Forced organ harvesting in China — An Overview


Since 2006, mounting evidence suggests that from 2000 onwards, viable organs have been forcibly, and without prior consent, procured from prisoners of conscience, primarily from Falun Gong adherents.

In absence of an organ donation and organ distribution system, the kidneys, livers, and hearts were sold on demand to overseas patients, and local elites who can afford them. It is widely reported that prisoners of conscience are subject to forced medical exams and blood tests while in detention. Victims are held in concentration camp-like detention camps prior to dissection, after which many of these bodies’ remains are immediately cremated.

Reports suggest that the perpetrators are officials of the Chinese Communist Party, acting in cahoots with surgeons, prison authorities, and military officials.

“Transplant abuses of this magnitude are crimes against humanity. Remaining silent in the face of such atrocities is to be complicit in these crimes.”

—Dr. Arthur Caplan, Dr. Alejandro Centurion, and Dr. Jianchao Xu[1]

Important findings

  • Extraordinarily short waiting periods within weeks for organ transplants in China

In China, the wait time for a vital organ is typically less than a month, often within 1-2 weeks.[2] Some hospitals advertised that appointments can be pre-scheduled. Compared to the years it would take to find a matching organ in Canada, China’s exceptional short wait period is indicative of a large pool of readily available living donors whose organs are removed on demand.[3]

  • Large volume of organ transplants, yet nearly non-existent voluntary organ donation in China

China has the second largest volume of organ transplants in the world. However, China did not have any organ donations until 2003. Dr. Sharif et al. (2014) pointed out, “between 2003 and 2009 there were only 130 freely donated organs in China among the vast population of over 1.3 billion. If applied to the prisoner cohort, the average consent rate of the Chinese populace would require millions of executions each year to ensure a sufficient amount of donor organs for the 10,000 transplants performed annually.”[4] With no effective donation system, where do these organs come from?

  • Multiple independent investigations estimate tens of thousands Falun Gong practitioners have been killed to fuel China’s lucrative organ transplant industry

Former secretary of State for Asia Pacific Affairs David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas have been investigating the forced organ harvesting issue in China since 2006. In their book Bloody Harvest, Kilgour and Matas found that for the period 2000 –2005 alone, the source of 41,500 transplants in China was unaccounted for.[5] They concluded that the only plausible explanation for its sourcing was from Falun Gong practitioners. Their findings concur with other independent investigators, such as Dr. Lavee from Israel, and Dr. Kirk Allison from United States.

In his new book The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, veteran China analyst Ethan Gutmann presented new evidence on China’s state-orchestrated organ harvesting. According to his survey-based estimation from 2000-2008, at least 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs.[6]

The forced organ transplant establishment is lucrative business in China, which generates huge financial gain for the Chinese state. Below is a price list posted on a Chinese hospital’s website[7]:

Kidney US$62,000

Liver US$98,000-130,000

Liver-kidney US$160,000-180,000

Kidney-pancreas US$150,000

Lung US$150,000-170,000

Heart US$130,000-160,000

Cornea US$30,000

International communities condemn China and ask to stop this
crime against humanity

The findings and evidence suggesting a large-scale crime against humanity has prompted the foundation of the medical ethics advocacy group, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH). DAFOH has initiated a global petition and within 3 consecutive years has collected more than 2 million signatures from around the world that were brought to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights calling on the U.N. to investigate and condemn forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. DAFOH has documented many actions from around the world in response to this transplant abuse.

