Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
David Kilgour with Xun Li and Lucy Zhou during a rally to call attention to Chinese human rights abuses against religious sect practitioners
A new report called “Bloody Harvest” documents China’s “anything goes” transplant industry where a cornea is available to anyone with $30,000 and people are kept as prisoners until their organs are needed, when they are executed by a doctor’s needle just as soon as the cash hits the hospital accounting office.
The report from David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, the former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, was just released and updates previous documents alleging the existence of the billion dollar industry.
The new report, taken cumulatively, provides the proof, Kilgour told WND.
“We’ve talked to a lot of people who received organs, people who managed to get out [of China] by the skin of their teeth. We talked to a lady beaten up so badly she heard a doctor say she was going to die and her organs would be no good. We’ve looked at the web sites offering organs. We think we now have overwhelming evidence for any fair-minded or reasonable person,” he said.
“Every single item points in the same direction, and nothing points in the direction of innocence,” he said.
Web sites have posted prices, in U.S. dollars, of $150,000 for a kidney or pancreas, $150,000-$170,000 for a lung, and $130,000-$160,000 for a heart, and those same sites suggest the maximum wait for a liver available for transplant would be two weeks, although the same wait period in British Columbia was 52 months.
“The astonishingly short waiting times advertised for perfectly-matched organs would suggest the existence of a large bank of live prospective ‘donors,’” the report said.
Some of the most damning evidence came from several individuals who have fled the industry. One woman testified her husband, a surgeon, had removed the corneas from an estimated 2,000 people who, at that point, still were alive. But they then were operated on by other surgeons to remove other organs, and the bodies then cremated.
The money trail was tracked from the patients to the hospital, but it remained unclear whether the hospital, the government, or the surgeons were benefiting the most, the report said. But it concluded that the magnitude of the atrocities goes beyond even what Hitler pursued in his attempt to eradicate Jews and other groups of people, he said.
“This is just about at the limit of the human imagination, some people would say it’s beyond. We avoid direct comparisons, because it really is unique. Even the Nazis didn’t try to do this,” he said.
He characterizes it as “carnivore capitalism” where nothing matters but the money. The report lists new evidence showing that hospitals are telling potential transplant recipients that they have live organs awaiting delivery and there have been tens of thousands of transplant surgeries performed in the past few years – with no other available source of organs.
China’s human rights record is atrocious, the report said, with more deaths attributable to its Communist government than to Stalin and Hitler combined. The nation routinely violates the rights of Christians, democracy advocates, human rights advocates and others, including using detention, torture and execution.
But the targets for the burgeoning industry at this point are mostly members of a religious sect called Falun Gong. That’s a belief system that was assembled in the early 1990s by Li Hongzhi and incorporates ideas from Buddhism and Taoism. It’s generally seen as a peaceful movement, but China government officials have labeled it a dangerous cult and banned it.
But in a social atmosphere that tolerates only what officials decide they want to allow, there is no accountability for hospitals or physicians who are constantly short of funding, and there is zero tolerance for dissent, the nation’s transplant industry has exploded because there has been no barrier to marketing – and selling – the organs of “enemies of the state.”
“Once a customer arrives into China, somebody’s killed for the organ, whether it’s a prisoner sentenced to death or a Falun Gong practitioner, and they just have this huge supply of people in jail waiting to be killed for organ donations,” Matas told reporters at a recent news conference.
Liver transplants, counted at only 22 before 1999, multiplied to 500 just last year. And while China has admitted “harvesting” the organs of inmates executed for capital crimes, the number of those executions has remained about the same – in the 1,600 to 1,700 range – for a number of years. However, while reports that are available to the public show there were about 30,000 transplant surgeries in China prior to 1999, that total rocketed to 90,000 by the end of 2005.
Those 60,000 organ transplant surgeries during the years 2000-2005 each needed a donor organ, and historically in China the numbers show only a fraction of all transplants are provided by living donors, such as in kidney cases, or a body made available voluntarily following a traffic accident or other circumstances.
“There is no indication of a significant increase in … these categories in recent years. Presumably, the identified sources of organ transplants which produced 18,500 organ transplants in the six-year period 1994 to 1999 produced the same number of organs for transplants in the next six-year period 2000 to 2005,” the report said.
“That means that the source of 41,500 transplants for the six-year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained,” the report said.
Some of the explanation comes from a volunteer who testified to the authors about calling 80 hospitals in China, asking about transplants. Ten locations admitted using “live” Falun Gong practitioners as organ suppliers.
One hospital official was asked about the organs for transplant. “…And it was from healthy Falun Gong practitioners…?”
“Correct. We would choose the good ones because we assure the quality in our operation,” the hospital official said.
“That means you choose the organs yourself?”
“Usually, how old is the organ supplier?”
“Usually in their thirties.”
“What if the chosen one doesn’t want to have blood drawn?”
“He will for sure let us do it.”
“They will for sure find a way. What do you worry about? These kinds of things should not be of any concern to you. They have their procedures.”
“Does the person know that his organ will be removed?”
The researchers, both from Canada, noted that there is no doubt Canadians are taking part in “organ tourism,” which is traveling to China for a transplant. Confirmations have come in from hospitals in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary that such trips were taking place.
Patients from the United States and other affluent countries, also, undoubtedly, are taking part in the industry, the report noted.
Kilgour told WND that the report reveals that Falun Gong practitioners, probably tens of thousands, are held in detention camps while, during their lives, they assemble products for export. But they are blood-typed and given various tests regularly.
Then there’s a computer matchup of tissue. “His or her day comes up, somebody’s waiting in a hospital in Shanghai, and you can die that day. The patient flies back to America with a new kidney,” he said.
Patients routinely are told they are getting organs from executed prisoners who volunteered for the donation. The description of “executed prisoner,” technically, is true, he said, but the caveat is that the “prisoners” never commited – or were convicted – of any crime.
The report suggests the rest of the world could help by preventing patients from traveling to China for a transplant where neither the donor nor the family have consented, stopping funding for after-care for patients who have commercial transplants abroad, stop training of doctors who will return to China and join the transplant industry and ban shipping anti-rejection drugs and other necessities for transplants to China.
“We believe that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners,” they said in the report.
Chinese officials have admitted “harvesting” organs from “executed prisoners,” but that admission did not come until 2005, and the report authors say it might have been made to divert attention away from the industry of killing innocent sect members for their organs.
The authors said the report on the study, which was done at the request of the Coalition to Investigation the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China, a non-governmental organization in Washington and Ottawa, also is available at www.organharvestinvestigation.net.