This article was first published in April 2010.

( NWC News published an article by David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia Pacific. He introduced the book he co-authored with human rights attorney David Matas, "Bloody Harvest,"which supports numerous allegations that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been killed for their organs, which are sold for huge illicit profits in the organ transplant industry.

Remarks by David Kilgour

The main conclusion of the book "is that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners. We have concluded that the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers, corneas and hearts, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries."

From the 52 kinds of evidence we examined, our finding did not come from any single piece, but from their cumulative effect. Each is verifiable in itself and most are incontestable. In combination, they constitute a damning overall picture of guilt.

Have the efforts of many in China and around the world, including our independent report, to stop this new crime against humanity made a difference? The book points at various developments within and beyond China, including these:

• Chinese patients are since June 26, 2007 given priority access to organ transplants, taking precedence over foreigners.

• Web sites in China which used to advertise prices of organ transplants and short waiting times for transplants have disappeared. We have archived the sites, but the sites are no longer visible from their sources.

• The government of China now accepts that this sourcing of organs from prisoners is improper. Deputy Health Minister Huang Jeifu, at the time of the announcement of an organ donor pilot project in August 2009, stated that executed prisoners "are definitely not a proper source for organ transplants". Since we began our work, there have been significant initiatives outside China.

• Taiwan banned the visit of Chinese doctors brokering organ transplants.

• The major transplant hospitals in Queensland, Australia have banned training Chinese surgeons.

• Israel passed a law banning the sale and brokerage of organs. It also ended its funding through the health insurance system of transplants for their nationals in China.

• A Belgian senator Patrik Vankrunkelsven and a Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj have each introduced into the Parliament of his country extraterritorial legislation banning transplant tourism. The proposed legislation would, when enacted, penalise any transplant patient who receives an organ without consent of the donor where the patient knew or ought to have known of the absence of consent.

• The World Medical Association entered into an agreement with the Chinese Medical Association that organs of prisoners and other individuals in custody must not be used for transplantation except for members of their immediate family.

• The Transplantation Society opposed the transplantation of organs from prisoners and the presentations of studies involving patient data or samples from recipients of organs or tissues from prisoners.

These changes are not sufficient to resolve the abuse on which we have reported. On the contrary, for Falun Gong practitioners, matters have got worse, not better. Since we began our work, the number of prisoners sentenced to death and then executed has decreased quite dramatically, but the number of transplants, at first fell only a little, and then went back to earlier levels. Since the only other substantial source of organs for transplants in China besides Falun Gong practitioners is prisoners sentenced to death, a decrease of sourcing from prisoners sentenced to death means an increase of sourcing from Falun Gong practitioners. Though the violations against Falun Gong practitioners have become more acute since our work began, the substantial movement in policy and practice both inside and outside China encourages us. The willingness to change is there. We all need to continue to press for changes until the abuse ends.

Forced Labour Exports

The last issue I'll deal with for time reasons is forced labour by Falun Gong and others across China and the implications for manufacturing jobs in Quebec, the rest of Canada and elsewhere. The network of labour camps today in China has existed since the 1950s, when Mao modeled them closely on the ones created in Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Third Reich. In China even today, it requires only a police signature to commit someone to a labour camp for up to four years. No hearings and no appeals in the best totalitarian tradition.

In researching our report on allegations that Falun Gong practitioners were being killed for their organs in China, David Matas and I visited about a dozen countries to interview practitioners who had been sent to forced labour camps, but who had later managed to leave the camps and the country itself.

They told us of working in appalling conditions for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay, little food, cramped sleeping conditions together on the floor, and torture. Their labour involved making export products, ranging from clothing to chopsticks to Christmas decorations, no doubt as unnamed subcontractors to exporters.

One estimate of the number of these so-called 're-education through labour' camps across China as of 2005 was 340, with a capacity of about 300,000 workers. Other estimates of the numbers of inmates are much higher. In 2007, a US government report estimated that at least half of the inmates in the camps were Falun Gong.