On June 19, 2019, the China Tribunal issued its final verdict:
“Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout
China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have
been one – and probably the main– source of organ supply.
The concerted persecution and medical testing of the Uyghurs is more recent and it may be that evidence of forced organ harvesting of this group may emerge in due course.
The Tribunal has had no evidence that the significant infrastructure associated with China’s transplantation industry has been dismantled and absent a satisfactory explanation as to the source of readily available organs concludes that forced organ harvesting continues till today.”
The China Tribunal is the first civil court in the world to conduct a hearing on the organ harvesting allegedly committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The court invited Chinese authorities to participate in the legal process, but CCP officials did not respond.
The independent China Tribunal was commissioned to evaluate the available evidence to decide whether international crimes have been committed in China’s transplantation system and whether they are ongoing.
“It is an independent process, with tribunal members recognized on the international stage to be of the highest integrity, and headed
by Sir Geoffrey who has great human rights expertise. It is, therefore, an important process for all members of the international transplant community,” said
Heather Draper, professor of Bioethics at the University of Warwick in a written statement.
The independent Tribunal heard evidence on the 8th, 9th and 10th of December 2018, and the 6th and 7th of April 2019.
50 witnesses including refugees, former inmates of Chinese prisons, doctors, and investigators testified to tribunal chair Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a panel of six experts, and the tribunal’s legal advisory group.
The testimony and public hearings attracted legal and medical professionals, human rights groups, and people from all walks of life.
In a press briefing, Susie Hughes, executive director of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), informed reporters that an increase in transplant activity in China coincided with the repression of Falun Gong.
“During the 2000s, analysis of various sources of emerging evidence led to the conclusion that people who practiced Falun Gong were being killed to provide the organs fueling China’s transplant boom,” she said.
The genocidal persecution against Falun Gong practitioners was launched on July 20, 1999, by Jiang Zemin, former head of the CCP.
The policy he passed down was to, “Ruin their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.”
Since 1999, Falun Gong practitioners have been held in state institutions such as detention centers, prisons, and hospitals.
Many forced organ harvesting operations have been carried out by China’s military hospitals.
Every Falun Gong witness who appeared before the Tribunal had been arrested and imprisoned, and was tortured while incarcerated.
According to all of the witnesses, physical torture included beatings, electrocution, sexual harassment, forced feeding, and starvation. Non-Falun Gong witnesses also alleged that physical abuse had taken place.
Human rights lawyer and investigator David Matas, presented evidence on Dec. 8, that revealed a huge discrepancy between the number of voluntary transplants from donors and death-row prisoners alleged by the CCP, and the actual number of transplants taking place in China.
“The purpose of this [tribunal] is to let the public know what has happened to the victims,” said Hamid Sabi, legal counsel to the tribunal. “In this particular case, how terrible it is for them to be exposed to this sort of torture and eventually pillaged of their organs through the most horrible way.”
According to bioethicist Professor Draper, organ transplant surgeons and recipients could become criminally complicity if they do not inquire about the source of the organs. “Many have refused thus far to engage with the evidence of grossly unethical practice in China prepared by ETAC and others,” said Professor Draper.
“Yet, it is impossible for bioethicists, practitioners, and recipients to defend organ transplantation as a practice while ignoring this evidence.” “Do no harm”, that is the obligation, and the consensus held amongst physicians, she said. “If you perform surgery on healthy people, and you know they will die, that is murder.”