United Nations Human Rights Bodies

In concluding observations on China’s degree of adherence to the United Nations Convention against Torture, on Nov. 21, 2008, a U.N. committee of independent experts expressed concern over “information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants.”

The committee then made the following recommendation, the most legally binding demand to date for the Chinese authorities to investigate and punish those responsible for forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong:

The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished. [2]

The committee’s conclusions follow on consistent inquiries transmitted to the Chinese government since August 2006 by various United Nations Special Rapporteurs, which have received unsatisfactory replies. [3]

“The Chinese government has yet to come clean and be transparent. It remains to be seen how it could be possible that organ transplant surgeries in Chinese hospitals have risen massively since 1999, while there are never that many voluntary donors available. [The allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners] were denied, but the Chinese government has not invalidated them.”

– Manfred Nowak, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture in August 2009 media interview, three years after U.N. experts communicated concerns over allegations of organ harvesting to the Chinese authorities. [4]


[1] David Kilgour and David Matas, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs, Seraphim (2009); p.13-16.

[2] United Nations Committee Against Torture, “Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture: China,” December 12, 2008, CAT/C/CHN/CO/4, p.10; http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/1115930.97448349.html.

[3] Manfred Nowak, “2007 Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment: Summary of information, including individual cases, transmitted to Governments and replies received,” March 20, 2007, A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, p.60-61; http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/6866005.06305695.html

[4] Charlotte Cuthbertson, “Unsolved: Organ Harvesting in China; Interview with Manfred Nowak Part II,” The Epoch Times, August 5, 2009; http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/20596/