Wednesday Night #1328 – with Hon. David Kilgour

15 August 2007
This Wednesday we will have David Kilgour, long-serving (May 1979 until January 2006) Member of Parliament for the southeastern area of Edmonton, and his wife Laura as very special guests. In addition to serving as an MP (and in the Chrétien government as Secretary of State for Latin America & Africa, later for Asia-Pacific), David is an author, with three books**, many articles to his credit and a new book, “Uneasy Neighbo(u)rs” about to be published, which is co-authored with our friend, American diplomat David Jones.
Uneasy Patriots: Western Canadians in Confederation, which examines Western alienation (1988)
Inside Outer Canada, which examines Canadian regional alienation, was first published in 1990
Betrayal: The Spy Canada Abandoned about the case of Ryszard Paszkowski (1994)

Recently, David has devoted much of his energies to producing the report Bloody Harvest on the Chinese government sanctioned harvesting of organs from members of the Falun Gong (see also)
He will be coming to us next week following his trip to Athens where he has launched
a Global Human Rights Torch Relay
through 100 cities around the world. The year-long relay is designed to draw attention to crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government against practitioners of Falun Gong.
In line with his longstanding commitment to Human Rights, David is also active on issues related to Tibet and to Darfur see also . It will be remembered that one of the reasons that he left the Liberal Party was his concern over Canada’s unwillingness to take part in a multinational effort to stop the killings in the Darfur region of Sudan
On the subject of Darfur, we would like to call to your attention to the Montreal Conference on Darfur, an event organized by Beryl Wajsmann’s Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal in conjunction with The Suburban newspapers and the Dym Family Foundation on Thursday the 16th .
We look forward to the reports of this year’s Couchiching Conference titled The Stranger Next Door: making diversity work which looks at diversity, social cohesion and citizenship. The questions posed are ones that have frequently been discussed at the Wednesday Night table: With our increasingly diverse society, how do we maintain a core set of values and cultural harmony? Is there a mainstream culture? What role do government and business play in drawing on the talents of such a multiplicity of cultures? What does patriotism mean in this new world? Does diversity threaten security? What can we learn from our friends south of the border, or across the Atlantic, in living together in harmony – and what can they learn from us?

The Report

David Matas and I have done a study and we have concluded to our horror that the Government of China and its agencies is killing Falun Gong practitioners by the thousands over the last five years and selling their vital organs to people from Canada and many other countries for large amounts of money; for example about $180,000 for a liver-heart combination

Scribe’s Prologue
The benevolence of the human spirit is most frequently superseded by the most powerful of motivations, namely personal survival and greed. When both are combined, the result can be incitement to war, tribal warfare, slavery or prostitution, all too frequently looked upon as someone else’s problem.
People suffering from kidney disease were doomed to die until the 1940s when Willem Johan Kolff, a Physician in World War II occupied Holland developed the dialysis machine. His first fifteen dialysis patients treated died as they would have with no treatment at all. Because the sixteenth, a woman, who was a Nazi, survived, recognition of Dr. Kolff’s genius was delayed until the post-war period. Since that time, an incredible number of people around the world have survived. However, dependence on dialysis is a mixed blessing and patients are highly motivated to regain a normal lifestyle by seeking a transplanted kidney through a process developed in 1950.
Certainly donating a kidney or other organ to save the life of a fellow human being during one’s lifetime or immediately following one’s death is an act of generosity and kindness, but the sale of an organ of another human being for profit, especially against the will or wish of the donor should be condemned by all nations considering themselves civilized. It is not!

Organ harvesting and Falun Gong
For cultural reasons, almost nobody in Asian countries donates their organs, however numbers of transplants in China have been rising steadily since about 2001. Coincidentally, although it is not illegal in China to practice the Falon Gong religion, in 1999 it was declared an enemy of the Government (Party), unleashing a persecution that includes the methodical removal of its practitioners to work camps for ten-year periods and, in the case of many thousands, execution in order to provide organs for transplantation to foreign nationals with the desire and wherewithal to pay for them.
In the course of preparing their report Bloody Harvest, David Kilgour and David Matas have obtained confirmation from numerous sources that in a country where sixty-four offences including tax fraud are punishable by death, these prisoners, who have not been charged with any criminal offence are removed from their homes and sent to labour camps where they are tissue and blood tested at regular intervals in order to be able to rapidly fill specific orders for organs. Computer banks maintain the data available for matching the requirements of the transplant candidates and the organs are then harvested on an as-required basis. The harvesting is carried out while the practitioners are still alive and they are killed either in the course of the organ harvesting operations or immediately thereafter. It is estimated that as many as six thousand prisoners are executed each year for this purpose.

