The Kilgour-Matas report is an investigative report by Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas into allegations of organ harvesting from live practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China, which was published July 2006 and revised in January 2007. The investigation was requested by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), and concluded that "there has been, and continues today to be, large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners." The government of the People's Republic of China has repeatedly denied the organ harvesting allegations in the report.
The report received a mixed reception. In the US, a Congressional Research Service report by Dr. Thomas Lum stated that the Kilgour-Matas report relied largely on logical inference, without bringing forth new or independently-obtained testimony; the credibility of much of the key evidence was said to be questionable. U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak said in March 2007 that the chain of evidence Kilgour and Matas were documenting showed a "coherent picture that causes concern", which the United Nations Committee Against Torture followed up in November 2008 with a request for "a full explanation of the source of organ transplants", to investigate the claims of organ harvesting, and to take measures to prosecute those committing abuses. Investigations by Ethan Gutmann and European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott generally supported the findings of the Kilgour-Matas report. Based on extensive interviews with former prisoners, Gutmann estimated that between 450,000 to 1 million Falun Gong members were detained at any given time, and estimated that tens of thousands may have been targeted for organ harvesting.
Upon release of the initial report on 6 July, Chinese officials declared that China abided by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs without written consent from donors. They denounced the report as smears "based on rumours and false allegations", and said the Chinese government had already investigated the claims and found them without any merit. A Congressional Research Service report said that some of the report’s key allegations appeared to be inconsistent with the findings of other investigations.
After the accusation about Sujiatun, 13 days later, the U.S. consulate in Shenyang have visited the area. The US state department, on 2006 April 14, maintained that "U.S. representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northeast China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong practitioners and harvest their organs", "independent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting." and 
The US National Kidney Foundation expressed that it was "deeply concerned" about the allegations. Taiwan urged its citizens not to travel to China to receive transplants. The reports led to the Australian Health Ministry's abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors and the banning of joint research programs with China on organ transplantation, and to Kilgour and Matas receiving the 2009 award bestowed by the International Society for Human Rights. In 2009, the authors published the report as a book, titled "Bloody Harvest."
The report is now banned in Russia as extremist.
Falun Gong is a form of qigong practice popularized in China in the 1990s, and by 1999, some estimates placed the number of practitioners into the tens of millions. Following a large-scale demonstration complaining of the repression of a previous manifestation, in July 1999 the Communist Party leadership banned the practice and initiated a campaign to suppress the group, and created the 6-10 Office to oversee and coordinate the elimination of Falun Gong.
The suppression that followed was characterised by what Amnesty International called a "massive propaganda campaign," and the detention and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Falun Gong adherents. Authorities reportedly sanctioned the use of torture and other high-pressure tactics in order to pursue the coercive “reeducation” of Falun Gong adherents, sometimes resulting in deaths. Former detainees reported that in some labor camps, Falun Gong practitioners comprised the majority population, and were singled out for abuse. Due to limited access to victims and labor camp facilities, however, many specific reports of abuses are difficult to independently corroborate.
Organ transplantation in the People's Republic of China
China has had an organ transplantation programme since the 1960s. It is one of the largest organ transplant programmes in the world, peaking at over 13,000 transplants a year in 2004. Involuntary organ harvesting is illegal under Chinese law, although under a 1984 regulation it became legal to remove organs from executed criminals with the prior consent of the criminal or permission of relatives. By the 1990s, growing concerns about possible ethical abuses arising from coerced consent and corruption led medical groups and human rights organizations to start condemning the practice. These concerns resurfaced in 2001, when The Washington Post reported claims by a Chinese asylum-seeking doctor that he had taken part in organ extraction operations.
By 2005 the WMA (World Medical Association) had specifically demanded that China cease using prisoners as organ donors. In December of that year, China's Deputy Health Minister acknowledged that the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners for transplant was widespread – as many as 95% of all organ transplants in China derived from executions, and he promised steps to prevent abuse.
Allegations & investigations
The first allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners were made in March 2006 by two individuals claiming to possess knowledge of the involuntary organ extractions at the Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province. The allegations were publicized by the Epoch Times, a newspaper group founded by Falun Gong practitioners. Within one month of the press coverage, third party investigators, including representatives of the US Department of State, said that there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations. Chinese dissident Harry Wu, who exposed organ harvesting from prison inmates at laogai (hard labour camps), immediately sent investigators to the site. Wu was unable to find any concrete evidence to back up the allegations.
Soon thereafter, in May 2006, The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong requested asked David Kilgour, and Canadian human rights Lawyer David Matas, to investigate the broader allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong adherents in China. Kilgour and Matas agreed to investigate.
