Falun Gong practitioners in the 100-odd countries where the spiritual discipline is practised take every opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing abuses toward their fellow practitioners in China. That has been the case since 1999 when the Chinese Communist Party under then-leader Jiang Zemin launched a widespread campaign of persecution against the group.
So when a new report came out about the killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience to supply China’s lucrative organ trade, teams of practitioners in several provinces across Canada hit the road, their vehicles loaded up with banners, petitions, flyers, and other materials.
Along the way they stopped in towns and cities where they held press conferences, gathered petition signatures, handed out flyers, and met with mayors, MPs, and MLAs to keep them informed and seek their help.
The new report, titled “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter: An Update,” was released on June 22 by Winnipeg international human rights lawyer David Matas, former cabinet minister David Kilgour, and U.S. investigative journalist and China analyst Ethan Gutmann. Kligour and Matas wrote “Bloody Harvest” (2009) and Gutmann is author of “The Slaughter” (2014).
The report estimates that as many as 60,000 to 100,000 transplants took place in China from 2000 to 2015, with the source primarily being non-consenting Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Thus the Falun Gong death toll from forced organ harvesting may be as many as 1.5 million over 15 years. Complicit in this crime are the Communist Party, prison institutions, the health system and hospitals, and the transplant profession, with billions of dollars in profits being made.
The researchers say incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners remain the key targets for forced organ harvesting due to the large numbers of them in detention—up to 100,000 at any given time—and the healthy state of their organs. This means a ready supply of organs is instantly available, vastly shortening wait times—luring many desperate patients from around the world, including Canada, to seek a new organ in China.
‘The Murder Must Stop’
Clive Ansley, a China analyst and longtime human rights advocate who practised law in Shanghai for 14 years, spoke at a press conference in his home city of Courtenay, B.C., on July 28.
“For 17 years, the Chinese party state has been murdering hundreds of thousands of healthy prisoners in military and state hospitals in order to provide instant organs for Party leaders and wealthy foreign tourists,” he said.
Ansley called Matas, Kilgour, and Gutmann “the three authorities on forced organ harvesting in China,” and said their findings over the years from previous reports and books have never been refuted.
“Over the period since ‘Bloody Harvest’ came out in 2006, no one has ever refuted their findings or their research, and that includes the Chinese party state. Neither they nor any journalist or politician has ever refuted the evidence they have put forward,” he said.
Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula also spoke at the press conference.
“I think this is a really important and significant issue and it’s not one we should turn our backs on or that we should ignore. The murder of people simply to harvest their organs must stop,” he said.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘What’s that got to do with the Comox Valley?’ It has everything to do with the Comox Valley because we have people that live in the Comox Valley who actually naively go to China to get these organs, thinking they’re getting the organs of someone who was involved in a traffic accident or something of that nature, when that is absolutely not the truth.”
Mayor Jangula also gave a shout-out to the team participating in the Vancouver Island tour. Courtenay was the fourth stop on their 13-city tour of the Island.
“I applaud your efforts,” he said. “I support everything you’re doing and it’s the right thing to do.”
Seeking Help From Trudeau
Carrie Gilkison, the spokesperson for the team, said she didn’t hesitate when the tour coordinator asked if she would help out. A student at the University of British Columbia, she has the summer off so she had no problem donating her time to what she considers a worthy cause.
“Everyone needs to know about what’s going on with this,” she said. “Canadian citizens need to be aware, and nations need to protect their citizens from receiving organs taken from living people and at the same time protect the lives of Falun Gong practitioners in China.”
“We received a lot of encouragement from Canadians we met on our route,” she added. “Many people were shocked and asked for materials. Some were already aware of the issue and wanted to sign our petitions, and some wanted to help by informing communities or networks they belonged to or by writing to the prime minister.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is going to China for the G20 summit in September, and the tour teams are urging him to bring up the plight of Falun Gong practitioners and the forced organ harvesting issue with Chinese authorities.
They are also calling for former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin—the main perpetrator of the Falun Gong persecution—to be brought to justice.