China: Organs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer on 6 November 2018 to Question 185606, if he will formally request that World Health Organisation officials attend the April hearings in London of the people's independent tribunal on China.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

We are aware of reports that allege that organ harvesting may be taking place in China, including suggestions that minority and religious groups are being specifically targeted. The British Government continues to take these reports extremely seriously.

These reports include the 2016 update to the Kilgour, Matas and Gutmann report and other information provided so far to the ongoing tribunal organised by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China and chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. We continue to scrutinise the situation carefully and review new information as it becomes available. At present, however, our assessment is that there is not a strong enough evidential base to substantiate the claim that systematic state-sponsored or sanctioned organ harvesting is taking place in China.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a specialised UN agency with an office in Beijing, which works with the Chinese Government on a range of priority health issues. The WHO collates global data on organ donations. We will update the WHO via our Embassy in Beijing on the issues raised in the recent debate in Parliament, which included references to the 2016 update to the report 'Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter' and waiting list times for organ transplants in China. It would not be appropriate for us to make representations to the WHO to attend a tribunal that is independent of government, although this of course does not preclude the organisers of the tribunal from doing so.

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