Monday, February 6, 2017

Chinese Transplant Doctor Accused of Ordering Executions to Speak at Vatican

Chinese Transplant Doctor Accused of Ordering Executions to Speak at Vatican

Dr. Huang Jiefu, one of China’s leading liver transplant surgeons, was in the westernmost province of Xinjiang in 2005 to perform a complicated liver transplant. As backup for the procedure, he telephoned hospitals in Chongqing and Guangzhou for two extra, matching livers.
The livers were delivered within twenty-four hours, but never used, according to four reports in officially-connected Chinese media outlets. This stands in conflict with the standard view that organs come from executed prisoners, whose sentences must be carried out within seven days, according to Chinese law. Dr. Huang could have only obtained fresh organs if there was a captive, pre-blood typed population ready to be killed on demand, experts say. That prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners, are the source of these organs is the conclusion made most recently by the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as a number of researchers.
Yet Dr. Huang, the Chinese regime’s official spokesman on organ transplantation, will represent China at an upcoming international summit on organ trafficking and transplant tourism at the Vatican. He is expected to promote China’s medical reform—and, if asked, deny organ harvesting.
Researchers of forced organ harvesting in China, and human rights advocates, are opposed to Dr. Huang and Dr. Wang Haibo, another Chinese doctor, being the only speakers representing China at the Vatican. Some have asked the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the summit’s main organizer, to invite other organ harvesting researchers in the interest of fair dialogue.
(L–R) David Kilgour (L) with David Matas (C) and Ethan Gutmann (R), author of 'The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.' (Simon Gross/Epoch Times)
(L–R) David Kilgour (L) with David Matas (C) and Ethan Gutmann (R), authors of “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update.” (Simon Gross/Epoch Times)
The three researchers—former Canadian Member of Parliament David Kilgour, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, and American investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, began looking into allegations of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in the early 2000s. Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that was practiced by 70 to 100 million citizens in mainland China by 1999, according to official and Falun Gong estimates, when it was targeted for persecution by the Chinese regime.
After interviewing practitioners formerly interned in Chinese labor camps, reviewing Chinese hospital websites, and examining official government data, the researchers concluded that the Chinese regime was able to sustain a brisk organ transplantation industry for over a decade by harvesting the organs of Uyghur, Tibet, house Christian, and primarily Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. The bulk of the tens of thousands of organs harvested each year beginning in 2000 came from Falun Gong practitioners, the largest prisoner of conscience body in China today, the researchers concluded.
“It is extremely concerning when highly respected international institutions such as the Vatican provide a platform for perpetrating unverified claims about reform of organ donation in China,” said Wendy Rogers, a professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University in Sydney, and chair of the International Advisory Committee of the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, an NGO that seeks to end forced organ harvesting in China.
“This lends credibility to false claims and helps to avoid accountability for those who have been involved in forced organ harvesting.”
In correspondance to Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy, Rogers detailed Dr. Huang’s involvement in the Xinjiang case, and suggested that herself or other researchers would be available to balance out Dr. Huang’s views.
Bishop Sorondo noted in replying that certain key researchers had participated in “political events on the condemnation of China” such as a United States Congressional hearing and the European Parliament. He added that the Vatican summit was an “academic exercise and not a reprise of contentious political assertions.”
In rebuttal, Rogers wrote that the issue of organ harvesting has been thoroughly documented and researched for over a decade, and that Dr. Francis Delmonico, the former head of The Transplant Society (TTS) and one of the main summit organizers, said under oath during a 2016 Congressional hearing that he is unable to verify the Chinese regime’s claims of reform.
“To simply say that the evidence is ‘political assertions’ masks the real issue, avoids the truth, and provides support to those who have the strongest reasons to deny their crimes,” she wrote.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Wang Zhiyuan, the president of the New York-based World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, requested that Pope Francis ban Dr. Huang Jiefu and Dr. Wang Haibo from the Vatican summit.
“We hope that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences will prevent these perpetrators from sullying your event, and deceive Catholics and the world of one of the vilest abuses ever known,” Wang wrote in a letter addressed to the Pope. “We hope Vatican can initiate an investigative effort and help to stop the organ harvesting crime all together.”
Lord David Alton, a longtime human rights advocate and a prominent Catholic, said in a written statement that he is “deeply alarmed” by continuing reports of the “barbaric” forced organ harvesting in China, and expressed concern that Huang Jiefu is allowed a platform to present the Chinese regime’s views at the Vatican.
“In the interests of a well-informed, balanced discussion of these serious matters, I have encouraged the Pontifical Academy to consider inviting researchers whose findings suggest that forced organ harvesting continues on a scale far larger than was previously known, so that they could present their findings and provide the opportunity for constructive discussion,” he wrote.
“It is right to try to engage with China on these issues, but it is vital that we do so critically and with transparency, and not in a way that simply provides China with a propaganda victory.”
Ethan Gutmann said in an interview that former TTS head Dr. Delmonico is “really dedicated” to working “hand in glove” with Dr. Huang Jiefu to promote the idea that China is making medical reforms instead of asking questions about what took place previously.
Dr. Jiefu Huang, Chairman of the Chinese National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, at the Chinese embassy in Rome on Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Dr. Jiefu Huang, Chairman of the Chinese National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, at the Chinese embassy in Rome on Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Dr. Delmonico and Dr. Huang are “burying history, burying the bodies so that they are never seen again,” Gutmann said. “What China has done is the equivalent of a corporation that has produced massive amounts of incredibly toxic material, bury it where nobody will find it, and hope that it will somehow seep into the groundwater and be forgotten.”
But Gutmann remains upbeat.
“Perhaps it doesn’t matter what happens at the conference. We live in a new world, where we can go on social media and change the public perception on things,” he said.
Gutmann is heartened by renewed attention to the issue of organ harvesting in China, and the public reversals to the Chinese regime’s efforts to sweep the issue under the carpet at a global transplantation conference in Hong Kong last year.
So the Vatican can “throw a conference like this,” Gutmann said, “but it’s not the final word.”