Congressional Hearing Tells of Falun Gong Adherents Being Slaughtered for Organs

NEW YORK, October 4—As many as 40,000 Falun Gong practitioners who committed no crime have been secretly put to death in Chinese hospitals and their organs sold “on-demand,” investigators told a United States Congressional committee in Washington, DC last Friday. Worse still, little is being done to stop the ongoing killing.

“Time is very much of the essence on this issue,” former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific David Kilgour told the Congressional Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations. “We believe that innocent men and women continue to be killed across China for their organs as commercial products.”

Kilgour and international human rights attorney David Matas introduced their investigative report on allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. (full report)

“All the evidence pointed in the same direction as our ultimate conclusion: the government of China in its hospitals, detention centers and other agencies in numerous parts of the country has over the past half decade put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience,” Kilgour said. “Most of the victims were convicted of nothing; they were murdered by medical professionals for their vital organs.”

Kilgour added that, according to one source, nearly 85 percent of the organs being used in a large Tianjin city transplant center are going to people who reside outside of China.

“Many such patients probably hope they are getting an organ from a convicted murderer or rapist,” Kilgour said. “In reality, it is probable that the organ is coming from a young Falun Gong prisoner, whose crime was to believe in ‘truth, compassion, and forbearance’.”

Also testifying were Erping Zhang, spokesperson for the Falun Gong, and Dr. Kirk Allison, of the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Rights and Medicine. Dr. Allison stated, “The systematic program of ideological eradication of Falun Gong [by China’s regime] coincided with an inexplicable increase in whole organ transplantation, and international organ transplant tourism to China.”

Among the Kilgour-Matas report’s 17 recommendations is the suggestion that all countries discourage, if not outright prohibit, their citizens from obtaining transplants in China until the abominable organ harvesting practice is stopped. No country has yet begun implementing their recommendations.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who chairs the hosting Subcommittee under the Committee on International Relations, expressed disappointment that the U.S. Department of State did not send a representative to the hearing.

Rohrabacher said that the practice of killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs in China must now “get the attention of the American people.” (photos of hearing)

Singled Out

While normal waiting times for organ transplants are measured in years, in China they are measured in days, the report says.

According to Dr. Allison, “The short timeframe of an on-demand system requires a large pool of donors pretyped for blood group and HLA matching.”

The Kilgour-Matas report explains that Falun Gong practitioners in detention are systematically given blood tests and physical examinations. “Yet, because they are also systematically tortured, this testing cannot be motivated by concerns over their health,” Matas said. Rather, these prisoners of conscience are being matched for potential transplants of vital organs such as livers.

“In a few cases, between death and cremation, family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see the mutilated corpses of their loved ones,” Matas said. “Organs had been removed.”

The number of executed prisoners, voluntary donors, and brain-dead cases in China “come nowhere near to explaining the total number of transplants in China,” said Matas. “The only other identified source which can explain the skyrocketing transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners.”

Kilgour related how, at a recent organ transplant conference in Boston, one Chinese doctor boasted to a German colleague that his Tianjin hospital conducted 2,000 liver transplants in 2005. When the German doctor inquired about the source of these abundant organs, since only 700 such transplants are recorded per year in all of Germany, the Chinese doctor replied: “Ask the [Falun Gong] demonstrators outside the hotel.”

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Bureaucracy Directly Involved

Dr. Allison pointed to the link between CCP officials and the organ harvesting industry, saying that “coordination across the state bureaucracy between execution and transplantation is clear.” He cited the website of the China International Transplant Center, which openly states: “So many transplantation operations are owing to the support of the Chinese government.”

Given that once an organ is removed there is at most a 24-hour window for a kidney and a 12-hour window for a liver, organs cannot be matched for “transplant tourists” based on random deaths, he said. The executors and the hospitals must work together. Dr. Allison said that, indeed, “Queried physicians indicated selecting live prisoners to ensure quality and compatibility.”

With the violent campaign against the Falun Gong, the CCP and Chinese hospitals scored a two-for-one. They could carry out the regime’s program of eradication of the Falun Gong while simultaneously turning a profit, Dr. Allison explained.

Also testifying at the hearing, Falun Gong spokesperson Erping Zhang explained what Falun Gong is, what it is not, and why it has been banned. (Zhang’s statement)

“We are not interested in political power. We would love nothing more than to meditate quietly in parks,” Zhang said. “But when people beat down our doors and arrest and torture our parents, friends, and children, when they try to wipe out our very existence, we feel duty-bound to speak out.”

Zhang said that the CCP has sought to “scandalize Falun Gong,” portraying it as deviant. By doing so, the regime sought to depict itself as China’s savior, “as if it were stomping out society’s bad elements.” It could thus also shift the spotlight away from its torture and killing of Falun Gong adherents.

“This Congressional hearing was a very important first step in the United States,” Zhang said after the hearing. “But Falun Gong practitioners are being tortured and murdered in China every day now and their organs are, apparently, even being bought by Americans. The U.S. and all governments should unequivocally demand that all of China’s detention centers immediately be opened to international investigation.”

“We’ve regretted turning away from genocide too many times,” he said. “In the future, we must be able to look at ourselves in the mirror without heartbreaking regret. We all need to do more.”