WASHINGTON—The evidence of forced organ harvesting of large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners in China continues to mount.

Last year, two reports were published that broadened our picture of the scale and method of this atrocity. “Bloody Harvest/ The Slaughter—An Update” by investigators David Matas, David Kilgour, and Ethan Gutmann was released on June 22 in Washington, D.C. This report shows detailed evidence of the massive number of organ transplants taking place in Chinese hospitals. It analyzed hospital revenue, bed counts and utilization rates, surgical personnel and other data and reached the conclusion that China is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year, far exceeding the Chinese government’s claim of 10,000 per year.

The other report, “Summary Report of the Crime of Live Organ Harvesting in China,” by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), was published in August. It provides extensive evidence that the organ harvesting is orchestrated from the top levels of the Chinese government and is not a crime of just some rogue hospitals and unethical surgeons. The WOIPFG report claims that organ harvesting is a state sanctioned crime on a massive scale that is going on at this moment, with the aim to kill practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline, who will not renounce their faith.

Now comes WOIPFG’s second major documentary film, “Harvested Alive – Ten Years of Investigation,” which samples the key findings of their report from last year.

Hearing actual audio of high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, surgeons and hospital personnel speak nonchalantly of their role in the forced organ harvesting of innocent prisoners of conscience provides a horrifying perception that the printed page of the WOIPFG report cannot come close in emotional impact. 

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary,

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary, “Harvested Alive, 10 Years of Investigation,” answers questions after the English premiere of the documentary, June 23, at a Congressional building in Washington, D.C. To his right is Dr. Peng Tao, who is the co-producer of the awards-winning film. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

The film won the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards best director and foreign documentary feature for January 2017.

WOIPFG was founded on Jan. 20, 2003. Its stated mission is to investigate and expose the criminal conduct of individuals and organizations involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. Seeking hard data to make its case, WOIPFG investigated more than 865 hospitals and over 9500 surgeons in China.

The English language premiere of the film was held on Capitol Hill at the House of Representatives’ Rayburn Office Building, on June 23. Producer and director Li Jun, co-producer Dr. Peng Tao, and Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, who narrates the film, were present at the showing and answered questions from the audience. WOIPFG officials and Ethan Gutmann, one of the principle investigators of live organ harvesting in China, also spoke before the screening.

Shortly before the U.S. premiere, the film became available for viewing online. This film and the original Chinese language version were produced by Deerpark Productions, with the latter released in Nov. 2016.

Hospital Boiler Room ‘Cremations’

The host of the film is Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, whose words are translated. Dr. Wang spent 30 years as an aviation military doctor in China and then came to the U.S. in 1995 to conduct research in cardiovascular disease at Harvard School of Public Health. He was the founder of WOIPFG, and is its president. In the movie, he says that after practicing medicine and saving lives for 30 years, he never imagined he would devote the next 10 years investigating doctors taking the lives of innocent people.

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

In the film, Wang said his life changed forever on March 9, 2006, when he heard allegations of large-scale organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners while they were alive in the Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang. A woman using the alias “Annie” claimed her ex-husband, an eye surgeon driven by guilt, confessed to her that he had extracted corneas from more than 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. 

Wang, who was skeptical, said that he and his WOIPFG colleagues decided they must investigate further. They were looking for evidence, but the doctors and nurses at the Sujiatun hospital were no help. Then Wang called the hospital boiler room and learned that corpses were being burned there. From his own experience, he thought that was most unusual as deceased patients are normally moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang thought that [burning corpses in the hospital boiler room] was most unusual as normally the deceased patients are moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang found this matter disturbing and so based on it and the other allegations at Sujiatun, he and his WOIPFG colleagues began a preliminary investigation. WOIPFG investigators in 2006-2007 called 23 hospitals in China asking if there were liver organs available from Falun Gong practitioners. In the movie, we hear a recording on Mar. 6, 2006 of a doctor from Shanghai Fudan University, Zhongshan Hospital Transplant Center, reply, “All we have is of this type.”

