After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began persecuting Falun Gong in 1999, it rounded up hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in prisons, labor camps, brainwashing centers, and detention facilities of all kinds. Soon after, China’s organ transplant industry skyrocketed and China became a destination for organ transplant tourism. Chinese hospitals even advertised the prices of organs for sale and boasted the world’s shortest wait times for organ transplants. Years later, it became apparent that China used its large supply of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience as a living organ bank.
Many find difficulty in believing that any government would engage in these activities and, as such, media and the world community have given little attention to the matter. Indeed, it is hard to imagine; however, upon compiling evidence from various sources, there is no doubt that these crimes against humanity have taken place and continue today. So what is the evidence?
The Kilgour and Matas Investigations
The first people to make a detailed study of China’s organ transplant practices were two prominent Canadian investigators. Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas, authored a detailed report they entitled “Bloody Harvest,” in 2006, along with several follow-up reports. The latest evidence is presented in a 250-page book, titled Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.
The report includes hundreds of pages of evidence, including taped conversations with Chinese surgeons who acknowledge their use of organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners, documentation of an explosion of organ transplants in China without any corresponding credible source of organ donation, and websites in both Chinese and English that advertise the sale of human organs, complete with price listings and incredibly short wait times. Such short wait times, freshly-obtained organs, and a perfect donor matching would be impossible to achieve without access to a large supply of living donors, pre-tested and waiting to be harvested.
Ultimately, the report’s authors come to the “regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true,” and that the crimes of forced organ harvesting are “a disgusting form of evil which, despite all the depravities humanity has seen, are new to this planet.” Both authors have since taken to traveling around the world, speaking to various governments and groups about the evidence they found. The following is an excerpt from an article on the Doctor’s Against Forced Organ Harvesting website.
David Kilgour and David Matas travelled to more than 30 countries in the past and presented their report to several governments, organizations and individuals. Their report is currently translated in 18 languages. Both investigators continue to receive more data and evidence from witnesses or victims, which affirms the initial report. On January 31, 2007, they released a revised version of their report, which carries now 33 pieces of evidence.
The investigators examined every avenue of proof and disproof available. The following summarizes the evidence they found proving the existence of forced organ harvesting in China.
Summary of the 33 Pieces of Evidence
- China is a systematic human rights violator. The overall pattern of violations makes it harder to dismiss than any one claimed violation.
- The Government of China has reduced substantially, financing of the health system. Organ transplants are a major source of funds for this system, replacing the lost government funding.
- The Government of China has given the military the green light to raise money for arms privately. The military is heavily involved in organ transplants to raise money for itself.
- Corruption in China is a major problem. There is huge money to be made from transplants and a lack of state control over corruption.
Considerations Specific to Organ Harvesting
- Technology has developed to the point where organ harvesting of innocents has become possible. Developments in transplant surgery in China fall prey to the cruelty, the corruption, and the repression which pervades China.
- China harvests the organs of prisoners sentenced to death without their consent. The Falun Gong constitute a prison population who the Chinese authorities vilify, dehumanize, depersonalize, and marginalize even more than executed prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences.
- There is no organized system of organ donation in China. There is a Chinese cultural aversion to organ donation.
- Wait times for organ transplants in China are incredibly short, a matter of days. Everywhere else in the world, wait times are measured in months and years.
- Hospital websites post self-incriminating information boasting short wait times for all high-cost organs.
- Donor recipients whom we have interviewed tell us about the secrecy with which transplant surgery is undertaken and the heavy involvement of the military. Information given to patients is kept to a minimum. Transplants are performed in military hospitals and, even in civilian hospitals, by military personnel.
- There is huge money to be made in China from transplants. Prices charged to foreigners range from $30,000.00 US for corneas to $180,000.00 US for a liver kidney combination.
- There are no Chinese transplant ethics separate from the laws which govern transplants. China does not have a self-governing disciplinary body for transplant professionals.
- There are huge gaps in foreign transplant ethics. It is rare for foreign transplant ethics to deal specifically with transplant tourism, contact with Chinese transplant professionals, or transplants from executed prisoners.
- The practice of selling organs in China was legal until July 1st, 2006. Even today, the new law banning the sale of organs is not enforced.
- Foreign transplant legislation everywhere is territorial. It is not illegal for a foreigner in any country to go to China, benefit from a transplant that would be illegal in their country of origin, and then return home.
- Many states have travel advisories, warning their citizens of the perils involved in traveling to one country or another, but no government has posted a travel advisory about organ transplants in China.
- Organ transplantation surgery relies on anti-rejection drugs. China imports these drugs from the major pharmaceutical companies. No state prohibits export to China of anti-rejection drugs used for organ transplant patients.
- Some state-administered health plans pay for health care abroad in the amount that would be paid if the care were administered in a patient’s home country, or pay for aftercare of patients who obtain transplants abroad. Among countries where this is the case, none prohibit payment should patients obtain organ transplants in China.
Considerations Specific to Falun Gong
- 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 from the Falun Gong community has led to a policy of persecution. Persecution of the Falun Gong in China is officially decided and decreed.
- Falun Gong practitioners are victims of extreme vilification. The official Chinese position on Falun Gong is that it is “an evil cult”. Yet, Falun Gong shares none of the characteristics of a cult.
- 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.
- Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested in huge numbers; they are detained without trial or charge until they renounce Falun Gong beliefs.
- There are thousands of named, identified Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of torture. If the Government of China is willing to kill large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners through torture, it is not that hard to imagine they would be willing to do the same through organ harvesting.
- Many practitioners, in attempt to protect their families and communities, have not identified themselves once arrested. The unidentified are a particularly vulnerable population.
- Falun Gong practitioners in prison are systematically blood-tested and physically examined. Yet, because they are also systematically tortured, this testing cannot be motivated by concerns over their health.
- Traditional sources of transplants—executed prisoners, donors, and the brain-dead—come nowhere near 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.
- The money to be made from organ transplants has led to the creation of dedicated facilities, specializing in organ transplants. The Chinese authorities must have confidence that there exists into the foreseeable future, a readily-available source of organs from people who are alive now and will be dead tomorrow. Who are these people? A large prison population of Falun Gong practitioners provides an answer.
- 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 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 regimen) were the source of the organs. We have recordings and telephone bills for these calls.
- We interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon from Sujiatun who had said her husband personally removed the corneas from approximately 2,000 anesthetized Falun Gong prisoners at Sujiatun hospital, in Shenyang City, in northeast China, during the two year period before October, 2003. Her testimony was credible to us.
- There have been two investigations independent from our own which have addressed the same question we have addressed, whether there is organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, one by Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota, another by European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott. Both have come to the same conclusion we did. These independent investigations corroborate our own conclusion.
- The Government of China has responded to the first version of our report in an unpersuasive way. Mostly, the responses have been attacks on the Falun Gong. The fact the Government of China, with all the resources and information at its disposal, resources and information we do not have, was not able to contradict our report, suggests that our conclusions are accurate.