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China, the United States' third largest trading partner, has long been criticized for their brazen human rights violations. The one-party government regularly jails political enemies, denies basic rights to ethnic minorities and engages in widespread corruption.

Image Credit: Peter Parks/Getty Images
Peter Parks/Getty Images

But this has to be one of the worst things that China has ever done.

report released Wednesday accuses the Chinese government and health system of harvesting thousands of organs from live donors. The unwilling suppliers of these organs are so-called prisoners of conscience, including religious minorities like Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, and ethnic minorities like Tibetans and Uyghurs. Subject to the whims of the state, these unfortunate prisoners are murdered outright for their parts or made to suffer through multiple organ donations until they die.

Image Credit: China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

The report was issued by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, a group of medical professionals, lawyers and human rights activists. Their members have published numerous essays and books over the years on the issue of organ trafficking.

The group claims that vulnerable prisoners like Christians or Tibetans are living under a death sentence.

“The kidneys, livers, and hearts are often sold on demand to overseas patients, who can afford them,” reads the Coalition's website. Their research indicates that prisoners' medical details such as blood and tissue type are entered into a database. When a matching recipient is found, the prisoner is selected and killed for their organ(s).

The group estimates that Chinese hospitals transplant 60,000 to 100,000 organs every year. Yet fewer than 3,000 citizens voluntarily donated last year, yielding about 7,785 large organs. How is the rest of the demand met? Illegally.

The Chinese government has denied all wrongdoing, claiming that hospitals actually only do about 10,000 transplants a year.

This issue has been on the international radar for quite some time. In December, The Epoch Times reported on the “transplant tourism” industry and again on an academic report that corroborates the Coalition's most recent claims. Earlier in June, they published an investigation into the same issue.

This woman, Deng Guangying, told her story in January. She recounts how she was kidnapped, tied up and almost operated on against her will. When she refused to consent to donating her organs, she was beaten and had several fingers cut off. Traveling to Beijing to seek justice against the government officials who abducted her, Guangying was again brutalized. She was raped by police and later forced to miscarry the child she conceived.

Earlier this month, the House passed a resolution condemning the harvesting of organs from political prisoners and encouraging the State Department to deny visas to any Chinese person involved.

The legislation and the growing awareness of this atrocity are positive steps forward, but for China's more than 1.5 million prisoners, action may come too late.