One of Canada's foremost authorities on organ donation has spoken out to condemn the reported harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners' organs underway in China.
“My reaction was one of sorrow and horror,” said Dr. John Dossetor after learning of reports that the Chinese Communist Party was removing organs from detained Falun Gong practitioners – many of them still alive – to fuel a lucrative organ business in China.
“They are human beings,” said Dossetor. “As human beings they deserve respect.”
Dossetor, an Officer of the Order of Canada and co-founder of Kidney Foundation of Canada spoke with The Epoch Times on behalf of the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation, an arms-length organization affiliated with Health Canada.
Dossetor said the organ harvesting in China is not an issue of capital punishment.
“Quite apart from being against the death penalty… to then use them as a social resource for other people, without consent, or without un-coerced consent… I think that those are serious problems.”
According to Dossetor, limiting organ transplants in Canada to voluntary donations prevents a dangerous “commodification” of the human body, as is now seen in China.
“Even though an organ is not a person, it is different from a thing,” said Dossetor. “By cheapening the nature of the gift to that of a thing or a profit commodity, one is damaging social values of the community, quite apart from any religious arguments.”
After The Epoch Times first reported the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners taking place at a hospital in northeast China, further investigation and sources confirmed that the practice is in fact widespread in China.
Official Chinese statistics show that the number of organ transplant operations in China increased by multiples after the persecution of Falun Gong was launched in 1999. Chinese hospitals now boast multi-language websites that promote quick organ transplants to foreigners, some promising a matching donor within weeks—unheard of in Canada.
Now that the practice has been exposed, sources say, hospitals in China are in rush to eliminate the evidence and Falun Gong practitioners are being hurriedly killed for their organs. Many hospitals have encouraged recipients to come for operations before May 1.
Dossetor warned those on waiting lists in Canada who might feel the urge to get a quick organ from a suspect source overseas.
“It is highly regrettable that this transplant tourism is going on,” he said. “They [the recipients] are being treated very badly, in fact, in the sense that they are being robbed. But they don't believe they are being robbed. Of course they want the organ more than anything else in life.”
The reports from China represent a serious affront to the ethics of organ transplantation, Dossetor says.
“It's really a failure to respect human life and a failure to treat people as ends in themselves rather than using them for other purposes.”
Dossetor was joined by CCDT CEO Kimberly Young and CCDT council member Dr. Sam Shemie, who explained organ donation practices in Canada
(For more information please see Organ Donation and Transplant Practices in Canada. )
Additional reporting by Masha Loftus