While trade will top the agenda when President Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan next week, there are human rights issues as well. Not only the so-called “re-education camps” that house an estimated million Muslim Uighers but this week’s report from an independent panel in Britain on harvesting organs from prisoners.
The seven member China Tribunal concluded unanimously that that China forcibly removes organs from prisoners for transplant, and that the principal source is probably members of the banned spiritual group, Falun Gong. Chairman Sir Geoffrey Nice, a former lead prosecutor at the International Criminal Court wrote, “the conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason.”
The panel said that up to 90,000 transplants are performed in China every year – far more than the official figure. Waiting times were improbably short, often just a couple of weeks, and investigators calling hospitals in China were told some of the organs were from followers of Falun Gong. Former inmates, both Uighers and Falun Gong, told the panel that they’d been subjected to repeated medical tests that could have been part of a screening process.
The panel said that the practice does not fit the legal definition of genocide, but does amount to a crime against humanity and what it called an act of “unmatched wickedness.”
China has repeatedly denied such accusations and said that it stopped harvesting organs from executed prisoners in 2015. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London dismissed the panel’s report as rumors, and some independent experts question whether there’s enough evidence to reach such drastic conclusions.
Human Rights advocate David Kilgour, who testified to the tribunal, told Australia’s ABC, “I was a prosecutor for ten years. The evidence is overwhelming”