Forced Organ Harvesting

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  • Recorded phone calls indicate crimes continue, as surgeons shift from military to civilian hospitals

  • China Tribunal in London concluded that forced organ harvesting had been committed at a significant scale for an extended period of time, with Falun Gong practitioners a main target

  • United Nations’ experts publish statement on forced organ harvesting

  • Explosive report presents evidence that Chinese surgeons operated on live donors

 

Core evidence: A growing movement of doctors and rights advocates alleges Chinese hospitals have been colluding with the country’s police in a nefarious scheme known as “organ harvesting.” The facilities hold prisoners of conscience against their will, often illegally, examine them for organ compatibility, and then systematically remove their healthy organs—killing them in the process—to supply transplants for a booming organ transplantation industry. The bodies of victims are then cremated, according to eyewitnesses.

 

The vast majority of prisoners of conscience targeted in this manner in China are Falun Gong practitioners — possibly running into the tens of thousands annually, according to estimates by Ethan Gutmann, an investigative journalist, David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and the late David Kilgour, a former Canadian member of parliament.

 

Allegations of mass murder of Falun Gong practitioners for organs have been made since 2006. With every year that has passed since then — and in particular over the last few years — more evidence has emerged supporting the allegations. The methodologies used to analyze the mass of evidence have become more robust, and concerns have become increasingly mainstream. Meanwhile, the position of the CCP and its defenders, who seek to deny the claims, has become increasingly untenable.

 

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found in 2020 that the evidence of blood testing and medical examinations in custody suggests “extrajudicial organ sourcing from these populations are the most plausible and parsimonious explanation” for what it called “rapid availability” of organs and the “extraordinary growth” of China’s market.[1]

 

Recorded phone calls with organ harvesting staff: Hundreds of phone calls into organ transplantation centers and hospitals in 2020 and 2021 have irrefutably proven the CCP’s unethical transplantation industry continues through the pandemic.[2] After the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of the year, the transplantation business at hospitals did not stop, and directors and chief surgeons listed outpatient services as usual. For example, the Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University is a designated hospital for transplanting during the pandemic time, but the doctors of the hospital said, “We were doing kidney transplants at the worst time in February.” Another example is Dr. Yan from the Liver Transplantation Department of the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, who said, “Regardless of whether there is an epidemic or not, liver transplantation continues. Director Zhao Hongchuan and the other three directors do it."

 

Shift from military to civilian hospitals: In order to escape criminal responsibility for military and police hospitals, the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China imposed a ban on liver and kidney transplants in military and police hospitals in 2019. But some hospitals circumnavigated the ban by converting to civilian hospitals. For example, at the 303 military hospital in Nanning, the main transplant team led by Director Sun Xuyong moved to the civilian Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University last year. It currently conducts 30 or 40 liver transplants a month.

Another tactic to deflect scrutiny of military hospitals was the trend of chief military doctors moving to work as surgeons at local, civilian hospitals:

  • Shao Chen, a deputy director at the Department of Urology at Xijing Hospital of the Fourth Military Medical University, became deputy dean of the newly opened Xiang'an Hospital of Xiamen Medical University.

  • Lin Ningshu, a former kidney transplant specialist at the Fujian Armed Police Corps Hospital, became deputy chief physician of the Department of Urology at Xiang'an Hospital.

  • Liu Yu, former deputy director of the Institute of Liver Transplantation of the Armed Police General Hospital, is now the director of transplantation at the Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery in Chaoyang Hospital, Beijing.

 

In recent years, transplant hospitals adopted a unified approach: Since 2015, they have claimed that they no longer use organs from criminals sentenced to death and only from brain dead patients. When asked about the source of organs before 2015, the hospitals either avoided answering or gave a vague response. In a phone call with Li Guowei, a kidney transplant doctor at the Fourth Military Medical University Xijing Hospital, on January 11, 2020, Li offered to bring the investigator to the hospital bed of the Falun Gong practitioner before the organ transplant, "As long as you dare to watch, I can take you to his bedside to let you see in person." On January 13, the investigator asked Li, “All these years in China, you have been taking organs from Falun Gong practitioners. But you can't publicly say that, you can only say that the organs are high-quality and disease-free.” Li Guowei admitted, "Yes, that’s right."

