In their latest attempt to deceive the international community about their new transplant system, Chinese officials organized an organ donation conference in Beijing using Western doctors to promulgate their subterfuge
After troubling events at the Transplant Congress in Hong Kong last summer, Chinese officials invited leading transplant doctors to discuss further improvements at an organ donation conference in October. Prior to the conference, a delegation of doctors was invited to visit and inspect selected transplant hospitals. Members of this delegation were asked to speak at the conference on the improvements in the Chinese transplant system. The unsettling image of bright smiles and a warm handshake was well covered by the international media.
China has repeatedly announced that it would end organ procurement from executed prisoners, and on several occasions Chinese officials claimed that a new transplant law prohibits the practice. Leading Western transplant surgeons support these claims when they refer to the new transplant law, even at parliamentarian workshops. Almost two years after the announcement in December 2014, however, no law of this kind has been found by any researchers, nor have the transplant organizations supporting change in China provided the text of such a law. The onus is still on the Chinese hosts and the Western delegation to provide the text of the purported new transplant law to the international community. Praise of China’s progress is not based on facts, but on the hope that the country is doing the right thing. The legal situation in China is in fact quite sobering as the existing 1984 provisions continue to allow organ harvesting from executed prisoners.
China made no secret of the fact that only those who expressed support of developments in China in recent years were invited to the Beijing conference. Critics and investigators who understand the transplant system in China well, like David Matas, David Kilgour, and many others were not invited. It is certain that, if they had attended, they would have asked more sensitive questions.
Reassurance of China’s cessation of forced organ harvesting from all prisoners requires the completion of this to-do-list:
Abolish China’s 1984 provisions
Make publicly accessible the text of any new transplant law that ends organ harvesting from all prisoners
Provide transparent access to all transplantation data
Provide the conditions to trace all transplant organs to their original donor
Without new transplant laws in China and without an investigation into the evidence of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, no medical organization should give the green light to China’s transplant ‘reforms’. While handpicked delegates in rose-colored glasses applaud China’s claims of reform, real change can only be realized when independent investigators have open access to unscheduled visits in transplant centers.
The British Parliament reviewed two reports last summer. The first, an impressive 798-page tome written by researchers David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann, argues that the scale of China’s organ harvesting is far larger than previously imagined. Moreover, China’s official report of 10,000 annual transplants is “easily surpassed by just a few hospitals.” Over 6,000 transplants a year are apparently performed by the Tianjin First Center Hospital alone. The second report, released by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission (CPHRC), The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016, calls for an international inquiry into China’s organ harvesting practices. Benedict Rogers, Deputy Chair and co-founder of the CPHRC called on the UK “to review and recalibrate its relationship with China.”
In late summer, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission called on Theresa May’s new government to speak out about China’s human rights abuses as it negotiates new trade agreements. “Human rights violations are morally and legally wrong” and “are symptomatic of wider instability in a country…and the absence of the rule of law.” Such regimes do not make “reliable partners” or “stable places for investment.”
The British House of Commons held a debate on October 11th after which MP Fiona Bruce introduced Early Day Motion 502, which calls on the United Nations to “conduct an inquiry” into China’s practices, urges Britain to “ban citizens from travelling to China for organ transplants” and for “the Government to gather statistics and ensure transparency around so-called organ-tourism.” The motion has gathered 27 signatures to date.
British MPs learned that organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience is happening in China on an “industrial scale.” MP Fiona Bruce said, “Despite the fact that the authors of the report have challenged – indeed asked – the Chinese government to reject their assertions, to come out and say that they are incorrect, there has been complete silence. There has been no rejection of the research or the information, or indeed of the authors’ conclusions.”
“It is time to stop the shameful kowtowing to China – before it is too late,” says Benedict Rogers, strongly admonishing those who have accepted China’s stories. “The kowtowing of too many governments and other international actors, from universities to Hollywood, towards the thuggish regime in Beijing has resulted not just in tongues licking the boots of the Chinese Communist Party, but tongues then being trapped beneath those boots and thus shamefully silenced…and as long as there is no international, independent scrutiny of China’s organ transplant system, and no international inquiry into China’s crimes against humanity, I do not trust what China says.”
Retraction Watch, online discussion and commentary blog of the non-profit Center for Scientific Integrity, recently published a request from doctors asking that an article in a leading medical journal be retracted. Concerns over the wording in a Journal of Medical Ethics article by Dr. Yu-Tao Xiang et al, ignited a heated debate.
