Summary of Organ Harvesting in China



Chinese Communist Regime's history of organ harvesting from prisoners

In 1993, Amnesty International reported organ harvesting from prisoners on a widespread scale. In 1994, Human Rights Watch also provided compelling evidence which included text of a government decree on the subject. [1]

In 1998, Fresenius Medical Care AG, a German kidney dialysis company, pulled out of China, claiming that the Chinese military officials had probably made it an unintentional accomplice in the selling of organs from executed prisoners to wealthy foreigners. [2] In the same year, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the sale of organs of executed Chinese prisoners. In 2001 a Chinese doctor, Wang Guoqi, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights, where he described coordinated procedures between surgeons and Chinese government officials to extract prisoners' organs immediately after executions which were "intentionally botched" so as to not damage the organs. [3]

In 2005, The Times reported that although China has denied for many years that organ harvesting of prisoners as a trade exists, Huang Jiefu, the Deputy Health Minister, acknowledged that the practice is indeed widespread. The article explains the main reason for using prisoners: "The supply of organs in China is severely restricted because of religious traditions that require the body to be whole when it enters the afterlife." [4]

Faced with the accumulating evidence and numerous media reports, on 19 April 2006 the British Transplantation Society (BTS) publicly condemned the practice of extracting organs from executed prisoners without consent as an "unacceptable" human rights violation.

Why Falun Gong prisoners of conscience are particularly vulnerable

In 1998, the Chinese Communist regime's survey found 70-100 million people were practising Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice of the Buddhist school. Feeling threatened by such a large group that was not under his control, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned Falun Gong in 1999 giving the direct order to "Destroy their reputation, bankrupt them financially and annihilate them physically." [5]

Since the ban, these tens of millions of people have been placed outside the protection of the law in China. They are refused education and social support, fired from their jobs, imprisoned without trial, and are tortured in forced labour camps, where deaths of Falun Gong practitioners "count as suicide". Many practitioners who were arrested often refuse to disclose their names and personal details for fear of implicating their families, friends and colleagues.

These situations make Falun Gong practitioners particularly vulnerable, since the regime can remove their organs without being held accountable for their actions. Victims' family members have no way of knowing what is happening to them and when it is too late, no legal recourse afterwards.

Recent information of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners

In March 2006, The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) confirmed through its investigations that hospitals and transplant centres in China claim to use organs taken from live Falun Gong practitioners for transplants. [6]

In April, 2006, The Weekly Standard interviewed the wife of a Chinese surgeon who claims to have performed organ removals for many years from Falun Gong practitioners at a secret organ extraction facility attached to the Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Centre in Sujiatun, near Shenyang, "he and the other doctors - some hired from the outside, each with a speciality, all constantly on call - would come in and remove the patient's kidneys, skin tissue, corneas, and other organs, seemingly to order." [7]

The same woman told The Epoch Times: "Some [Falun Gong] practitioners were still breathing after their organs were removed against their will, but they were thrown into the hospital's incinerator anyway." Organs extracted from live persons are known to fetch higher prices. [8]

The scale of the problem

The true number of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners is not known. In December 2002, The Economist reported that in the labour camp it visited 28% of the incarcerated were practitioners of Falun Gong. Even if one accepts the Chinese official total labour camp population of 260,000, which is widely believed to be a serious underestimate, there would be 70,000 practitioners incarcerated at that given moment. The total number over the past 7 years would be many times higher. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the subject of torture and detention, his 2005 report raised the concern that in China "reports of arrests, detention ... in particular Falun Gong practitioners, are increasing". [9]

According to the Communist regime's official statistics, there were only 78 liver transplants in China during the eight years between 1991 and 1998. Since the regime started to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the number of liver transplants rocketed from 118 in 1999 to over 3000 in 2003 [10]. This sharp rise during the time of a major suppression campaign may not be a pure coincidence.

Investigations 

The Chairman of the British Transplantation Society Ethics Committee, Dr. Stephen Wigmore, recently called for an investigation by the United Nations and the World Health Organization on this issue. [11][12]

The difficulty of conducting independent investigation in China is well known and this has been demonstrated again on 21st May when Edward McMillan-Scott, a European Parliament Vice-President, held a secret meeting with two Falun Gong practitioners in a Beijing hotel. One of them was subsequently held under house arrest, the other hasn't been heard from since. An American who facilitated the meeting was interrogated and deported.

"The practitioners I met in Beijing told me of their imprisonment and that of their wives, of the specially harsh treatment they suffered, including sleep deprivation, degrading and humiliating punishments and beatings... One said he knew 30 fellow practitioners who had been beaten to death. They were aware of organ harvesting: one had seen the cadaver of his friend and fellow practitioner after body parts had been removed."
– Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament [13]

On 8 May 2006, Canada's former Secretary of State (Asia Pacific) David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer, David Matas, launched an investigation into the allegations of organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners. The 46-page report which was released on 7 July concludes:

"the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999, have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas, were virtually simultaneously seized for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries."[14]

 

References:
[1] http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa170032004 March 2004
[2] http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9407E7DF1630F934A35750C0A96E958260 March 1998
[3] http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/06/28/china.organ/ June 2001
[4] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-1901558,00.html December 2005
[5] http://www.faluninfo.net up-to-date information about the persecution of Falun Gong
[6] http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/en/ April 2006
[7] http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/160ymogj.asp?pg=1 April 2006
[8] http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-4-17/40496.html April 2006
[9] UN report E/CN.4/2005/62/Add.1; paragraph 256 on page 53 March 2005
[10] http://eng.soundofhope.org/article.aspx?catID=465&newsID=36652 April 2006
[11] http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-5-8/41331.html May 2006
[12] http://www.ntdtv.com/xtr/en/2006/05/01/a_43512.html May 2006
[13] http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-6-4/42312.html June 2006
[14] http://www.organharvestinvestigation.net/ July 2006
 

Further reading:
Human Rights Watch: Organ Procurement and Judicial Execution in China August 1994.
BBC News: China Selling Prisoners' Organs April 2006.
Sky News: China Denies Organs Claim April 2006.
The Epoch Times: Respected Surgeon Urges Others to Speak Out Against Forced Organ Donations in China May 2006.
Inter Press Service News Agency: DEATH PENALTY: British Surgeons, Rights Groups Warn Chinese to Halt Organ Harvesting May 2006.
Yorkshire Post: Secret Atrocities of Chinese Regime June 2006.
Canada TV: Chinese embassy denies organ harvesting report July 2006.
The Epoch Times: Kilgour and Matas Respond to Chinese Government July 2006.

Aug 17,2006
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