By a Falun Gong practitioner in Australia
After successfully visiting Canberra and Sydney and holding seminars there, on
August 21, 2006, Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament,
and David Kilgour, one of the two authors of the “Report into Allegations of Organ
Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China” traveled to Melbourne, their
third stop in Australia. They held two seminars in Melbourne, one at noon and
another in the evening. Among the invited speakers were Victor Perton, a member
of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Jane Turner, former Olympic silver medal
winner, and Falun Gong practitioners Dongfan Zhang and Zhizhen Dai. Below are
excerpts from the question and answer sections of the seminars.
Question:What do you think are the most powerful ways to get the organ harvesting
David Kilgour: Basically doing the things you just asked to
do. The Chinese Consulate sent three letters to the editor this week and four
talk shows where the issue has been raised. By the way, I would like to publicly
thank the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for having us three nights in a
row on the Lateline show. How many of you saw that, by the way? There are not
many people in Australia who don't watch those shows, it seems.
face it, we live in a media democracy, so I would urge anyone from the media to
make something of this, and I am sure that you will. China has to understand that
if there is a chance that maybe the Olympics may get moved, they were moved in
the case of Russia… Canadians didn't go to Moscow. If they even have a
worry that this might happen, from the kinds of things that the Consulate General
will be sending home from here, then I think they will stop it.
You may say
that they will only stop 'till 2008, but at least that will save some lives.
[…] I would urge everybody to think of ten ways that you can do something to
make a difference in this, and I bet you that everyone in this room can think
of at least 10 ways they can do something. Speak to ten friends. Jane, where's
Jane? She and her daughter took the train last night, was it for 8 hours? …to
come here today. Well how can we not [do something] when we see the kinds of things
she's doing, [we should] say to ourselves, we've got to do something
Question: The organs obviously have to go somewhere. Are there people
David Kilgour: There is a website -if you
go, you cannot visit it right now-it's called the China International Transplantation
Network Assistance. It was working a few days ago. See page 36 of the report [“Report
into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China”]. There
was a price list – kidney $60,000 US dollars, liver $98,000-130,000 US dollars,
down the line. The price list was removed surprisingly. [This page] is archived
and you can get the price if you just go to the bottom of the page and see the
Unfortunately we don't have statistics as to who is
coming from Canada, Australia, or the US. But certainly we would like to have
them. The transplant doctors must have some knowledge of that, and one option
would be to ask [them]. Could they report them at least to their professional
bodies? They will tell you they have privacy with their patients. I understand
that, but what I found going around Europe is that people think they are going
to get an executed prisoner's organ. [They believe that] …he or she doesn't
need it anymore -it really doesn't matter if I get a new kidney because so-and-so
The point we are making is that it's in all likelihood a live
human being that has been slaughtered after the computer matching and the blood
matching and all the things we heard about earlier. They don't even have
to be in the same city. These organs can be flown from an obscure part of China
to Shanghai or somewhere. This is very fast. So they don't have to be physically
present in the place where the person has been killed to provide the organ. That's
very different to take it from a live human being whose crime is that they believe
in Falun Gong, compared to taking it from any executed prisoner, someone who may
have committed a very serious or not so serious offence.
A lot of people try
to confuse the matter with executed prisoners – this is a different type of execution
-executed by the doctor or nurse who kills them for their organs.
McMillan-Scott:Some may argue because China is an enormous country that its
easy to find transplant organs. Do you know it takes 7 years in Australia to get
a liver. For a friend of mine in London it took 8 months and that was quick. So
this is a matter that must be addressed.
This week I heard from a very authoritative
Australian source that the actual transactions are not some private thing between
[a small group]. Nearly 400 hospitals in China are performing organ transplants.
400! Advertising on the Internet websites, $75,000 for a kidney and so on. It's
a huge trade.
The actual mechanism for the transmission of organs around China
is conducted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). That is the agency that
does it – our equivalent would be the Australian Army – it would be some other
agency of the state in Australia. In China it is that pernicious all-pervasive
organisation, the PLA. It is the communist government of China that is carrying
organs around between hospitals and prisons and so on. So it directly involves
the regime in this issue and so far there has been nothing to pin on the regime
as to its culpability -they no doubt know what is going on. But they could always
say, “Sorry, it's a private sector operation, the hospitals can do what they
like. They need the revenue -we don't provide any revenue for the hospitals.
Therefore they must make it where they can.” Now we know it is the PLA, the official
army of China, that is carrying these organs around.
