Chinese Regime Likely Manipulated Organ Donation Data, Study Finds

Frank Fang
By Frank Fang
November 16, 2019China News
Chinese Regime Likely Manipulated Organ Donation Data, Study Finds
During a rally joined by thousands of Falun Gong practitioners at Taipei 23 April 2006, four demonstrators play in an action drama against what they said was the Chinese communists' killing of Falun Gong followers and harvesting of their organs in concentration camps. (Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study has concluded that the Chinese regime likely systematically falsified its organ donation data, further fueling concerns that the regime has been forcibly harvesting organs for transplant from prisoners of conscience.

In 2015, the regime said it would stop sourcing organs from executed prisoners, and exclusively rely on a newly set up voluntary donation system.

But a study, published in the scientific journal BMC Medical Ethics on Nov. 14, led by Mathew Robertson, a Ph.D. scholar at the Australian National University (ANU), found that “Beijing’s reported organ donation numbers don’t stack up and there is highly compelling evidence that they are being falsified.”

Study co-author Jacob Lavee, professor of surgery at Tel Aviv University, told The Epoch Times via email that by applying statistical forensics on official Chinese donation datasets, the study found that the figures “conforms almost precisely to a mathematical formula”—a quadratic function.

“When you take a close look at the numbers of organs apparently collected, they almost match this artificial equation point for point, year in, year out. They’re too neat to be true,” Robertson said in an ANU press release. Robertson was formerly an editor at The Epoch Times.

“These figures don’t appear to be real data from real donations. They’re numbers generated using an equation,” he said.

The study analyzed official Chinese data on voluntary hospital-based donated organs between 2010 and 2018.

The data was published by the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) and the Red Cross Society of China. The COTRS forms the basis of China’s voluntary organ donation system—every organ transplant is meant to be allocated solely through it. The Red Cross Society of China is required to verify and witness every such organ donation.

The researchers also compared the figures with data from 50 other countries in the Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation, a database managed by the World Health Organization, and found that none of the other countries’ datasets fit any formula.

They also found that “Chinese datasets deviate from every other country between one and two orders of magnitude,” Lavee said.

“There can be no other explanation to such deviations, but that of data manipulation,” he added.

In addition, the study found “major anomalies” in the datasets to further suggest manipulation. For example, in a 10-day period in 2016, Red Cross data showed that 21.33 organs were procured from each donor—”a clearly impossible feat,” Robertson said.

The study’s findings were reviewed by Sir David Spiegelhalter, former president of the Royal Statistical Society in the UK.

“The anomalies in the data examined…follow a systematic and surprising pattern,” Spiegelhalter said in the press release.

Spiegelhalter added that he couldn’t “think of any good reason for such a quadratic trend arising naturally.”

Lavee said their findings were significant because it casts “serious doubts” on the Chinese regime’s claims to have reformed its organ transplant system in recent years.

For more than a decade, researchers have collected growing evidence pointing to the practice of organ harvesting—that the regime is killing prisoners of conscience, most of whom are practitioners of the persecuted spiritual group Falun Gong, for their organs and selling them in the transplant market.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, consists of moral teachings and meditative exercises, and have been heavily suppressed since 1999. Adherents are subject to arbitrary detention, forced labor, and torture. Thousands have died in custody, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

A 2016 report by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China found that the Chinese regime was performing roughly 60,000 to 100,000 transplants each year, far outstripping the officially reported figure of 10,000 to 20,000 per year. The conclusion was based on analysis of public records from 712 Chinese hospitals, including bed counts, bed utilization rates, surgical personnel, training programs, and state funding.

In June, an independent people’s tribunal based in London, after a yearlong investigation, concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that the regime has forcibly harvested organs from prisoners of conscience for years “on a significant scale.”

It also found that the harvested organs mostly came from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.

The tribunal was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal.

In September, counsel to the tribunal Hamid Sabi presented before the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council the tribunal findings, telling the U.N. and member states that they had a “legal obligation” to confront Beijing over its “criminal conduct.”

In response to the tribunal findings and recent study, Lavee said that international organizations and the transplantation community should “probe deeply into the matter [of China’s transplant abuses] and do their utmost to stop those atrocities.”

Cathy He contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times