On November 21, hundreds of Australian Falun Gong practitioners rallied in front of Capital Hill in Canberra to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights abuses perpetrated against their fellow practitioners in China since 1999. The rally put focus on murder for organs in China, and called for Australian politicians to support bringing an end to forced live organ harvesting and the persecution of Falun Gong by Chinese Communist Regime.

Banners calling for support from the Australian public and displaying the principles of the practice, Truth, Compassion and Tolerance, lined both sides of Commonwealth Avenue through the city centre and around Capital Hill.

Speakers at the rally included Fan Huiqiang from Australian Falun Dafa Association, MP Craig Kelly, former Canadian cabinet minister David Kilgour and Winnipeg international human rights lawyer David Matas. The two co-authored a new report which documents the killing of Falun Gong practitioners to supply China’s lucrative organ trade.

The report concludes that as many as 60,000 to 100,000 transplants have been taking place in China from the year 2000 to the present with the source being non-consenting prisoners of conscience; primarily Falun Gong. This puts the likely death toll of Falun Gong practitioners from forced organ harvesting in the region of 1.5 million over the past 15 years.

The emcee of the rally, Mr John Deller said: “What Falun Gong practitioners are doing is not protesting; they are only trying to tell the truth.”

Forced organ harvesting goes against everything we in believe in.

— Craig Kelly, member of parliament.

MP Craig Kelly spoke at the rally, sharing about a business trip he took to China a decade ago. He explained how most of the tourist brochures in his hotel contained a leaflet inside defaming Falun Gong in poor English. It took him 10 years to work out why the Chinese communist Government did this. Once he understood the truth of Falun Gong, he said: “I’ve always stood with you since then. That’s why I have been proud to be co-chairmen of the Parliamentary group against forced organ harvesting … doing something to stop it.”

Mr Kelly told Epoch Times that David Kilgour had held a briefing inside parliament house, introducing new evidence and explaining some of the latest findings on this human rights abuse.   “We want people to donate their organs freely. But having a system where people are forced to have their organs harvested without consent … truthfully, this goes against everything we believe in. It is something we need to speak out against in our free and democratic parliament.”

Kelly said the introduction of a motion to the House of Representatives is underway. “We will make sure that it will go to parliament, and we will make sure it is bipartisan.”

Kelly said the motion condemning forced organ harvesting will be introduced early in the New Year.

David Kilgour also spoke at the rally outside parliament, “David and I have met with Falun Gong practitioners in over 50 countries; we have a great respect for you, what you believe, and what you do. There is never been an act of violence committed by any Falun Gong practitioner anywhere in China or anywhere else, you should be really, really proud of that. “

He also mentioned that he had a good hearing with parliamentarians that morning, but he said there are a lot of members of parliament who have yet to learn the truth of the matter before the Australian government will place a ban on Australians going to China for organs.

“What happened to the Jewish community is different from what’s happening to Falun Gong community. Not even Adolf Hitler would murder people and sell the organs to wealthy residents from Germany or China.” He said.

“A lot of people know what’s happening now, it’s better to stop it. Australia, Canada and all who believe in human dignity have to get this stopped. Please continue what you’re doing.”

Renowned international human rights lawyer David Matas also addressed the crowd, highlighting the total lack of transparency, accountability and traceability from China’s organ transplant industry.

“The Chinese communist regime cannot explain the organ source,” he said.

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Dr. Annika Tibell, chief physician at the New Karolinska Hospital Project in Sweden. (Karolinska Institutet)Dr. Annika Tibell, chief physician at the New Karolinska Hospital Project in Sweden. (Karolinska Institutet)

STOCKHOLM—Dr. Annika Tibell is one of the world’s most respected voices in the ethics of organ transplantation. Currently Chief Physician for the New Karolinska Hospital Project, commissioned this fall in the capital of Sweden, Dr. Tibell was the lead author for The Transplantation Society’s first policy statement on China in 2006, and was one of the founders of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group, a major organization focused on transplantation ethics.

In a recent interview, Tibell joined calls for a major international investigation into China’s organ transplant practices, where researchers believe that for over a decade prisoners of conscience have been the primary source of organs used to supply the massive and profitable industry.

Dr. Annika Tibell, a figure in international transplant ethics, in Stockholm, on Feb. 17, 2011. (Jan Ainali)

The issue came into renewed focus this summer, when a report by investigators Ethan Gutmann, David Kilgour and David Matas presented data indicating that over one million transplants likely look place in China beginning from the year 2000. They believe that the primary source of all these organs is practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been targeted for elimination in China since 1999.

