Ethan Gutmann

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

Ethan Gutmann is an American writer, China watcher, author, and former adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies[citation needed] whose work has investigated surveillance and organ harvesting in China.


Gutmann earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University.[citation needed]

Investigations of China[edit]

Gutmann's writing on China includes 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.[1]

Gutmann has testified before the U.S. Congress,[2][3] the European Parliament, and the United Nations.[1]

He is a co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China.[4]

Golden Shield surveillance[edit]

According to Gutmann, 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.[5][non-primary source needed]

In 2011, two 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.[6] Evidence of Cisco's activities in China had become public in Gutmann's book Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal.[7]

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[8] 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."[8]

From 2006, Gutmann wrote articles about organ harvesting.[9][10][11] In 2012, "State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China", was published with essays from six medical professionals,[12][13][14][15][16][17] David Matas and Gutmann.[18][19][20][21]

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][22][23] and that between 450,000 and 1 million Falun Gong practitioners were detained at any given time.[24][25][26][27]

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).

In August 2014, Gutmann wrote The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem,[27] which described China's organ transplant business and its 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 killed prisoners on the operating table. Gutmann interviewed dissidents including of Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uighurs and House Christians.[22]

In 2016, Gutmann, David Kilgour, and David Matas authored an updated investigative report on China's organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.[28] 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 Chinese officials in The New York Times,[28] The Globe and Mail,[29] The Times,[30] CNN,[31] The Independent,[32] and several other major media outlets around the world.

Controversies in Taiwan[edit]

2014 Taipei mayoral election[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.[33] 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".[34]

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.[35][36]

2018 Taipei mayoral election[edit]

In the 2018 Taipei City mayoral election, there was a controversy regarding Gutmann's book and his statement in 2014. In a news conference in Taipei on 2 October, Gutmann was asked if he had changed his mind about Ko, in which he answered “yes”.[37] 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 Gutmann 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 the end of the news conference, Gutmann said he thought Ko was a liar. He was sued by Ko and was subpoenaed on October 5, 2018.[38]


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."[3]

Reception to books[edit]

Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor of National Review, wrote that Gutmann's 2004 book Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal "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".[22]

Nordlinger called Gutmann's 2014 book The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem "another atom bomb".[22]


  • 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


Gutmann appeared in Transmission 6-10 (2009),[39] Red Reign: The Bloody Harvest of China's Prisoners (2013),[40] and was interviewed in Free China: The Courage to Believe.


Gutmann's first book Losing the New China won the "Spirit of Tiananmen" award from the Visual Artists Guild,[41] was listed as one of The New York Sun's "Books of the Year"[42] and won the "Chan's Journalism Award".[41]

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 "China's Policies Toward Spiritual Movements", Congressional-Executive Commission on China Roundtable discussion,, 18 June 2010
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ McKay, Hollie (2020-07-28). "Activists push for investigation over claims China is forcibly harvesting organs of Uighur population". Fox News. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  5. ^ Ethan Gutmann (May/June 2010) "Hacker Nation: China's Cyber Assault" Archived 2016-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, World Affairs Journal
  6. ^ "Human Rights Verdict Could Affect Cisco in China", Global Voices Online, 24 April 2013
  7. ^ "Suit Claims Cisco Helped China Pursue Falun Gong", The New York Times, 22 May 2011
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Ethan Gutmann (8 May 2006) "Why Wang Wenyi Was Shouting", The Weekly Standard
  10. ^ Ethan Gutmann (24 November 2008) "China's Gruesome Organ Harvest", The Weekly Standard
  11. ^ "Bitter Harvest: China's 'Organ Donation' Nightmare" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, World Affairs Journal July/August 2012
  12. ^ G Danovitch articles, US National Library of Medicine
  13. ^ AL Caplan articles, US National Library of Medicine
  14. ^ J Lavee articles, US National Library of Medicine
  15. ^ G Ahmad articles, US National Library of Medicine
  16. ^ T Trey articles, US National Library of Medicine
  17. ^ M Fiatarone Singh articles, US National Library of Medicine
  18. ^ "State Organs: Introduction" Archived 2013-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Rebeca Kuropatwa (19 September 2012) "New Matas book reveals transplant abuse" Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Tribune (Canada)
  20. ^ Mark Colvin (27 November 2012) "Parliament to hear evidence of transplant abuse in China", Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  21. ^ David Matas, Dr. Torsten Trey (2012) State Organs, Transplant Abuse in China Archived 2015-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, p. 144
  22. ^ a b c d 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
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ Julia Duin (27 April 2010) "Chinese accused of vast trade in organs", The Washington Times
  25. ^ Ethan Gutmann, "The China Conundrum", The Jewish Policy Center, inFocus, Winter 2010
  26. ^ Ethan Gutmann (10 March 2011) "How many harvested?" revisited Archived 2011-12-20 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Report alleges China killing thousands to harvest organs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  30. ^ "China is 'transplanting organs of executed prisoners'". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  31. ^ James Griffiths. "Report: China is still harvesting organs from prisoners". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  32. ^ "China 'carrying out over 60,000 illegal organ transplants annually'". The Independent. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  33. ^ "Ko denies organ buying allegations", Taipei Times, 29 October 2014
  34. ^ 葛特曼律師回函 澄清柯P沒參與器官仲介 27 November 2014,
  35. ^ Ethan Gutmann (19 Dec 2014) "Setting the Record Straight: The Dr. Ko Interview" (9 minutes),, International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China
  36. ^ Ethan Gutmann published Photos of Dr. Ko Wen-je's correspondence" on his webpage
  37. ^ 'Slaughter' author says Chinese used Taipei Mayor Ko's tech to transplant Falun Gong prisoners' organs [1] 2 October 2018, Taiwan News
  38. ^ "Ko’s office asks author to explain change of stance",Taipei Times,2 October 2018
  39. ^ "Transmission 6-10: 1st Half", (52 minutes) Youtube video, 20 February 2011
  40. ^ "Red Reign trailer", (4 minutes) Youtube video, 30 July 2013
  41. ^ a b "CUSIB Welcomes Ethan Gutmann to Advisory Board". Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  42. ^ "Books of the Year", The New York Sun, 31 December 2004

External links[edit]