They get rid of their enemies and sell them off for parts

The army is deeply involved in providing the logistics of rapidly moving the organ from the reluctant donor to the eager recipient. The medical profession is involved in the appropriate execution and harvesting. Physicians in the countries of origin of the donor recipients are faced with the undeniable ethical need to provide the aftercare for the organ recipients. The sad fact remains that the perpetrators have gained, the recipients have gained, while human morality has lost.
There are some experts, including Dr. Frank Delmonico, President of the International Transplant Society and Director of kidney transplantation at the Massachusetts General Hospital, who believe that in the face of international publicity and condemnation, the Chinese government has decided to stop the practice. Others suggest that while the government may officially put a stop to the practice there is some doubt that the Army, which controls the transplant market, will indeed stop.

EVERY 90 MINUTES somebody in America dies waiting for an organ transplant. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are about 84,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, a number that grows by about 12 percent every year. Meanwhile, the number of organ donors, both living and dead, increasingly fails to keep pace.

Harvesting of kidneys and other organs from reluctant or unwitting donor/victims is not limited to China; it is an international phenomenon. It is well known that the practice has existed in Eastern Europe, in Latin America, in India. If this trade were to be eliminated in China because of a threat of boycotting the Olympics or another reason, other impoverished countries of the world would certainly move to fill the needs of the élite – the medical tourists (largely westerners) – who can pay the going price. It is suggested that the enablers of this practice – those nations whose citizens benefit from the transplants – have an ethical problem that they must address internally by convincing their own populations to will organs at death. Further, should citizens at the very least have to opt out of organ donation, rather than opting in as we do now?

Death for profit is but one motivation for human immorality. Western governments are consistently silent on issues of human rights when corporate interests are in play. Just as they fail to speak out forcefully on the human rights abuses in China, of which the persecution of the Falun Gong is unfortunately only the most egregious example, they have failed miserably to address the tragedy of Darfur, fearing to jeopardize commercial relations with oil-rich Sudan.

[It is not irrelevant that Sudan is China’s largest overseas oil project, while China is Sudan’s largest supplier of arms. More]

Darfur has been called Rwanda in slow motion. In Rwanda the conflict is often described as tribal, an underlying element being the conflict between cultivators and cattle herders. In Darfur, where black Muslims are being killed by Arab militia not for their belief, but for the colour of their skin, the conflict between those who raise crops and those who herd animals also exists, but in addition Darfur may perhaps be considered the first “climate war” because an exacerbating factor is the tension is over water resources in a prolonged period of drought. […”the reduction in rainfall has turned millions of hectares of marginal semi-desert grazing land into desert. The impact of climate change is considered to be directly related to the conflict; desertification has added significantly to the stress on the livelihoods of pastoralist societies, forcing them to move south to find pasture.”] It is to be hoped that the discovery of a huge underground lake will bring peace to this area, but there is concern that with climate change, there will be many conflicts in other regions over the most precious of all natural resources.

The Responsibility to protect aims to provide a legal and ethical basis for humanitarian intervention by external actors (preferably the international community through the UN) in a state that is unwilling or unable to fight genocide, massive killings and other massive human rights violations. There have been instances of fiasco from failure to intervene (Rwanda), intervention (Iraq) and intermediate and controversial instances (Bosnia, Serbia, etc.) all giving rise to the question whether there is a need for another actor that is free from the problems of the Security Council veto by Russia and/or China.

Can Canada make a difference?
Why are Canadian governments so silent about human rights issues and China? What can individuals do to influence the government to take a more principled stand? The Harper government has made some early statements about trade and human rights issues, however, like previous governments, it has fallen silent. Canada’s trade deficit with China is about $17 million. Our business community looks to China for cheap labour, low environmental standards, and little consideration of workers’ rights. This is a short-term policy guided by an ill-informed view of the Chinese Communist Party that has a tradition of violence, lying and cheating. We must stand up for the people of China – not the 200 million in Shanghai and other cities who are living very well, but the 900 million people who are living in rural areas who have no healthcare, no pensions, nothing … these are the people with the most to gain from democratic reform of China. In the view of many, the current system is not sustainable and Canada should be in the forefront of those who press for change. This would be the China Century if China were a democracy.

7 Comments on "Wednesday Night #1328 – with Hon. David Kilgour"

  1. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm ·

    Couchiching 2007
    The young people on the podium this year were so impressive. I was thrilled –the new generation is taking life by the scruff of the neck and giving it an invigorating shake. We are in very good hands for our intellectual future and I can barely wait to see it unfold.

