A new report has claimed China carries out tens of thousands more transplant operations each year than official records show, suggesting government-backed organ harvesting remains rife in the Communist nation.
Chinese Communist Party statistics say 7,785 organs were transplanted in 2015, but a wide-ranging investigation by a team of experts puts the number at anywhere up to 100,000.
The report, titled ‘Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update’, alleges Affluent Chinese and rich foreigners are the recipients of organs harvested mainly from practitioners of Falun Gong, a set of exercises with roots in Buddhism whose followers have long faced persecution.
“The ultimate conclusion is 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,” reads the report.
“The actual number of transplants is far larger than the official figures, in the order of hundreds of thousands larger. Given the systematic efforts at cover up, it is impossible to affix an exact number to transplant volumes.”
Authors David Matas (Order of Canada recipient and Nobel Peace Prize nominee), David Kilgour and Ethan Gutmann are no strangers to making such allegations. Between them they are responsible for a huge volume of literature aimed at highlighting what they consider to be an on-going atrocity.
Matas recently testified before a joint subcommittee hearing titled “Organ harvesting: An examination of a brutal practice” held by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on June 23, 2016. Matas along with several witnesses gave testimony that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conducts live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners at the scale of genocide, and that the heinous crime is exceedingly cruel.
“The number of innocents killed for their organs in China is far larger than we had contemplated,” the report reads. “The numbers stagger the imagination.”
The trio put the lack of coverage given to the allegations down to the difficulty in accessing information from a country shrouded in secrecy. They admit is it impossible to put an accurate figure on how many organs are being transplanted, only ‘between 60,000 and 100,000’ in 2015.
Their report is 680 pages long, containing hospital records, interviews with doctors, newspaper articles and public statements to try and gather together solid data on exactly what is happening.
The report reads: “One reason that the abuse has not received the global attention it deserves is the sheer volume of evidence that needs to be marshalled to show that the abuse exists”.
“If we had one smoking gun or, as David Kilgour has put it, one smoking scalpel, which we could brandish to show that the abuse exists, our efforts to combat the abuse would be comparatively easy.”
China has faced previous questions on its secret transplant industry, according to the report. The United Nations asked in 2007 and 2008 for the country to account for the discrepancy between the official numbers of transplants and volume of sources.
“The Government of China answered these queries in 2007 with silence, in 2008 with propaganda, and in 2015 with fiction,” the report claims.
China has acknowledged the previous use of prisoner organs for transplant, but says it has stopped the practice. It says it gets all of the organs from voluntary donations.
Critics claim the report has no basis in truth, saying much of the evidence used to support the numbers came from Falun Gong sources and therefore could not be trusted.
Others say China does not have the doctors to carry out so many transplant operations, and neither does it have enough medication to support the surgery.
There are many accounts from Falun Gong practitioners who have left China of medical exams that resulted in no treatment, blood tests, and even of threats to take their organs from police officers.
A former prisoner has suggested her fellow inmates would simply disappear.
Discrepancies in official statistics are further proof the government numbers cannot be trusted, according to the report.
In one example, the Tianjin organ centre, claims on its Chinese-language site to have 120 beds and completed 5,500 liver transplants between 1994 and 2015. In English, it says 200 beds and 3,300 transplants up to 2009. On the Tianjin government website, the centre’s director claims his team has completed 10,000 liver transplants. Another journal article says the hospital has 700 transplant beds.
The wide variety of figures not only suggests a cover-up, according to the report, but also shows how difficult estimating the actual number is.
Exactly how much affluent Chinese nationals and foreigners pay for an organ transplant is also kept secret.
Previously, the China International Transplantation Network Assistance Centre has published a price list, although the figures date back to 2006. Kidney transplants were listed for $62,000, liver for up to $130,000, lung for $170,000 and heart for $160,000.
The report concludes by calling for an international investigation into the transplant industry in China. It also calls on states to ban medical tourism to China for transplant purposes.
“The work of promotion of respect for human rights is not solely or even primarily the work of governments,” the report concludes.
“It is the work of individuals everywhere, those to whom human rights belong. The killing of innocents in China for their organs is an atrocity which must concern us all.”
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