On November 24, at a press conference in Melbourne, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) announced the founding of an investigation team in Victoria, Australia.
This newly founded team is a sub-team of the CIPFG Australian investigation team, founded on November 11, 2006, to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
The CIPFG announced at the press conference that the new team had issued a written application to the Chinese Embassy for permission to enter China to conduct an unrestrained, open investigation of the persecution of Falun Gong, especially on the allegation of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.
The Victoria team plans to go to China's Hebei, Jilin and Hubei Provinces for their investigations.
The leader of the CIPFG Victoria investigation team and the President of the National Civics Council, Mr. Peter Westmore, said at the conference, " Many Australians are extremely alarmed by the allegations that large numbers of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed in China to harvest their organs for the transplant trade. It is utterly unacceptable that these evil practices should take place in a country which will shortly host the Olympic Games, therefore, we are prepared to enter China to conduct interference-free investigations."
Janet Rice, the Major of the City of Maribyrnong, Victoria, is a member of the Victorian investigation team. She said at the conference, "considering the seriousness of the claims of the Kilgour-Matas report, it is irresponsible not to do any actions, that is why I am willing to be part of this investigation delegation to investigate in China."
Mr. Xiao Zhonghua, the spokesperson of the Australia CIPFG said, "The purpose of the investigation in China is to obtain first-hand evidence to urge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and to put into action the suggestions that Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas gave in their report. If the CCP government does not allow us to enter China and conduct the investigation, it only proves that the accusations in Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas' report are true."
The team's spokesperson said that they wrote to China's Consul-General in Melbourne, Liang Liugen on November 23 and asked to meet with him and discuss the team's itinerary in China. In the letter the investigation team also requested to meet with the jailed human rights attorney, Gao Zhisheng and the Falun Gong practitioner, Cao Dong, and urged the CCP to provide information as to their whereabouts. Attorney Gao is also a member of CIPFG. Cao Dong has been missing since his meeting with Edward McMillan-Scott, the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament earlier this year.
Before the press conference, the Victorian investigation team received written and phone support from some Members of Parliament of Victoria.
The MP Tony Robinson said in a letter, "I am happy to offer my support for further investigations into the extremely disturbing allegations of forced organ harvesting in China. While the Australian Government has recognised the tremendous increase in organ transplant procedure in China, and the unjust detention of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, it has not made sufficient inquiries of its own into the recent claims of forced organ harvesting. Further investigation of the claims is justified and I congratulate the work of those engaged in this pursuit."
The Victorian MP, Jenny Mikakos said, "I am writing to indicate my support for the Australian delegation intending to visit China to investigate reports of organ harvesting and persecution of Falun Gong members. I remain extremely concerned about the serious allegations that have been made in the Kilgour/Matas report and would urge the Chinese authorities to co-operate and to allow international inspectors to independently investigate these allegations."
According to Xiao Zhonghua, the Australian Investigation Team going to Mainland China consists of 53 members, including Australian federal councillors, members of Parliament, state councillors, community leaders, religious leaders, lawyers, medical professionals, human rights organizations and media professionals.
In July 2006, the former Canadian Member of Parliament, David Kilgour and the international human rights lawyer, David Matas publicized an independent investigative report regarding the CCP's harvesting of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners for profit. In August 2006, David Kilgour and Edward McMillan-Scott, the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament, conducted a lecture tour in Australia to promote awareness of the report. Major parties in Australia agreed to urge the CCP to allow an international independent investigation into the live organ harvesting and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.