This event took place in Parliament on Tuesday, 16th October 2018, hosted by Jim Shannon MP and chaired by Jim Shannon MP and Becky James (Organiser)
This was the third event inside the last 12 months, listening to evidence from Lord Alton of Liverpool, Senior Medical professionals and leading academics.
During the event, ETAC (the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China) announced that beginning in December there will be an independent people’s tribunal to inquire into organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.
The aim of the tribunal will be to asses and look at all the available evidence which has posed unanswered questions, cause for concern and the belief among activists that large scale illegal organ transplant activity has and continues to take place in China.
The event heard troubling accounts from Dr Harold King, from DAFOH (Doctor’s Against Forced Organ Harvesting), in which he explained the similarities between the persecution of Falun Gong and a new form of ‘cold genocide’. Falun Gong has been persecuted in China since 1999, and Dr King surmised the persecution, from the perspective of a genocide, the declared intent of previous CCP Chairman Jiang Zemin ‘to destroy’ Falun Gong and the steps which have been taken to normalise this crime against humanity within Chinese society.
Lord Alton of Liverpool and Dr David Nicholl raised concerns about an exhibition called ‘Real Bodies’, which was recently on display in Birmingham’s NEC. The shared concerns stem from the belief that the corpses which have been trafficked into and out of the UK for a commercial exhibition are actually those of unwilling prisoners of conscience. During Lord Alton’s speech he questioned “Why is the Britain allowing the bodies of unknown Chinese citizens – who may have been victims of torture, human rights violations, persecution or organ theft – to be turned into a travelling circus?”
Dr David Nicholl, a Consultant Neurologist, Honorary Senior Lecturer and human rights activist led calls for 2004 HTA Act to be updated to prevent exhibitions like this from coming back to the UK. Current HTA regulations state all bodies coming from the UK must have prior consent to be used for display, teaching or research after death. However, as it stands, there is only a suggested guide of practice for prior consent for bodies coming from other countries. It is this disparity that has allowed for bodies, which activists claim have come from unwilling prisoners of conscience to be granted a licence. Dr Nicholl wants that the regulations be updated so that all bodies, regardless of origin, must be able to provide prior consent. Which would prevent the UK’s complicity with human rights violations in countries known for abuses.
Alex Joseph, Co-founder of BAFOH (Bristol Against Forced Organ Harvesting), questioned how cities like Bristol can be twinned with cities in a country like China with so many human rights concerns still unanswered. Questions about Bristol’s sister city Guangzhou have grown through a recent BBC World Service program called China’s organ transplants, who to believe?
During their investigations Matthew Hill, BBC Senior Health Journalist, was offered a liver for £100,000 in suspicious circumstances from a hospital in Guangzhou. This has led for calls for Bristol to severe its ties with Guangzhou.
In total 8 speakers voiced their concerns and continued the call for forced organ harvesting to be fully investigated.
The event was attended by MPs, Professors, Lawyers, International Human Rights Lawyers and representatives of many NGO’s including Hong Kong Watch, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, World Uyghur Congress and the UK Uyghur Committee.
With the announcement of December’s people tribunal and the continued efforts involved with yesterday’s event it remains to be seen if and what the UK government will decide to do next. The compelling evidence on display, along with the growing voices of concern from Uyghur, Christian, Tibetan and Falun Gong communities are however, hard to ignore.
Lord Alton of Liverpool
Dr David Nicholl, Consultant Neurologist & Human Rights Activist, Birmingham
Victoria Ledwidge, Communications Coordinator for the Bodies Exhibit Campaign, International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uighur Congress
Dr Harold King, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH)
Dr Huige Li, Professor at Johannes Gutenberg University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany, and co-author of the 2018 report of China Organ Harvest Research Centre (COHRC)
Alex Joseph, Co-Founder of Bristol Against Forced Organ Harvesting
Ethan Gutmann, Author of The Slaughter, Co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
Contact organiser, Becky James, for an invitation to the next briefing, April 2019
Report by Rob Gray