 

One particular whistleblower, American renovation business owner Lu Shuheng, has relatives in China who have performed live organ harvesting on Falun Gong practitioners since the early 2000’s. Lu discovered his sister-in-law had personally performed transplant operations on Falun Gong practitioners. When the handcuffed Falun Gong practitioners entered the operating rooms, they would all shout “Falun Dafa is great!” This shows that (1) They were Falun Gong practitioners, not death-row inmates, and (2) They were all mentally sound and capable of acting and functioning normally, not brain-dead organ donors.[3] [4]

 

China Tribunal final judgment: In March 2020, an independent tribunal in London – chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic – released its full judgment. The tribunal concluded, “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 Commission of Crimes Against Humanity against the Falun Gong and Uyghurs has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.”[5]

 

U.N. Statement: In June 2021, a group of U.N. independent experts expressed their concerns over allegations of organ harvesting carried out on minority groups including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians, in detention in China. According to the statement, the experts, including Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues; Ahmed Shaheed, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, received “credible information that detainees from ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities may be forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations such as ultrasound and x-rays, without their informed consent; while other prisoners are not required to undergo such examinations. The results of the examinations are reportedly registered in a database of living organ sources that facilitates organ allocation.”[6]

 

From the evidence, the most common organs found removed from prisoners of conscience were hearts, kidneys, livers, corneas, and less commonly, parts of livers. Furthermore, the CCP’s unethical transplant system involves the extensive guidance and complicit involvement of experienced surgeons, anesthetists, and other medical specialists. Lord Philip Hunt, a member of the UK Parliament and a former British health minister, described forced organ harvesting as “commercialized murder and without doubt, among the worst of crimes.”

 

On March 22, 2022, a Summit on China’s Forced Organ Harvesting was held as a side event to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The presenters included U.S. House Judiciary Committee member Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Dutch politician of the European Parliament Peter van Dalen, Canadian award-winning human rights lawyer David Matas, Spanish politician of the European Parliament Hermann Tertsch del Valle-Lersundi, and Taiwanese legislator Tien Chiu-Chin.

 

Explosive report presents evidence that Chinese surgeons operated on live donors: In April 2022, a study from the American Journal of Transplantation confirmed that Chinese transplant surgeons committed the atrocity of forced organ harvesting, executing prisoners of conscience by heart extraction.[7] The analysis indubitably verifies the allegations that the organ donors in the Chinese transplant industry were alive at the time of surgery and killed during the process of organ removal. Out of the 124,770 initial medical papers the researchers obtained, the dead donor rule was violated in numerous cases. The dead donor rule “requires patients to be declared dead before the removal of life-sustaining organs for transplantation.”[8] Yet researchers found Chinese surgeons did not abide by this rule in numerous medical reports.[9] [10] [11]

 

In the past few years, several reports by reputable institutions or publications have also confirmed the credibility of the allegations – large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners have been, and still are, killed for their organs in China. Recent cases of Falun Gong practitioners forcefully having blood drawn by the police suggest that the atrocities still continue today. Unfortunately, most victims of forced organ harvesting are not reported due to the Chinese Communist Party’s routine cremation of their bodies, often without the permission of their families.

 

Recent cases where forced organ harvesting is suspected to be the main cause of death or the reason for unusual blood test and medical examinations are listed below:

 

  1. Sun Pijin of Mengyin County, Shandong Province, died on June 18, 2021, only one day after he was arrested.[12] When the police informed his family of his death, they said that Sun refused to have the coronavirus test at the Mengyin County Chinese Medicine Hospital and that he committed suicide. But when Sun’s family saw his body at the Mengyin County Funeral Home, they saw that he was leaking brain fluid, one of his eyeballs was missing, and his abdomen was sunken. They suspect he died of forced organ harvesting.

  2. On August 2, 2020, Chinese authorities broke into the home of Shen Fang, pinned her down, and forcibly took a sample of her blood, telling her it was “required by the state.” One officer shouted, “The law does not apply to you. We’re going to wipe you all out,” according to a report in The Epoch Times.[13] The article stated that dozens of other practitioners across the country reported similar incidents. On July 22, authorities in Gaomi County, Shandong Province, arrested and took blood samples from 46 practitioners. An attorney familiar with the cases said the blood sampling did not appear to be a routine physical checkup but rather was illegally “collecting people’s biological samples.”