On 20 July 2006, Kilgour and Matas presented the findings of their two-month investigation. It was the first version of their report, titled "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China". The report 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.” The report presented 33 strands of circumstantial evidence that, taken together and in the absence of any disproof, the authors believe led to their stated conclusion. The authors qualified their findings by noting the inherent difficulties in verifying the alleged crimes. For example, no independent bodies are allowed to investigate conditions in China, eyewitness evidence is difficult to obtain, and official information about organ transplantation is often withheld. Kilgrour and Matas themselves were denied visas to go to China to investigate.
In 2007, they presented an updated report under the title: "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China."
Among the information considered in the report:
- Persecution of Falun Gong exists as an official policy 
- Healthcare and army facilities in China are self-reliant for funding and hospitals are known to profit from illegally selling organs of death-row prisoners. This policy might be easily transferred to Falun Gong practitioners, which Kilgour and Matas characterize as “a prison population who the Chinese authorities vilify, dehumanize, depersonalize, marginalize.”
- Corruption in China is a major problem. There is huge money to be made from transplants and a lack of state controls over corruption.
- The Government of China has reduced substantially financing of the health system. Organ transplants are a major source of funds for this system, replacing the lost government funding.
- China harvests the organs of prisoners sentenced to death without their consent. The Falun Gong constitute a prison population who the Chinese authorities vilify, dehumanize, depersonalize, marginalize even more than executed prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences.
- Of 60,000 organ transplants officially recorded between 2000 and 2005, 18,500 came from identifiable sources (including death row inmates), making the source of 41,500 transplant organs unexplained. Traditional sources of transplants such as executed prisoners, donors, and the brain dead "come nowhere near to explaining the total number of transplants across China," according to the report. Kilgour and Matas therefore conclude that the only other source which can explain the “skyrocketing” transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners.
- Falun Gong practitioners who came from all over the country to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to appeal or protest were systematically arrested. Those who revealed their identities to their captors would be shipped back to their home localities. Their families would be implicated in their Falun Gong activities and pressured to join in the effort to get the practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Their workplace leaders, their co-workers, their local government leaders would be held responsible and penalized for the fact that these individuals had gone to Beijing to appeal or protest.
- Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu, speaking at a conference of surgeons in the southern city of Guangzhou in mid November 2006 acknowledged that executed prisoners sentenced to death are a source of organ transplants.
- To protect their families and avoid the hostility of the people in their locality, many detained Falun Gong declined to identify themselves. The result was a large Falun Gong prison population whose identities the authorities did not know. As well, no one who knew them knew where they were. Those who refused to self identify were treated especially badly. As well, they were moved around within the Chinese prison system for reasons not explained to the prisoners. There is a possibility that this population became a source of harvested Falun Gong organs.
- A number of family members of Falun Gong practitioners who died in detention reported seeing the corpses of their relatives with surgical incisions and body parts missing. The authorities gave no coherent explanation for these mutilated corpses.
- According to tabulations constructed from the Amnesty International reports of publicly available information in China, the average number of prisoners sentenced to death and then executed between 1995 and 1999 was 1680 per year. The average between 2000 and 2005, was 1616 per year. The numbers have bounced around from year to year, but the overall average number for the periods before and after Falun Gong persecution began is the same. Execution of prisoners sentenced to death can not explain the increase of organ transplants in China since the persecution of Falun Gong began.
- There is no organized system of organ donations in China. There is a Chinese cultural aversion to organ donation.
- The meteoric increase in organ transplantation in China corresponded with the timeline of the Falun Gong suppression.
- Foreign transplant legislation everywhere is territorial. It is not illegal for a foreigner in any country to go to China, benefit from a transplant which would be illegal back home, and then return home.
- Many states have travel advisories, warning their citizens of the perils in travel to one country or another. But no government has posted a travel advisory about organ transplants in China.
- There are very short waiting times in Chinese hospitals for transplants. One hospital boasted a wait of one week for a transplant, another claimed to provide a liver in two weeks. In Canada, the waiting time for a kidney can be up to 32.5 months. Meanwhile, the survival period for a kidney is between 24–48 hours and a liver about 12 hours. The authors contend that only a large bank of living 'donors' could account for the “astonishingly short” waiting times.
- There are huge gaps in foreign transplant ethics. In many of the countries from which transplant tourism to China originates, transplant professionals have organized ethical and disciplinary systems. But it is rare for these systems to deal specifically with either transplant tourism or contact with Chinese transplant professionals or transplants from executed prisoners.
- Organ transplantation surgery relies on anti-rejection drugs. China imports these drugs from the major pharmaceutical companies. No state prohibits export to China of anti-rejection drugs used for organ transplant patients.
