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Monday, August 30, 2010

Illegal Organ Harvesting Worse Under Chinese Reforms

Epoch Times: David Matas says Chinese authorities have developed liver and kidney registries, an organ donor programme, restricted the number of hospitals permitted to perform organ transplants in China to 650 and shut down websites advertising the speedy sourcing of organs in an apparent effort to halt the trade.

However, while the reforms had reduced “transplant tourism” from Westerners seeking organ transplants, they had neither stopped the illegal organ trade nor increased transparency.

“The cover-up is worse,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mr Matas said entries into the organ registries were sporadic, hospital restrictions did not account for military hospitals where many of the transplants were performed and the touting of organs had just become more secretive.

"The system has become dependent on it [organ trade] for funds.”

Mr Matas also welcomed initiatives by Chinese authorities that have reduced the number of death penalty executions, but noted that the number of transplants had remained the same at around 10,000 a year. As their organ donor programme was only at a pilot stage, organs must be coming from somewhere else, he said, but identifying that source was now more difficult.

Now, with reforms reducing death penalty executions, he estimates the ratio is “about 1000 organs from the death penalty and Falun Gong make up the rest.”

Mr Matas says one of the reasons he was in Australia to speak at the UNDPI/NGO Conference was to raise awareness of the issue.


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