May 29, 2024

Allegations of Chinese organ harvesting grow in credibility

Nature publishes news about a UK tribunal

Falun Gong protesters against alleged organ harvesting in China  / Epoch Times

Allegations that Chinese doctors are transplanting organs from prisoners of conscience are not new. But it is significant that they were reported by the world’s leading science journal, Nature, this week – although Nature did not endorse them.

The occasion for the news was the publication of a study by China Tribunal, an independent panel investigating forced organ donation from prisoners of conscience in China. This is an initiative of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China.

As Nature points out, an article in BMJ Open in February analysed 450 studies of Chinese transplant operations published between 2000 and 2017. The authors found that 86% failed to identify where the organs came from; only 1% reported whether the patient had consented; and only 7% included a statement that no organs from prisoners had been used. The authors called for retraction of all the papers until they met international ethical standards.

Another issue is that the numbers do not appear to add up. The Chinese government has averred that all donations would be voluntary by 2015. According to official statistics, the number of voluntary donations have been rising steadily. However, research published on the preprint server SocArXiv examined data on voluntary organ transplants from 2010 to 2016. It concluded that the figures are simply not credible: “systematic falsification and manipulation of official organ transplant datasets and the misclassification of donors [exist] in China. This takes place alongside genuine voluntary organ transplant activity, which is often incentivized by large cash payments.”

Most of the evidence is indirect, so this is not an open-and-shut case. There are few whistleblowers who have tabled smoking guns at the tribunal. However, the allegations are becoming more and more credible.

If the tribunal’s claims are accepted, the Chinese government may be guilty of genocide. This is hard to prove, but it insists that something uniquely evil is going on.

… forced organ harvesting is of unmatched wickedness even compared – on a death for death basis – with the killings by mass crimes committed in the last century. There is justifiable belief in the minds of some or many – rising to probability or high probability – that Genocide has been committed. 

At the very least, the tribunal insists, the international community should investigate whether crimes against humanity have been committed against the Falun Gong and the Muslim Uyghurs. As far as it is concerned, this has been proved “beyond reasonable doubt”.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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