Ethan Gutmann

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Ethan Gutmann (left) with Edward McMillan-Scott at Foreign Press Association press conference, 2009

Ethan Gutmann is a US investigative writer, human rights defender, China watcher, author, and a former adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Gutmann's writing on China is widely published.[1][2] He has contributed to online publications at least as far back as 1999,[3] and is best known as the author of two books: Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal and The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.

Gutmann has testified before the U.S. Congress,[4] the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs,[5] the European Parliament, and the United Nations.[1]


Gutmann earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University.

Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal[edit]

Jay Nordlinger wrote that Gutmann's 2004 book "was about the sordid relationship between the American business community and the Chinese Communist Party. Our businessmen accommodate themselves to the Communist Party, and turn a blind eye to persecution." Sometimes they even assist the persecution, as when Cisco and other technology companies devised special ways to monitor and arrest Falun Gong practitioners".[6]

Evidence of Cisco's activities in China became public in Gutmann's book.[7]

Gutmann's explanation of the Golden Shield's surveillance[edit]

Before 1999, Falun Gong practitioners didn't systematically use the Internet as an organizing tool. After the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, they were isolated, fragmented, and looking for a way to organize and change government policy. They went online, used code words, avoided precise details and communicated in short bursts. But like a cat listening to mice, the 6-10 Office could find their exact location, having developed the ability to search and spy as a result of a joint venture between the Shandong Province public security bureau and Cisco Systems. The result was a comprehensive database of people's personal information, including the 6-10 Office's Falun Gong lists and a wraparound surveillance system that was quickly distributed to other provinces. The Chinese authorities called it the Golden Shield, and Hao Fengjun used it on a daily basis. "As far as following practitioners" he said, "the Golden Shield includes the ability to monitor online chatting services and email, identifying Internet Protocol addresses and all of the person's previous communication, and then being able to lock in on the person's location, because a person will usually use the computer at home or at work." Then the arrest is made.[8]

In 2011, two separate lawsuits were filed in U.S. federal courts against Cisco Systems alleging that its technology enabled the government of China to monitor, capture, and kill Chinese citizens for their views and beliefs.[9]

Organ harvesting in China[edit]

In 2006, allegations emerged that a large number of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed to supply China's organ transplant industry. The allegations prompted an investigation by David Kilgour and David Matas. The Kilgour–Matas report[10] stated, "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and "we believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners."[10]

From 2006, Gutmann wrote articles about organ harvesting.[11][12][13] In 2012, "State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China", was published with essays from six medical professionals,[14][15][16][17][18][19] David Matas and Gutmann.[20][21][22][23][24]

Gutmann interviewed over 100 witnesses including Falun Gong survivors, doctors, policemen, and camp administrators. He estimated that 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs from 2000 to 2008,[1][6][25] and that between 450,000 and 1 million Falun Gong practitioners were detained at any given time.[26][27][28][29]

In October 2014, in an interview with the Toronto Star, Gutmann did not limit the time frame to 2000 to 2008 and stated, "the number of casualties is close to 100,000".[1]

Gutmann was one of the key interviewees in Human Harvest, a 2014 Peabody Award winning documentary on organ harvesting in China, as well as the PBS documentary Hard to Believe (2015).

The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem[edit]

In August 2014 Gutmann published the inside story[29] of China's organ transplant business and its macabre connection with internment camps and killing fields for arrested dissidents, especially the adherents of Falun Gong. The new book, which took seven years, was based on interviews with top-ranking police officials, former prisoners of conscience and Chinese doctors who have killed prisoners on the operating table. Gutmann described his journey deep into the dissident archipelago of Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uighurs and House Christians, uncovering an ageless drama of resistance, eliciting confessions of deep betrayal and moments of ecstatic redemption. Jay Nordlinger a senior editor of National Review, called his book "another atom bomb".[30]

Updated investigative report[edit]

In 2016, Gutmann, David Kilgour, and David Matas authored an updated investigative report on China's organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.[31] The 700-page report contains extensive information on the actual transplant statistics, sourced directly to Chinese hospitals' own publications and other Chinese primary sources. The report has been widely publicized by The New York Times,[31] The Globe and Mail,[32] The Times,[33] CNN,[34] The Independent,[35] the Daily Mail,[36] and several other major media outlets around the world.

