Reports of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China


Reports of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China

In March 2006, Falun Gong affiliated media "The Epoch Times" published a number of articles alleging that the Chinese government and its agencies, including the People's Liberation Army, were conducting widespread and systematic organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners. [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-3-10/39111.html Worse Than Any Nightmare—Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup] , Epoch Times, March 10, 2006] It was alleged that practitioners detained in forced labour camps, hospital basements, or prisons, were being blood and urine tested, their information stored on computer databases, and then matched with organ recipients.The Epoch Times, Special Category: " [http://en.epochtimes.com/211,111,,1.html Organ Harvesting in China's Labor Camps] ", accessed 13/6/08] When an organ was required, it alleged, they were injected with drugs to stop the heart, their organs removed and later sold, and their bodies incinerated.

The first series of allegations were based on apparent eye-witness testimony of two individuals, and directed specifically at the Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province.Ji Da, [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-3-17/39405.html New Witness Confirms Existence of Chinese Concentration Camp, Says Organs Removed from Live Victims] , Epoch Times, March 17, 2006] The story received some deal of media attention. Within one month, some third party investigators, including representatives of the US Department of State, said that there was insufficient evidence to support this specific allegation.Congressional Research Service report, http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf, page CRS-7, paragraph 3]

A few months after the Sujiatun incident, in July 2006, former Canadian Secretary of State, David Kilgour, and Human Rights Lawyer David Matas, published a report of their investigation into the reports of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Their report titled [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/ "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China"] concluded that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners are victims of systematic organ harvesting, whilst still alive, throughout China and that the practice is still ongoing. Kilgour and Matas state that several pieces of evidence contained in their reports are publicly verifiable.

Investigative reports from Sky News and BBC add evidence to the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report. [Sky News, [http://www.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,30200-waghorn_p10864,00.html Suspicions Raised Over Organ Donors] , accessed 1/12/07] The Christian Science Monitor says the report’s evidence is circumstantial but persuasive. [The Monitor's View (August 3, 2006) [http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0803/p08s02-comv.html "Organ harvesting and China's openness"] , "The Christian Science Monitor", retrieved August 6, 2006] The Chinese Embassy in Canada dismissed the Kilgour-Matas report soon after its release as "rumors and totally groundless," stating that China abided by World Health Organization principles. Amnesty International considers this statement "to be at odds with the facts in view of the widely documented practice of the buying and selling of organs of death penalty prisoners in China."Amnesty International, [http://web.archive.org/web/20070124013341/http://www.amnesty.org.nz/web/pages/home.nsf/dd5cab6801f1723585256474005327c8/83fba691f912206bcc2571d3001824ed!OpenDocument Falun Gong Persecution Factsheet] , ] On August 2006, a Congressional Research Service report said that some of the report’s key allegations appeared to be inconsistent with the findings of other investigations. [CRS Report for Congress (August 11, 2006) [http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33437.pdf "China and Falun Gong"] , "Congressional Research Service", retrieved November 12, 2007] The US state department maintains that " [i] ndependent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting." [http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=April&x=20060416141157uhyggep0.5443231&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China ] ] The authors stand by their conclusion. U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak, in December 2007 said "The chain of evidence they [Kilgour and Matas] are documenting shows a coherent picture that causes concern." [ [http://www.david-kilgour.com/2007/Dec_03_2007_01a.htm An Interview with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Organ Harvesting in China] ]

The Sujiatun case

Throughout March, "The Epoch Times", a Falun Gong affiliated outlet, published articles by a number of apparent eyewitnesses, most of them anonymous, alleging organ harvesting in Sujiatun and beyond. The case was referred to as the "Sujiatun Concentration Camp". One apparent eyewitness was said to have worked in the hospital and was aware of Falun Gong practitioners being kept alive in the basement, "After their organs were cut out, some of these people were thrown directly into the crematorium to be burnt," she alleged. Another anonymous source included a senior military doctor, who confirmed the claims, and said that Sujiatun was just one of up to 36 such sites across China. Practitioners were rapidly transferred between camps by closed freight train on special routes, "handcuffed like rotisserie chickens," he alleged. [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-3-31/39910.html Source Reveals Other Chinese Concentration Camps] , Epoch Times, March 31, 2006]

On May 20, 2006, Mr. David Kilgour conducted an interview in the United States with the ex-wife of a Chinese surgeon, who, according to her statement, was involved in removing corneas from live Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. She stated that her ex-husband, a neurosurgeon, was involved in removing cornea from more than 2000 live prisoners - from end of 2001 to October 2003. According to her statement, the victims were injected with a drug that caused heart failure and had their organs removed, often, while the patient was not yet brain-dead. Later the victims would be moved to other rooms for extraction of other organs. [Appendix - Section 18, Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting ofFalun Gong Practitioners in China [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/report0701/report20070131.htm#_Toc158023111] , by David Matas, Esq. and Hon. David Kilgour, Esq., 31 January 2007]

