Actions Taken by International Governments to Combat Human Rights Abuses in China

Multiple actions were taken by governments around the world to condemn China for its human rights abuses, which include the government’s nation-wide program of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience. On January 27, Senator Marco Rubio from Florida introduced the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to curtail U.S. importation of goods produced by forced labor in China, especially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and impose sanctions related to such forced labor. The bill passed on July 14, 2021. Multiple reports have emerged over this last year indicating that Uyghurs in Xinjiang are being subject to forced organ harvesting.

On February 18th, a parallel bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Massachusetts Rep. James P. McGovern. The Forced Labor Prevention Act imposes various restrictions related to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, including prohibiting certain imports from Xinjiang and imposing sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations there.

The United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada joined the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in response to human rights abuses in China. U.S. Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that “…in light of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” no U.S. diplomatic official would attend the games in Beijing.

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a vote of 427 to 1 a bill condemning “the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against” the Uyghur community and called on President Biden to ask the United Nations to investigate the alleged abuses.

In addition, the U.S. condemned China’s abuse of ethnic and religious minorities, including what it called “crimes against humanity and genocide” in Xinjiang against Muslim Uyghurs and severe restrictions in Tibet.

In early March, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, the first legislation to combat China’s state-sanctioned practice of forced organ harvesting that targets religious and ethnic minorities. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) introduced the House bill, H.R. 1592, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced S.602, a similar bill in the Senate.

If approved, the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act would hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for “these inhumane atrocities,” stated Babin. The bill would authorize the U.S. government to identify, expose, and sanction individuals and government officials responsible for human trafficking or organ harvesting across the world and mandate an annual report by the U.S. State Department on human organ trafficking in foreign countries. The report would introduce a tiered ranking system for determining which countries have the lowest (tier one), intermediate (tier two), and the highest (tier three) levels of organ harvesting and trafficking. This reporting system would shed light on governments that are directly or indirectly involved in the crime.

The bill would also mandate an annual report on collaboration between U.S. medical institutions and foreign entities involved in forced organ harvesting. In addition, it would prohibit the export of transplant surgery devices to entities involved in this crime.

Resolutions condemning China’s forced organ harvesting practice were passed in three Virginia counties in May, including Caroline, Culpeper, and Louisa. Since last year, officials from 13 Virginia counties have adopted resolutions against China’s transplantation crimes.

During the same month, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes introduced SR 98, a resolution encouraging the medical community of Pennsylvania to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China. The resolution also calls upon China to “increase accountability and transparency in the organ transplant system and punish those responsible for abuses” and for the U.S. government to “initiate a prohibition for each United States teaching hospital to train Chinese doctors in transplant surgery until the People’s Republic of China facilitates independent, impartial inspections of its transplant infrastructure.” This was the third organ harvesting resolution introduced in the PA legislature. Both H.R. 1052 in 2014 and H.R. 27 in 2017 were unanimously passed by the PA House of Representatives.

Also in May, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions against CCP official Yu Hui for “gross violations of human rights.” Yu was the former director of Chengdu City’s 610 Office in Sichuan Province from 2016 to 2018. The 610 Office is the agency specifically tasked with persecuting Falun Gong; the Beijing regime’s brutal suppression of the spiritual practice is approaching its 23rd anniversary. The sanctions will bar Yu from entering the United States. The penalty also extends to his immediate family.

The sanction against Yu was announced along with the release of the State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2020, a significant documentation of the state of religious freedom around the world.

On May 25th, Republican Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced several amendments to the Innovation and Competition Act that challenges Beijing’s growing global influence. He says Congress can’t miss this chance to begin fixing years of bad U.S.-China policy. His amendments focus on holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its role in the virus and ending corporate reliance on slave labor in China.

On June 7th, Texas state senators unanimously passed a resolution condemning communist China’s practice of forced organ harvesting. “We want to go on record as saying, ‘No, this is happening, and we condemn it,’” primary author Sen. Angela Paxton explained in an interview with NTD.

A Senate bill to combat organ trafficking, including forced organ harvesting in China, was presented by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis for a second reading in the Canadian House of Commons on June 18th. Bill S-204, which received the unanimous support of the Senate on May 6th, makes it illegal for Canadians to get organs abroad without the consent of the donor, and makes people involved in forced organ harvesting inadmissible to Canada. Veteran Liberal MP Judy Sgro said she supported passing the bill, noting that having a law to combat organ harvesting is “far overdue.”

On July 16th, a bill preventing United Kingdom citizens from receiving an organ transplant abroad without proper consent from the donor passed its second reading. The bill also seeks to ban the display of imported bodies that do not meet the same consent requirement as those sourced in the UK. The Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill, introduced by Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath, aims to stop UK citizens from being complicit in the practice of forced organ harvesting in China. “Organ donation is a precious act of saving a life, but forced organ harvesting is commercialized murder and, without doubt, among the worst of crimes,” Hunt told the House of Lords. According to NHS statistics, between 2010 and July 2020, 29 British patients were found to have received organ transplants in China.

British lawmakers proposed a change to the Health and Care Bill to help end forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China. The proposed amendment has been dubbed the “Squid Game” amendment, after the popular Netflix series that includes graphic scenes of organ harvesting. The amendment does not identify a specific country, but lawmakers made it clear that the aim is to put a dent into China’s forced organ harvesting infrastructure, which experts say has garnered millions in profit. The amendment, which has achieved backing from MPs across the political divide, if passed, would ban UK citizens from receiving a transplant abroad when financial gain is involved or without clear consent of the donor.

The U.S. National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA) passed a resolution on October 9, 2021, condemning the Chinese Communist Party for harvesting organs from non-consenting Falun Gong practitioners in China and calling on the U.S. Congress and all states to pass legislation to combat forced organ harvesting. The resolution, introduced by Norman Reece, president of the Solano Republican Assembly of Solano County, California, passed during the NFRA’s bi-annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. The resolution calls on the CCP to immediately stop its 22-year-long persecution of Falun Gong and urges the U.S. State Department to stop issuing visas to those involved in China’s organ harvesting crimes.

On December 16th, U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced H.R.6319, the first federal bill in the U.S. to specifically target China’s forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. Entitled the Falun Gong Protection Act, the bill would provide for the imposition of sanctions with respect to forced organ harvesting within the People’s Republic of China and reporting to expose and punish those responsible for forced organ harvesting of the Falun Gong in China. Rep. Perry first announced his introduction of H.R. 6319 at DAFOH’s global webinar on forced organ harvesting in China on December 10, 2021.