China kills for organs
A human rights lawyer and a former cabinet minister in Canada have added their weight to charges that China has been killing Falun Gong dissidents so it can use their organs.
The lawyer, David Matas, and the former secretary of state for Asia and the Pacific, David Kilgour, spent two months investigating the accusations, which China has regularly denied.
"It is simply inescapable that this is going on," Mr Kilgour told reporters on Thursday as he and Mr Matas released their findings.
They provided English transcripts of phone calls, in Mandarin, made to detention centres and organ transplant clinics in which officials said organs from Falun Gong practitioners could be made available for speedy use.
Some of the calls were placed on behalf of Falun Gong by people inquiring about whether they could get organ transplants.
Mr Matas and Mr Kilgour said they carefully examined phone records and sat with certified Mandarin translators as they listened to the taped conversations. They also conducted interviews with witnesses in numerous countries, including Australia, and investigated government records and other evidence.
"Believe me, I used to be a prosecutor," Mr Kilgour said. "I knew there would be cynicism and I did my utmost to make sure that everything was satisfactorily and properly and ethically done."
One call, made on June 8, was to a Mr Li in the Mishan City Detention Centre in Heilongjiang province, according to the transcript. "Do you have Falun Gong [organ] suppliers?" Mr Li was asked.
"We used to have, yes," he replied. - "What about now?" - "Yes" - "Can we come to select, or you provide directly to us?"
"We provide them to you," Mr Li said, adding that price would be discussed when the caller arrived. He said he had "quite a few" Falun Gong males younger than 40 from whom organs could be taken.
Mr Kilgour released an interview with a woman who said her former husband, a surgeon, took corneas from about 2000 people over two years. She said the victims were given injections to cause heart failure.
China has banned Falun Gong, a spiritual group, since 1999
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa dismissed the report as a "groundless and biased" Falun Gong smear effort based on "rumours and false allegations".
Mr Matas and Mr Kilgour conducted their inquiry as unpaid volunteers at the request of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, an organisation based in Washington with a branch in Ottawa, but said their investigation was made independently of this organisation, the news agency Canadian Press reported.
Mr Matas said the practice amounted to a crime against humanity. "Our findings are shocking. To us, this is a form of evil we have yet to see on this planet." He said that if China rejected the findings it should ensure the source of each transplant was recorded and available for inspection by human rights officials.
* China has sentenced three members of a banned Christian sect to death for the murder of followers of a rival group. Among them was Xu Shuangfu, the 60-year-old founder of the sect, the Three Grades of Servants.
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