"The Washington Times" also reported on the case. A journalist seeking political asylum in the United States, "Jin Zhong", also claimed knowledge of the harvesting operation, and added that hospital workers had taken jewelry and watches from the dead and sold them. [Gertz, Bill (March 24, 2006) "China harvesting inmates' organs, journalist says", "Washington Times", retrieved July 6, 2006]

Earlier reports on the issue include a 2001 report that appeared in The Washington Times of a doctor, who, according to his statement, was involved in removing corneas and harvesting skin from more than 100 executed prisoners, "including one who had not yet died". Wang Guoqi, a "burn specialist", said in his written statement that he had also seen other doctors remove vital organs from executed prisoners and that his hospital, the "Tianjin Paramilitary Police General Brigade Hospital", sold those organs for enormous profits. The Laogai foundation said that it had gone to "great lengths" to verify Wang's identity and that both the foundation and congressional staff members found the doctor's statements "highly credible." Wang's detailed statements, provided to The Washington Post by The Laogai foundation, include the dates and places of executions, the names of doctors involved in organ removals and graphic descriptions of the medical procedures. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A49239-2001Jun26?language=printer Chinese Doctor Tells Of Organ Removals After Executions ] ] According to a 2006 Congressional Executive Commission report, Huang Jiefu, China's Vice Minister of Health, had indicated in July of 2005 that as high as 95% of organ transplants in China derive from execution. [Congressional Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006, p. 59; note 224, p.201: ‘‘Organ Transplants: A Zone of Accelerated Regulation’’ [Qiguan yizhi: jiakuai guizhi de didai] , Caijing Magazine (Online), 28 November 05, reporting that over 95 percent of organs transplanted in China come from executed prisoners.] The report states that circa 65% of "capital offenses" in China are for nonviolent "crime". [Congressional Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006, note 210, p. 200]

International response

On Apr 19, 2006, Sky News went undercover with cameras inside Chinese hospitals where nurses and doctors confirmed readily-available organs are taken from prisoners, and that the hospital's abundance of donors is due to its close connections with Chinese security forces. Sky News' Website says that "China has been accused of taking organs from executed prisoners to supply the international transplant market. British surgeons say there is evidence that prisoners are being selected as potential donors before they are killed." [Sky News, [http://www.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,30200-waghorn_p10864,00.html Suspicions Raised Over Organ Donors] , accessed 1/12/07]

On June 13, 2006, Edward McMillan-Scott, vice president of the European Parliament, said he believed that nearly 400 hospitals in China shared the lucrative trade in transplant organs, with websites advertising new kidneys for $60,000. McMillan-Scott, Edward (June 13, 2006) [http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=97&ArticleID=1560709 "Secret atrocities of Chinese regime"] , "Yorkshire Post", June 13, 2006, retrieved June 28, 2006]

Doubt

A Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman rejected the claims as a “lie... not worth refuting.” The Chinese government maintains that the hospital is incapable of housing more than 6,000 persons, there is no basement for incarcerating practitioners as alleged, and that there was simply no way to cremate corpses in secret, continuously, and in large volumes. [ [http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/28-03-2006/77946-0 "China negatives Falun Gong allegations of organ harvesting"] (March 28, 2006) "Pravda", retrieved July 8, 2006] . Amnesty International, responding to Chinese government's statements on the issue, pointed out that it considers them to be "at odds with the facts in view of the widely documented practice of the buying and selling of organs of death penalty prisoners in China."Amnesty International, [http://web.archive.org/web/20070124013341/http://www.amnesty.org.nz/web/pages/home.nsf/dd5cab6801f1723585256474005327c8/83fba691f912206bcc2571d3001824ed!OpenDocument Falun Gong Persecution Factsheet] , ]

Harry Wu, known for his investigations of Laogai, was also skeptical of the claims. He claims to have sent investigators to the Sujiatun scene, on March 12th, 3 days after the story surfaced, but did not find evidence for the alleged concentration camp. [ [http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20060806_1.htm Wu Hongda's Statement on the Sujiatun Concentration Camp: My Knowledge and Experience with the Falun Gong media reporting on the Sujiatun Concentration Camp problem] , Zonaeuropa, July 18, 2006] He claimed the Sujiatun story was merely hearsay from two witnesses: "No pictures, no witnesses, no paperwork, no detailed information at all, nothing." [Frank Stirk, [http://www.canadianchristianity.com/cgi-bin/bc.cgi?bc/bccn/0606/07chinese Canadians probe Chinese organ harvesting claims] , Canadian Christianity]

In an interview, David Kilgour states, in response to Harry Wu's allegation, that "everything that Harry is talking about happened after March the 9th, when, basically, the whistle was blown" and the authorities had time to clean up. Tony Jones, [http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1715849.htm Canadian activist defends claims of killings in China] , ABC, August 15, 2006, retrieved 2006-08-18] Kilgour and Matas later accused Wu of bad faith for drawing his conclusions without interviewing the witnesses.

