UK ‘Must Consider’ Sanctions on Organ Harvesting Doctors in China

Jane Werrell
By Jane Werrell
March 7, 2020UK

As the UK prepares new post-Brexit sanctions targeting human rights abusers, some lawmakers want assurance that those sanctions will apply to Chinese doctors known to be involved in forced organ harvesting.

A tribunal concluded last June that forced organ extraction has happened on a “substantial scale” in China and still continues.

The tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, found that practitioners of the banned spiritual discipline Falun Gong have been one of the main sources of organs, and cited recent evidence showing the mass medical testing of the Uyghur ethnic group.

The UK’s current Magnitsky-style sanctions give the British government the power to impose sanctions on people who commit gross human rights violations, and the ruling Conservative Party says it will go further than existing legislation.

Lord Philip Hunt, a former UK health minister, told NTD, “[The UK government] must consider using them against doctors and other people involved in this horrific human rights abuse.”

He added: “We know that China claims to have a voluntary donation procedure as we do in this country, in the United Kingdom. The number of transplants that take place in China is so large compared to the number of volunteers. We know that there has to be another way in which those organs are obtained.”

Speaking at the UK’s secondary lawmaking chamber on Monday, Hunt referred to a report from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong that lists over 7,000 doctors suspected of murdering prisoners for their organs.

The UK’s human rights minister, Lord Tariq Ahmad, said he was not yet able to comment on the specifics of the legislation. He said he would fully consider the China Tribunal report.

A full report (pdf) detailing the tribunal’s final judgment was published earlier this month, reaffirming the June 2019 judgment that forced organ harvesting is still taking place in China.

UK foreign minister Dominic Raab said at a press conference in January that Magnitsky-style sanctions in the UK would be introduced “reasonably swiftly” after the Jan. 31 Brexit date.

The United States has already passed similar legislation.

The Magnitsky Act was passed in 2012 to target Russian officials connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a tax adviser who died in jail after alleging Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud.

A global version of the Magnitsky Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2017, allowing the United States to sanction human rights abusers across the world.

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