High Level CCP Officials Know

WOIPFG investigators, posing as working out of other CCP offices, elicited several statements via telephone from high level officials, who unbeknownst to whom they were really talking to, acknowledged and confirmed their involvement in organ harvesting. Here are some examples from the documentary.

Tang Junie, Vice Chairman, Liaoning Province Political & Legal Affairs Commission, was asked about orders to take organs from Falun Gong practitioners for transplant surgeries. He said, “I was in charge of this. The [CCP] Central Committee was actually managing this issue, and it had widespread impact.” Tang also said the matter was discussed at Central Committee meetings.

Li Changchun, Politburo Standing Member, was asked about Bo Xilai, who, a week before, had come under investigation by the CCP Discipline Committee. When the caller (WOIPFG investigator) asked on April 17, 2012 about Bo’s involvement in the crime of harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, Li answered immediately, “Zhou Yongkang is in charge of this; he knows; go ask him.”

Zhou Yongkang was at the time a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most important decision making body in the Chinese regime. As domestic security czar, Zhou wielded enormous power in general, and specifically over the Falun Gong detainees in concentration camps. He was later sentenced in June 2015 to life imprisonment on corruption-related changes.

When active on the Standing Committee, Zhou was once asked by investigators about the more than 20 Falun Gong practitioners who had escaped a military post (i.e., concentration camp). He was not in denial or surprised, and said he would investigate himself, according to WOIPFG’s Director for Public Awareness Dr. Charles Lee, who spoke at the Capitol forum.

WOIPFG investigators played a careful ruse on serving Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli to get him to unwittingly acknowledge Jiang Zemin’s principle role in the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners. Jiang, the former CCP boss, launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, and coerced the other members of the Politburo to go along with his wishes.

WOIPFG knew when Zhang would be out of the country in Kazakhstan. After Zhang arrived and checked into the hotel, WOIPFG investigator called him, posing as “Secretary Liu,” who works at Jiang Zemin’s office. The investigator told Zhang that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had lodged criminal complaints against Jiang at the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for harvesting the organs of millions of Falun Gong practitioners, and that the subject will be brought up at the next Politburo meeting. In the recording, he asked Zhang if he could stop it from discussion and investigation. We hear Zhang’s voice reply, “Yes! Yes!”

The WOIPFG investigator repeats four times that Jiang had ordered the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners and that the responsibility was very serious. Without any reservation or disagreement, Zhang promised he would prevent the investigation and told the caller to tell Jiang not to worry. He ended the call wishing Jiang a long life and good health.

All phone recordings are tagged with receipts from the telephone companies with the time, duration and phone numbers called. The voices of the high-level officials in the recordings can be compared to their voices available online and elsewhere and verified by acoustic labs, states WOIPFG.

Altogether, WOIPFG holds the recordings as evidence that organ pillaging in China is a crime that is directed by the CCP and carried out by the military, state institutions, hospitals, and transplantation professionals.

The above is only a sampling of the recordings pertaining to high-level officials’ knowledge and influence in a massive state sanctioned crime in the murder of thousands of practitioners since 2000. There is more evidence in the documentary on other aspects of the crime.

Police Guard Comes Forward

One recorded interview is especially chilling and shocking. It was from the only actual witness of the gruesome surgery in the film. At a military hospital in Shenyang, an armed security guard from Liaoning Province witnessed the killing of practitioners for their organs in 2002.

What the security guard described was “too vividly horrible,” said WOIPFG president Wang Zhiyuan, and said he suffered from insomnia and depression after hearing the testimony. In 2009, the security guard’s conscience bothered him and so he contacted WOIPFG with which he had been in contact for over a month. The security guard recalled witnessing two military doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain (“sucked the brain pulp out”) from a still-living female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

He witnessed two doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain from a female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

“When the knife touched her chest, she shouted, ‘Falun Dafa hao,’” which means Falun Dafa is good. The heart was carved out first. She had been tortured with electric batons for a week, he said. Wang concluded that this was not normal surgery but instead was “a continuation of torturing of Falun Gong practitioners.”