A Congressional Report stated on April, 2006 that U.S. representatives were "allowed to tour" the facility and "found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital." US embassy said their staff visited the site twice, the first time unannounced one week after the report surfaced, the second with official cooperation after three weeks.. The report continues that " [i] ndependent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting.".

Some news reports, including by "The Epoch Times", contend that the Chinese authorities had cleaned up by the time the investigations were done. Ethan Gutmann, writing in the Weekly Standard, says that "three weeks is a long time by Chinese construction standards," referring to the timeline from when the story broke to when the US State Department officials conducted their more detailed investigation. "Is the State Department certain its officers toured an unaltered facility? Did they take an architect with them? Collect forensic samples? Sift through ashes? Interview any hospital personnel privately, off-site? And on their tour, did they reject the company of the inevitable CCP handler or hospital operative? If the answer to these questions is no, then the Americans' findings are interesting but hardly dispositive," Gutmann says, "The visitors could easily have missed a walled-off underground facility."Ethan Gutmann, [http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/160ymogj.asp "Why Wang Wenyi Was Shouting,"] , Weekly Standard, 05/08/2006, Volume 011, Issue 32 ]

Phoenix TV, a Hong Kong-based broadcaster with Chinese-state sanctioning, aired a video distributed by Chinese embassies and consulates which claimed flaws in the Sujiatun story.cite web |url=http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/shnjd/200706/0628_1612_144064.shtml |title=The truth behind the so-called "Falun Gong practitioner concentration camp" |accessdate=2008-08-15 |publisher=Phoenix TV |date=2007-06-28 ] The video claimed the hospital size and staffing capacity was too small to house thousands of prisoners; that the incinerator was only used to heat water, not burn corpses; that the hospital denied "The Epoch Times" witness, "Annie", was their employee as claimed; that the area around the hospital is highly populated and large movements of people would be noticed; that doctors interviewed denied involvement in any such activities, and that the Sujiatun hospital is incapable of organ transplantation anyway. The programme also attacked the Kilgour-Matas report. The transcript to the program is hosted on a Chinese state-media site which attacks Falun Gong, and has also been distributed by the Chinese Communist Party's embassies and consulates.

On August 22, 2008, Matas and Kilgour released further evidence supporting their conclusions and the veracity of the telephone conversation recordings. The evidence was based on voice analysis of Dr. Lu Guoping from the video distributed through Chinese embassies and consulates combined with a prior audio recording of an admission from the same doctor. In the audio recording obtained by Kilgour-Matas' investigators, the doctor admits that he and his colleagues go to prison to select Falun Gong practitioners for transplantation. In the video, the doctor, while admitting that he was contacted by the investigators, denies making the incriminatory statements transcripted in the Kilgour-Matas report. The video makes no mention of the audio recordings. Based on voice analysis of Lu Guoping's voice from the video, Kilgour and Matas were able to verify the identity of the doctor as being the same as the person making the admission in the audio recording. [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/release/pr-2008-08-22.htm Matas/Kilgour Release New Evidence on Organ Harvesting in China] ] "In the TV video, the doctor admits that he was the person interviewed in the audio recording but denies, when presented with a transcript, that he said what our audio records him as saying," Kilgour and Matas write. "Yet, on the audio, what the doctor denies saying is interspersed seamlessly with what the doctor admits saying. Once the doctor, in the video, admits to saying most of what is in the audio, the conclusion that he said everything he is recorded on the audio as saying is inevitable. Only through video and the audio in combination do we have the admitted implication of this doctor and his hospital in Guangxi in the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and the hospital in Guangzhou in the nationwide organ sourcing of Falun Gong practitioners." [David Kilgour and David Matas, [Phoenix TV Interview with Dr. Lu Guoping http://organharvestinvestigation.net/Dr.Lu-Voice-Recording/index.htm] , August 22, 2008] In a letter to the Chinese embassy in Canada, David Kilgour and David Matas wrote:"Denial (of the abuse of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners) in the face of such compelling evidence which has the official sanction of the Government is no longer an option. The only option which remains is ending this horrible crime."

