China Accused of Harvesting Organs of Uighurs, Falun Gong Religious Group

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

A human rights lawyer has accused the Chinese government of murdering members of the Uighur Muslim minority and the Falun Gong religious group to harvest their organs, and has urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate the allegations.

The lawyer, Hamid Sabi, represents the China Tribunal, an independent panel founded to examine the issue of Chinese organ harvesting. The tribunal is headed by British Lawyer Sir Geoffery Nice, who previously led the prosecution against Serbian president Slobodan Milošević.

“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale,” Sabi told the U.N.H.R.C. on Tuesday.

The tribunal’s final report on the matter details abuses committed by the Chinese government, and asserts that the government sanctioned doctors to “cut open [victims’ bodies] while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale.”

Falun Gong, a religious practice based on meditation, has long been banned in China. Its practitioners are often imprisoned.

China maintains that it ceased using organs from executed prisoners in 2015.

Waiting times in China for an organ transplant are extremely low, leading patients from overseas to seek treatment there. The tribunal charges that under Chinese organ donation laws, the supply of organs on the market should be much lower than it currently stands if all the donations are voluntarily given.

China is concurrently accused of human rights violations with regard to the Uighur minority. Reports from the Xinjiang region, home to the Uighur population, indicate that China has arrested around one million Uighur citizens and placed them in political and religious re-education camps.

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