I participated in a debate on forced live organ extraction in China, a horrifying practice that sees prisoners killed so that an organ can be removed and sold to recipients, who are often wealthy Chinese people or transplant tourists. The waiting times for these transplants are short, and it seems that vital organs can even be booked in advance.
The victims of this practice are allegedly members of religious and ethnic minorities, and prisoners of conscience. A report in 2006 showed that Chinese authorities were removing the organs for executed members of the Falun Gong, a religious group, and it is thought there is a threat of live forced organ extraction from an estimated 70–100 million people, although the true figures will never be known.
This barbaric, inhumane practice must end, and the UK as part of the international community must do all it can to make clear to China that this horrific practice will not be tolerated by any country that places any value on the dignity of human life. I urged the Minister to query and pursue the World Health Organisation for asserting that China’s organ transplants are ethical, as it goes against considerable evidence being provided by the China tribunal. I also urged the Minister to commit the UK to passing a ban on citizens participating in organ tourism, such as those passed in Italy, Spain, Israel and Taiwan.
The way people are being targeted for their religious beliefs means this practice is an attack on freedom of religion, and it is imperative that people are able to practice their religion without the threat of persecution. The targeting of multiple faiths and ethnic groups as we see in China has been characterised by some as the hallmark of genocidal intent. There are loud echoes of the evils of history, and we should be very worried by this.
We have an international duty to uphold human rights and values however we can. We can do more to effect change. It is time for the international community to do so, and the UK must play its part.