tv PBS News Hour PBS May 29, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> brangham: good evening, i'm william brangham. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, the white house downplays reports that senior advisor jared kushner wanted to create a secret back-channel to talk with the russians. then, ahead of president trump's impending decision on the paris climate accord, a look at how one nation is putting the pedal to the metal in the electric car industry. >> we are not going back. we are heading into the future. i think in ten years we will see that at least half of the sale from opel is electric, if things are moving in the direction we are seeing right now. >> brangham: and, for years experts charged that china was turning to executed prisoners to obtain human organs for transplants-- and growing a transplant tourism business.
have reform efforts stopped the practice? >> they've obviously got a lot of people sitting around, waiting to be killed for a transplant. and they are picking the right person to be killed depending on who the patient is. >> brangham: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brangham: americans spent this memorial day honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. since 1775, more than 1.2
million americans have died serving our country. lisa desjardins reports. >> present. >> desjardins: on this national day of remembrance, there were large events, like a new president laying a wreath to an unknown solider. >> desjardins: at arlington national cemetery president trump expressed what he called undying gratitude. >> we pay tribute to those brave souls who raced in to gunfire, roared into battle, and ran into hell to face down evil. they made their sacrifice not for fame, or for money, or even for glory, but for country. >> desjardins: afterward mr. trump stopped with homeland security secretary john kelly at the grave of kelly's son robert, who was killed in afghanistan. from there, the president met
other families in "section 60" of the cemetery, where military members killed most recently, especially in iraq and afghanistan, are buried. he's looking down and he's very proud. >> thank you so much. thank you for everything you're doing for the country. >> desjardins: but for many, the day was defined by smaller, personal events. in raleigh, north carolina, the day was for supporting survivors. >> and we have a lot of vietnam veterans in our detachment so a lot of those guys have seen first hand deaths losing friends in their units, so it's just emotional for us. >> desjardins: at a memorial day parade in illinois, it was a day for active duty military to salute veterans before them. >> desjardins: and at the fort snelling national cemetery in minneapolis minnesota, as in many places, it was a day of simple, important remembrance. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> brangham: today, more than 1.3 million americans are serving on active duty.
in the day's other news, north korea fired another ballistic missile, the latest in a series of tests defying international pressure. the short-range missile landed in japanese territorial waters. in tokyo, japan's chief cabinet secretary said there were no immediate reports of damage, but delivered a sharp rebuke. >> ( translated ): north korea continues taking provocative actions despite the repeated resolutions at the u.n. security council. hence, it is necessary to apply pressure, it is not the time for dialogue for dialogue's sake we cannot tolerate these repeated actions and we lodge a strong protest against north korea, criticizing them in the strongest form. >> brangham: back in this country, president trump also weighed in on the test-launch, tweeting that north korea "has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, china." the white house also condemned the fatal stabbing of two men aboard a train in portland, oregon, last week. they were trying to help two young muslim women who were being harassed by a white supremacist. one of the good samaritans who
died was an army veteran. a third man who also came to their aid was badly
wounded but survived. this morning, the president's official white house twitter account tweeted: "the violent attacks in portland on friday are unacceptable. the victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. our prayers are with them." the president tweets regularly from his personal account, which has not made mention of the portland attack. rescuers today in sri lanka recovered more bodies, raising the death toll from heavy floods and mudslides to at least 169 people. crews worked around-the-clock to identify bodies and clear debris. more than 100 people are still missing since last thursday's downpour. >> ( translated ): my house and small shop was totally damaged by the floods. all my household items are gone with the water, nothing left, everything gone, even jewelry, money and all our earnings gone with the water. we managed to survive. >> brangham: 75,000 people have now fled to relief camps set up
in the country's south and west, as the country braces for yet more rain. this holiday weekend became a travel nightmare for british airways customers. a power supply problem brought the airline's computer operations to a halt, stranding some 75,000 travelers. but today flights returned to a near-normal schedule. british airways' chief executive said his company is working to determine what went wrong. >> we are profusely, profusely apologetic about what has happened. we are very conscious of the hardship that many of our customers have had to go through on their way to their holidays, sometimes on the way to personal events. >> brangham: cruz said that by day's end, around two-thirds of passengers whose flights were canceled over the weekend will reach their destinations. and a passing of note: we learned today that renowned sports writer and commentator frank deford died yesterday in key west, florida. his career spanned five decades, most notably writing for "sports illustrated" and providing
commentary on npr's "morning edition", from which he retired just this month after 37 years. deford's views were always delivered with his signature passion and humor. he was in many ways the quintessential american sports fan, right down to his disdain for the internationally beloved game of soccer, as in this 2006 "newshour" interview. >> what is called brilliant in soccer is an incomplete pass in football. and the sport itself is over- dramatized, with the falling down. there's entirely too many, a high percentage of scores because of penalties, which are very dubious. and simply we've shown over and over again that we reject that. >> brangham: in 2013, president obama awarded deford the national humanities medal, the first sports writer to ever receive the honor. frank deford was 78 years old.