She says that the new report is comprehensive and in-depth, though the sheer amount of information has made it difficult to grapple with. She calls the report’s estimate of 60,000 to 100,000 yearly transplants in China “staggering” and calls for an in-depth investigation by a “major, established, public organization” such as the UN or the Council of Europe.

“I wish the calls for action to various major organizations had lead to greater results than what we have seen so far. It’s a shame that this has not happened,” she said.  

When The Transplantation Society reviews its China policy in 2017, it should, to the best of its ability, include in its considerations the findings of the Kilgour-Gutmann-Matas report, as well as other new information to emerge since the policy was written, in 2006, Tibell said. She also says the TTS should contribute to the evaluation of the report, and of the general situation of organ sourcing in China.

China has categorically denied these allegations without responding to them in detail, and claimed that the organ source in the past was mainly death row prisoners, but that there is now a voluntary donation system in place.

This claim has met with skepticism by transplantation specialists, including the current leadership of TTS.

“There remains, in many sectors, a deep sense of mistrust of your transplant programs,” said Philip O’Connell, former TTS president, speaking at a press conference in Hong Kong on Aug. 19. “It is important that you understand that the global community is appalled by the practices, which you have adhered to in the past.”

He added: “Many people in the global community are not persuaded that China has changed.”

Philip O’Connell, former president of The Transplantation Society, at a press conference during the Society’s biennial conference, in Hong Kong on Aug. 19, 2016. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

The Hong Kong conference was The Transplantation Society’s biennial conference, and originally was aimed to coincide with promised reforms in China to end the practice of procuring organs from executed prisoners.

When it became clear that those reforms were not going to come to fruition, however, TTS executives turned sour on China’s promises.

Interacting with China on transplantation issues is “extremely difficult”, Tibell said. One the one hand, she believes in a dialogue that puts pressure on China to change, but thinks it’s a “balancing act.”

“My opinion is that all interaction with China should have the purpose of achieving change. There is no other reason to interact with China”, she says.

When TTS chose Hong Kong as the venue for the 2016 conference – and included a session about a supposed “new era” for the Chinese transplantation system – some felt that this was a victory for China’s attempts to sweep an enormous crime under the rug and be accepted into the global transplantation community.

An investigation before the congress by Epoch Times found at least a dozen deeply problematic Chinese co-authors, presenters and panelists. This was brought to the attention of the TTS.

One example is Shen Zhongyang, the architect behind the booming transplantation center at the Tianjin First Central Hospital, which was heavily criticized by TTS for its extremely short waiting periods for organs – periods investigators say are impossible unless you have a pool of live “donors” standing by to be harvested on demand.

Tibell said that from what Epoch Times presented, Shen’s presence as co-author of an article is “remarkable,” and she expressed curiosity at the rationale behind it.

Another case is that of prominent liver surgeon Zheng Shusen, who chairs a Party-run organization dedicated to vilifying Falun Gong. He has also published a paper showing the ability to source livers within 24 hours, something experts say is practically impossible without a pool of live donors, on standby for execution. Zheng, unlike Shen, was present at the session, but TTS seemed to have attempted to replace him as speaker and later distanced themselves from him.

Tibell said that Zheng’s case “sounds very troubling.”

“It brings to the fore the fact that the current guidelines on interactions with China is completely focused on the professional role in transplantation. A revision of the guidelines should discuss how to deal with a situation like this,” Tibell said.

She is wary of TTS taking up the non-professional roles that doctors and participants in their conferences may have and suggests it would only be suitable where there are grave aberrations from the norm, such as in the case of Zheng Shusen.

Though the conference program committee made a detailed review of papers before they were presented, Tibell acknowledged: “If people lie to our face, it gets difficult.”

She wouldn’t comment on whether she thinks a Chinese surgeon who is part of a secret system that investigators call a crime against humanity would find it difficult to lie to the TTS.

“I don’t like to speculate on what it’s like to live under a dictatorship,” she said.

Israeli transplant surgeon and previously a member of TTS’s Ethics Committee Dr. Jacob Lavee chose to boycott the conference. Tibell says she respects his position, but that obviously TTS as an organization judged otherwise.

“Only afterwards, perhaps in several years time, will we know if this contributed to a positive development, or if it contributed to increased acceptance [of the Chinese transplantation system],” she says.

Tibell was unable to appear at the conference due to the opening of the New Karolinska Hospital she is involved in.

When asked if she would have attended if circumstances had permitted, Tibell was silent for a long time before answering.

“I would have had to consider it very carefully, just given the choice of location. Will I have contributed to positive change by attending, or will I have contributed to increased acceptance for practices I find unacceptable?”

