We are inundated with advertising signs in Canada and North America in general.
But imagine walking by a hospital and seeing an advertisement for forced organ harvesting.
It sounds unbelievable but Canadian Falun Gong practitioners from Toronto are trying to spread the word about these alleged atrocities happening in China, on a car tour which made a stop in front of City Hall in North Bay this afternoon.
“We are raising awareness and trying to spread the message that organ harvesting is still going on and it never stopped,” said Hongyan Lu, one of the organizers who moved to Canada in 2003.
“The country has actually built hundreds of hospitals with transplant facilities as well.”
Those signs diagram the organ and show the expensive price tag that comes with it.
According to their signs, a heart can go for as much as $130,000 US and lungs for as much as $150,000 US.
“We want people to know if you want an organ you can get it faster in China but be careful maybe somebody is dying because of it,” said Lu.
The protesters believe those organs are coming from living prisoners who are part of a state sanctioned organ harvesting done on non-consenting prisoners in the People’s Republic of China.
“You can find matching organs in China in maybe two weeks or less; sometimes in days,” said Lu.
“So that’s pretty obvious that they have to have a stock.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution in the House condemning state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting and called on China to "immediately end the practice of organ harvesting from all prisoners of conscience.”
It also called on China to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and release those who have been imprisoned.
The action from U.S. lawmakers came after former Canadian MP David Kilgour, human rights lawyer David Matas and journalist Ethan Gutman released a new report based on research that they say shows the Chinese system performs between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants a year, while officially reporting only 10,000.
Lu believes the tour is important and they are receiving a lot of support along the way.
“Once people know they are very supportive and they are very shocked as well. It is hard to believe or accept this is still going on in these modern days.”
Falun Gong is considered a spiritual discipline that is an illegal practice in China.