(Minghui.org) Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), the medical watchdog organisation monitoring abuses in organ transplantation surgery, said that the international community should be wary of China’s recent promise to end the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners.
The Chinese government has a longstanding record of secrecy, misleading numbers and contradictory statements, and despite mounting evidence and international demands to stop organ harvesting abuses, Beijing has refused to acknowledge the illegal harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience.
China’s primary source of organs for transplantation surgeries, said to be executed death row inmates, belies a different reality: an increased reliance on organ procurement from prisoners of conscience. This vulnerable group, including Falun Gong – a brutally persecuted traditional Chinese cultivation practice, is at increased risk of falling victim to the demand for forcibly procured organs. DAFOH urges the global medical community to remain vigilant and not accept China’s claims at face value, pointing out several key factors:
Murky legal situation
China has harvested organs from executed prisoners since 1984. Incredibly, in a recent interview, transplant architect Huang Jiefu denied that the policy was ever an official “law” – which, if true, would render tens of thousands of organ procurements illegal and the same amount of transplant surgeries unethical, demanding the prosecution of doctors and support personnel.
In a 2013 report by ABC, Huang defended the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners, saying that death row prisoners would want redemption – thus, “Why do you object?” In 2014, he stated that prisoners were citizens with the right to donate organs, an interpretation of ethical standards not shared by the international community. Last month, with a shift in political winds, Huang completely reversed this position, calling the practice “a forbidden zone”, pointing the finger to the now disgraced Chinese security czar, Zhou Yongkang.
‘Implausible disappearing transplants’
Chinese hospitals have been busily scrubbing their websites of evidence to downplay the extent of the transplant business. As recently as July 2014, the Guangdong No. 2 Provincial People’s Hospital boasted on its website that since its establishment in 1999, it had performed over 1,000 kidney transplants. In February 2015, in a climate of global scrutiny over China’s organ transplant policies, the same website was altered, now crediting the facility with only 500 kidney transplants since 1999. The number of kidney transplants that the department head performed was also changed from 2,000 to 1,200 during that same period.
It is evident that China is not ready to share internationally accepted ethics and join the transplant community as an equal, trusted partner.
In order to take the Chinese government’s claims seriously, international monitoring groups and medical organisations must demand:
• Full disclosure of the use of prisoners of conscience as an organ source,
• Transparency of organ sources, and
• Access to China’s organ procurement pathways.
About Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting
Founded and organised by medical doctors of various specialties from all over the world, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) aims to provide the medical community and society with objective findings of unethical and illegal organ harvesting. Organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor, without obtaining prior free and voluntary consent, is considered a crime against humanity, as well as a threat to medical science in general.