Gutmann's explanation of the taboo about Falun Gong issues[edit]

In 2012 Gutmann stated,

There is a long-standing taboo in the journalism community about Falun Gong, about this issue [organ harvesting]. To touch this issue is the Third Rail of journalism. If you touch it—if you are in Beijing, if you are based in China—you will not be given access to top leaders anymore. I can give you an example of this.

I had a friend who wrote for the South China Morning Post. He wrote a very powerful article about Falun Gong back in the early days. The South China Morning Post was blocked, the web version was blocked in China for 6 months. That was at a time when the South China Morning Post was desperately trying to get penetration of that market. This is common.[5]

2014 Taipei City mayoral election controversy[edit]

During the 2014 Taipei City mayoral election there was controversy about what Gutmann's book, The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, published in August 2014, said about mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je. Gutmann stated he had not said that Ko was involved in the organ trade and that he might have been misinterpreted.[37] On 27 November, Gutmann released a legal response with lawyer Clive Ansley, stating that "no English-speaking reader to date has understood for one moment that Dr. Ko was acting as an organ broker" and "Mr. Gutmann believes, and we think his book demonstrates, that Dr. Ko has acted honourably".[38]

On 29 November, Ko won the election. A full explanation, including the actual email correspondence where Ko signed off on the story for publication, was provided by Gutmann in December.[39][40]

2018 Taipei City mayoral election controversy[edit]

However, in the 2018 Taipei City mayoral election there was also controversy about what Gutmann's book and his statement in 2014. Gutmann arise a news conference in Taipei on 2 October, Gutmann was asked if he had changed his mind about Ko which answered “yes”.[41] Gutmann showed a group photograph of Ko attending a conference on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation training in China and said Ko had told him he knew about organ harvesting of Falun Gong members in 2005, but he had discovered that the conference took place only three months before he interviewed Ko. “Dr Ko did not say explicitly what he did in the mainland,” Gutmann said, adding that Ko did not tell him whether he was making money or arranging for patients to receive organ transplants in China. At End of news conference, Gutmann said he thought Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je was a "liar". He was sued by Dr. Ko and was subpoenaed on October 5, 2018.[42]



  • Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire, and Betrayal, (2004) ISBN 978-1893554832
  • The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, (2014) ISBN 978-1616149406


He appeared in Transmission 6-10 (2009),[43] Red Reign: The Bloody Harvest of China's Prisoners (2013),[44] and was interviewed in Free China: The Courage to Believe.


