TORONTO, May 30, 2014 ( – China’s forced organ harvesting program, which particularly victimizes practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, is continuing unabated, says a prominent Canadian human rights lawyer.

David Matas spoke Wednesday evening at the University of Toronto. Along with former member of Parliament David Kilgour, Matas has been at the forefront of drawing international attention to the organ harvesting program. Together, they authored the book Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs.

Chinese organ harvesting came to the world’s notice when a Chinese woman revealed in 2006 that her ex-husband had harvested corneas of Falun Gong practitioners between 2003 and 2005. She said other doctors at the same hospital harvested other organs of these victims, first killing Falun Gong and then cremating their bodies.


The fact that victims were dead and their remains incinerated made investigation difficult, said Matas, yet he went forward using strict terms for collecting evidence. He and Kilgour concluded Falun Gong practitioners were indeed being killed for their organs.

Released prisoners told investigators that China had a system of blood testing and organ examination specifically for Falun Gong prisoners. Further suspicions were aroused by the fact that the time period in China for receiving organs was unusually short – days or, at most, weeks, whereas normally the waiting period would be months. Military hospitals of the People's Liberation Army had close connections to the prison system, making a huge income from the transplants.

Following the revelations, the Chinese government moved to enact more secrecy while claiming publicly that any organ donations were strictly voluntary in nature. Later, in the face of damaging evidence, the regime admitted organs were indeed obtained, mainly from prisoners.

Matas identified discrepancies between Chinese transplant numbers and sources, indicating other unrevealed sources were being used. To keep up with demand, the Chinese government would have to obtain organs from about 100,000 people a year.

The Chinese Communist regime has attempted to deflect international condemnation of its practices with either rudeness or charm, said Matas. On the one hand, it will decry “outsiders imposing Western values on China”; on the other, it would pledge to change, ask for more time, and plead for assistance.

“Hypocrisy comes easy to the [Communist] party,” Matas noted. “The party never applies the law to itself.”

Although a leading Chinese official declared in 2009 that “prisoners are not an appropriate source for organs,” the abuse has never stopped. The regime has developed a “lingering execution method,” the use of special medications, to ensure organs are in prime condition for harvesting.

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Meanwhile, investigators calling hospitals pretending to be in need have been told Falun Gong organs are indeed for sale.

Matas observed these pledges are obviously a sham as they are issued in English only, for international, not domestic, consumption. The government’s promotion of Chinese transplant “tourism” continues. The efforts to end harvesting, Matas concluded, have gone nowhere.

In a question-and-answer session, Matas encouraged Canadians to continue drawing attention to the situation and writing letters to their political representatives. He stopped short, however, of calling for boycotts or isolation of the Chinese Communist regime.

Ethan Gutmann, a U.S. author, estimates as many as 65,000 Falun Gong have been killed for their organs. More details on the investigations into Chinese forced organ harvesting, including an updated Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, are at Kilgour’s website:

The forced organ harvesting phenomenon is just one of the many known crimes perpetrated by the Chinese Communist regime, which counts a one-child-per-family policy, forced abortions, religious repression, censorship, espionage and, of course, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre among its many dubious accomplishments.

Yet, Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to cozy up to the regime, saying two years ago after a five-day visit to China: “I think this really is a trip that is really moving us to a totally new level in our relationship, one that is going to be very good for both of our countries, particularly good for the creation of jobs and opportunities in the future.”

Harper also cited “the degree of commitment that the Chinese really do have and the optimism that they have for the (Canada-China) relationship going forward.” The Globe and Mail newspaper observed the Harper visit was “heavy on trade, light on human rights.”