The Kilgour-Matas Report

On July 20, 2006, former Canadian MP David Kilgour and Human Rights Lawyer David Matas presented the findings of their two month investigation, conducted in response to a request by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong: [US Newswire(July 20, 2006) [http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=69292 "Independent Investigators to Present Findings From Investigation on China's Organ Harvesting From Prisoners of Conscience"] , "US Newswire", retrieved July 26, 2006] .

cquote|Based on our further research, we are reinforced in our original conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.

We have concluded that the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers, corneas and hearts, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.

The report presents 33 strands of evidence which the authors say leads to the positive conclusion. Singularly, the authors maintain, the pieces of evidence do not prove the allegations, but their combination was the deciding factor. “Where every possible element of disproof we could identify fails to disprove the allegations, the likelihood of the allegations being true becomes substantial.”In 2007, they presented an updated report under the title: [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/report0701/report20070131.htm#_Toc158023111 "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China."]

They qualify that there are inherent difficulties in verifying the alleged crimes. For example, no independent bodies are allowed to investigate conditions in China, eyewitness evidence is difficult to obtain, and official information about organ transplantation is often withheld. [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/ BLOODY HARVEST] Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, by David Matas, Esq. and Hon. David Kilgour, Esq. 31 January 2007] On July 6, 2006, Matas told reporters that the Chinese government, which has repeatedly denied similar allegations, [Canadian Press (July 7, 2006) [http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=432dfdf7-9767-46b9-a210-65ff388d823f&k=17423 "Report claims China kills prisoners to harvest organs for transplant"] , "canada.com", retrieved July 8, 2006] CTV.ca News Staff (July 6, 2006) [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060706/organ_report060706/20060706?hub=Canada "Chinese embassy denies organ harvesting report"] , "CTV.ca", retrieved July 8, 2006] refused entry visas to China for the pair to investigate further. [AFP(July 6, 2006) [http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1964180,00.html "China 'harvests live organs'"] , "News24.com", retrieved July 7, 2006]

The pair say that corruption is rife in China, which provides an incentive to break the law and make profit from selling organs, and that there is no self-governing body for transplant ethics.

Details on the source of organ transplants

China has no organized donation system, as in western countries. There is also a cultural aversion to organ donation, such that even if there were a system in place, donations would be scarce. The authors say these factors severely limit the availability of voluntarily donated organs for transplant.

Healthcare and army facilities in China are self-reliant for funding, and hospitals are known to profit from illegally selling organs of death-row prisoners. The authors allege that this policy might be easily transferred to Falun Gong practitioners: "The Falun Gong constitutes an additional prison population which the authorities vilify and dehumanize even more than executed prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences."

Of 60,000 organ transplants officially recorded between 2000 and 2005, 18,500 came from identifiable sources; the source of 41,500 transplant organs could not thus be explained. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/07/06/china-falungong.html "China harvesting Falun Gong organs, report alleges"] , "CBC News", retrieved July 6, 2006] In a later article published in 2007, Kilgour and Matas say that traditional sources of transplants such as executed prisoners, donors, and the brain dead "come nowhere near to explaining the total number of transplants across China." They said that "the only other identified source which can explain the skyrocketing transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners."

The authors note the very short waiting times in Chinese hospitals for transplants. One hospital boasts a wait of one week for a transplant, another claims to provide a liver in two weeks. In Canada, the waiting time for a kidney can be up to 32.5 months. The survival period for a kidney is between 24-48 hours, and a liver about 12 hours. The authors contend that only a large bank of living 'donors' could account for the “astonishingly short” waiting times.

The authors refer to a number of interviews with organ recipients, who gave similar accounts. The organ transplant surgery is “conducted in almost total secrecy,” the recipient is not told the identity of the donor or shown written consent, the identity of the doctor and nurses are often withheld, recipients and their families are often told the time of the operation immediately before it occurs, operations sometimes take place in the middle of the night, and “The whole procedure is done on a 'don't ask, don't tell' basis.”

They recount the anecdote of an individual who received an organ from a military-run hospital.

Quotation
"He was admitted to the No 1 Peoples' Hospital‑a civilian facility‑and during the ensuing two weeks four kidneys were brought for testing against his blood and other factors. None proved compatible because of his anti‑bodies; all were taken away.” He returned to the hospital two months later. “Another four kidneys were similarly tested; when the eighth proved compatible, the transplant operation was successfully completed... His surgeon... Dr. Tan Jianming of the Nanjing military region... carried sheets of paper containing lists of prospective 'donors', based on various tissue and blood characteristics, from which he would select names.The doctor was observed at various times to leave the hospital in uniform and return 2‑3 hours later with containers bearing kidneys. Dr. Tan told the recipient that the eighth kidney came from an executed prisoner.
"The military have access to prisons and prisoners. Their operations are even more secretive than those of the civilian government. They are impervious to the rule of law.

