The Chinese Communist Party celebrated on Sunday that the current number of organ donation “volunteers” in the country is 100 times the size it was in 2015, shortly before China began building concentration camps for ethnic minorities.
China’s state-run Global Times in particular applauded an alleged increase in the number of organ donation volunteers since the first outbreak of Chinese coronavirus began in central Wuhan city in late 2019. Reports published last year indicated a potential rise in the live harvesting of organs from political prisoners in desperate attempts to perform lung transplants on coronavirus patients.
“More than 1.77 million people have been registered as an organ donation volunteer as of Friday at China Organ Transportation Development Foundation (COTDF), an institute supported by China’s National Health Commission,” the state newspaper reported. “The number shows an increase of about 46.5 percent compared with the number at the end of 2019, despite the impact of the epidemic, according to a report released by COTDF at a Friday conference held in Yan’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.”
“It is also 100 times higher than at the beginning of 2015, when citizens’ voluntary organ donation after death officially became the only legal channel for organ transplantation in China,” the Global Times added, noting that China’s National Health Commission implemented a two-year campaign beginning in late 2020 to convince Chinese citizens to donate their organs to the state. As a communist country, the Communist Party controls the entire Chinese healthcare system and private medical care does not exist.
The acclaim in the government propaganda follows the culmination of the “Uyghur Tribunal” last week in London, a non-government series of testimonials from experts and victims of the Communist Party detailing years of human rights abuses against the ethnic Uyghur people and other minorities in China. Experts testified there that the body of evidence that the Communist Party harvests the organs of concentration camp victims and political prisoners to offer “on-demand” transplants has grown since the establishment of those camps. Satellite evidence suggests that China began building the massive system of concentration camps in western Xinjiang province in 2017, two years after the Global Times claimed that the number of “volunteers” offering their organs increased 100-fold in comparison to today.
The evidence at the Uyghur Tribunal has followed decades of allegations from religious and political minorities in China that the Communist Party kills political prisoners to sell their organs to the highest bidder. Among the most vocal groups denouncing the regime are those who practice Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation system based on ancient Asian practices, who say their organs are highly prized because their members abstain from the use of drugs and alcohol and dedicate significant effort to their fitness.
The Global Times claimed that demand within China for organs remains far higher than the number of organs available, calling into question the years of accusations that China has sold organs to wealthy foreigners.
The latest evidence of the use of political prisoners for their organs surfaced at the Uyghur Tribunal last week. Ethan Gutmann of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, who has spent decades studying the phenomenon, testified that he had interviewed 20 Xinjiang refugees of Uyghur and Kazakh descent who had spent time in the concentration camps and their experiences included medical testing commensurate with organ harvesting. While those witnesses survived, they all testified to seeing Chinese officials impose medical tests on others and that many, most extremely young, disappeared shortly after those tests.
Gutmann’s 2014 book The Slaughter extensively detailed evidence that China was using Falun Gong practitioners – arrested for their refusal to submit to communist authority – and other political prisoners as involuntary organ “donors.” In 2016, Gutmann, alongside former Canadian lawmaker David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas published an update to their respective works on organ harvesting noting that the Communist Party’s statistics on the number of transplants performed did not match the number of alleged organs donated in 2015 and that significant evidence existed of hospitals without legal licenses to perform transplants were doing so.
The Chinese Communist Party responded to the mounting accusations against it in 2017 by flatly denying the practice and applauding itself, through state media, for its “sound legal system and fair distribution” of organs nationwide, claiming that the “international community” had celebrated China for its pioneering in the subject.
Concentration camp survivors and other political prisoners have nonetheless continued to testify publicly to being subjected to testing that indicates a search for viable organs.
Huiqiong Liu, a former Falun Gong political prisoner, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a December interview that police repeatedly hinted at killing her for her organs.
“The interrogation started at 9 P.M. and ended around noon the next day. The five officers didn’t hit me, but there was a sixth man and he beat me and threatened me. ‘I’ll remove your organs,’ he says, ‘and burn what’s left of your body,'” Liu described. In another conversation, a prison doctor answered when asked directly if her organs were being considered for harvesting, “that will be decided by someone at a higher level.” Liu also stated she was forced to sign an organ donor consent form.
Liu attributed her survival to going on a hunger strike, thus damaging her health to the point of making her organs unviable.
An anonymous witness identified only as Ms. Aili told Lude Press in January 2020 that she personally witnessed the extraction of organs from Uyghurs in Xinjiang in 2006 and that the buyers were largely wealthy Saudis seeking “halal” organs from other Muslim people.
“She was also told that the donors were ‘slaughtered’ on the basis of demand. She added that she had originally been skeptical about reports of harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners and was shocked to learn that such practices were real,” Taiwan News reported at the time.
At least one doctor, Enver Tohti, has testified to personally cutting organs out of a political prisoner. Tohti has said his first experience with the practice occurred in Xinjiang in 1995.