Article from Irish Times: China Accused of Organ Harvesting

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A US human rights lawyer has today accused the Chinese military of harvesting the organs of imprisoned Falun Gong members to sell to foreign customers.

The report claims that Falun Gong prisoners, jailed for membership of the outlawed spiritual group, are singled out for the transplants during which many of them die.

Mr David Matas presented his shocking findings at a public meeting in Trinity College Dublin and is due to present the information to an Oireachtas sub-committee on human rights tomorrow.

The report also claims transplant operations are routinely supplied in either military-run or military-staffed hospitals in China, despite there not existing an organ donation scheme in the country.

It says Falun Gong prisoners are given systematic blood tests and medical tests, while some hospitals have admitted they have Falun Gong organs for sale.

The report, co-written by former Canadian secretary of state for the Asia Pacific region David Kilgour, accuses China of state sponsorship of the practice.

It claims the government has executed a large, but unknown, number of Falun Gong prisoners in the last five years, harvesting their organs for sale to foreign customers at high prices.

It also accuses the government of building dedicated facilities for organ transplants without any identifiable source for transplants, other than prisoners.

Mr Matas called for a series of government travel advisories and public information campaigns to explain that the source of organ transplants in China, with few exceptions, is prisoners.

"The market for organs in China is determined by supply and demand. The supply is local, but the demand is, in large part, foreign. We must do everything we can to end this demand," he said.

Mr Kilgour added: "Our investigations have found Canadians going to China for transplants from Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. The numbers are increasing".

The Chinese ambassador, Zhang Xinsen meanwhile, has refused an invitation by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs to answer the allegations.

Ambassador Zhang Xinsen met the chairman of the Committee Michael Woods TD last November to set out China's position on the allegations. However, officials at the Chinese Embassy later said he would not attend a sitting of the Committee and had no further comment to make on the allegations.

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