International experts have refuted a claim the Falun Gong cult has long made that China harvests organs from its practitioners, saying that the accusation is made for political reasons.
"The Falun Gong fabricated the stories purely for political objectives," said Campbell Fraser, an expert on human organ trade from Griffith University, Australia. "It really makes people angry. Organ transplant is for giving life, and it is a beautiful thing, not for political objectives," Fraser said on Saturday at the China Organ Donation and Transplantation Conference in Kunming, Yunnan province
Health officials and experts from China and abroad attended the meeting.
"They have actually falsified data, I have no doubt about that at all," Fraser said. "I haven't found any evidence whatsoever that there has ever been a Falun Gong practitioner who had been executed and had organs removed."
"We cannot let cults stand in our way. Intimidation and harassment can never win," he said.
Fraser said he has met Falun Gong practitioners in places such as Australia, Taipei and New York, and when he would try to talk to a practitioner, the Epoch Times, the cult's newspaper, always would insist that one of its people must be present.
The newspaper's representatives gave practitioners a printed letter to read out saying things like they had been detained and tested for forced organ donation in China, he said, and they didn't even understand what they were reading.
The cult is using these people for anti-China political objectives. Falun Gong practitioners don't understand about organ harvesting, and they are being told what to say by a group of primarily US-based political activists who try to destabilize the Chinese government, Fraser said.
China banned the Falun Gong as a cult in 1999, accusing it of disguising itself as a religious group to brainwash practitioners, taking money from them, and even encouraging them to engage in self-immolation.
Philip O'Connell, former president of The Transplantation Society, said the Falun Gong accusations are groundless and many organ donation and transplant experts do not believe such accusations.
Last year, 4,080 people in China donated organs after death, and 13,000 transplant surgeries were performed in China, in both cases the second highest number in the world, Guo Yanhong, of the National Health and Family Planning Commission' Bureau of Medical Administration, said at the conference.
Marti Manyalich president of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement, predicted that by 2020, China will be the top country in the world in the number of donors and that it will be self-sufficient in organ transplants by 2030.