Issued by Clearwisdom Net
After successfully visiting Canberra and Sydney and holding seminars there, on August 21, 2006, Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament, and David Kilgour, one of the two authors of the "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China" traveled to Melbourne, their third stop in Australia. They held two seminars in Melbourne, one at noon and another in the evening. Among the invited speakers were Victor Perton, a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Jane Turner, former Olympic silver medal winner, and Falun Gong practitioners Dongfan Zhang and Zhizhen Dai. Below are excerpts from the question and answer sections of the seminars.
Question: What do you think are the most powerful ways to get the organ harvesting stopped?
David Kilgour: Basically doing the things you just asked to do. The Chinese Consulate sent three letters to the editor this week and four talk shows where the issue has been raised. By the way, I would like to publicly thank the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for having us three nights in a row on the Lateline show. How many of you saw that, by the way? There are not many people in Australia who don't watch those shows, it seems.
Let's face it, we live in a media democracy, so I would urge anyone from the media to make something of this, and I am sure that you will. China has to understand that if there is a chance that maybe the Olympics may get moved, they were moved in the case of Russia... Canadians didn't go to Moscow. If they even have a worry that this might happen, from the kinds of things that the Consulate General will be sending home from here, then I think they will stop it.
You may say that they will only stop 'till 2008, but at least that will save some lives. [...] I would urge everybody to think of ten ways that you can do something to make a difference in this, and I bet you that everyone in this room can think of at least 10 ways they can do something. Speak to ten friends. Jane, where's Jane? She and her daughter took the train last night, was it for 8 hours? ...to come here today. Well how can we not [do something] when we see the kinds of things she's doing, [we should] say to ourselves, we've got to do something too.
Question: The organs obviously have to go somewhere. Are there people receiving transplants?
David Kilgour: There is a website -if you go, you cannot visit it right now-it's called the China International Transplantation Network Assistance. It was working a few days ago. See page 36 of the report ["Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China"]. There was a price list - kidney $60,000 US dollars, liver $98,000-130,000 US dollars, down the line. The price list was removed surprisingly. [This page] is archived and you can get the price if you just go to the bottom of the page and see the archive address.
Unfortunately we don't have statistics as to who is coming from Canada, Australia, or the US. But certainly we would like to have them. The transplant doctors must have some knowledge of that, and one option would be to ask [them]. Could they report them at least to their professional bodies? They will tell you they have privacy with their patients. I understand that, but what I found going around Europe is that people think they are going to get an executed prisoner's organ. [They believe that] ...he or she doesn't need it anymore -it really doesn't matter if I get a new kidney because so-and-so is dead.
The point we are making is that it's in all likelihood a live human being that has been slaughtered after the computer matching and the blood matching and all the things we heard about earlier. They don't even have to be in the same city. These organs can be flown from an obscure part of China to Shanghai or somewhere. This is very fast. So they don't have to be physically present in the place where the person has been killed to provide the organ. That's very different to take it from a live human being whose crime is that they believe in Falun Gong, compared to taking it from any executed prisoner, someone who may have committed a very serious or not so serious offence.
A lot of people try to confuse the matter with executed prisoners - this is a different type of execution -executed by the doctor or nurse who kills them for their organs.
Edward McMillan-Scott: Some may argue because China is an enormous country that its easy to find transplant organs. Do you know it takes 7 years in Australia to get a liver. For a friend of mine in London it took 8 months and that was quick. So this is a matter that must be addressed.
This week I heard from a very authoritative Australian source that the actual transactions are not some private thing between [a small group]. Nearly 400 hospitals in China are performing organ transplants. 400! Advertising on the Internet websites, $75,000 for a kidney and so on. It's a huge trade.
The actual mechanism for the transmission of organs around China is conducted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). That is the agency that does it - our equivalent would be the Australian Army - it would be some other agency of the state in Australia. In China it is that pernicious all-pervasive organisation, the PLA. It is the communist government of China that is carrying organs around between hospitals and prisons and so on. So it directly involves the regime in this issue and so far there has been nothing to pin on the regime as to its culpability -they no doubt know what is going on. But they could always say, "Sorry, it's a private sector operation, the hospitals can do what they like. They need the revenue -we don't provide any revenue for the hospitals. Therefore they must make it where they can." Now we know it is the PLA, the official army of China, that is carrying these organs around.