still to come on the newshour: the white house responds to allegations surrounding the president's son-in-law. we take a look at the political and national security implications. norway spearheads an electric- car revolution, warning the u.s. could be left behind, and much more. >> brangham: the ongoing investigation into russian meddling in last year's election, and whether the trump campaign was in any way involved, may have taken a step closer to the president's own family. it was another weekend of damage control for the trump white house this, following allegations against president trump's son- in-law and senior advisor jared kushner. on friday, the "washington post" reported that in december, kushner discussed with russian ambassador sergey kisliak the possibility of opening a "secret and secure communications
channel" between the trump team and moscow. it adds, they considered using russian diplomatic sites in the u.s. in order to "shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring." several top administration officials, while not confirming the allegations, have come out defending kushner. yesterday, on abc's "this week," secretary of homeland security john kelly said the idea didn't bother him. >> it's both normal, in my opinion, and acceptable. any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us is a good thing. >> brangham: separately, national security advisor h.r. mcmaster told reporters he too wasn't concerned. he said "we have back-channel communications with a number of countries." and, on cnn's "state of the union," republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina questioned the allegations altogether. >> i don't trust this story as far as i can throw it! the whole storyline is suspicious.
i have never been more concerned and suspicious about all things russia than i am right now. >> brangham: for his part, the president told the "new york times" on sunday he has "total confidence" in his son-in-law. all this, however, has done little to quell the storm of criticism. former acting c.i.a. director john mclaughlin told msnbc he was shocked by the charges. >> i can't keep out of my mind the thought that if an american intelligence officer had done anything like this, we'd consider it espionage. >> brangham: and back on abc's "this week," california democrat adam schiff, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, said kushner's access to classified material needs to be re-examined. >> i think we need to get to the bottom of these allegations. but i do think there ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid. if not then there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance. >> brangham: before these latest allegations broke, kushner's attorneys said he'd work with the senate on its investigation into russian election meddling. yesterday, chairman of the foreign relations committee,
tennessee republican bob corker, said kushner will still cooperate. with me now to discuss the kushner allegations, and the wider russia probe, are two men with deep knowledge of intelligence, and law enforcement: frank montoya, jr. spent 26 years in the f.b.i. he oversaw national security and counter-intelligence probes. he joins us from salt lake city. and john sipher served 28 years in the c.i.a.'s clandestine service, stationed in russia and eastern europe. he also ran counter-intelligence investigations within the agency. he's now with the consulting firm crosslead. welcome to you both. john sipher, i would like to start with you. what is your reaction? you said this particular leak is different from others. how so? >> what strikes me about this that's so unusual is this is putting party above country, it's trusting a hostile foreign government more than the duly-elected government in power at the time.
what's also unusual is as many of these leaks, as frustrating as they are, don't strike to the heart of the investigation. the,one sounds like it may do so because it highlights a sensitive collection effort, if, in fact, true, and looks like it gives information of some things we have been seeing around the edges for some months now. >> brangham: frank montoya, what is your reaction to this. t you heard the national security advisor, many people arguing this is nothing to see here, please move on. what is your reaction? >> john is spot on. i think some of the other aspects of this. we get tracked to communications or diplomacy or whatever you want to call these, backchannel access to the government, but that's usually when you are the government in power having communication with another government. what stands out to me on this one is the discussion, if true,
as john noted, using a foreign nation state's communications system, especially like a foreign nation state like russia, i think we used the term this past weekend about being incredibly naive, but i would say stupid is more like to, just the thought process that had to occur if that was, in fact, the discussion. >> brangham: you heard frank mention that, if these allegations are true, that kushner asked the russians can we use your facilities and hardware to have these communications, why is that trouble sphg. >> this is a very sophisticated adversary. the notion we would work with them inside their embassy is something beyond the pale for professionals. if you want to assume the naivety by the trump campaign and mr. kushner, it is like the lambs dealing with the lions here. this is a very dangerous thing.
