Italian Senate Passes Resolution on Organ Harvesting in China

March 6, 2014 5:26 pm Last Updated: March 7, 2014 9:49 am

A commission on human rights inside the Italian Senate passed a resolution recently that declared that the Chinese Communist Party has harvested the organs of tens of thousands of prisoners, and called on the Italian government to take a range of measures against the practice. 

The Extraordinary Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, a committee within the Italian Senate, last December heard testimony from the Canadian lawyer David Matas, who co-authored a report and then a book on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.  

The Commission concluded that among the vast numbers of organ transplants that have been conducted in China—often on very short waiting times, which would be impossible without a live supply of donors ready to meet any organ demanded—many have been from practitioners of Falun Gong

Matas and his co-author David Kilgour, a former Canadian parliamentarian and crown prosecutor, concluded that over 40,000 organs had been harvested from Falun Gong practitioners from 2000 to 2005. Another researcher, Ethan Gutmann, who has written a book on the issue—The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem—says that the number is likely over 60,000 from the period 2000 to 2008. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999.

In the resolution, the Extraordinary Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights committed the Italian government to a range of measures to counter the practice. 

First, it would ask the Chinese government to release all prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners; second, it would reconsider training programs for Chinese doctors; third, it would collect information through diplomatic and other channels to get a comprehensive picture of how organ harvesting and transplantation operates in China; and fourth, it would prosecute, in accordance with international conventions, individuals involved in organ trafficking.