Chinese organ transplant websites

Kilgour and Matas, in their report, point to the information they found on several Chinese hospital websites which they describe as "self-accusatory". For instance, in the 'question and answer' section of such a site is found:

:"A: Before the living kidney transplantation, we will ensure the donor's renal function...So it is more safe than in other countries, where the organ is not from a living donor." :"Q: Are the organs for the pancreas transplant(ed) from brain death (sic) (dead) patients?",:"A: Our organs do not come from brain death victims because the state of the organ may not be good." [ [www.library.yale.edu/~llicense/ListArchives/0607/msg00154.html The Kilgour Matas Report] ]

The FAQ section from another chinese organ transplant website, referred to by Kilgour and Matas in their report, states:

:"As for the kidney transplantation , it may take one week to find a suitable donor,the maximum time being one month. Although the procedure to select a donor is very strict, the transplant operation will be terminated if the doctor discovers that there is something wrong with the donor's organ. If this happens, the patient will have the option to be offered another organ donor and have the operation again in one week." [ [http://archive.edoors.com/render.php?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fen.zoukiishoku.com%2Flist%2Fvolunteer.htm+&x=8&y=9 Archived Chinese Transplant Website] ] [ [http://www.david-kilgour.com/2006/Kilgour-Matas-organ-harvesting-rpt-July6-eng.pdf Page 26, The Kilgour Matas Report] ]

Many such websites show graphs with soaring organ transplantation figures—these start going up after 1999, when the persecution of Falun Gong began. In addition, many such website state that the organs can be found "immediately". The CIOT website advertises the waiting time for a kidney transplant as being "as short as a week and no longer than a month" [ [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-9-29/46489.html Chinese Version of International Organ Transplant Website Reopened, Epoch Times] ] , while the average waiting time for such a transplant in other countries is more than 5 years. [ [http://www.transplant.bc.ca/stats_faqs_main.htm Website of The British Colombia Transplant Society] ]

Organ transplanting is a highly profitable industry in China. The report provides a list of prices in US dollars found on Chinese transplant websites in April, 2006. These range from US$62,000 for a kidney, to US$130,000-160,000 for a heart. The authors write that they have no way of following the 'money trail', but that the lack of transparency is questionable.

Falun Gong specific considerations

Their report gives background to human rights violations in China, in particular the persecution of Falun Gong, including the campaign to incite public hatred toward the group, and the widespread torture of practitioners in custody.

Kilgour and Matas state that one of the “most disturbing” moments in researching the report was the discovery of a massive population of imprisoned Falun gong practitioners who remained unidentified. Falun Gong prisoners of conscience may refuse to give their names for fear of persecution against their families. In these cases, no one outside the prison system knows their whereabouts. They state that there is a significant lack of representation among freed Falun Gong practitioners, from those who failed to self identify while they were imprisoned—these 'disappearances', the authors contend, are ready candidates for live organ harvesting.

The authors also point to evidence that Falun Gong practitioners are systematically blood and urine tested, and have their organs examined while in custody, while other prisoners, who are not practitioners, are not tested. "This differential testing occurs in labour camps, prisons and detention centres. We have heard such a large number of testimonials to this effect that this differential testing exists beyond a shadow of a doubt."

Practitioners are not told the reason for being tested or examined; Kilgour and Matas write that it is not for health purposes, "For one, it is unnecessary to blood test and organ examine people systematically simply as a health precaution. For another, the health of the Falun Gong in detention is disregarded in so many other ways, it is implausible that the authorities would blood test and organ examine Falun Gong as a precautionary health measure."

They also point out that blood testing is a pre-requisite for organ transplants, and that donors need to be matched with recipients "so that the antibodies of the recipients do not reject the organs of the donors."

This is also an avenue of proof/disproof, according to Kilgour and Matas, because "The mere fact of blood testing and organ examination does not establish that organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners is taking place. But the opposite is true. If there were no blood testing, the allegation would be disproved. The widespread blood testing of Falun Gong practitioners in detention cuts off this avenue of disproof."

Practitioners regularly die in custody due to torture or ill-treatment, "In a few cases, between death and cremation," Kilgour and Matas say, "family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see the mutilated corpses of their loved ones. Organs had been removed."

