Lack of media coverage, institutional silence, self-censorship, and fear of Beijing’s retribution are among the reasons that many people, including those in the medical sector, are unaware of China’s ongoing state-sanctioned practice of killing innocents for their organs.
Those reasons were presented during a roundtable discussion on June 9, in an online event titled “Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People–Past, Present, Future.” Aired by EpochTV and NTD, the roundtable was organized by U.S.-based advocacy group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH).
“In my experience, less than 10 percent of the entire medical community actually knows what forced organ harvesting is. And even less than that, actually, just a fraction of that has any kind of understanding of a tribunal or the massive amount of data that’s out there,” said G. Weldon Gilcrease, associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah and DAFOH deputy director, during the roundtable.
The Chinese regime has been killing prisoners of conscience for their organs to supply the transplant market for over a decade. In 2019, an independent panel, called the China Tribunal, found that such practice was happening “on a significant scale” in China. It concluded that such actions amounted to crimes against humanity, with Falun Gong practitioners being the main source of organs.
Martin Elliott, who was a member of the China Tribunal and a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the University College London, said that reviewing the evidence of organ harvesting gave him a sense of “horror.”
“We were almost unwilling to believe it and took a very cautious approach to the evidence, which was extremely weighty, collected by very brave people for a long period of time,” he said. “But in the end, the disparity between the number of not official donors and the number of transplants, the short waiting times, the financial transactions which were exposed by the telephone calls, made it impossible for us to conclude anything other than it was taking place.”
Gilcrease recalled how his university rejected his proposal for holding a talk with the local transplant and legal communities about China’s forced organ harvesting in late 2019, after the China Tribunal published its findings.
“So when I went to one of our senior leadership officials and said, ‘look, we need to at least sit down and talk about it, and talk about our potential complicity … in training people from China to come here, learn transplant and go back to China and be involved in these crimes against humanity [that] are likely genocidal acts of killing innocent people for organs,’” Gilcrease said.
He continued: “I was essentially told there was no doubt that it [forced organ harvesting] was happening. But there was a concern that if we said anything as a medical center, that China would send all of their students to Texas [instead of Utah]. That was the response I was given.”
“So I think there is real fear of economic retribution. I think there is fear of professional retribution,” Gilcrease concluded.
By Frank Fang