April 25, 2024

China accused of sequencing Tibetan and Uyghur DNA to supply organ transplant market

A committee of the US Congress has heard shocking testimony about alleged forced organ harvesting from Uyghurs and Falun Gong practitioners in China. 

The chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Congressman Chris Smith, has been studying this issue for years. He is firmly convinced that China is permitting horrific violations of human rights. 

“Forced organ harvesting on an industrial scale in China is an atrocity unmatched in its wickedness—one has to go back to the horrific crimes committed in the 20th century by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot to find comparably systemic atrocities,” he stated in his introduction to a hearing on March 21. “The numbers of those executed or their organs—some even before they are brain dead—is staggering.” 

Amongst the witnesses before the CECC was Dr Maya Mitalipova, the director of the Human Stem Cell Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She is a Uyghur who was born in Kazakhstan. 

Her allegations were astonishing. She said that the Chinese Government has built the world’s largest DNA database with the help of American technology. The DNA of the indigenous populations of Tibet and Xinjiang, where most of China’s 15 million Uyghurs and other Turkic people live, has been sequenced. She estimated that sequencing the DNA of 15 million people would cost US$1 or 2 billion. Why would the government do this? 

Her blood-curdling answer is that the Chinese government uses the database to select organ donors.

When a patient requests an organ in China, his/her DNA sequenced data will be “blasted” against millions in the DNA database stored in computers. Within a few minutes, a perfect match will be found. If a potential donor of the organs is not in prison or a camp, then Chinese authorities can easily find a reason to detain a match to be killed for their organs on demand.

This is the main reason why Chinese government invested billions of dollars to DNA sequencing of entire population of Xinjiang and Tibet. Because it will make exponentially many more billions of dollars per year in return.

Ethan Gutmann, an expert on organ harvesting, also testified that young and healthy Uyghur adults are being taken from mass internment camps and killed for their organs. 

Gutmann, the author of “The Slaughter”, a book about forced organ harvesting, has been investigating organ harvesting in China for years. Initially, he said, adherents of the banned Falun Gong movement, were used. But around 2017 China began to source organs from Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang for patients from the Middle East. “On the assumption that Gulf state organ tourists prefer Muslim donors who don’t eat pork, [China] has tried to capitalize on the switch from Falun Gong to Uyghur sources.”

Another witness before the CECC was Anne Zimmerman, the chair of the New York City Bar Association Bioethical Issues Committee. She said that bioethicists had a special responsibility for ensuring that institutions did not collaborate in organ harvesting. 

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu told Radio Free Asia that China was governed by laws and “the sale of human organs and illegal transplant are strictly prohibited”.“The human rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been fully protected,” he said. “The claims you mentioned do not hold water and mean nothing except manufacturing sensational