Why Premiere at the U.S. Capital

Li Jun, the director and producer of “Harvested Alive,” said after the screening that they consciously chose the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Congress to hold the English premiere. Speaking through a translator he said, “It is very apparent that this crime [of pillaging organs from Falun Gong practitioners on a massive scale] is state-sanctioned by the CCP. We want the U.S. government as the world leader, to do something about it.”

Dr. Peng Tao, the co-producer of “Harvested Alive,” hopes the film will enable everyone to “understand the crimes the CCP has committed and we have to stop it.”

Dr. Wang expressed frustration that the world does not pay much attention to what is going on in China. “It’s a shame to the human race. That’s why I wanted to tell the U.S. government and the entire world, we should really work to stop this.”

If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.

— Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), letter, June 23, 2017

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission of China (CECC), wrote a letter to be read at the premiere screening of “Harvested Alive.” Observing that he held a hearing on this issue in 1998, Rep. Smith said that trafficking organs for profit has been happening in China for two decades and that the evidence in the documentary shows that not much has changed.

“If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.”

Rep. Smith continued, “We need a concerted effort to stop this barbaric practice—in China and globally.”

Dr. Wang said that in this month of June, a hospital in Jilin Province is giving away free liver transplants to 10 children. (He noted that on April 28, 2006, a hospital in Hunan Province, where the persecution of Falun Gong had been particularly severe, ran a promotion announcing 20 free liver or kidney transplants.) Wang said the hospital’s “give away” could only mean an abundance of organs and a very large pool of practitioners available to be harvested and killed.

In the U.S. which has a much more mature system of organ donation, the wait time for a liver organ is two to three years. In China, however, the wait time is one to two weeks.

When asked by The Epoch Times what is behind the free organs, Wang said, “I think [the CCP] very likely wants to eliminate all the Falun Gong practitioners who still remain in the concentration camps as soon as possible.”

Data Tipping Point

Ethan Gutmann said regarding the past year, 2016-2017, that the two reports alluded to at the beginning of this article were significant for the power of raw data and have brought on a “global tipping point” in the acceptance of live organ harvesting. Referring to the emergency liver transplants discussed in the film, he said, “There is a stable of people ready to be killed.” There is no question there is live organ harvesting going on, he said.

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of “The Slaughter (1914) and its 2016 updates, participates in a forum on forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. Event took place on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., June 23. (Leo Shi/ Epoch Times)

Gutmann, who is also the author of the 2014 book “The Slaughter,” noted that both reports had received rigorous scrutiny by researchers at the CECC. After devoting two months checking over the sources, the CECC researchers authenticated the documents, which Gutmann said was a testament to their validity.

Forced organ harvesting in China has gained widespread acceptance in the past year, Gutmann said. The human rights organizations Freedom House and Amnesty International report on it now, and even the New York Times, which had ignored the issue for over a decade, is now reporting on it, he added. 

Read the full article here

MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis is urging the government to support his private member’s bill to combat organ trafficking. (NTD Television)MP Garnett Genuis on Parliament Hill on April 10, 2017. Genuis is urging the government to support his private member’s bill to combat organ trafficking. (NTD Television)

OTTAWA—Conservative MP Garnett Genuis raised forced organ harvesting in China this week in the House of Commons in the hopes of securing government support for his private member’s organ trafficking bill.

“Canada needs to be vocal in standing up for international human rights, and in particular for the rights of persecuted minorities. Even above that, Canada needs legislation which would define in Canadian law our opposition to involuntary organ harvesting in cases where it comes back to our shores,” Genuis said on May 17.

“This really is a no-brainer and it should be a non-partisan issue.” 

Genuis pointed out that Bill C-350, which aims to counter forced organ harvesting, is the same as Bill C-561 put forward by former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler. That bill only made it to first reading in the last Parliament.

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who had previously put forward a similar bill that also failed to make it through the legislative process, seconded Bill C-350 when Genuis introduced it on April 10.

