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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Chinese transplant numbers don't add up due to Falun Gong being used as live donors

By David Kilgour And David Matas, Citizen Special

Ottawa Citizen: Falun Gong are members of a community of Chinese nationals with a set of exercises and a spiritual foundation. Banned in 1999 in China, they were subsequently arrested in the hundreds of thousands. Those who recanted immediately or after torture were released, but those who refused disappeared into forced labour camps and, we have concluded, became organ trafficking sources.

Our report on this matter had three versions. The first (50 pages) was released July 6, 2006; it was greatly expanded in January 2007 and then published in book form, Bloody Harvest (232 pages), in November 2009.

A critical article last week ( "Doubts cast on organ harvest claims," Dec. 1) fails to mention that one of the two internal Foreign Affairs departmental memos obtained by the Citizen, which is dated July 10, 2006, contains criticisms we later answered.

The second memo, undated, must have been written after May 1, 2007, based on the events mentioned. It has no additional criticisms, merely carrying forward the ones made four days after publication of our first version. The Citizen article overlooks the memo's most significant point: "We agree that organ harvesting of executed prisoners should cease. We have recommended (that the minister of foreign affairs) strengthen advocacy in this area.''

The Chinese party-state has not rebutted any of our evidential proofs. Here are two among the 52 we discovered:

First, only Falun Gong practitioners in the estimated 340 forced labour camps across China are systematically blood tested and physically examined. This cannot be motivated by health concerns because they are also systematically tortured. Testing is necessary for organ transplants because of the need for blood and tissue compatibility between the organ source and the recipient.

Second, traditional sources of transplants -- persons convicted of capital offences and executed, voluntary donors, the brain-dead/cardiac alive -- don't explain the total number of transplants done since 1999. Deputy health minister Huang Jiefu was reported to have said in 2005 that as many as 95 per cent of the transplanted organs in China derived from executions. Their volume went up dramatically after the banning of Falun Gong, yet the numbers of persons sentenced to death and then executed did not increase.

The main conclusion of Bloody Harvest is that the involuntary large-scale organ pillaging resulting in the death of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience continues. Their organs (kidneys, livers, hearts and corneas) are being trafficked, sometimes to foreigners who face long waits for voluntary donations in their own countries.

Our opinion is not formed from any single piece of evidence, but rather from their cumulative effect. Each is verifiable in itself and most are incontestable. In combination, they constitute an overall picture of systematic criminal wrongdoing in a country which lacks both the rule of law and independent judges.

By deducting from the 90,000 transplants which a government spokesman said were done over the period 1999-2005, those which came from executed criminals and other explained sources, we estimate that the remaining 41,500 organ transplants came from incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners.

The Citizen article states: "no credible human rights organization has corroborated the allegations." But we have won international recognition for our efforts. The Swiss Section of the International Society for Human Rights awarded us its 2009 human rights prize. Human Rights without Frontiers, headquartered in Belgium, included our work in its book Human Rights in China, published in 2009 after the Olympic Games.

Members of the French National Assembly called us as witnesses at a recent media

conference on transplants; the European Parliament invited us as witnesses to both Brussels and Strasbourg; The Transplantation Society selected our work for presentation at its biennial congress in Vancouver last summer. For our work to halt this crime, we were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize; one of the nominators was the Hebrew Writers Association.

Since we began our work, the number of persons sentenced to death and then executed in China has decreased, but the number of transplants, after a slight decline, has risen to earlier levels. Since the only substantial source of organs for transplants in China is prisoners sentenced to death, a decrease of sourcing from that population indicates a tragic increase in Falun Gong victims.

David Kilgour is a former minister of state for Asia and the Pacific. David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg. Their revised report is available in 18 languages at organharvestinvestigation.net. The book is published by Seraphim Editions in Canada.

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