Kilgour–Matas report

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David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State, investigated the organ harvesting allegations

The 2007 Kilgour–Matas report titled, Bloody Harvest, Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China[1] is an investigative report into allegations of live organ harvesting in China conducted by former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas. The report can be downloaded free in 22 languages at[1]

The report was requested by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong after three individuals alleged that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed at Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital to supply China's organ transplant industry.[2][3][4]

The initial 6 July 2006 report found that, "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and concluded that "there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners".[5]

Taiwan urged its citizens not to travel to China to receive transplants.[6][7]

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",[8] 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.[9]

Ethan Gutmann estimated that between 450,000 to 1 million Falun Gong practioners were detained at any given time, and that 65,000 had been killed from 2000 to 2008 for their organs.[10][11][12]

In 2009, the authors published an updated version of the report as a book, titled Bloody Harvest, The killing of Falun Gong for their organs,[13][14] and in the same year received an award from the International Society for Human Rights.[15] They were nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.[16]


Falun Gong[edit]

Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that combines meditation and exercises with a moral philosophy, emerged in China in the 1990s; by 1999 the number of practitioners was estimated in the tens of millions.[17][18]

In July 1999, following a large-scale demonstration to request official recognition, Chinese authorities banned the practice and initiated a campaign to suppress the group, creating the 610 Office to oversee and coordinate the elimination of Falun Gong.[19][20][21] The suppression that followed was accompanied by what Amnesty International called a "massive propaganda campaign,"[22] and the detention and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Falun Gong adherents; coercive “reeducation” of Falun Gong adherents sometimes resulted in deaths.[23][24][25] Former detainees reported that in some labour camps, Falun Gong practitioners comprised the majority population, and were singled out for abuse.[26] Due to limited access to victims and labour camp facilities, however, many specific reports of abuses are difficult to independently corroborate.[21]

Organ transplantation in China[edit]

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.[27] 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.[28] These concerns resurfaced in 2001, when a former Chinese Army doctor testified to a United States Congressional committee that he had taken part in organ harvesting operations.[29]

In December 2005, 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,[30] and he promised steps to prevent abuse.[31][32]


In March 2006, three individuals alleged that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed at Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital, to supply China's organ transplant industry.[2][3][4] The third person, a doctor, said the so-called hospitals in Sujiatun are but one of 36 similar concentration camps all over China.[4]

Within a month, U.S. representatives said they found no evidence that a site in northeast China had been used as a concentration camp, but "the United States remained concerned over China's repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting".[33]

In May 2006, The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong asked David Kilgour and Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas to investigate the broader allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. Kilgour and Matas agreed to investigate.[1][34]

In May 2006 the World Medical Association demanded that China immediately cease using prisoners as organ donors.[35]

The report[edit]

First report[edit]

The report's comparison of average wait-times, in days, for an adult kidney transplant, in different countries (source Kilgour & Matas)[1][36]

On 6 July 2006, Kilgour and Matas released the findings of their two-month investigation.[5] They found that "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and 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."[1]

The report called attention to the extremely short wait times for organs in China—one to two weeks for a liver compared with 32.5 months in Canada—noting that this was indicative of organs being procured on demand. It also tracked a significant increase in the number of annual organ transplants in China beginning in 1999, corresponding with the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong. Despite very low levels of voluntary organ donation, China performs the second-highest number of transplants per year.

The report includes incriminating material from Chinese transplant center web sites advertising the immediate availability of organs from living donors, and transcripts of telephone interviews in which hospitals told prospective transplant recipients that they could obtain Falun Gong organs.[1]

Second report[edit]

A January 2007 revision, Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, includes substantial additional information and has 33 pieces of evidence.[1]

Kilgour and Matas felt that the Government of China had reinforced the basis of the first report by responding to it in an unpersuasive way, mostly as attacks on Falun Gong. For Kilgour and Matas, such attacks made possible the violation of the basic human rights of Falun Gong practitioners.[37] China identified two factual errors in the first version of the report—one in an appendix, in a caption heading, where Kilgour and Matas placed two Chinese cities in the wrong provinces; the authors dismissed those errors as have nothing to do with the analysis or conclusions of their report.[37] 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 were true and the practice was ongoing. They called for a ban on Canadian citizens traveling to China for transplant operations.[38][39][40]

The revised report at is available in 22 languages.[1] The first report has translations for 7 other languages.[5]


In 2009, Kilgour and Matas published an updated version of the report as a book, titled Bloody Harvest,The killing of Falun Gong for their organs. It contained new material, reactions the final report received and the advocacy they undertook to end the abuse.[13][14][41]