Recommendations

The report concludes that the allegations of China's harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners are true; that the practice is still ongoing and calls for a ban on Canadian citizens traveling to China for transplant operations. [Kirstin Endemann, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen (July 6, 2006) [http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=290fed94-d0c2-4265-8686-54ce75d08eca&k=34245 "Ottawa urged to stop Canadians travelling to China for transplants"] , "Canada.com", retrieved July 6, 2006] [Reuters, AP (July 8, 2006) [http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/falun-gong-organ-claim-supported/2006/07/07/1152240489760.html "Falun Gong organ claim supported"] ,"The Age", retrieved July 7, 2006] [Calgary Herald (July 5, 2006) [http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=c990936c-e208-4601-888f-810ff73bd994 "Rights concerns bedevil China--Doing trade with regime must be balanced with values"] ,"Canada.com", retrieved July 8, 2006]

Reception of the Kilgour-Matas report

Corroborative reports

On July 24, 2006, Associate Director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine in the University of Minnesota, Kirk C. Allison, PhD, MS released a statement on a forum held on the World Transplant Congress in Boston, reinforcing the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report and calling for academia and medical circles stop cooperation with China on organ transplantation. He writes: "Given the evidence at hand, international transplant patients who obtain organs in China do so at the cost of benefiting from, and tacitly supporting, the continuance of an ongoing lethal violation of human dignity and human rights. Prospective patients should be informed of this fact and actively discouraged from pursuing this avenue of treatment." [ [http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-8-7/44706.html "Mounting Evidence of Falun Gong Practitioners used as Organ Sources in China and Related Ethical Responsibilities"] , "The Epoch Times", August 7, 2006] Kirk C. Allison also points out that the "short time frame of an on-demand system ["as in China"] requires a large pool of donors pretyped for blood group and HLA matching. It is consistent with execution timing. Given a 12-24 hour window for kidney tissue, and a 12 hour window for liver, matching for transplant tourists cannot be assured on a random-death basis." [ [http://www.tc.umn.edu/~falun/document/all092906.pdf Committee on International Relations, OPEN HEARING OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. House of Representative] ]

In April, 2007, a PhD Thesis from Yale University pointed out that the "exceedingly short waiting times, batch transplants, surging transplant volume and the lack of demand-induced upward pressure ["in China's organ transplant industry"] on price and waiting times could not be explained by a demand-driven market model." The thesis concludes: "analysis shows that they can be explained by a supply-driven model with a large inventory of unwilling living organ suppliers selected from detained Falun Gong practitioners. There is no group in China’s prison system other than Falun Gong practitioners that has the requisite population size, health and intensity of persecution to explain the rapid growth in the organ industry from 2000 to 2005. An accumulating number of non-economic evidence supports the conclusion of this analysis." [Hao Wang, [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/events/YALE0407.pdf China’s Organ Transplant Industry and Falun Gong Organ Harvesting: An Economic Analysis"] , PhD Thesis from YALE University, April, 2007]

Professor Tom Treasure MD MS FRCS F, of Guy's Hospital, London, in a March 2007 article entitled "The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust and ourselves," published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, confirms the plausibility, from a medical standpoint, of the allegations. He analyzes some of the events leading to the Holocaust in which medical personnel were involved and compares these to the circumstances surrounding the Falun Gong persecution, statistics on transplantation in China, and general practices related to transplantation. "As the allegation unfolds, the story seems horrific to the point of being beyond belief. So alarmed was I on learning of this allegation that I struggled to make sense of it. The element of the story that horrifies me most, if it is true, is that it is my medical colleagues, the doctors, who perpetrate these acts." On the substance of the conclusions of the Kilgour-Matas report, he says: "What makes it credible are the numerical gap between the reported number of transplants compared with what is possible in other countries, the short waiting times and the confidence with which operations are offered in the global health market, and the routine blood testing of the Falun Gong." [Tom Treasure, "The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust and ourselves," JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE Volume 100 March 2007 J R Soc Med 2007;100:119–121]

In May 2008 two United Nations Special Rapporteurs reiterated their previous request for the Chinese authorities to adequately respond to the allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.MARKET WIRE via COMTEX, [http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/chinas-organ-harvesting-questioned-again/story.aspx?guid={C933880D-6468-4622-BBE2-D60424C822D4} China's Organ Harvesting Questioned Again by UN Special Rapporteurs: FalunHR Reports] , May 8, 2008, accessed 16/6/08] They also asked the authorities to explain the source of organs for the sudden increase in organ transplants in China since 2000. The request was a follow-up to previous communication on August 11, 2006, made with Sigma Huda, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons. In 2006 the three Special Rapporteurs drew on information submitted by individuals and volunteer groups, including FalunHR, raising questions about the identifiable sources of organs, the short waiting times for finding perfectly-matched organs, and the correlation between the sudden increase in organ transplants in China and the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. In 2006 Chinese authorities responded only with categorical denials, and failed to address the critical issues raised by the Special Rapporteurs, according to a syndicated MarketWire report. The follow-up communication by Ms. Jahangir and Mr. Nowak, sent on January 25, 2007, also called on the authorities to address the issues.

