Newsletter Q3/13 — July 12, 2013

In This Issue

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.

An influential forum endorsed by DAFOH in the British Parliament to expose live organ harvesting was held on June 24, 2013. This was preceded by a presentation in the British Parliament House on April 29, 2013.  Similar to the prior event most of the attendees came to the forum in response to calls from their electorate. In contrast the many attendees at this second forum voiced much indignation over organ harvesting and this event was a catalyst for a more mature plan of action moving forward.

Conservative MP, Neil Parish,  presided over the forum, which was attended by seven MPs and assistants, a representative of Lords, and representatives of British mainstream society. Mr. Angus Brendan MacNeil, an MP representing the Scottish National Party, expressed his outrage over the China situation saying that live organ harvesting was “systematic murder.”

The outspoken MP echoed the demand of the global medical community that the perpetrators of such criminal actions must be brought to justice saying: “No matter who they are, as long as they’re involved in this, they’re involved in crimes against humanity, and therefore must be brought to trial for justice…The international community will no longer avoid these bloody acts and are taking action on multiple levels.”

The UK MP group then drafted suggested actions to prevent collusion and stop organ harvesting:

  1. Inform and warn the British people through an education program about live organ harvesting via the widely-known UK Foreign Office website. The main message being that innocent illegally detained prisoners in China may be murdered upon demand for an organ transplant.
  2. Present a united front as Members of Parliament. Forum attendees expressed that they would make efforts to work with MPs from various parties, including those of the Scottish Parliament.
  3. Draw on the experience of Australia and other countries, especially that of the New South Wales, to develop laws and legal regulations to prevent collusion by the British people of going to China for organ transplants. Read Full Article

The DAFOH petition to the UN Human Rights Council is in direct response to the growing concern from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world that prisoners and prisoners of conscience, in particular Falun Gong practitioners, are subject to systematic forced organ harvesting. This crime against humanity has to stop immediately and needs to be further investigated by the UN in order to prosecute the perpetrators.


We, the undersigned, are alarmed at the evidence of forced organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners in China. We understand that the forced organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners is an egregiously evil form of persecution against this peaceful spiritual discipline and hereby ask the UN Human Rights High Commissioner:

  1. Please call upon China to immediately end the forced organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners in China.
  2. Please initiate further investigations that lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators involved in this crime against humanity.
  3. Please call upon the Chinese government to immediately end the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, which is the root cause for the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.


News In Review:
March 2013 – July 2013
Press Release by OSCE – New Report Sheds Light on Trafficking for Organ Removal

On July 9, 2013, the OSCE special representative and co-ordinator for combating trafficking in human beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, published a research paper on trafficking for the purpose of organ removal – one of the least addressed forms of human trafficking. With 57 States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization.


U.S. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and U.S. Rep.Andrews (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan House Resolution 281 on June 27, 2013 condemning the abuses of transplant medicine in China, where organs are systematically harvested from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience and calling for an immediate end of these criminal practices, referencing “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience.”

Lawyer Carlos Iglesias tells the story of Spaniard Oscar Garay who traveled to China and was sold a matching liver for transplant within 20 days, faced serious medical complications after returning home, and was recently denounced by the National Transplant Organization based on an amendment to the Criminal Code enacted in 2010 criminalizing the act of obtaining or trafficking organs. The story also appeared in the Transplant Tourism and Trafficking news feed of The Transplantation Society.

Facing international pressure about the unethical harvesting of organs from convicted prisoners, China’s top health care official apparently can’t make up his mind about the status of the brutal practice. In a May 17 news conference, Dr. Huang Jiefu announced that organ harvesting from executed criminals would be “phased out” within two years – and then defended the practice three days later in an interview with Australian ABC News, leaving it uncertain if China will phase out the practice.


From April 24 through May 3, 2013, DAFOH members, two Nobel Prize nominees, investigative journalists and other experts  presented evidence on China’s unethical organ procurement practices at the UK Scottish Parliament forum, the UK Parliament Britain, Oxford, Cambridge, and Leeds universities. The BBC covered the forums in Britain extensively.

