China has been accused of forced organ harvesting since 2000. Initially China was charged with forcibly removing the organs of death row prisoners. China later claimed that death row prisoners consented to donating their organs to the State to redeem themselves for the crimes they had committed against the State, a practice China claimed to have stopped in January 2015. However, the explosion of organ transplant activities in China from 2000 together with reports of thousands of transplant tourists going to China to purchase organs, suggests a larger supply of organs than could be sourced from executed criminals alone. The scale of the Chinese transplant industry, together with other evidence, points to the possibility that China is involved in forced organ harvesting and selling for profit organs from prisoners of conscience.
National and international organisations and government bodies have reported on the issue of forced organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China. Based on multiple sources of information, it has been alleged that prisoners of conscience have been killed ‘to order’ for the purposes of extracting and using their organs for profitable transplantation surgery. Victims include members of groups arbitrarily detained by the government for political reasons (primarily people who practice Falun Gong but also Tibetans, Uyghurs and House Christians). Parliamentary hearings in several countries have heard evidence on the issue, and some have passed legislation in response. To date however, there has been no investigation into to what, if any, crimes have been committed by such forced organ harvesting by the Chinese State or state-approved bodies. It is this question of criminal liability that this tribunal will address.
The China Tribunal has been initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), an international not for profit organisation, with headquarters in Australia and National Committees in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. ETAC is a coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers and human rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting (a form of organ trafficking) in China.
Whilst ETAC initiated the Tribunal, there is a necessary and scrupulous separation between ETAC and the Tribunal. ETAC and the China Tribunal are independent to each other.
Whilst ETAC manages some of the logistics for the Tribunal (such as arranging the public hearings in London) ETAC is not, and will not be, privy to the Tribunal’s internal deliberations and consideration of the evidence save to the extent those deliberations are revealed in the Tribunal’s final public decision.
ETAC is an independent, non-partisan organisation that has no alignment with any political party, religious or spiritual group, government or any other national or international institution. Members are from a range of backgrounds, belief systems, religions and ethnicities. For more information on ETAC visit www.endtransplantabuse.org/about-us