News in Review NL/3

Matas addressed transplant faculty/students at the University of Pennsylvania

International human rights lawyer David Matas addressed students and faculty from the University of Pennsylvania at a Symposium on Organ Harvesting and Global Organ Black Markets in April. In his talk, entitled “Global organ black markets: The case of China,” Matas explained, “Everywhere else patients wait for donors. In China, organ sources wait for patients to arrive. They are then killed for their organs. Transplants are booked at the convenience of the patients, weeks or months in advance, even for vital organs – heart, lung and liver.  That means that someone is being killed on order after the arrival of the patient.” The evidence that he and other researchers have compiled concludes that “the prisoners of conscience most commonly killed for their organs are practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong.” During the Q &A following the talk, Matas succinctly summed up the medical ethics conundrum, stating that “it is never justifiable to kill a healthy person so a sick person can live longer.”


DAFOH member Sophia Bryskine interviewed by the Sydney Criminal Defense Lawyers

Public outcry over the plasticized corpse exhibit “Real Bodies: The Exhibition” in Sydney, Australia has brought attention to the issue of China’s forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. DAFOH member Sophia Bryskine was interviewed by the Sydney Criminal Defense Lawyers about the targeting of Falun Gong practitioners for organs and what can be done to stop it. Ms. Bryskine explained that “what we see is a reversed matching process in China. In most countries, organs are procured from a legal and voluntary process, where a dying person agrees to the donation of his organ, which is offered to the best matching recipient on the waiting list. In China, this process is reversed and wealthy recipients appear to be matched against a vast pool of donors, who are then killed on demand for the purpose of the transplant operation.” The source of this on-demand pool is reported to be Chinese prisoners of conscience, predominantly Falun Gong practitioners, but also Christians, Tibetans and Uyghurs. Ms. Bryskine pointed out that for nearly 20 years now, Falun Gong practitioners have been detained by the hundreds of thousands. Many do not give their names in order to protect their family members or co-workers from harassment leaving them vulnerable to disappearing without a trace. Additionally, Falun Gong practitioners lead healthy lifestyles and don’t drink or smoke. Therefore, the Chinese state has filled its prisons with, as Bryskine described, “the perfect vast pool of potential organ donors.”


United Kingdom Parliament members Jim Shannon and Fiona Bruce co-hosted briefing on forced organ harvesting

United Kingdom Parliament members Jim Shannon and Fiona Bruce co-hosted a briefing on forced organ harvesting in China last month. Speakers included lead investigators David Matas, David Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann, who presented the most recent updates on their findings. Vice Chair of the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Benedict Rogers also testified. He asserted that China should “open up all of the hospitals in the country to truly independent international inspection, inspections without advance notice.” In attendance were a broad range of MPs including Labour, Conservatives, and DUP, as well as other concerned community members such as DAFOH member Dr. Adnan Sharif and members of Bristol Against Forced Organ Harvesting, a group concerned with reports of organ harvesting in Bristol’s twin city Guangzhou.