Reuters: Canada rights team decries China “organ tourism”

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada and other countries should discourage or prevent
their citizens from going to China to get human organs whose "donors"
may have been killed so that the organs could be harvested, a team of human
rights lawyers said on Wednesday.

Kilgour and lawyer David Matas presented a report they say leads to the inescapable
conclusion that Falun Gong dissidents and other prisoners in China are killed
for their organs.

"Once a customer arrives into China, somebody’s killed for the organ,
whether it’s a prisoner sentenced to death or a Falun Gong practitioner, and
they just have this huge supply of people in jail waiting to be killed for organ
donations," Matas told reporters.

He said that was one reason China was seeing an explosion in dedicated organ
transplant facilities. The number of liver transplant facilities, for example,
multiplied to 500 last year from 22 before 1999.

Matas estimated that at least 100 Canadians have gone to China for transplants
although many might not know about the allegations that people are killed for
their organs. He suggested Canada and other countries should issue travel advisories
warning that transplants are sourced almost entirely from prisoners who do not
give their consent.

The report also called for legislation that would make it illegal for Canadians
to participate in an organ transplant without getting the donor’s consent.

Chinese Vice-Health Minister Huang Jiefu called last November for a network
to register all organ donations in what would be a step toward regulating the
transplant market.

Jiefu said that most organs came from executed prisoners rather than from traffic

Matas said none of these prisoners would have given their consent, and even
if they had, such consent would have been suspect. He said that the United States
bans the use of organs from executed prisoners for that reason.

"We shouldn’t be complicit in it," Matas said. "If we can impact
on the demand, then we can be saving the lives of these people who are executed
for their organs."

Posting date: 1/Feb/2007
Original article date: 31/Jan/2007
Category: Media Report


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