Bill C-350 would amend the Criminal Code to impose penal sanctions against those who, whether in Canada or abroad, knowingly acquire or trade in human organs that have been removed without donor consent or for financial gain. It would also amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to render inadmissible those non-Canadians who engage in the trafficking of human organs.

Genuis referred to the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China while they are still alive—an atrocity that was first exposed in a 2006 report by Canadian lawyers Davd Matas and David Kilgour.

“Sometimes these organs are cut out of a person while he or she is still living and without anaesthetics, screaming in pain as the person’s body is cut apart. In many cases, organ harvesting is a form of further abuse, targeting members of persecuted religious minorities,” he said.

According to “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update,” released last June by Kilgour, Matas, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, other religious minorities besides Falun Gong practitioners being killed to supply China’s highly lucrative organ transplant industry are Uyghur Muslims, House Christians, and Tibetans.

The report estimated that “between 60,000 and 100,000 organs are being transplanted in Chinese hospitals every year, with the source for most of those organs being prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.”

Canada needs legislation which would define in Canadian law our opposition to involuntary organ harvesting in cases where it comes back to our shores.

— Conservative MP Garnett Genuis

“There is a real urgency to move forward with this kind of basic human rights legislation given escalating human rights problems around the world, and given the emphasis this government is putting on Canada’s relationship with China,” Genuis said.

Complex Issues

In reply to Genuis, Marco Mendicino, parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, said the bill “raises some complex legal and social policy issues.”

“There are a number of complex issues that are raised by this proposed legislation specifically related to the extraterritoriality provisions, which would capture Canadians travelling abroad,” he said.

“In addition, there are other international implications, including under existing United Nations conventions as well as the Council of Europe, which has adopted its own convention against trafficking in human organs. These are all international treaties and conventions, which we will be looking at very closely as we approach the second reading vote.”

Mendicino noted some of the aspects of the bill: “It would require medical practitioners who examine a person who has had an organ transplanted to report the identity of that person as well as other health information to this proposed new entity. As part of this regulatory regime, the bill would impose a duty on the person who receives an organ to obtain a certificate establishing that it was donated and not purchased.”

Genuis said “there is a lot of detail” in the bill and explained the importance of that.

“The detail is important for ensuring that there is effective administration of the provisions that are in place, that we are actually not just saying that we are against organ harvesting, but we have a mechanism in place to address it concretely.”

He said he is open to amendments to the bill, and asked Mendicino whether he could count on the government’s support at second reading.

Mendicino replied that “the government is taking a hard look at this bill, without making any comment about what our position will be at second reading.”

Genuis noted that there is currently no law preventing Canadian citizens from going abroad, acquiring an organ which they know or which they should know has been taken without consent, and then returning to Canada for continuing medical treatment.

He noted that organ transplantation in China is a booming industry, with the regime investing large amounts of money into new buildings, staff, and research and training in transplantation.

“Given this massive capital establishment coupled with the high volume of transplants, the transplantation industry in China is built on not just the ready supply of available organs in the present, but also on an expectation of an indefinite supply of organs for the future, ” he said.

“As such, we should greet claims by the regime that this practice has ended with severe skepticism.”

“Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update” found that China’s state-driven transplantation industry transplants far more organs—by an order of magnitude—than can be accounted for by officially acknowledged sources, which Beijing says are limited to executed death-row prisoners and voluntary donors.

Israel, Spain, Italy, and Taiwan have passed laws restricting their citizens from travelling to China to receive organ transplants from illicit sources.

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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.

