Monday, April 30, 2007

Report Faults China On Rights Failures

Olympics an Excuse for Arrests, Amnesty Says

Washington Post Foreign Service by Maureen Fan April 30, 2007 -Amnesty International and others said the Olympics provide a rare opportunity to effect change in this image-conscious nation.

"It's only about a year to go and we don't see any genuine effort by the Chinese administration to improve human rights," said T. Kumar, advocacy director for Asia and the Pacific for Amnesty International. "The efforts they're taking are stopgap -- the public statement about extra review for the death penalty, the additional movement for international journalists. It's just enough to keep the criticism at bay."

Kumar added: "If we don't make any structural improvements before the Olympics, it could be worse afterwards. No one is going to pay attention once the glamour and attention and the Olympics are gone."(more)

New Zealand Surgeons Condemn "Hideous" Organ Trade in China

Transplant specialists urge Prime Minister to help stop state-sanctioned organ harvesting for huge profits in China

Epoch Times: 30 April 2007 - Transplant specialists are calling on the Prime Minister to pressure the Chinese regime to end the organ trade, following growing concerns that the organs are being taken from live prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners for huge profits. (more)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 2007 No. 1

"If we are to preserve civilization, we must first remain civilized."

-Lous St. Laurent

Welcome to the CIPFG Newsletter. This newsletter offers a mix of articles on the subject of organ harvesting, including statements by Sherry Zhang and Messrs. Kilgour and Matas. It also includes information on Attorney Gao Zhisheng and defector Jiyan Zhang. I would appreciate members writing articles for the newsletter or sending clippings of interest. It would make my job of putting the Newsletter together a lot easier while adding to its diversity. So please keep this in mind.

To send a message for submission to the CIPFG Newsletter please e-mail your contribution to the editor.

Statement by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG):

In April 2006, China's State Council banned the sale of human organs used for transplants effective May 1. The new regulation prohibits individuals and organizations from trading organs, such as hearts, lungs, and kidneys. The regulation only bans the sale of organs, however; sales of human tissue, such as bone marrow, cornea and cells are still permitted. This is part of a series of actions the Chinese regime has taken after the crime of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners was exposed in March 2006 by a Chinese sergeant's wife.

Following this, the Chinese Ministry of Health issued a general ban on the sale of human organs which took effect on July 1, 2006. In the past year, the Chinese authorities for the first time admitted that they take organs from executed prisoners—something they consistently denied in the past. CIPFG believes the Chinese regime is adopting theses new measures to disguise and deflect attention from the bigger issue: live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

  • The new regulation will not prevent Falun Gong practitioners from being persecuted, mainly because of China's genocidal policy used in the persecution of Falun Gong, which states that no measure is too excessive. In addition, years of propaganda have demonized Falun Gong practitioners and incited much hatred toward them in the eyes of the general public, which has paved the way for the genocide.

  • Dealing with the issue of executed prisoners does not address the crime of harvesting Falun Gong practitioners’ organs. The regime has never explained the fact that 45,000 organs came from un-identified source—organs that did not come from executed prisoners.

  • The Chinese regime also has not been able to explain why there is such an abundance of organs available for transplant in China. In David Kilgour’s most recent report, Bloody Harvest, he noted that one patient was given eight transplants before an organ was found that worked properly. “Eight people had to die so that one person could live,” said Kilgour.

  • CIPFG was founded in April 2006 soon after the first witnesses in China revealed to the world that the Chinese Communist Party was murdering thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and selling their organs as part of a lucrative transplant business.

  • An essential part of CIPFG's work is to travel inside China's borders to investigate and obtain first-hand evidence of the genocide that is taking place. CIPFG chapters around the world have contacted Chinese government agencies requesting unfettered access to detention facilities and hospitals. While CIPFG has received no reply from the Chinese authorities and has yet to obtain official access to the country, investigations outside China continue to progress and have already had an enormous impact. In addition, one of CIPFG's members in China, Mr. Gao Zhisheng, the renowned human rights lawyer, was arrested last year and has been tortured by the regime. Gao's entire family is under surveillance 24/7 and his home has been turned into a prison for him and his entire family; their contact with outside world has been completely cut.

