The Xinjiang Procedure
Beijing’s ‘New Frontier’ is ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. To figure out what is taking place today in a closed society such as northwest China, sometimes you have to go back a decade, sometimes more. One clue might be found on a hilltop near southern Guangzhou, on a partly cloudy autumn day in 1991. A small medical team and a young doctor starting a practice in internal medicine had driven up from Sun Yat-sen Medical University in a van modified for surgery. Pulling in on bulldozed earth, they found a small fleet of similar vehicles—clean, white, with smoked glass windows and prominent red crosses on the side. The police had ordered the medical team to stay inside for their safety. Indeed, the view from the side window of lines of ditches—some filled in, others freshly dug—suggested that the hilltop had served as a killing ground for years. Thirty-six scheduled executions would translate into 72 kidneys and corneas divided among the regional hospitals. Every van contained surgeons who could work fast: 15-30 minutes to extract. Drive back to the hospital. Transplant within six hours. Nothing fancy or experimental; execution would probably ruin the heart. With the acceleration of Chinese medical expertise over the last decade, organs once considered scraps no longer went to waste. It wasn’t public knowledge exactly, but Chinese medical schools taught that many otherwise wicked criminals volunteered their organs as a final penance. Right after the first shots the van door was thrust open and two men with white surgical coats thrown over their uniforms carried a body in, the head and feet still twitching slightly. The young doctor noted that the wound was on the right side of the chest as he had expected. When body #3 was laid down, he went to work. Male, 40-ish, Han Chinese. While the other retail organs in the van were slated for the profitable foreigner market, the doctor had seen the paperwork indicating this kidney was tissue-matched for transplant into a 50-year-old Chinese man. Without the transplant, that man would die. With it, the same man would rise miraculously from his hospital bed and go on to have a normal life for 25 years or so. By 2016, given all the anti-tissue-rejection drug advances in China, they could theoretically replace the liver, lungs, or heart—maybe buy that man another 10 to 15 years. Body #3 had no special characteristics save an angry purple line on the neck. The doctor recognized the forensics. Sometimes the police would twist a wire around a prisoner’s throat to prevent him from speaking up in court. The doctor thought it through methodically. Maybe the police didn’t want this prisoner to talk because he had been a deranged killer, a thug, or mentally unstable. After all, the Chinese penal system was a daily sausage grinder, executing hardcore criminals on a massive scale. Yes, the young doctor knew the harvesting was wrong. Whatever crime had been committed, it would be nice if the prisoner’s body were allowed to rest forever. Yet was his surgical task that different from an obstetrician’s? Harvesting was rebirth, harvesting was life, as revolutionary an advance as antibiotics or steroids. Or maybe, he thought, they didn’t want this man to talk because he was a political prisoner.Nineteen years later, in a secure European location, the doctor laid out the puzzle. He asked that I keep his identity a secret. Chinese medical authorities admit that the lion’s share of transplant organs originate with executions, but no mainland Chinese doctors, even in exile, will normally speak of performing such surgery. To do so would remind international medical authorities of an issue they would rather avoid—not China’s soaring execution rate or the exploitation of criminal organs, but rather the systematic elimination of China’s religious and political prisoners. Yet even if this doctor feared consequences to his family and his career, he did not fear embarrassing China, for he was born into an indigenous minority group, the Uighurs.
National Archives: Digital Vaults “Exploring the Digital Vaults is easy. You can browse through the hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives’ most treasured records.”
The Oliver Cromwell was the first warship made for the Revolutionary War. It was built in Essex, Connecticut in 1776. – Provided by Reference.com
Girl swept away by Sumatra tsunami returns home after seven years.
A Brief History of the Ugly Christmas Sweater.
Redditor themarkofmarks says his buddy and a couple of his buddy’s friends won 24,000 tickets after “a really good night” at a Dave & Buster’s in Hawaii.
They then gifted those tickets to a random kid.
Best. Christmas. Forever.
The early morning release of Nike’s limited edition Air Jordan 11 “Concord”sneakers has resulted in a rash of violent incidents at shopping centers across the country.
In suburban Seattle’s Southcenter Mall, where over 1,000 people lined up for a chance to nab the $180 shoes, a riot broke out after the shoes sold out, and police were called in to control the crowd.
Some 20 people were pepper-sprayed, and one man was arrested for assault. No serious injuries were reported.