Read the full article here
December 10, 2015

One of the people who kidnapped Hope Chen’s father in China warned the 22-year-old woman on Dec. 8 that she would never see him again if she didn’t watch herself.
The following day, Chen recounted the story to reporters in the press theatre on Parliament Hill. Outside, 700 people gathered for a rally and MPs came one after another to lend their support to people like her—people losing loved ones in China or being threatened in Canada.
Chen, like her father, practices Falun Gong, a Chinese qigong practice of meditation, slow-moving exercises, and a moral philosophy centred on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Falun Gong grew exponentially in the 1990s in China, with official estimates pegging the number of people doing the practice at 70 to 100 million. On April 25,1999, following a quiet campaign by the Chinese regime to repress the practice that included disrupting practice sites, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to the appeal office in Beijing.
Basically they’re threatening that if I associate myself with Falun Gong, they will never let me see my dad again.— Hope Chen

Within days, then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin began planning a massive crackdown. It was officially launched on July 20 of that year and resulted in hundreds of thousands being arrested and thousands killed. Estimates of the number of deaths vary widely due to the hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who have disappeared into the Chinese judicial system.
Unlike many dissident movements in China, Falun Gong has continued to challenge the Beijing regime, with practitioners launching underground printing presses to counter state propaganda and creating some of the most effective anti-censorship software in the world so that Chinese people could get around the Chinese firewall.
Now they are taking advantage of changes to the legal system made by current leader Xi Jinping, and have filed 200,000 lawsuits against Jiang Zemin.
Chen’s father, Chen Yongbo, is one of them.
Wave of Lawsuits
Chen’s dad was first taken from her in 2000 for nearly three months when she was 6 years old. He was beaten, tortured, and injected with mind-altering drugs in an effort to “re-educate” him and force him to renounce Falun Gong.
“I remember crying myself to sleep at night, hoping that a miracle would happen and my dad would come back to me. But whatever injustice he faced, he didn’t stop being a compassionate, tolerant person, and he did not give up the right to seek truth and justice,” she says.
This year, Chen Yongbo joined the wave Chinese citizens filing lawsuits against Jiang for launching the persecution of Falun Gong. On Nov. 11 he was abducted from his workplace taken to a brainwashing centre in Wuhan city.
Conservative MP Peter Kent, chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, speaks at a press conference on Parliament Hill on Dec. 9, 2015. Paul Li and Hope Chen, both of whose fathers are imprisoned in China for practising Falun Gong, stand in the background. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)
MORE:Canadian MPs Speak Out on 16-year Persecution of Falun Gong in China
On Dec. 8, Chen tried to call her father. Instead, she ended up speaking with a woman named Xu Jun at the 610 Office, an extrajudicial agency that carries out the grim work of targeting and jailing Chinese dissidents. It was launched specifically to stamp out Falun Gong but has since expanded to other activities.
Chen’s voice trembled slightly as she talked about her phone call with Xu. Xu had read a newspaper article about Chen’s efforts to raise her father’s plight and secure his release.
“She threatened me to not be associated with Falun Gong practitioners anymore.”
Chen said she was told that if she did not disassociate from Falun Gong she would never be given a visa to enter China again.
“Then she’s saying they will not issue a visa to my dad. Basically they’re threatening that if I associate myself with Falun Gong, they will never let me see my dad again.”
Political Support
At the rally on Parliament Hill, Chen was joined by two men who have sat in cabinet for their respective parties—Irwin Cotler, as the Attorney General for Paul Martin’s Liberal government, and Peter Kent, one of Stephen Harper’s environment ministers.
She was also joined by Paul Li, a Canadian citizen who was arrested while visiting his father in China in April and then deported after being detained for four days. His dad, Xiaobo Li, was sentenced to eight years in prison. His crime was exposing the arrest and torture of other Falun Gong practitioners through writing articles and handing out information about a pirate radio show.
Unlike many dissident movements in China, Falun Gong has continued to challenge the Beijing regime.

For the younger Li, the presence of people like Cotler and Kent, as well as other MPs who showed up to the rally, meant so much. (Judy Sgro, one of the Liberal MPs who spoke at the rally, revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the plight of Falun Gong practitioners with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a recent meeting.)
“For a long time in the past year, I felt sad and sometimes helpless about what happened to my father. But as time passes I feel encouraged by the actions taken by my father and Falun Gong practitioners, and support from the Canadian government,” says Chen.
“Although my father is persecuted in prison for his belief, his actions are righteous.”