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LegCo member Leung Kwok-hung, chief editor of the Chinese edition of Epoch Times Hong Kong Guo Jun, WOIPFG spokesperson Wang Zhiyuan, Malaysian nephrologist Dr. Ahmed Ghazali, and organ transplant abuse investigator David Kilgour. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)LegCo member Leung Kwok-hung, chief editor of the Chinese edition of Epoch Times Hong Kong Guo Jun, WOIPFG spokesperson Wang Zhiyuan, Malaysian nephrologist Dr. Ahmed Ghazali, and organ transplant abuse investigator David Kilgour. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

HONG KONG—On the penultimate day of The Transplantation Society’s premier industry congress at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center, a smaller conference with a slightly different focus was held by Epoch Times Hong Kong a short distance away.

The Epoch Times Hong Kong event, which ran for slightly over two hours and included half a dozen speakers, was almost solely on what speakers and organizers characterized as the genocidal abuse of transplantation in China.

The rationale for this optic was put plainly by Cheryl Ng, the spokesperson for Epoch Times Hong Kong.

“We feel a social responsibility to let the public know about this issue, and present a different view from the sanitized version of the reality of transplantation in China that may otherwise be presented,” she said in an interview. “We want to give the victims back a voice.”

Epoch Times was the first media to report on mass organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in 2006—claims received with open skepticism in some quarters at the time.

A decade later, there is a growing sense of recognition that indeed, large numbers of innocents have been used as an organ source. The primary victims of this activity, experts believe, are practitioners of Falun Gong, a pacifist spiritual practice that teaches the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

The paper has reported closely and aggressively on the Communist Party’s campaign against this population, Ng said, as well as the Falun Gong community’s resistance to suppression.

The half-dozen expert speakers at the forum included David Matas and David Kilgour, a lawyer and former member of Canadian Parliament respectively who have authored some of the most prominent reports on organ harvesting in China; Dr. Ghazali Ahmad, a nephrologist who came from Malaysia; Dr. Maria Singh (appearing via Skype), a board member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting; and several nongovernmental researchers who have tracked transplant abuse in China with their own research.

Human rights lawyer and investigator of organ transplant abuse David Matas. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

David Matas focused on his and his colleagues new research, which led to an estimate that between 60,000 to 100,000 transplant operations were taking place in China annually.

The estimate was based on a hospital-by-hospital examination of bed counts, staff numbers, grants and awards, publications, the construction of new transplant wards, and more. It looked closely at 164 hospitals, and presented a survey of the over 700 that have done transplantation in China over the years.

“What that data tells us consistently, hospital by hospital, looking at all factors in combination, is that transplant volumes in China are far larger than the official national figures,” Matas said.

Dr. Ahmed Ghazali, a nephrologist from Malaysia who presented data on transplant tourism to China. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

Dr. Ghazali had come from Malaysia to present data directly from that country’s public database of renal transplantation recipients. The most striking datapoint he highlighted showed that kidney grafts from supposedly dead donors from China functioned as well as live donors from Malaysia. The implication of this is that in China, kidneys were retrieved from individuals killed for that purpose.

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, a former military doctor in China and a founder of the nongovernmental research group World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, gave a condensed version of his intense dive into the evidence of organ harvesting in China, available in video online.

The talk, titled “Ironclad and Irrefutable Evidence,” is a dissection of official Chinese publications which, Dr. Wang says, show incontrovertibly that organ harvesting in China is large-scale, state-run, and that it targets a non-death row imprisoned population.

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, spokesperson for World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

Given that practitioners of Falun Gong constitute the largest group of prisoners of conscience in China, they are exempt from all protections of the law, and Falun Gong refugees report receiving strange blood tests in custody, the consensus of researchers has rested on the conclusion that this population is heavily targeted for organ harvesting.

It’s a conclusion increasingly accepted as accurate, including by prominent political figures in the United States and Europe.

In a speech in June on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives urging the passage of a resolution that expressed concern over state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said,  “Followers of Falun Gong are among China’s most vulnerable to state-sanctioned abuse, which leaves them as likely victims to this ghoulish practice.”

Congressman Chris Smith was one of the backers of that resolution, which passed unanimously. He wrote to the organizers of the conference in Hong Kong:

“The Chinese government says it is moving toward adherence to ethical standards and accepted procedural guidelines, but in the absence of accurate and transparent information, and with a history of repression and censorship, we cannot take the word of Chinese officials at face value.”

“There is clear evidence that suggests that the organ trade continues in China, that the organs of prisoners continue to be harvested without consent, and that a system of hospitals exist to profit from the sale of these organs,” the letter said. “This is unacceptable, reprehensible, and illegal and the practice of organ harvesting must be ended immediately,” Smith wrote.

