Island tour raises profile of Falun Gong
Aaron Bichard
Members of Victoria's Falun Gong group practice the standing meditations in Duncan's city square Thursday as part of an Island tour to raise awareness about organ harvesting.

By Aaron BichardThe Pictorial,
Aug 20 2006

Human rights issue: Campaign aimed at educating people on alleged organ harvesting

People strolling through Duncan city square Thursday morning were treated to some shocking, grisly images as a tour of Falun Gong practitioners made its way up Island.

The group was trying to raise awareness of what members believe is organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party from living Falun Gong practitioners to be sold to foreigners, including Canadians.

"The government is warehousing thousands of Falun Gong members and cutting their organs from their bodies while they're still alive," said Joan Quain, a member of the tour. "Then they burn their remains.

"There's no absolute proof because no one has ever come out alive."

The basis for the Island awareness tour, which is being simultaneously held with information tours across Canada, is a report released July 6 by human rights lawyer David Matas and former secretary of state for the Asia Pacific region David Kilgour.

The publication delved into the allegations of organ harvesting against the Chinese government and concluded organs were being taken from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.

"If you need an organ transplant here, it can take two years," Quain said. "There, it takes a week."

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, was started in 1992 in China and includes elements of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. People use meditation and exercises to improve spiritual and physical health.

The Chinese government banned Falun Gong in 1999 because it believed the movement, which by then included millions of followers, threatened Communist beliefs.

"There have been hundreds of thousands arrested in China and if they don't agree to stop practising Falun Gong, they aren't seen again," Quain said. "And it doesn't just affect people in China. China is a big force in the world market and it affects us all."

The group is calling for government to take a stance against China and condemn its actions, and to demand an independent inquiry be allowed into the possible violation of human rights.

A Duncan city council committee was asked Monday to examine the issue and formulate a response.