CHESTERVILLE — Humans imprisoned for reasons of conscience — their religious and spiritual beliefs — are being executed to supply organ transplants in China, say protesters who stopped in Chesterville last week.
From small towns to larger centres, Canadian Falun Gong practitioners have been driving across Canada to hold press conferences and raise awareness of the issue, in advance of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s expected visit to Canada this month. They want the Trudeau government to publicly call for an end to the persecution of those adhering to the traditional meditative belief system in China — persecution that includes “pillaging” their bodies for organs, they allege.
In Canada, the median wait time for a kidney is between two and 5.8 years. In China, the wait time is 15 days, according to endorganpillaging.org literature handed out by the group standing in front of Chesterville’s Heritage Centre.
“Potentially millions of people have been killed” since 1999, when China’s governing Communist Party, then led by Jiang Mianheng, launched a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, asserted Grace Dai of Ottawa.
Victims either disappear entirely or are returned to their families as cremated remains with the claim they committed suicide in custody, she said, adding the regime is “very good at covering up.”
Dai explained that China has no voluntary system of organ donations, yet hospitals in the country have performed an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 transplants annually since the crackdown on Falun Gong, she said, citing a recently updated report by former MP David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann.
As a client of one of the 700 hospitals specializing in organ transplants, “you get your organ in a week or two,” she said. A pamphlet from the group highlights advertised prices ranging from $30,000 for a cornea to $170,000 for a lung.
The “regular” criminals executed by China every year can’t account for all of this trade, according to the protesters, who have travelled to from Prescott to Manotick this summer and were slated to be in Cornwall the day after their Chesterville appearance.
They say that Falun Gong adherents — who numbered 70 million at the turn of the century— continue to be arrested and imprisoned for “re-education,” some of them never to be seen alive again. Dai pointed out that Kilgour has most recently estimated the number of Falun Gong organ-harvest victims at 200,000.
Hongyan Lu desperately hopes her mother doesn’t become part of the statistic.
“She was abducted on June 3,” the Ottawa resident told Nation Valley News, adding her mother was part of a mass arrest of nine practitioners in Shijiazhuang City.
Seven of the others were released in mid-July, Lu said. From one of them, she learned that her mother had been chained to a metal chair for 20 days straight. “It was a brainwashing session, but they stopped that kind of torture and sent her to a detention centre,” said Lu, who last spoke with her mother on May 30. “We’re very worried she will become another victim of this illegal organ harvest,” she said. Lu also fears her mother will be subject to more torture.
The group’s local activism also overlapped with the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent trip to and from China.
Related to Buddhism, Falun Gong is also known as Falun Dafa. Resolutions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the European Parliament and Canada’s Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights have all condemned China for the forced harvesting of organs from practitioners.