Back in 2006, an investigative report into state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China gained worldwide attention.
Ten years later, the Nobel prize-nominated authors of that report — former Canadian MP David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas — have released an update where they say that not only does forced organ harvesting continue in China, it is doing so at a much greater scale than first thought.
“The fact that the evidence we have now examined shows much larger volumes of transplants than the government of China has asserted points to a larger discrepancy between transplant volumes and government of China-identified sources than we had previously thought existed,” read part of their report, titled Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update, released on June 22.
“That increased discrepancy leads us to conclude that there has been a far larger slaughter of practitioners of Falun Gong for their organs than we had originally estimated,” stated the report, which was also coauthored by investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann. His earlier investigations into organ harvesting were published in the 2014 book The Slaughter.
In their first report, Matas and Kilgour estimated that prisoners of conscience were the main source for 60,000 transplants performed in China between the years 1999 and 2005. These transplant figures were from Shi Bingyi, Director of the Organ Transplant Center of the PLA and Vice-Chairman of the China Medical Organ Transplant Association.
In their new report, the two prominent Canadians and the London-based Gutmann now say that the number of people killed for the organs is much higher.
A day after the report’s release, Matas testified at a joint subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he said that they had originally taken official Chinese estimates of around 10,000 transplants per year on face value until research said otherwise.
“When we look at hospitals and doctors one by one, a number of features jump out,” Matas told the hearing. “One is the sheer volume of transplants. The total number of transplants which officials ascribe to the country as a whole, ten thousand a year, is easily surpassed by just a few hospitals. Whatever the total number is, it must be substantially more, by a multiple, than the official figure,” he said
“We would say that the range is between 60,000 to 100,000 transplants a year, with an emphasis on the higher numbers,” Matas said.
The report details how the researchers calculated those figures, and Matas touched on it during the hearing.
“Some hospitals state their transplant volumes. For those who do not, we can, from their bed counts, personnel strength, potential patient groups, rate of growth, technological development, academic publications, and media reports, come to a conclusion on their transplant volumes,” Matas explained.
See Gutmann talk about the new report in this video by International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China:
The Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer said the Chinese state’s cover-up of transplant figures resulted in the report’s researchers being unable to make specific numerical conclusions. “Despite the cover-up and corruption of data, despite our inability to produce an exact figure, we are convinced that transplant volume is substantially higher than the official figure,” Matas said.
The report also describes the structure set up by China’s ruling communist regime to implement such large scale organ harvesting. It furthermore looks at the culpability of individual Party members, and also addresses the Communist Party’s claims that it has reformed its organ transplant industry.
“The ultimate conclusion of the update is that the Chinese Communist Party has engaged the state in the mass killings of innocents, primarily practitioners of the spiritually-based set of exercises, Falun Gong, but also Uyghurs, Tibetans, and select House Christians, in order to obtain organs for transplants,” Matas told the hearing.
With a mandate given to it by the U.S. House of Representatives, Matas said that the U.S. Department of State Human Rights Bureau should conduct further investigations into organ harvesting China.
“It is unconscionable to kill a healthy person so that a sick person can live,” he said.
“The U.S. must do everything in its power to stop that from happening,” said Matas, as he finished his testimony.
The updated report comes on the heels of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passing a bipartisan resolution on June 13 that condemned the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience.
The main victim
Also commonly known as “Falun Dafa,” the practice of Falun Gong became extremely popular in China during the 1990s, with tens of millions of regular Chinese people practicing it. Falun Gong is based on meditation and slow moving exercises, and the practice has at its core three main principles: Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.
Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted in China by the state since 1999, after which a sharp rise in the number of transplants in the country has been observed.
Watch SWOOP FILMS’ award winning short documentary film on the persecution of Falun Gong in China: