A group of U.S. medical doctors announced on January 31 the founding of the organization Doctors Against Organ Harvesting (DAOH) aimed at drawing wider attention to the allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong adherents in China.
In a press release sent from Washington, D.C., the group says that its mission is "to share with the medical community and the public at large the allegations and findings published by David Kilgour and David Matas on July 6, 2006 and other data about organ harvesting in China."
On July 6, 2006, David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, the former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, published a Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, in which the two said that the allegations were true: "We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners."
The founding of DAOH was announced on the same day as Kilgour and Matas released a revised version of their report, which continues to affirm the allegations.
Torsten Trey, MD and PhD, one of the group's founding members, said that the date for DAOH to go public was chosen in order to pay respect to Kilgour and Matas for their contribution in the investigation.
"Kilgour and Matas, despite many obstacles in collecting information from a country that has been controlled by a totalitarian regime for over 50 years, were able to pull together a remarkable amount of proof. They did a great job, and everyone should realize that it is difficult to collect evidence in China."
Asked why DAOH was not formed earlier, Trey said that while the first Kilgour-Matas report was one of the biggest trigger points, their idea to form DAOH came last autumn after they had collected additional information from articles from Chinese hospitals and Chinese newspapers as well as through personal conversations with Chinese transplant surgeons at the World Transplant Congress held in Boston last July. Subsequently, the effort to form a strong team of reputable doctors and to develop a proper agenda required additional time.
Based on the concept of "money laundering," Trey said that DAOH found the need to develop a new term to describe the systematic, underground, and deceptive transplant business in China, which is based on organ harvesting of living Falun Gong adherents.
"The term 'money laundering' refers to using a legitimate business to provide a cover for profits earned through an illegitimate one. The systematic organ harvesting in China that is described in the Kilgour–Matas Report drives DAOH to coin the new term 'organ laundering.'"
He said the concept of organ laundering—illegally procured organs being used in otherwise legally protected organ transplants—would help people in the West understand properly the so called transplantation boom in China.
According to Trey, although there exist many international medical groups and organizations committed to addressing general and ethical problems in medical professions worldwide, none of them specifically aims to address unethical practices within China.
"We don't say 'we know the truth,' but we push for further investigation," he said.
Trey said that DAOH members will reach out to medical colleagues via different channels, and they hope readers of their web site, regardless of profession, will join their signature campaign.
The web site of DaOH is www.doctorsagainstorganharvesting.org