His first book Losing the New China won the "Spirit of Tiananmen" award,[45] was listed as one of The New York Sun's "Books of the year"[46] and the "Chan's Journalism Award" for outstanding writing.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Barbara Turnbull (21 October 2014) "Q&A: Author and analyst Ethan Gutmann discusses China's illegal organ trade", the Toronto Star
  2. ^ "Ethan Gutmann", The Weekly Standard
  3. ^ Ethan Gutmann (24 May 1999) "A Tale of the New China", The Weekly Standard
  4. ^ Ethan Gutmann "China's Policies Toward Spiritual Movements", Congressional-Executive Commission on China Roundtable discussion,, 18 June 2010
  5. ^ a b "Organ Harvesting of Religious and Political Dissidents by the Chinese Communist Party" Archived 2016-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, Hearing before two subcommittees of the Committee on Foreign Affairs House of Representatives,, 12 September 2012
  6. ^ a b Jay Nordlinger (25 August 2014) "Face The Slaughter: The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, by Ethan Gutmann", National Review
  7. ^ "Suit Claims Cisco Helped China Pursue Falun Gong", The New York Times, 22 May 2011
  8. ^ Ethan Gutmann (May/June 2010) "Hacker Nation: China's Cyber Assault" Archived 2016-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, World Affairs Journal
  9. ^ "Human Rights Verdict Could Affect Cisco in China", Global Voices Online, 24 April 2013
  10. ^ a b David Kilgour, David Matas (6 July 2006, revised 31 January 2007) An Independent Investigation into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China (in 22 languages)
  11. ^ Ethan Gutmann (8 May 2006) "Why Wang Wenyi Was Shouting", The Weekly Standard
  12. ^ Ethan Gutmann (24 November 2008) "China's Gruesome Organ Harvest", The Weekly Standard
  13. ^ "Bitter Harvest: China's 'Organ Donation' Nightmare" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, World Affairs Journal July/August 2012
  14. ^ G Danovitch articles, US National Library of Medicine
  15. ^ AL Caplan articles, US National Library of Medicine
  16. ^ J Lavee articles, US National Library of Medicine
  17. ^ G Ahmad articles, US National Library of Medicine
  18. ^ T Trey articles, US National Library of Medicine
  19. ^ M Fiatarone Singh articles, US National Library of Medicine
  20. ^ "State Organs: Introduction" Archived 2013-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Rebeca Kuropatwa (19 September 2012) "New Matas book reveals transplant abuse" Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Tribune (Canada)
  22. ^ Mark Colvin (27 November 2012) "Parliament to hear evidence of transplant abuse in China", Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  23. ^ Matthew Robertson (31 August 2012) "Book Exposes Organized Killing for Organs in China", The Epoch Times
  24. ^ David Matas, Dr. Torsten Trey (2012) State Organs, Transplant Abuse in China Archived 2015-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, p. 144
  25. ^ Viv Young (11 August 2014) "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem", New York Journal of Books
  26. ^ Julia Duin (27 April 2010) "Chinese accused of vast trade in organs", The Washington Times
  27. ^ Ethan Gutmann, "The China Conundrum", The Jewish Policy Center, inFocus, Winter 2010
  28. ^ Ethan Gutmann (10 March 2011) "How many harvested?" revisited
  29. ^ a b Ethan Gutmann (August 2014) The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem "Average number of Falun Gong in Laogai System at any given time" Low estimate 450,000, High estimate 1,000,000 p 320. "Best estimate of Falun Gong harvested 2000 to 2008" 65,000 p 322.
  30. ^ Jay Nordlinger a senior editor of National Review "Face the Slaughter", A new book excruciatingly details China’s horrific treatment of dissidents, August 25, 2014, issue of National Review
  31. ^ a b Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (2016-08-24). "Angry Claims and Furious Denials Over Organ Transplants in China". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  32. ^ "Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  33. ^ "China is 'transplanting organs of executed prisoners'". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  34. ^ CNN, James Griffiths. "Report: China is still harvesting organs from prisoners". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  35. ^ "China 'carrying out over 60,000 illegal organ transplants annually'". The Independent. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  36. ^ "China is forcing up to 90,000 prisoners to have organs removed". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  37. ^ "Ko denies organ buying allegations", Taipei Times, 29 October 2014
  38. ^ 葛特曼律師回函 澄清柯P沒參與器官仲介 27 November 2014,
  39. ^ Ethan Gutmann (19 Dec 2014) "Setting the Record Straight: The Dr. Ko Interview" (9 minutes),, International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China
  40. ^ Ethan Gutmann published Photos of Dr. Ko Wen-je's correspondence" on his webpage
  41. ^ 'Slaughter' author says Chinese used Taipei Mayor Ko's tech to transplant Falun Gong prisoners' organs [1] 2 October 2018, Taiwan News
  42. ^ "Ko’s office asks author to explain change of stance",Taipei Times,2 October 2018
  43. ^ "Transmission 6-10: 1st Half", (52 minutes) Youtube video, 20 February 2011
  44. ^ "Red Reign trailer", (4 minutes) Youtube video, 30 July 2013
  45. ^ "New Book Exposes how China Murders its Citizens to Profit from the Sale of their Organs" Archived 2014-07-29 at the Wayback Machine, Vision Times, 26 July 2014
  46. ^ "Books of the Year", The New York Sun, 31 December 2004
  47. ^ China Expert Ethan Gutmann Talks About His New Book "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to its Dissident Problem", The Epoch Times, 2 December 2014

External links[edit]