people who deal with the russians in the government follow procedures and regulations to avoid espionage, subversion and corruption and doesn't appear that they did here. >> brangham: tuning there is another rational explanation for this that, happens as some of kushner's reporters have said, they genuinely wanted to talk to russia and others about matters and maybe this was a poorly chosen vehicle for these conversations. >> it's possible but like frank said very stupid. perhaps its naivety, something governments have done in the past and there is nothing wrong wit. my question is why the secrecy. the president-elect had been talking about changing the relationship with russia for quite a long time. there would be no need to try to hide the from your own government what you're doing. >> if i could add to that, william, this is also demonstrating a gross distrust or mistrust of his own intelligence community. if that's what he wanted to do,
we could have facility dated that for him. even as president-elect moving into the inauguration and beyond when he becomes the government, this is what we do for our presidents. >> brangham: inoy you talked to a lot of agents, some who might have been in the midst of accusations. what do the ongoing leaks mean for them in their ability to do their jobs? >> from a day-to-day perspective, makes it incredibly difficult. who they going to want to talk to who wants to tell them the straight story if the fear is it's going to show up on a news channel or cable or the internet. so, yeah, it really does make it difficult to dig into the matters that need to be addressed and, you know, to put together the pieces of the puzzle that will get us to the end of this thing. >> brangham: couldn't you argue there is a societal benefit, it's useful for people to know what their government is up to? >> that's one of the conundrums right now. this started out as a counterintelligence
investigation. it's become public. there are aspects of this, i think, that are really important, when you look at it from an historical context, for instance, one of the key sources in the watergate issue was an f.b.i. special agent. so individuals, if they have information, if there is kerns things are not going the way they should be, they will not be able to make the case, could that be the reason for the leaks, to get the information out there to address the initiatives beyond an operation or source or method that actually involves the security of the republic? i can see why people would think that way. >> brangham: john? a lot of the leaks, there's talk around this there's a deep state, people in the law enforcement intelligence community, are trying to undermine the president. i want to make it clear, from my understanding, i don't think that's the case. there are a lot of leaks, but they tend to come from the white house or congress or people who
are back-briefed on pieces of information. when that comes out, that's very frustrating. but i see little that looks like it's coming from the kind of detail of the professionals in the f.b.i., c.i.a. or information that is behind this look. frustrating, yes, but so far i don't think it's the professionals trying to undermine the administration in any way. >> brangham: john sipher, frank montoya, thank you very much. >> thank you. s. >> brangham: for more on the allegations surrounding jared kushner, the white house's handling of the russia investigation, and a look at the president's first trip abroad, it's time for politics monday with tamara keith of npr and amy walter of the "cook political report." welcome to you both. happy memorial day. >> yes. >> brangham: tam, first to you, we have been hearing about
the allegations about jared kushner and the possible backchannel he wanted to deal with the russians. what is your sense of how the white house is handling and dealing with this? >> the president is tweeting ant fake news over the weekend. he came home, the twitter machine turned right back on. he was not necessarily explicitly responding to this but certainly seemed like some of it. >> that's the assumption. inspired by this, certainly. and there's a lot of reporting that i have not personally been able to confirm but that the white house is looking at creating sort of a war room type of thing, whether there would be much like in the clinton administration, where there would be people walled off to deal with this. and the war room would be on top of another potential shakeup, which is we hear the story of a potential shakeup in the white house seems every other week. >> brangham: and this week is no different. >> this week doesn't seem to be any different. >> hasn't shaken yet but this week could be the week it
changes. >> usually you do a shakeup because you know you have a problem or gap and you're going to fill the gaps. the challenge is, even in building the war room, what they're talking about is bringing people in to fill the gaps that have the same problems and chals as the people currently there in the white house. they don't have any governing experience. they have loyalty to donald trump but don't have the breadth of experience in dealing with washington that you need to do to accept up as something as complicated as a war room. and dealing with washington, especially the legislative process, at a still don't have people in positions to go up and work with capitol hill. most important, you can have a war room, a war plan, but if your general, in this case donald trump, isn't following the plan and is tweeting or going and giving interviews that contradict the plan, then none of this really matters. >> brangham: makes your job tough. >> yes. >> brangham: for people not following the scuttle bud if there's a shakeup, the
communications department of the white house? >> yes, most of the focus has been on the communications. seems like treating the surface-level thing and there's something very deep going on well below the surface. the white house certainly has had trouble in the way it has communicated. part of that is that, you know, they do have policy proposals that they're trying to push out but often they don't provide the information backing it up. you know, let's go with the president's tax proposal. now, in part, that's because the president in an interview said i'm going to have a tax proposal and you need to get it together in a week. so they threw together a tax proposal in a week. there wasn't a lot of communication or anything about sort of like what this thing is. ultimately, it was on one sheet of paper, and there was no electronic version. it was just a sheet of paper that was passed around and we would take pictures and text it to our colleagues. so that is not like a fully built-up plan, that's not a