Detroit also saw its share of rioting, when approximately 300 people forced their way into the Southland Mall. Some property damage was recorded and at least one person was arrested for inciting a riot.
Things were significantly more hectic in suburban Atlanta, where at least three people were arrested after the large crowd gathered outside the Mall at Stonecrest became impatient and broke down the doors.
In addition, a woman was arrested for allegedly leaving her two young children in the car so she could go buy the shoes. DeKalb police officers were forced to break the car window in order to rescue the children.
“Pushing and shoving” was also reported at Lafayette Square Mall in Indianapolis, where a horde of some 300 people reportedly “ripped the doors off their hinges.”
Police were called in to assist with crowd control.
At a mall in Richmond, CA, reports of a shot fired led to the arrest of a man with a handgun, though a police rep said it appeared to be “a negligent discharge of a firearm.” The mall was shut down for several hours, leading to some aggression among shoppers.
In nearby San Leandro, Bayfair Mall windows were vandalized by impatient shoppers.
Faced with mounting pressure from its customer base and a proposed “Move Your Domain Day” that called for users to transfer their domains to other registrars, GoDaddy announced just moments ago that it has reversed its decision to support the Stop Online Piracy Act.
“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why GoDaddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” said CEO Warren Adelman.
The company has pulled down a post that outlined the reasons it supported SOPA in the first place, in order to “eliminate any confusion” about its position.
This leaves a grand total of zero Internet companies on the House’s official list of SOPA supporters.
Tonight, as part of a promotional celebration, The District’s various bars and businesses will host a range of activities commonly associated with the secular Seinfeldian holiday.
An “unadorned aluminum pole,” sponsored by the latex division of Vandelay Industries, will be placed at the corner of 18th Street and 2nd Avenue.
The traditional Festivus Feast of meatloaf will be offered to patrons of the Blue Cat Brew Pub.
And special “Grievance forms” for the customary “Airing of Grievances” will be made available at various locations throughout The District. Completed Grievance forms will be entered in a drawing for special Festivus prizes (hopefully none involving the Human Fund).
No word on where the annual Feats of Strength are set to take place, but I imagine that, after a full night of bar hopping, there will be plenty of people willing to accept your wrestling challenge.
(this is Rock Island, Illinois. Not Rock Island, Texas. Where I retired as postmaster)
Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or that Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? We shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present
What exactly is Christmas? It’s certainly not Jesus’s birthday, is it?
There are several surprises that people encounter when they start to learn about Christmas. One is that Jesus probably wasn’t born on the 25th, because we don’t know when his birthday was. Secondly, it’s a surprise for many people that the early Christians did not celebrate Christmas. It took 300 years or so before there was an annual Christian celebration.
And Christmas originated as a pagan festival long before that, right?
When one studies the history one sees that there were, especially in Europe, many mid-winter festivals that existed prior to Jesus even walking the earth. Then Christians decided to start a birthday celebration, and intentionally set it in the middle of pre-existing mid-winter festivals. So right from the very beginning, the Christmas tradition has always been a mixture of a winter party and a Christian celebration. The struggle of how we balance those two is nothing new.
IT IS a familiar-sounding tale: after decades of simmering discontent a new form of media gives opponents of an authoritarian regime a way to express their views, register their solidarity and co-ordinate their actions. The protesters’ message spreads virally through social networks, making it impossible to suppress and highlighting the extent of public support for revolution. The combination of improved publishing technology and social networks is a catalyst for social change where previous efforts had failed.
That’s what happened in the Arab spring. It’s also what happened during the Reformation, nearly 500 years ago, when Martin Luther and his allies took the new media of their day—pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts—and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of religious reform.
Scholars have long debated the relative importance of printed media, oral transmission and images in rallying popular support for the Reformation. Some have championed the central role of printing, a relatively new technology at the time. Opponents of this view emphasise the importance of preaching and other forms of oral transmission. More recently historians have highlighted the role of media as a means of social signalling and co-ordinating public opinion in the Reformation.
Last month the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser resigned from St Paul’s Cathedral, saying he could imagine Jesus being born at the Occupy camp. This month, the jeans-and-T-shirt-wearing reverend is on our panel of Christmas song judges – tasked with finding the perfect piece of festive pop by giving marks out of 10 to six yuletide hits. Also on the panel are: hitmaker Mike Batt, who wrote David Essex’s A Winter’s Tale (and, er, The Wombles’ Wombling Merry Christmas); Emma Hornby, senior lecturer in music at Bristol University; and Christmas party-planner-to-the-stars Firgas Esack. Here’s what they thought.
