‘Make him an offer he can’t refuse’ is the best known line from The Godfather book and film. But what made Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, a polymath inventor in Silicon Valley refuse $60 million offered to him?
Middlebrook invented the system in his workshop, and called it the broad-spectrum fractional sequestration combustion gas liquefier. After making it work on a small scale, he went shopping for funding domestically. Neither the government nor private enterprise was willing to offer the kind of money needed to bring the invention from the workshop to an industrial scale.
Then in 2011, China came knocking. On two occasions Middlebrook met with Communist Party delegations: from Hubei Province in San Jose in 2011, and Jiangsu in San Francisco, February 2012.
China, the leading consumer of coal and responsible for the greatest pollution from burning of coal, got wind of Jeffrey’s invention through a MIT scientist of Chinese origin and made an offer which was difficult to refuse — 60 million Dollars in R & D funding which was very tempting but Jeffrey turned down the offer. Why?
Middlebrook happened to read news in The Epoch Times that Chinese military hospitals have harvested the organs from tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience, predominantly practitioners of Falun Gong, a peaceful spiritual discipline. He read about mind-bending torture and unyielding state-led persecution. And he balked.
“When I started reading that I became extremely morally conflicted,” Middlebrook said. “On the one hand, here’s China potentially dangling $60 million over my head. That’s very seductive. It’s very difficult to get R&D funding for new technologies. It’s a difficult process no matter the tech.” Middlebrook continued: “Here’s a foreign government holding money under our noses, and then I start reading about horrific things in China. I thought: ‘I can’t do this. I can’t take this money. I can’t go to China. No matter how much my technology means, no matter how much they are going to invest, I cannot take China’s money.’”
He continued: “In one sense, there’s a higher principle there, but not at the expense of innocent Falun Gong practitioners who are being murdered for their organs. I can’t be part of that. It’s kind of analogous to those people who knew that Auschwitz was going on and turned a blind eye. This to me is what China is doing, murdering law abiding vulnerable Falun Gong adherents for their organs. It’s China’s Auschwitz. ‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people.’ ”Jeffrey said “my moral integrity means more to me than money, so I walked away from the negotiations. I can live with myself knowing that I am not taking blood money from China.”
We hope like Jeffrey, people of conscience in China and worldwide will make a concerted effort to expose the evil crimes against humanity.
Thousands in China are risking their lives so that others, like us, can know the truth. Let us be worthy of their courage. Let us put an end to this evil.