SYDNEY—The Falun Gong spiritual group led a protest urging the stopping of forced organ removal in China outside the APEC health ministers' meetings in Sydney on Wednesday June 6.
New South Wales Falun Gong Association President John Deller said that although APEC's avian flu agenda is important, organ harvesting should not be ignored.
"This is a major health matter that should be top on the agenda of such a conference.
"China, an APEC member, is housing large 'farms' of human beings, prisoners of conscience, who are being murdered on the operating table to provide fresh, healthy organs to high-paying foreigners – it must not be ignored," Mr Deller said, speaking at a press conference.
The association has written to Australia's Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, asking him to raise the issue of forced organ removal at the APEC meeting.
A spokesperson from Mr Abbott's office doubted that the issue would be raised and said it was a "foreign affairs" issue – the request would be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Ms Liu Jing Hang, 66, a former associate professor at the China Academy of Science in Beijing, spoke publicly about her ordeals in detention and encounters with China's "deadly" organ transplant industry.
Detained five times and "illegally" sentenced to three years of detention, Ms Liu recounted when she was "forcefully blood tested" and her "eyes were checked and different parts of organs" examined.
On one occasion in jail, a "police guard with white coat, check their blood and heart".
"Other detainees, who were not Falun Gong practitioners, asked to be tested, but they [police] refused.
"They paid special attention to our body and physical health," Ms Liu said.
Only years later, when the allegations of organ harvesting came out of China, did she realise that her health was being screened by authorities for the possibility of removing her organs for transplants.
"On morning of July 18, 2000, five policemen took me to a medical centre in Beijing city. One of them was the vice-director of the detention centre. I said: 'I am not sick; why do you want to withdraw my blood and test my blood? This is a violation of my human rights.'"
Ms Liu struggled and called for help while a nurse withdrew her blood; her lack of co-operation enraged the police.
"After one young policeman told me that all these tests, examinations and blood testing taking place are very expensive, if you don't want to accept any examination it is a waste of money. I felt very surprised why they care so much about my physical condition, yet they torture me," Ms Liu said at the press conference.
A move by two Australian hospitals, Prince Charles Hospital and the Princess Alexandra Hospital, to ban training of Chinese surgeons in transplant techniques after the allegations surfaced was praised by Mr Deller, who says it set a good precedent, not just for Australian hospitals, but those worldwide.
Mr Deller gave examples of third-party evidence to back claims of organ harvesting occurring in China.
A UN report released on March 20 by UN Special Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak lists six hospitals, three transplants centres, three detention centres and three courts that have all been involved in removal of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners.
A January 2007 report by David Kilgour and David Matas entitled Bloody Harvest documents phone calls made by Belgian Senator Patrik Vankrunkelsven in late November 2006 after Beijing passed a law to control illegal organ transplants.
"[The] Belgian Senator called two different hospitals in Beijing pretending to be a customer for a kidney transplant. Both hospitals offered him a kidney on the spot for 50,000 euros," relayed Mr Deller outside the APEC meetings.