Concerns about Complicity

In March of this year, The China Tribunal concluded in its final judgement, that “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.” Evidence was also disclosed of medical testing of Uyghurs on a scale that could allow them to also become part of China’s captive, living organ bank.

Additionally, the Tribunal warned that “Governments and any who interact in any substantial way with the PRC [People’s Republic of China] … should now recognise that they are … interacting with a criminal state.” As a result, there are growing concerns about those who appear complicit with the Chinese regime’s organ transplant industry.

The United Nations (UN) has been asked to launch an investigation into the allegations, but has not. The World Health Organization (WHO) has neither responded to the Tribunal’s findings nor carried out its own assessment into China’s organ transplant system.

Instead, leading officials at both the WHO and the UN have denied that China is a significant transplant tourism destination, have praised the “remarkable results” of China’s reported reforms and have suggested that “other countries follow the example of the Chinese government’s strong support of organ transplantation.” The WHO Task Force on Donation & Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues includes two leading Chinese transplant surgeons long suspected of direct involvement in unethical transplant practices.

Miriam Karmali, Senior Advocacy Officer at Freedom United, expressed concerns in Thomson Reuters Foundation News that medicines manufactured with human tissue from forced organ harvesting victims could be imported into the United Kingdom (UK) due to the absence of consent and comprehensive traceability regulations.

These concerns have led Lord Hunt and Baroness Finlay, both Life peers in the UK House of Lords, to propose an amendment to The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill to prevent British complicity with China’s transplant crimes. The amendment would ensure that human body tissue and organs that have been forcibly harvested are not allowed to enter the UK for medicines or medical testing.

The analysis Economics of Organ Harvesting in China by the Institute to Research the Crimes of Communism reveals that over twenty Western companies have profited handsomely while enabling China’s transplant business to grow to its massive scale. Illegal organ harvesting in China is not a criminal offense just limited to China as it “inevitably depends on many factors outside of China.”

The authors detail evidence that these companies’ business presences in China are crucial for its transplant industry to function. “Regardless of whether these companies participate knowingly or unknowingly, they take part in it and are responsible for these crimes.”

Evidence also suggests that Western doctors may know more about illegal organ harvesting that they let on but that the “seeming global passivity of professional institutions – in comparison with the severity of the issue – and the restraint of the doctors, makes [it] hard to confirm the extent of information they are aware of.”

The authors admit that if the western pharmaceutical and medical companies involved take the morally correct and ethical stance by ceasing to support China’s transplant industry completely, it would indeed negatively affect their profits, but they express hope that shareholders in Western democratic countries would prefer the long-term positive effects of ethical behavior over short-term profits derived from criminal activity.

The report concludes that as countries legislate against organ transplant tourism, innocent lives will be saved. Fortunately, many countries have already taken such actions or are in the process of doing so including Israel, Spain, the European Union, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, and Canada.