- Recipients of organs from China say that the transplant surgery is “conducted in almost total secrecy,” the recipient is not told the identity of the donor or shown written consent, the identity of the doctor and nurses are often withheld, operations sometimes take place in the middle of the night, and “the whole procedure is done on a 'don't ask, don't tell' basis”
- Mandarin-speaking investigators, posing as potential organ transplant recipients or their relatives, called several Chinese hospitals inquiring about organ availability and obtained admissions that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs were being used.
- Information on Chinese hospital websites were found to be "self-accusatory," in that some hospitals admit to organ wait times of one week, or organ swap intervals of one week. Many Chinese transplant websites showed graphs with soaring organ transplantation figures, showing a sharp rise soon after the persecution of Falun Gong began.
- Organ transplanting is a highly profitable industry in China, with a kidney worth US$62,000, a heart worth US$130,000–160,000; There were only 22 liver transplant centres operating across China before 1999 and 500 in mid - April, 2006 88. The number of kidney transplantation institutions increased from 106 in 2001 to 368 in 2005.
- Anecdotal evidence indicates that Falun Gong practitioners are blood- and urine-tested and have their organs examined while in custody. Other prisoners, who are not practitioners, are not tested, according to the report. Blood testing is a pre‑requisite for organ transplants.
In the second version of the report, published in January,2007, Kilgour and Matas stated that the Government of China has responded to the first version of their report in an unpersuasive way, mostly as attacks on Falun Gong, thus reinforcing the analysis of the report . They further stated that it is these sorts of attacks which, in China, make possible the violation of the basic human rights of Falun Gong practitioners. They said that the responses have identified only two factual errors in the first version of their report- one in an appendix, in a caption heading, where they placed two Chinese cities in the wrong provinces. "These errors have nothing to do with the analysis or conclusions of our report", they said.
In the absence of evidence that would invalidate the organ harvesting allegations—such as a Chinese government registry showing the identity of every organ donor and donation—Kilgour and Matas concluded that the allegations of China's harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners are true and that the practice was ongoing. They called for a ban on Canadian citizens traveling to China for transplant operations.
In 2009, Kilgour and Matas published the report as a book, titled "Bloody Harvest." That year, Kilgour and Matas also received the 2009 Human Rights Award by the German-based International Society for Human Rights; and were nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, once by Canadian federal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, and once by Balfour Hakak, chairman of the Hebrew Writers Association in Israel, according to media reports.
Ethan Gutmann, adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote about extensive interviews he had conducted around the world with a variety of former prisoners from Chinese labor camps and prisons, including Falun Gong practitioners and non-practitioners. He initially estimated that the number of practitioners killed for organs could be as high as 120,000, with a low estimate of 9,000, and 65,000 being the median. Estimates have been revised downwards from earlier numbers to reflect changing estimates of the overall Laogai System population by the Laogai Research Foundation. He then attempted to establish the number of individuals who had been examined as serious organ harvesting candidates through interviews to ascertain the proportion of Falun Gong practitioners in labor camps, the rate at which they are subject to medical tests that would be used to ascertain the health of their organs, blood and tissue type. Using research by the Laogai Foundation to determine the number of detention facilities in China, estimated the number of practitioners detained at a given time, and how many were medically examined. He concluded[how?] that of the total percentage of Falun Gong practitioners examined in custody, those selected for organ harvesting were between 2.5% and 15%. Based on these estimates he obtained the high-end and low-end estimates. He notes that his median figure is similar to that of an adjusted estimate from Kilgour and Matas (to cover 2000–2008).
Kirk C. Allison, Associate Director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine in the University of Minnesota, wrote that the "short time frame of an on-demand system [as in China] requires a large pool of donors pre-typed for blood group and HLA matching," and would be consistent with the Falun Gong allegations about the systematic tissue typing of practitioners held prisoner. He wrote that the time constraints involved “cannot be assured on a random-death basis,” and that physicians he queried about the matter indicated that they were selecting live prisoners to ensure quality and compatibility. He said the current level of evidence calls for an independent investigation from the U.S. Congress’s Committee on International Relations.
European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott went to China on a fact finding mission during May 2006. He was told by his tour guide, Cao Dong, who said he knew of organ harvesting. He said he had been in a prison and had seen his Falun Gong practitioner friend's cadaver "in the morgue with holes where body parts had been removed". After Cao Dong left his meeting with McMillan Scott, he was arrested. The authorities in September transferred him to Gansu province and issued an arrest warrant. He was prosecuted in December on four charges. The judges ruled that the case could not go to trial because the case fell within the jurisdiction of the 610 Office in Beijing (the office charged with repression of the Falun Gong).
Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen was sceptical about the logistical plausibility of the allegations after visiting Sujiatun the invitation of the Chinese Medical Association. He said that, depending on who you believe, "the Kilgour-Matas report is either compelling evidence that proves the claims about Falun Gong ... or a collection of conjecture and inductive reasoning that fails to support its own conclusions". McGregor reported his scepticism of Kilgour's report had elicited a response from the author that the former was no different to David Irving
Tom Treasure of Guy's Hospital, London, said the Kilgour-Matas report was "plausible from a medical standpoint" based on the numerical gap in the number of transplants and the short waiting times in China compared with other countries. He noted the existence of blood tests of imprisoned Falun Gong followers, which is not useful for the victims but is critical to organ donation, and said the allegations were “credible.”
The Kilgour-Matas allegations of involuntary organ removal from Falun Gong adherents have received considerable media coverage, particularly in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Several governments have tightened transplant tourism practices and requested more information from the Chinese government.
Questions as to the final answer to the allegations remain. Due to the nature of the claims and the availability of only circumstantial, rather than direct, evidence, several observers have expressed reservations with endorsing the Kilgour and Matas’s conclusions. Amnesty International at the time said it was “continuing to analyze sources of information” about the allegations; David Ownby, a professor of history at of the University of Montreal and expert on Falun Gong, wrote that while "it seems likely that Falun Gong practitioners who are part of the prison population would be candidates for harvesting," he had not seen evidence that the organ harvesting program is aimed particularly at Falun Gong."; a Congressional Research Service report by Thomas Lum said that the report relies on logical inferences and telephone call transcripts which, he suggests, may not be credible.
Chinese officials have repeatedly and angrily denied the organ harvesting allegations in the report. Upon release of the initial report on 6 July, a spokesperson immediately declared that China abided by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs without written consent from donors. They denounced the report as smears "based on rumours and false allegations", and said the claims had been investigated and found to be without any merit.
In August 2006 three Special Rapporteurs raised questions about the sources of organs, the short waiting times for finding perfectly-matched organs, and the correlation between the sudden increase in organ transplants in China and the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. These requests were met with categorical denials by the Chinese authorities. In May 2008 two Special Rapporteurs reiterated the previous request for the Chinese authorities to adequately respond to the allegations and to explain the source of organs which would account for the sudden increase in organ transplants in China since 2000. In November 2008 the United Nations Committee Against Torture noted its concern at the allegations and called for China to "immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims", and take measures "to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished".
In June 2011 the US added a question to its DS-160 application for non-immigrant visas. The application asks if the person has ever taken part in forced human organ transplantation.
In a novel by author Dean Koontz, a heart transplant recipient is unknowingly given the organ of an executed Falun Gong practitioner. The non-fiction writer Scott Karney also included the allegations in his book The Red Market, writing “No one is saying the Chinese government went after the Falun Gong specifically for their organs… but it seems to have been a remarkably convenient and profitable way to dispose of them. Dangerous political dissidents were executed while their organs created a comfortable revenue stream for hospitals and surgeons, and presumably many important Chinese officials received organs.”
At the recent EU-China summit in Helsinki, the organ harvesting issue was raised directly through the Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja meeting bilaterally with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. The host government minister encouraged the minister from China to be proactively open about the matter, which was described as attracting much attention in Europe. Zhaoxing was also urged to seek an independent study about the allegations being made about organ harvesting in his country.
A petition of nearly 25,000 signatures calls on the United States to put pressure on China through the U.N. to stop the practice of forced organ harvesting. The petition, delivered on Sept. 26, 2012, to the office of Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the U.N., also calls on the U.S. government to release any information it has about the involvement of Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing, China, who was just sentenced to 15 years in prison, in organ harvesting activities.
Impact on international transplant policies
Some governments and transplant organizations around the world have reacted to the report by tightening restrictions on “transplant tourism,” expressing concern over the allegations, and in general terms distancing themselves from involuntary organ transplant practices.
Organizations that have made public statements or taken action on the matter include:
- The US National Kidney Foundation (NKF), which said it was "deeply concerned about recent allegations regarding the procurement of organs and tissues through coercive or exploitative practices";
- The Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council, whose chairman condemned "in the strongest possible terms" China's harvesting of human organs from executed Falun Gong practitioners, and the country’s Department of Health, which urged Taiwanese doctors to not encourage patients to get commercial organ transplants in mainland China;
- The Australian Health Ministry, which announced in December 2006 the abolition of training programs for Chinese doctors in organ transplant procedures;
- Israeli health insurance carriers in 2007, who stopped sending patients to China for transplants, and a prominent Rabbi, who prohibited Jews from using Chinese organs;
- Canadian physicians and members of that country’s parliament, the former of which petitioned the government and the latter of which in February 2008 introduced a bill to ban Canadians from receiving organs taken from unwilling victims.
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