Western countries are beginning to pay high-level attention to accusations that Chinese authorities are killing jailed members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement in order to sell their body parts for organ transplants, reports suggest.
A subcommittee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on the accusations on 29th September while the issue was also raised at foreign minister level at the China-European Union summit meeting on 9th September in Helsinki.
The basis for the attention was a report published in July by two Canadian human rights lawyers who examined claims that the Chinese authorities were killing prisoners in order to sell their organs at home and overseas.
A Falun Gong association in North America asked the two lawyers, David Matas and David Kilgour, to help them investigate allegations that prisoners not sentenced to death by any court were being killed.
While statistics from the China Medical Organ Transplant Association showed there were some 60,000 transplant operations in China between 2000 and 2005, Matas and Kilgour estimated that just 18,000 organ donations in that period came from official sources.
In their report, the lawyers stated while they had not found any hard evidence to support the charges against China, they had established a sequence of circumstantial evidence that suggested such a practice existed.
However, they were not allowed to visit China to investigate and the Chinese government claimed the story was “extremely irresponsible”.
Newspaper reports said the China International Transplantation Network Assistance Centre in Shenyang earlier this year carried a list of prices for body parts.
The list put the price of a kidney at US$62,000, a liver at $130,000, the same for a heart, and a lung at $150,000.
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