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Amnesty report on Olympics and human rights

Amnesty has today issued a new report on the Chinese government's record on human rights in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in summer 2008. The Olympic Games should be a peaceful and positive international event but the Chinese government is using their hosting of the Games as an excuse for further repression. The report opens with a quote from Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Public Security: "We must make efforts to create a harmonious society and a good social environment for successfully holding the 17th Communist Party Congress and the Beijing Olympic Games[…]We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as ethnic separatists, religious extremists, violent terrorists and ‘heretical organizations’ like the Falun Gong who carry out destabilizing activities.”

On pages 10 to 11 of the report there is a section headed, "Mixed messages on organ transplants". It describes contradictory statements from official sources in the Chinese government, saying either that organ transplants from executed criminals are quite exceptional or that this is the source of the majority of the organs.

There have been allegations that Falun Gong followers are being used as a source of organs for transplants and that they have been murdered by the process; David Matas and David Kilgour, two Canadian lawyers, one of them a former minister in the Canadian government, have issued a report on their investigations into these allegations. When these matters have been raised in the UK parliament the answer has been that the UK government can find no evidence in support and that the Chinese government has denied that there is any truth in the report. What about the evidence that Matas and Kilgour present? They investigated thoroughly within the restrictions of not being allowed to visit China and they used phone conversations with hospitals in China as well as websites of Chinese hospitals. One of the facts which makes it hard for me to come up with an innocent explanation of what is going on is that there is a very short waiting time for a matching organ in China but a much longer time in other countries. Another finding that is awkward to explain away is that some hospitals admit on the phone that organs come from Falun Gong followers.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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