Sun2Surf (Malaysia): 41,500 transplants unaccounted for

Wed, 27 Dec 2006

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 27, 2006): It is estimated that about 41,500 organ transplants were unaccounted for in China between 2001 and last year, with recipients from around the world including Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Canada, an international human rights lawyer said.

These statistics provide more reason to believe that the source of the organs could be detainees and persecuted individuals, including Falun Gong practitioners, David Matas said.

During a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, he presented information from an investigative report he compiled with David Kilgour, at a Bar Council public forum titled "Human Rights in China: Organ Harvesting -- Truth or Hoax?"

Matas and Kilgour had looked into allegations that China had carried out large scale organ harvesting on convicts and detainees.

A report on the study was released in July.

"The volume of organ transplants before the 1999 persecution (of Falun Gong practitioners) began was a lot less (18,900), but figures shot up despite the constant rate of prison executions of 1,500-1,600 a year between 2000 and 2005," Matas said.

He said there were no statistics and statements on the organ trade released by the Chinese government.

However, other countries should realise that this was not just China's problem but a global concern, he added.

Matas said citizens of other countries can do their bit by writing to the Chinese government to protest against such organ harvesting, to put a stop to the customer-driven practice.

"There is a lot of money to be made from transplants as prices, made available on a website, range from US$30,000 (RM106,800) for corneas to US$180,000 (RM640,800) for a liver and kidney combination.

"If everyone protests, it will not be easy for the Chinese government to ignore governments and many individuals, especially if concerns are raised from the United Nations," he said.

He also asked for support in investigations and urged people who have had such transplants to come forward and share their information.

"Join us in our investigations and tell us what you know because China does not have tabulation or a system that reports the trade centrally and there is no collection of information of the traffic to China," Matas said.

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