Wednesday, March 28, 2007

China: organ transplants

Remarks introducing David Kilgour, Canadian Member of Parliament from 1979 to January 2006, at a seminar on Monday March 26 on organ harvesting in China.

The persecution of the Falun Gong stands out as the most striking example of the Chinese rĂ©gime’s paranoia about all systems of belief that are not subservient to the ruling party, and David has co-written two reports on the allegations of organ theft from Falun Gong practitioners, most recently published in January this year under the title ‘Bloody Harvest’. It has to be acknowledged that the Chinese claim to have strict laws regulating the use of organs for transplants, including the requirement that a donor give a valid consent. They also specifically deny the allegations about the Sujiatun Hospital, and claim that US Embassy officials who visited the hospital gave it a clean bill of health. This wouldn’t mean that the whole of the organ theft saga was untrue, but it does illustrate the difficulty of getting hard evidence one way or another in a closed and highly regulated society. I did invite officials of the Chinese Embassy to attend this meeting but they politely declined, saying they were content that it should be known that there was another side to the story. There are mechanisms for us to raise these matters formally, via the EU-China and UK-China dialogues, and I understand that the Canadians have a similar process. What always seems to the outsider to be lacking in all these dialogues is feedback and verification: we don’t know what responses our governments receive, and there is no agreed mechanism for resolving issues such as this, which are in dispute.

Unarguably the Chinese do use organs from executed prisoners for transplants, and a high proportion of those executed are Falun Gong practitioners.

After the seminar, I tabled the following question to the Government:

Whether they have evaluated the revised report by David Matas and David Kilgour on allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, 'Bloody Harvest', published on January 31, 2007; and whether in particular they agree with the Transplantation Society's cited statement that executed prisoners are 'the major source' of organs used for transplants in China.

It may be that the Government will prefer not to look closely at these allegations, because they need Chinese cooperation on worldwide problems such as conflict prevention and climate change.

No comments: