Friday, February 02, 2007

Chinese army harvesting parts from Falun Gong inmates

China is indulging in human rights violations again. When will the butchery stop? If this insanity keeps up, it will be surprising if anyone will even bother to show up at the 2008 Olympics. Why support an evil dictatorship? Read the Matas/Kilgour report here.

OTTAWA (AFP) - China's military is reportedly harvesting organs from prison inmates, mostly Falungong practitioners, for large scale transplants including for foreign recipients, a study said.

Canada's former Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific region David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas released a report Wednesday into such transplants after interviewing organ recipients in 30 countries.

They also interviewed Canadian hospital staff who subsequently cared for hundreds of patients after they underwent dubious transplant surgeries in China.

"The involvement of the People's Liberation Army in these transplants is widespread," Kilgour told a press conference.

Like many civilian hospitals in rural China, military hospitals turned to selling organs to make up for government funding cuts in the 1980s, the report states.

But military personnel could operate with much more secrecy, it added.

"Recipients often tell us that even when they receive transplants at civilian hospitals, those conducting the operation are military personnel," the report states.

It is the second report to be released by the pair, who in July published the results of a two-month investigation in which they implicated dozens of hospitals and jails throughout China in the transplant scandal.

Those allegations were vigorously denied by Chinese officials.

Hospitals in Canada's biggest cities, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto meanwhile confirmed "a substantial number" of Canadians had traveled to China for suspicious organ transplants, Kilgour said.

"We're in the three digits, up over 100 (from Canada each year) and the trend is accelerating," Matas said.

To curb what they called a "disgusting form of evil," the pair publicly asked pharmaceutical firms to stop selling organ anti-rejection drugs to China.

They also urged countries to post travel advisories warning that organs from China may have been harvested from unwilling donors; asked states to cease offering follow-up care to patients who had shady organ transplants in China; and called on foreign doctors to cut ties with their Chinese counterparts suspected of such practices.

States should also enact legislation to ban their citizens from traveling to China for organ transplants from forced donors, although the study's authors admitted such prosecutions would be difficult to prove.

The US-based lobby group "The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falungong in China" had asked Kilgour and Matas to investigate claims by several of their members.

China banned the spiritual group in 1999 and has vehemently denied the allegations of organ harvesting, accusing the Falungong of spreading rumors in a bid to undermine the country's international relations and "social stability."

Kilgour and Matas admitted that many of the claims were second-hand, but said there was enough evidence to "paint a picture."

They described one man traveling to Shanghai in 2003 for a kidney transplant at the civilian No. 1 People's Hospital and his convalescence at No. 85 hospital of the People's Liberation Army.

Eight kidneys were tested, to find a match. Only the last "from an executed prisoner" was compatible, his military surgeon told him, according to the report.

Wang Xiaohua, a Falungong practitioner who now lives in Montreal, told reporters he "suffered inhumane persecution" at a Chinese labor camp where jailed Falungong practitioners, and not other prisoners, were systematically subjected to blood tests to match their organs with recipients.

In their previous report, Matas and Kilgour interviewed several Falungong members and the former wife of a surgeon who told her he had removed the corneas from some 2,000 anaesthetized Falungong prisoners in northeast China in the two years prior to October 2003.

They said they listened, with the help of certified interpreters, to more than 30 veiled calls made from Canada and the United States to Chinese officials who admitted to the surgeries.

Dozens more Chinese hospitals and jails were implicated in transcripts of new telephone calls, including one to an air force hospital in Chengdu City, in which an official said it would be "no problem" to get organs from young and healthy Falungong practitioners for a transplant.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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