US Rights Group Calls on UN to Address China’s Forced Organ Harvesting

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
September 24, 2021 Updated: September 24, 2021

U.S.-based advocacy group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) is calling on the United Nations to take action against China’s state-sanctioned practice of killing prisoners of conscience to supply organs for its lucrative transplant market.

“The failure of the United Nations to address and thoroughly investigate the forced organ harvesting from living people in China is an unacceptable omission that needs to be resolved,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, founder and executive director of DAFOH, in a Sept. 23 press release (pdf).

The 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly began on Sept. 17 in New York City, as world leaders and foreign ministers gather to discuss issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

DAFOH stated that China’s horrific practice should be on the agenda of the world body. It also called on participants of the U.N. summit to “treat this issue like any other crimes against humanity.”

“After more than two decades of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, DAFOH believes the UN has fallen short in taking the lead in stopping these crimes against humanity,” according to the press release.

China is one of the top destinations for those in need of vital organs as its transplant industry boasts an extraordinarily short waiting time. To explain such a phenomenon, the communist regime has claimed that there are many voluntary donors in China while locals have a low demand for transplant organs. Beijing has also said it relies on its national organ donation system to procure organs.

In 2019, evidence surfaced that Beijing was killing innocent people to drive its transplant market. That year, a London-based people’s tribunal published a report concluding that forced organ harvesting was happening on a “significant scale” in China, with Falun Gong practitioners being the main source of organs.

Adherents of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice also known as Falun Dafa, have been targets of persecution by the Chinese regime since 1999. Several years later, the Chinese regime allegedly began harvesting organs from detained Falun Gong adherents.

China’s public transplant data has also been debunked, according to a 2016 report by David Matas, a human rights lawyer; David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific; and Ethan Gutmann, a U.S. investigative journalist. The report estimated that Beijing carried out between 60,000 and 100,000 organ transplants a year, as opposed to 10,000 claimed by Beijing.

The report concluded that most of the organs came from Falun Gong adherents, while the remaining originated from other prisoners of conscience—House Christians, Uyghur Muslims, and Tibetans.

“Given the scope of China’s organ harvesting crimes with an unknown number of victims and the nature of the crime itself, a commercialized murder for transplants, condemning this inhumane practice remains an unfulfilled task for the largest organization in the world,” Trey added.

The United Nations, the Office of Spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

In June, OHCHR special rapporteurs and several other human rights experts said they were “extremely alarmed by reports of alleged ‘organ harvesting’ targeting minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians, in detention in China.”

They called on China to “promptly respond to the allegations of ‘organ harvesting’ and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms.”

China’s forced organ harvesting is now being discussed at the World Summit on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, which began on Sept. 17 and resumed on Sept. 24, ending on Sept. 26. DAFOH is one of five NGOs sponsoring the online event. 

Frank Fang
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.