  • The Canadian independent investigative report by human rights lawyer David Matas and ex-Secretary of State to Asia, David Kilgour, was published in July 2006 and revised in January 2007. Kilgour and Matas have traveled the world making hundreds of Government officials in many countries aware of the report’s findings. This demonstrates that there is solid ground for the allegations, and has led some governments, such as Australia's, to demand an official investigation into the practice of illegal organ harvesting.

  • It is unthinkable that Beijing should host the 2008 Olympic Games, while at the same committing genocide against thousands of prisoners of conscience and killing them for their organs through China’s extensive network of labor camps. The Chinese authorities must allow the international community to investigate these crimes immediately, before the Olympics begin. Otherwise, the Games will not conform to the spirit and tradition of the Olympics—that of respect and dignity for all human life.

  • Since its foundation in April 2006, the Coalition has grown rapidly, establishing four chapters around the globe: in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, now numbering over 300 active members. CIPFG members are individuals and organizations from all walks of life and include legislators, lawyers, doctors, academics, religious and community leaders, and government and non-government organizations.

Reaction statement of David Matas and David Kilgour
Re: Chinese announcement of the rule change for organ transplants

April 17, 2007 - China has had a history of announcing policies and laws about organ transplants which sound fine in principle but are then not enforced. The most recent official Chinese announcement of the rule change for organ transplants, banning their sale for profit, is welcome. But this announcement will mean nothing if the practice of organ harvesting from non-consenting donors for huge sums of money continues. The new rules have to be enforced.

China enacted another law last March which came into force July 1st, 2006 also banning the sale of organs. Even before that China had a policy in place to prevent such practices.

Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu, speaking at a conference of surgeons in the southern city of Guangzhou in mid November 2006 decried the selling of organs from executed prisoners sentenced to death saying "Under-the-table business must be banned". Yet, it was already banned in law on July 1 and by policy much before that. His speech was an official acknowledgment that previous bans were not effective.

We concluded in our report “Bloody Harvest” that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are being executed by medical professionals for commercial reasons and their vital organs sold, often to foreigners. The first version of the report was released on July 6, 2006; the second version was released on January 31, 2007. The revised report almost doubled, from 18 to 33, the number of evidentiary factors leading to our conclusion. The Government of China has yet to come up with any facts or figures contradicting our report.

One of the reasons we came to the conclusion in our report "Bloody Harvest" that organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners occurs is that the precautions which should be in place to prevent this organ harvesting are not in place. The announcement of this rule change vindicates that observation. The change in the law is a tacit admission that the present legal system has been inadequate to prevent the practices we decry.

This announcement of a rule change is, in effect, a statement that China is going to stop organ harvesting from unwilling donors for huge sums of money. The very statement that Chinese hospitals are going to stop doing this is an admission that this practice is now happening.

We worry that this announcement of a change in the law is nothing more than political cosmetics, a piece of propaganda. That is what both the March 2006 announcement of a law change for July 1, 2006 and previous policy announcements turned out to be.

The Chinese authorities have built a vast array of transplant centres. Many Falun Gong practitioners remain in detention centres and forced labour camps. Will the military hospitals and surgeons, which to date have functioned outside the civilian health system and are heavily involved in transplants, be required to comply with the new regulations?

The practice of organ harvesting from unwilling donors on payment of huge sums of money has survived all the previous policy announcements. It remains to be seen whether this law change will be any different.

The announcement is an acknowledgement that the transplant industry in China is causing the Government of China political problems. We say that these problems will not be solved by a re-announcement of a policy which has been announced several times before. We will continue to scrutinize Chinese transplant practices. We ask the global community not to allow this announcement to lull them into the belief that now in China, for transplants, everything is all right.

New Heights for Human Rights

The Ottawa Citizen: April 16, 2007 - From the Matas-Kilgour report: "The Organ Transplant Center of the Armed Police General Hospital in Beijing boldly states: 'Our Organ Transplant Center is our main department for making money. This year (2004) there is a chance to break through 30,000,000 yuan (about $3.8 million U.S.).' " (more)

China introduces new organ transplant rules

Associated Press via CTV - Updated Sat. Apr. 7 2007 9:47 AM ET - Human Rights Watch urged Beijing for full transparency on the removal of body organs from executed prisoners.

"The regulations show that China is responding to great international concern over organ trade in the country," said Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, in a telephone interview.

"But the regulations are no substitute for an open and transparent system. It leaves vague areas under secrecy, such as the crucial issue of the provenance of the organs, which we know are through judicial executions," Bequelin said.

