China Transplant Expert Disinvited From Israel Conference Over Suspected Link to Forced Organ Harvesting

November 18, 2018 Updated: November 19, 2018

Dong Jiahong, one of China’s most famous transplant surgeons, has been disinvited from the China–Israel Innovation and Investment Summit, following complaints about his suspected participation in forced organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience.

The high-profile conference, organized by the Chinese and Israeli governments, is being held in Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20. As with the six previous summits, participants include Chinese ambassadorial staff in Israel and officials from the local city and Israeli governments, as well as experts and entrepreneurs in the fields of life science, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

Suspected Culpability

Dong, a leading Chinese surgeon,  planned to attend the conference as a medical specialist, but the Haifa Economic Cooperation (HEC) withdrew his invitation because of pressure from the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ICETAC) and other groups. ICETAC is a worldwide coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers, and human-rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting in China.

Reports by human-rights investigators and journalists since 2006 strongly suggest that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been harvesting organs from thousands or tens of thousands of still-living prisoners, the majority being practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual practice. Also believed to be among the victims—who are invariably murdered on the operating table—are Uyghurs, independent Chinese Christians, and Tibetans.

On Nov. 1, Dong was listed by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) as a possible participant in forced organ harvesting. A WOIPFG announcement says that “Dong Jiahong is strongly suspected of extracting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.”

Dong, skilled in precision surgery involving hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease, is executive president at Beijing’s Tsinghua Changgung Hospital and chief expert of its hepatobiliary and pancreatic center. The hospital is affiliated with Tsinghua University, China’s top-rated technical school. Last November, Dong became an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Prior to his current posting, Dong was head of hepatobiliary surgery at the elite 301 Hospital run by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

According to previous research, much of China’s organ transplant abuse is carried out within the CCP’s military and police apparatus.

‘Warning Against Evil’

Teng Biao, a China human-rights activist and lawyer who now lives in the United States, told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times that inviting a professional suspected of organ harvesting would damage the image and legitimacy of the China–Israel meeting.  At the same time, Teng believes that Israeli authorities sent a message to the CCP.

“For Dong Jiahong and his employers and managers, among whom are officials working for the CCP’s propaganda organs and departments in charge of handling religions, as well as Chinese in the medical profession, this is a warning for them to stop committing evil,” he said.

Since March 2006, there has been an increasing number of investigations and reports alleging that the CCP uses its military and security forces to murder Falun Gong practitioners and other still-living prisoners of conscience for their organs. Insider testimonies have suggested that the authorities use the prison system as a living pool of organ donors to be killed on demand.

Canadian human-rights investigators David Kilgour and David Matas released the results of their preliminary investigation in a 2006 report, titled “Report Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.” In 2010, the two were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since then, Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist and author specializing in China; Arthur Caplan, professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Health; and many others in the medical, human rights, judicial, and news fields have spoken out against the CCP’s alleged forced organ-harvesting practices.