Judge Says: As Early as 1980s, Organs Were Harvested in China

July 5, 2013 Updated: July 5, 2013

A retired judge from the city of Wuhan, in central China, told the Chinese-language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television on July 4 that over 30 years ago the security organs of the Chinese Communist Party began to extract the organs from executed prisoners for transplant.

The interview with NTD is unusual in that the judge, Pan Renqiang, formerly of the Wuhan No. 1 Criminal Court, gives his full name and former position, and is still inside China. His granting the interview is also a sign that people in China are gaining news and awareness of the organ harvesting carried out by the CCP’s security and military-medical apparatus, a subject that is tightly censored.

“In 1983, the CCP’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee sent down a notice to the Ministry of Health, setting the precedent,” Pan said. The PLAC is the high-level Communist Party committee that oversees all law enforcement organs in China, including the police, labor camps, secret police, etc. “It said that all the public security authorities were to cooperate with health officials in removing the organs of death row prisoners.”

Pan continued: “I profited from, participated in, and witnessed it.”

He also explained the process by which organs are harvested from executed prisoners. Detailed and precise information about this is often difficult to obtain, given that the participants are usually public security officials or were the victims who had their organs extracted. Pan indicates that judicial authorities would know ahead of time whose organs were to be removed.

“After the prisoner has been sentenced to death, but before the sentence has been carried out, we give the prisoner an injection in the bottom, to prevent their blood from coagulating, and do whatever else the doctor required. The forensic office would deal with the operational side; a doctor would drive an ambulance to the site, and at the execution site remove the organs.”

The body was then incinerated.

“Public security authorities would send a few dozen police to the crematorium to watch over the process,” Pan said.

According to experts, toward the end of the 1990s Chinese security forces began to experiment with Uyghur prisoners of conscience as a source of transplant organs. Years later, they began to extensively exploit another source: practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that the Party launched a persecution against in 1999. By the early years of the new millennium practitioners in labor camps and prisons were being killed for their organs, according to investigative reports. They soon became the largest source of organs, according to those reports.

Judge Pan spoke to NTD just days after he declared that he officially quit the Chinese Communist Party, in a lengthy interview with Sound of Hope Radio where he laid out his decades of grievances with the regime and what he called his deeply unjust treatment at the hands of corrupt officials and real estate developers.

From 1997 to 2002, he spent five years in prison, due to what he said was a frame-up. “I would have died in 1996 if I didn’t get rushed to the hospital,” he said. “So I’m no longer scared of death.”

Pan said he joined the Party at age 17. “This Party is a corrupt dictatorship that has lost the public’s trust. It oppresses the people and infringes on their rights. Everyone hates it. Now, more and more people in China really detest the Communist Party,” he said in the interview.

Update: The article was updated to include more information about the history of organ harvesting in China.