|December 2, 2006|
|By Jan Jekielek|
“The incredible thing is that the doctor would…go down the names on sheets of paper looking for blood types and tissue types and so on, and he [the patient] would point at names on the list. The doctor would then go away and come back with organs,” said Kilgour.
While conducting research in Asia, Kilgour interviewed a now 35 year-old man (name and nationality withheld) who received a kidney transplant at Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital in 2003. The man said that his surgeon was Dr Tan Jianming, Secretary General of the Chinese Research Society of Dialysis and Transplantation. Dr Tan also holds top posts in a number of Chinese military and civilian hospitals.
The patient suffered from an antibody condition that made it difficult to find a suitable kidney. Over an eight day period, four separate kidneys were brought to him and tested, said Kilgour. When none of those worked, three months later he tried another four – the last of which was a fit. The man was later transferred to No. 85 Hospital of the People’s Liberation Army to convalesce.
Dr Tan told the man explicitly that these organs came from executed Chinese prisoners, and that at least some of the organs had been harvested secretly, against the donors’ will.
“I am certain that at least some of these were Falun Gong practitioners who never went near a court, who were never convicted of anything,” said Kilgour.
Earlier in 2006, Kilgour co-wrote a report detailing evidence of China’s large scale state-supported killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience – in order to extract their organs to sell for huge profits to people such as this man. Kilgour and co-author human rights lawyer David Matas estimated that over 41,000 organ transplants performed in China could not be accounted for, based on published records.
Kilgour believes, based on many lines of evidence, that apart from death row prisoners, Falun Gong practitioners are particularly targeted for live organ harvesting, as opposed to other groups that the Chinese Communist regime labels as “dissidents” or “enemies of state.”
Falun Gong is the peaceful spiritual practice that saw its popularity grow at an astonishing rate in the 1990’s. In 1999, then-Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin outlawed the practice in China and ordered its eradication. Multiple human rights organizations have documented the communist regime’s brutal, large scale persecution of Falun Gong practitioners since that time.
Since the publication of their report last July, Kilgour and Matas have traveled to over 20 countries searching for support, as well as for new evidence that might either prove or disprove the organ harvesting allegations. Over that time, in addition to the 18 lines of evidence examined in the initial report, Kilgour says they found another ten areas of evidence pointing to the same conclusion. He intends to publish an updated report by the end of the year, and says that it will contain more evidence of the Chinese military’s involvement.
“We were hoping that it [the organ harvesting] would have stopped by now, but we are convinced that it is still happening,” said Kilgour.
Yet Kilgour is cautiously optimistic.
The Transplantation Society (TTS), a global body dedicated to the development of transplantation science, education and ethics, issued a statement on the use of organs from Chinese executed prisoners on November 6.
“TTS is opposed to the recovery of organs and tissues from executed prisoners and from any other individual where an autonomous consent for the procurement is lacking,” said the statement.
“TTS should express concern that the recovery of organs from executed prisoners [in China] has resulted in rampant commercialism and transplant tourism,” it said.
After Kilgour detailed the organ harvesting evidence to the Australian parliament last August, the Australian media took up the cause.
“I have evidence from a senior medical professional in Australia that the number of Australians going for transplant operations in China has [since] collapsed. We are delighted that Australians have stopped,” said Kilgour.
On November 15, Chinese state-controlled media reported that Chinese Assistant Health Minister Huang Jiefu called for “an information network that registers and keeps track of every human organ donation.”
“That’s either a step in the right direction, or it’s a smoke screen,” said Kilgour, in response to news of the official statement.
Kilgour’s revelations were part of series of seminars examining the state of human rights in Asia being held November 13-17, 2006 in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw’s Asian Human Rights Week is focused on human rights in Burma, Cambodia, North Korea, Vietnam, China, Tibet and Bhutan.
The forum was organized by the Oriental Culture Center, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian culture in Poland, and Collegium Civitas, a top Polish private university specializing in the humanities. It was under the patronage of Polish Minister of Culture and Heritage, as well as the Mayor of Warsaw.
While in Warsaw, Kilgour also presented his report to Marek Jurek, the elected leader of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish Parliament.