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China urged to ‘stop organ harvesting’ from prisoners of conscience

Published: Updated:

Two Canadian lawyers came to Australia's Parliament House on Monday to urge lawmakers to pass a motion calling on China to immediately end the practice of what they say is organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.

David Kilgour, a former prosecutor and Canadian secretary of state for Asia-Pacific, and David Matas, a human rights lawyer, say they have evidence that China performs an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 transplants a year.

They argue that killing Falun Gong practitioners, Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Christians was the only "plausible explanation" for sourcing of the organs - without offering proof of such practices. China has a black market of ordinary people selling their organs, through brokers, for use in transplants.

Such claims have been around for years but have not been independently verified, in part because China's opaque legal system makes such inquiries virtually impossible.

It's also not a cause that's advocated by most international human rights groups. China says it has reformed its system to eliminate the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, although doubts remain about how completely that ban has been enforced.

China says it performed 10,057 organ transplants last year and has not harvested organs of executed prisoners since January 2015.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.