LONDON, U.K.—Removing organs from prisoners of conscience in China is happening on an “industrial scale”, a group of MPs heard in a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Chinese authorities said they would stop all organ harvesting from prisoners by Jan. 1, 2015, but a report published in June this year suggests otherwise.
“Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update”, compiled by authors David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann, includes research into the public records of 712 hospitals in China that carry out liver and kidney transplants.
They estimate that around 60,000 to 100,000 transplants have taken place in China each year since the year 2000, compared to the official statistics from China of 10,000 to 20,000 per year.
Researchers have also found evidence that the main source of organs is from forcible extraction from prisoners of conscience, particularly from practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that has been outlawed in China since 1999. Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists, and House Christians are also thought to be affected.
During the Westminster Hall debate MP Fiona Bruce said: “Despite the fact that the authors of the report have challenged – indeed asked – the Chinese government to reject their assertions, to come out and say that they are incorrect, there has been complete silence. There has been no rejection of the research or the information, or indeed of the authors’ conclusions.”
Mrs Bruce, who is Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, tabled an Early Day Motion titled “Forced organ harvesting in China” on Oct. 10. The Commission also launched a new report specifically around forced organ harvesting in China.
The government’s stance at the debate was reserved. Sir Alan Duncan, representing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said the practice of organ harvesting is abhorrent, but was sceptical if it was being done “systematically” in China or at all, and said there was a lack of strong evidence.
He received information from Chinese authorities on their organ donation policies, who claimed their donations are handled in a “clear legal framework that meets international standards”.
MP Jim Shannon said that he was disappointed by Sir Duncan’s reaction and that there is substantial evidence in “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update” that systematic organ harvesting in China is taking place. He also said that he had personally met some of the families who had lost their loved ones.
“We’ve got the bit between our teeth now,” he said.
The European Parliament passed a written declaration on stopping organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in July, and the US congress unanimously passed a resolution condemning state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China in June.