University of Arizona College of Medicine hosts seminar on organ harvesting

David Beyda, MD, Chairman of the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism and Director of the Global Health Program at the University of Arizona College, hosted a seminar on forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China on April 19, 2019.

After introducing the topic with the documentary Human Harvest, Mr. W. Liu, a chemical engineer and Falun Gong practitioner now living in the United States, told of being blood tested, along with about 40 other Falun Gong practitioners while he was incarcerated in a Chinese jail for his spiritual beliefs. His criminal cellmate told Mr. Liu that convicts like himself, who were not Falun Gong practitioners, were never blood tested.

Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, Executive Director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), presented data that reveal significant discrepancies in officially reported transplant surgeries and organ donor numbers, creating patterns found nowhere in the rest of the world. The only plausible explanation is that systematic forced organ harvesting, primarily of Falun Gong practitioners, has been going on for two decades. Trey described China’s killing of innocent people as a “cold genocide,” subtle, unseen and normalized in Chinese society under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party. Never before in history have victims of a genocide been exploited for their organs and monetized into a profitable business and neither have transplant recipients become the beneficiaries of murder.

Gilcrease, MD, assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine and DAFOH deputy director, pointed out that academic leaders should not avoid the transplant abuse being perpetrated in China. Sacrificing ethical standards in medicine in exchange for engagement with China should be a concern for every medical professional and academician in the United States. Both American medical institutions that train Chinese surgeons who then return home to participate in unethical organ procurement practices and American citizens who travel to China to buy organs obtained through unethical acts are at risk of becoming complicit to genocide.

Hewitt, MD, transplant surgeon at the Mayo Clinic Hospital Phoenix and assistant professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, urged all American surgeons to act responsibly regarding forced organ harvesting. He expressed disappointment that so little has been done over the last decade to change the abusive practice, adding that the killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience for their organs is so egregious and so unique that simply calling it a genocide does not encompass the scope and gravity of forced organ harvesting.

Event host Dr. Beyda said, “We hope to make individuals who are considering going overseas for an organ transplant to be aware of the risks they are taking, and to be mindful of what happens to those from whom the organ is being taken.”

International human rights lawyer David Matas reminded the audience of the 2018 Arizona House Concurrent Memorial 2004  which “urg[es] the United States Congress and the Arizona medical community to take action against state-sanctioned organ transplant practices in China.” He explained how human rights abuses in China affect the people of Arizona and listed steps they can take to help stop this genocide. The first action to be taken, he noted, would be to close all Confucius Institutes at Arizona educational institutions. Confucius Institutes are partially funded by Hanban (the Chinese Ministry of Education) and promulgate Chinese Communist Party ideology and policy at host institutions. Second, Arizona should ban the Bodies Revealed exhibit, now at OdySea in Scottsdale, and any other plastination exhibit from ever being hosted in the state. There are growing global concerns that many of the plastinated corpses in these exhibits are actually from Chinese prisoners, possibly Falun Gong practitioners, who have not willfully consented to the use of their bodies.