Question: I am wondering about the role of Amnesty International in this affair. They are of course internationally recognized as one of the major world advocates for prisoners of conscience. I am hoping that through their good graces this would bring pressure to stop this crime.
David Kilgour: Thank you for your question. David Matas, the co-author of this report, is the legal counsel for Amnesty International in Canada. We have met with Amnesty International in London, their head office. We have urged them to do something about this. Maybe you could urge them to do something about it.
They have a different methodology, which as you know, they require two independent corroborations of every claim. But how are we going to get that concerning this outrage? So they are going to either change their methodology in the case of this situation, or they will have to say: "Well, we can't accept your conclusion because of our methodology, but at least we endorse all or some of your recommendations."
There is the same problem with Human Rights Watch. We met with them in New York and they promised to give a statement within 30 days. Human Rights Watch in China by the way has been saying we should use the Beijing Games as the lever or window to put pressure on them. They are convinced that if enough of us keep pointing at those games that's probably the best way of getting noticed.
The other lever in this country is the Free Trade Agreement. China needs this agreement. They actually see it as an opening to various western countries and an avenue to the US and others. The Federal Government of Australia is sensitive on this question. You have the National Party, who say, "You have to separate trade from human rights." I say you can't separate them, when you understand the regime you are working with and where some of the goods come from. That is a lever that is very important.
The e-mail sent by the China Consulate General in Melbourne is the first direct diplomatic response in another country. It obviously shows that David and Edward are having an impact. This report is having an impact. It is important for us to continue to spread the word.
Edward McMillan-Scott: There are some interesting elements here, may I just add to what David said about the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]. Because as an independent, as it were, broadcasting media, not only did they cover the subject for 3 nights on Lateline but also on Dateline last Sunday.
It's a self censorship which Victor Perton alluded to, talking about the agents of influence which China has in Australia. It can tell you that around the world, this regime is highly efficient in deploying its tentacles and is trying to make sure that people don't raise issues that are embarrassing. And certainly in the European Union and the European Parliament, anything that is said generates a deluge of complaint from the Chinese mission about whatever it may be. When David was in London he had 4 hits on the BBC which is also editorially independent and able to make this case.
Amnesty, an admirable organization in its past, has played an enormous role in destroying the tyrannies of Soviet Communism. But in a way today it's a more complex world with less black and white, but greyer tones. And yet there is one issue where there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever and that is the tyranny of the regime in China.
There are 400 researchers in London, who now even receives a subsidy from the European Union which is very equivocal about complaining about China. This capture by the Chinese regime of "opinion formers" and I regret to say decision makers too... your politicians who don't want to criticize. That is part of a process, which in relation to this particular issue, is going to find in the coming days, weeks and months, an increasing amplification of rebuttal from Beijing, which has already begun.
This meeting takes place at an important juncture. We haven't yet mentioned it, but last week in China, a lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, was taken away. He is a Christian, but he is a human rights defender, a self-taught lawyer for 7 years. He ran a law firm in Beijing, dealing with a wide range of issues, including the Falun Gong. He is a great defender of the rights of the Falun Gong. He was arrested on August 15th, the day after another lawyer who worked with him on Falun Gong cases was arrested and then a third. So there is an association, which I want to draw to your attention. If we can call it a campaign in which David, I and Victor and others are involved, trying to draw international attention to these appalling reports of organ harvesting and the repression of Falun Gong. The reaction now of the regime in Beijing is getting organized, getting its people out there, getting e-mails to Victor's colleagues. This is shameful. My only message to Australia is do not trade human rights for the sake of trade.
Question: Our politicians represent the Australian public, but they're obviously not here today. Does that represent how the Australian public is thinking or are our politicians desensitized from the issue and are not facing up to it.
