Members of China's house churches may be among the country's minorities targeted for organ harvesting, according to a doctor who has worked in China's hospital system. Dr Enver Tohti lives in London and confesses to removing organs from prisoners disabled by gunshots, killing them in the process.
"I was a surgeon back home. And in 1995, I got called to an execution ground. I removed a liver and the two kidneys from a half-executed man", he told Premier Christian News, "because they shot to his right chest so he will die, but not that quick. So, it left time for me to extract his organs" he added.
The issue has come to fresh attention because a BBC investigation found that so-called 'organ tourists' – patients needing an urgent transplant – were travelling abroad to pay for the operation, to get past NHS waiting lists.
Obtaining paid-for transplants abroad has been an offence in Britain since July 2022, with medical practitioners obliged by law to report any individuals who have returned but require aftercare.
The BBC File on Four programme quotes the Human Tissue Authority as saying a "handful" of cases have been referred for police investigation since the law changed.
Dr Tohti says China cannot rely on donor lists for the source of organs for transplant, as the country doesn't have a system comparable to the NHS, but it still performs one of the highest numbers of operations of any country in the world.
A convert from Islam, Enver Tohti is now the CEO of the World Uyghur Christian Union. Commenting on the BBC findings, he told Premier Christian News that China's health system is run for the benefit of the ruling Communist party – the CCP.
"China's special health care system is for the high-ranking officials. They had developed just this kind of programme to make sure the high-ranking officials live longer", he said. "And the thing that they have mastered is technology", he continued.
"They have found an unlimited supply of organs like this, Tibetans, Falun Gong, Uyghurs, just minorities, like house Christians, because they believe something other than communism. They are subject to whatever is possible, because they're only treated as state assets, not as human beings," he said.
"We suspect that they are building the national organ database, so that they will make sure they can find an organ within two weeks, as short as one week", he added.
In 2021, a group of UN experts said they were "extremely alarmed" by reports like these, concluding: "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."
The UN special rapporteurs found that the most common organs removed from the prisoners are reportedly hearts, kidneys, livers, corneas and, less commonly, parts of livers. Their report stated they had received "credible information" that detainees, including Christians, had been "forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations such as ultrasound and x-rays, without their informed consent; while other prisoners are not required to undergo such examinations".
China admits that before 2016, it obtained organs from consenting prisoners for its transplant programme. But since then, it has ended the practice and receives organs from consenting families when their loved ones have died.