In the article “China Is Forcibly Harvesting Organs From Prisoners Of Conscience, Tribunal Rules” published on The Organization for World Peace’s website on December 10, 2020, China researcher Kailey Ouellette said that the Chinese Communist Party is harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience, especially Falun Gong practitioners, and that the international community must hold the CCP accountable and intervene in its ongoing religious oppression.
The article said that, since 1999, after the Chinese Communist Party ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, the number of transplant centres in China increased by 300%, and waiting time for an organ was significantly shortened, despite the fact that China didn’t have an established organ donation system.
Even though the Chinese government later admitted that they had used organs from executed prisoners and announced in January 2015 that they had changed to a voluntary donation program, the number of death-row prisoners just didn’t add up to the exponentially growing number of transplants in China. Although it remains a state secret, Amnesty International estimated that “the number is in the thousands, higher than the rest of the world combined.”
The article also noted: “China’s Criminal Procedure Law requires that prisoners sentenced to death be executed within seven days, which would not allow sufficient time for organs to be matched to potential donors at the speed at which they currently are.”
According to official data, China is reporting 10,000-18,000 organ transplants every year. But estimates by other human rights organizations pointed to a much higher number—between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants across China.
Ouellette said that Dr. Huang Jiefu, the former vice-minister of health in China, allegedly ordered two backup livers for an operation in 2005 that were delivered the next morning. “For such a thing to be possible, there must be a pool of healthy people that can be tapped to provide matching organs.”
Ouellette mentioned that, to verify the allegation, a group of researchers called multiple hospitals in China and specifically asked for Falun Gong practitioners' organs shortly after the atrocities were exposed to the rest of the world in 2006. Doctors who answered the phone promised that fresh organs from Falun Gong practitioners were available in a matter of weeks or days.
In December 2018, the China Tribunal issued an interim ruling, declaring that “the excess number of organs were being forcibly harvested from prisoners of conscience, most notably from members of Falun Gong.”
After further investigation and hearings, the tribunal issued the final ruling in 2019 about this gross abuse of human rights and declared that “the Chinese government was, beyond a reasonable doubt, harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience.”
The tribunal also confirmed that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one—and probably the main—source of organ supply.”
Ouellette said in her report that “Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that focuses on meditation, spiritual teachings, and exercises to improve the health of the mind and body.” It was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in May 1992 and was practised by over 100 million people by 1999.
Due to its rising popularity, Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese communist regime, ordered the persecution in 1999. He also created the 610 Office as a special task force with “nearly unlimited power” to eradicate the “Falun Gong problem.”
She said that, in the first week of the persecution according to a report, 50,000 practitioners were detained. The communist regime “disseminated propaganda to cast Falun Gong members as dangerous, deviant, and abnormal and began a nationwide campaign to force Falun Gong members to renounce their beliefs.”
“Methods included kidnapping and imprisonment, forced labour, the use of psychotropic drugs, and various types of torture including starvation, electrocution, and sleep deprivation.”
Ouellette said that “conservative estimates place the death toll at over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners during the first four years of persecution, with additional tens of thousands estimated to have been killed to support the organ trade.”
“Survivors also reported undergoing multiple medical exams and being blood-typed with the perceived outcome of being harvested for their organs. Some estimates put the annual worth of the illegal transplant business at over one billion dollars,” she added.
To counteract the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners held numerous peaceful sit-ins in China and around the world, handing out pamphlets, explaining the facts, and asking people to sign petitions. Despite violent responses by government and military officials, many practitioners inside China still traveled to Beijing to appeal shortly after the persecution started.
Although the Chinese regime has repeatedly denied the allegations of persecution and continued to spread propaganda to defame Falun Gong, “multiple publications and human rights organizations have also drawn attention to the plight of Falun Gong members.”
Ouellette said the China Tribunal has “called for the UN to further investigate whether the detainment and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghur people constitutes a genocide under the Genocide Convention, and for officials and perpetrators to be held accountable and tried in an international court of law.”
“Israel, Taiwan, and Spain have banned ‘organ tourism’ from China, and other countries should be pressured to do the same. China must be held accountable and denounced by both the UN and other international communities, and humanitarian aid and intervention should be provided to members of these oppressed religious groups.”
Quoting the China Tribunal at the end of the article, Ouellette noted that when governments and other institutions interact with the People’s Republic of China, they “should recognize that ‘they are, to the extent revealed [through the investigation], interacting with a criminal state.’”
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