REPORT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ORGAN HARVESTING OF FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS IN CHINA
by David Matas and David Kilgour
6 July 2006
Table of Contents
B. Working methods
C. The allegation
D. Difficulties of proof
E. Methods of Proof
F. Elements of proof and disproof
1) A perceived threat
2) A policy of persecution
3) Incitement to hatred
4) Massive Arrests
6) The unidentified and the disappeared
7) Sources of transplants
8) Blood testing
9) Corpses with missing organs
10) A confession
12) Waiting times
13) Incriminating Information on Websites
14) Victim interviews
15) Human rights violations generally
16) Financial considerations
G. Credibility of witnesses and investigators
H. Proposed further investigation
1) Letter of invitation from CIPFG
2) Biography of David Matas
3) Biography of David Kilgour
4) People interviewed
5) Letter to the Chinese embassy
6) Statements by the Government of China on Falun Gong
7) Physical persecution of the Falun Gong
8) Blood testing of Falun Gong prisoners
9) Unidentified Falun Gong in detention
11) AI’s Records of Number of Executed Prisoners in China Each Year
12) Corpses with missing organs
13) Transcript of Interview
14) Transcripts of telephone investigations
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), a nongovernmental organization registered in Washington, D.C. with a branch in Ottawa, Canada, by letter dated May 24, 2006 asked for our assistance in investigating allegations that state institutions and employees of the government of People's Republic of China have been harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners, killing the practitioners in the process. The request letter is attached as an appendix to this report. Many of the friends of China, including us two, are concerned about these allegations. In light of their seriousness, as well as our own commitment respecting human dignity world wide, we accepted the request.
David Matas is an immigration, refugee and international human rights lawyer in private practice in Winnipeg. He is actively involved in the promotion of respect for human rights as an author, speaker and participant in several human rights non-governmental organizations. David Kilgour is a former member of Parliament and a former Secretary of State of the Government of Canada for the Asia Pacific region. Before he became a Parliamentarian, he was a Crown prosecutor. The biographies of both authors are attached as appendices to this report.
B. Working Methods
We conducted our investigation independently from the CIPFG, the Falun Dafa Association, any other organization, and any government. We sought to go to China unsuccessfully, but would be willing to go even subsequently to pursue a second stage of the investigation if access to witnesses and institutions can be obtained. We interviewed a number of different people listed in an appendix to this report as well as read extensively any information we could obtain relevant to our report. We were not paid by anyone for this report but rather did this work as volunteers.
C. The Allegation
It is alleged that Falun Gong practitioners are victims of live organ harvesting throughout China. The allegation is that organ harvesting is inflicted on unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations, pursuant to a systematic policy, in large numbers.
Organ harvesting is a step in organ transplants. The purpose of organ harvesting is to provide organs for transplants. Transplants do not necessarily have to take place in the same place as the location of the organ harvesting. The two locations are often different, organs harvested in one place are shipped to another place for transplanting.
The allegation is further that the organs are harvested from the practitioners while they are still alive. The practitioners are killed in the course of the organ harvesting operations or immediately thereafter. These operations are a form of murder.
Finally, we are told that the practitioners killed in this way are then cremated. There is no corpse left to examine to identify as the source of an organ transplant. The thought of such a practice occurring, particularly if it might be at the direction of a government, at the beginning of the 21st century when the value of individual human life is finally gaining more widespread respect, is most alarming.
Accordingly, when one of the first in camera witnesses, a woman who is not a Falun Gong practitioner, met in the course of this inquiry said that her surgeon husband told her that he personally removed the corneas from approximately 2000 anaesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in northeast China during the two year period before October, 2003 ( at which time he refused to continue), we were shaken. Much of what we have encountered since, as outlined in this report, has been almost equally disturbing.
D. Difficulties of proof
The allegations, by their very nature, are difficult either to prove or disprove. The best evidence for proving any allegation is eye witness evidence. Yet for this alleged crime, there is unlikely to be any eye witness evidence.
The people present at the scene of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, if it does occur, are either perpetrators or victims. There are no bystanders. Because the victims, according to, the allegation are murdered and cremated, there is no body to be found, no autopsy to be conducted. There are no surviving victims to tell what happened to them. Perpetrators are unlikely to confess to what would be, if they occurred, crimes against humanity. Nonetheless, though we did not get full scale confessions, we garnered a surprising number of admissions through investigator phone calls.
The scene of the crime, if the crime has occurred, leaves no traces. Once an organ harvesting is completed, the operating room in which it takes place looks like any other empty operating room.
The clampdown on human rights reporting in China makes assessment of the allegations difficult. China, regrettably, represses human rights reporters and defenders. There is no freedom of expression. Those reporting on human rights violations from within China are often jailed and sometimes charged with communicating state secrets. In this context, the silence of human rights non-governmental organizations on organ harvesting of unwilling Falun Gong practitioners tells us nothing.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is not allowed to visit prisoners in China. Nor is any other organization concerned with human rights of prisoners. That also cuts off a potential avenue of evidence.
China has no access to information legislation. It is impossible to get from the Government of China basic information about organ transplants - how many transplants there are, what is the source of the organs, how much is paid for transplants or where that money is spent.
We did seek to visit China for this report. Our efforts went nowhere. We asked in writing for a meeting with the embassy to discuss terms of entry. Our letter is attached as an appendix to this report. Our request for a meeting was accepted. But the person who met with David Kilgour was interested only in denying the allegations and not in arranging for our visit.
E. Methods of proof
We have had to look at a number of factors, to determine whether they present a picture, all together, which make the allegations either true or untrue. None of these elements on its own either establishes or disproves the allegations. Together, they paint a picture.
Many of the pieces of evidence we considered, in themselves, do not constitute ironclad proof of the allegation. But their non-existence might well have constituted disproof.
The combination of these factors, particularly when there are so many of them, has the effect of making the allegations believable, even when any one of them in isolation might not do so. Where every possible element of disproof we could identify fails to disprove the allegations, the likelihood of the allegations being true becomes substantial.