Claim: China harvests organs from political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, supplying organs on-demand for paying clients
Origin: In March 2006, U.S. Falun Gong (FLG) representatives claimed that thousands of practitioners had been sent to 36 concentration camps throughout the PRC, particularly in the northeast, and that many of them were killed for profit through the harvesting and sale of their organs. Many of these claims were based upon allegations about one such camp in Sujiatun, a district of Shenyang city in Liaoning province. The Epoch Times, a U.S.-based newspaper affiliated with Falun Gong, first reported the story as told by a Chinese journalist based in Japan and a former employee of a Sujiatun hospital that allegedly operated the camp and served as an organ harvesting center. According to Epoch Times reports, of an estimated 6,000 Falun Gong adherents detained there, three-fourths allegedly had their organs removed and then were cremated or never seen again.
The first reports of organ harvesting in Western news media emerged around the same time of the Epoch Times story, after researchers (notably, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former parliamentarian David Kilgour and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, produced a report estimating that tens fo thousands of prisoners of conscience have been killed for their organs. source
Claims have recently been resurfaced and broadened to include the Uyghur ethnic minority due to research conducted by a non-statutory organization called the China Tribunal which on the 17th of June, 2019 issued a report announcing:
“Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one – and probably the main – source of organ supply. The concerted persecution and medical testing of the Uyghurs is more recent and it may be that evidence of forced organ harvesting of this group may emerge in due course. The Tribunal has had no evidence that the significant infrastructure associated with China’s transplantation industry has been dismantled and absent a satisfactory explanation as to the source of readily available organs concludes that forced organ harvesting continues till today.” source
This most recent report triggered a wave of secondary reporting in mainstream news media which brought the issue into mainstream consciousness.
- China has publicly acknowledged that it had a policy of obtaining organs from death-row sentenced executed prisoners, a practice which was ended by law in 2015.
- In March 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Health announced stricter regulations that would require written consent from organ donors, ban the sale of human organs, and limit the number of hospitals allowed to perform transplants. source
- Jose Ramon Nunez Pena, head of the transplantation program at the World Health Organization said he personally visited about 20 hospitals in China in 2017 and believes the country has reformed. Nunez Pena said he had seen data including organ transplant registries and was convinced the country was now shifting away from harvesting death-row prisoners organs.
- The organization of Islamic Cooperation (The representative body for Islamic countries) investigated Xinjiang and the treatment of the Muslims in the education camps, issuing a formal statement approving of the situation and conditions there.
- China’s share of global demand for immunosuppressive drugs literally cannot sustain the kind of organ harvesting they claim is going on. Which is an indispensable part of any organ transplant. (Source)
- Transplant patients must take immunosuppressant drugs for life to prevent their bodies from rejecting their transplanted organs. Data compiled by Quintiles IMS, an American healthcare-information company, and supplied to The Post, shows China’s share of global demand for immunosuppressants is roughly in line with the proportion of the world’s transplants China says it carries out. (Source)
- Critics counter that China may also be secretly serving large numbers of foreign transplant tourists, whose use of immunosuppressant drugs would not appear in Chinese data. But this assertion does not stand up to scrutiny. Jose Nuñez, head of the transplantation program at the World Health Organization, which collects information on transplants worldwide, says that in 2015 the number of foreigners going to China for transplants was “really very low,” compared with the traffic to India, Pakistan or the United States, or in comparison with transplant-visitor numbers in China’s past. Chapman and Millis say it is “not plausible” that China could be doing many times more transplants than, for instance, the United States, where about 24,000 transplants take place every year, without that information leaking out as it did when China used condemned prisoners’ organs. (Source)