A nonpartisan tribunal published a report Tuesday accusing China of “crimes against humanity,” cutting organs out of Falun Gong practitioners alive to transplant into paying clients, and potentially preparing an “organ bank” using the millions of mostly Uighur Muslims believed trapped in camps in western China.
The China Tribunal – a panel of international legal experts led by Sir Geoffrey Nice, chief prosecutor in the case against Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milošević – held hearings featuring victims of China’s brutal repression of Falun Gong practitioners and ethnic Uighurs as well as eyewitnesses who testified to seeing and participating in organ testing and harvesting. The tribunal repeatedly highlighted in its report that it attempted to contact the Chinese government and bring in witnesses favorable to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but China failed to cooperate.
It concluded that China is currently harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners and has begun extensive testing of its captive Uighur camp population that does not have any other overt utility outside of organ harvesting. It also concluded that “some Tibetan Buddhists and House Church Christians” (those who do not worship in government-run churches) have likely suffered forced organ harvesting.
Perhaps most shockingly, the Tribunal noted that its investigators reached out to dozens of Chinese hospitals asking for help in finding organs for a transplant, and over a dozen of them openly stated they were currently using the organs of Falun Gong practitioners in transplants or could acquire them. Another 14 hospitals admitted they used organs illicitly harvested from prisoners, but did not specify if they were political prisoners or common convicts.
Chinese officials have openly admitted to using prisoners to harvest organs for transplants, but claimed to have ended the practice in 2014. As recently as 2017, Chinese state media applauded itself for its “fair” organ donation system that it claimed was “hailed” by the international community.
Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, is a spiritual movement based in elements of Buddhism and Taoism that focuses on meditation and light exercises as methods of self-improvement. The atheist Chinese regime branded Falun Gong an “evil cult” under former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and has brutally repressed practitioners of the spiritual movement for decades.
The evidence the China Tribunal compiled, alongside multiple previous studies arriving at similar conclusions and the testimonies of their authors, indicated that China continues to harvest organs without consent from political prisoners and that it may be preparing to do so with the Uighurs it has trapped in what survivors call “concentration camps” in western Xinjiang province. Chinese officials defend the camps by claiming them to be necessary “vocational centers” that train underprivileged Uighurs to find better jobs, a claim undermined by the high number of educated and employed people trapped in the camps.
In May, Randall Schriver, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, estimated that China has placed as many as 3 million Uighur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz Muslims in Xinjiang concentration camps. Survivors say they undergo systematic torture and indoctrination at the camps; officials force them to learn Mandarin, the dominant Han language, eat pork, and memorize songs praising the Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping. Those who do not comply face excruciating torture.
The China Tribunal report‘s clearest evidence that China is nonconsensually harvesting organs comes from the fact that Chinese hospitals have admitted to it. Its detailed testimony from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs serves to prove, however, the systematic dehumanizing of these groups, which facilitates their use for spare organs to sell to needy clients. The report combines this testimony with a clear discrepancy in the number of organs China claims it has available per transplants conducted. According to the report:
In the PRC [People’s Republic of China] there is a mismatch between the number of donors who become ‘eligible’ each year by dying and the number of actual transplants performed each year. There are more transplants than could possibly come from the number of registered or ‘elgible’ donors. Given that the PRC asserts that it no longer uses executed prisoners for organ transplant purposes the very substantial mismatch is wholly unexplained and demands justification.
The evidence of dehumanizing torture of Falun Gong practitioners featured extensive testimony of outrageous violations of the prisoners’ dignity. In one example, a witness testified of the torture of a Falun Gong practitioner, saying:
They shoved faeces into his mouth. They forced a toilet brush handle into his anus. They pushed the handle so hard that he couldn’t defecate. They also handled his genitals and forced his back against an extremely hot heating unit. They woke him at night by pouring cold water on him, or by piercing his skin with needles.
“Every witness that appeared before the Tribunal and who identified as a Falun Gong practitioner had been arrested and imprisoned, and then tortured whilst incarcerated,” the tribunal noted.
Enver Tothi – a surgeon who admitted in the 2014 investigative report The Slaughter to performing a live organ extraction out of a prisoner while working in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi – told the panel he has reason to believe the Chinese regime is preparing to expand its organ base with the imprisoned Uighur population. He noted that China gave “free national health examinations” to all Uighurs in 2016, providing them with key information on organ compatibility.
In December 2018, the author of The Slaughter, Ethan Gutman, told the Tribunal, “Over the last 18 months, literally every Uyghur man, woman, and child – about 15 million people – have been blood and DNA tested, and that blood testing is compatible with tissue matching.”
Similar testing is occurring in the Uighur camps, according to survivors who spoke to the Tribunal. The report concluded that the testing as described, particularly the use of ultrasounds to evaluate the health of various organs in each prisoner, was “highly suggestive of methods used to assess organ function.”
The Tribunal concluded that organ harvesting among Falun Gong practitioners continued, but it did not have evidence to confirm widespread organ harvesting among Uighurs. It further accused China of crimes against humanity, but not “genocide,” because it did not have evidence confirming that the destruction of ethnic or religious groups, and not merely profits from organ transplants, were driving the practice.
NBC News estimated that China’s transplant trade is worth $1 billion a year.
The report follows a week in which the United Nations concluded a visit to Xinjiang and lauded the Chinese government for its alleged battle against Muslim terrorists, failing to mention the Uighur camps. China’s state-run Global Times newspaper suggested that “via the platforms of the U.N.” China could export the camps worldwide.