Victor Perton: It's indeed complicated. I think Australians are not well educated on these issues. There is a course at VCE level, that's the last year of secondary school, called the History of Revolutions. I've seldom seen such a sanitized version of Soviet or Chinese history. But, unless you do that subject at VCE, and there would probably only be about 4 to 5 percent of VCE students doing it, therefore 2 to 3 percent of students doing that subject. None of this is covered. So from the Australian public's point of view there is a great ignorance on the issue and probably ignorance on Falun Gong. They don't know what Falun Gong is. From the MPs, you've got a group of people who separate this, they say their duty is to Australia. The Prime Minister has made a speech on exactly this point, he said something like, my duty is to Australia, I recognize the evils of the regime, but my duty to my country is to negotiate a free trade agreement. So he has made a separation between protecting human rights and says that it is in the Australian interest to have trade dominate. So at least he's open and unequivocal about that. So are Mark Vaile and probably some Labour Party leaders as well.
I recently wrote to the Premier [of an Australian Province]. You'll recall about 5 years ago there was an issue called the "Elgin Marbles." The Elgin Marbles are a group of relics from Athens that are held in the British Museum. [The Premier] thought that it was so important that a new directive was given to MPs and public servants traveling to London and meeting British officials, that we should raise the Elgin Marbles with them.
So I wrote to the Premier and said, "Well, let us raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese delegations, for there are at least 2 or 3 coming through the Parliament every week." The letter back was a model of obvious caution. It said that he does not deal with international affairs. So it's OK to deal with international affairs when it's some relics in the British Museum. But when it's the lives of human beings, it's different. Then he said that's for the Foreign Affairs Department. The most insidious group of people, from my point of view, are those who have allowed themselves to be completely entrapped by the Chinese. There are delegations that go backwards and forwards to China. When you go to China you are very well treated. Very well treated indeed, and they think they owe something to the Chinese government. Clearly one of my colleagues thinks he owes so much that he sent an e-mail that was sent to him as an MP (him or her, sorry) to the Chinese Consulate. So there are agents of influence. I think I know who it was, but I can't say. There are people who have got divided loyalties. That is because they see their future as intertwined with the growth in the Chinese relationship.
Question: I was wondering whether it would be possible in that case for the Australian government to ban access to those organs by Australians traveling overseas. If the market for these organs was dried up, would that have any affect?
Victor Perton: Well, I think it would be too hard. People are traveling overseas. I guess it depends on whether you believe it's moral or ethical to be able to buy an organ. The delays of 7 years here is because we have such low levels of [organ] donation in this country.
I think the moral and ethical issue in a society like this prohibiting a person from going to another country to get medical treatment is too difficult. In fact there's now a thriving trade in people just going for legitimate medical treatment in Thailand and elsewhere. People with elective surgery. For instance, there are good hospitals in Thailand and elsewhere offering discounts over and above the Australian market. I think it might be just a bit too complicated because you could pass, make it an offence to knowingly participate in obtaining an organ from a convicted prisoner or from a prisoner of conscience. But I think the knowledge question would be too difficult to prove, so you would never get a conviction. But it is a legitimate idea to think about. I think off the top of my head, probably difficult to do.
David Kilgour: Canada has resource abundance too and does anybody here think that China is going to stop buying your natural gas if you were to raise the issue of what's going on with Falun Gong practitioners? I don't think so. The example that I usually give is Holland. Every year Holland used to be the sponsor of the motion to the UN Human Rights Commission. They were told that if they did, their trade with China would suffer. I think to their enormous credit, they said, "We're not going to sacrifice this principle for trade and it's a bluff." If I'm not correct, China's trade with Holland continued to go straight up.
I read the other day that your deficit with China is about 5 billion dollars a year. Canada's deficit is about 13 billion dollars. How many jobs does that represent, by the way? Maybe we should try to get the people whose jobs are on the line involved in this issue too. Because if you lose your manufacturing base to China, as Canada has lost much of ours, I don't think you are ahead of it.
Australians are known for standing up for things in the world. You're a principled people. I would hope if ever there was an issue on which all of us can agree, and don't misunderstand me, Edward and I have got a very good response in Parliament. Ask, the next time you call on a politician other than Victor, if he she thinks you are going to lose the gas sales because you raise this issue with China. Thank you.
Can I just remind you of two things? The first is that the international medical community deplores the use of the organs of prisoners for organ transplants [that the Chinese government practices]. Everybody excoriates them, including the Australian transplantation society. It's a misuse of the bodies. It is deplorable. It should stop.