Edward McMillan-Scott, former vice-president of the European Parliament, sent a letter to the conference, recounting how he had traveled to Beijing in 2006, meeting witnesses who described that:”the Chinese regime was forcefully harvesting the organs of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, for sale to the booming organ transplant industry.”

Martin Patzelt, a member of the Human Rights Committee of Germany’s Parliament, said in a letter to the forum that: “All the democratic countries in the world should pass such kinds of resolutions,” as that recently passed by the U.S. Congress.

A delegation of observers from a U.S. Congressional office, as well as a number of local diplomatic representatives, were also in attendance at the forum, according to organizers.

Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung. (Sun Mingguo/Epoch Times)

The Legislative Council member Leung Kwok-hung, most well-known by the moniker “Long Hair,” was a moderator for the event (wedged between a court appearance he was scheduled for later in the afternoon.)

While expressing solidarity with those seeking to shed light on the abuses in China, Leung said he was saddened by the fact that “not a single doctor from Hong Kong” appeared at the forum.

“I urge the doctors in Hong Kong… to do a good job for the Chinese people” by investigating and adding their voice to the issue, he said on stage, wearing his trademark T-shirt.

“I feel a little bit embarrassed. Not even one single doctor came here. I wish that at the next meeting there will be delegations from China and Hong Kong attending this forum.”

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Dr. Ming Yingzi, a controversial Chinese transplant doctor is shown in the center performing a surgery in an undated photograph. (Third Xiangya Hospital)Dr. Ming Yingzi, a controversial Chinese transplant doctor is shown in the center performing a surgery in an undated photograph. (Third Xiangya Hospital)

HONG KONG—Two key leaders in international organ transplantation have for several years been involved in an undisclosed, cooperative relationship with Chinese transplantation centers, raising questions about whether the two Australian doctors have failed to make public a potential conflict of interest, according to recently uncovered documents.

Dr. Jeremy Chapman and Dr. Philip O’Connell, both based at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia, are respectively the former (2008-2010) and current (2014-present) presidents of The Transplantation Society (TTS), the international body representing the profession.

Their close research relationships in China occurred while the two played decisive roles in determining how the international transplantation community would respond to disturbing evidence that Chinese hospitals have been engaged in the large-scale killing of prisoners of conscience, whose organs are harvested for profit, according to independent researchers.

(L) Dr. Philip O'Connell who is the current president of The Transplantation Society. (University of Sydney) (R)

(L) Dr. Philip O’Connell who is the current president of The Transplantation Society. (University of Sydney) (R) Dr. Jeremy Chapman, former president of The Transplantation Society. (Minghui.org)

Chapman is also the chair of the scientific program for TTS’s major biennial conference, held this year in Hong Kong from Aug. 18. The program has been criticized for including numerous doctors with histories of abusive practice in China, which critics say whitewashes China’s record.

Undisclosed Partnership

Since 2005, Westmead Hospital, a teaching hospital of Sydney Medical School, has had a relationship with The Third Xiangya Hospital, affiliated with Central South University in Changsha, Hunan, in central China. The earliest contact involved a visiting professorship for a key Westmead researcher; it continued in 2008 with a joint declaration in research standards. In 2012, Chapman and O’Connell attended a forum at The Second Xiangya Hospital, affiliated with the same Chinese university.

In November 2013, after attending a forum promoting China’s transplant system reforms, O’Connell and Chapman signed a “letter of intent” between Westmead and The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, for both parties to “regularly conduct academic exchange conferences, engage in personnel exchange visits, and undertake advanced study and remote education in medical treatment, surgical demonstrations, and medical consultation,” according to a report on the hospital’s website.

Dr. Philip O’Connell (L), Dr. Jeremy Chapman (C) and hospital president Dr. Chen Fangping (R) signing a letter of intent at The Third Xiangya Hospital in Changsha, China in November 2013. (The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University)

In 2014, the relationship got closer, with O’Connell, then president of TTS, traveling to participate in a xenotransplantation conference on Oct. 16, followed by a delegation of 14 specialists from The Third Xiangya Hospital visiting Westmead from Oct. 27 to 30. Xenotransplantation refers to transplanting cells or tissues between different species, typically from animals to humans.

A meeting at Westmead included Chapman and Chen Fangping, president of Third Xiangya, signing another pact, this time a “supplementary agreement” to the 2013 letter of intent. It included “selecting a team of nurses and management staff to visit Westmead for advanced study,” and “other content” aimed at “deepening cooperation” between the parties. A photograph of Chapman shaking hands with Chen is highlighted in a report on the hospital website.

