May 11th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

SPECIAL FEATURE: Academics' venom signals climate scare's end

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Both government and opposition facing moment of truth

EDITORIAL: Three constitutional amendment proposals before the PM

NEW ZEALAND: NZ parliament's same-sex 'marriage' vote analysed

UNITED STATES: The Boston Marathon bombing in perspective

MEDIA: Experts blamed 'right-wing terrorists' for Boston bombings

PRIMARY INDUSTRY: Fruit-canning industry laid waste by cheap imports

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Currency, manufacturing and trade policy

CLIMATE CHANGE: Why EU emissions trading scheme faces collapse

OPINION: Defence strategy must not ignore the lessons of history

HUMAN RIGHTS: China's grisly organ theft: their crime, our shame

LIFE ISSUES: Killed for being the wrong gender

CULTURE: Australia's intellectual left under scrutiny


CINEMA: Compelling story of a tormented superhero

BOOK REVIEW The economist who became a Christian

BOOK REVIEW Out of shadows and illusions into reality

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China's grisly organ theft: their crime, our shame

by Jeffry Babb

News Weekly, May 11, 2013

No-one leaves this butcher’s shop alive; that’s why no-one talks about it. Nobody knows how many of China’s Falun Gong practitioners have been subject to “involuntary organ-harvesting”.

This antiseptic term describes the practice of cutting up victims while they are still alive for their vital organs, which are often transplanted on demand into wealthy people from outside China.

The group that is most subject to these horrors are Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong is a mixture of traditional Chinese beliefs drawn from Buddhism and Taoism, which are likely to be incomprehensible to the average Westerner. These beliefs are supplemented by a set of exercises known as qi gong. You can see elderly people practising similar exercises in almost any park in China soon after dawn. Practitioners believe these exercises can cure a variety of ailments. Falun Gong practitioners are extremely reluctant to cease practising their exercises, even if they are detained.

In itself, Falun Gong is harmless. However, its adherents, by organising mass demonstrations in 1999, gave the Chinese Communist regime a nasty shock. What the communists fear are rival loyalties, particularly organised groups which are beyond the control of the Communist Party, which is a corrupt despotism whose sole aim is to retain power and enrich its members. Any spark of altruism among the party’s ruling elite was extinguished long ago.

As for the number of Falun Gong practitioners, estimates range up to 100 million — almost one in 10 Chinese. Like most such estimates, however, it’s a case of “How long is a piece of string?” No one really knows, but it is likely to be in the tens of millions. Similar estimates of Christians or any other believers should be treated with similar scepticism.

Six years ago, former Canadian politician David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas published evidence of Chinese organ-harvesting in their path-breaking report, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs.

David Kilgour, who has served both as a crown prosecutor and as a Canadian Cabinet minister, visited Australia recently.

He is one of the world’s pre-eminent authorities on involuntary organ-harvesting. Finding someone to provide a first-hand account of how China’s organ-harvesting facilities operate is difficult, because it would put any such person in mortal danger. Sufficient is known, however, to describe what happens to the victims of this horrific practice.

Victims are examined for their suitability as organ suppliers. They are prepared and anaesthetised. Their heart is stopped through an injection. But they are not yet dead. For the purposes of transplantation, it is important that the organs be as fresh as possible.

The first thing cut out are the eyes, from which the corneas are removed for corneal grafts. The group of surgeons then work quickly to remove the other organs. In the end, nothing is left but skin and bones, and even they have uses these days. What remains of this human being is discarded and incinerated. At some point in this ghastly process, the victim dies.

Why do we know this is happening? First, we have reliable reports that it is going on. Second, China is offering transplant services which can only be supplied if the donors are “slaughtered to order”.

The Chinese are a very traditional people. Several generations of living under communist rule, including experiencing Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward famine, which was more deadly than any famine in history, have done little to alter their basic beliefs.

One of the most fundamental Chinese beliefs is that the body must go into the afterlife intact. That is, voluntary organ donation in China is almost non-existent. In China, organs come from people who have been executed for whatever reason.

As is well known, people seeking organ donations anywhere in the world often wait years for a matching donor. In China, finding a matching donor takes a matter of weeks.

Only one explanation exists — there is a bank of live but involuntary “donors” whose organs are earmarked for harvesting. Moreover, the number of these prisoners vastly exceeds that of Chinese convicted of capital crimes and awaiting execution.

We know the “donor bank” is composed principally of Falun Gong practitioners because of the types of medical examinations and pathology tests to which they are subjected. Plus, the majority of people who are executed are criminals who lead unhealthy lifestyles. By contrast, Falun Gong practitioners are healthy and look after their bodies, making them ideal organ donors. They are also fed well in detention so their organs are in prime condition for transplant.

What can we in the West do? We can’t overthrow communism; only the Chinese people can do that. When Russian psychiatrists betrayed their calling by incarcerating and medically abusing Soviet prisoners of conscience, they were excluded from international professional associations and gatherings. This small step brought attention to the abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union.

If Chinese transplant surgeons were treated similarly, it would bring global attention to the abhorrent practice of cutting people up alive like a slab of meat for their spare parts. These surgeons are not healers; they are dealers in death.

Jeffry Babb spent several years in China and has visited most of the country’s provinces and major cities.

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