China may have more in common with its North Korean vassal than meets the eye. Like the reclusive Stalinist state, which has starved, killed, and tortured millions of its people--and operates a network of concentration camps, complete with gas chambers--China is no stranger to Nazi-like atrocities.
China's treatment of the outlawed Falun Gong is an example. Calling it a crime against humanity, an independent Canadian human rights report confirms that detained followers of the movement (also known as Falun Dafa) are having their kidneys, heart, liver and corneas harvested without consent. The bodies are then cremated and their organs sold to foreigners, the report says.
Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas and former Liberal cabinet minister David Kilgour authored the report, following a two-month investigation.
"What we've got here is a new, shocking, different form of evil," Matas told reporters at a news conference. "The Chinese Communist party sees the Falun Gong as an ideological threat to the regime, because of the large numbers, the ability to mobilize a large group of people, their commitment and their tenacity."
"Who would have believed the Holocaust before it happened?" he asked.
Said Kilgour: "We've both been very shaken up by these stories. It's hard to believe this can go on anywhere in the world in this new century where human beings are supposed to matter."
The report was conducted at the request of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China and the Ottawa-based Falun Dafa Association, with the support of seven sitting MPs. The Canadians worked as unpaid volunteers.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa dismissed the report as a "groundless and biased" Falun Gong smear effort based on "rumors and false allegations."
China's foreign ministry has in the past admitted that organs from prisoners have been used in transplants, saying, however, it was only in "a very few cases" and with the express permission of the convict.
Kilgour and Matas said their research was conducted independently of the coalition and any other organization or government.
Denied visas to visit China, they gathered testimony from witnesses in Canada, the United States, France and Australia, consulted the websites of Chinese transplantation centers, and studied transcripts of Mandarin conversations with doctors and other officials at Chinese hospitals and detention centers.
"We believe that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners," the report says. It estimates that 60,000 transplants occurred in China from 2000 to 2005. Of these, approximately 18,500 would have come from legitimate sources, the report adds, leaving 41,500 unexplained transplants.
One of the key witnesses was the wife of a surgeon who confessed to having removed more than 2,000 corneas of unwilling Falun Gong detainees over a two-year period, Kilgour said.
"She said he started having nightmares and that is when he confessed. And she details how it was done how many a day, what anesthetic they used. And what happened to him when he tried to stop."
Neither the surgeon nor his wife are involved with Falun Gong in any way, Kilgour added.
The report also notes a number of family members of Falun Gong practitioners who died in detention reported seeing the corpses of their loved ones with surgical incisions and body parts missing.
"The authorities gave no coherent explanation for these mutilated corpses," the report says.
The report calls on governments and international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, to thoroughly investigate and boycott China's booming, highly secretive, and extremely controversial transplant industry.
Australian and British transplant surgeons are among those who have asserted that China is harvesting organs from thousands of executed prisoners each year to sell for transplants.
In April, the British Transplantation Society condemned the practice as a violation of human rights. Professor Stephen Wigmore, chairman of the society's ethics committee, said China's speed of matching donors and patients suggested that prisoners were being selected before execution.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the purchase and sale of human organs are now banned in China after a new regulation came into effect last Saturday.
Xinhua said: "Strict rules have also been imposed on human organ transplants in response to fierce overseas criticism of China's transplant industry. Hospitals will be banned from taking organs without written consent from the donors, who are entitled to withdraw their decision at the last minute."
But critics doubt the new regulations will be strictly enforced. One reason: too many important Communist party officials are financially involved in the transplant industry.
technorati tags: China
technorati tags: Human Rights