Dr. Chapman of Westmead and Dr. Chen of The Third Xiangya Hospital shake hands after signing a “supplementary agreement” of cooperation in 2014. (The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University)

Among those who received the guests was a fellow Chinese researcher, Dr. Shounan Yi, whose presence provides a clue to the substance of the relationship between the two institutions.


Since 2004, research on xenotransplantation has been restricted in Australia by a moratorium.

But Yi, a senior research fellow at Westmead and a protege of O’Connell, has been able by virtue of the relationship with Third Xiangya to perform research that is restricted in Australia.

The first contact between Yi Shounan and Third Xiangya took place in May 2005, when Yi took a position as a visiting professor there, according to a history of the hospital (he held the same post again in 2012). Wayne Hawthorne, a professor at Westmead, joined him a month later for three days of meetings.

Yi continued to research and publish on xenotransplantation over the years, including a number of joint publications with O’Connell and Hawthorne, as well as with Prof. Wang Wei, the resident xenotransplantation expert at Third Xiangya.

In 2011, during a stint there, Yi published research that it appears could not have been performed at the time in Australia due to ethics rules: the injection of pig islet cells into 22 patients with diabetes, a potentially lucrative treatment. The experimental procedure involves placing in the host, islets from the pancreas of pig fetuses, which then produce insulin and regulate blood glucose.

“This is a gigantic market,” wrote Sina Finance, a major Chinese web portal, in a May 2016 story. “Even if there were 10,000 cases a year, that would mean a billion RMB in income.”

Yi is quoted in the article, commenting on recent research: “This makes us see hope for a breakthrough in industrialization of xenotransplantation in China.”

But in Yi’s impressive list of publications, this particular study is nowhere to be found. (Yi also holds a 2010 patent, with Wang Wei of Xiangya, on a related medical technique.) Yi did not immediately respond to an email enquiring as to the reason for the absence.

The Westmead-Xiangya connection is not noted in any of O’Connell’s publications on xenotransplantation either. Chapman has published four papers on transplantation issues in China (1, 2, 3, 4), some of which are broadly supportive of the official views of reform there, and the relationship with Xiangya is not disclosed.

Chapman and O’Connell did not immediately respond to an email with a series of questions about the connections between Westmead and Third Xiangya.

Conflict of Interest Suspicions

The coincidence of the failure to disclose these relationships, involving potentially profitable research that could not be done in Australia, and the apathetic, sometimes hostile stance of TTS figures to evidence of widespread transplant abuse in China, has troubled observers.

The complex web of relationships, joint research projects, and grip-n-grins between Westmead and Xiangya Third doctors was pieced together by Arne Schwarz, an independent researcher based in Germany who provided the material in a dossier to a number of journalists.

Schwarz is responsible for the research behind pharmaceutical company Roche receiving a “Hall of Shame” award in 2010 for its clinical trials in China, and has followed transplant abuse in China for many years.

Arne Schwarz, an independent researcher of organ trafficking, attends a conference in Germany in September 2012. Schwarz uncovered the undisclosed evidence of cooperation between leading surgeons and a Chinese hospital. (Jason Wang/The Epoch Times)

He said that he began looking into potential conflicts of interest involving TTS leadership this June.

His curiosity was piqued by a dismissive remark made by Chapman following the publication of a nearly 700-page report on organ transplant abuse in China by independent researchers. The formidable report contained over 2,000 footnotes, over 90 percent traceable back to hospital websites in China, and marshaled evidence indicating that the country’s transplant system operates at a scale far larger than previously understood.

The report now stands as the single largest collection of information on China’s transplant industry. Its researchers—David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann—concluded that somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants are likely conducted in China annually; they believe that most of these organs come from practitioners of Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual practice.

Chapman, however, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, dismissed the sources in the report as “all Falun Gong.”

The Third Xiangya Hospital, affiliated with Central South University, in Changsha, Hunan Province. (hns5j.com)

When he read Chapman’s quote, “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Schwarz said. He then became curious as to whether there was more than met the eye to Chapman’s relationship with China. So he began searching, and discovered the previously unknown set of relationships and interests.

The material was only discoverable through targeted Chinese-language queries; none of it had been reported previously in English, and it is not mentioned on Westmead’s website.

A number of Chapman’s colleagues were previously unaware of, and surprised by, the information. “That cooperation was never disclosed to The Transplantation Society’s Ethics Committee,” said Dr. Jacob Lavee, an outgoing member of the committee who is critical of what he considers the Society’s lax stance toward transplant abuse in China.

