News Weekly (Australia) Editorial: China: let the truth be told

By Peter Westmore

Chinese authorities kill political prisoners
and harvest their healthy body parts for use in organ transplants, two Canadian
jurists have [concluded]. When will Australia protest?

There can be few
more appalling things than that a government would intentionally set out to murder
its own citizens. In the 20th century, it was in states such as Nazi Germany,
Stalin’s Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China and Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam that
the apex of horror was reached.

In these countries – every one of which
was a one-party dictatorship masquerading as a democracy – a class of people were
demonised and imprisoned, then executed.

Many believed that, with the downfall
of the Soviet Union, the era of genocide which had made the 20th century the most
bloody in history, had come to an end.

It is therefore a matter of alarm
that a recent study, commissioned by two respected jurists from Canada, has concluded
that the practice is being continued, on a more fiendish level than ever before,
in present-day China.

Independent inquiry

The two men, David Kilgour,
a former Canadian government minister, and David Matas, an international human-rights
lawyer, were commissioned by an American non-government organisation to conduct
an independent investigation into allegations that organs were harvested from
political prisoners in China.

They concluded that not only does the Chinese
Government persecute and imprison dissenters, but it actually kills many of them,
particularly Falun Gong members, in order to extract healthy organs such as corneas,
hearts, livers and kidneys.

These are then sold, at very high prices, to
people needing organ donations.

(Falun Gong is a form of meditation which
emphasises self-improvement through a commitment to truth, compassion and tolerance).

the past 10 years, China has become a world leader in organ transplantation. There
are currently over 10,000 organ transplants conducted there every year, and the
report concluded that it could find no identifiable source for over 40,000 transplants
conducted since the year 2000, when Falun Gong practitioners were arrested in
large numbers.

After carefully examining the evidence, and interviewing
Chinese people who had emigrated and Chinese government officials, the two Canadian
lawyers concluded that most of the organs available for transplantation had come
from political prisoners, many of them Falun Gong practitioners.

distressing as the report into these abuses is the fact that Western governments,
including those of the United States and Australia, have been largely silent in
the face of persistent reports of human rights abuses in China.

The reason
for this is not hard to find. China is a large trading partner of both countries,
and has made clear that criticisms of China’s repression will impact on diplomatic
and economic relations.

The same moral dilemma was the subject of the address
given by the great Russian novelist, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, when he was awarded
the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970.

Solzhenitsyn – who had been a political
prisoner in the USSR, then endured many years of persecution after his release
from Soviet prison camps – warned the West against a policy of appeasement.

said: "The spirit of Munich … prevails in the twentieth century. The timid
civilised world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden
revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles.

spirit of Munich is a sickness of the will of successful people who have given
themselves up to the thirst after prosperity at any price, to material well-being
as the chief goal of earthly existence … so that their accustomed life might
drag on a bit longer. And tomorrow, you’ll see, it will all be all right.

it will never be all right. The price of cowardice will only be evil," he
concluded. "We shall reap courage and victory only when we dare to make sacrifices."

its credit, the Canadian Government has promised to take up the issue raised by
the two Canadian lawyers, which had earlier been the subject of independent reports
by Amnesty International and the British-based TV news channel, Sky News.

unless Western governments committed to upholding human dignity, including Australia’s,
express their disgust to China on the subject, the present appalling practices
will continue.


The West can and should stand up to China with
one voice on human rights. Then the West will find it can both change China and
trade with China.

Peter Westmore is national president of the National
Civic Council.

Posting date: 26/July/2006
Original article date: 7/25/2006
Media Report


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