New Year’s message from the Director, Torsten Trey, MD, PhD: Persistent efforts will turn the tide

Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, Executive Director, DAFOH

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As the New Year begins, we at DAFOH continue to speak out for the victims of forced organ harvesting who cannot speak for themselves. While black market transplant abuse perpetrated primarily by criminal gangs occurs around the world, a more egregious situation continues unabated in China. Directed by state-sanctioned policies, medical professionals continue procuring organs for transplant from non-consenting Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and other marginalized groups. With over 70 million adherents, Falun Gong practitioners, wishing only to freely pursue truthfulness, compassion and forbearance in all aspects of their daily lives, are the largest persecuted group in China and the primary target for forced organ harvesting.

Every year’s end and each year’s beginning are times to reflect and plan anew. Two decades of vicious persecution by the Chinese Communist Party of Falun Gong practitioners coincides exactly with the unparalleled growth in China’s transplant medicine infrastructure in the face of inadequate numbers of ethically procured voluntary organ donations. These two decades of abominable and insufferable crimes against humanity, committed in the name of transplant medicine, must never be forgotten. With no transparency regarding organ procurement, any approval of China’s transplant practices is an ethical ignominy that all medical professionals around the world must bear.  Widely held principles of human decency and a commitment to human rights and justice make real or feigned ignorance of these violations, both past and present, indefensible.

Transplant medicine is based on free, altruistic organ donation; the “gift of life.” Though the world may view China as a financial powerhouse with remarkable economic expansion, the expansion of its transplant industry cannot be compared with its industrial growth. No matter how hard the Chinese people work to expand their economy, organs cannot be “produced” or procured by more work. Although China is the largest country by population, its voluntary organ donation rates have always been the lowest in the world. While China boasts of becoming the world’s leader in transplant medicine and of unparalleled advances in the field, it must always be remembered that its transplant boom has been built upon unethical, criminal, and ghoulish organ harvesting practices.

At the start of the New Year, we do have much for which to be thankful. Doctors around the world are upholding their vows to first, do no harm by working with international medical associations, human rights advocacy groups and governmental agencies to expose China’s genocide and protect the integrity of medicine and patient rights. We are grateful for the detailed research into and growing international media coverage of transplant abuses in China. We are encouraged by the many Chinese people who continue to display steadfast courage in the promotion of human rights, dignity and justice. Finally, we applaud the nearly three million people in the world who have signed DAFOH’s Petition Against Forced Organ Harvesting addressed to the United Nations.

In 2018, DAFOH will continue to call upon the United Nations to demand that Chinese authorities immediately release all prisoners of conscience, fulfill their promises of transplant reform and allow unbiased, independent investigation to verify that China’s organ procurement and transplant medical practices are indeed ethical. We will again call on the United States government to follow the example of other countries and pass legislation criminalizing transplant tourism and involvement in or collusion with unethical organ procurement practices.

The New Year offers us all the opportunity to turn the tide by confronting medical malfeasance head on. Through China’s maze of duplicity and empty promises of transplantation reform, we must all persevere with steadfast determination to expose the truth until this illicit crime is completely eradicated.

Take a stand by helping DAFOH increase public awareness of unethical transplant practices and make 2018 the year that transplantation ethics around the world align to a stronger moral compass. May we all work together to put an end to the most heinous crime against humanity ever known: live forced organ harvesting of non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China.


Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, Executive Director, DAFOH