In 2012, State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, edited by David Matas and Dr. Torsten Trey was published with contributions from a dozen specialists.[42][43] Several of the essays in the book conclude, that a primary source of organs has been prisoners of conscience, specifically practitioners of Falun Gong.[44]

A subsequent investigation by journalist Ethan Gutmann was published in 2014.[45][46] Gutmann interviewed dozens of former prisoners of conscience, as well as members of China's medical and security agencies who were involved in the organ trade. He concluded that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, as well as large numbers of ethnic Uyghurs, have been victims of the illicit organ trade.[47][46][48]


The report's allegations of involuntary organ removal from Falun Gong practitioners received considerable media coverage, particularly in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Several governments tightened transplant tourism practices and requested more information from the Chinese government.

In July 2006 and April 2007, Chinese officials denied organ harvesting allegations, insisting that China abides by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs without written consent from donors.[49][50] The report is banned in Russia and China.[51]

Due to the nature of the claims, some observers expressed reservations with endorsing the Kilgour and Matas’s conclusions. Amnesty International in 2006 said it was “continuing to analyze sources of information” about the allegations.[52] David Ownby, a professor of history at of the University of Montreal and expert on Falun Gong, wrote in Falun Gong and the Future of China that Falun Gong practitioners were probable candidates for organ harvesting in Chinese prisons. However, he felt that Falun Gong spokespersons "overplayed their hand" with the concentration camp allegations, potentially losing credibility in the eyes of neutral observers, despite the real persecution they were suffering.[53]

Many observers found the report and its figures plausible. The US National Kidney Foundation said they were "deeply concerned about recent allegations regarding the procurement of organs and tissues through coercive or exploitative practices" and that "any act which calls the ethical practice of donation and transplantation into question should be condemned by the worldwide transplantation community."[54]

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.[55] 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.[55]

Taiwan condemned, "in the strongest possible terms", China's harvesting of human organs from executed Falun Gong practitioners.[56] Taiwan's Department of Health, urged Taiwanese doctors to not encourage patients to get commercial organ transplants in mainland China.[57]

In December 2006, after not getting assurances from the Chinese government, about allegations relating to Chinese prisoners, the two major organ transplant hospitals in Queensland, Australia stopped transplant training for Chinese surgeons and joint research programs into organ transplantation with China.[58]

Tom Treasure of Guy's Hospital, London said, what makes the allegations credible is the numerical gap between the reported number of transplants compared with what is possible in other countries, the short waiting times and the confidence with which operations are offered in the global health market, and the routine blood testing (critical to organ donation) of the Falun Gong.[59]

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv prohibited Jews from deriving any benefit from Chinese organ harvesting, "even in life-threatening situations"; other rabbis opposed the use of Chinese organs for transplants.[60]

A 2008 petition signed by 140 Canadian physicians urged the Canadian Government to "issue travel advisories warning Canadians that organ transplants in China are sourced almost entirely from non-consenting people, whether prisoners sentenced to death or Falun Gong practitioners".[61][62] Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj, based on the findings of the Kilgour–Matas report, introduced a 2008 bill that would make it illegal for Canadians to get an organ transplant abroad if the organ was taken from an unwilling victim.[63]

In 2006 and 2008, United Nations 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 not satisfactorily addressed by the Chinese authorities.[64] 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".[9]

In 2010, though the Chinese Medical Society had stated that organ transplants from executed prisoners must cease,[65] and changes in Chinese regulations prohibited transplant tourism,[66] a meeting of the Transplantation Society received over 30 papers containing data from several hundred transplants, where the donor source was likely executed prisoners.[67]

In 2013, Doctors Against forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) presented a petition of nearly 1.5 million signatures including over 300,000 from Europe to the Office of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva.[68][69]

During the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting held on March 12, 2014, Anne-Tamara Lorre, the Canadian representative on human rights to the United Nations, raised the issue of organ harvesting in China. "We remain concerned that Falun Gong practitioners and other religious worshippers in China face persecution, and reports that organ transplants take place without free and informed consent of the donor are troubling."[70][71][72]

