Chinese surgeon shares experience of being forced to harvest organs

Chinese Communists forced me to remove a live patient’s kidneys: Surgeon’s horrifying claim as ex-prisoner reveals how she came close to having her organs harvested to be sold on black market

  • EXCLUSIVE: Enver Tothi recruited to ‘do something wild’ and dissect live human
  • Grace Song shared fears of organ harvesting while detained in a labour camp 

‘As I started my insertion to expose the internal organs, blood could be seen, implying that his heart was pumping blood and he was still alive.’

This is the shocking testimony of Enver Tothi, an oncology surgeon working in Xinjiang in 1995 who found himself unexpectedly recruited for a ‘special assignment’.

He would be made to remove the liver and kidneys from a man gunned down but still breathing, forbidden from ever talking about what they had done.

It was a quiet summer day, a Wednesday, and Enver found himself the only young doctor in his hospital without an operation scheduled. 

His two chief surgeons called him into their office and asked if he would ‘like to do something wild’.

‘My chief surgeon asked me to go with them, saying: “you go to the theatre and ask for the largest mobile operation kit, bring your two assistants and two nurses, inform anaesthesiology department for two anaesthesiologists as back up, then report to me at 9:30 tomorrow morning at our hospital gate together with our ambulance,”‘ he told MailOnline.

‘We had a branch hospital in the Western Mountain district, so I thought we were going there but instead we went to the Western Mountain execution ground.’

Arriving, Enver saw between ten and 20 bodies lying dead on the side of the hill. He was told to wait, and then to follow when he heard a gunshot.

A gun sounded. He followed his superiors into a room, where nurses had prepared a body. 

Before he knew what was happening, the surgeons told him: ‘Hurry up. Extract the liver and kidneys.’ 

Enver Tothi (pictured) was an oncology surgeon working in Xinjiang in 1995 when he found himself unexpectedly recruited for a ‘special assignment’ – harvesting organs

Falun Gong practitioners protest in Taipei, April 23, 2006, with a demonstration of what they said was the CCP’s killing of Falun Gong followers and the harvesting of their organs in camps 

The man was in his thirties, Enver estimates. He was ‘unshaved with long hair and civilian clothes’.

The bullet had gone through his chest – but he was still alive. He asked whether he should apply anaesthesia, according to his testimony to the China Tribunal.

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‘There is no need,’ was the alleged reply. ‘We will apply it if it is needed.’

As the body stopped moving, Enver made his insertion, cutting an upside-down ‘T’ shape into his abdomen to expose the internal organs. Blood was still coursing through the man’s body.

But his superior only told him to hurry up.

After some 40 minutes of cutting, the surgeons took the liver and kidneys and placed them into a box.

He told MailOnline he did not know what the organs were going to be used for.

‘We were trained to follow orders without asking why.’ 

When the operation was finished, he was simply told: ‘Okay, now you take your team back to hospital. Remember nothing happened today.’

He testified: ‘No one talked about it ever since’.

The identity of the man he was asked to operate on is still unknown. He said in his testimony that after Mao’s cultural revolution, ‘we believed every single citizen’s duty is against enemies of the state’. 

‘Once someone has been sentenced to imprisonment, they are not qualified as a human being. That was how we felt at the time.’

He told MailOnline he did not know why the man was shot. He did not know who he was. He did not know what he was being recruited to do. 

Enver left China three years later, in 1998, and has since worked as a hotel porter, bus driver and as a minicab driver in the UK. 

He has sought to pass an exam that would allow him to practice as a doctor in the UK. 

He is one of many recruited into China’s estimated $1bn-a-year illegal organ harvesting trade. 

Between 60,000 and 100,000 organ transplants are estimated to be carried out each year, many taking place without consent. 

Among the primary victims are reportedly religious minority groups – Falun Gong practitioners and Uighur Muslims.

