Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Annex 1


China's history of organ harvesting from prisoners

  In 1993, Amnesty International reported organ harvesting from prisoners on a widespread scale. In 1994, Human Rights Watch also provided compelling evidence which included text of a government decree on the subject. [1]

  In 1998, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the sale of organs of executed Chinese prisoners. In 2001 a Chinese doctor, Wang Guoqi, testified before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights, where he described co-ordinated procedures between surgeons and Chinese government officials to extract prisoners' organs immediately after executions which were "intentionally botched" so as to not damage the organs. [2]

  In 2005, The Times reported that although China has denied for many years that organ harvesting of prisoners as a trade exists, Huang Jiefu, the Deputy Health Minister, acknowledged that the practice is indeed widespread. The article explains the main reason for using prisoners: "The supply of organs in China is severely restricted because of religious traditions that require the body to be whole when it enters the afterlife." [3]

  Faced with the accumulating evidence and numerous media reports, on 19 April 2006 the British Transplantation Society (BTS) publicly condemned the practice of extracting organs from executed prisoners without consent as an "unacceptable" human rights violation.

Why Falun Gong prisoners of conscience are particularly vulnerable

  In 1998, the Chinese Communist regime's survey found 70-100 million people were practising Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice of the Buddhist school. Feeling threatened by such a large group that was not under his control, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned Falun Gong in 1999 giving the direct order to "Destroy their reputation, bankrupt them financially and annihilate them physically." [4]

  Since the ban, these tens of millions of people have been placed outside the protection of the law in China. They are refused education and social support, fired from their jobs, imprisoned without trial, and are tortured in forced labour camps, where deaths of Falun Gong practitioners "count as suicide". Many practitioners who were arrested often refuse to disclose their names and personal details for fear of implicating their families, friends and colleagues.

  These situations make Falun Gong practitioners particularly vulnerable, since the regime can remove their organs without being held accountable for their actions. Victims' family members have no way of knowing what is happening to them and when it is too late, no legal recourse afterwards.

Recent information of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners

  In March 2006, The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong WOIPFG) confirmed through its investigations that hospitals and transplant centres in hina claim to use organs taken from live Falun Gong practitioners for transplants. [5]

  In April, 2006, The Weekly Standard interviewed the wife of a Chinese surgeon who claims to have performed many organ removals from Falun Gong practitioners, "he and the other doctors—some hired from the outside, each with a speciality, all constantly on call would come in and remove the patient's kidneys, skin tissue, corneas, and other organs, seemingly to order." [6]

  The same woman told The Epoch Times that her husband "often had terrible nightmares at night and woke up shrieking and terrified." He eventually disclosed to her that he regularly removed organs from Falun Gong practitioners, many of whom were still alive. Organs extracted from live persons are known to fetch higher prices. [7]

The scale of the problem

  The true number of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners is not known. In December 2002, The Economist reported that in the labour camp it visited 28% of the incarcerated were practitioners of Falun Gong. Even if one accepts the Chinese official total labour camp population of 260,000, which is widely believed to be a serious underestimate, there would be 70,000 practitioners incarcerated at that given moment. The total number over the past seven years would be many times higher. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the subject of torture and detention, his 2005 report raised the concern that "reports of arrests, detention . . . in particular Falun Gong practitioners, are increasing". [8]

  According to the Communist regime's official statistics, there were only 78 liver transplants in China during the eight years between 1991 and 1998. Since the regime started to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the number of liver transplants rocketed from 118 in 1999 to over 3000 in 2003 [9]. This sharp rise during the time of a major suppression campaign may not be a pure coincidence.


  On 8 May 2006, Canada's former Secretary of State (Asia Pacific) David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas launched an investigation into allegations of organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners. Their plan includes going to China. The Chairman of the British Transplantation Society Ethics Committee, Dr Stephen igmore, recently called for an investigation by the United Nations and the World Health Organization on this issue.

  An online petition in support of calls for investigations into organ harvesting in China together with additional information can be found at:








[8] UN report E/CN.4/2005/62/Add.1


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Prepared 13 August 2006