‘Unmatched Wickedness’: Tribunal Confirms Longstanding Allegations of Organ Harvesting by China
During a rally joined by thousands of Falun Gong practitioners at Taipei 23 April 2006, four demonstrators play in an action drama against what they said was the Chinese communists’ killing of Falun Gong followers and harvesting of their organs in concentration camps. (Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images)
The Chinese regime is killing prisoners of conscience and carving out their organs for transplant, a panel of lawyers and experts have found after a yearlong investigation.
China is conducting between “60,000 transplants to 100,000 organ transplants per year” –- with many organs forcibly removed from religious prisoners, according to a nearly 700-page report published last year.
Reports alleging the disturbing practice of forcible organ removal for profit first emerged in 2006.
That year, The Epoch Times first reported the account of a whistleblower using the pseudonym Annie, the ex-wife of a Chinese neurosurgeon. Annie said her former husband recounted that he had personally removed the corneas of about 2,000 anesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in a hospital in Shenyang City in northeastern China from 2001 to 2003.
“It is agonizing to recall the past. The organs removed from a living human being fetch a much higher price than from a dead body,” Annie said.
“After the live organ removal, some Falun Gong practitioners were still alive and breathing, but some of their bodies were directly thrown into the crematory oven. No trace of their bodies is left.”
In comparison, 36,528 patients received organ transplants in the U.S. in 2018.
Evidence in the report was collected by organ harvesting experts, including David Matas and Ethan Gutmann, who have both been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their investigative work in China, according to The Epoch Times.
Since there is no voluntary organ donation system in China, the main source of live victims for the transplants is from practitioners of Falun Gong—a minority religious movement. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a vicious persecution against its followers in 1999, which has not let up.
“Organ harvesting as a means of eliminating the Falun Gong population appears to have begun by the following year (2000),” according to The Times.
Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong are in a huge network of labor camps across China and are susceptible to being placed on lists for organ extraction. It is also suspected that as many as one million Uyghurs held in Chinese labor camps have also been targeted for organ transplants.
“The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, [and] that more may suffer in similar ways,” tribunal chairman Sir Geoffrey Nice QC said in delivering the judgment on June 17.
In most countries, when a patient is placed on an organ transplant list, wait times can be months or years, depending on the organ. But for patients traveling to China, an organ can be obtained within days or weeks, which raises the suspicion of experts.
As a result of the short wait times, China is a mecca for organ tourism. Chinese transplant websites cite an “unlimited supply” and the ability to “predate your heart transplantation.”
One brave Chinese doctor, Enver Tohti, has publicly testified about the practice. He was part of an organ harvesting team that thought they were doing their duty to “eliminate the enemy of the state.”
In 1995, he said two chief surgeons asked him to prepare a team for a large surgery the next morning.
Tohti and his team were brought outside the hospital and told to wait for gunshots, according to The Times.
“After gunshots were heard, we rushed in. An armed officer directed us to the far-right corner, where I can see a civilian-clothed man lying on the ground with a single bullet wound to his right chest,” Tohti testified.
Then he said chief surgeons ordered and guided him to extract the liver and two kidneys. “The man was alive,” he said. The wounded man tried to resist but was too weak.
Dr. Tohti believes the Uyghurs are now a source for organs. He noted recent reports of free health check-ups in the Xinjiang region for “improving the quality of life of Uyghurs.”
“We suspect that the CCP is building a national database for organ trade,” he said.
Some transplant surgeons complain of working 24-hour shifts, performing back-to-back transplant surgeries. Hundreds of hospitals with transplant capabilities have been operating in China since 2000, according to The Times.
“The ultimate conclusion of this update, and indeed our previous work, is that China has engaged in the mass killing of innocents,” David Matas told the National Press Club.
The report reviews 700 known organ transplantation centers in China.
Organs for transplant need to be retrieved before or soon after death, and then quickly implanted into a new body.
In a one-week period, Changzheng hospital performed 16 liver and 15 kidney transplants. This would be difficult, if not impossible, in a U.S. hospital. It suggests that a captive donor population stands at the ready in China for its organs to be harvested.
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“It’s hard to think of another plausible explanation, apart from killing on demand,” one doctor told The Times.
In the report, a former Chinese police officer said he witnessed a live harvest operation conducted without anesthesia.
In the last few years, some thought the scale of organ harvesting had retreated, or at least that Falun Gong adherents and other prisoners of conscience were no longer targeted.
The authors disagree. “They’ve built a juggernaut,” Gutmann said. “We’re looking at a gigantic flywheel, which they can’t seem to stop. I don’t believe it’s just profit behind it, I believe it’s ideology, mass murder, and the cover-up of a terrible crime where the only way to cover up that crime is to keep killing people who know about it.”
Call to Action
The tribunal said that governments and international bodies “must do their duty” in relation to the findings that the Chinese regime has committed crimes against humanity. It added that “there is a duty on those who have the power to institute investigations for, and proceedings at, international courts or at the U.N. to test whether genocide has been committed.”
Failing that, the tribunal urged citizens to act jointly to pressure governments “so that those government and international bodies are unable not to act.”
Finally, the tribunal noted that governments and those interacting with the Chinese regime, including doctors, medical establishments, businesses, and educational institutions, “should now recognize that they are, to the extent revealed [in the judgment], interacting with a criminal state.”
According to Sky News, the Chinese Embassy in London said in a statement, “The Chinese government always follows the World Health Organization’s guiding principles on human organ transplant, and has strengthened its management on organ transplant in recent years.”
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