JME published a lively rebuttal by concerned physicians and ethicists who declare that the paper created “deliberate confusion and obfuscation about the numbers of organ transplantations occurring in China.” The authors also cite the lack of any new legislation banning the use of organs from executed prisoners, making it hard to believe that China has stopped the use of organs harvested from prisoners, including prisoners of conscience.
JME’s editors did not retract the article, but instead required that an amended articlewith significant changes in language and references be published.
Numerous reports over the last ten years have documented China’s harvesting organs from unwilling prisoners of conscience. It is believed that Falun Gong practitioners, who live healthy lifestyles and are free from medical conditions afflicting criminal prisoners, are the largest source of organs. Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, thousands of these peaceful meditators have come forward to tell stories of unfathomable torture. Many describe undergoing medical testing incongruous with the torture they endured. A series of articles in Australian media details a few such stories:
Jintao Liu, 36, was a student studying chemical technology at the China University of Petroleum when he was arrested for practicing Falun Gong. During four years of detention he suffered severe torture, including having to stand for many hours at a time, electric shocks, forced feedings, beatings and violent sexual assaults. He remembers once being taken into a room with drug offenders who started beating him, “…they were pinning me down and striking my back, with fists and legs…when an old drug offender walked inside the room and warned them not to damage my organs when they were beating me.”
Fengying Zhang, 66, was arrested and imprisoned for handing out Falun Gong leaflets outside a Beijing marketplace in 2013. While in detention, she and hundreds of fellow Falun Gong practitioner inmates were subjected to frequent medical procedures. Ms. Zheng was forced to provide urine samples, undergo EKGs, X-rays and have blood samples taken from her arms and earlobes.
Canadian media reported how Xiuzhi Wang, first arrested in 1999 for practicing Falun Gong, was imprisoned twice for her refusal to give up her spiritual practice. While in detention, she was tortured repeatedly, confined to a small room and subjected to multiple medical tests. She later discovered that the room in which she was held was for prisoners whose organs were to be harvested.
The Epoch Times interviewed a former employee of Tianjin First Central Hospital who discovered the truth about China’s dubious medical transplantation business after trying to help a grateful transplant patient locate and thank the donor’s family. Unable to find any information on the donor, the worker asked the doctor, who replied: “You’re asking about the donor? Even we don’t know who the donor is, and there’s no way to find out. Nobody can tell you anything, and no records exist.” Regardless, the patient was issued an official transplantation document before his flight home that identified his donor as a 30-year-old male death row convict. The medical worker then noted that all the other transplant patients at Tianjin First Central Hospital received documents stating their organs came from healthy, 30-year-old executed prisoners. Only the names of the donors differed.
Despite China’s claims to the contrary ( China Daily, Xinhua, Shanghai Daily), incontrovertible new evidence that China’s transplant numbers continue to soar “with construction programs, new transplant wings and absolutely unshakable confidence that organs will be sourced for China into the future.”
Matas praised Israel, Spain and Taiwan for enacting laws making complicity in organ transplant abuse a crime and urged all nations to enact compulsory reporting of transplant tourism. Matas said, “Mass crimes…are the responsibility of a society within which the crimes are perpetrated…Comprehensive justice means bringing all perpetrators to justice…”
New report co-author Ethan Gutmann, told Truth Xpose TV in an in-depth interview, that people should inform their doctors about forced organ harvesting, stressing that the responsibility to act falls first on the medical community and then on politicians. In an ABC Australia interview , Gutmann cited published data from Chinese hospitals including the number of dedicated transplant beds, bed occupancy rates and length of patient stays, concluding that voluntary donors and executed prisoners could in no way account for the number of transplants performed each year. He called China’s claims of reform false, given the sheer number of hospitals performing transplants and the ongoing transplant hospital infrastructure expansion which demonstrates “tremendous confidence that the source of organs will be unending into the future.”
Journalist Ethan Gutmann’s research on China’s transplant industry shows that foreigners receive 20 percent of the 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants performed there each year. Additionally, international recipients pay at least 10 times more than do Chinese patients. “Money,” Gutmann says, “is a great inducement that could be described as the engine for it, keeps it going, makes sure it happens.”
