August 16, 2006

Two senior parliamentarians - one from Europe, the other from Canada - have called on the United Nations to investigate startling allegations that the Chinese government killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and harvested their organs for sale.

The sensational claim was investigated by former Canadian secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific, David Kilgour, and he believes they are true.

His colleague, vice-president of the European parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, is also convinced, despite the vehement denials of the Chinese government, [slanderous terms omitted].

"We are talking about genocide. The Falun Gong has been singled out," Mr McMillan-Scott said yesterday. "This is why governments must take action and put pressure to bear on the United National to conduct an inquiry."

Mr Kilgour's earlier investigation relied on the telephone interviews with the former wife of a surgeon who allegedly removed 2000 corneas in two years and testimony from the family of Falun Gong members who say they saw bodies of their loved ones riddled with holes.

He concedes the evidence is "circumstantial," not least because the Chinese government refused him permission to travel to China.

As well as the testimony, he points to 41,500 transplants undertaken in China in the six years to 2005 where no source of the organs was identified and the high number of executions that take place in China.

China's crackdown on Falun Gong - which advocates meditation and is harshly critical of China's communist government - has been well-documented, he added.

A Falun Gong practitioner, Hong Chen, accompanied the two men and spoke of her one year at the Banqiao Women's Forced Labour camp in Tianjin.

As well as appalling living conditions and long hours of hard work, often in the blistering sun, she said prison authorities singled out Falun Gong inmates for special treatment.

She said they told all the Falun Gong adherents in the prison that the group was a "counter-revolutionary" organisation and those that didn't give up the practice would be sent to remote north-west China.

"Our blood and urine was tested and our blood pressure was taken," she said. "There was no health reason for this to be done."

Mr Kilgour said such testing was a precursor to the removal of organs.

In the wake of Mr Kilgour's investigation, Mr McMillan-Scott visited China in May this year where he held secret meetings with two Falun Gong practitioners, including one man who he said saw the bodies of prisoners and holes where organs had been removed.

"Everyone we spoke to was arrested except for myself and my assistant. An American helping us was deported," he said. "One of the men - the man who saw the body - remains in prison. I am certain he is being tortured...the Chinese regime is brutal, artibary and it's paranoid."

The two men will hold a seminar in Canberra today and tour the country before heading to New Zealand.

The Chinese embassy did not return calls yesterday.