“Present and past presidents of The Transplantation Society have significant influence on how the international transplantation community deals with the unethical transplantation system in China,” Schwarz wrote in an email.

(L-R) David Matas, David Kilgour, and Ethan Gutmann, researchers of organ transplantation abuse in China, speak about their recent report in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2016. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

He added: “If their judgement of the Chinese transplant practices is biased by vested interests in China, it can’t be trusted any longer.”

As Schwarz kept tugging on the ball of yarn, he found more and more that seemed questionable: the undisclosed meetings, promises of cooperation, joint research projects, and patents in potentially lucrative clinical procedures.

“Wow,” he wrote, recalling his thinking. “I understood why Chapman was so furious about the Kilgour-Matas-Gutmann report.”

In some ways, however, xenotransplantation research is only a sideshow to some of the more serious goings-on at Third Xiangya.

7 Transplants in a Day

Changsha is a relatively underdeveloped city in China, but it boasts three top grade hospitals—Xiangya, Second Xiangya, and Third Xiangya—all of them affiliated with Central South University.

Third Xiangya is a highly industrious transplant center.

In 2001—a year of “rapid development” in China’s organ transplant industry, according to Third Xiangya’s website—authorities invested 100 million RMB (about $15 million) in constructing a 150-bed transplant center there, which quickly became the best in the province. Statistics show that the number of death row prisoners—the official source for transplantation organs—was in a decline while all this investment and development took place, indicating that organ sources should have been less, not more, abundant.

Seven organs transplants at Third Xiangya Hospital on a special day when Huang Jiefu showed up for an anniversary ceremony!

— Arne Schwarz, independendent transplant researcher

Third Xiangya quickly became a “national research base” for transplant technology and performs large numbers of solid organ transplants (kidney, heart, lung, liver, intestines), according to its website. According to research by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, the facility once performed seven transplants in a single day, when Huang Jiefu, China’s top transplant official, was visiting. This information has since been purged from the hospital’s website.

“Seven organs transplants at Third Xiangya Hospital on a special day when Huang Jiefu showed up for an anniversary ceremony!” an incredulous Schwarz declared. “How is this possible without a bank of living donors?”

Ye Qifa, the deputy director of Third Xiangya and the executive director of China’s national organ procurement network, will be presenting at TTS’s Congress in Hong Kong on Aug. 18.

Alongside this, there are particular doctors at Xiangya who have engaged in questionable conduct, according to records online.

A Dubious Record

Perhaps the most prominent doctor is Dr. Ming Yingzi, a transplant surgeon at Third Xiangya who is hailed as a rising star in the transplant profession by Chinese reports. According to a highly flattering 2014 biography of her on the hospital’s website, Ming’s team has performed around 1,000 solid organ transplants over the years. She “carries on her back a heavy icebox, fetching organs from everywhere,” the article says.

Given the realities of organ transplantation in China, almost all of these organs likely came from prisoners of conscience, who were killed for on-demand transplantation surgery. 

When she visited Taiwan in 2009, a large meeting of transplant recipients she had serviced was convened, where she was hailed as a “savior.” She’s personally performed 500 kidney transplants and 200 liver transplants, her profile says.

Dr. Ming Yingzi, a controversial Chinese transplant doctor is shown in the center performing a surgery in an undated photograph. (Third Xiangya Hospital)

But she is also the subject of a lengthy prosecution in China for allegedly misappropriating 150,000 yuan ($22,000) paid by a patient for a kidney. Her lawyer in court acknowledged that she indeed received the money, that it was for a kidney, and that no receipt was produced, according to a local journalist. She says that she then gave the money to either the Red Cross, or a local Organ Procurement Organization.

“She’s been changing her story,” said Jiang Jiasong, the lawyer for the plaintiff, in a telephone interview. “She’s never produced any evidence. … I asked her which organ procurement organization she gave the money to, and she refused to answer.”

It is likely that none of this was clear to O’Connell and Chapman. Ming’s biography on the Xiangya website provides what is almost certainly an apocryphal account of an interaction between the three. It says that when the two Australians were leaving Changsha in 2014, both of them gave her the “thumbs up” and made the remark: “Your achievements are astounding! We hope that you’ll become a leader in China’s new generation of organ transplant doctors!”

Westmead has been quiet about the relationship, brokered by Chapman and O’Connell, between it and Xiangya, and there is no mention of it on its website.

When asked for copies of the agreements between the institutions, and comment on the appropriateness of the relationship, Emma Spillett, senior corporate communications specialist at Westmead, part of the Western Sydney Local Health District, said “Thanks for your enquiry. We will get back to you ASAP.”

