ABC (Australia): Interview with David Kilgour on the Live Organ Harvesting Report

Reporter: Tony Jones

August 15, 2006


TONY JONES: Well, David Kilgour was a member of the Canadian Parliament for 26 years until January this year. During that time he served in many roles including Secretary of State for Asia - Pacific between 2002 and 2003. Prior to entering parliament Mr Kilgour practised law, working as a Crown Prosecutor in Manitoba. Mr Kilgour now joins us from our Canberra studio. Thanks for being there.

DAVID KILGOUR, FORMER CANADIAN MP: Good to be here, Tony. Can I speak about what ... you were just saying, in just a minute?

TONY JONES: I'll give you the opportunity to do that. I just want to [say] this to you, it does seem to me, reading your report in detail, there are only two possibilities here. One is you've uncovered a new form of evil we're yet to see and the other is you've been taken in by an incredibly sophisticated hoax that would make the 'Hitler Diaries' seem simplistic by comparison. How are we to know which it is, because having read your report I'm completely uncertain.

DAVID KILGOUR: I'm surprised because just about everyone who has read it from Europe, from Brussels to Berlin to Paris to London that I've spoken to is persuaded [that] any reasonable person reading the report would think that we are right. As you know, we give 18 different kinds of evidence. The most convincing, as you know, is what the people in these institutions are telling us - essentially that they have Falun Gong prisoners ready and available to be harvested and we have websites in China telling people that they can come and have organ transplants within a week. For example, today I was... a resident of Canberra, Chen Yang, was telling us how her stomach was treated while she was in a labour camp, but only the Falun Gong prisoners were examined carefully, with blood tests, their computer-assisted blood transplants. From the 18 kinds of evidence we looked [at] the case is simply overwhelming. As terrible as this is, this is happening on a large scale in many locations in China.

TONY JONES: There is evidence from people who have been imprisoned and who are now free, that they saw fellow Falun Gong practitioners in prison receiving extensive medical testing and that is corroborative evidence to what you've been saying, isn't it?

DAVID KILGOUR: Yes, but my colleague who is actually here with me from Europe, Edward McMillan Scott - Vice-President of the European Parliament, by the way - was in China recently, as you know, and somebody he met there had told him he had seen his best friend with his organs removed. This man has disappeared and that's why McMillan Scott is here with me in Australia because he's so concerned this could happen to a person who speaks to a visiting MP.

TONY JONES: Alright. It's so important. Let's go straight to an examination of the evidence, including the evidence that you just cited earlier about the phone calls. You have in your report a series of transcripts of telephone conversations with various senior doctors, hospital and medical staff in different parts of China. An unnamed person you call M, secretly records those calls, at least one group of them. Now, the people on the other end of the phone appear [to confirm] details of the allegations that political prisoners are being kept as a kind of live organ bank of healthy donors for sick people with enough money to get transplants. Tell us why you believe these recording, these critical recordings, were not fabricated.

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, people who I know have listened to them. I don't speak Mandarin, but I've listened to the tapes with an independently hired interpreter. I had the transcript in my hand and he translated to me from the text, as he heard it, the digital recording, and I had the text in front of me and he signed off that these reports were accurate and I'm satisfied, having - as a former prosecutor having examined very carefully how these were done. We looked at phone records; we looked at all kind of things to make sure they were fairly and properly done. I don't think there's any basis whatsoever for thinking these are a hoax or some kind of attempt to pull the wool over anybody's eyes.

TONY JONES: Let's go through it a little more. Evidently the person called M puts in calls to a senior public security official in Zhangxi [Guangxi] Province, a senior physician in Shenyang, a senior surgeon in a Beijing army hospital, and over the phone to someone they've never met and evidently not spoken to before, they begin to spill out quite openly what you would think would be state secrets. I can't understand why anyone would do that.

DAVID KILGOUR: That's a good question. I, of course, asked that, too. The reality is that she called a great many hospitals and as I understand it many of the people were smart enough to say they shouldn't say this, but about 15 across the country people were either vain enough, or foolish enough or honest enough, to fess up to what was available. And as you probably know from the transcripts sometimes they will say "we're not supposed to talk about that" or "it's a state secret," or this or that. But in about 15 institutions, which we cite in the report, people were candid enough to spill the beans on a system that the human mind, I don't think, could have invented.

TONY JONES: How was M representing herself in these phone calls, because that is unclear in the report?

DAVID KILGOUR: I went over that very carefully with her as well. She was representing herself as somebody who was seeking an organ for a member of her family and she was speaking, of course, in Mandarin. The person did not know that she was calling...from where in China she was calling, did not know, in fact, she was calling from North America.

TONY JONES: Did you do any cross-checking to verify that the people supposedly on the other end of the phone are actually the people reported as being in those conversations. A senior doctor in the Beijing army hospital, for example. One could check the numbers, one could go back and find it. Is this the same voice?

