Politics

This Nobel Nominee Actually Saves Babies

When President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, that meant there were 205 nominees for the award who didn’t. One of them was Jim Garrow of the Bethune Institute.
               
Let history decide who was most deserving. Obama was elected president on a platform of hope and change. Jim Garrow has spent $23 million over the past 10 years rescuing an estimated 31,000 Chinese baby girls from near-certain death under China’s one-child-per-couple policy.
               
Not only is the work difficult and costly, it can also be deadly. In 2004, two of Garrow’s employees were killed outside Harbin, China, in a skirmish with baby-stealers, mercenaries who kidnap and sell babies to foreign couples and adoption services.
               
"They got in the way," says Garrow grimly. "And there’s a lot of that in China, particularly out in the hinterlands."
               
Still, the murders haven’t lessened his resolve to continue what has inadvertently become his life’s work.
               
As Garrow tells it, he entered the baby-rescue business by accident. A Canadian, he was making good money in Chongqing, China, as founder and executive director of the Bethune Institute’s popular Pink Pagoda schools, private English-immersion schools for children of the Chinese elite. Today he runs 168 schools with nearly 6,300 employees.
               
One day he found his assistant weeping at the office. She had just learned that her sister’s husband was insisting that they smother their newborn daughter in order to make way for a son. Garrow was devastated.
               
He promised his assistant they would save her sister’s baby, no matter what the cost. By pulling some strings, he was able to place the infant in an adoption agency. That was 10 years ago.
               
"I kind of fell into it," said Garrow, who divides his time between China and Ontario, Canada. "Next thing you know, we had people calling us, contacting us, wanting our help with saving more babies. How do you say no?"
               
Today, Garrow devotes an entire separate staff to what’ s known as the Pink Pagoda campaign. He makes it clear that he’s not an running an adoption agency; rather, he facilitates adoptions, first by spreading the word to Chinese families, particularly those in remote villages, that their babies are wanted by couples all over the world.
               
His staff intervenes by transporting couples to central locations where they can turn over their babies to government-run adoption agencies. The process isn’t as straightforward as it sounds: Giving up babies for adoption is officially illegal in China, and spiriting a baby into an agency often requires knowing–and paying off–the right people.
                
Sometimes Chinese couples unable to have children of their own will volunteer to take in a baby girl. Other times, the relatives of an unwanted infant are willing to care for her but unable to afford it. In both case, the Pink Pagoda campaign covers their costs for the first year.
                
"We’re doing this to be helpful, but with 136 employees doing nothing but that, we’re like the military," he says. "We’re a well-oiled machine."
               
Garrow has also become an increasingly vocal critic of China’s one-child policy. An estimated 23 million girls have been "lost" since the rule was introduced in 1979.
               
"We’ve tried to help stop the war against China’s daughters. Because that’s what this is: a war. A genocide," said Garrow. "The Holocaust killed six million Jews — we’re talking about 23 million babies. The unintended consequence is that you now have 23 million men without hope for a wife and a family."
               
He’s in a unique position to speak frankly due to his relationships with top Chinese leaders, many of whose children attend his schools. There’s more opposition to the one-child policy among China’s elite than many people realize, he says. Indeed, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Chinese university president
               
Part of his access to Chinese society can be attributed to his canny decision to name the institute after Norman Bethune. A Canadian thoracic specialist, medical inventor and card-carrying Communist, Dr. Bethune led a medical team to China in 1937 at the behest of the Communist Party of Canada during the Second Sino-Japanese War. His work on the battlefield was so revered that, after his death in 1939, he became one of the few foreigners to have statutes of himself erected in China.
               
Garrow isn’t exactly a political disciple of Bethune’s — he describes himself as "a right-wing Christian all the way"– but the institute has benefited from its association with the doctor, who remains an iconic figure in China.
                
"It’s called being smart. It’s called getting doors to open instead of close," he says.
               
Winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he says, would have given him an international platform  "challenge the Chinese to face up to what they’ve done." It also would have meant the end of the Pink Pagoda campaign, at least in the short term. Still, he says, it would have been worth it.
               
"If you’re going to go out with a blaze, go out with a blaze," Garrow says. "But have a plan. We would have had to come at it sideways. I wouldn’t have been able to be out front. But the work would have continued."
                
One thing about the Nobel Peace Prize: They give out a new one every year. It’s hard to picture the Nobel committee bestowing the award on a self-professed conservative Christian and critic of Chinese social policy, but stranger things have happened. Nobody saw the Obama award coming, either.

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  • kinggging

    It is pretty disappointing for a prize all humanity looks to as the pininacle of recognition for excellance in human behaviour, that a man of deed is second place to man of hope . Nobel Peace Prize was seriously diminished that year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jsalomone Joseph Salomone

    It isn’t practiced as much as it used to be in China.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jsalomone Joseph Salomone

    I read an article somewhere that said the Nobel Peace Prize is really just a satire of itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jsalomone Joseph Salomone

    I don’t always kill children. But when I do, I make sure I’m wearing my Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Bill Jones

    You guys are buying into what this self-promoting, sociopathic fraudster is selling? Really?

  • medicine

    A cowardly hit and run comment.