    For the first time, CPAC is putting the sessions on downloadable units and I highly recommend the Sunday morning sessions, or for that matter, all of Sunday, the Saturday night panel with the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie – flash- Couching moment –after listening to two days of concerns about Muslims and terrorism and she looked at the audience and with a twinkle in her eye said – for all your worries about our being a threat to Canadian values, we saved the CBC!
    This was a good Couch- one worth discussing.
    Margaret Lefebvre OWN

  2. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 16, 2007 at 7:36 pm ·

    August 13, 2007
    China, Filling a Void, Drills for Riches in Chad
    Chad is as geographically isolated as places come in Africa. It is also among the continent’s poorest and least stable countries, the scene of recurrent civil wars and foreign invasions since it gained independence from France in 1960.
    None of that has put off the Chinese, though. In January, they bought the rights to a vast exploration zone that surrounds this rural village, making the baked wilderness here, without roads, electricity or telephones, the latest frontier for their thirsty oil industry and increasingly global ambitions.
    The same is happening in one African country after another. In large oil-exporting countries like Angola and Nigeria, China is building or fixing railroads, and landing giant exploration contracts in Congo and Guinea.More

  3. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 18, 2007 at 10:04 am ·

    It may seem a fine distinction, but there can be no doubt about Stalin’s Gulags and Hitler’s concentration camp systems that they were an integral part of the national economies in both instances. The China case may be a little more ambiguous in that the official status or policy status of these crimes is unclear. One advantage is that it allows the Chinese government to save face as these horrors are brought to light by shutting them down.
    No question that it is anyhow part of a global problem posed by the shortage of donated organs–and that donations are no longer really viable as the proportion of oldsters grow (raising demand) and the available young donors are disproportionately residents of middle to poor income countries.
    Years ago, a British economist, Richard Titmuss, argued in The Gift Relationship, that some commodities like blood and organs will be supplied at higher quality levels if organized in donation programs that rely on altruism rather than by cash payment. The Chinese solution shows (once more) that efficiency is a morally dangerous value.
    Guy Stanley OWN

  4. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 18, 2007 at 8:38 pm ·

    Reading List (2)
    Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
    In the epilogue to her biography of Mao Tse-tung, Jung Chang and her husband and cowriter Jon Halliday lament that, “Today, Mao’s portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital.” For Chang, author of Wild Swans, this fact is an affront, not just to history, but to decency. … . From the outset, Chang and Halliday are determined to shatter the “myth” of Mao, and they succeed with the force, not just of moral outrage, but of facts. The result is a book, more indictment than portrait, that paints Mao as a brutal totalitarian, a thug, who unleashed Stalin-like purges of millions with relish and without compunction, all for his personal gain. Through the authors’ unrelenting lens even his would-be heroism as the leader of the Long March and father of modern China is exposed as reckless opportunism, subjecting his charges to months of unnecessary hardship in order to maintain the upper hand over his rival, Chang Kuo-tao, an experienced military commander.

  5. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 18, 2007 at 8:38 pm ·

    Reading List (1)
    The Writing on the Wall: Why We Must Embrace China as a Partner or Face It as an Enemy, by Will Hutton
    The economics editor of The Guardian performs an ambitious dissection of U.S. and Chinese economic policy, sounding the alarm that “the implications could not be more profound” should Western superpowers fail to shape China into a workable model of democracy and enlightenment. Delving into the 3,000 year history of the Chinese, Hutton introduces readers to Confucius and Mao, the rise of Chinese Communism and the political experiments that have left the Chinese economy “in an unstable halfway house-an economy that is neither socialist nor properly capitalist run by a party that is neither revolutionary nor subject to the normal constitutional checks and balances of even China’s own Confucian past.” The big questions-of how much longer the Communist party can deliver economically, of where the world will head if U.S. protectionism triumphs in painting the East as an enemy-are brilliantly analyzed, with an eye toward maximizing gain for all players….

  6. Diana Thébaud Nicholson October 16, 2007 at 2:29 pm ·

    From: Noah Weisbord
    Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 2:07 PM
    Diana- I just received this from the Harvard Committee on African Studies, and am sending it to show you and David that we heard it first at Wednesday Night. Noah
    Subject: Today at 5:30: Harvard Talk on Water and Darfur
    “Ground Water Basins in Darfur and Surrounding Deserts”
    Farouk el-Baz, director of Boston University’s Centre for Remote Sensing and Adjunct Professor of Geology, Ain Shams University, Cairo

    The Times (UK) July 19, 2007
    Darfur lake ‘could bring peace’ – Foreign Staff
    A newly found imprint of a vast, ancient underground lake in Sudan could
    end fighting in the Darfur region, a US geologist claims.
    “What most people don’t really know is that the war, the instability, in
    Darfur is all based on the lack of water,” said Farouk el-Baz, director
    of Boston University’s Centre for Remote Sensing and Adjunct Professor of Geology, Ain Shams University, Cairo

  7. Diana Thébaud Nicholson February 4, 2008 at 12:41 pm ·

    Illegal organ trade dupes world’s poor
    Impoverished people from countries including Brazil, Romania and India are lured into selling organs by black marketeers looking to supply body parts to patients in wealthier countries, Organ Watch warns. American and Japanese consumers are the world’s largest purchasers of illegal organs.
    Toronto Star `Living cadavers’ forced by poverty to sell organs

Comments are now closed for this article.