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'Killed to order': China harvesting and selling organs from Uighur Muslims, UN rights council told

The Uighur community in northwestern China has faced an intense crackdown in recent years. [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 September, 2019

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The China Tribunal made the allegations at the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the Chinese government of taking hearts, lungs, kidneys and skin from Uighur Muslims and other religious minorities.
Chinese authorities are harvesting and selling human organs from persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, including Uighur Muslims, the UN Human Rights Council was told this week.

The China Tribunal made the allegations at the council's meeting in Geneva, accusing the Chinese government of taking hearts, lungs, kidneys and skin from Uighur Muslims and members of the Falun Gong religious group.

Hamid Sabi, a lawyer for the China Tribunal, told UN representatives that the group had proof of organ harvesting.

"Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale," Sabi said in a video published on the China Tribunal website.

A report by the group published in June found that a "very substantial number" of prisoners were "killed to order" by Chinese authorities, with some cut open while "still alive" for their organs, which were then to be sold.

The body parts, including kidneys, hearts, lungs, corneas, and skin, were used for medical purposes, the report alleged, including transplant surgeries.

Read more: Video shows blindfolded and shackled Muslim Uighur prisoners in China

Sabi said "hundreds of thousands of victims", mainly practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, have been targeted, together with the Muslim Uighur minority.

"Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century," Sabi said, according to Reuters.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, a British lawyer who was the lead prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president, led the June report.

China announced in 2014 that it would stop removing organs from executed prisoners and has denied allegations of organ harvesting.

Earlier this week a video that showed Muslim Uighur prisoners bound and blindfolded in Xinjiang, western China, sparked international outrage after it was posted anonymously online.

The Uighur community in northwestern China has faced an intense crackdown in recent years, with an estimated two million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities held in internment camps in Xinjiang province.

China initially denied the existence of these camps, but now claims that its detention centres are not concentration camps but "re-education camps" where "students" are trained to successfully reintegrate into Chinese society.

It claims the camps are a necessary measure to counter Islamic extremism.

Human rights groups say that Uighurs and other Muslim minorities endure political indoctrination at these camps.

International recognition of the incarceration and human rights abuses has been sparse, especially from the governments of Muslim majority nations.

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