The latest report on China’s transplant crimes highlight the vast discrepancy between numbers reported by the government versus the actual number of transplants annually. China, widely recognized as the world’s principal executioner, does not disclose execution statistics. Prisoners of conscience, such as Falun Gong practitioners, would likely not be counted as they are executed, not for crimes but, for their organs.
Canadian investigators David Kilgour and David Matas explain how organs are extracted from prisoners in vans that then transport the organs to hospitals. They are optimistic that increased exposure and international pressure will influence China to stop the practice of forced organ harvesting.
In his remarks at events surrounding the TTS Congress in Hong Kong, David Kilgour concludes that in light of all the evidence of organ harvesting from vulnerable prisoners of conscience, all transplant tourism and related consultancies, training, research, trials and publications should be banned.
British MEP speaks out in European Parliament
Gerard Batten, MEP (London) of the UK Independence Party, speaking before the European Parliament, declared, “We cannot discuss a strategy for China without acknowledging the systematic industrialized murder of prisoners of conscience and the harvesting of their organs for transplants” and compared “its enormity and horror” to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. He cited the “voluminous evidence collected over a long period of time by impeccable sources” reveals most victims are Falun Gong, killed for believing in truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Last April, twelve MEPs from five political groups and nine countries initiated a written declaration calling on the European Parliament to begin an independent investigation into China’s forced organ harvesting practices. Currently, more than 200 MEP members have signed the declaration.
Over 400 MEPs have endorsed the European Parliament’s written declaration in July calling on “an independent investigation into ongoing organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China” without delay. MEP Batten cites the recent estimates that 60,000-100,000 people are killed for their organs each year in China, representing approximately 8 to 9 billion dollars in revenue. The MEPs declaration is another step in Europe’s strong condemnation of organ harvesting in China.
Israel has a code against its citizens engaging in organ harvesting atrocities by going to China for fast track transplants. Now outspoken Australians are asking their government, “Why don’t we?” MP David Shoebridge hosted a panel presentation and screening of Hard to Believe at the New South Wales Parliament House in August where he explained the importance of a bill preventing Australians from participating in China’s organ transplant crimes.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), speaking after the release of the Commission’s 2016 Annual Report, has continued to express grave concern about China’s ongoing organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. The 346-page bipartisan report noted China’s deplorable human rights abuses.
Miss World Canada 2015 and actress Anastasia Lin was invited by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow to once again address UK lawmakers before the House of Commons’ screening of the film The Bleeding Edge. This true-to-life drama, based on eyewitness testimonies, stars Lin as a Falun Gong practitioner arrested, tortured and murdered for her organs. Global media reported widely on Parliament’s showing of The Bleeding Edge:
Radio Free Asia released China’s State Food and Drug Administration’s one-year review of clinical trials that concluded more than 80 percent of clinical data in China is fabricated. “I don’t think that the 80 percent figure is overstated,” an academic ethicist said. “If you compare Western pharmaceuticals manufactured overseas with those manufactured in China, there is a huge difference in the ingredients; the quality of the China-made drugs is appalling.” The Epoch Times reports that in November 2015, the State Food and Drug Administration cited five of China’s tertiary hospitals for clinical trial fraud.
Transplant surgeons are urging Australian leaders to update legislation to curb citizens from traveling overseas to obtain organs, citing Israel’s 2008 law that effectively ended transplant tourism from Israel to China and increased voluntary donations there by 300%. A News Corp Australia investigation found almost 100 Australians risked their health to travel abroad for a black market organ transplant between 2001 and 2014.
University of Zagreb School of Medicine physicians Alan Sućur and Srećko Gajović offer praise for DAFOH’s nomination, noting that International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985) and Doctors Without Borders (1999) are the only medical organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The authors encourage the international medical community to speak out against China’s crimes to ensure that globally accepted ethical standards are respected and upheld.
One of the founders of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group and lead author for the Transplantation Society’s 2006 policy statement on China, Dr. Annika Tibell calls for an investigation by an international organization such as the UN or Council of Europe. Until that happens, she believes any engagement with China should be to encourage change rather than signal approval of organ harvesting.
Ethics professor and DAFOH member Wendy Rogers implores the Australian government to issue legislation to end forced organ harvesting in China, encourages the medical community to break ties with China and for more local donors to come forward as a step towards stopping Australians from seeking organs in China.
