China's Organ Harvesting Atrocities Under the Spotlight in Italy

The issue of forced live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners has garnered a fair amount of attention in Italy recently, both in the media and in the Senate. Evidence and expert testimonies were presented at a Senate hearing organized by the Human Rights Committee in the Italian Parliament on December 19.

Major Italian media outlets such as Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier) and RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) reported on the hearing and exposed the crimes of organ harvesting in China.

A screenshot of the RAI online article: “Shocking Report: Prisoners Killed for Their Organs.” RAI is Italy's national public broadcasting company, owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance

“People at the Commission on Human Rights Senate hearing were shocked to hear of the systematic and forced removal of organs from prisoners of conscience in China, especially Falun Gong practitioners,” stated the RAI report.

Mr. David Matas, a world-renowned human rights attorney and an expert on the issue of forced organ harvesting in China, told RAI that he is convinced that large-scale forced organ harvesting has been ongoing to this day. He described organ harvesting in China as “a militarized system.” Military hospitals are involved in the organ trade.

“I cannot summarize so many years of investigation in just a few minutes,” said Mr. Matas as he began his testimony at the Senate hearing. He started his independent investigation on organ harvesting in China in 2006.

Prior to his investigation, a reporter from a Japanese TV station and the wife of a Chinese surgeon broke the news in the United States. These two witnesses revealed that Falun Gong practitioners detained in a labor camp near a hospital in northeastern China were used as a live organ pool. When the hospital needed an organ for transplant, they would search for matching organs in the labor camp. When a match was found, this practitioner's organs were subsequently sold, and he or she would be killed in the process.

A patient from Europe or other countries can get a matched organ in a matter of one to two weeks. Such a patient normally has to wait for years in Europe. Mr. Matas and Mr. David Kilgour, a former Canadian diplomat and crown prosecutor, have concluded that 41,500 Falun Gong practitioners were subjected to forced organ harvesting between 2000 and 2005.

Media Reports on Falun Gong Activities in Chinatown

Falun Gong practitioners gather to practise the exercises every Saturday morning at a park in the centre of Chinatown in Prato

Despite the brutal persecution in China, the peaceful practice continues to gain popularity worldwide. Major local media in Prato, a city with a large Chinese population in Tuscany, Italy, recently reported on Falun Gong practitioners' weekly Saturday exercises in Chinatown. The TV interview attracted quite a few Chinese visitors. Some of them took materials regarding the persecution. The news was broadcast on TV Prato during prime time on November 30, 2013.

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