UN Weighs in on Forced Organ Harvesting in China

A team od doctors performing transplant surgery.

Since the year 2000, the organ transplantation system in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has rapidly expanded. (Image: Piron Guillaume via Unsplash)

Human rights experts at the United Nations have said they’re extremely alarmed by reports of alleged forced organ harvesting in China. In a statement released June 14, the UN experts said that the minorities targeted for organ harvesting include Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians.

The experts said they had received credible information that detainees from ethnic, linguistic, or religious minorities may be forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations, such as ultrasound and x-rays, without their informed consent, while other prisoners are not required to undergo such examinations. The results of the examinations are reportedly registered in a database of living organ sources that facilitates organ allocation.

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Among the UN experts who signed who were a part of the statement were Siobhán Mullally, special rapporteur on trafficking in persons; Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues; Ahmed Shaheed, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; and Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

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 in their statement.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of discriminatory treatment of the prisoners or detainees based on their ethnicity and religion or belief,” they said.

“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, anesthetists and other medical specialists.”

UN First Asked About Forced Organ Harvesting in China in 2006

The statement said UN human rights experts have previously raised the issue of forced organ harvesting in China with the Chinese regime in 2006 and 2007. The statement said that the Chinese regime’s responses lacked data, such as waiting times for organ allocation or information on the sources of organs.

The experts also voiced concerns over the regime’s claims of a functioning voluntary organ donation system that supplies the country’s transplant needs.

“Despite the gradual development of a voluntary organ donation system, information continues to emerge regarding serious human rights violations in the procurement of organs for transplants in China,” the UN experts said.

They further added that concern remains at the lack of independent oversight as to whether the consent to donation and organ allocation is effectively given by prisoners or detainees. It is also reported that families of deceased detainees and prisoners are prevented from claiming their bodies, they said.

The experts call on the Chinese regime to promptly respond to the allegations of organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms.

The statement by the UN experts follows news from earlier this year that bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. that is aimed at holding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for forced organ harvesting targeting minority groups and other vulnerable victims in China.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, chair of the China Tribunal, found there was forced organ harvesting in China on Falun Gong followers
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, chair of the China Tribunal, found that large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for their organs in China. (Image: via Justin Palmer)

Such national and international moves follow the China Tribunal, an independent international people’s tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, which assessed all available evidence regarding forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.

The London-based tribunal held public hearings where over 50 witnesses testified. Huge volumes of written evidence were analyzed, including research showing the deliberate falsification of China’s public organ donation data that helped the CCP to cover up the killing of innocent people, primarily peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, to support a lucrative trade in human organs.

The judgment’s findings, released last year, prompted worldwide media attention over an atrocity that first came to light in 2006 following claims that imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners were being killed for their organs in northeastern China.

The tribunal said organ harvesting is part of what has been described as a genocidal campaign against Falun Gong, which has been targeted by the communist state since 1999. Others thought to be subjected by the Chinese state to this transplant abuse include Uyghurs, Tibetans, and house Christians, but on a smaller scale.

Watch this video from the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) about organ harvesting in China below:

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