The second thing is that it goes on, the regime is now accepted and
is a practice widespread. We now know how it's mechanized through the
PLA and so on. The second thing you heard today is that it is only
Falun Gong prisoners who undergo medical tests. Put two and two
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/9/7/137270.html
On September 7, 2006, the European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to release Falun Gong practitioner Bu Dongwei, attorney Gao Zhisheng and other human rights defenders.
Beijing Falun Gong practitioner Bu Dongwei
Edward McMillan-Scott (first from right) and members of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong including Hon Chun-yan (first from left) and Lau Wai-Hing (middle) signed a joint statement urging the CCP regime to pay attention to human rights
The resolution was initiated by Charles Tannock, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament, and Simon Coveney, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
The resolution states, "[The European Parliament] calls upon the Chinese authorities to reveal the whereabouts of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, one of China's most outspoken lawyers and dissidents who is held on suspicion of criminal activity, and to release him unless he is to be charged with a recognized criminal offence; similarly calls for the release of Chen Guangcheng, a peasants' rights advocate who has helped citizens in their attempts to sue their local authorities for carrying out forced abortions and sterilizations and who was sentenced to more than four years in prison, and of Bu Dongwei, who has been assigned to two and a half years of 'Re-education through Labour' (RTL) and who is detained at an undisclosed location; therefore urges the authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders can carry out peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of arbitrary arrest, torture or ill-treatment and that they be given access to proper legal representation in the event of arrest;
"Strongly condemns the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners in prisons, 'Re-education through Labour' camps, psychiatric hospitals and 'legal education schools;' is concerned about reports that organs of detained Falun Gong practitioners have been removed and sold to hospitals; urges the Chinese Government to end the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners and to release them immediately;"
The resolution was a supplement to a report on China's human rights written by Hans Belder, a Dutch member of European Parliament. The report criticizes China's human rights record and condemned China's interference in religious affairs, even though China's constitution stipulates freedom of belief. The report also expresses serious concern over torture and labor camps in China. The European Parliament asked China to stop the death sentence and not to intimidate, persecute, and imprison freedom activists.
Beijing Falun Gong practitioner Bu Dongwei was a staff member of the Beijing office of the Asia Foundation. He is a kind-hearted and sincere young man. On May 19, seven police officers surrounded Mr. Bu's residence in Beijing and illegally arrested him. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years' term of labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. His whereabouts are not known.
Amnesty International called Mr. Bu as prisoner of conscience in its press release on August 29. According to Amnesty, "[Mr. Bu] was accused of 'resisting the implementation of national laws' and 'disturbing social order.' The evidence cited was a verbal confession he made to police, and 80 copies of Falun Gong literature that the police discovered in his home."
Amnesty International states, "Bu Dongwei had previously served a term of ten months' RTL from August 2000 to May 2001 in Tuanhe RTL facility for 'using a heretical organization to disrupt the implementation of the law' after he petitioned the authorities asking them to review their ban on Falun Gong. During this period, he was reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including being made to sit all day in a small chair as well as beatings and sleep deprivation aimed at forcing him to renounce his belief in Falun Gong."
Radio Free Asia reported on August 2 that spokesperson for Falun Gong in San Francisco, Sherry Zhang, pointed out that Bu Dongwei was arrested for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Zhang said that the CCP regime's arrest of Bu Dongwei is an act violating the Chinese Constitution. The Asia Foundation is a non-governmental organization focusing on education, women and legal issues in China.
The European Parliament passed a bill on September 7 calling on European leaders not to remove the arms embargo to China before China's human rights condition is improved.
Well-known Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been persecuted by the CCP for defending Falun Gong practitioners and other persecuted or underprivileged groups. After investigating the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, Mr. Gao wrote three open letters to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, calling for an end to the persecution. His law office was forcefully closed. His whole family was under surveillance by special agents and police. On August 15, the police arrested him in Shandong Province and have detained him since then.
Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of European Parliament, made a special trip to Beijing to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and the allegation of the CCP's removal of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. He met with two Falun Gong practitioners, Cao Dong and Niu Jinping. Mr. Cao personally witnessed holes in the body of a practitioner after his organs were removed.
