Adherents of the long-persecuted Falun Gong spiritual group are reportedly in danger of being the subjects of a possible genocide as China is accused of harvesting their organs for transplant.

South China Morning Post reported independent panel China Tribunal – comprising legal practitioners and experts – as saying on Monday (17 Jun) that there was concrete evidence to support that China has been using Falun Gong’s members as its “principle source” of organ harvesting for at least two decades.

The panel, which was convened by human rights group International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, also said in its final judgement which will be published tomorrow (20 Jun) that while it is unclear if Uyghur Muslims have also similarly been subject to such organ harvesting, it has found that the minority group may not be excluded from “being used” by China “as a bank of organs”.

Chairman of the Tribunal Geoffrey Nice said: “The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in London, however, told SCMP in a statement via email that contrary to the allegations, the Chinese government requires human organ donations to be carried out on a voluntary, non-transactional basis.

The spokesperson, whose statement was made before the final judgement by the Tribunal was released, hoped on behalf of the Chinese government that “the British people will not be misled by rumours”.

Last December, the Tribunal had “unanimously” found that China has been, “beyond reasonable doubt”, conducting “forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience” for “a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims”.

“The concerted persecution and medical testing of the Uyghurs is more recent and it may be that evidence of forced organ harvesting of this group may emerge in due course,” the summary of the interim judgement read.

The Tribunal also condemned forced organ harvesting allegedly committed by China, branding it “unmatched wickedness even compared – on a death for death basis – with the killings by mass crimes committed in the last century”.

Extraordinarily short waiting times promised by doctors and hospitals for organ transplants, torture of Falun Gong and Uyghurs, accumulated numerical evidence indicating the number of organ transplant carried out, and “massive infrastructure development of facilities and medical personnel for organ transplant operations” prior to voluntary organ donation as stipulated by the government were signs of forced organ harvesting in China, according to the Tribunal.

“There is justifiable belief in the minds of some or many – rising to probability or high probability – that Genocide has been committed,” the panel argued, adding that in light of such findings, China ought to be investigated and subsequently brought to the courts at an international level or to the United Nations in order to determine whether such is the case.

“They should act immediately to determine accountability for any acts contrary to the provisions of the Genocide Convention,” according to the panel, in reference to the relevant authorities with the power to take entities guilty of forced organ harvesting to task.

However, the Tribunal stressed in the interim judgement that “China’s reputation as a gross human rights abuser has not had a bearing on the Tribunal in reaching a proper conclusion”.

Falun Gong practitioner Jennifer Zeng, who was made to undergo medical checks and blood tests while being held in detention camp, told SCMP in the wake of the Tribunal’s final judgement: “I hope more countries will pass laws to forbid their own citizens from going to China to do organ transplants.”