Dystopian South Korean Netflix drama Squid Game shocked viewers with its depiction of illegal organ harvesting, but a pressure group has warned that prisoners in China routinely have their organs removed for transplant – often while they are still alive.
Wealthy health tourists from around the world travel to China to receive new healthy kidneys and livers – and there is alarming evidence that the organs have been taken from living donors in Chinese prison camps.
A group of United Nations human rights experts said that minority groups such as Christians, Muslims, Uyghurs and member of the Falun Gong spiritualist group were being imprisoned by the Chinese government and then being forcibly used as donors for hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas.
“Forced organ harvesting in China appears to be targeting specific ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities held in detention, often without being explained the reasons for arrest or given arrest warrants, at different locations,” they said.
The group added: “We are deeply concerned by reports of discriminatory treatment of the prisoners or detainees based on their ethnicity and religion or belief.”
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A dramatic statement from the UN China Tribunal in 2018 read: “Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale”.
The industrialised organ-harvesting was described as being “of unmatched wickedness — on a death for death basis — with the killings by mass crimes committed in the last century”.
In one recent case, doctors in Beijing announced a successful double lung transplant on a patient who had been given just days to live.
Campaign group magazine Bitter Winter said: "The fact that two matching lungs were found in a few days raises new suspicions of organ harvesting.
"The patient, who on February 24th, was given days to live…had only to wait a matter of five days before a perfectly matching, 'consenting', brain-dead donor could be found.
"Whilst around the world waiting times for a single lung from a suitable donor could be years, China has shown this week that it need only be days, for two perfectly matched lungs to be rustled up."
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