rollout. they have been not doing a lot of rollouts. they're not in control of their narrative with a lot of stuff because there are leaks and stories and every day there is a story, but the things they do control, they have not done it in a way past white houses have where they have been able to more dominate the conversation. >> brangham: what does this do to the president's larger agenda? they've got the wows, the senate, the congress. this is their time. >> this is exactly right. this president is going to be judged on how well he governs and his party will be judged on that more quickly than he in 2018. the challenge isn't simply that -- it is difficult to get some of these big things through. it's hard enough to get healthcare, tax reform, infrastructure, but when the president lacks the focus and the discipline to help make this happen. so part of the challenge is, if you're going to stick with a war plan, then stick with the war plan, but when you have your
plan going forward and then a twet comes from the president of the united states that then takes us off track and back into this, seems like when the president seems to be moving on and getting to the next topic, he either by interviews or saying something off the cuff brings them back to where they started. seems like his strategy would be for him to get on behind the podium, he would be the only messenger, he sees himself as the best messenger, that the chaos candidacy that worked for him in 2016, the style that worked for him in the business world, of course, it's going to translate into governing. it doesn't. it hasn't. >> brangham: you were with the president. when he seems to be doing some of what amy is describing, his trip abroad, what do they look back as the successes of the trip. >> the remarkable thing is
throughout the trip, we were on our way to israel, we were on our way to rome, and we're asking an administration official how did it go in israel? they kept going back to saudi arabia. i've trial they had a chance they went back to saudi arabia. >> brangham: they saw that as the high light of the trip. >> they really did. they announced nearly $400 billion in deals and we still don't have the details of what the deals are. it's not for lack of trying to get that information. i have been asking on a regular basis, you know, hey! that arms deal, what's it made up of? where does the other 400 billion or 300 billion come from, and it has not been forthcoming. they do believe, that beginning part -- you know, one administration official said that the president brought the muslim world together. they talk about it in superlatives. >> brangham: wow. one of the things we also saw,
the president went and signed some big deals in scrape, but he also went and told the europeans, hey you guys got to pay out more for n.a.t.o. this is what his base expects of him. they're going to rattle the cage, tell the euro guys what's what. this has to resonate strongly -- >> he campaigned as america first candidate, as someone who's skeptical of multi-national deals, supportive of brexit, skeptical of n.a.t.o. so what we siewf president trump in europe is what we saw of president trump as a candidate, so that at that time, we shouldn't be surprised at all about. i think there were mixed signals, at the same time, from administration officials saying, of course we're supporter of n.a.t.o. of course, the president didn't explicitly use the term article 5 in his speech, of course he supports that, so i think
there's still tension there. it's pretty clear when the president made his statements as a candidate, he's following through with those as a president. >> brangham: amy walter, tamera keith, thank you both very much. >> you're welcome. >> brangham: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: human rights experts say that for years china took organs from executed prisoners for transplants. have reform efforts stopped the practice? and, our summer reads-- new books you won't want to put down. but first, president trump announced over the weekend that he'll decide this week whether the u.s. will remain part of the paris climate accord. that accord, signed last year by
195 countries, commits those nations to significantly reduce their carbon emissions to combat climate change. but president trump has long argued that environmental regulations cost american jobs, and he's vowed to undo them, and he's also described climate change itself as a hoax. european leaders last week urged the president not walk away from the accord. in scandinavia, which is a world leader in green technology, politicians and environmentalists want the president to follow their lead, and increase investment in environmentally-friendly technology like electric cars. special correspondent malcolm brabant reports from norway, the world's fastest growing electric car market. >> reporter: norway prides itself on being one of the world's most pristine countries. yet amid the stunning scenery there are reminders that its vast wealth comes from decades of gas and oil production. but norwegians are turning their backs on fossil fuels and embracing electric cars like nowhere else.
ann kunish, who moved from wisconsin 30 years ago is one of the new converts. >> this car is a no brainer, there's no question about it. it's very, very easy to choose electric cars. the norwegian government has made it much more financially feasible to buy them. they don't have the same fees. free parking in municipal spots. more and more charging stations are being built, lower yearly fee. to use the roads, no tolls. >> reporter: new electric car sales in norway have now passed 100,000, giving it the highest per capita ownership level in the world. in comparison, there are over half a million electric cars in the u.s. to have the same percentage as norway, america would require six and a quarter million electric cars on the road. this is oslo's rush hour, as electric car drivers hunt a parking spot at the city's biggest charging station.
