The UK China Tribunal has concluded that China is indeed harvesting organs from prisoners, especially imprisoned members of the banned Falun Gong religion; Falun Gong members have long claimed this to be the case, though the Chinese state denied it and said that it had halted the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners in 2014.
The tribunal heard that investigators who cold-called Chinese hospitals inquiring about donor organs found them to be in suspiciously ready supply, with the hospital staff candidly admitting that organs had previously come from Falun Gong members.
Jennifer Zeng, a Falun Gong member who was imprisoned in a hard labor camp, testified that she and her co-religionists were repeatedly medically tested, which she believes might have been a prelude to organ harvesting. Former Uighur prisoners also testified that they were subjected to repeated medical tests while imprisoned.
Some countries enforce a ban on citizens traveling to China for organ transplants; the UK is considering such a ban. A representative of the Chinese state told the Guardian that they hoped that Britons "will not be misled by rumours."
In her statement to the tribunal, she said: “Inmates of the labour camp were not allowed to exchange contact details, so there was no way to trace each other after we were released. When anyone disappeared from the camp, I would assume that she was released and had gone home.
“But in reality that cannot be confirmed, as I had no way to trace others after my release and I now fear they might have been taken to a hospital and had their organs removed without consent and thus killed in the process.”
As many as 90,000 transplant operations a year are being carried out in China, the tribunal estimated, a far higher figure than that given by official government sources.
China is harvesting organs from detainees, tribunal concludes [Owen Bowcott/The Guardian]