Is China harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners -- who are killed in the process? David Kilgour, a former Canadian member of parliament, and Canadian human-rights attorney David Matas admit that they cannot prove or disprove allegations that China has killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in order to harvest their organs, but they fear and believe it is happening. So they wrote in a report released this month for the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China.
China denies the allegations. An embassy spokesman reminded me that U.S. officials toured a site in Shenyang allegedly used for these operations, but a U.S. State Department official said they found "no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital." The official U.S. position on the controversy is that the administration is "concerned" about Chinese persecution of Falun Gong, as well as allegations of organ harvesting.
On the other hand, last year a Chinese health official admitted that the organs of executed prisoners were sold to foreigners. A new law now prohibits taking organs without written permission -- even as China has launched a new fleet of execution vans that are turning lethal injection into a movable feat.
There is no question that China is persecuting Falun Gong members. In 2004, the U.S. State Department reported that, "tens of thousands of practitioners remained incarcerated in prisons, extrajudicial re-education-through-labor camps and psychiatric facilities. Several hundred Falun Gong adherents reportedly have died in detention due to torture, abuse and neglect since the crackdown on Falun Gong began in 1999."
Falun Gong is a meditative practice -- sometimes dubbed "Chinese yoga" -- which, practitioner Steve Ispas of Los Altos, Calif., tells me promotes "truthfulness, compassion and tolerance."
Nonetheless, the People's Republic of China refers to Falun Gong as an "anti-humanity, anti-society and anti-science cult" and claims that practitioners refuse needed medical treatment -- which apparently makes it acceptable for the government to jail, even torture, believers.
You don't have to take the word of Falun Gong members to believe that the Chinese government is killing adherents for their body parts.