Three hours later she wrote back: “Western Sydney Local Health District will not be commenting on this matter.”

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Former Canadian minister David Kilgour speaks to reporters in Ottawa on June 24, 2016 about the updated report organ harvesting in China that he wrote with David Matas and Ethan Gutmann. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)Former Canadian minister David Kilgour speaks to reporters in Ottawa on June 24, 2016 about the updated report organ harvesting in China that he wrote with David Matas and Ethan Gutmann. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

A decade ago, two Canadians released a report on illicit organ harvesting in China so shocking that many struggled to believe it.

Since then, the investigation has continued and they’ve now updated their findings in a report that details the industry that has sprung up in China around the harvesting of human organs.

David Kilgour, a former Secretary of State and federal Member of Parliament and international human rights lawyer David Matas released their initial report in July 2006. This Friday, June 24, the two returned to Ottawa with investigative journalist and author Ethan Gutmann, to release updated research that puts transplant volumes at up to 1.5 million in China.


Canadian international human rights lawyer David Matas speaks to reporters in Ottawa on June 24, 2016 about the updated report on organ harvesting in China that he wrote with David Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

The source of those organs is not explained officially and the Chinese regime claims only 10,000 to 20,000 transplants take place annually rather than the up to 100,000 estimated in the updated 817-page report.

That new figure is based on primary source research from thousands of documents “indicating that the scale of organ transplants is much larger than previously perceived by a large factor,” said Kilgour.

What’s more, despite several reports and extensive investigation into the issue, there is still no stop to the practice.

“For the last 15 years, as you all know, across China there has been regime-sanctioned pillaging and trafficking in the vital organs of prisoners of conscience, overwhelmingly from practitioners of Falun Gong, but also Tibetans, Uyghurs, and some house Christians, to fund an immensely profitable but despicable commerce with wealthy Chinese patients and organ tourists,” Kilgour said.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual meditation practice that was first introduced to the public in China in1992, and became immensely popular within a short span of time, with government estimates putting the number of adherents between 70 to 100 million. The immense popularity of this traditional practice became a source of concern for then-leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Jiang Zemin, who launched a campaign of persecution against the practice in 1999, and, according to undercover investigators getting confirmation from an official, directly gave the order to use the adherents for their organs.

A Billion Dollar Industry

The profits generated from the selling of the organs is in the billions of dollars. Matas said the estimates are now even higher with updated figures on the volume of transplants involved each year.


Investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann speaks to reporters in Ottawa on June 24, 2016 about the updated report on organ harvesting in China that he wrote with Canadians David Matas and David Kilgour. (Jonathan Ren/Epoch Times)

“What’s more, the prices have gone up over time partly because of inflation, and partly because there’s more of a cover-up and there’s enough of a focus that [the Chinese regime] feel they can charge a premium for doing this undercover work,” said Matas.

“If you just use the old figures, you’re dealing with $6 billion to $10 billion a year. If you put in the escalation because of the coverup, it’s $12 billion and beyond, it’s huge. The hospitals themselves say this is our number one money-maker, this is something that is basically keeping those hospitals going.”

Ethan Gutmann, whose 2014 book “The Slaughter” is the culmination of seven years of research and investigation into China’s forced organ removal from prisoners of conscience, gave an insight on the estimation of the number of transplants done each year in China’s hospitals.

“Back in 2013 if I was giving a talk with one of the Davids [Matas or Kilgour] or by myself to a college audience or Amnesty International audience in Europe, I’d ask them to Google ‘Shenzhen organ transplant centre.’ This is what would come up: An ad, in English, that is advertising for the transplant centre, for foreigners to come to China. It said ‘we’re the best at heart transplants and lung transplants,’” Gutmann said.

“This establishes that China openly advertised that they had organs on the web. They supposedly banned all organ tours after the [initial] Kilgour-Matas report and forbid it. But of course they hadn’t. They were continuing to advertise, just in a more discreet way.”

Investigations from different sources, including online advertisement and internal communications at the hospital, show that the hospital had 500 to 700 beds devoted just for transplants, and they had 100 percent to 131 percent occupancy rates, with the hospital claiming that at times they had to put patients into hotels due to lack of space.

Gutmann said that puts the estimates of the number of transplants at this hospital alone at a minimum of 5,000 transplant a year. Another major hospital, the People’s Liberation Army’s 309 hospital in Beijing, is similarly estimated to perform about 4,000 transplants a year. Taking into account that there are 146 hospitals certified by the Chinese Ministry of Health to do transplants, and looking at their capabilities and other pieces of information, the report’s authors said they were able to estimate the annual rate of transplants in China.