Oncologist Enver Tothi is pictured in 2022 with a letter from Transport for London after speaking out for the first time about his experience. He was put at risk of losing his licence to drive an Uber and put under review by TfL after a newspaper article about his past emerged

Grace Song at the Parliament Seminar in the House of Lords in July 2023 giving her testimony

Grace Song, a former lawyer, also spoke to MailOnline about her experience living in a cell in a forced labour camp in Beijing, interrogated, tortured and awaiting the day, she believes, her organs would be illegally harvested by state agents. 

Grace was arrested on May 7, 2010 and forcibly removed from her home after 610 Office security agents found out she practiced Falun Gong, a new religious movement mixing meditation and moral philosophy which the Chinese state has sought to eradicate for more than two decades. 

Since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has waged war on Falun Gong, threatened by a new philosophy looking back to traditional Chinese morality and culture.

Since then, thousands have reported cases of torture, brain-washing, rape and death at the hands of the ruling party. Families are told their loved ones died by suicide or disease – and bodies are cremated before evidence is gathered.

Relatively recently, evidence has emerged that many of those held in detention are also subjected to illegal organ harvesting.

Grace’s home was raided as security agents looked for religious literature. They took her, without trial, to a detention centre in Chaoyang District. 

‘I was forced to have a detailed medical examination of my physical body, including X-Ray of lungs and blood testing,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘They also checked my female organs. They examined all over my skin, asking me about any small scars they found.

‘On June 4, 2010, I was given another detailed medical examination, without any explanation and I was not told about the results of any of the tests.’ 

For eight months, Grace was ‘tortured’, forced to sit atop a child-size stool, fingers closed and placed on her knees, heels kept together, in agonising discomfort all day, every day.  

‘Soon my two legs and two feet became swollen, my back and waist ached, I felt I was sitting on top of needles, with every moment too painful to bear. 

‘The cell where I was kept isolated was dark and cold. I felt very cold even after I put on all the clothes sent to me by my family.’

Grace was eventually moved to a shared cell, where she and 30 other Falun Gong practitioners were cornered onto a wooden platform where they all sat, ate and slept.

‘They had to stay on this platform except during designated bathroom breaks. The floor space was narrow, roughly one metre wide, and the bathroom was inside the cell… it had a squat toilet and a sink.

‘Sleeping arrangements were called ‘codfish.’ On the platform, there was a long, thin ‘mattress’ made by connecting multiple worn-out military blankets together. On average, 4-5 people shared each military blanket. 

‘There were no pillows, so they had to use their own clothes as headrests. Several people shared one blanket, and there was no space to lie flat. They could only sleep on their sides with their legs straight, unable to move. 

‘Everyone’s chests were pressed against someone else’s back, feeling each other’s breath and heartbeat,’ Grace told MailOnline.

File image of surgery. China has an illegal organ harvesting trade worth an est. $1bn per year

‘During my time in the labor camp, there were 3-4 health examinations each year, including various tests like blood tests, but they never told us the results,’ she explained.

‘These examinations always took place in the medical room of the labor camp. However, there was one unusual exception.

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‘In early April 2012, we were suddenly required to undergo a medical check-up. As the massive electronic gates slowly opened, a highly advanced medical trailer came into view.

‘Captain Zhao Guoxin personally supervised the team, and as we stared in astonishment at this gigantic thing in front of us, the vehicle’s door opened, and a long ladder descended. We were asked to go up in groups.

‘While I was waiting in line, Zhao Guoxin, trying to downplay the unexpected and special nature of this examination, said, “Look how good the country is to you. This was imported from Germany, specifically prepared for you, and not even we get to use it.”

‘When he said this, what I thought about was the large-scale organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners exposed in 2006. Because this examination was completely unnecessary and highly abnormal.

‘Once I climbed up the high ladder and entered the vehicle, I found it to be very spacious, equipped with various high-end medical devices. There was examination equipment in the front and the middle and back of the vehicle were extremely spacious, sufficient for performing surgeries.

