August 15, 2006

( A group of practitioners of Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese form of mediation, will sponsor a press conference on Aug. 17 to bring to light the harvest and sale of human organs they say has been occurring in China under the communist regime.

The group will present evidence, including eyewitness accounts, that accuses the Chinese government of torture and the extraction of hearts, livers, kidneys and other body parts for profit. The conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. in front of One Government Center on Jackson Street as part of a three-state tour.

Cheng-Yuan "Corey" Lee, an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Findlay, said he believes the Chinese Communist Party regularly uses violence to suppress its people. And because the practice of Falun Gong has drawn more than 100 million followers -- a number greater than the communists' enrollment -- the government has stepped up its efforts to eradicate the practice, which Lee said threatens its control of the Chinese people.

Victims are arrested and charged for capital crimes, then sent to concentration camps where they suffer from torture to coerce them into denouncing Falun Gong, according to reports. Lee and other researchers said they think prisoners are matched to prospective recipients and executed in time to transplant their organs into clients who may not know about the systematic slaughter.

"They actually advertise how fast you can get an organ transplant in China," Lee said. "If you look at the sources of these organs, you would be very shocked."

He condemns the Chinese Communist Party of crimes of atrocity and hopes to warn potential organ recipients. Americans who travel to China to receive transplants may be abetting the murder of innocent lives.

Doctors and other medical personnel are ordered to perform organ removal, Lee continued, and remain silent under threat.

"It's almost like their minds have been brainwashed," he said. "The communist party members convince them of this, and they cannot tell what is wrong and what is right."

Falun Gong re-emerged in the Chinese culture in China in 1992 and subsequently was banned by the government in 1999. In July 2006, two independent Canadian researchers, David Matas and David Kilgour, released a report suggesting the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong followers and the harvesting of their organs.

The report includes interviews with victims and doctors and other medical personnel. One doctor said he had removed organs from more than 100 executed prisoners who did not give consent, according to Kirk C. Allison, associate director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Allison studied the report and released a statement supporting the authenticity of the allegations.

"The majority of organs do not come from people who have donor cards; they don't have a well-developed system for that," he said. "It's the prisoners who have been executed who are essentially the donors of the organs."

His statement relies in part on the guarantee given to recipients receiving a kidney, for instance, within two weeks for a fee ranging from roughly $24,000 to $98,000. The median waiting time for organ donation in Canada in 2003, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report, was 32.5 months.

After an outrage of public pressure, the Chinese government outlawed the sale of human organs, but Allison and others remain skeptical about the intent of the law. He said there is no transcription of the law in English, which parallels the Chinese policy of not publishing new laws for "a long time" after they're enacted.