DAVID KILGOUR: We have checked the numbers and in some cases where we've called back - in fact, one extraordinary case, we were able to get through. Not "we", they were able to get through to the incinerator where bodies were burned and the man in the incinerator admitted this was happening. I mean, China is such a big country and the system is so massive, they weren't able to tell everybody, "Don't say a word." I have [no] doubt if somebody called now everybody has been told to say nothing. In fact, one of the colleagues told me she rang recently and the person hung up immediately when they heard her on the other end of the line. It will not work now, I'm quite satisfied, but as recently as June, Tony, these calls were being put through and in some cases these extraordinary admissions were being made.

TONY JONES: Who is putting the calls through? Because you say "they". Did you have an investigative staff?

DAVID KILGOUR: Two people. One in Canada and one in Boston, actually. These people did it very carefully. We have the digital recordings. We've made them available to any serious person who wants to look at them, or listen to them.

TONY JONES: And are governments looking at this material? Is this going to intelligence services, people who would be able to do all of the checking and cross-checking that is necessary?

DAVID KILGOUR: I'm more than happy to make them available to governments. We've been appealing to governments, including your own government here in Australia - we will be tomorrow - to take this very seriously. We're two volunteers, by the way. We weren't paid for this. We spent two months on it, but we'd like to see the UN and organisations like Amnesty International do an enquiry. We've cooperated fully with Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. We'd like to see a UN investigation into this thing in the way they have the resources and people to do it.

TONY JONES: Since you've raised it, who will you be talking to in the Australian Government tomorrow?

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, we are meeting with - some of these are private meetings so it's probably better not [to] say. I'd certainly like to meet with Mr Downer. Mr Downer and I both know each other quite well. I very much hope he'll make time to meet with us on this. We're meeting with government MPs and with Opposition MPs. It's certainly not a partisan issue. We think it's an issue of human rights and doing the correct thing for the people of Australia, who are for standing up for principle.

TONY JONES: The Australian Government has a close relationship and serious trading relationship with China. Are you sure you can convince them that this is serious enough that they should overlook that in order to examine, or seek to have examined these allegations?

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, of course. Does anyone in Australia think that China is going to stop buying natural gas from Australia because [of] Australia saying that this has got to stop immediately? The lever we have, as you know is we've got the Olympic games in two years and if Australians will say this has to stop and I think that - and if other governments do this as well, Canada, and the US and Europe, I think they will stop. And at least the practice will end until the Games start. We all have to speak up on it. We can't all simply sit back and say, "They might [not] buy our natural gas" , which is nonsense.

TONY JONES: David Kilgour, if the UN and independent governments conducted an investigation and proved that the Chinese state had murdered thousands of political prisoners, there would be no Olympic Games in Beijing, would there?

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, that's a very interesting question. I would like to think not, but at this point all we're really hoping, short-term wise, is to get the practice to stop. And I'm absolutely convinced it's going on a large scale across China and it has to stop immediately.

TONY JONES: Back to the evidence. You found corroborative evidence to support your transitions in transplant statistics and in information founded on actual hospital websites. Can you explain that evidence to us briefly.

DAVID KILGOUR: There's one particular website that's called a China International Website. There are six languages on it. I went on it the other night and it basically says that viscera donors - these are soft organs of the body - are available immediately. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that with the waits in Australia, Canada and elsewhere, if it is anybody who can provide a kidney or a liver immediately, we think, sadly, has to have a human group of people waiting to have their organs harvested and there's no other explanation we can come to. The figure we came up with is the 41,000 basically unaccounted for transplants since 2000. That was the year that Falun Gong began --

TONY JONES: Let's go through that. When you say "unaccounted for", you mean one can work out who the transplant donors were in all the other ones, but there are 41,000 transplants for which you cannot work out who the donors are?

DAVID KILGOUR: Executed prisoners, brain-dead patients and donated organs. As you know in Chinese culture people do not donate their organs. It's has a very, very small number of donated organs. It comes up with about 41,000. We're not saying it is 41,000 people have died because, as you know, you can take many more than one organ from a person. You can take seven or eight.

TONY JONES: You are saying thousands of people have died?

DAVID KILGOUR: Thousands, yes.

TONY JONES: Let's go, if we can in the time we left, to the most controversial piece of evidence. The testimony of a former wife of a surgeon who is alleged to have taken - the surgeon, that is - have taken more than 2,000 corneas from the eyes of live prisoners or in fact prisoners who were killed and then rolled into an operating theatre so he and other surgeons could remove organs.

DAVID KILGOUR: Yeah, actually I went over this carefully with her. It's the corneas from 2,000 human beings. And it happened in the Sujiatun hospital that she referred to at the outset at this interview. And her husband did that over a 2-year period - believe me, I went down to visit with Mr Wu. I spent - I had lunch with him, I had dinner with him. We had a very long talk about this-

TONY JONES: You are talking about Harry Wu now, cause we've switched topics slightly. I was about to ask you about Harry Wu. Harry Wu is an activist in this area, as people know. He says this can't have happened, he's sent his investigators to this area. There is no giant underground facility, which she appears to refer to, where thousands of people could have been kept, no concentration camp and he just says it couldn't have happened there.

