Wed, Jun 19, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Tribunal says China still harvests prisoners’ organs

The Guardian

An independent tribunal sitting in London on Monday concluded that the killing of detainees in China for organ transplants is continuing and victims include imprisoned members of the Falun Gong movement.

The China Tribunal, chaired by Geoffrey Nice, who was a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said in a unanimous determination at the end of its hearings it was “certain that Falun Gong were used for forced organ harvesting.”

The tribunal has been taking evidence from medical experts, human rights investigators and others.

Among those killed, it has been alleged, are members of religious minorities such as Falun Gong. Persecution of the group began in 1999 after it had attracted tens of millions of followers and came to be seen as a threat to the Chinese Communist Party.

There is less evidence about the treatment of Tibetans, Uighur Muslims and some Christian sects.

The panel said that its findings were “indicative” of genocide, but it had not been clear enough to make a positive ruling, particularly since some Falun Gong prisoners had been released and profit was also a likely motive.

China in 2014 announced that it would stop removing organs for transplantation from executed prisoners and has dismissed the claims as politically motivated and untrue.

The tribunal was initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China and its members, all of whom worked without payment, included medical experts.

Waiting times for transplantation offered by hospitals in China were extraordinarily low, often only a couple of weeks, the tribunal said.

Investigators calling hospitals in China inquiring about transplants for patients have in the past been told that the source of some organs were from Falun Gong members, the tribunal said.

Former Falun Gong and Uighur inmates gave testimony of undergoing repeated medical testing in Chinese jails.

Jennifer Zeng (曾錚), a Falun Gong member who was imprisoned for a year in a female labor camp, gave evidence to the China Tribunal about what she said were repeated medical checkups and blood tests to which inmates were subjected.

“On the day we were transferred to the labor camp, we were taken to a medical facility where we underwent physical checkups. We were interrogated about what diseases we had and I told them I had hepatitis,” she told reporters.

“The second time, after about a month in the camp, everyone was handcuffed and put in a van and taken to a huge hospital. That was for a more thorough physical checkup. We were given X-rays,” she said.

“On the third occasion in the camp, they were drawing blood from us. We were all told to line up in the corridor and the test were given,” she added.

Zeng, who fled China in 2001, did not see any direct evidence of forced organ removal, but since reading other accounts, she has questioned whether the tests were part of a medical selection process.

In her statement to the tribunal, she said: “Inmates of the labor 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,” she added.

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