  • http://libertyandgrace.org/ LibertyGrace

    How is Dr. Garrow a “sociopathic fraudster?”

  • Hip Gnosis

    For starters, he calls himself “Dr. Garrow,” when he holds no actual doctorate. He has an honorary doctorate, which is basically a certificate of appreciation given by an academic institution in gratitude for something like speaking at a commencement or appearing at a seminar. This pretend degree is from a pretend school–that is, an unaccredited diploma mill that is known for fraud. It attracts believers to pay their hard-earned money for fake degrees so that they can say they have degrees they didn’t earn.

    Here’s a little about North Carolina College of Theology, the fake school whence he claims his PhD: http://davidholford.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/defrauding-the-church/

    If you’re hesitant to believe that this is indeed a diploma mill, note that it offers credit for “life experience.” Then note that credit for life experience is one of the hallmarks of diploma mills, because no accredited degree-granting institution (no matter whether it’s Harvard, the University of Alabama, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, or anywhere else) grants credit for life experience.

    Furthermore, he has made these three incompatible claims:

    1. To have been in the CIA the past 45yrs.
    2. To have been nominated for the Order of Canada
    3. To have been born in Scotland

    The Order of Canada is an award for Canadian citizens. Neither a Scottish nor Canadian citizen can possess the TS/SCI clearance with NOFORN access required in order to work in such a capacity with the CIA for the past 45yrs.

    He also calls Pink Pagoda a charity when asking for money, but it is not a registered charity, nor is it even a non-profit organization. It is for-profit, and even then, he claims to have Chinese businesses under his Bethune Institute shell, including one that imports Tim Horton coffee. Tim Horton coffee has denied any such affiliation.

    Also, look back to the 1990s, when Garrow started a scam called the International Internet Alliance. He defrauded dozens upon dozens of people, including ministries, of thousands of dollars before shutting down his operation.

    On top of that, read up on his conduct as a high school teacher in Ontario (suspended for misconduct), and later as manager of a flying school in Waterloo (intentional deception and illegal aircraft issues, resulting in the school having to shut down despite his abrupt departure). He held a few other gigs that were also short-term and ended suddenly, and none of which jibed with his claims of being in the CIA for 45yrs., being a folk hero in most of China, or saving 40000+ babies.

    Speaking of Pink Pagoda and babies, Garrow at one point claimed that a certain Chinese lawyer was the new legal counsel for PP. This lawyer, Kenneth Xue (senior partner with the Grandall Group), has stated that he had met Garrow once a decade prior, but that he’d never agreed or even discussed such a position with Pink Pagoda, and that he’s actually angry at Garrow’s false claims.

    I don’t blame you if you’ve been fooled by Garrow up until now. He’s a slick operator, and he’s very careful to minimize details so as to not be caught. Think back to any of his claims, and ponder whether you or anyone else could realistically verify whether or not that claim was true, and you’ll reasonably conclude that one could not. If you need an example, take his claimed Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Nominations are sealed for 50yrs. after that year’s award is announced, and Garrow knows that. He conveniently states that he cannot reveal the identity of the Chinese man who nominated him (for security reasons, of course), so he expects us all to just take his word for it for the next 50yrs. That’s how charlatans operate, and he’s a pro.

    Brian Stuy is a fellow who has been cataloguing Chinese-North American adoption services and administration for years, and it is with the requisite familiarity that he has checked the veracity of Garrow’s claims. For a primer on his conclusions, specifically on Garrow’s fictional book “Pink Pagoda,” I suggest you read Stuy’s Amazon review of that book: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2R3FJ41QRATDJ

    I’m not trying to be antagonistic, although I understand if this might come off this way, because one’s immediate inclination to such shocking news is normally disbelief and/or defensiveness. But I truly suggest that anyone look more closely at “Dr.” Garrow’s history, and ask whether stark inconsistencies, factually irreconcilable claims, a complete lack of verifiable details, numerous claims that he is a fraud, grandiose claims, etc. mean that it’s more likely that he isn’t who or what he says he is. I wish he were, because the things he has claimed to have accomplished would have been wonderful, but that’s exactly what makes him such an effective fraud.

  • http://libertyandgrace.org/ LibertyGrace

    Well you certainly know how to answer a question. Thank you and Aloha!

  • http://libertyandgrace.org/ LibertyGrace

    After doing my own homework and writing two articles on Barack Obama, his legacy is more likely to be remembered as one of “Hopelessness” rather that “Hope” and “Change” that we did not want.

  • beijingyank

    I almost fell for it. Something about him didn’t smell right. He claimed on a radio interview $150,000,000 on deposit at the Bank of China was taken from him by the Chinese government and laughed about it.
    Pink Pagoda is not a charity. It is a for profit organization. So, I think it’s important and prudent for anyone that wants to help Pink Pagoda to get the company’s tax records, and find out if the company has been audited before committing any money.

    Something does not smell right.

  • Hip Gnosis

    (sorry, I didn’t see how to view my old comments until now)

    Absolutely agree. Delusions of grandeur have led many a charlatan into leadership roles, and almost always with the help–and at the unfortunate expense–of well-intending people with good hearts.