China forcibly harvests organs from prisoners of conscience

Immigrant Chinese doctor recounts unfortunate experiences of Falun Gong practitioners.

In 1994, Dr. Zheng Zhi unwittingly stepped into a nightmarish world that would haunt him for a quarter of a century. A resident doctor at a Chinese military hospital, he found himself part of a "secret military mission" close to a prison in northeastern China.

Dr. Zheng saw four armed soldiers carrying a man whose limbs were bound with thin ropes that had cut deeply into his flesh. The man, a bound and helpless prisoner, was no more than 18 years old.

Assisted by nurses, three doctors operated on the man in open air to remove his kidneys first while Zheng was ordered to step on the patient’s legs. The man’s eyes were ripped out the last.

The young man was alive as surgeons extracted his organs one by one. The organs were rushed into the hospital for transplant. The donor passed away in agony.

Dr. Zheng (pictured above, credit: The Epoch Times) claims he was deeply shocked by this experience and upon completion of his medical residency he withdrew to another city to work as a pediatrician.

He decided to unmask the gruesome reality years later, after establishing himself in Canada, exposing the forced, informal organ harvesting by the Chinese penitentiary system and medical institutions from opponents to the regime, in an interview for The Epoch Times. 

This horrifying encounter actually marked the beginning of an industrialized killing apparatus that harvested organs from prisoners of conscience, primarily adherents of the persecuted Falun Gong faith group, to meet the demands of a billion-dollar industry inside and perhaps outside China.

High ranking officials and wealthy business people have been the primary customers of this industry, which is thriving to date, according to the report.

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For years, Dr. Zheng believed that the 1994 experience was one of a few cases taking place in the Chinese penitentiary system. It wasn't until 2002 that he saw the true size of this practice. An acquaintance, connected to the elite Chinese leadership, disclosed that detained Falun Gong practitioners, including underage children, were hidden beneath the Hubei Province Public Security Bureau in Wuhan city.

There wasn’t much secrecy about the purpose of their detention – local officials, guards, and doctors knew about the prisoners and why they were kept in captivity against their will. These detainees – healthy and young – were potential sources of organs for forced harvesting, the doctor was told.

The donors usually die from surgical harm or get killed for mercy on the spot, the whistleblower recounted.

Dr. Zheng made a daring escape to Thailand in 2005, where he obtained refugee status before settling in Canada in 2007. Only in 2022, he dared share his memories with journalists.

The story about the extent of China's transplant practices has prompted a reaction from Torsten Trey, executive director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting. Dr. Trey has called for the international community's response to these medical crimes against humanity. He questions the silence of behemoths like the World Medical Association and the World Health Organization, demanding an investigation into the allegations.

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The Chinese government has repeatedly denied that it has prisoners of conscience, though Falun Gong is officially banned in the country. There are numerous media reports alleging that the authorities have isolated a 11-million, Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, which is subject to humiliating medical, educational, and labor experiments. 

Uyghur prisoners chanting a Chinese song for "re-education" purposes. Credit UCANews

Currently, China also extracts the organs of death row inmates, without their consent or permission from their families. A 2022 USA Today report says an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 inmates are murdered each year to harvest 50,000 to 150,000 organs. 

The true number of people forced to have their organs removed in China is unknown, with human rights groups claiming that between 90,000 and 1.5 million people are victims of illegal organ harvesting yearly in this communist country.