Using different research methods to Kilgour and Matas, investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, found that his estimate of the number of Falun Gong practitioners killed for organs of approximately 65,000 was close to the estimate of 62,250 by Kilgour and Matas.[10][11][73][74][75][76] In September 2014 he published his findings in The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.[73]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h David Kilgour, David Matas (31 January 2007) Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China (in 22 languages)
  2. ^ a b "Secret Chinese Concentration Camp Revealed" 10 March 2006 The Epoch Times
  3. ^ a b "New Witness Confirms Existence of Chinese Concentration Camp, Says Organs Removed from Live Victims" 17 March 2006 The Epoch Times
  4. ^ a b c "Source Reveals Other Chinese Concentration Camps, Sujiatun is merely one of 36 concentration camps for Falun Gong in China" 31 March 2006 The Epoch Times
  5. ^ a b c David Kilgour, David Matas (6 July 2006) The First Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China (in 19 languages)
  6. ^ Elizabeth Hsu. "Taiwan people urged not to travel to China for organ transplants". Taiwanese Central News Agency. 
  7. ^ Taiwan people urged not to go to China for transplants China Post 15 October 2006
  8. ^ "An Interview with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Organ Harvesting in China". 12 March 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  9. ^ a b United Nations Committee Against Torture,CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Forty-first session, Geneva, 3–21 November 2008
  10. ^ a b Ethan Gutmann (10 March 2011). ""How many harvested?" revisited". 
  11. ^ a b Ethan Gutmann (24 November 2008). "China's Gruesome Organ Harvest. The whole world isn't watching. Why not?". Weekly Standard. 
  12. ^ Julia Duin (27 April 2010). "Chinese accused of vast trade in organs". The Washington Times. 
  13. ^ a b David Kilgour, David Matas (2009). "Bloody Harvest, The killing of Falun Gong for their organs". p. 232. 
  14. ^ a b "Chinese accused of vast trade in organs". The Washington Times. 
  15. ^ Santin, Aldo (19 February 2010). "Winnipeg lawyer nominated for Nobel Peace Prize". Winnipeg Free Press. 
  16. ^ Aldo Santin (20 Feb 2010). "Crusader up for Nobel Prize Lawyer lauded for investigating abuses in China". Winnipeg Free Press. 
  17. ^ Seth Faison (27 April 1999). "In Beijing: A Roar of Silent Protestors". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Joseph Kahn (27 April 1999). "Notoriety Now for Movement's Leader". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ Sarah Cook and Leeshai Lemish, ‘The 610 Office:Policing the Chinese Spirit’, China Brief , Volume 11 Issue 17 (9 November 2011).
  20. ^ James Tong, “Revenge of the Forbidden City,” Oxford University Press (2009).
  21. ^ a b Mickey Spiegel (2002). Dangerous Meditation: China's Campaign Against Falungong. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-270-X. Retrieved 28 September 2007. 
  22. ^ Amnesty International 'China: The crackdown on Falun Gong and other so-called "heretical organization"' March 23, 2000
  23. ^ Ian Johnson (26 Dec 2000). "Death Trap - How One Chinese City Resorted to Atrocities To Control Falun Dafa". The Wall Street Journal. 
  24. ^ Philip Pan and John Pomfret (5 August 2000). "Torture is Breaking Falun Gong". The Washington Post. 
  25. ^ "2005 Country Report on Human Rights, China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)". 8 March 2006. 
  26. ^ "We Could Disappear at Any Time" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 7 Dec 2005. 
  27. ^ "Health-System-Reform-in-China" The Lancet, 20 October 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2010
  28. ^ "TTS' policy on Interactions with China". Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "Doctor Says He Took Transplant Organs From Executed Chinese Prisoners" New York Times 29 June 2001
  30. ^ Congressional Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006 p. 59; note 224, p.201
  31. ^ Thomas Lum (11 August 2006). "Congressional Research Report #RL33437 China and Falun Gong" (pdf). 
  32. ^ Jane Macartney, "China to 'tidy up' trade in executed prisoners' organs", The Times, 3 December 2005
  33. ^ U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China 16 April 2006
  34. ^ "Independent Investigators to Present Findings From Investigation on China's Organ Harvesting From Prisoners of Conscience". 20 July 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  35. ^ "WMA Council Resolution on Organ Donation in China". World Medical Association. May 2006. 
  36. ^ "Beyond The Red Wall – Documentary on the Persecution of Falun Gong". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  37. ^ a b David Matas, David Kilgour (31 January 2007). "Bloody Harvest, Section 23) Massive arrests and 33) Government of China responses". 
  38. ^ Kirstin Endemann, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen (6 July 2006)"Ottawa urged to stop Canadians travelling to China for transplants", Retrieved 6 July 2006