Question:I am wondering
about the role of Amnesty International in this affair. They are of course internationally
recognized as one of the major world advocates for prisoners of conscience. I
am hoping that through their good graces this would bring pressure to stop this
David Kilgour: Thank you for your question. David Matas,
the co-author of this report, is the legal counsel for Amnesty International in
Canada. We have met with Amnesty International in London, their head office. We
have urged them to do something about this. Maybe you could urge them to do something
They have a different methodology, which as you know, they require
two independent corroborations of every claim. But how are we going to get that
concerning this outrage? So they are going to either change their methodology
in the case of this situation, or they will have to say: “Well, we can't
accept your conclusion because of our methodology, but at least we endorse all
or some of your recommendations.”
There is the same problem with Human Rights
Watch. We met with them in New York and they promised to give a statement within
30 days. Human Rights Watch in China by the way has been saying we should use
the Beijing Games as the lever or window to put pressure on them. They are convinced
that if enough of us keep pointing at those games that's probably the best
way of getting noticed.
The other lever in this country is the Free Trade
Agreement. China needs this agreement. They actually see it as an opening to various
western countries and an avenue to the US and others. The Federal Government of
Australia is sensitive on this question. You have the National Party, who say,
“You have to separate trade from human rights.” I say you can't separate
them, when you understand the regime you are working with and where some of the
goods come from. That is a lever that is very important.
The e-mail sent by
the China Consulate General in Melbourne is the first direct diplomatic response
in another country. It obviously shows that David and Edward are having an impact.
This report is having an impact. It is important for us to continue to spread
Edward McMillan-Scott:There are some interesting elements
here, may I just add to what David said about the ABC [Australian Broadcasting
Corporation]. Because as an independent, as it were, broadcasting media, not only
did they cover the subject for 3 nights on Lateline but also on Dateline last
It's a self censorship which Victor Perton alluded to, talking
about the agents of influence which China has in Australia. It can tell you that
around the world, this regime is highly efficient in deploying its tentacles and
is trying to make sure that people don't raise issues that are embarrassing.
And certainly in the European Union and the European Parliament, anything that
is said generates a deluge of complaint from the Chinese mission about whatever
it may be. When David was in London he had 4 hits on the BBC which is also editorially
independent and able to make this case.
Amnesty, an admirable organization
in its past, has played an enormous role in destroying the tyrannies of Soviet
Communism. But in a way today it's a more complex world with less black and
white, but greyer tones. And yet there is one issue where there is absolutely
no doubt whatsoever and that is the tyranny of the regime in China.
are 400 researchers in London, who now even receives a subsidy from the European
Union which is very equivocal about complaining about China. This capture by the
Chinese regime of “opinion formers” and I regret to say decision makers too…
your politicians who don't want to criticize. That is part of a process,
which in relation to this particular issue, is going to find in the coming days,
weeks and months, an increasing amplification of rebuttal from Beijing, which
has already begun.
This meeting takes place at an important juncture. We haven't
yet mentioned it, but last week in China, a lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, was taken away.
He is a Christian, but he is a human rights defender, a self-taught lawyer for
7 years. He ran a law firm in Beijing, dealing with a wide range of issues, including
the Falun Gong. He is a great defender of the rights of the Falun Gong. He was
arrested on August 15th, the day after another lawyer who worked with him on Falun
Gong cases was arrested and then a third. So there is an association, which I
want to draw to your attention. If we can call it a campaign in which David, I
and Victor and others are involved, trying to draw international attention to
these appalling reports of organ harvesting and the repression of Falun Gong.
The reaction now of the regime in Beijing is getting organized, getting its people
out there, getting e-mails to Victor's colleagues. This is shameful. My only
message to Australia is do not trade human rights for the sake of trade.
Our politicians represent the Australian public, but they're obviously not
here today. Does that represent how the Australian public is thinking or are our
politicians desensitized from the issue and are not facing up to it.
Perton:It's indeed complicated. I think Australians are not well educated
on these issues. There is a course at VCE level, that's the last year of
secondary school, called the History of Revolutions. I've seldom seen such
a sanitized version of Soviet or Chinese history. But, unless you do that subject
at VCE, and there would probably only be about 4 to 5 percent of VCE students
doing it, therefore 2 to 3 percent of students doing that subject. None of this
is covered. So from the Australian public's point of view there is a great
ignorance on the issue and probably ignorance on Falun Gong. They don't know
what Falun Gong is. From the MPs, you've got a group of people who separate
this, they say their duty is to Australia. The Prime Minister has made a speech
on exactly this point, he said something like, my duty is to Australia, I recognize
the evils of the regime, but my duty to my country is to negotiate a free trade
agreement. So he has made a separation between protecting human rights and says
that it is in the Australian interest to have trade dominate. So at least he's
open and unequivocal about that. So are Mark Vaile and probably some Labour Party
leaders as well.
