By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
LONDON/BEIJING (BosNewsLife)-- Devoted house church Christians and other prisoners of conscience are targeted and killed for a massive gruesome trade in human organs in China, according to new reports released this week.
Three researchers – prominent human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian member of parliament and government minister David Kilgour, and journalist Ethan Gutmann – say public records of 712 hospitals in China carrying out liver and kidney transplants, show that the scale of organ harvesting is far bigger than previously imagined.
All three, who previously published respected reports on the topic, now conclude that between 60,000 to 100,000 organs are transplanted each year in Chinese hospitals.
"The numbers and the extraordinarily short waiting times for transplant patients suggest that prisoners of conscience, from the spiritual movement Falun Gong as well as Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans, and house church Christians, may be the primary victims," said Benedict Rogers, deputy chair of the British Conservative Party Human Rights Commission.
"Like something out of a horror movie, livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs, and corneas are being cut out from prisoners of conscience while they are still alive. The victims are then, if still living by that point, executed," he explained in published remarks. "If anything proves the meaning of the term “crime against humanity,”
it is this bloody, ghoulish practise."
Rogers described the authors report 'Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update' as an "impressive 798-page piece of work" They find that one hospital alone, the Oriental Organ Transplant Center at the Tianjin First Center Hospital, is probably doing more than 6,000 transplants a year.
"CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY"
“The end of this crime against humanity is not in sight,” the authors wrote. “The ultimate conclusion is that the Communist Party of China has engaged the State in the mass killings of innocents … in order to obtain organs for transplants.” While China officially claims 10,000 organ transplants a year, the authors argue that this is “easily surpassed by just a few hospitals.”
The organ harvest comes at a time when Chinese authorities have expressed concern about the spread of Christianity in the Communist-run nation as well as other religious groups and sects such as the Falon Gong movement.
The estimated 130-million Christians in China are reportedly the fastest growing Christian group in the world and seen by at least some officials as a threat to the atheistic ideology of the Communist Party. Several churches are known to have been forced to
remove crosses as part of a wider reported crackdown.
The forced organ trade is seen by critics as another warning to minorities and an easy way to use prisoners as donors for what is
an increasingly profitable global trade.
Their claims have also been highlighted in another report launched this week by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. Rogers said the document came after "an extensive inquiry into China’s human rights record, examining the severe repression of human rights lawyers, dissidents, and civil society activists, violations of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, and the erosion of freedom in Hong Kong."
"THE DARKEST MOMENT"
He said the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission's report 'The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016' notes new findings and calls for an international inquiry into the practise. The Commission has urged British legislators to prohibit organ tourism in China at least till a comprehensive investigation is completed and to consider releasing statistics on how many British citizens travel to China for organ transplants each year.
It suggested that Britain, the European Union and others should prepare a list of doctors engaged in organ harvesting in China, and to introduce a travel ban for those associated with such practises.
Chinese-born Canadian actress and winner of Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin, a Falun Gong practitioner, has said that the "tragic and barbaric" practise "forces us to confront the question of how humans – doctors trained to heal, no less – could possibly do such great evil?”
Lin, who testified to the Commission, said that the "aggressors in China were not born to be monsters who take out organs from their people … It’s the system that made them do that. It’s the system that made them so cold-blooded able to cut people open and take out their organs and watch them die. No one is born to be so cruel.”
Among others testifying was Uyghur surgeon, Dr Enver Tohti, who has admitted once conducting an operation to remove organs from a prisoner. China’s organ transplant numbers are second only to the United States. Unlike any other country, virtually all Chinese organs for transplants come from prisoners, according to several sources with close knowledge about the situation. Many of the detainees are prisoners of conscience, including devoted Christians worshiping at home outside state-sanctioned churches and other groups, international investigators say.
DECADES OF EXPERIENCE
"The harvesting of organs from executed prisoners in China started in 1984 when a law was implemented in China that allowed he practise," recalled the Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) group. However with the need for organs growing so has the trade, experts say.
"The killing of prisoners for their organs is a plain breach of the most basic medical ethics," DAFOH added. DAFOH says figures make clear that organs are not only taken from executed convicted detainees, as China claims. It has launched a petition urging the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner to urge China to immediately end the forced organ harvesting and initiate further investigations that lead to the prosecution of those involved.
Rogers agrees. He said the release of "this new evidence" demands a response from the international community. He said Britain "faces calls to review and recalibrate its relationship with China, which it currently describes as in a “golden era”.
He expressed concern about what he views as "the severe and widespread assault on human rights" that under Xi Jinping’s presidency. "How is it possible to have a golden era of relations with a country that takes a knife to prisoners of conscience while they are still alive, in order to sell their organs? An urgent international investigation is needed, a ban on organ tourism to travel required, and a travel ban on those who perform such bloody acts is long overdue. This crime against humanity must stop," he wrote in The Diplomat, a respected international magazine.
Earlier this month the U.S. Congress passed a resolution expressing "concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups."