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U.S. House of Representatives Resolution and Other Milestones in Fighting Organ Harvesting in China

Republican Congresswoman Ilean Ros-Lehtinen speaks at a rally in Washington, D.C. calling for the end of the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice in China. Ros-Lehtinen recently introduced a U.S. House of Representatives resolution that condemned the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience. (Image: longtrekhome via flickr/CC BY 2.0 )
Republican Congresswoman Ilean Ros-Lehtinen speaks at a rally in Washington, D.C. calling for the end of the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice in China. Ros-Lehtinen recently introduced a U.S. House of Representatives resolution that condemned the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience. (Image: longtrekhome via flickr/CC BY 2.0 )

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience on June 13.

Republican Congresswoman Ilean Ros-Lehtinen introduced the measure, which expressed “concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”

Millions of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted in China by the state since 1999, after which a sharp rise in the number of transplants in China has been observed.

Awareness about the atrocity began in 2006 with a 140-page report based on an independent investigation by former Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas. The report and its updated version, Bloody Harvest, were detailed and exact.

Prices_for_bodily_organs_in_China_as_cited_in_a_2006_report_by_Kilgour_and_Matas

Prices for bodily organs in China as cited in a 2006 report by Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Researchers have discovered that other prisoners of conscience — Tibetans, Uyghurs, and House Christians — have also been targeted by the communists as a source of bodily organs, only to a lesser extent.

“China has been perpetuating perhaps some of the most gruesome and egregious human rights violations against the Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience, yet has hardly faced any criticism, let alone sanctions, for these abuses,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement about the passing of the resolution.

“The regime’s ghoulish and inhumane practice of robbing individuals of their freedom, throwing them in labor camps or prisons, and then executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants is way beyond the pale of comprehension and must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally,” she added.

The resolution (H.R. 343) also stated:

  • Calls on China and the Communist Party of China to end the practice of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience
  • Encourages the U.S. medical community to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China
  • Demands an end to the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice and the release of all Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience

Also commonly known as “Falun Dafa,” the practice of Falun Gong became extremely popular in China during the 1990s, with tens of millions of regular Chinese people practicing it. Falun Gong is based on meditation and slow moving exercises, and the practice has at its core three main principles: Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.

Falun Gong practitioners do the fifth exercise of Falun Gong, which is a sitting meditation (there are also four standing exercises) in a park in Manhattan, US. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Falun Gong practitioners do the fifth exercise of Falun Gong, which is a sitting meditation (there are also four standing exercises) in a park in Manhattan, U.S. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

The resolution condemning the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs is another milestone in the world’s efforts to address this ongoing atrocity.

On June 22, there will be another milestone when Kilgour and Matas, along with investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, release a further detailed and comprehensive report on China’s organ transplantation industry.

The new report will specifically deal with the use of prisoners of conscience as a profitable organ source.

On the right side of history

Below are a number of other events over the past 10 years that have contributed to the uncovering this crime against humanity, beginning from 2006 when the first reports emerged of prisoners of conscience being systematically killed “on demand” for their organs.

2006

  • Several Chinese individuals make allegations in March that large-scale organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners was being carried out at Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. One of the individuals was the wife of a surgeon at the hospital who was extracting corneas from practitioners.
  • The World Medical Association adopted a resolution in May demanding that Chinese government cease using prisoners as organ donors. This was reaffirmed in April 2016.
  • In July,  former Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas release a report based their independent investigations into the allegations. Using  30 different strands of evidence, they found that there was/is large-scale organ harvesting occurring across China.
  • The National Kidney Foundation in the U.S. issued a statement in August voicing their concern about the allegations put forward by the Kilgour-Matas report. “If these allegations prove true, they represent a systematic and widespread violation of human rights against thousands, or potentially tens of thousands, of innocent persons,” read their statement.
  • Edward McMillan-Scott, a Vice President of the European Parliament, went to China on a fact-finding mission to investigate organ harvesting. McMillan-Scott has since spoken out and written about the organ harvesting issue.
  •  It was revealed in December that two of Australia’s main organ transplant hospitals had banned training of Chinese surgeons. This was made known in response to concerns over the killing of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners for their organs.
  • From 2006 to 2008, U.N. Special Rapporteurs made repetitive demands to the Chinese government to respond to the forced organ harvesting allegations. The Chinese government did not reply to questions submitted by the U.N. or explain where the large amount of the country’s organs being used in transplants came from or their origins.