Besides the Canadian all-party motion unanimously passed by the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights in 2015, the significant ones are:

  • Israel implemented one of the strongest laws to prevent collusion with China’s organ harvesting. In reaction to the transplant abuse in China. Israel passed a law in 2008 to ban the sale and brokerage of organs. The law also ended funding, through the health insurance system, of transplants in China for Israeli nationals.[8]
  • In 2010, Spain has implemented a transplant law that would make organ brokering in China a criminal offense.
  • In Dec 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution on this issue condemning the inhumane practice of China.[9]
  • S. House Resolution 281 calling for ending organ harvesting in China was passed in both the subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and committee on Foreign Affairs (July 30, 2014).[10]
  • A similar resolution (House Resolution 343) [11] calling an end to the forced organ harvesting in China was introduced in the US Congress in June 2015.
  • In March 2015 Italy passed a bill, which penalizes people who trades, sells or manages illegally trafficked organs.
  • In June, 2015 Taiwan amended their Human Organ Transplantation Act to ban transplant tourism and prohibit the use of organs from executed prisoners.[12]
  • Australian Senate unanimously passed a motion in 2013 asking China to stop forced organ harvesting. Many hospitals have abolished training programs for Chinese doctors on organ transplant technologies, and banning joint research programs with China on organ transplantation.

The series of announcements from China to ban the use of organs without consent is merely a public relations stunt

In facing the international pressure to end the inhumane practice, numerous statements and announcements from Chinese authorities were made, and a resolution was signed with international medical communities to stop using organs from executed prisoners. However, evidence shows that forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners is still on-going.

In January 2015, China announced that they stopped using executed prisoners’ organs for transplantation. Medical experts from different parts of the world expressed their skepticism in their letters to Lancet to repudiate China’s claim. They underscored that the announcement was just to redefine prisoners as “citizens with the right to donate their organs”.[13]

The Persecution of Falun Gong as a prerequisite for forced organ harvesting

Falun Gong (a.k.a. Falun Dafa) is a spiritual practice rooted in ancient Chinese culture. It consists of meditative exercises and a moral philosophy based on the tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. It was made public in China in 1992, and is freely practiced in over 100 countries around the world.

During the 1990s, according to the Chinese government estimation, around 70 – 100 million people took up the practice of Falun Gong in China, which, at the time, was openly promoted by Chinese authorities. However, under the lead of highest-ranking communist leaders the irrational fear that the non-political Falun Gong was ideological competition because of its independence, popularity, and traditional spiritual content, showed up.

In July 1999, the Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong through extensive hate propaganda, arbitrary arrests, mass imprisonment, torture, killing and organ pillaging, which has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

The U.N. former Special Rapporteur on torture reported in 2006 that Falun gong practitioners account for 66% of torture cases in China. He said, “the cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description”, and “the torture is systematic and widespread in China”.[14]

Since the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong, 450,000 to a million Falun Gong practitioners were held in prisons or other long-term detention facilities (including the earlier forced labour camps) in China at any given time.[15]

From 2006-2009, U.S. Department of State’s Annual Human Rights Report on China stated every year that, “Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong practitioners constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in re-education-through-labour camps.”[16]



Other useful sources:

David Kilgour and David Matas report on forced organ harvesting in China

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting

International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China

Organ harvesting, Falun Gong and the Future of China — by David Matas

Bitter Harvest: China’s ‘Organ Donation’ Nightmare — by Ethan Gutmann

An Introduction video to Falun Gong

Killed for Organs: China’s Secret State Transplant Business






[3] Matas, D. & Trey, T. (2012). State Organs: Transplant abuse in China. ON: Seraphim.

[4] Sharif, A., Fiatarone Singh, M., Trey, T., & Lavee, J. (2014). Organ procurement from executed prisoners in China. American Journal of Transplantation, XX, 1-7.

[5] Matas, D. & Kilgour, D. (2009). Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs. ON: Seraphim.

[6] Gutmann, E. (2014). The Slaughter: Mass killings, organ harvesting, and China’s secret solution to its dissident problem. New York, NY: Prometheus Books.








[14] U.N. Commission on Human Rights: Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, on his Mission to China from November 20 to December 2, 2005 (E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.6), March 10, 2006. ( )

[15] Gutmann, E. (2014). The Slaughter: Mass killings, organ harvesting, and China’s secret solution to its dissident problem. New York, NY: Prometheus Books.