A recent tribunal report on organ harvesting reveals the devastating torture both Falun Gong practitioners and minority Uighurs face in detention inside China.Over the past week, I’ve watched recorded testimonies from the China Tribunal, an independent panel investigating the harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience in China. Headed by Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prosecutor at the United Nations criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the panel listened to testimony from Falun Gong practitioners, formerly detained Uighurs, researchers of organ harvesting, and transplant doctors at a hearing in London. In the end, the tribunal determined China has long harvested the organs of prisoners of conscience, mainly followers of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, and continues the practice today.
That panel fears that Uighurs, who are an ethnic minority in China’s western Xinjiang region, are at great risk for organ harvesting: Chinese officials have blood-tested the population and placed more than 1 million Uighurs in massive concentration camps.Tribunal members concluded that the Chinese government’s actions against Falun Gong adherents and Uighurs constitute crimes against humanity. They asked other international groups to determine whether China’s actions also qualify as genocide. Overall, it’s grim viewing material: The crimes are heinous, the cover-up enormous, and the personal stories heartbreaking. At one point, an interpreter choked up as he translated a Falun Gong practitioner’s recollection of the torture she faced in prison: Guards pulled her hair, slapped her face, stomped on her, and threatened to remove her organs and burn her body. Her crime? Refusing to recant her religious beliefs.