*Warning: this article links to others that may have graphic content. Discretion advised.*
I think it was a featured post in the WordPress.com website that took me there. The blog was fascinating and morbid. It was an eye opener to read the exhaustive and graphic details of the myriad ways the Chinese officialdom tortures, rapes and murders the members of the Falun Gong sect.
While none of this is fresh, hot news, going into these sites for the last couple of days helped me form some impressions.
These people are committed. No question about this. It is awe-inspiring to see how painstakingly they have documented the list of crimes by the government, as well as the names of the practitioners who have succumbed to the State’s malevolence.
However, one article surprised me. It was a ghastly story of a woman who was tortured with electrical batons held to her breast, and the pictures were supposedly of an electrocuted breast with infection. Naturally, the surgeon in me had an understandable curiosity to see this, and I clicked on the links. I was taken aback to see pictures of a woman with advanced breast cancer.
Many other pictures were on display, quite horrifying for all but the hardened and the trained. However, some of the pictures did not really gel with the textual explanations of the injuries.
In the case of Ms. Gao Rongrong, who was allegedly tortured with an electric baton held inside her mouth for hours, the pictures seem to be surprisingly benign. Medically, a trauma of that severity would have led to tongue swelling to the point of causing obstruction in breathing, and a phenomenal facial swelling would also be seen. Electrical burns also cause scars, the kind of which are lacking in the pictures.
I asked Ken Mattox, a senior American surgeon and an editor of a major international surgical textbook, to opine on these images.
Mattox says, “Photographs can be deceiving. While some of the apparent injuries and conditions might have been caused by torture, it appears that some of the photographs are from conditions which are sometimes seen in a hospital. The photographs could have been from rigor mortis in a dead body, advanced cirrhosis of the liver, portal hypertension, advanced necrotic breast cancer, donor site for a skin graft, routine acute electrical and thermal burns, and sacral decubitus ulcer.”
The picture of breast electrocution is, quite clearly, a misrepresentation. It fooled none of the group of surgeons I asked to inspect.
I found other Falun Gong sites that also alleged similar torture-induced diseases. Here are two samples:
*Her nose was injured as a result of the brutal force-feeding, turned into an abscess, and became cancerous in 2003. She died on July 12, 2007 at the age of 42.
*She developed cancer after being subjected to severe physical abuse.
Medically speaking, this falls close to the category of myth or rubbish. I wrote to the organisation seeking clarifications on the specific points, but have not yet received a reply.
In view of the long term struggle that the Falun Gong movement is undertaking, and the fact that the struggle is clearly a just and moral one (the struggle to be free, to speak freely and practise one’s beliefs freely), I wish the movement takes note of the fact that it is difficult to regain credibility once lost. The need to be graphic to expose the horrible and inhuman animals who perpetrate these tortures on the Falun Gong is understandable.
However, the truth is great, and shall prevail.
Hence, the Falun Gong should clearly identify the mistakes and the fakes and remove them. They owe this to their own struggle, their own people.