The Update

Besides the update on the volume of transplants involved, the updated report focuses on several other areas.

The report looks at the CCP’s coverup of the forced organ harvesting and the regime’s attempts to hide individual hospital transplant figures. The report also explores the driving factors behind the volumes, the structure the regime has built around organ harvesting, the culpable individuals, and the CCP’s claims of recent transplant reforms. As well, the report addresses plastination, which involves the replacement of bodily fluids with polymers in a corpse for display at exhibitions.

“There is compelling evidence that practitioners of Falun Gong are killed for both plastination and organ sourcing. The evidence supporting each abuse is also evidence in support of the other abuse,” said Matas.

A Supply Problem

The problem with transplant abuse in China cannot be solved by stopping the flow of people traveling there for organs, said Matas. “We could end transplant tourism into China entirely and organ transplant abuse in China could still continue.”

However, other nations are obligated to do what they can to avoid complicity in that abuse, he said.

Matas gives the example of how King Leopold II of Belgium at the turn of the 20th century was engaged in slavery in the Congo and how that came to light by investigations conducted by Edmund Morel, a shipping line clerk.

Kilgour Matas Gutmann

(L-R)Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian secretary of state for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour, and American investigative journalist and author Ethan Gutmann take part in a press conference on the release of their update report on organ harvesting in China in Ottawa on June 24, 2016. (Jonathan Ren/NTD Television)

Morel had noticed that the goods coming to the Congo were guns, ammunition, and explosives, which went to the state or its agents, but the goods that left Congo were ivory and rubber, of much higher value than the goods sent in. He concluded that the ivory and rubber were not purchased in exchange of good being shipped in, but rather the people producing the goods in the Congo were providing slave labour.

“The conclusion was noteworthy because it was made without an eye witness evidence of slavery. It came just from shipping records. His work was initially met with official denials, yet it was accurate,” Matas said.

At first, many were worried about offending Belgium by pressing the issue, but the British government eventually commissioned their consul in Congo to conduct an independent investigation into the issue, and the consul confirmed the existence of slavery in Congo after travelling there.

Matas said that discrepancy between the value of traded goods is very similar to discrepancy between the volume of transplants and the available donors.

“The China discrepancy today points as much to a human rights violation as the Belgium discrepancy did yesterday. The need for a [Canadian] government or inter-governmental independent investigation is as great.”

Kilgour and Matas have both requested visas to China to further investigate the issue in person, but their requests have been denied.

Canada Should ‘Walk the Walk’

Matas said Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s lashing out at a Canadian journalist in a joint press conference with Canadian foreign minister Stephane Dion in Ottawa earlier in June is an opportunity for Canada to press China about the organ harvesting practice.

“There’s been some criticism of Stephane Dion for saying nothing. I consider that an opportunity because if the Chinese minister of foreign affairs can do that publicly in Canada, then the Canadian minister of foreign affairs and the Canadian Prime Minister can do that publicly in China. That’s what should happen,” Matas said.

“I would like to see our Canadian leaders going to China and saying publicly to the journalists: Why aren’t you reporting on this?”

In addition to raising this issue with the Chinese regime, Canada should take its own initiatives in the area, Matas said, which include legislation, resolutions, and conducting investigations into the issue.

He cites the U.S. House of Representatives passing a unanimous resolution condemning harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners in mid June.

“We need to get the [Canadian] government engaged, not just in talking politely to China, but doing their own work on this file,” Matas said.

Kilgour said he was pleased that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed dissatisfaction with Chinese foreign minister’s conduct in Canada, and noted that a Nanos poll commissioned by the Globe and Mail shows that 76 percent of Canadians have a negative view of the Chinese government.

“If [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] wants to turn that around, the best way he can do it is to stop this organ pillaging, trafficking immediately. He has no connection with Jiang Zemin, who did this, and [Xi] can stop it, but he should do it now. He shouldn’t wait another two years.”

Gutmann, a U.S. citizen who lives in London, said he knows Canada as a beacon of human rights in the world, and it’s time for Canada “to walk the walk.” He said Canada should follow examples of countries like Taiwan, Israel, and Spain who have made it illegal for their citizens to get organ transplants in China.

“They [countries with legislation] are not really going to pay a price and nobody else has paid a price. Taiwan hasn’t paid a price for passing organ harvesting laws; Israel hasn’t paid a price; I don’t believe Spain has. There’s a reason for that, because [the Chinese regime] know they’re guilty, Everybody knows this. This is a huge embarrassment, they are trying to cover it up.”

With reporting by Pam McLennan

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