At a side event during the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, doctors report about organs being removed from Falun Gong, Uyghurs, and other prisoners of conscience in China, and used for transplant.
In 2006, reports that corneas were being removed from Falun Gong prisoners in China and used for transplants reached the West and created an international scandal. In the following years, a disturbing number of additional reports were published. They showed, first, that all kinds of organs were “harvested” from both living and deceased prisoners of conscience in China, and often sold throughout the world or offered to foreigners who came to China for “transplant tourism,” and second, that although Falun Gong practitioners were specially targeted, Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and others were also victims of the practice. Several countries passed laws banning cooperation with China in the field of transplants.
During the week centered on the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, the NGO Donors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) organized a side event on the situation in China. As Dr. Torsten Trey, executive director of DAFOH, reported, the practice had by no means ended, despite unprecedented efforts by Chinese authorities, with the help of “sympathetic” reporters and scholars, to claim that this is the case, and a statement by the Chinese delegation at a Vatican-organized conference in 2017 that there had been “abuses” in the past, but they had been “corrected.”
Dr. Trey presented accounts by Western doctors specialized in transplants that were told by their Chinese colleagues that readily available organs came from Falun Gong prisoners. DAFOH estimates that, from a single prisoner, organs can be harvested and sold with a profit up to $ 200,000 for the Chinese regime.
Dr. Trey reported that Falun Gong practitioners who were taken to hospitals sometimes went on dangerous hunger strikes to make their organs less desirable for harvesting.
Dr. Jessica Russo told horrific case stories of Falun Gong practitioners whose organs were harvested in the last twenty years. These stories, she argued, confirm that Falun Gong was the victim of what legal scholars call “cold genocide,” a gradual policy of extermination without the spectacular mass carnages typical of “hot genocides.” Dr. Russo also discussed fake news spread against Falun Gong by the regime.
Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).