I recently wrote to the Premier [of an Australian Province].
You'll recall about 5 years ago there was an issue called the “Elgin Marbles.”
The Elgin Marbles are a group of relics from Athens that are held in the British
Museum. [The Premier] thought that it was so important that a new directive was
given to MPs and public servants traveling to London and meeting British officials,
that we should raise the Elgin Marbles with them.
So I wrote to the Premier
and said, “Well, let us raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese delegations,
for there are at least 2 or 3 coming through the Parliament every week.” The letter
back was a model of obvious caution. It said that he does not deal with international
affairs. So it's OK to deal with international affairs when it's some
relics in the British Museum. But when it's the lives of human beings, it's
different. Then he said that's for the Foreign Affairs Department. The most
insidious group of people, from my point of view, are those who have allowed themselves
to be completely entrapped by the Chinese. There are delegations that go backwards
and forwards to China. When you go to China you are very well treated. Very well
treated indeed, and they think they owe something to the Chinese government. Clearly
one of my colleagues thinks he owes so much that he sent an e-mail that was sent
to him as an MP (him or her, sorry) to the Chinese Consulate. So there are agents
of influence. I think I know who it was, but I can't say. There are people
who have got divided loyalties. That is because they see their future as intertwined
with the growth in the Chinese relationship.
Question: I was wondering
whether it would be possible in that case for the Australian government to ban
access to those organs by Australians traveling overseas. If the market for these
organs was dried up, would that have any affect?
Well, I think it would be too hard. People are traveling overseas. I guess it
depends on whether you believe it's moral or ethical to be able to buy an
organ. The delays of 7 years here is because we have such low levels of [organ]
donation in this country.
I think the moral and ethical issue in a society
like this prohibiting a person from going to another country to get medical treatment
is too difficult. In fact there's now a thriving trade in people just going
for legitimate medical treatment in Thailand and elsewhere. People with elective
surgery. For instance, there are good hospitals in Thailand and elsewhere offering
discounts over and above the Australian market. I think it might be just a bit
too complicated because you could pass, make it an offence to knowingly participate
in obtaining an organ from a convicted prisoner or from a prisoner of conscience.
But I think the knowledge question would be too difficult to prove, so you would
never get a conviction. But it is a legitimate idea to think about. I think off
the top of my head, probably difficult to do.
David Kilgour: Canada
has resource abundance too and does anybody here think that China is going to
stop buying your natural gas if you were to raise the issue of what's going
on with Falun Gong practitioners? I don't think so. The example that I usually
give is Holland. Every year Holland used to be the sponsor of the motion to the
UN Human Rights Commission. They were told that if they did, their trade with
China would suffer. I think to their enormous credit, they said, “We're not
going to sacrifice this principle for trade and it's a bluff.” If I'm
not correct, China's trade with Holland continued to go straight up.
I read the other day that your deficit with China is about 5 billion dollars a
year. Canada's deficit is about 13 billion dollars. How many jobs does that
represent, by the way? Maybe we should try to get the people whose jobs are on
the line involved in this issue too. Because if you lose your manufacturing base
to China, as Canada has lost much of ours, I don't think you are ahead of
Australians are known for standing up for things in the world. You're
a principled people. I would hope if ever there was an issue on which all of us
can agree, and don't misunderstand me, Edward and I have got a very good
response in Parliament. Ask, the next time you call on a politician other than
Victor, if he she thinks you are going to lose the gas sales because you raise
this issue with China. Thank you.
Can I just remind you of two things? The
first is that the international medical community deplores the use of the organs
of prisoners for organ transplants [that the Chinese government practices]. Everybody
excoriates them, including the Australian transplantation society. It's a
misuse of the bodies. It is deplorable. It should stop.
The second thing is
that it goes on, the regime is now accepted and it is a practice widespread. We
now know how it's mechanized through the PLA and so on. The second thing
you heard today is that it is only Falun Gong prisoners who undergo medical tests.
Put two and two together.
Posting date: 12/Sep/2006
article date: 11/Sep/2006
Category: Media Report