07.07. 2016 Chinese organ transplants

Tunne Kelam MEP speech at the European Parliament’s debate on China


In dealing with third countries, European Parliament (EP) has stressed that human rights and European values should be mainstreamed in mutual relations. Without exception and not regarding the current political situation.

High Representative Federica Mogherini’s new China strategy is based on three foundations:  Principles, pragmatism and practicality.  The challenge remains - how to balance principled approach with pragmatic one?

In December 2013 - 2 and half years ago -  the EP called for a full and independent EU investigation into organ transplant abuses in China.  At the same time, the EP called for the prosecution of people who are engaged in such unethical, one can say - criminal practices. 

In June 2016, the US Congress condemned strongly the organ harvesting in China.

Latest independent researches have concluded, that in one year, between 60,000 - 100,000 organ transplants - kidneys, livers, etc - are carried out.  These figures surpass 6-10 times Chinese official data.  As there are practically no voluntary donors, the organs are taken from prisoners, predominantly from prisoners of conscience.  In fact, multiple sources indicate that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of innocent people are being systematically killed to sell and transplant their organs to patients coming from the West.  This amounts to crimes against humanity.  

The EP in its 2013 resolution asked to raise awareness on this dramatic issue among EU citizens travelling to China to have organ transplants.  My question is - why has the will of the EP been ignored both concerning independent investigation and informing citizens about this criminal business?

Only Israel and Taiwan have prohibited their citizens to go to China for transplants.

How can EU develop plans of closer engagement with Beijing, how can one strike a credible balance between principal values and pragmatic interests, if nothing indicates that Chinese authorities have stopped the criminal organ transplant business, conducted on massive scale?