Liberal MP Judy Sgro says that if China doesn’t “get serious” about stopping the illicit harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience then Canada should halt trade negotiations with the country.
Sgro made the remarks in Parliament Wednesday, referring to a recent announcement by the Chinese regime that it plans to halt organ harvesting from prisoners in favour of a voluntary organ donation system.
The announcement comes in the wake of ongoing allegations that Chinese officials are harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience—largely Falun Gong practitioners—without their consent.
“Organ harvesting without consent is wrong and must be stopped,” Sgro told the House.
“If China is serious about human rights, as it says it is through trade talks, then China must get serious about stopping this barbaric practice or we should stop trade negotiations.”
I am estimating that 65,000 Falun Gong [practitioners] have come under the knife.
— Journalist Ethan Gutmann
Sgro cited a report from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) showing that organ harvesting is a highly profitable endeavour in China: corneas sell for $30,000, kidneys for $62,000, livers for $130,000, and lungs for $170,000.
“All this despite the fact that China supposedly banned organ trafficking in 2007,” Sgro said.
The WOIPFG report also revealed new evidence that top-ranking Chinese officials, including recently ousted Chinese Communist Party boss Bo Xilai, and his wife Gu Kailai, profited from large-scale organ harvesting operations.
Australian MPs and senators were also briefed on the issue on Nov. 28, hearing evidence from a group of experts including journalist Ethan Gutmann, one of the first to expose illegal organ harvesting in China.
“This has become a deep corruption within [China’s] medical system,” Gutmann told Richard Ewart on ABC Radio Australia Nov. 30.
“I am estimating that 65,000 Falun Gong [practitioners] have come under the knife.”
The organ harvesting scandal first broke in 2006 when Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former MP David Kilgour released their investigative report finding that thousands of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs.
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that rose to popularity in China in the early 1990s.When former Chinese Communist Party head Jiang Zemin began to fear that the Chinese people would prefer Falun Gong’s traditional moral teachings to the Party’s communist ideology, he started a statewide persecution and propaganda campaign in 1999 to eradicate the practice.
Since then, Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and often sent to brainwashing centres, mental hospitals, and labour camps. Matas and Kilgour reported that Chinese officials used incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners as their largest source of organs for harvesting.
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