Shocking reports of forced organ harvesting emanate from China

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Nations which are keen to see a world order dominated by China will do well to read reports about forced harvesting of organs of ‘prisoners of conscience’ that still goes on behind the bamboo curtain. Prisoners of conscience are persons imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs, or for their identity, even if they
have neither used nor advocated violence.

There are incidents of illegal harvesting of organs, either by force or by monetary incentives, in many corners of the world. In the case of China, however, as reports suggest, such transplantations go on with state sanction and in large numbers.

“Although this practice occurs in many countries, the situation in China is particularly concerning,” a study by McMaster University on July 29, 2022, has pointed out. “China is the only country in the world to have an industrial scale organ trafficking practice that harvests organs from executed prisoners of conscience. This practice is known as forced organ harvesting.” Organ transplantations take place in India too, due to the mismatch between the demand for transplanted organs and their availability. Often, poor people are lured with money to donate their organs. But this is strictly illegal and police action takes place against offenders. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act of 1994 allows donation of organs between relatives and prohibits any monetary benefit to the donors.

The study by McMaster University has raised the extremely distressing question that China uses locked-up prisoners of conscience as an organ donor pool to provide compatible transplants for patients. These prisoners or ‘donors’ are executed and their organs harvested against their will and used in a “prolific and profitable transplant industry,” says the study.

Human rights experts of the United Nation as well as the European Parliament have expressed alarm at such barbaric practices going on in China with the sanction of the state, but the Communist Party of China does not seem to care about international opinion.

On June 14, 2021, human rights experts of the United Nations in a report from Geneva expressed extreme alarm about “reports of alleged ‘organ harvesting’ targeting minorities, including ‘Falun Gong’ practitioners, Uyghur, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians in detention centres in China.” Falun Gong is a new religious movement founded in China in the early 1990s, now headquartered in New York.

The experts said there was credible information that detainees from ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities might be forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations such as ultrasound and X-rays without their informed consent, while other prisoners were not required to undergo such examinations. The results of the examinations were reportedly registered in a database of living organ sources that facilitated organ allocation.

“Forced organ harvesting in China appears to be targeting specific ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities held in detention, often without being explained the reasons for arrest or given arrest warrants, at different locations,” the experts said. “We are deeply concerned by reports of discriminatory treatment of the prisoners or detainees based on their ethnicity and religion or belief.

According to the allegations received, the most common organs removed from the prisoners are reportedly hearts, kidneys, livers, corneas and, less commonly, parts of livers. This form of trafficking with a medical nature allegedly involves health sector professionals, including surgeons, anaesthetists and other medical specialists.”

The European Parliament, too, on May 5, 2022, adopted a resolution against continued organ harvesting in China. Expressing “serious concern” about reports of “systematic, inhumane and state-sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners in China, and more specifically from Falun Gong practitioners,” the members of European

Parliament recalled that “China has ratified the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which provides for the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of the said practices.”

Members of the European Parliament consider that the practice of organ harvesting from living prisoners on death row and prisoners of conscience in China may amount to crimes against humanity. They called on the Chinese authorities to “respond promptly to the allegations of organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

Barrister Eleanor Stephenson wrote in the London Telegraph on June 9, 2023, that forced organ harvesting was a state-sanctioned Chinese programme in which prisoners of conscience were executed for their organs. Every year, an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 transplants were carried out as part of nationwide industry worth more than $800 million.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, a former health administrator and a member of the House of Lords, told British politicians in 2022 that the victims were “arbitrarily arrested, detained in camps, tortured, face sexual violence, disappear while in detention and are murdered on a vast scale for their organs. U.K. – based independent people’s tribunal called China Tribunal, formed in 2019, have since confirmed forced organ harvesting.

The Telegraph columnist has pointed out that organ harvesting to occur on such a large scale cannot be carried out without the complicity of medical practitioners in China. “Here is a risk that many of the western medical institutions which strike with commercial partnership in China can also be implicated.”

In any interaction with China, the risk of this complicity is very real, it has been pointed out. “If a medical professional provided clinical training to transplant surgeons involved in forced organ harvesting, this conduct can amount to complicity. A U.K. transplant surgeon may provide training to a Chinese surgeon who returns to work in a state-run hospital where forced organ harvesting is occurring, medical journals may accept research conducted using unethically sourced organs, or medical equipment manufacturers may supply equipment for optimizing organ viability to China which are
used in organ harvesting.

Thus, it is a call from a British legal expert that other countries should shun China in the field of medicines. Medical professionals, hospitals and manufacturers of medical equipment must have no contacts with China where an abominable practice like forced organ harvesting is carried out with state patronage. The institutions in particular which should avoid any dealings with China are universities, hospitals, independent professional bodies, medical journals and transplantation societies. Western institutions like medical journals have laboured much to unravel the truth about organ harvesting in China, a practice that is understandably kept under the wraps by Chinese authorities. The Tom Lantos

Human Rights Commission of the House of Representatives of the U. S. has cited The American Journal of Transplantations, the top peer-reviewed publication on the subject, publishing in April 2022 a computational analysis of 2,838 Chinese language articles in Chinese academic journals between 1980 and 2015. This supported the inference that transplant surgeons in the People’s Republic of China removed organs, including hearts and lungs, in violation of the accepted “dead donor” rule that debarred such transplants before donors had been declared “brain dead.”

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has pointed out that the bipartisan legislation ‘Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act 2021,’ introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, will expand the powers of the United States Government to combat organ harvesting, prohibit the export of organ transplant surgery devices to entities responsible for human organ trafficking, impose sanctions
on individuals and government officials in countries which support human organ trafficking and introduce mandatory reporting on human organ trafficking in foreign countries and on American institutions which train organ transplant surgeons. The Act introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican, and Senator Chris Coons, Democrat, and passed on February 28, 2023,wants to combat the unethical and criminal practice of harvesting organs, often from minority groups
and other vulnerable victims, in China and elsewhere. The legislation authorizes the Secretary of State to deny passports and visas to anyone involved in illegal organ trafficking.

“There is growing evidence that the Chinese Communist Party continues to harvest organs from persecuted religious groups, prisoners of conscience and inmates. This Bill will identify and punish CCP members involved in forced organ harvesting. It is past time to hold Beijing accountable for these heinous acts,” says Senator Tom Cotton. “Force organ harvesting is cruel and immoral, often targeting ethnic and religious minorities and some of the most vulnerable groups in the world. The bipartisan Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act will empower the Biden administration to take action against those who practice this despicable crime,” says Senator Chirs Coons.

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