A prominent Christian human rights lawyer who died in prison in China earlier this month had his organs harvested, according to horrific reports emerging from activist sources in the Communist country.
China Aid has disclosed that Peng Ming's brain and heart were among the organs harvested from his body against the wishes of his family.
Ming, a pro-democracy activist, was imprisoned for life on false charges of organising and leading a terrorist organisation, kidnapping and possessing counterfeit money.
He collapsed and died in prison while watching television.
His family managed to obtain an independent autopsy.
China Aid, a charity that stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians in China, reports: "Before such an autopsy could take place, officials interrogated Peng's brother for six hours and attempted to force him to sign a document permitting them to take some abdominal tissue from Peng in order to conduct 'scientific experiments'.
"After his brother refused, authorities violated the family's will and dissected Peng on Dec 5, removing vital organs, such as his brain and heart."
The translation of the China Aid Chinese website's report reads: "China Aid got the news from the family of Peng Ming, who was a Christian democratic leader, that Peng Ming's organs had been harvested secretly and forcibly on Dec 5. The authorities tried to force the family members to sign the agreement, but they were turned down.
"Now, we call upon the international community to condemn these acts and pay close attention to this case."
Officials had stated: "For scientific experiments, we need to cut a little bit of abdominal muscle from Peng Ming's body."
When Ming's brother was taken to the morgue he was shown only the face, which was covered with a cloth, for a brief second. He was then informed that Peng's brain and heart and other organs had been removed.
Family members living outside China in the US, Canada and Sweden were then informed they could not fly to China to attend the funeral.
Pastor Bob Fu, president of China Aid, condemned the "inhuman and deliberate manipulation of Peng Ming's family members". He said China was in violation of international law. "Once again, we call on Xi Jinping's government to immediately change this anti-human, anti-people, anti-rule of law behavior and allow Peng Ming's overseas children and family members into China, without intervening by burying his ashes and give Peng Ming's items back to his family," he said.
Fu warned that there will be "more Peng Ming cases" if the international community does not act.
It was confirmed a few days ago that Ming had died in prison.
In 2005, when he was imprisoned, a UN working group on arbitrary detention had stated that Peng's detention was arbitrary.
Peng had been active in the 1980s and 1990s when he set up organisations and publications advocating democratic reform.
After 18 months' detention in 1999-2000, he fled to Thailand and then to the United States but in May 2004 went to Thailand to visit his parents and crossed into Burma, from where he was illegally transported to China and then sentenced and imprisoned.
Peng's brother Peng Zhangming told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the death certificate gave no details of the cause of death. However, according to the news and commentary website China Change, many in the dissident community inside and outside China have "expressed doubt over the official version of events, particularly given the fact that Peng's older brother visited him as recently as November 24, and reported that he appeared to be in good health".