  39. ^ Reuters, AP (8 July 2006)"Falun Gong organ claim supported", The Age. Retrieved 7 July 2006
  40. ^ Calgary Herald (5 July 2006)"Rights concerns bedevil China—Doing trade with regime must be balanced with values", Retrieved 8 July 2006
  41. ^ David Kilgour, David Matas. "Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China". 
  42. ^ David Matas and Torsten Trey (2012). "State Organs, Transplant Abuse in China". 
  43. ^ David Matas and Torsten Trey (2012). "State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China". p. 144. 
  44. ^ Matthew Robertson (31 August 2012). "Book Exposes Organized Killing for Organs in China". Epoch Times. 
  45. ^ Turnbull, Barbara. "Q&A: Author and analyst Ethan Gutmann discusses China’s illegal organ trade". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  46. ^ a b Gutmann, Ethan (August 2014). The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem. Prometheus Books. p. 368. ISBN 978-1616149406. 
  47. ^ David Kilgour (8 December 2014) "A History of Organ Pillaging in China", The Epoch Times
  48. ^ Ethan Gutmann (25 April 2014). "The Slaughter – An Interview with DAFOH (Doctors Against Forced Harvesting)". Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  49. ^ Chinese Embassy in Canada (6 July 2006) Response to the so called "China's organ harvesting report"
  50. ^ Chinese Embassy in Canada (15 April 2007) Response to the so-called "Revised Report on China's Organ Harvesting "
  51. ^ Joseph Brean (24 December 2011). "‘Extremist’ writings of ex-Canadian MP, lawyer banned in Russia because of criticisms of China". National Post. 
  52. ^ "Amnesty International Fact Sheet on Persecution of Falun Gong". 
  53. ^ David Ownby (19 Mar 2008). Falun Gong and the Future of China. Oxford University Press. pp. 224–226. 
  54. ^ "National Kidney Foundation Statement about Alleged Human Rights Violations in Organ Donation" (pdf). 15 August 2006. 
  55. ^ a b Kirk C. Allison (29 September 2006). "Falun Gong, Organ Harvesting in China, and the Human Rights Case for an Independent Congressional Investigation – testimony submitted by Kirk C. Allison" (PDF). Open Hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. University of Minnesota. Retrieved 4 Feb 2010. 
  56. ^ "China Post: Taiwan condemns China's organ harvesting". 14 October 2006. 
  57. ^ "Taiwan: Director of Department of Health Orders Doctors in Taiwan Not to Get Involved with China's Inhumane Organ Transplantation". 18 August 2007. 
  58. ^ "Hospitals ban Chinese surgeon training" The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 December 2006
  59. ^ Tom Treasure (March 2007). "The Falun Gong, organ transplantation, the holocaust and ourselves". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting) 100: 119–121. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  60. ^ Mathew Wagner (3 Jun 2007). "Chinese TV airs Elyashiv's opposition to organ harvesting". The Jerusalem Post. 
  61. ^ "The Medical Post, Canadian MD-activist likens Chinese organ trade to the Holocaust". 12 March 2008. 
  62. ^ "Excerpt from Hansard of 13 December 2007, Canadian House of Commons". 13 December 2007. 
  63. ^ "The Epoch Times: One Member of Parliament's Crusade to Quell a Gruesome Trade". 21 February 2008. 
  64. ^ "United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteurs Reiterate Findings on China's Organ Harvesting from Falun Gong Practitioners". Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, through Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  65. ^ "Chinese Medical Association Reaches Agreement With World Medical Association Against Transplantation Of Prisioners's Organs". 7 October 2007. 
  66. ^ C. Ding (2008). "Latest development of legal regulations of organ transplant in China". J Int Bioethique (162): 61–81. 
  67. ^ G.M. Danovitch1, M. E. Shapiro and J. Lave (22 Feb 2011). "The Use of Executed Prisoners as a Source of Organ Transplants in China Must Stop". American Journal of Transplantation. 
  68. ^ "1.5 Million in 53 Countries Say ‘No’ to Organ Harvesting in China". December 2013. 
  69. ^ "Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting petition against Falun Gong practioners". globalbioethics. 16 December 2013. 
  70. ^ Matthew Little (15 March 2014). "Canada Raises Organ Harvesting at UN". 
  71. ^ "The European Parliament’s resolution on unethical organ harvesting in China is succeeded by a chain of international reactions". 
  72. ^ Human Rights Council (12 March 2014). "Council reviews reports on the use of drones in the fight against terrorism, and on freedom of religion". 
  73. ^ a b Jay Nordlinger (25 August 2014). "Face The Slaughter". National Review. 
  74. ^ Ethan Gutmann (28 April 2009). "How many harvested?". 
  75. ^ Jaya Gibson (17 July 2009). "UK MPs Briefed on Persecution in China". The Epoch Times. 
  76. ^ Ethan Gutmann (2010). "The China Conundrum". Focus Quarterly. 


External links[edit]

  1. ^ Davids and Goliath at Internet Movie Database