this is almost completely renewable energy, as 98% of the country's power comes from hydro electric plants. norwegians endure some of the world's heaviest taxes and removing sales tariffs from electric cars has been irresistible. the government aims to end sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2025. >> there has to be a big difference if you choose a zero emission car or a polluting car. when you buy it on the tax system. >> reporter: industry advocate petter haugneland argues taxes on fossil fuel vehicles should be increased to speed up the process. >> in norway, transport sector is a key element to lower the emissions. we need to cut our emissions really fast if we're going to do something about the climate problem. >> reporter: in march, president trump cancelled a fuel economy ruling put in place by the obama administration requiring auto makers to achieve 54 miles a
gallon by 2025, double the present level. environmentalists claimed higher standards would boost sales of hybrid and electric cars. >> the assault on the america auto industry, believe me, is over. it's over. >> reporter: norway's environment minister vidar helgesen belongs to a center right party that once aligned with the republicans; it now has more in common with the democrats. helgesen didn't criticize president trump directly, but sent a clear message not to turn back the clock. >> our position is that we very much need to build competitiveness for the future. we also need to care about the jobs that don't exist today that need to exist in the future. we know that the chinese are investing massively in renewable energy. we know the chinese and other major up coming economies are investing a lot in electric vehicles. i think they're building green competitiveness for the future. >> reporter: and this is precisely what the minister is talking about: an electric car
start up in southern sweden which is reinventing the steering wheel to be more like a game console. >> this is not how we will mechanically achieve it in the car, because this is not very nice for the user. there are different ways mechanically we'll achieve it which will be unveiled later this year. >> reporter: the c.e.o. lewis horne has taken on 30 engineers and hopes to employ 1,000 people once production begins in early 2019 on a compact car that's still under wraps. >> so you can see a little hint of two models which are the result of a lot of research and design. in the future, the jobs are just different. now historically, when we've had an industry that's so damaging to our health now, that's not a place where you should be creating more jobs. we should be creating more jobs in the future of these industries. >> there is no more beautiful sight than an american made car. >> reporter: the owner of this
56 chevy belair couldn't agree more. henning kjensli works for the american car club of norway. while he's sympathetic to the need for job creation, he's also in favor of going green. >> developing and researching new technologies costs tons of money. and right now the best earnings in the american auto market is in the full size pickup and s.u.v. segment. what i believe is they should still make those cars and sell them and make money off of them but they need to reinvest the profits from those cars into new and modern technology. >> reporter: fuel prices are the crucial difference between the u.s. and norway. norwegians pay about $7 a gallon. gas is roughly five dollars cheaper in america, reducing the financial incentive to drive electric. this is a partially american made electric car, the $35,000 ampera-e. it's a collaboration between general motors and south korea's l.g. g.m.'s european arm, opel
launched the car in norway in may. impressed by its range of more than 300 miles on a single charge, so many norwegians have been ordering the ampera-e that there's now a 15 month waiting list. >> we are not going back. we are heading into the future. i think in ten years we will see that at least half of the sale from opel is electric, if things are moving in the direction we are seeing right now. >> reporter: norway may be a world leader in terms of electric cars. but its environmental record is far from perfect. its greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing. most of these have come from the oil and gas sector which provide norway with its wealth. critics are unhappy that norway is pushing to expand fossil fuel production in the arctic and believe the country's attitude to climate change is inconsistent. >> it's schizophrenic because norway is a nice little country of petroholics. >> reporter: this top of the range electric s.u.v. is the
pride and joy of frederic hauge, a veteran eco-warrior who was a pioneer of electric cars in norway. >> you can say maybe that the electric car is a trojan horse towards the norwegian oil industry. the battery revolution will bring down the oil price to $20 to $25 a barrel before 2030 and the stupid things norway is doing in the arctic the oil drilling will also be stopped because of economic reasons. >> we're setting up a task force, in every federal agency to identify and remove any regulation that undermines american auto production and any other kind of production. >> reporter: such statements alarm environmentalists in denmark, 300 miles to the south, denmark generates about 40% of its electricity from wind power and is on track to hit its target of 50% by 2020. but these and other renewable energy efforts need to be increased, according to danish climate scientist sebastian mernild. >> regarding this green development we can hardly see any impact so far because the
amount of c.o.2 in the atmosphere is increasing year by year. we are for sure helping the environment but not enough. and we need to speed up this green development. >> reporter: the european union, whose environment agency is based in copenhagen, is fully committed to the paris climate agreement, which requires signatories to tighten up emissions by 2020 and beyond. its dismayed that the president may leave the accord. climate change specialist magda jozwicka. >> it is of course very important that countries around the world stick to the paris agreement because overall we need to work on our long term decarbonization goals and the long term well being. >> reporter: the scandinavians doubt that environmental arguments will change the president's mind, but they hope the economic case for electric vehicles will have more success. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in norway.
