In-Depth Examination of China’s Organ Transplant System by Matthew P. Robertson

In a three-part series (part 1; part 2; part 3) published by The Jamestown Foundation, Matthew P. Robertson, Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University and research fellow with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), takes a deeper look at forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.

Robertson notes that earlier this year, Chinese media reported an incredible “world first” double lung transplant, not just once, but twice, in critically ill COVID-19 patients. But perhaps more concerning is the short wait times of just five days for one patient and three weeks for the second. Such wait times are unheard of in other countries, where wait times range from months to years.

According to investigators, since the year 2000, the number of hospitals performing organ transplants in China has skyrocketed. While the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ever-shifting narrative makes obtaining numbers difficult, it’s estimated that China performs between 30,000 and 100,000 transplants annually, far exceeding the number of voluntary organ donors.

While there is no way to account for the large number of organ transplants, the PRC’s ability to obtain organs, virtually on demand, is also unheard of.

Robertson and others, including the independent China Tribunal, have come to the same disturbing conclusion that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, a desirable organ source known to be much healthier than the average prison population due to their spiritual practice, are pre-screened for organ health, blood typed, and tissue typed, and constitute a bank of living organ donors ready to be executed on demand.

Investigators have found that the spiritual group Falun Gong, suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999, has been the main target of forced organ harvesting for over twenty years with the recent accelerated use of the Uyghur Muslim population as well.

There is much evidence to back these claims. For example, Falun Gong prisoners receive medical tests that others do not, and often disappear. Investigators have made numerous undercover phone calls to hospitals across China, with many doctors and nurses confirming that organs come from living Falun Gong. Many Falun Gong have died mysteriously while in custody, with some having scars consistent with organ removal. In addition, China’s organ transplant industry’s growth began in 2000, just six months after the start of the campaign against Falun Gong in 1999.

A major obstacle in exposing these crimes has been the PRC’s control of the narrative. And while the PRC may say the right things, they have never been held to the same basic requirements of transparency and traceability required in other countries.

As ‘friendships’ are formed with the PRC to help build a transplant system, the price foreigners must pay, in exchange for praise or financial benefit, is turning a blind eye to any suspicious activity.

Robertson asserts, “If it were not for a coalition of dissenting ethicists, scholars, and doctors, the CCP may well have succeeded in portraying its simulation of a voluntary transplantation system as the real thing.”

The international community has an obligation to look more deeply at the evidence, and take a more proactive approach in its dealings with the PRC on this issue. By failing to confront China about its unethical and illegal actions, those who collaborate or profit from its transplant industry become accomplices to crimes against humanity.