The rough-and-ready classic
Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
Batt: One of the best Christmas songs, because it sounds like a real person telling a real story, which is refreshing. There’s a natural cynicism in Shane MacGowan’s voice but it’s gone here, which says a lot. The song’s also stopped from being mawkish by the grittiness of the insults. Any song with “scumbag” in it isn’t aiming for No 1 – and I think people appreciate that. Score: 9
disappearance | the loss of pubic hair
“Beaver!” “Beaver up the stairs.” Some guy in chinos at my Los Angeles public high school would shout out as an up-skirt view opened on a staircase. In the 1960’s, a high school girl’s pubic hair marked the site we all wanted to see, to touch, to enter. Pubic hair was iconic. It marked pleasures yet to come. We all hoped to get there.
In the avant-garde literature of those days, pubic hair was everywhere. In a hallucinatory scene in William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, finally published here in 1962, Johnny has just doused himself and Mary with gasoline. “He is a boy sleeping against the mosque wall, ejaculate wet dreaming into a thousand cunts pink and smooth as sea shells. Feeling the delight of prickly pubic hairs slide up his cock…..”
“He’s never seen it,” a friend recounted to me about his good-looking, sexually active collegiate son.
What, I asked?
Activists of the Ukrainian women’s movement FEMEN stage a performance in front of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, on December 9, 2011, to protest against alleging mass fraud in the Russian December 4 parliamentary polls and demanding Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he stop his political activities. Putin, who became premier in 2008 after serving two Kremlin terms, filed this week his application to stand in the March elections. Getty
ONE cold morning in 1591 an English sailor found himself shivering on Ilhabella, now an island of yacht clubs and well-appointed weekend houses that is to Brazil what Martha’s Vineyard is to America. He had been left for dead—again—the fourth or fifth time Fate had deserted him in his short career as a pirate. He survived for eight days by catching crabs in his stockings and cooking them over a fire, and then for a further two weeks by picking at the carcass of a beached whale.
He was naked, alone but for the savages who lurked inland and a man-eating dragon he had spotted in the shallows, and far from Virginia, where England would subsequently found a colony: here was a man in the wrong hemisphere at the wrong time. Yet painful as they were to him, Anthony Knivet’s misfortunes offer a fascinating, if mostly overlooked, insight into an early stage of colonialism. Unusually, Knivet was both an exponent and a victim of it. He experienced both the thrill and enchantment of contact with remote tribes and the brutality of enslavement. And he recorded all that (with the odd embellishment) in his memoir.
Brazil at the end of the 16th century was an inhospitable place. Its original inhabitants, who had first encountered the Portuguese in 1500 when a group of sailors landed and claimed the territory for their king, were coming to the conclusion that their new neighbours made unreliable allies in intertribal wars. Even more offputtingly, the European newcomers spread smallpox, which proved fatal to people who had not had their immune systems tested by centuries of living with children and other animals under the same roofs.
I went recently to San Francisco to give a talk to a conference of scientists. The scientists were experts in gathering together mountains of biological data—genome sequences, results of experiments and clinical trials—and figuring out how to make them useful: turning them into new diagnostic tests, for example, or a drug for cancer. The invitation was an honor, but a nerve-wracking one. As a journalist, I had no genome scan to offer the audience.
We science writers do have one ace in the hole, though. Instead of being lashed to a lab bench for years, carrying out experiments to illuminate one particular fold in one particular protein, we get to play the field. We travel between different departments, different universities, different countries, and—most important of all—different disciplines. And sometimes we see links between different kinds of science that scientists themselves have missed. Which is why, when I arrived in San Francisco, walked up to the podium, and switched on my computer, I presented my audience with this photograph of a lake.
For the next hour, I tried to convince them that their bodies are a lot like that lake, and that appreciating this fact could help them find new ways to treat diseases ranging from obesity to heart disease to infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The lake, called Linsley Pond, is located in southern Connecticut, a short drive east of New Haven. It’s about a half a mile wide. It supports a typical assortment of species, including algae and bacteria, water fleas, lily pads and other aquatic plants, birds, turtles, and fishes. It looks utterly ordinary. But in the history of ecology, it’s one of the most significant places on Earth.
Originally posted 2011-12-23 15:13:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter