Organ harvesting a reality, says international human rights lawyer

January 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Advisory, Health, History, Law, Medicine, News Release, Peace and Justice

The Chinese government promised last year to phase out its reliance on prisoners for transplant organs. International human rights lawyer David Matas says that’s not good enough.

“You don’t slowly phase out a crime against humanity. The international community needs to demand that this practice stops right now,” he insists.

In a new book titled State Organs, Matas and medical experts present more evidence that organs have been routinely harvested in China not only from criminals but from practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience.

The Winnipeg-based lawyer, who is also an instructor at the University of Manitoba’s law school, will update the public on new developments in forced organ harvesting. The event is free.

When: Friday, February 1, 2013, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm
Where: 100 Fletcher Argue Building, 15 Chancellors Circle, Fort Garry campus, University of Manitoba

Forced organ harvesting has come to the fore again as China transitions to new leadership. A Chinese official who unsuccessfully sought asylum at an American consulate last year previously won an award for research on a lethal injection technique to facilitate organ harvesting.

Last month, Matas delivered to the United Nations a petition signed by more than 160,000 people in 36 countries that calls on the United Nations to investigate and condemn forced organ harvesting.

He and his co-authors argue that the most likely explanation for China’s short transplant waiting times is that prisoners are being used as a pool of living donors available for execution on demand. Voluntary organ donation rates are low in China, partly as a result of cultural traditions.

The seminar is co-sponsored by the Faculty of Social Work, the departments of sociology and Asian studies, the Centre for Human Rights Research and the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice.

For more information, contact Dr. Maria Cheung at or 204-474-6670

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