DAFOH’s Dr. Adnan Sharif describes how patients can actually book their own heart transplants on line due to China’s “nation wide, state sanctioned systematic process of organ theft from incarcerated prisoners of conscience who are killed on demand for their organs.” He urged people to register as organ donors, so the supply of legally and ethically procured organs will meet demand.
Citing testimony at a US Congressional hearing by investigators David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann, the largest daily newspaper in New Zealand gives an overview of the history and evidence of China’s transplant abuses.
Independent Catholic news source provides comprehensive reporting about Falun Gong being systematically killed to feed China’s booming transplant trade. Eyewitness accounts, investigators’ detailed evidence, US Congressional hearings and medical professionals’ opinions are all succinctly related. “By and large Falun Gong are the desirable organs,” [Gutmann] said. “Hearts kidneys, livers and lungs are the big ticket transplants.”
Daily Telegraph feature calls on Australians to come forward to donate their organs to strengthen legal and safe organ transplantation. The piece notes that black market organ trades continue to thrive in many parts of the world. In 2014, Australia’s organ donation rate ranked 22nd in the world with a donation rate just half that of world leader, Spain.
Journalist Ethan Gutmann arrived in the city of Wellington for the premiere of this documentaryin which he is featured to encourage New Zealanders to join others in speaking out against China’s organ harvesting crimes. The writer notes that in 2012, University of Canterbury law researcher Rachel Walsh warned that local citizens might turn to illegally sourced organs due to a shortage of organs in New Zealand.
After moving to Canada, Chinese born Lin was profoundly embarrassed and indignant upon learning her life long indoctrination by the Chinese media and educational system had been lies. Lin prepared for her role in The Bleeding Edge by speaking directly with victims of China’s human rights abuses. Although this has threatened her future career prospects and her family’s safety in China, Lin stands firm saying, “silence helps no one; silence feeds terror.”
Ethics professor Wendy Rogers acted as a panelist in August for a film on China’s forced organ harvesting practices screened in Sydney; a documentary she describes as “essential viewing for anyone interested in transplantation practices.”
Conservative activist Gerard Miles says the new CPHRC report “explores both the scale and brazenness of how China mixes commerce with murder. Murder as control. Murder to order. Murder as an industry. This is the true nature of the organ transplant business in China…The Chinese government is using organ transplants to dispose of members of certain groups to which they object, while also generating a healthy revenue stream.”
The Malaysian edition of Guang Ming Daily, a popular Chinese newspaper based in the mainland, recently published a full-page article on Human Harvest, a documentary about forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China.
She suffered on work farms during China’s cultural revolution and was an eyewitness to the Tiananmen Square massacre. Now, journalist and author Jan Wong says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must show some backbone if he truly wants to influence Beijing on human rights.
Senior foreign service career officer David T. Jones writes about his shock upon first learning about China’s organ harvesting practices from his friend Hon. David Kilgour co-author of Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update. Jones opines on targeted methods to end China’s crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.
For over a decade independent investigators have compiled evidence clearly showing that prisoners of conscience have been subjected to unethical organ procurement. During phone calls a significant number of Chinese doctors have admitted using organs from Falun Gong practitioners. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have described being subjected to forced blood tests and/or medical exams while in detention. Coincidental with the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong and in the absence of a public organ donation system transplant numbers in China increased by an exponential 300 percent between 1999 and 2004. It requires only common sense to assume a link between the plight of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, who are ostracized, illegally persecuted and tortured, and China’s unprecedented transplant boom.
Without acknowledging the evidence that prisoners of conscience are being subjected to forced organ harvesting, a delegation of international doctors visited China to inspect transplant hospitals in the summer of 2015 and again in the fall of 2016. The inspection teams neglected to investigate for potential transplant abuse yet praised China’s flawed transplant development and numbers, which are without precedent in the rest of the world
This is a serious, and dangerous omission in professional due diligence. Allegations of forced organ harvesting, supported by a large, diverse body of evidence must be taken serious and closely scrutinized by the medical community. Ignoring meticulously acquired data and turning a blind eye does not help the medical profession. If the allegations are wrong, why be afraid of independent scrutiny? Future delegations and inspections of China’s organ transplantation practices should be measured by the willingness to investigate current and past forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.
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Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) aims to provide the medical community and society with objective findings of unethical and illegal organ harvesting. Organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor, without free and voluntary consent, is considered a crime against humanity, as well as a threat to the integrity of medical science in general. This edition of our newsletter offers up-to-date information on international efforts to stop unethical organ harvesting.
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