The rules make it illegal to harvest human organs without permission, but Bequelin said the process of obtaining voluntary consent either from prisoners or their families was "virtually meaningless."

"We're talking about prisoners who are going to be executed. They can be subjected to all sorts of pressure to sign these consents," he said. "It is not an informed consent." (more) (BBC)

U.S. says it is troubled by claims of abuse against outspoken Chinese lawyer

The Associated Press: April 16, 2007 - (WASHINGTON) - The United States said Monday it is troubled by allegations that a Chinese lawyer convicted on subversion charges was subjected to harsh treatment by Chinese authorities.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States will follow up on claims that Gao Zhisheng endured severe mistreatment, including being forced to sit for more than 100 hours straight in an iron chair, during a five-month detention. (more)

Related Article:

Epoch Times: Open Letter on Maltreatment of Gao Zhisheng and Family

Chinese defector describes agents' reach in Canada

THE WASHINGTON TIMES by Bill Gertz: April 17, 2007 - China's embassy in Canada is engaged in an aggressive effort to harass dissidents, including attempts to influence government agencies to limit anti-communist broadcasters, a Chinese defector and religious dissident said. (more)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dr. Abraham L. Halpern's open letter to the WMA on organ harvesting

USA: Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry Calls for an Emergency Meeting of the Council of the World Psychiatric Association to Address Organ Harvesting from Living Falun Gong Practitioners in China

( On April 14, 2007, Abraham L. Halpern, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, wrote a letter to Kgosi Letlape, MD, President of the World Medical Association, Pilaneberg, South Africa, requesting that President Letlape call an emergency meeting of the Council of the World Psychiatric Association to address organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China immediately, and initiate action to save many lives. Below is the text of the letter.

14 April 2007

Kgosi Letlape, MD
World Medical Association
Pilaneberg, South Africa

Dear Dr. Letlape,

Re: Crimes Against Humanity in the People's Republic of China

You will recall, I am sure, the letter I sent you on 27 September 2006, in which I proposed that the World Medical Association demand that the People's Republic of China allow a WPA investigative team to look into the extremely serious allegations that physicians are involved in the killing of Falun Gong practitioners and removing various body organs for sale to desperate patients whose names are on long waiting lists for organ transplantation. I strongly recommended that the Chinese Medical Association be faced with expulsion from the World Medical Association if permission was not granted for this urgent investigation.

Reports are rampant throughout the world that the organ harvesting program in China continues without interruption, notwithstanding the denials of the Chinese government and the enactment of a law that went into effect last July to regulate organ transplants in hospitals.

It has come to my attention that Dr. Chen Zhonghua, the Deputy Committee Director of the Chinese Medical Association, Organ Transplant Division, may actually be involved in these blatantly pernicious violations of the codes of medical ethics of all the countries of the world, especially that of the World Medical Association adopted in October, 1975, and, I believe, not attenuated by any subsequent revisions: "A doctor must have complete clinical independence in deciding upon the care of a person for whom he or she is medically responsible. The doctor's fundamental role is to alleviate the distress of his or her fellow men, and no motive-whether personal, collective or political-shall prevail against this higher purpose." [Bold italics mine.] It is indicated in a website here that Dr. Chen Zhonghua is also head of the Organ Transplant Research Institute at Huazhong University of Science and Technology's Tongii Medical School. The Institute is reported to have performed more than 1,000 kidney transplants in February 2005 alone. Dr. Chen Zhonghua is said to have admitted through phone conversations that some transplant organs had come from living Falun Gong practitioners. In my opinion, the possible participation of this doctor, a senior member of the Chinese Medical Association, makes it all the more urgent that the WMA take immediate action.

Waiting until protests can be organized at the 2008 Olympics or until efforts by diplomats come to fruition will not save the lives of many innocent people during the coming months. I believe that only action by the World Medical Association can bring these crimes against humanity to an end. As I mentioned in my letter last year, the type of step recommended above is one that has proven effective in the past in the Soviet Union and even in China itself in connection with stopping the wrongful incarceration, in maximum security forensic institutions, of non-mentally-ill dissidents in the Soviet Union and Falun Gong adherents in China.

I respectfully request that you call an emergency meeting of the Council of the WPA to address this problem immediately and act to save many lives.

Sincerely yours,

Abraham L. Halpern, MD, FACP
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
New York Medical College