death-row convicts.

For Zheng Zhi, organ harvesting began not with the persecution of Falun Gong, but in 1994, when he was an intern at the Shenyang military hospital’s urology department. 

Zheng Zhi graduated as part of the class of 1992 from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Medical School of Higher Professional Education in Dalian, Northeast China. The graduation photo shows a young Zheng Zhi in the back row, 7th from left. Two years later, he would participate in a harrowing “military operation” to harvest a living prisoner’s organs. (Image: Provided to Vision Times by Zheng Zhi)

According to Zheng, he was called in for a “military operation” — that is, extracting the kidneys of a prisoner. “I knew the person was still alive. Because when I cut with my scalpel, the blood came out. The blood was still running,” he recalled, adding that he had to hold the victim’s body down to keep it from shaking. 

“I was young at that time, and it was the first time I experienced anything like it,” Zheng said. “It was terrifying.” 

The organ harvesting took place on the floor of a vehicle. “We used a spotlight for visibility. We were instructed to extract organs from where we stood and were told which organ to take. All of us did as we were told. I could see the doctor opposite me clearly. Under the spotlight, he removed the organ, and the blood splashed onto my gloves.”

Both kidneys were removed, as well as the prisoner’s eyeballs. “The man was still there, convulsing. We were ordered to put our foot on him to prevent him from doubling up. So, the man was twisted on the floor in tremendous pain.”

According to Zheng Zhi, the experience nearly made him faint, and the memory would haunt him to this day. 

Organ banks

Zheng Zhi’s account matches the information collected over the years about allegations of organ harvesting in China, for example, that gathered by investigators posing as would-be organ transplant patients making phone calls to hospitals suspected of being involved in the crime. 

In 2005, while in Beijing, Zheng spoke with someone he knew to be a “close associate” of a member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee (PbSC) — that is, the handful of men who run the regime. 

The person revealed to him that there existed under the back courtyard of the Hubei Public Security Bureau location in Wuhan a large underground space for holding Falun Gong practitioners to be killed for their organs. 

Both adults and children were among those imprisoned in the subterranean “organ bank,” the individual told Zheng. 


“That Falun Gong practitioners in particular have their organs harvested from them while still alive was by no means a secret among military officers and civilian officials,” Zheng said. This is especially the case for “cadres ranked at or above the level of director.” 

“Virtually every military unit knows about it as well, it isn’t anything new,” he said, describing how, “in order to turn profits,” the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police — a vast paramilitary internal force — converted many infectious diseases departments of hospitals under their control to “unofficial sites for organ harvesting.”

“It takes a week, two weeks, a month would be a long wait for a person to get a matching organ,” Zheng said.  

‘Mass genocidal movement’ ordered from the top

According to Zheng, in 2002 then-CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin ordered the Shenyang Military Region General Hospital to be responsible for the “practical implementation” of organ harvesting. 

Jiang, who dominated Chinese politics from the late 1990s to 2012, was also the initiator of the anti-Falun Gong campaign, having pushed the decision forward despite opposition from other members of the PbSC in the run-up to the persecution. 

In addition, the General Hospital was under the direction of the 610 Office, a CCP “leading group” set up by Jiang to lead and orchestrate the persecution of Falun Gong. At the height of its power, the Office, which existed as late as 2019, was authorized to give orders to police and propaganda units across China. 

“An officer of the Shenyang Military Region said that kidney transplants have been carried out nationwide to extract the organs of Falun Gong practitioners,” Zheng said. “When I went to see him, he told me in person that this was a mass genocidal movement, and that Falun Gong practitioners were the source of organs. It’s mainly carried out by the military.” 

Compelled to speak out

According to Zheng, his decision to come forward with his insider knowledge was prompted by a recent report by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) concerning the case of Zhang Xiuqin, a Falun Gong adherent who died in 2019. 

Zhang, 46, who was from Shandong Province, had practiced Falun Gong since before the persecution began and was detained and sentenced multiple times for her faith. Her ordeals included having her home ransacked, being fired, and made to perform forced labor. 

The last time she was apprehended was in late 2018. During her detention, she was tortured and raped. In April 2019, Zhang was sent to the PLA Integrated Logistic Support and Security Forces No. 962 Hospital in Harbin, northeastern China, to have her organs harvested, according to a female medical professional employed there. 

The doctor recounted how Zhang was left for dead after one of her kidneys was extracted — apparently, the other kidney and her other organs were not seen as useful. According to the doctor, Zhang tugged at her gown as she walked past her “corpse,” begging her for help. 

After being taken to a storage room and having her open wounds dressed by the doctor, whose identity WOIPFG has kept confidential for her protection, Zhang managed to survive for a day and describe her experiences in detail while being filmed before succumbing to her injuries. 

Over the next few years, the doctor’s account and her recording of Zhang’s final moments made it to WOIPFG, which is based in the U.S. WOIPFG managed to contact the doctor and verify details of the case. 

As with Zheng Zhi, the doctor at the No. 962 Hospital, which was formerly known as the PLA No. 211 Hospital, reported that organ harvesting was a regular occurrence and conducted by staff at the hospital’s “infectious diseases” department. 

Zheng Zhi said that when he heard of the victim Zhang Xiuqin recounting how she was subject to organ harvesting, it forced him to confront his memory from 28 years ago, that is, when he was an intern at the military hospital in Shenyang. 

‘All this evidence will be released’

Further pressing Zheng Zhi to come forward with his account was the fact that WOIPFG, in the Harbin doctor’s testimony, had hard evidence that live organ harvesting was taking place on a large scale in China. “I believe all this evidence will be released to the public very soon,” he said. 

“The Communist Party is too horrific. No military or police in any other country would slaughter its own people like this,” he said, struggling to remain composed during his interview. 

“Any Chinese with a conscience should stand up and work together to dismantle the Communist Party as soon as possible. The Communist Party doesn’t represent the Chinese people. It’s not a government but a criminal gang,” he declared. 

He called upon anyone in the Chinese military or police establishment, particularly those working in logistics or the medical sector, to come forward with further evidence of the atrocity, so as to “be prepared for the complete collapse of the Communist Party” and to record its crimes for posterity. 

“The entire military, its commanders and officers, anyone you have knowledge of, who have been involved in live organ harvesting, you must record the evidence and get ready for when the CCP goes on trial.”