Mixed response

An article by Glen McGregor in the "Ottawa Citizen" on November 24, 2007, raised issues which he perceived as apparent difficulties in the Sujiatun story, doubting that the hospital could have been the site of organ harvesting as alleged. He also questioned the conclusion of the Kilgour-Matas report, and doubted the strength of some of the evidence. McGregor referred to Harry Wu’s doubts, complaining of the lack of official paperwork, and lack of people who have emerged to talk about the issue. McGregor wrote: "Depending on who you believe, the Kilgour-Matas report is either compelling evidence that proves the claims about Falun Gong… or a collection of conjecture and inductive reasoning that fails to support its own conclusions”. He said he was one of the few journalists who had not treated the report as fact, and said he was likened to a holocaust denier by Matas and Kilgour. He claims that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture have not "confirmed" the reports of organ harvesting.Glen McGregor, [http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=2c15d2f0-f0ab-4da9-991a-23e4094de949 "Inside China's 'crematorium'"] , The Ottawa Citizen, November 24, 2007] To be noted that this could be because, as the Amnesty International points out, of the "lack of transparency surrounding such practices" .

McGregor admitted that he had been flown to China to "inspect" Sujiatun on a trip sponsored by the Chinese Medical Association (CMA); in his article he defended this by characterizing it as a non-government organization which has criticized Beijing’s policies. A letter by the Falun Dafa Association was later published in the Ottawa Citizen, saying that the CMA receives its funding from the communist regime, that more than half of its presidents have also been Chinese minister or deputy minister of health, and that the association had years earlier taken an active role in the persecution of Falun Gong, which made “any investigation arranged or sponsored by this organization immediately lose… its credibility.” [ The Ottawa Citizen, [Communist medical group implicated in organ harvest http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=8cbc8d14-fd67-4967-b320-872b00cb9e77] , accessed 4/3/08]

Four days after McGregor's article, Matas and Kilgour published a response in the same newspaper. The reporter, they wrote, maintained that the Chinese authorities should not be regarded as guilty based on circumstantial evidence, "no matter how overwhelming." They rhetorically suggested that only if McGregor saw "a smoking scalpel, a confessing surgeon or a surviving organ 'donor'" would he support the conclusion of their report. They emphasized the totality of the evidence they had collected, re-examined the avenues of proof and disproof available, and argued that two other independent reports had come to the same conclusion. "It is easy to take each element in isolation, and say that this element or that does not prove the claim. It is their combination which led us to the chilling conclusion to which we came," they said.David Matas and David Kilgour, [http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=7cd6b2fa-2f14-4b5d-a2cf-b4e452545c0c&k=75530 China harvests organs] , November 28, 2007, accessed 5/3/08.]

Amnesty International has stated that it is "continuing to analyze sources of information about the Falun Gong organ harvesting allegations, including the report published by Canadians David Matas and David Kilgour." Amnesty points out that there is "a widely documented practice of the buying and selling of organs of death penalty prisoners in China." The report from Amnesty continues to say that while "it is unknown how many Falun Gong practitioners are being executed by the Chinese authorities...various sources indicate China may be executing between 10,000-15,000 people a year." [Amnesty International Fact Sheet on Persecution of Falun Gong, [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/events/Fact_sheet_Amnesty.pdf Falun Gong Persecution Fact Sheet, Amnesty International] ]

A Congressional Research Service report by Dr Thomas Lum considered that the Kilgour-Matas report relied largely on making logical inferences, without bringing forth new or independently-obtained testimony. According to Lum, Kilgour and Matas' conclusions rely heavily upon transcripts of telephone calls with reported PRC respondents, and the credibility of the telephone recordings is questionable, due to the Chinese government's controls over sensitive information.

Kilgour and Matas maintain that they do not base their conclusion solely on the telephone calls. In an interview on "Lateline", Kilgour vouched for their veracity, stating that he could make the phone records and digital recordings available on request.Lateline, [Canadian activist defends claims of killings in China http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1715849.htm] , 15 August 2006, accessed 5/3/08] He qualified that the caller contacted numerous hospitals across China, "and... many of the people were smart enough to say they shouldn't say this, but about 15 across the country people were either vain enough, or foolish enough or honest enough, to fess up to what was available..." "China is such a big country and the system is so massive, they weren't able to tell everybody, 'Don't say a word'... as recently as June... these calls were being put through and in some cases these extraordinary admissions were being made.". Kilgour and Matas state that their conclusion "comes not from any one single item of evidence, but rather the piecing together of all the evidence" they have considered. The report states that "each portion of the evidence considered is, in itself, verifiable and, in most cases, incontestable". [I. Conclusions, [http://www.library.yale.edu/~llicense/ListArchives/0607/msg00154.html The Kilgour Matas Report] ]