  3. The prison nurse also came frequently to draw his blood while the guards stood nearby with electric batons. Pan, a middle school English teacher from Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, was arrested in May 2015 and sentenced to 5.5 years in prison in 2016 for his faith. He was incarcerated at Hongzehu Prison after the trial. Pan had been arrested in 2002 and sentenced to sentenced 9 years for his faith at the same prison, during which he sustained serious injuries and tortured near death. Pan was then subjected to intensive medical examinations and tests.[14] On November 8, 2020, ten days before Pan Xujun’s scheduled release from Hongzehu Prison, his family was summoned to the prison to visit him. When they got there, they saw his body in the mortuary. While a prison doctor claimed he died of a stroke, Pan’s family suspect that he was killed for his organs. During his first prison term between 2002 and 2010, guards had sent him to Suqian City Hospital multiple times for electrocardiograms and liver function tests.

  4. Huang Lian became extremely weak after long-term torture.[15] He recalled, “My weight dropped from 110 pounds to 77 pounds. No matter how weak I was, they still took me to the hospital to draw a significant amount of blood. After several times, they couldn’t draw blood from my left arm, but they claimed that it was because of my heart problem. I suspected that the blood drawing might be connected to the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners.”

 

[1] Matthew Robertson, “Organ Procurement and Extrajudicial Execution in China: A Review of the Evidence (March 10, 2020).” Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598791 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3598791

[2] “Summary of WOIPFG's investigation of live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in the first half of 2020,” World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, January 1, 2021, https://www.upholdjustice.org/node/523

[3] https://www.upholdjustice.org/node/521

[4] Eva Fu, "Relative of Shanghai Doctor Reveals Details About Forced Organ Harvesting," The Epoch Times, February 2, 2021, https://www.theepochtimes.com/relative-of-shanghai-doctor-reveals-details-about-forced-organ-harvesting_3682420.html

[5] Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China, https://chinatribunal.com/final-judgment/

[6] “China: UN human rights experts alarmed by ‘organ harvesting’ allegations ,” United Nations, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2021/06/china-un-human-rights-experts-alarmed-organ-harvesting-allegations?LangID=E&NewsID=27167

[7] Robertson, MP, Lavee, J. Execution by organ procurement: Breaching the dead donor rule in China. American Journal of Transplantation. 2022; 00: 1– 9. doi:10.1111/ajt.16969

[8] Truog, R. D., & Robinson, W. M. (2003). Role of brain death and the dead-donor rule in the ethics of organ transplantation. Critical care medicine, 31(9), 2391–2396. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.CCM.0000090869.19410.3C

[9] “Chinese surgeons ‘acted as executioners under state orders’,” Australian National University,  https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/chinese-surgeons-%E2%80%9Cacted-as-executioners-under-state-orders%E2%80%9D

[10] “Chinese surgeons removed hearts of death-row inmates who were still alive, study suggests,” The Times,  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/chinese-surgeons-removed-hearts-of-death-row-inmates-who-were-still-alive-study-suggests-2h9k7sqv2

[11] “Chinese surgeons removed the hearts and lungs of death row inmates while they were still ALIVE, study claims,” Daily Mail UK, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10688083/Chinas-organ-harvesting-trade-Australian-National-University-study-uncovers-human-rights-abuse.html

[12] “Shandong Man Dies One Day After Arrest, Body Forcibly Cremated Eight Days Later,” Minghui, August 15, 2021, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/8/15/194636.html

[13] Eva Fu, "China Forcibly Collects Blood From Falun Gong Practitioners, Raising Concerns About Organ Harvesting", The Epoch Times, Sept. 3, 2020, https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-forcibly-collects-blood-from-falun-gong-practitioners-raising-concerns-about-organ-harvesting_3487442.html

[14] “Schoolteacher Dies 10 Days Before Prison Term Ends, Family Suspects Organ Harvesting,” Minghui, June 22, 2021, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/6/22/193784.html

[15] “59-Year-Old Man Imprisoned 5.5 Years for Filing Lawsuit Against Former Chinese Dictator,” Minghui, March 24, 2022, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2022/3/24/199651.html