September 2nd 2006

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Bid to end China's organ-harvesting

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Why the pressure to lift ban on cloning embryos

BIOETHICS: Cloning - the cutting edge of the culture wars

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Australia's blunders in trade negotiations

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Energy self-sufficiency for Australia?

SCHOOLS: The history summit: what really happened

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR: The Battle of Long Tan

ABORTION: U.S. woman's success in saving the unborn

CULTURE WARS: How to rescue children from a toxic culture

OPINION: Aunty, grandpa, Mel Gibson and us

CINEMA: Germany's most famous anti-Nazi heroine - Sophie Scholl

Premier Bracks hiding abortion plans (letter)

Jerusalem in 1917 (letter)

BOOKS: GODLESS: The Church of Liberalism, by Ann Coulter

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Bid to end China's organ-harvesting

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, September 2, 2006
The Australian Government has a duty to remind Beijing that killing people for their organs is a crime against humanity.
On August 21, Melbourne's Thomas More Centre hosted Canadian
former MP and government minister, David Kilgour, co-author of a
report exposing Chinese organ-harvesting; Edward McMillan-Scott,
Vice-President of the European Parliament; and Madame
Dongfan Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner and former Chinese prisoner.

The Chinese Government kills prisoners of conscience to harvest their hearts, kidneys, livers, corneas, and other organs, a recent report has alleged.

Both the Federal Government and Opposition have called for an independent inquiry into the allegations following a recent visit to Australia by former Canadian Cabinet minister, David Kilgour, and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott.

The allegations were documented in a 66-page Report into Allegations of Organ-Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, prepared by Mr Kilgour and Canadian human rights lawyer, David Matas, and released in July.

Falun Gong is a way of life which includes meditation, and a commitment to the principles of truth, tolerance and compassion. It was established about 1991, and formally suppressed by Beijing in 1999.

Since then, there have been persistent reports of the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners and, more recently, reports that they were being killed for their organs. These allegations seemed incredible, until the Kilgour-Matas report was released.

There have been reports of organ-harvesting in China for many years. For example, in October 2002, Australia's ABC news reported that the U.S. Congress was moving to bar entry into the United States of anyone involved in illegal organ-harvesting. (ABC News Online, October 1, 2002).

The report also said that the Chinese Government denied that organ-harvesting had taken place, saying it was contrary to Chinese law.

Former policeman tells all

A former Beijing policeman, Sun Liyong, interviewed on the ABC radio program PM, on July 24, 2006, said that, during the 1980s, he had been aware that organs had been harvested from convicted criminals.

He told PM: "Before prisoners were executed, the public security bureau would go to the detention centre and test their blood. As far as I know, during the period (that) I was a policeman, all the organs were harvested by the Friendship Hospital in Beijing."

Five years ago, an American, Dena Kram, wrote: "According to the World Health Organization, 'The human body and its parts cannot be the subject of commercial transactions. Accordingly, giving or receiving payment for organs should be prohibited.'

"World medical associations have explicit language regarding the moral and ethical reasoning of why this trade should be illegal, but no international laws have been implemented. Medical associations around the world, as well as human rights organizations, feel that the sale of human organs is a flagrant violation of human rights.

"Human rights activists report that China sells the extracted organs to medical visitors from other regions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, for up to $US30,000."

Information available on the web sites of Chinese transplant units makes clear that people can still purchase organs from live victims, at prices around five times higher than that listed above.
A young woman about to be shot - one of
thousands of people executed in China each year.

One of the indicators of organ-harvesting in the Kilgour-Matas report is that imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, despite receiving no medical care, had blood tests taken.

This was confirmed by the testimony of a Chinese-born woman, Dongfan Zhang, at a function at the Thomas More Centre in Melbourne. She said that, during her imprisonment for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, she received blood tests for no apparent reason and was never informed of the results of the tests.

The organ-harvesting issue is a major challenge to all Western nations, including Australia, whose nationals may unwittingly be subsidising the killing of prisoners of conscience in China.

An independent international inquiry, with sufficient resources to get to the bottom of the matter, is urgently needed.

In the meantime, the Australian Government should take up some of the key recommendations of the Kilgour-Matas Report:

1. As killing for organs is a crime against humanity, it should press Chinese authorities to conduct a criminal investigation for possible prosecution.

2. Organisations - intergovernmental, governmental and voluntary - should take the allegations seriously and make their own determinations on whether or not they are true.

3. As the UN Protocol to prevent trafficking in persons bans the removal of organs without consent, the UN should investigate whether China is in violation.

4. Foreign governments should ban the entry of Chinese doctors seeking training in organ transplantation, and any doctor known to be engaged in such work should be barred from visiting foreign countries permanently.

5. All countries should tighten their laws against organ-trafficking and doctors should, for example, be required to report to their respective authorities any evidence that a patient has received an organ from a trafficked person abroad.

6. Governments should deny or revoke the passports of nationals who are travelling to China for organ transplants.

7. No governments should participate in any China-sponsored meeting or research on organ transplants. No private company should provide goods or services to any Chinese transplant program.

- Peter Westmore is national president of the National Civic Council.

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