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SYDNEY, Australia—Academics and professionals from medical and legal fields watched “Hard to Believe“—a documentary-style film exploring unethical organ harvesting in China, at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on October 28.
The film, a winner of six awards of excellence at the prestigious Accolade Global Film Competition, pulls together medical specialists including a former Chinese transplant surgeon, researchers and others to support the case that mass harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners takes place in China. The aptly named film, asks why more attention isn’t being paid to the issue—why it’s so “hard to believe,” in the words of Louisa Greve, a vice president of the US National Endowment for Democracy, who appears briefly in the film.
The screening was supported by the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and followed by a Q&A session facilitated by N.S.W. Greens MP David Shoebridge. The upper house member has been instrumental in proposing law reform to deter N.S.W. residents from travelling abroad to receive unethically sourced organs.
Three experts provided commentary including China analyst and human rights investigator Ethan Gutmann via video link, and in person—renown transplant ethicist Professor Katrina Bramstedt Ph.D., from Bond University, and Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh M.D., a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting and geriatrician from University of Sydney.
Dr Jacob Lavee, a heart transplant surgeon at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, explains in the documentary that he could not believe when a patient in his hospital said that he was expected in China in two weeks, on a specific date, for a heart transplant.
“I looked at him and I asked, ‘Do you listen to yourself? How can they schedule a heart transplant ahead of time 2 weeks?’” Dr Lavee said.
Gutmann who also features in the film witnessed the Chinese communist regime’s harsh crackdown on Falun Gong as a reporter in Beijing in 1999. At that time the spiritual and meditation practice was at the height of its popularity with estimates ranging from 70 to 100 million practitioners. After allegations of organ harvesting of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners emerged in 2006, Gutmann began his own investigation.
In his 2014 book “The Slaughter”, Gutmann traced organ harvesting of prisoners back to the early 1990s in China’s north-western frontier province – Xinjiang, right through to the present day where so called “health checks” are carried out on unsuspecting prisoners of conscience to profile their organs.
When a recipient—typically a wealthy Chinese national or foreign transplant tourist needs an organ, a suitable donor prisoner is matched and effectively killed on demand.
Ethicist Prof. Bramstedt said that some patients with organ failure in Australia and other countries “are ready recipients for organs from China.
“Their desperation to save their life, potentially fuelled by Australia’s severe under-performance in the area of organ donation, can lead them to unethical decisions.”
She said that organ donation is the very opposite of forced harvesting.
“Organ transplantation is supposed to be a medical marvel which pivots on the positive event of ‘organ donation,’ not ‘forced organ harvesting,’” said Prof. Bramstedt.
While official statistics of Australians travelling overseas for transplants do not exist, it’s estimated that in N.S.W. the number may be a dozen each year. While some critics suggest that these numbers don’t represent a significant problem, Prof. Fiatarone Singh said that having the attitude that it’s happening in “some other land and has nothing to do with us is really the problem.
“We should be just as horrified by what’s going on … even if nobody had ever gone there from Australia,” said Prof. Fiatarone Singh.
A simple demand and supply analogy would suggest an improvement in the domestic organ donation system and would likely reduce Australians looking abroad for organs, however that doesn’t address the gross human rights violations happening to thousands of prisoners of conscience in China.
We can’t afford to turn our back on these types of atrocities.— Nathan Kennedy – President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

“We can’t afford to turn our back on these types of atrocities,” said President of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Nathan Kennedy.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was presented a petition in 2014 with over 1.5 million signatures collected by Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting. Although signatures are now over 2 million, the organisation founded by medical doctors from around the world is yet to receive a response.
Mr Kennedy spoke of the U.N.’s 70-year history, starting after W.W.II in the wake of the Nazi atrocities and charged with upholding human rights. He said that the U.N. not replying to the petition is “disgraceful” but “brings the realism of the United Nations into focus given that it is a political organisation full of sovereign states, and China is a very powerful one.
“This is an ongoing issue and has to be dealt with, looked at and stopped.”
Australia has been implicated in China’s grisly organ trade in another way. Before 2006, hundreds of Chinese surgeons were trained in transplant procedures by Australian hospitals.
“That’s how the Chinese transplant system developed … by being trained by Australia,” said Prof. Fiatarone Singh.
She suggested an element of culpability on the Australian medical profession is inherent. She said the medical community knew harvesting organs from prisoners was going on, but the Chinese did not admit to it until later. In this light it is difficult to distance Australia from the grim reality of forced organ harvesting in China.
“That’s why I say silence is complicity, we are responsible for what happened in China, we facilitated it,” added Prof. Fiatarone Singh.