Mr. McMillan-Scott said in August that he planned to meet Gao Zhisheng in Beijing, but gave up the plan out of concern for Mr. Gao's safety. He talked with Mr. Gao for one-and-a-half hours over the phone.
Mr. McMillan-Scott made a round trip to Australia and New Zealand in August to expose the CCP's organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. On the same day after his arriving in Australia, on August 15, Mr. Gao was arrested. Mr. McMillan-Scott said that arresting Mr. Gao is the CCP's reaction to the exposure of the live organ removal and to his trip to Australia to motivate further international investigation of the issue.
Mr. McMillan-Scott publicly declared his membership in the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) during a rally in Hong Kong supporting the 13 million Chinese people who have quit the Chinese Communist party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. The rally was held on the morning of August 26, 2006. The rally was organized by the Epoch Times newspaper and the Service Center for Quitting the CCP office in Hong Kong. Mr. McMillan-Scott also published a joint statement with members of the legislative council in Hong Kong, including Hon Chun-yan, calling on lawyers around the world to protest to their local Chinese embassies and consulates regarding the recent secret arrest and torture of renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, and to urge the Chinese authorities to immediately release Mr. Gao.
In his open letter to Mr. Gao, Mr. McMillan-Scott stated, "The Chinese Government is, as always, inhuman, stubbornly biased, and doing everything at will."
During Mr. McMillan-Scott's visit to Australia, Australia's ruling
party and the largest opposition party reached agreement on calling for
an independent international investigation into the CCP's organ
harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. On September 4, the
Swedish Christian Democratic Party, Leftist Party and Environmental
Party released a joint declaration: "The CCP must stop stealing
organs," urging the Swedish government to take up a position with other
countries in the European Union, Council of Europe, and the UN, to
force the CCP regime to immediately allow an investigation of all Falun
Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience held in prisons,
labor camps, detention centers, hospitals and mental facilities.
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/9/10/137539.html
On September 8, Falun Gong practitioners in Japan went to the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo to urge the Singapore government to drop all unreasonable charges against innocent practitioners in Singapore. The practitioners delivered a petition letter from the Japanese Falun Dafa Association, an open letter from Niigata practitioner Yoko Kaneko, a copy of the Canadian independent investigation report into organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.
Practitioners protest in front of the Singapore
Embassy in Japan
The association's petition letter stressed three main points to the Singapore government: 1) Immediately drop all unreasonable charges against Singapore practitioners; 2) Expressed protest of the unfair treatment to practitioners; and 3) Urged the Singapore government to further learn about the truth of the persecution of Falun Gong and stop assisting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the persecution.
Singapore practitioners have been arrested and charged by the Singapore police for distributing truth-clarifying materials and protesting the persecution outside the Chinese Embassy. When more than 100 Falun Gong practitioners from seven countries, including thirteen from Japan, went to the Singapore High Court to attend a hearing on the mornings of August 30-31, 2006, security guards withheld all their belongings related to Falun Gong, including books and other materials, at the entrance to the Supreme Court Building. The security guards also recorded their ID information or passport numbers and contact numbers.
On behalf of the thirteen Japanese practitioners who went to Singapore, Niigata practitioner Yoko Kaneko wrote an open letter to the Singapore Ambassador to Japan. Ms. Kaneko was brutally persecuted in a Chinese labor camp for one-and-a-half years for distributing Falun Gong truth-clarifying materials in Beijing. In the letter, the thirteen practitioners clarified the truth of Falun Gong, including the spread of the practice around the world, and the movement of quitting the CCP. They urged the Singapore government to clearly see the evil nature of the CCP and stand on the side of justice.
At around 11:00 a.m., a Singapore official came out to meet with the practitioners. After listening to a brief introduction of the cause and goal of the protest and appeal, he accepted the petition letter and appeal package and said that he would pass the information to his government.
During the peaceful protest, the practitioners held two giant
banners which read, "Singapore Government: Don't Be An Accomplice of
the Chinese Communist Regime -- Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong
Immediately" and, "Falun Dafa is Good." They quietly protested outside
the Embassy for four hours. The activity attracted the attention of
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/9/9/137447.html