>> brangham: decades ago, china began a practice that human rights advocates and medical ethicists condemned: taking organs, such as kidneys and livers, from executed prisoners in order to transplant them into patients who needed them. the chinese government says its reformed the practice: now they say they recover organs only from volunteers. but some say the practice continues. hari sreenivasan and producer dan sagalyn have the story. >> sreenivasan: this is the moment when life is renewed. a transplant surgeon, seen here, removes a kidney from a volunteer donor and inserts it into someone whose kidneys are failing. in most cases patients who need a new organ have to wait months or years before one is available. but this man who told us he had end stage kidney disease 11 years ago, he could wait no longer. >> i was on dialysis already two
years and i was constantly going downhill. >> sreenivasan: we met him in vancouver canada; he asked that we conceal his identity by hiding his face and replacing his voice to protect his privacy. >> they called these people the living dead, you just haven't died yet. but you're gone. >> sreenivasan: because of his age and rare blood type, he says he would have died before reaching the top of the waiting list for a new kidney. so urged by family and friends, he went to china's capital, beijing, in 2006. within one week he received a new kidney. he says he paid $10,000 for the transplant. in canada it would have been free since the government pays for healthcare. in the u.s. the average hospital charge for a kidney transplant is $150,000. traveling to another country for this kind of surgery is called transplant tourism. >> i went there dead and came back alive. >> sreenivasan: on average 22 people die every day in the united states waiting for a transplant. the median wait time for a lung here is four months; a heart almost a year; and a kidney two years.
transplant tourists understandably have been drawn to other countries by promises of little to no wait. it's not just canada generating transplant tourists, meanwhile, on the other side of the world at about the same time, an israeli doctor had a patient who also needed a transplant. >> back in 2005 a patient of mine, came to me one day and told me "doc, i'm fed up waiting here in israel for a suitable heart donor to become available and i was told by my insurance company that i should go to china because they have scheduled me to undergo heart transplantation" and he specified a specific date, two weeks ahead of time. >> sreenivasan: heart surgeon dr. jacob lavee is president of the israel society of transplantation. while kidney transplants can involve obtaining a kidney from a living donor, that is not the case with a heart transplant. >> if a patient was promised to undergo a heart transplant on a specific date, this could only mean that those who promised
that knew ahead of time when his potential donor would be dead. >> sreenivasan: human rights investigator ethan gutmann and lawyer david matas have testified before congress about china's transplant system. >> it is unconscionable to kill a healthy, innocent person so that a sick person can live. >> sreenivasan: they say they know how organs in china become available with no wait time. >> they have obviously got a lot of people sitting around, waiting to be killed for a transplant. and they are picking the right person to be killed depending on who the patient is. >> sreenivasan: matas and gutmann say chinese doctors have coordinated with chinese prison officials, and inmate executions take place when patients are in need of organs. medical professionals and human rights advocates say this practice violates the prisoner's human rights. however, this is how one chinese doctor justified the practice. this video was produced by the chinese government. >> ( translated ): to apply the traditional chinese way of thinking the prisoners committed
sins in their lives. if we let them donate their organs, well in a sense they are offering salvation, they can atone for their crime with that opportunity. >> sreenivasan: at a press conference in 2005 china's vice minister of health huang jiefu admitted the government took organs from executed prisoners. but in 2014 huang jiefu, who is now leading the reform efforts in china declared that starting in 2015, china would stop using organs from executed prisoners. but matas and gutmann believe they have evidence that this practice still continues. they say inmates on death row include prisoners of conscience, such as practitioners of falun gong who become unwilling sources for organs. falun gong is a form of chinese meditation and exercise with a spiritual underpinning. since 1999 the chinese government has cracked down on falun gong charging it with being an unregistered religion and cult that aims to subvert the state. >> we interviewed falun gong who
got out of prison got out of china and were systematically blood tested, organ examined not for their health they were being tortured and only the type of examinations relevant to transplantation. >> sreenivasan: wang chunying and yin liping practice falun gong. both say they were detained a number of times between 1999 and 2009. >> ( translated ): in 2008 i was forced to take a blood draw. the atmosphere was very tense and horrific. i thought this blood draw must be related to organ harvesting. they must be looking for matching organs. >> sreenivasan: the chinese government might say we just needed more blood that is all. we didn't take her organs, we didn't do anything to her body, we just took blood to make sure there wasn't an infection in the yard? how do you know the government wanted your blood for any other reasons? >> ( translated ): because the living conditions were terrible in the re-education camp. they didn't care about whether we lived or died. >> ( translated ): once i was forced to take a blood draw. there were multiple times of other tests, such as m.r.i., ultrasound and chest x-ray.
