PBS News Hour: Is China Still Gathering Organs from Executed Prisoners?

On May 29th, 2017, PBS News Hour aired a segment, which investigates the current state of forced organ harvesting–the horrific practice of murdering people to extract and sell their vital organs–in China.

“Decades ago, China began harvesting organs from executed prisoners for the purpose of transplanting them into sick people, a practice condemned by human rights activists and medical ethicists,” PBS News Hour reports. “With patients flocking to China from around the world, the government says it now only recovers organs from volunteers, but that claim is disputed.”

The Chinese government’s widespread practice of forced organ harvesting from executed prisoners has been widely condemned by human rights activists, governments, and medical professionals worldwide.

One of the primary unanswered questions has been where do these organs come from? In the episode, Isreali heart surgeon, and President of the Isreal Society of Transplantation Dr. Jacob Lavee testifies about one of his patients who told him that he would go to China and undergo a heart transplant within two weeks. However, as Dr. Lavee notes, the only way a heart transplant could be scheduled for a specific time in the future would be if “the people promising that knew ahead of time when his potential donor would be dead.”

Renowned human rights lawyer David Matas tells PBS News Hour that the reason that organs are available on demand in China with no wait time is clear: “They’ve obviously got a lot of people sitting around waiting to be killed for transplant.”

According to Matas and several other lawyers and journalists who have investigated the issue, the majority of these executed prisoners are practitioners of the Falun Dafa meditation practice. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a peaceful meditation practice that was introduced to China in 1992. By 1999, the Chinese government estimated that 100 million people were practicing the peaceful meditation.  In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched a persecution campaign which continues to this day which illegally detains, tortures, and harvests organs from living Falun Dafa practitioners.

In 2015, under international pressure, the Chinese government claimed that they would cease using organs from executed prisoners. However, human rights activists like Matas and author Ethan Guttmann say they have evidence that the practice of harvesting organs from living Falun Dafa practitioners continues to this day.

You can watch the entire episode here: http://www.pbs.org/video/3001344273/