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, everything that Harry has said - and believe me I have gone over this very carefully with him and I have great respect for Harry Wu. Everything that Harry is talking about happened after March the 9th, when, basically, the whistle was blown by two individuals. We're talking about things that happened before March 9th and that's really the fundamental difference between them. But the reality is that her husband, over a 2-year period, told her - until he refused to do it anymore - that he had taken corneas from 2,000 - approximately 2,000 human beings. People say you can't do that many operations, but as we've discovered, you can take corneas out of a person's body in about 20 minutes. As somebody worked it out for us, he could have done this in about 83 days, working very hard for 83 days. So to suggest that he couldn't have done it in a 2-year period is not true.

TONY JONES: She says that he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from doing these operations, that prisoners were wheeled in virtually in front of the surgeons, killed with a lethal injection and-


TONY JONES: ..potassium to stop the heart, and then the body was wheeled into different surgeries and different groups of surgeons supposedly pulled out other organs. Is that correct?

DAVID KILGOUR: She also says that initially that's what happened, what you just said, but eventually, when people became so desensitised, they would all do it in the same operating room. The people taking the heart would come into the same operating room and take the heart out once the corneas had been taken out and the liver and the kidneys and so on.

TONY JONES: Have [you]verified the existence of this doctor that she supposedly was married to? Have you made attempts to contact him and find out whether he can confirm this story? Because it is second-hand right now.

DAVID KILGOUR: I would very much like to do so but as you can appreciate, he's outside of China right now, in fact I know what country he's in. But as you can also appreciate, he's basically taken part in the murder of about 2,000 people and that's a crime against humanity. It's a terrible thing to do and if he comes forward, I'm sure he's worried that he'll be denied refuge status in the country he's living in at the moment. And his wife, as you know, is also outside the country - former wife.

TONY JONES: Her story is like a sort of ghastly, gothic horror tale and it goes on. And she says that assassins employed by the local health authority, she believes, tried to kill her and her husband, that she was stabbed in that attempt. He escaped unscathed - her former husband, that is, escaped unscathed. It's at that point where I start to wonder about her story, because the logic of it is the health authorities would have to kill all the doctors and all the nurses and personnel involved in these operations.

DAVID KILGOUR: Well, you'll recall that his problems started after he refused to do any more operations and you'll also recall that the SARS epidemic hit China in 2003 and he was one of the several doctors who were sent to Beijing to deal with the SARS epidemic there. And I think you probably noticed he said he thought he said he would not return from it. But in fact he did survive the SARS epidemic and came back and then these things happened. I'm not - I wasn't there, I'm not sure what happened, but I did sit with her for a long, long time and I was persuaded that she was doing her best to tell the truth as she saw it. And why else would she say that she had - her husband had been stabbed? She also, you will recall, said her mother worked in the health system. So that's, I believe, how she found out about this.

TONY JONES: Presumably, if there is a chance to investigate all these matters, you want an independent investigator to look at all these matters, it would be fairly easy to corroborate the steps that you've gone through here with this story, because there must have been a lot of people involved. But have there been any attempts so far by the UN or by anybody, by all the human right groups you've talked about, to actually examine the detail of this - or the US Government or its officials?

DAVID KILGOUR: Well I've actually met with the US State Department and with Amnesty International in London, their head office, and with Human Rights Watch in New York and I'm quite encouraged that all three of those groups, along with others, are going to try to get to the bottom of this, but there is no doubt that the UN rapporteur on torture, Manfred Novak, in Vienna, is the one that should be dealing with it. I'm working with him, too, so I'm optimistic that these enquiries will be done. But in the meantime, this ghastly process has to stop and that's where Australians calling their MPs and you and I and others can do our utmost to make sure the Chinese government knows that this is totally unacceptable conduct.

TONY JONES: Will you be seeking to speak to the Australian Prime Minister about this? It's so extraordinary these allegations. They have to be tested in some way, don't they?

DAVID KILGOUR: Yes, but you know, too, that in fact [a person] just died in Canada a few months ago - a man who at the age of 19, got out of Auschwitz and told the world what was going on there in, I believe, 1943. And the world said, "This can't be happening." And he said, "It is happening." And nobody believed him. We all know what was happening in Auschwitz and, yeah, I find them extraordinary as well. But, as I say we've looked at it as carefully as we can and we've come to the regrettable conclusion that it is happening, and it's happening on a large scale and as I say, it's got to stop now.

TONY JONES: David Kilgour, we'll obviously follow your talks over the next few days with Australian politicians and we thank you very much for taking the time to test these...have these questions, put to you and test the allegations on Lateline.

DAVID KILGOUR: Thank you for having me, Tony.


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