One major question party–state President Xi Jinping avoided during his visit last week to the White House was whether he will stop organ pillaging/trafficking from Falun Gong, House Christian, Tibetan, and Uyghur prisoners of conscience across China.
The other visitor to Washington, the much-loved Pope Francis, after meeting the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, and other transplant surgeons a year ago authorized the delegation to say publicly that “the trade in organs is immoral and a crime against humanity.”
Dr. Torsten Trey of the international NGO, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), stresses that a Beijing promise in late 2014 to cease harvesting from executed prisoners did not include prisoners of conscience. This group, rarely convicted of any offense and sent to forced labor camps for up to three years only on a police signature, no doubt today comprises more than half of the victims. No Party official has ever admitted to seizing organs from such prisoners.
Harvesting of organs first began in the 1980s. “Donors” were persons convicted of one of numerous capital offences and the recipients were Chinese nationals. In 1984, the security ministry purported to regulate the commerce, making it clear that the uses of such organs must be kept “strictly secret.” This edict remains in force.
In the 1990s, political prisoners from the much-abused Uyghur community in Xinjiang Province became an additional source for organs. Dr. Enver Tohti testified to U.K. MPs that as a general surgeon he was forced in June 1995 to remove the liver and kidneys of an executed Uyghur prisoner before the man died.
In the late 1990s, according to Party estimates, between 70 and 100 million Chinese practiced the exercise and meditation discipline of Falun Gong.
In 2001, after Party head Jiang Zemin had begun the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong nationwide, their organs were first seized involuntarily, with some being trafficked to organ tourists from abroad at high prices.
Organ transplants across China increased exponentially after 2001. Hospitals began advertising on the Internet waiting times of only several weeks for vital organs. Heart recipients were told the exact time their new organ would be ready—impossible unless timed around an execution. By 2006, the party–state claimed there were more than 600 “capable” transplant centers across China.
The 2014 book, “The Slaughter,” by Ethan Gutmann, an American living in the U.K., provides a meticulously researched record of repression, torture, and murder by the Party, witnessed by persons directly involved, usually as survivors but also some defectors. He deftly places the persecution of the Falun Gong, Tibetan, Uyghur, and House Christian communities in context, noting Falun Gong as the group most viciously and continuously targeted to the present day.
Ample space is given to speculation as to why Beijing risks so much, including international opprobrium, to covertly murder such large groups of its own citizens.
We read about witnesses who received physical examinations in forced labor camps, prisons, and black jails, which were clearly aimed only at assessing their organs for tissue matching. Gutmann adds much to the evidence David Matas, I, and many others have compiled about Falun Gong by documenting similar crimes done to Uyghurs, Tibetans, and House Christians.
He explains how he arrives at his “best estimate” that organs of 65,000 Falun Gong and 2,000 to 4,000 Uyghurs, Tibetans, or House Christians were “harvested” in the 2000–2008 period alone. No “donors” survive in China because all vital organs are removed to be trafficked.
Like many of us, Gutmann respects highly the ongoing campaign by DAFOH to end organ pillaging/trafficking in China, but is gravely disappointed by the abolition efforts to date of some other bodies, including the World Health Organization and The Transplantation Society (TTS).
The TTS was created to provide ethical leadership for transplant surgeons worldwide. Recently, despite Beijing’s transplant practices over decades, three TTS leaders visiting China gave the impression in statements to Chinese media after visiting six out of 165 licensed transplant centers that transplants are now ethically done across the country. Most observers, however, assert that the immensely profitable pillaging/trafficking in organs will continue as “business as usual” in China until world pressure grows even stronger.
In such circumstances, the rest of the democratic world might in the meantime follow the lead of Israel and Taiwan by enacting legislation, which makes it a crime for their nationals to purchase a trafficked organ anywhere.
David Kilgour, a lawyer by profession, served in Canada’s House of Commons for almost 27 years. In Jean Chretien’s Cabinet, he was secretary of state (Africa and Latin America) and secretary of state (Asia-Pacific). He is the author of several books and co-author with David Matas of “Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.