Written by Zacchaeus Chua

What happened?

In June, a London-based organization called the China Tribunal claimed that the Chinese government has been harvesting human organs from minority groups, including Uighur Muslims and members of the Falun Gong religious group. The organization declares itself to be “an independent tribunal” and is backed by an Australian human rights charity.

The allegations were heard by the UN Human Rights Council in September. The tribunal’s lawyer said that “forced organ harvesting… has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale”. He called this “one of the worst mass atrocities of this century,” involving “hundreds of thousands of victims”.

The tribunal’s final report claimed that prisoners were “cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale”. These body parts were allegedly used for medical purposes, with the extremely short wait times for organ transplants in Chinese hospitals used as evidence.


Can we trust the tribunal?

On its website, the tribunal declares itself to have been “initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)”. Most of the evidence in the Tribunal’s report was also supplied by this ETAC. Looking at the skeletal “management” page of ETAC’s website, many of the names appear to be related to another organization: the Epoch Times.

On the surface, the Epoch Times is a simple conservative media outlet, but NBC News published a piece in August exposing its close ties to Falun Gong – a “spiritual community” (cult) that believes, among other things, in an eventual judgment day where the “communists” will be sent to hell and practitioners and sympathizers of the faith will be spared.

Falun Gong practitioners have been spreading these organ harvesting allegations in North American cities, giving out pamphlets claiming that the “Chinese Communist Regime Is Slaughtering Innocents”, while preaching about the benefits of Falun Gong. There may be something suspicious about these organ-harvesting allegations, and readers may want to take them with a grain of salt moving forward.

Zac is a Philosophy Major from NUS. He enjoys playing video games, as well as regretting playing video games. When he is not doing the above two things, he is almost certainly racing through his extensive pile of accumulated work. He aspires to not be unemployed after he graduates; in his free time, you might catch him fervently rehearsing his favorite phrase: "would you like some fries with that".

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