August 3, 2006

Members of the spiritual group Falun Gong brought their plea for Canadians to take action against a "horrific issue" to the steps of Halifax city hall Tuesday afternoon.

The stop was part of a car tour from Toronto through the Maritimes to bring attention to the alleged forced harvesting of human organs from Falun Gong followers by the Chinese government.

"If the whole world knows what they're doing, they can't do it anymore," said Deping Chian, a 63-year-old Halifax man who has practiced Falun Gong since 1997. He still has family in China who are also followers and have been persecuted for their affiliation to Falun Gong.

"They could be targeted again," he said.

Falun Gong emerged in China in 1992 and focuses on meditation exercises and spiritual teachings. Members believe more than 100 million people practice Falun Gong around the world.

The Chinese government outlawed Falun Gong in July 1999. According to the group's website, 2,898 followers have died in police or government custody in China, and many followers believe those in jail are subjected to torture.

In March, a Chinese journalist reported that people in China were receiving transplanted organs from Falun Gong prisoners.

The six-member team at city hall asked Nova Scotians to appeal to their municipal, provincial and federal leaders to condemn the Chinese government.

Liberal MP Geoff Regan said the group paid a visit to his Halifax office Tuesday morning and he wants to make sure the government takes a deeper look at these allegations when Parliament resumes in September.

"I will look for an opportunity to raise this in Ottawa," the Halifax West MP said.

It would be hard for anyone to stomach such atrocious accusations, Mr. Regan added, but pointed to China's "appalling" human rights history as a good indication they may be true.

"Who would want to believe that this could happen?" he said. "Unfortunately, with the human rights record of the Chinese government, you'd like a little more assurance than that."

The Falun Gong members also pointed to a 46-page independent report, released July 6, which concludes that the allegations are true.

The authors of the report -Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas and former Liberal secretary of state for Asia Pacific, David Kilgour-spent two months investigating the allegations, following a request from the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China.

After putting together numerous pieces of evidence Mr. Matas and Mr. Kilgour concluded members of the group had had their organs removed "unwillingly" while they were still alive. They said the evidence included interviews with doctors at several Chinese hospitals who said they could provide them with healthy organs from live Falun Gong prisoners; a confession from the wife of a surgeon saying her husband removed the corneas of about 2,000 anesthetized Falun Gong prisoners between 2001 and 2003; and a finding that organs for 41,500 transplants between 2000 and 2005 are unaccounted for.


Mr. Chian and his fellow Falun Gong members also allege China is cremating many of the prisoners' bodies to get rid of evidence. They are urging all Canadians to join an online petition to the federal government to condemn the communist regime's organ harvesting practices.

"By letting other people know about what they have been doing in China, especially about the organ harvesting, they can help us," Mr. Chian said.

"As a human being, we should at least all be paying attention to it."

The petition can be found at

'If the whole world knows what they're doing, they can't do it anymore.'