‘The on-site health examination in the high-end medical trailer deepened my suspicions. While the labor camp was subjecting us to cruel persecution, mental torture, physical abuse, and intense labor, they were also investing heavily in purchasing extremely advanced German medical facilities. 

‘This was highly contrary to common sense, and I firmly believe that they were using these high-end devices to precisely collect various data from our bodies.’

File photo shows a doctor and assistant in an operating room of a hospital. In a detention centre in Chaoyang District, Grace had her lungs scanned, blood taken and organs checked

Grace says she was held illegally in the detention centre for about 10 days before the national security police interrogated her. 

‘He knew that I was a lawyer,’ she said. ‘He straightforwardly asked said: ‘We are not talking about the law.’ I asked him, ‘So what are we talking about?’ He replied: ‘We’re talking about your stance and attitude.” 

‘I suffered severe persecution by the CCP because of my belief and practice of Falun Gong when I was in China,’ Grace explained.

‘The vast majority’ of practitioners ultimately ‘succumb to the pressure and reluctantly write the so-called ‘Three Statements” of confession, repentance and a guarantee to give up their faith. 

‘I did the same,’ Grace said. ‘Therefore, after serving a two-year term, I returned home.’

After two years subjected to arduous farm work and hard labour, Grace was finally allowed to leave – but her communications continued to be monitored. She told MailOnline her family suffered terribly from her sudden abduction.

‘I missed an important part of my little daughter’s childhood: she was not able to see me for two years, and when I came back home, she told me that the meaning of “mum” become blurred,’ she said.

But this was not the end of the story for Grace. The CCP continued to monitor her family’s calls and sent two agents to rent a nearby house for surveillance.

Grace lost her lawyer’s licence ‘without any legal basis, citing “other reasons”‘, she said.

Grace has lived in the UK for the last ten years. She says ‘the psychological harm of the persecution is so severe that I still have nightmares about the persecution.’

‘Even after I escaped from China, I still always have nightmares about the Chinese Communist Party’s police breaking into my home.’

With support, she has been able to resettle and start a new life with her daughter and husband. After she and her daughter successfully obtained political asylum, her husband received a family reunion visa.

‘The UK government has provided us with tremendous support,’ she told MailOnline, adding: ‘We are honoured to say that we became British citizens last year.’ 

Demonstrators in New York protest the alleged organ harvesting of Falun Gong members. The new religious movement has been persecuted in China since 1999

On September 13, 2023, the UK government voted on an amendment to the Procurement Bill. 

The amend would have granted powers for medical institutions, practitioners and organisations to exclude suppliers if found to be complicit with forced organ harvesting, or dealing in any device or equipment or services relating to it. 

But the movement brought forward by Lord Hunt was ultimately voted down by 274 votes to 194. 

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath who tabled the amendment said: ‘The world is becoming increasingly aware of the Chinese Communist Party’s multi-million-pound business of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. 

‘And yet, presented with an opportunity to prevent complicity in these crimes, the Government has chosen to reject our proposed amendment.’

Wayne Jordash KC, Managing Partner of international human rights law firm Global Rights Compliance told MailOnline: ‘Forced organ harvesting constitutes a gross human rights abuse of, at a minimum, two fundamental human rights – the right to life and the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.’

He said the amendment ‘would have been a great legislative step forward for the UK and a recognition of the urgent and serious risk faced by British medical institutions and transplant-associated entities – of being complicit in these crimes which rank as the most serious crimes and even crimes against humanity’. 

Susie Hughes, Executive Director of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, a leading research and advocacy organisation on the issue, said: ‘The UK Government needs to move quickly to tighten legislation to protect UK citizens from inadvertent complicity. It needs to send a clear message to China that the UK will not turn a blind eye.

‘The amendment debated today was a prime opportunity for the UK Government to set an important precedent for preventing and protecting human rights. 

‘It failed to take this opportunity and as a result has also failed the UK citizens and the Falun Gong and Uyghur people who are arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed for their organs.’

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