China Tribunal

Summary

An international, independent people’s tribunal, established by, but remains independent of, the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), a registered charitable NGO, to “determine what international law crimes, if any, have been committed by state or state-approved bodies, organisations or individuals in China that may have engaged in forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience.” 

Background

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of forced organ harvesting since 2000. Initially it was charged with forcibly removing the organs of death row prisoners. China later claimed that death row prisoners consented to donating their organs to the State to redeem themselves for the crimes they had committed against the State, a practice China claimed to have stopped in January 2015. However, the explosion of organ transplant activities in China from 2000 together with reports of thousands of transplant tourists going to China to purchase organs, suggests a larger supply of organs than could be sourced from executed criminals alone. The scale of the Chinese transplant industry, together with other evidence, points to the possibility that China is involved in forced organ harvesting and selling for profit organs from prisoners of conscience.

National and international organisations and government bodies have reported on the issue of forced organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China. Based on multiple sources of information, it has been alleged that prisoners of conscience have been killed ‘to order’ for the purposes of extracting and using their organs for profitable transplantation surgery. Victims include members of groups arbitrarily detained by the government for political reasons (primarily people who practice Falun Gong but also Tibetans, Uyghurs and House Christians). Parliamentary hearings in several countries have heard evidence on the issue, and some have passed legislation in response. 

The Panel

Chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. Joining Sir Geoffrey are six panel members with backgrounds in international law, human rights, transplant medicine, international relations, Chinese history and business: 

  • Prof Martin Elliott
  • Andrew Khoo
  • Regina Paulose
  • Shadi Sadr
  • Nicholas Vetch
  • Prof Arthur Waldron

The Evidence

A complete list of evidence submitted to the Tribunal is available on the China Tribunal website.

THE FINDINGS

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.

Importance / Significance

  • 50+ fact witnesses, experts, investigators & analysts
  • 5 days of public hearings in 12/2018 and 04/2019
  • Over 12 months, conducted the first ever robust analysis of all available evidence including: written submissions, investigative reports & academic papers.

China Tribunal in the Media