In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Prof. Maria Fiatarone Singh expressed concerns about two Honorary Professor titles given to China’s Vice Minister of Health, Huang Jiefu, and requested that these titles be revoked due to ethical concerns over his professional activities as a transplant doctor and an incongruity between this and the ethical guidelines long upheld by the University of Sydney.

“When Beijing attorney Han Bing published his latest blog…he must have known he was placing himself at serious risk. His report spread like wildfire via the Chinese wire service Sina Weibo. “On this very morning,” Han reported, “a frightful execution took place.” A prisoner sentenced to death was reportedly executed although the highest Chinese court, a few days before, had ordered the case to be reexamined…The prisoner’s body organs were needed and had to be in the best possible condition.”


The Australian Senate unanimously passed a motion urging the Australian government to oppose the practice of unethical organ harvesting in China. Introduced to the Upper House by Senator John Madigan, the motion called for support of EU and UN efforts to address organ trafficking. David Kilgour was the keynote speaker at a private briefing of the Parliament and in 2012,

underlying these actions Ethan Gutmann presented his findings to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.

Taiwanese International Conference on Medical Safety in Organ Transplantation Abroad

A delegation of medical doctors and lawyers attended a series of events at the National Taiwan University hosted by the Department of Health and medical professionals to report to the government about unethical organ harvesting practices in China. Government hearings were also held at the Taiwanese Yuan and administrative branches having a significant impact on awareness and on the development of long awaited legislation to halt collusion in Taiwan. The Taipei Bar Association released an unprecedented public statement of support that will help pave the way for legislation.


Co-authored by Dr. Torsten Trey, Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, and Dr. Jacob Lavee, the paper “Transplant Ethics Under Scrutiny – Responsibilities of All Medical Professionals” published in the February edition of the Croatian Medical Journal discusses the duties of medical doctors to prevent the deterioration of ethical standards in the transplant disciplines.

In the article “Judge Says: As Early as 1980s, Organs Were Harvested in China,” Matthew Robertson of the Epoch Times reports that a retired judge has given his personal account of organ harvesting from executed prisoners in China. The Judge stated that the practice began over 30 years ago and that the judicial authorities knew about the use of executed prisoners as involuntary organ sources.

Judge Pan Renqiang disclosed that not only did he witness organ harvesting from executed prisoners first hand, he also profited from it. Robertson notes that such first hand accounts are difficult to come by and asserts that Renqiang’s choice to come forward is a sign of greater awareness of the issue among people in China. Read the Article

Videos, Books, Web, Reports, Interviews

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your interest in the work of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting and the international effort to stop unethical organ harvesting, particularly in China.

The act of forced organ harvesting, without free, informed consent, is a crime against humanity that is unprecedented: prisoners, members of ethnic minorities and followers of spiritual disciplines are not only killed, but their organs are harvested and used for transplantation.

The transplant abuse, particularly severe in China, has motivated international reactions, as summarized in our July newsletter. A series of forums in the United Kingdom, legislative steps in Australia and Taiwan, the publication of “State Organs” in Korea and Germany, the introduction of the Congressional House Resolution 281, and the launching of a Global Petition to the UNHRC are reflections of the growing outrage and dismay of people around the world who wish to see an immediate end to unethical organ harvesting globally.

As China moves to promote medical tourism, organ transplant tourism in China remains a central concern and should provoke careful scrutiny.

A recent announcement to “phase out” the reliance on organs from executed prisoners in China is alarming and should provoke our immediate attention: phasing out on reliance is achieved when less than 50% of organs come from executed prisoners.  Yet, this does not guarantee a complete end of the abuse. Without acknowledgement that prisoners of conscience, including Tibetans, House Christians, Catholics, Uighurs and Falun Gong practitioners are subject to unethical organ harvesting, the problem is not transparent and not open to scrutiny.

A central question emerges:  Will prisoners of conscience be forcibly enrolled in the so-called new organ donation program in China ?

Your actions and voice of support can make a difference. I hope you will find a moment to sign our Global Petition to the United Nations.

You will find more in-depth information on our work and the issue of forced organ harvesting on our website at

Torsten Trey
Executive Director
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting