In a shocking revelation of the extent of brutalities faced by Chinese minorities, the UN Human Rights Council has been told that the Chinese government is harvesting and selling organs from persecuted ethnic and religious minorities including the Uyghur Muslims, who are being persecuted at an accelerated pace. Lawyer Hamid Sabi, speaking at the UNHRC headquarters in Geneva, presented the findings of the China tribunal, an independent tribunal on accusations of forced organ harvesting.
He further said that the human rights body that the UN member states have a “legal obligation” to act after the tribunal’s final report about harvesting of organs by the Chinese Communist government found that “the commission of crimes against humanity against the Falun Gong and Uighur [minorities] had been proved beyond reasonable doubt.” The China Tribunal had been chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who led the case against Slobodan Milošević. The independent tribunal had heard evidence from human rights investigators, medical experts and witnesses.
The Sir Geoffrey Nice QC led tribunal arrived at the conclusion that there was evidence to the effect that China had been harvesting organs and killing members of the Falun Gong spiritual group for that purpose for the last 20 years. It also concluded that the practice is going on even today. According to the tribunal’s final judgment, Detainees were “killed to order… cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale.
It is relevant to mention here that China has long been accused of such allegations of organ harvesting. There have been reports of organ harvesting from the Falun Gong practitioners and other political prisoners in China. A heart wrenching account from a former Falun Gong prisoner exposes the sheer brutality with which such crimes against humanity were committed. He told the Guardian, “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 check-up. We were given X-rays. 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 was given.”
As per such reports, political prisoners, including Falun Gong practitioners, who the Communist Party of China sees as a threat to their rule, are being subjected to supposedly on-demand execution in order to provide organs to recipients. The Falun Gong practitioners practise a unique form of meditative practice, derived from Buddhism and Taoism. The Chinese Communist government has been trying to eradicate the religion for decades. There is substantial evidence corroborating accusations of Falun Gong practitioners being killed for the purpose of organ harvesting. Such allegations find considerable proof in the disparity between the number of transplants and known sources of organ donation.
In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched a ‘struggle’ campaign against Falun Gong practitioners. persecution Followers of Falun Gong has continued till today, it has been treated as a mental illness till its near eradication in China, just as Islam is today. Organ transplants in Chinese hospital records have shot up exponentially as the Falun Gong persecution campaign took off, however, the number of voluntary organ donors has been exceptionally low.
China has a very low number of voluntary organ donors, at an average of just more than 100 per year. However, the number of organ transplants run into thousands. This number shot up in a big way only after 2004. In fact, a report says that in China, over 60,000 to 100,000 transplants have been taking place annually, to the point that surgeons have ‘lost count’.
What corroborates serious human rights violations is the fact that the growth in the organ transplant industry of China has coincided with the mass detention Falun Gong practitioners, which in turn, has reflected shorter wait times. There was a sudden spurt in the number of organ transplants in China beginning in 2000. This was about the same time when lakhs of Falun Gong practitioners were sent to Chinese labour camps, detention centres and prisons.
It is not only the Falun Gong community whose human rights violations have been blatantly exploited by the Chinese government, with cogent evidence of organ harvesting. This grave and inhuman crime has also been committed against its prisoners by the Chinese government. According to a 2016 report, the Chinese government continues to harvest the organs of its innocent imprisoned despite its claims of having ended the practice in 2014. The transplant industry is booming in China having by far some of the shortest wait times across the world. Various estimates peg the number of organ transplants in China between 6 lakhs to 10 lakhs annually. A majority of the hearts, livers and other organs are harvested by executing ‘prisoners of conscience.’ A 1984 law permits the removal of organs from prisoners after ‘obtaining their consent.’ Such consent has clearly been coerced at an alarmingly high rate not only from death row convicts but also from ‘prisoners of conscience.’
What now exposes the possible future plans of the Chinese government aimed at committing human rights violations in order to sustain its booming transplants industry, there have been reports of a rather recent phenomenon of concerted persecution and medical testing among the Uyghur Muslims. Earlier, there have been several reports about detention camps masquerading re-education camps, which have emerged as the hotspots of blatant violation of human rights violations striking at the very faith of the Uyghur Muslims. Millions of Uyghur Muslims been detained, their mosques razed and restrictions have been placed on their religious freedoms and personal liberties. Now, there are legitimate concerns about the possibility of the Chinese government exploiting them for organ transplants. The recent evidence and China’s terrible track record have made such apprehensions valid. However, Muslim countries like Pakistan choose not to speak against these despicable atrocities against Muslims in China. In fact, over 50 nations including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have endorsed China’s attempts to ‘deradicalise’ the Uyghur population, unveiling the hypocrisy of nations like Pakistan that keep only political interests in mind.