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Canadian MP Irwin Cotler speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill on Nov. 5, 2014. Cotler is exiting politics, but he hopes others in the new Parliament will reintroduce his bill on forced organ harvesting. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)Canadian MP Irwin Cotler speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill on Nov. 5, 2014. Cotler is exiting politics, but he hopes others in the new Parliament will reintroduce his bill on forced organ harvesting. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)

Veteran MP Irwin Cotler has decided not to seek re-election this time around, but the distinguished law professor and seasoned politician hopes others will pick up the reins of one of his most passionate human rights causes.

Throughout his career as an academic, international human rights lawyer, MP, and a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, Cotler has taken on numerous cases at home and abroad in defence of human rights, including acting as counsel for the likes of Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov, earning him the nickname of “Counsel for the Oppressed.”

But one of the causes that Cotler championed in his later years as an MP and didn’t come to fruition before leaving the Parliament is a private member’s bill to crack down on those who trade in human organs, take part in organ harvesting, or get a transplant without ensuring the organs were willingly donated.

The bill was inspired by the work of Canadian human rights activists David Kilgour, a former Canadian MP and secretary of state for Asica Pacific, and David Matas, an international human rights lawyer. They conducted an extensive investigation into organ harvesting in China from living Falun Gong adherents who die during the process.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional meditation discipline that is severely persecuted in China under the communist regime. Cotler’s bill was among many efforts the prominent Liberal MP initiated during the span of his political career to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, which began in 1999.

Now, he hopes that others in the new Parliament will carry the torch and reintroduce his bill.

The issue transcends partisan politics, as members from all major political parties have lent support to stop forced organ harvesting.

“I was just in Toronto yesterday, and I was working with different candidates, and one of the candidates with whom I met with, for example Judy Sgro of the Liberal Party, indicated that she would advocate tabling of legislation and support my private member’s bill,” Cotler said in an interview on Oct. 14.

“And I believe that if the Liberals form the government, then in fact this would be put forward not as a private member’s bill, which I undertook to do, but hopefully as governmental legislation.”

“If we have government legislation, then it could be enacted as law and then we can in fact advance it as part of both our domestic and international law and policy,” he adds.

The issue transcends partisan politics, as members from all major political parties have lent support to stop forced organ harvesting. Cotler cites as examples the all-party press conferences he has held on the issue, as well as a unanimous motion adopted in February by the Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights condemning forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.

“That showed that at a Parliamentary level in the last Parliament, there was already this cooperation and concurrence and awareness in that particular committee, of which I was the vice chair,” he said.

Citizen Advocacy

Cotler also credits a citizen activism initiative by the group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) in keeping the issue fresh in the minds of parliamentarians.

The group was founded by medical doctors of various specialties around the world to put a stop to illegal organ harvesting.

The Canadian chapter of the group recently sent a questionnaire to the federal election candidates, asking them for their views on illegal organ harvesting in China and their position on legislative action to combat the issue.

DAFOH says in a news release that around 10 percent of the over 1,000 candidates they contacted responded, with the majority being supportive, and others being non-committal. (No negative responses were received.)

Cotler says the questionnaire was very important in promoting awareness and mobilizing support from all parties.

“What this questionnaire has done has really promoted awareness and understanding about forced harvesting. It’s not only been a common occurrence, but indeed a heinous occurrence,” he said.

“This is really a model for citizen advocacy, generally speaking, and of course specifically for this particular heinous practice that must be put to an end.”

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