Changing transplant policies

On June 3, 2007, in response to David Matas' presentation of his study to an organ transplant conference in Jerusalem, the Chinese embassy in Israel said: "There is no live organ bank in China and there is no intention to open one." [Mathew Wagner, [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1180867542367&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Chinese Embassy calls organ harvesting claims 'grotesque lies'] , Jerusalem Post, Jun 3, 2007] Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv prohibited Jews from deriving any benefit from Chinese organ harvesting, "even in life-threatening situations". Other Rabbis oppose the use of Chinese organs for transplants. [Mathew Wagner, [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1180867542307&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Chinese TV airs Elyashiv's opposition to organ harvesting] , Jerusalem Post, Jun 3, 2007]

On August 14, 2006, the US National Kidney Foundation released a statement expressing their concerns in response to the "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Practitioners in China" by Kilgour and Matas. [ [http://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/newsitem.cfm?id=336 National Kidney Foundation Statement about Alleged Human Rights Violations in Organ Donation] National Kidney Foundation, August 14, 2006, retrieved 2006-08-18]

In December 2006, the Australian government responded by announcing the abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors in organ transplant procedures in the Prince Charles and the Princess Alexandra Hospitals as well as ending their joint research programs into organ transplantation with China [cite news
url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,20876865-1702,00.html?from=public_rss
title=Hospitals ban training Chinese surgeons
author=Australian Associated Press
date=December 5 2006
publisher=The Age
] .

Response of Chinese authorities

The Chinese Embassy in Canada replied to the first version of the Kilgour-Matas report immediately upon its release on July 6, stating that China abided by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs without written consent from donors. The authors were accused of wanting to smear China's image. " [T] he so-called 'independent investigation report' made by a few Canadians based on rumors and false allegations is groundless and biased." The Chinese Embassy in Washington also said the allegations were "totally fake" and said the Chinese government had already investigated the claims and found them meritless.

Amnesty International, responding to statements from the Chinese government, stated:

Amnesty International has noted the response of the Chinese authorities to the Canadian report, which states among other things that China has 'consistently abided by the relevant guiding principles of the World Health Organization endorsed in 1991, prohibiting the sale of human organs and stipulating that donors' written consent must be obtained beforehand'. Amnesty International considers this statement to be at odds with the facts in view of the widely documented practice of the buying and selling of organs of death penalty prisoners in China.Amnesty International, [http://web.archive.org/web/20070124013341/http://www.amnesty.org.nz/web/pages/home.nsf/dd5cab6801f1723585256474005327c8/83fba691f912206bcc2571d3001824ed!OpenDocument Falun Gong Persecution Factsheet] , ]

Matas told the United States Committee on International Relations that he and Kilgour are reinforced in their conclusions by "the feeble response of the Government of China." He says that despite their resources and inside knowledge, they have not provided any information to counter the report. "Instead," he said, "they have attacked us personally and, more worrisome, attacked the Falun Gong with the very sort of verbal abuse which we have identified as one of the reasons we believe these atrocities are occurring." [ [http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa30146.000/hfa30146_0f.htm Falun Gong: Organ Harvesting and China's Ongoing War on Human Rights] , Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One hundred ninth congress, second session, 29/10/06]

David Matas says that he and Kilgour find it hard to take take the Chinese government's line seriously, "China will deny all abuses of human rights in the most frivolous manner imaginable," he said at a public forum in Brisbane.David Matas, [http://freechina.org.au/?p=134 David Matas’s address to the Brisbane Powerhouse] , September 12th, 2007, Freechina.org, accessed 14/3/08] "David Kilgour and I have been around the world talking about our report, and have engaged with the government of China on human rights abuses. And the types of response we get are silly in the extreme," Matas said. According to Matas, the Chinese government claimed the report is "filled with rumors," though "every single piece of evidence in the report is independently verifiable." He said that the Chinese government "very often... manufacture [s] quotes. They say we said something, put it in quotation marks, and then disagree with this manufactured quote... our report is on the website, and you can word check it and see that these manufactured quotes are not real. So it’s hard for us to take these kinds of opposition seriously..." What they’re engaged in is propaganda and disinformation, rather than real debate."

External links

* [http://organharvestinvestigation.net/ The Kilgour and Matas report]
* [http://www.fofg-europe.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=110&Itemid=37 Videos of a press conference with Kilgour and Matas]
* [http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/CNN-Facing-Disgrace-Buste-by-John-Kusumi-080824-502.html "CNN Caught In Genocidal Correctness"] by China democracy activist, John Kusumi.

References

See also

*Persecution of Falun Gong


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