Earlier this year, a United Nations international tribunal concluded that the illegal, widespread, and systematic practice of forced organ harvesting in China is still ongoing.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of China’s on-demand killing of prisoners – many of which are members of peaceful groups that the Chinese government has deemed “prisoners of conscience” – the Chinese government has denied the claims.
Such extraordinary acts of violence on hundreds of thousands of victims should be front and center in the media. Unfortunately, it seems party politics in the United States is getting in the way of accurate and appropriate coverage of these massive human rights violations.
Last year, an independent panel called the China Tribunal was established to investigate allegations that China had been harvesting organs on a significant scale. In June, the tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who previously served as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, announced that the Tribunal had come to a unanimous determination: forced organ harvesting continued in China and that imprisoned members of the Falun Gong movement were the primary source of the harvested organs.
“The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways and that all of us live on a planet where extreme wickedness may be found in the power of those, for the time being, running a country with one of the oldest civilizations known to modern man,” said Sir Geoffrey.
Members of the tribunal, who took evidence from countless medical experts, human rights investigators, and others, worked without payment.
The results of the tribunal revealed extraordinarily low wait times for transplantation offered by hospitals in China. Several former members of Falun Gong and Uyghurs – a Turkish Muslim group that is also regularly persecuted in China – gave testimony of ongoing medical testing in Chinese jails.
“On the day we were transferred to the labor camp, we were taken to a medical facility where we underwent physical check-ups,” Jennifer Zeng, a Falun Gong activist who was imprisoned in a labor camp for a year, told the Guardian. “We were interrogated about what diseases we had and I told them I had hepatitis.”
“The second time, after about a month in the camp, everyone was handcuffed and put in a van and taken to a huge hospital. That was for a more thorough physical check-up. We were given X-rays. On the third occasion in the camp, they were drawing blood from us. We were all told to line up in the corridor and the tests were given.”
The tribunal concluded that the findings were “indicative” of genocide but stopped short of making a positive ruling. It recognized “the intention of eliminating the Falun Gong as enunciated by General Secretary Jiang Zemin to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP on 7 June 1999” and the “development of the market for organ transplant surgery, with its huge money-making potential” but was not able to establish specific intent to destroy a protected group in whole or in part.
Last month, Hamid Sabi, senior counsel to the China Tribunal, called again for urgent action from the United Nations to further examine China’s organ harvesting, following the tribunal’s conclusions.
“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century,” Sabi said.
Although there were no improvements to the voluntary organ donation or allocation system, and the supply of death row inmates as donors did not increase, organ transplant numbers skyrocketed beginning in 2000. Approximately 90,000 transplant operations a year are being carried out in China, reported the tribunal. This number is significantly higher than that given by the Chinese government (10,000).
The sudden increase in transplants coincided with the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong, whom the Chinese government had begun to send to Chinese labor camps, detention centers, and prisons. Falun Gong is a spiritual group that was banned in China following a mass silent protest by its members at the central leadership compound in Beijing.
In 2005, the Chinese government reported that about 95% of organ transplants were sourced from prisoners. But the numbers simply don’t add up. China did not perform enough legal executions to account for the large numbers of transplants that are performed, even taking into account voluntary donations.
Family members of prisoners that died in Chinese custody have reported finding massive incisions on their family member’s bodies, abdomens stuffed with hard ice, and missing organs.
Human rights lawyers estimate that approximately 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for their organs since 2001, with thousands of others from minority groups such as Uyghurs, Tibetans, and some Christian sects have also fallen victim.
A report published earlier this year by David Kilgour, a former Canadian lawmaker, David Matas, a human rights lawyer, and Ethan Gutmann, a journalist, concluded that “the Chinese Communist Party has engaged the State in the mass killings of innocents, primarily practitioners of the spiritually-based set of exercises, Falun Gong, but also Uyghurs, Tibetans, and select House Christians, in order to obtain organs for transplants.”
During a statement before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Gutmann said:
“In 1999, state security launched the campaign to eliminate Falun Gong. By 2001, over 1 million Falun Gong incarcerated within the Laogai system were subject to retail organ testing and Chinese military and civilian hospitals were ramping up their transplant facilities.”
“By 2002, it was select House Christians. By 2003, it was the Tibetans. By 2005, economic opportunism had been replaced by… the party’s desire to kill off its internal enemies… Hardened criminals were harvested for organs; transplant centers stood to make $60,000, $100,000 or more, but the rise of the Chinese transplant industry was built on the foundation of Falun Gong incarceration.”
So with the tribunals’ unanimous proclamation and the massive amount of evidence that these crimes against humanity are being carried out, where is the outrage from the rest of the world, from the United States?
In the UK, there have been calls for parliament to ban patients from traveling to China for transplants. More than 40 MPs from all parties have backed the motion, but it has yet to move forward. In Belgium, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Taiwan, such restrictions are already enforced. Historically citizens of countries all over the world have traveled to China to receive an organ transplant, paying a substantial cost to receive a greatly reduced waiting time.
In the United States, a specific sect of media seems to be ignoring the crimes taking place overseas – liberal media. Although massive mainstream media corporations like CNN and Reuters have covered the larger developments, such as the forming and conclusions of the China Tribunal, progressive media has been relatively silent.
Unfortunately, it seems like party politics come into play here. The majority of news outlets that have covered forced organ harvesting in China also support President Trump and his anti-Chinese agenda. This bias has caused many Left-leaning organizations to be critical of the issue – or to ignore it completely, passing it off as a political move to influence the American public on an anti-Chinese agenda.
News organizations like the Epoch Times, partially founded by affiliates of Falun Dafa, side with Trump often because of his anti-China leanings, which is their prominent issue.
But news organizations cannot continue to ignore the horror of the reality that is forced organ harvesting. Although the United States remains deeply politically divided, we cannot let party politics dictate what and how issues are reported.
For more information on the evidence and depth of the forced organ harvesting trade in China, please visit the following links:
China Tribunal https://chinatribunal.com/
H.Res.281 – Expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People’s Republic of China.