>> sreenivasan: gutmann says he's interviewed ethnic minorities from tibet and xinjiang who all tell similar stories about medical examinations while in prison. >> when you start to hear the same description of an examination in a completely different language from a completely different group, but it's the same examination. this is one of the big tip offs that this is really directed towards china's enemies. it's political and religious enemies. >> sreenivasan: matas and gutmann say there's another possible motive driving this practice: profit. in the past, some chinese hospitals even advertised the costs of new organs: $98,000 to $130,000 for a liver, $130,000 to $160,000 for a heart. by reviewing chinese medical publications, hospital website data, and making calls to hospitals, gutmann and matas estimate there could be 60,000 to 100,000 transplants still taking place each year in china. the chinese government rejects
the accusations. in 2016, it says there were just over 13,000 transplants performed in china. compare that to the united states-that had 33,000 transplants last year. in an email to the newshour, a spokesman from the chinese embassy in washington, d.c. writes: "the chinese government firmly abide by the internationally recognized ethical principles about organ transplantation, [and] adhere to the voluntary organ donation after the death of chinese citizens." we asked if political prisoners were singled out for execution for their organs. the embassy did not respond to this question. chinese officials do say since 2015, they no longer recover organs from prisoners. dr. huang jiefu, who is leading reform efforts, acknowledged in an interview with a chinese newspaper progress has been slow. >> our use of death row prisoner organs before the establishment of a citizen organ donation system was an act of desperation to save the lives of patients suffering organ failure. when the citizen donation system
was set up, we abolished this source of organs as quickly as possible. >> sreenivasan: in february of this year at a vatican conference on organ trafficking chinese medical leaders agreed that using organs from executed prisoners is a crime and should be condemned worldwide. a number of american doctors who have been to china say they believe the country has taken major steps to stop the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners. >> the reports that we get from canada or the united states, or from the middle east of individuals undergoing transplantation, that's markedly reduced but it has not completely stopped. >> sreenivasan: dr. francis delmonico is an advisor to the world health organization and former president of the transplantation society. he's leading the international effort to help china establish a new system of organ donation. when did you first become aware that china might be executing people for their organs? >> 2005. >> sreenivasan: how?
>> i was invited to the peking union medical college by jiefu huang, who was, at the time, a vice minister of health, and he was a liver transplant surgeon. and he said to me, "frank, this is-- we've got a horrendous problem and i need your help." individuals in china were being executed and those were the, they became the source of organs for many people from around the world going to china. as many as 11,000 transplants being performed, and this is in 2006. >> sreenivasan: while some doctors like huang jiefu wanted this practice stopped, others who were making money from organ trafficking did not, according to delmonico. to put pressure on china, a number of medical associations and journals launched a boycott, beginning in 2006, banning chinese research papers that relied on data from executed prisoners. at the same time delmonico and other doctors helped china build a new and legitimate system for organ recovery, similar to the system in the u.s., requiring
consent and only from live or deceased donors in hospitals. has china stopped harvesting organs from people that they've executed? >> i don't know that for certain. so i can say to you it's markedly reduced. but can i assure you or the rest of the world that it's completely stopped? i can't. >> sreenivasan: delmonico says there's a new generation of doctors in china that want and embrace the reforms that are taking place in china's transplantation system. but human rights investigator ethan guttmann says china is still killing prisoners and taking their organs. >> our report shows tremendous continuity over time, even when the chinese are making completely different statements about this. >> sreenivasan: leading experts to call for inspections of chinese hospitals. >> what needs to be done now is an international committee, an expert committee, that would be allowed to visit china, and verify the source of his organs. >> sreenivasan: in his desperation, this man says he
didn't think about where his new kidney came from, and looking back, that he has no regrets. >> it's given me a new outlook on life. i had an opportunity to see my children graduate from universities and have a happy life with my wife. >> sreenivasan: for the pbs newshour i'm hari sreenivasan. >> brangham: memorial day of course is the traditional kickoff to summer. and for many of us that means time to catch up on our reading. but with so many books to choose from, jeffrey brown turns to two writers for some help making those picks. its part of our regular "newshour bookshelf" series. >> brown: some of us go for lighter fare, some catch up on missed readings, and others go for re-readings of old favorites. we get some summer picks from two prominent writers who also own bookstores. louise erdrich is author of 15 novels as well as nonfiction and poetry. her most recent novel is "la rose," and the roundhouse was winner of the national book award for fiction. she's the owner of birchbark books in minneapolis.
