According to researchers, the Chinese Communist Party has been secretly butchering prisoners of conscience for their organs for more than a decade.
Their uncovering of this state-sanctioned crime has been no easy feat.
Way back in 2006, Canada’s former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas published an independent 140-page report that found imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners were being killed for their organs on a large scale.
An updated report they released with investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann mid-last year found that numbers were much higher than previously thought. The report, titled Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update, estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 transplants are performed each year in China.
The main target for organ harvesting, the report said, are Chinese who practice Falun Gong. To a lesser extent, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and select House Christians have also been killed in order to obtain organs for transplants, the report says.
The report attracted widespread media coverage.
All three men are founders of The International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, which has produced the four roundtable discussion videos featured here in this post that explain what has gone on since their reports’ findings
Joining Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann in the round-table discussion are actress and human rights advocate Anastasia Lin, China Uncensored’s Chris Chappell, and journalist Matt Robertson, who won a press award for his reporting on organ harvesting in 2013.
The first video covers the investigations and reports into China’s organ harvesting industry, but also looks at why there are still skeptics who don’t believe it is occurring.
They also discuss how the issue has been known for some time, but has only been covered recently by mainstream media.
In the video, Kilgour says they approached Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Human Rights in China during 2006 to talk about their initial report’s findings.
For years “they wouldn’t agree this is happening,” Kilgour said, referring to Amnesty International. “One of them told me privately and they felt that if they raised this issue they would lose all ability to lobby to get rid of the death penalty in China,” Kilgour says.
But now he says that has changed.
“We now have Amnesty fully onside with us as of a year ago,” Kilgour says, while adding that Human Rights Watch “came around eventually.”
Watch part two of the round-table discussion here:
Victims and numbers
The above video explains why the communists have persecuted Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on meditation and slow moving exercises, and three main principles: Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.
The round-table discussion discusses what occurred prior to the persecution when the practice was for many years supported by the Chinese authorities.
But Falun Gong’s growing popularity — somewhere between 70 and 100 million people were practicing it toward the end of the 1990s — was seen as a threat to the ruling Communist Party.
In 1999, the persecution began, and it was fueled by a huge propaganda campaign that demonized practitioners to the extent that such a crime as organ harvesting could occur.
Suppression by the CCP
In the next part of the round-table discussion, the six discuss what organ harvesting tells us about China’s ruling communists.
But such an image as it presents — that China is ruled by a genocidal regime — is one that Robertson says is not particularly welcomed.
International companies dealing with China “don’t want to know about mass killing,” he says. There are states trying to get China to help them in some way, he says. “Like cooperate on climate change for example,” he says.
Matas says there is a lot of willful blindness, and it is more convenient for those with certain interests to ignore what is going on.
Watch part three here:
Legislation and advocacy
But Kilgour points out there have been governments addressing the issue and referenced the efforts of Israel, Spain, and Taiwan barring their citizens from going to China for an organ transplant. He says more countries need to follow their example.
To affect more change, Robertson said that the organ harvesting issue must be raised at the highest levels and done so publicly that everyone becomes aware of the issue.
“I think that would have a huge effect on the Chinese leadership,” he says.
Matas suggests three immediate practical targets.
“End transplant tourism. Secondly, avoid all contact with the Chinese transplant profession, and third, have an independent investigation, governmental or inter-governmental,” he says. “Those things can be done and will have an impact on what’s happening in the future.”
Robertson says that now things are heading in the right direction.
“Now, [organ harvesting] is taken seriously,” he says, adding it is no longer considered a “weird sci-fi story,” which he believes in itself is a big shift.
“That awareness will deepen. There are a lot of professionals getting involved, they’re forming networks, they will mobilize to activate high level intervention with China,” he says. “It is getting momentum. It is going to build and build.”
Robertson states that eventually there is going to be a huge global learning experience about the organ harvesting issue.
“Because this is such a uniquely evil thing that has taken place, from so many different aspects, and that will be analyzed and reflected on,” he adds.
Watch the fourth video here: