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International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation bans research papers from China

The International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) has released a statement introducing a policy to prohibit the acceptance of any organ transplant research papers from China due to the Chinese government’s forced organ harvesting practices. regime. The policy is the first in recent years to come from a medical establishment.

The statement titled “Policy of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Regarding Transplant Abuse in China” issued on August 28, said: “In view of the body of evidence that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only one to continue to consistently support the obtaining of organs or tissues from executed prisoners, submissions related to transplantation and involving organs or tissues from human donors in the People’s Republic of China will not be accepted by the ISHLT for the purposes listed above.

“This policy, including whether other countries routinely engage in the use of organs or tissue from non-consenting human donors and should be subject to this restriction, will be reviewed on an annual basis pending evidence obtained. independently that these practices have ceased.”

Professor Jacob Lavee, a member of the ISHLT Ethics Committee and an Israeli medical expert, told The Epoch Times on Sept. 18, “The new policy is, in effect, a complete academic boycott of all clinical research related to transplant. from China: Products of such research from China may not be submitted for publication in the Society’s prestigious Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation and may not be presented at the Society’s annual meetings.

Lavee explained that the new policy is based on the 2020 judgment of the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China (Chinese Tribunal) and joint research he and Matthew Robertson conducted. “…So [the ISHLT] changed its transplant ethics policy to reflect its desire to distance itself and its members from this atrocious transplant conduct,” he said.

Forced removal of live organs

Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Many adherents have disappeared over the years. As a result, the year 2000 saw the explosive growth of the CCP’s organ transplant industry, which continues to this day.

Falun Gong followers at a parade marking the 23rd anniversary of the persecution of spiritual discipline in China, in New York’s Chinatown on July 10, 2022. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

For years, international human rights organizations and the United States Department of State’s annual human rights reports have identified that the Chinese communist regime systematically carries out forced organ harvesting from keen on detained Falun Gong practitioners, ethnic minorities and other prisoners of conscience.

David Matas, a Canadian human rights lawyer; and the late David Kilgour, former Canadian Cabinet Minister, longtime MP and renowned human rights advocate; published their 2006-2007 investigative report in a book titled “Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs” (2009). They collected more than 40 pieces of evidence and testimonies on the Chinese regime’s crime of forced organ harvesting from life targeting Falun Gong practitioners illegally detained by the regime.

‘License to kill’

In response to growing accusations and pressure from the international community, the Chinese regime claimed in 2015 that it had reformed its organ transplant system and adopted the practice of voluntary organ donation. But not everyone bought it.

Ethan Gutmann and his book, "The slaughter."
Ethan Gutmann and his book, “The Slaughter”, which provides essential evidence on organ harvesting. (The Epoch Times)

19 September: “So far, Beijing’s demands for transplant reform have been endorsed by the medical leaders of the Transplantation Society, the World Health Organization and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the City of the Vatican. This institutional position was not only a brake on American political action against Chinese organ harvesting. For the CCP, it was a license to kill… Yet the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation comes fire a shot and it will surely be heard around the world.

Lavee added, “Similar policies were in place by several international companies in the past, including TTS, but were lifted in 2015 following China’s announcement of their so-called transplant reform.”

Matas told The Epoch Times on Sept. 19, “Another significance of the statement is that it is a rejection of Chinese Communist Party/Chinese government propaganda regarding its transplant system, organ procurement , the fact that all organs are donated, and on the number of transplants, that the number of transplants is a tiny fraction of their actual number.

Judgement

In its 2020 judgment, the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China (Chinese Tribunal), chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, said: “The members of the Tribunal, unanimously and beyond reasonable doubt, have concluded that forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China has a long history and results in a very large number of victims. While the PRC has changed its rhetoric on the sources of organs for transplantation, the Tribunal has found that its claims are unbelievable and that official statistics have been falsified.

President of the Court Geoffrey Nice
The president of the tribunal, Geoffrey Nice, delivers the verdict of the independent tribunal weighing the evidence of alleged violations of the rights of the Uyghur people by China. The court took place in London on December 9, 2021. (Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo)

The American Journal of Transplantation published in April 2022 the results of a joint research project by Jacob Lavee, who served as president of the Israel Transplantation Society, and Matthew P. Robertson, doctoral candidate at the Australian National University and researcher on China at the Victims of Communism Foundation. The study shows that in recent decades, in Chinese military and local hospitals, organ donors did not die before their hearts were removed, that is, heart removal is the cause of death of the “donors”.

Regarding the significance of the ISHLT statement, Matas said, “The statement from the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation is significant because it comes from a professional transplant society.” It provides leverage to end transplant abuse in China, he said.

He added: “There are many national and international transplant associations and journals. They should all adopt similar policies.

Lavee said, “This policy is unique and the first of its kind among international medical societies and will hopefully set an example for others to follow.”

Li Chen contributed to the report.

Alex Wu

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Alex Wu is an American writer for The Epoch Times who focuses on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.