and emma straub's novels include "modern lovers" and "the vacationers," she is co-owner with her husband of the brooklyn, new york bookstore, books are magic. welcome to the both of you. i'm guessing that you both are year-round readers, but let me start with you louise. does summer reading have a particular resonance for you, things you go after? >> it does. i'm here in minnesota, so the i go to the lake, and i bring a load of books, and i sink into them, and read wherever i am around a lake. that's how we do it. >> brown: that's how you do it in minnesota, huh? >> that's how we do it. it's reading on the docks. it's reading if you're floating in the lake. it's reading if it rains, everything. that's where you read, and you can read yourself into a sort of stupor, which you then solve with a lot of grilled meat. >> brown: and emma straub, what
do you do in the summer for reading? >> well starting this summer, i'm just going to go to louise's house by the lake with a stack of books and wait for grilled meat. >> that'll be fun. it's how it happens. >> it sounds perfect. i guess i've always thought of summer reading as, the stack of books i would bring with me to summer camp. you know, when you have no other options. so you'll have to bring as many as you'll think you'll read. and then, when you read all of those books in three days, you have your parents send you another box. >> brown: so louise, you're going to start us off with recommendations, and you're starting us off with a crime thriller, right? what is it? >> i am, actually there are 25 of donna leon crime, mysteries set in venice. venice itself becomes a character in these books. the-- it's eternal and eternal fragility is really encapsulated in the books in an effortless way.
it's part of the tension of these books. they're commissario guido brunetti mysteries. so wrapped up in these compelling characters that, i think you could go through all 25 this summer. i think you could jeff. each one is better than the last. >> brown: alright emma, what do you want to start off with? something comparable. >> well, you know it's funny. i think my picks are sort of going in the opposite direction. which is, rather than having an entire body of something to dive into. what i have been leaning toward recently, are things that come in small packages. and that is short stories and essay collections, that is, a woman named derga chew-bose, "too much and not the mood." which is an f.s.g. paperback original that looks like a work of art and is a work of art. there is about identity, and
family, and becoming an adult, and personhood. >> brown: and there was one other >> it's called "sunshine state" by a woman named sarah gerard. it's an essay collection about florida, which is where the and it's a deep dive into identity, and weirdness and location, and family. and i think that together, these books point toward a really exciting and fresh new like corner of american essays in particular. >> brown: so louise, you also had some choices on the list you sent us. a little more serious nonfiction and poetry. >> i do. and i don't think people usually take poetry to the beach to read but, this is a different book than your normal poetry book. no poetry is normal, but this >> brown: and we should say, its called "when my brother was an
aztec" by natalie diaz >> natalie diaz is a powerhouse of a writer and this book is a wild ride. it has headlong rushes of ecstatic beautiful language, small details about life on mahovi reservation. natalie diaz is mohavi, one of and this is set in arizona, mainly, but it's also of course set in her heart and her head. and there's a sensibility that is so dark but so funny. it's just such a rich, compelling piece of literature you know, its just the kind of book that you want to live with each poem for a while. >> brown: emma, what about your- - you gave a fiction collection. how about a beach fiction escape. >> there's a new collection of short stories that just came out
a couple of weeks ago. by leslie nnekah arimah, it's called "what it means when a man falls from the sky." it's about family and relationships. and it's got a gorgeous cover and it's been sitting there and i keep walking past and fondling it, and picking up and waiting for the right time to read it. so i'm really excited to read that one. it's called "do not become alarmed" and the reason that it's almost cruel to recommend for vacation reading is because it is a vacation gone extremely, horribly, horribly wrong, it's about-- >> brown: enjoy your vacation right? >> if you're going on a cruise i do not recommend that you bring this book. it's about two families who go on a cruise together and they decide to disembark the boat one day and go and have a little adventure. and then the children get separated from their parents and a lot of things go really, really badly. but it's an incredibly gripping thriller.
it's one of those books that you really will stay up late to read and you're just saying "oh, i'll just read one more chapter, i'll just read one more chapter." it's so delicious when you get one of those books and that's >> brown: okay, let me just ask you both very briefly, for a rereading, some old favorite. louise you first, an old favorite that you look forward >> i'm thinking about all of lorrie moore's books, because i had such, it was such a pleasure to read them the first time and i thought, i just want to re- experience them the way i did before so i started "bark" again, "birds of america", i have "who will run the frog hospital." they are funny, sharp, of course she's known for her extremely sharp wit, sharp observations, her tremendous ability to capture the moments between couples that really, that really, where they grate against each other or where they come together. those are beautiful moments in the book and sometimes they're very poignant. >> brown: okay, emma straub, briefly, your reread? >> so my reread choice is jennifer egan's "a visit from
the goon squad." when i read it it just, i felt kind of like i'd been hit over the head with a frying pan. i just, you know, i saw stars were twirling around my head like a cartoon character. i just was gobsmacked. and every time i have dipped my toe back in i am delighted all over >> brown: okay, now we're going to have more books from your list online and viewers can go there later. for now, summer books with louise erdich and emma straub. thank you very much. >> thank you. i'm william brangham. join us on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and see you so. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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