Watch this video from the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, where David Kilgour talks about the critical amounts of circumstantial evidence that proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Falun Gong practitioners were being killed organs:

2007

  • Kilgour and Matas release an updated report: Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China. It was rewritten and released in book form two years later.
  • The Israeli national legislative body, the Knesset, adopted legislation that stopped insurance companies providing coverage to Israeli citizens who go overseas for “transplant tourism.” The move was partly a response to concerns over the killing of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience for organs in China.
  • Dr. Tom Treasure wrote in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine that the allegations were credible, particularly in the context of the role doctors played in the Holocaust.

2010

  • Spain made it illegal for its citizens to go overseas and obtain illegal organ transplants. This was done after lawmakers learned that a Spanish citizen traveled to China and waited only 20 days to get a new liver that cost US$130,000.
  • David Matas and David Kilgour were both nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work related to the investigation of forced organ harvesting in China.

2011

  • A group of prominent surgeons and bioethicists in the U.S. called for a boycott of Chinese science and medicine pertaining to organ transplantation. They made their announcement in the medical journal The Lancet. “Despite the continuation of organ donation by execution, the international medical and scientific community has done little to make its moral abhorrence of this state of affairs widely known,” said part of their statement.
  • Since 2011, several leading medical journals, such as Journal of Clinical Investigation and American Journal of Transplantation, have stated they refuse to publish articles from China related to organ transplants.
A Chinese woman who practice Falun Gong, is arrested in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)

A Chinese woman who practices Falun Gong is arrested in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. (Courtesy of Minghui.org)

2012

  • Dr. Torsten Trey and David Matas publish State Organs, a collection of essays by leading medical professionals and other commentators on organ transplant abuse in China.

2013

  • The European Parliament passed a resolution expressing “deep concern over the persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners, imprisoned for their religious beliefs, as well as from members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”
  • The Australian Senate unanimously passed a motion concerning reports of organ harvesting in China on March 21. The motion was introduced by Senator John Madigan, who was at that time a member of the Democratic Labor Party.

2014

  • Investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann releases his groundbreaking book The Slaughter, which explored China’s organ transplant industry business, especially how it used Falun Gong practitioners. Gutmann has given testimony on his findings on organ harvesting in the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament. He has written on the subject in various media and journals, and he featured in the film Hard to Believe.
  • Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution condemning state-sanctioned organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and members of other minority groups.
  • Flying Cloud Productions wins a prestigious Peabody Award for the documentary film Human Harvest, which explores the organ harvesting issue. Human Harvest also won the 2015 Association for International Broadcasting Award for Best International Investigative Documentary in the United Kingdom.

See the award ceremony here from Peabody Awards:

2015

  • Taiwan amends organ transplantation laws, criminalizing the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners in China.
  • The Italian Senate adopted a bill that makes it a crime to traffic in organs from living donors. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Maurizio Romani, referred to the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong in China. The bill was made to prevent Italians traveling to China for an organ transplant.
  • The documentary Hard to Believe on organ harvesting in China is broadcast on PBS Stations in the U.S. It wins awards at Hoboken International Film Festival and numerous other festival competitions.

2016

  • Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting is nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for a decade of determination in raising awareness, especially within the medical community, of unethical organ transplant practices in China and other regions.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the Chinese state’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience June 13.
  • Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann to release a further detailed and comprehensive report on China’s organ transplantation industry at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on June 22.

Watch this TEDx Talks video where David Matas and David Kilgour discuss how the Chinese state is continuing to kill prisoners of conscience for their organs:

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