China’s Bloody Harvest: Waiting times
for organ transplants in China are a matter of days. Everywhere else waiting times
are measured in years.
By David Matas
Is China harvesting organs of Falun Gong practitioners, killing them
in the process? A Japanese television news agency reporter and the ex-wife of
a surgeon in March made claims this was happening at Liaoning Hospital in Sujiatin,
China. Are those claims true?
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution
of the Falun Gong in China, an organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.,
in May asked former Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific David Kilgour and
me to investigate these claims. We released a report in July which came to the
conclusion, to our regret and horror, that the claims were indeed true.
repressive and secretive nature of Chinese governance made it difficult for us
to assess the claims. We were not allowed entry to China, though we tried. Organ
harvesting is not done in public. If the claims are true, the participants are
either victims who are killed and their bodies cremated or perpetrators who are
guilty of crimes against humanity and unlikely to confess.
We examined every
avenue of proof and disproof available to us, eighteen in all. They were:
– The Communist Party of China, for no apparent reason other than totalitarian
paranoia, sees Falun Gong as an ideological threat to its existence. Yet, objectively,
Falun Gong is just a set of exercises with a spiritual component.
– The threat
the Communist Party perceives in the Falun Gong community has led to a policy
of persecution. Persecution of the Falun Gong in China is officially decided and
– Falun Gong practitioners are victims of extreme vilification. The
official Chinese position on Falun Gong is [slanderous words omitted]
– Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested in huge numbers. They are detained
without trial or charge until they renounce Falun Gong beliefs.
– Falun Gong
practitioners are victims of systematic torture and ill treatment. While the claims
of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners have been met with doubt, there
is no doubt about this torture.
– Many Falun Gong practitioners have formally
disappeared; they are the subject of formal disappearance complaints by family
members. Many more practitioners, in an attempt to protect their families and
communities, have not identified themselves once arrested. These unidentified
are a particularly vulnerable population.
– Traditional sources of transplants
— executed prisoners, donors, the brain dead — come nowhere near to accounting
for the total number of transplants in China. The only other identified source
which can explain the skyrocketing transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners.
– Falun Gong practitioners in prison are systematically blood tested and physically
examined. Yet, because they are also systematically tortured, this testing can
not be motivated by concerns over their health.
– In a few cases, between
death and cremation, family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see
the mutilated corpses of their loved ones. Organs had been removed.
– We interviewed
the Japanese journalist and the ex-wife of the surgeon from Sujiatin. Their testimony
was credible to us. In order to be cautious, we relied on this testimony only
when it was independently corroborated.
– We had callers phoning hospitals
throughout China posing as family members of persons who needed organ transplants.
In a wide variety of locations, those who were called asserted that Falun Gong
practitioners (reputedly healthy because of their exercise regime) were the source
of the available organs. We have recordings and telephone bills for these calls.
– Waiting times for organ transplants in China are incredibly short, a matter
of days. Everywhere else in the world, waiting times are measured in years.
– Chinese hospital Web sites host incriminating information advertising organs
of all sorts on short notice.
– A Falun Gong practitioner who had been in
prison in China told us that her Chinese jailers lost interest in her once they
found out that her organs had been damaged.
– China is a systematic human
rights violator. The overall pattern of violations makes it harder to dismiss
any one claimed violation.
– There is huge money to be made in China from
transplants. Prices charged to foreigners, also available on a Web site, range
from US$30,000 for corneas to US$180,000 for a liver and kidney combination.
– Corruption in China is a major problem. The huge money to be made from transplants,
the lack of state controls over corruption and the marginalization of the Falun
Gong are a deadly trio.
– Until July 1 of this year, there was no law in China
preventing the selling of organs and no law requiring consent for organ harvesting.
China has a poor history of implementing laws designed to ensure respect for human
It is easy to take each element in isolation, and say that this element
or that does not prove the claim. But it is their combination which led us to
the chilling conclusion to which we came.
We are reinforced in our conclusions
by the feeble response of the Government of China. Despite all their resources
and inside knowledge, they have not provided any information to counter our report.
Instead, 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.
Our report has seventeen
different recommendations. Virtually no precaution one can imagine to prevent
the harvesting of organs of Falun Gong practitioners in China is currently being
taken. All these precautions should be put in place.
But there is one basic
recommendation we make which must be implemented immediately. Organ harvesting
of Falun Gong practitioners in China must stop.
– David Matas is a Winnipeg
international human rights lawyer. The full report is available at http://organharvestinvestigation.net.
Posting date: 25/Aug/2006
article date: 23/Aug/2006