Belgian News Agency Reports on China's Illegal Organ Trade

This is an article published by the Belgian news agency BELGA about the publication of the report on organ harvesting by Canadians Kilgour and Matas. This text was used as a basis for several news articles that were published on 13/07/06 on the website of the following Dutch speaking newspapers in Belgium: De Morgen, De Standaard, De Gazet van Antwerpen, Het Belang Van Limburg, Het Laatste Nieuws.

13/07 China guilty of illegal organ trade (report)

Brussels 13/07 (BELGA) Since 1999, the Chinese government has executed an unknown number of adherents of the spiritual movement Falun Gong in various places in the country, especially in hospitals, forced labour camps and prisons.

Without any written consent, their vital organs are also sold for high prices to foreigners.

This is claimed by David Kilgour, former Canadian MP, and David Matas, international human rights lawyer.

In Brussels today, thursday, Kilgour presented an independent investigation report, in which they claim to reveal indisputable evidence about the illegal organ trade.

It has been known for quite some time now that the Falun Gong, with its 70 million adherents, is being severely persecuted in China. Practitioners from the forbidden spiritual movement, which is based on Buddhist principles of a pure body and pure mind, are said to be severely tortured in forced labour camps. Members of the European Parliament have already emphatically denounced this issue.

Kilgour and Matas based their independent report on numerous witnesses from Canada, Australia, France and the U.S., both adherents and non-adherents of Falun Gong. The investigators have also published conversations with doctors and surgeons in hospitals and prisons. The number of victims killed is yet unknown, but is said to be in the thousands.

In the bulky investigation report witnesses tell openly how they themselves, family members and friends were tortured in Chinese camps, how they had to undergo medical tests and sometimes even had to give up their organs. From convicted prisoners as well numerous organs, like liver, heart and kidneys were harvested and sold, Kilgour claims.

The organs are sold for high prices to foreigners, who usually have to wait a long time for the requested organ in their own country. “In China most of the time they get an organ within a week”, says Kilgour. According to the investigators, especially patients from Scandinavia and Canada are said to be buyers of Chinese organs. In March this year the Chinese government had already announced that they would make an end to organ trafficking. Starting July the selling of organs would be forbidden and new regulations would be issued to counteract the number of abuses. Thus from then on a written consent of the donor would be needed.

China already rejected Kilgour’s report because it would be unreliable. Kilgour however emphasizes that their investigation wasn’t financed by third parties or supported by the Falun Gong. In Beijing, Mr Edward Mc.Millan-Scott, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament, likewise conducted an investigation into the illegal organ trade. He spoke with various victims of forced labour camps. “It is escalating more and more; millions of Chinese are frightened to still reveal themselves as adherents of Falun Gong”, says Mc.Millan-Scott.

Kilgour and McMillan-Scott call on the Chinese authorities to urgently investigate the allegations. They further call on Western governments to increase the fight against illegal organ trade.

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