The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) hosted a conference on February 24, 2021, on forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Over 100 medical and legal experts, as well as elected officials, attended the online discussion.
After forced organ harvesting in China was exposed to the public in 2006, a large number of independent investigations and research have confirmed the atrocity against Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.
A Large-Scale Crime
One of the keynote speakers was Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a world-renowned lawyer and a professor of law with decades of experience. Between 1998 and 2006, he led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia, at the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
On June 17, 2019, the Independent Tribunal Into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners Of Conscience in China (the China Tribunal), also led by Nice, released a 60-page summary of its final judgment on this brutality in China.
The China Tribunal started on December 8, 2018, and lasted for several days. It convened once again in April 2019 to further explore the issue of organ harvesting in China. During the hearings, the panel heard evidence from over 50 witnesses and experts on the topic. The ultimate goal for the China Tribunal is to consider whether international crimes have been perpetrated such as genocide and crimes against humanity.
The China Tribunal found that crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute, have been committed. This included, “murder; extermination; imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; torture; rape or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; persecution on racial, national, ethnic, cultural or religious grounds that are universally recognised as impermissible under international law; and enforced disappearance,” reported an article from Forbes on June 17, 2019, with the title of “The China Tribunal Pronounced Its Verdict On Organ Harvesting In China.”
During the speech at the ETAC conference on February 24, 2021, Nice said the verdict from the China Tribunal was not questioned or challenged by anyone. He said it is a people’s tribunal and it showed the rationality of the public. Like him, many citizens have found that forced organ harvesting is the worst crime since World War II.
An organ harvesting amendment to the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill in the UK was recently passed in both Houses with government support. The Bill serves as a legislature to prevent complicity in forced organ harvesting within the UK medicine industry. This is the first time that the UK has passed any legislation to combat China’s forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. The Bill became law on February 11, 2021.
Stopping the Genocide
Sean Lin, former lab director for viral diseases branch at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted by the CCP for many years and they are the primary targets of organ harvesting.
After the communist regime started to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the number of organ transplants in China has increased dramatically, from military hospitals to a large number of hospitals across the country. The crime still continues today and more organs are being supplied.
When investigators contacted hospitals in China, they were told the waiting time is very short. Apparently, a large organ donor supply exists in China, explained Lin, adding that voluntary donation in China hardly exists for cultural reasons.
Because of this, Lin warned the international community to be cautious when dealing with the CCP. “If you do not deal with the Chinese Communist Party directly, the [practice] of forced organ harvesting in China won’t stop,” he remarked. As indicated by the China Tribunal, the international community should demand the CCP take immediate actions to stop the atrocity instead of simply conducting more investigations.
Similar to what former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had pointed out, people would first question the CCP’s credibility based on its past behaviors and then verify the facts. Furthermore, it is important to differentiate the CCP from China.
Right now, the World Health Organisation is also covering up this crime due to influence from the CCP and Huang Jifu, one of the high-ranking officials involved in organ harvesting, and has been recognised by the WHO as a transplant expert. As a result, communist China is threatening the entire world and many governments have not yet implemented necessary measures to curb its threats.
Lin emphasised that forced organ harvesting is not only a crime against humanity but also a genocide.
International human rights lawyer David Matas proposed legal actions to sanction communist China. He said the current situation in China will not allow the CCP to be held liable for the crime.
Therefore, he called for a unified approach against organ harvesting, such as the Magnitsky Act. For example, the Act can be revised to apply to forced organ harvesting, making those who were involved accomplices. To discourage them from participating in the crime, these individuals should not be allowed to join scientific associations or attend conferences.
Wendy Rogers, a Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University in Australia, reiterated that organ harvesting is a heinous crime and the CCP is the key perpetrator.
“Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party bears ultimate responsibility for forced organ harvesting. It is the CCP that has sanctioned the persecution of victim groups and permitted the development of industrial-scale organ transplantation in China,” Rogers said at the conference.
The regime not only allows this to happen in China, but has also turned it into a profitable industry in China. Rogers said the current efforts to stop the cruelty are far from enough. The victims are human beings, and we have a responsibility to help them.
That requires a joint effort from all professional organisations. She proposed that more institutions and scientific organisations could press the CCP and ban doctors involved from attending international conferences or publishing papers. Overseas patients should also be restricted from going on medical trips to China to receive organs harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners.
After the China Tribunal announced its judgment in June 2019, it was cited by numerous governments and human rights groups. The annual human rights report from the U.S. Department of State, for example, not only documented this judgment, but also recorded the deaths of 96 Falun Gong practitioners in China that year caused by the suppression.
Kristina Olney, Director of Government Relations for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), said the CCP has run a billion-dollar business associated with forced organ harvesting. While the victims are mainly Falun Gong practitioners, they also include Uyghurs and it is important for the U.S. and other Western nations to stop the tragedy.
On December 16, 2020, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, together with House representatives Chris Smith and Tom Suozzi, introduced a bill to stop forced organ harvesting in China. Known as the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, this bill aimed to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience.
Marilou McPhedran, MP from Canada, said S-240 had been introduced to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs). On February 22, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to pass a motion from the Conservative Party that designated communist China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide.
Sameer Zuberi, MP from Canada, said Canada was the first country that had acknowledged the CCP’s mistreatment of Uyghurs as genocide through legislation. He said the U.S. had taken the lead to curbing the CCP and expected other countries to follow suit.
Eric Abetz, Member of Parliament from Australia, said organ harvesting is one of the many violations committed by the CCP on human rights. He said this contradicts universal values. Although the CCP had been attempting to silence Australia on human rights through economic pressure, it would not shake the Australian government’s determination to fight the CCP’s human rights violations.
Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, Member of the European Parliament from Croatia, said forced organ harvesting from the CCP is the worst human rights violation. It has lasted for over 10 years and the victims are innocent Falun Gong practitioners who want to be better citizens.
When hearing about the tragedy the first time, he was furious and sad since very few people were aware of this. Right now, more people have heard about it. Due to economic reasons, however, the EU has not criticised the CCP for a long time. This needs to change, not just the EU, but also countries from across the world.
David Kilgour, human rights activist and former lawyer, said organ harvesting in China is a form of genocide that threatens mankind’s basic values and even the integrity of society. He hopes Canada would pass foreign interference laws like Australia to curb the CCP.
According to information from Minghui, over 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives to the persecution in China. At least 84 died in 2020 alone. Due to information censorship and blockade by the CCP, the real number of victims could be much higher. Furthermore, a large number of practitioners have been missing in the 21-year-long persecution since 1999.
Chinese version available