December 5, 2006, The Sidney Morning Herald
Queensland's two major organ transplant hospitals have banned training Chinese surgeons because of concerns that China takes organs from executed prisoners.
Health Minister Stephen Robertson revealed the move in a letter tabled in parliament this week in response to a petition supporting the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
Falun Gong, which has about 100 million members worldwide, has accused the Chinese government of harvesting organs from thousands of members executed over the past seven years.
There also have been claims of live organ removal from people in detention centres and hospitals.
Mr Robertson said his department had been aware of the allegations relating to Chinese prisoners generally for a number of years and sought written assurances from the Chinese government that the practices did not go on.
When the assurances were not received, the Prince Charles Hospital and the Princess Alexandra Hospital put in place a policy of not training any Chinese surgeons in transplant surgical techniques.
It is not known if they are the only hospitals in Australia to do so.
They also banned joint research programs into organ transplantation with China.
But Mr Robertson said the hospitals did undertake training of Chinese doctors in other areas of medicine.
The petition called on the government to support moves by the recently formed Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG).
The coalition was set up to investigate the forced organ harvesting allegations and the illegal detention of Falun Gong practitioners.
It has sought to prevent Australian citizens from travelling to China for organ transplants and ban companies, institutions and individuals from providing goods and services to China's organ transplant programs.
International reports have suggested that of the 60,000 organ transplants the China Medical Organ Transplant Association recorded between 2000 and 2005, only 18,500 came from identifiable sources.