WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. lawmakers are investigating reports that the human organs of religious and political dissidents are being harvested by Chinese authorities and sold for profit.
At a House hearing, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., alleged that kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts and corneas were taken from recently deceased prisoners and that China's military doctors also may be harvesting organs from live prisoners. He conceded that much of the evidence is circumstantial, but decried the harvesting as a "barbaric practice that must be stopped."
In an annual human rights review this year, the State Department cited reports of organ harvesting in China, particularly from practitioners of the banned religious sect, Falun Gong, and the Uighur (WEE'-gur) ethnic minority.
Chinese state media have reported that two-thirds of transplant organs in China come from prisoners. In March, its health ministry said it planned to abolish organ harvesting from death-row inmates within the next five years.