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China Is Still Harvesting Organs Of Prisoners, Says New Report


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist


A stock image of a doctor preparing for surgery in the hospital in Hebei Province, China. junrong/Shutterstock

China has insisted it stopped the practice of forced organ harvesting from prisoners in 2015. However, a new independent tribunal in the UK has found that the killing of detainees in China for organ transplants is continuing. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest it’s on the rise.

The China Tribunal reported its findings in London on Monday, June 17, with the conclusion that the brutal medical practice is still ongoing and China needs to be held accountable by the international community.


After hearing testimonies from 50 witnesses and reading huge volumes of written evidence, the international team of experts in human rights law and medicine concluded they "are certain, unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt" that China has been carrying out the forced harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience “on a significant scale."

China obtains most of the organs it uses for transplants from members of the persecuted spiritual group Falun Gong, although it also uses the organs of Uyghur Muslims, Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and other “prisoners of conscience.” An estimated 1.5 million prisoners of conscience are detained in detention camps and prisons across China, typically located near to transplant hospitals, where they are executed on an on-demand basis if an organ is required for transplantation.

Falun Gong practitioners protesting against illegal organ transplantation in Trafalgar Square, London on April 22, 2018. ean.cuomo/Shutterstock

“Forced organ harvesting is of unmatched wickedness – on a death for death basis – with the killings by mass crimes committed in the last century,” said Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Tribunal Chairman, who prosecuted war criminals from the former Yugoslavia.

One first-hand witness account came from Dr Enver Tohti who performed organ harvesting operations in the 1990s. He told the panel: “What I recall is with my scalpel, I tried to cut into his skin, there was blood to be seen. That indicates that the heart was still beating… At the same time, he was trying to resist my insertion, but he was too weak.”


The tribunal also saw evidence that Chinese websites were offering advance bookings for hearts, lungs, and kidneys, strongly suggesting that victims were killed on demand as organs have a limited life-span outside the body.

Italy, Spain, Israel, Taiwan, Norway, and other countries have successfully introduced bans on participating in international “organ tourism" to address the problem. However, the US and UK have not yet taken any legislative action. Now the evidence is solid, the tribunal calls on all governments to stop China’s illegal transplant industry at a policy level. They also ask for all medical institutions, research facilities, universities, and travel companies to stop all cooperation with China in regards to organ transplantation. 

“The evidence is overwhelming that this terrible trafficking in human organs is going on... and is increasing in fact, across China,” remarked David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State who wrote the Kilgour–Matas report on organ harvesting in 2006.


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