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Promoting Ethics in Medicine

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Letter from the Editor, Ann F. Corson, MD

2021 was a busy year for human rights activists advocating against state-sanctioned live forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China. This last DAFOH newsletter of 2021 provides a review and analysis of concerns over China’s organ harvesting.

Throughout the year, many local, regional, and country level governmental bodies throughout North America and Europe spoke out against China’s organ harvesting with resolutions and the introduction of legislation to help combat and stop the unethical practice.

In mid-June, twelve UN human rights experts, including nine Special Rapporteurs released a report expressing extreme alarm over “reports of alleged organ harvesting targeting minorities being held in detention in China, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians.” But, as China quickly responded with indignant denials, many expressed concerns that could there would not be adequate international condemnation and subsequent action against China for its human rights abuses.

In September, DAFOH was one of five international NGOs who hosted the World Summit On Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting that brought together “experts from the fields of medicine, law, government, and media to unmask the truth about these transplant crimes and discuss how the global community can act to stop them.” Summaries of the six-day summit were published as two DAFOH newsletters: World Summit Week 1 and World Summit Week 2.

The Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting was released on the last day of the World Summit with the mission of “Safeguarding humankind’s inalienable rights and justice” by “Ending one of the worst mass atrocities of this century: forceful harvesting of organs from living persons for profit.” The five jointly initiating NGOs: Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, United States; CAP Freedom of Conscience, Europe; Taiwan Association for International Care of Organ Transplants, Taiwan; Korea Association for Ethical Organ Transplants, South Korea; and Transplant Tourism Research Association, Japan “invite all peoples of the world to step forward and support” and sign the Universal Declaration on its website.

In commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, DAFOH hosted a webinar on December 10th entitled “Humankind at a Crossroads: Universal Human Rights versus Commercialized Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out, for the first time in history, fundamental human rights to be universally protected by all peoples of the world. Unfortunately, the practice of forced organ harvesting continues unabated in China and more needs to be done by the world’s people to stop this atrocity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, appended by the newly introduced Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, can pave the path to ensuring ethical standards and universal human rights are respected by all of humanity.

The Palais de Chaillot in Paris

DAFOH’s International Human Rights Day Webinar: “Humankind at a Crossroads: Universal Human Rights versus Commercialized Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People”

On December 10, 2021, in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, DAFOH hosted a webinar entitled “Humankind at a Crossroads: Universal Human Rights versus Commercialized Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People.” Politicians and activists from around the world spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lucrative transplantation industry that has, for decades, sourced organs from living, non-consenting prisoners of conscience, primarily the Falun Gong spiritual group as well as from other ethnic and religious minorities such as Uyghur Muslims, House Christians and Tibetan Buddhists. Webinar speeches in both video and pdf format are found on DAFOH website.

Dr. Harold King, Director of DAFOH France, moderated the webinar. He pointed out that despite the fact that the Chinese Government signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on July 20, 1949, it has since perpetrated many genocidal acts against millions of its own people. The most horrific of these has been the persecution of Falun Gong and the CCP’s war against Falun Gong’s basic principles: Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Dr. King asked, “What words could better summarize the meaning of universal human rights than these three principles? In the end, we must ask ourselves if the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong is, at its core, an attack on human rights and a persecution of goodness in humankind?”

Garnett Genuis, Member of the Canadian Parliament, spoke of his personal experience as the grandson of a Holocaust survivor from Germany during World War II as the reason he champions human rights. Last spring, he introduced into the House of Commons Bill S 204 which “seeks to fight against organ harvesting and trafficking by reducing demand, and in the process, it would save lives. If this bill is passed, it would make it a criminal offense for a person to go abroad to procure an organ taken without consent. It also creates provisions by which a person could be deemed inadmissible to Canada, if they are involved with forced organ harvesting and trafficking.” This is the third bill of this kind that the Canadian legislature has debated since 2008.

Mr. Genuis declared, “We as an international community, we have a responsibility to one another, to uphold the principles and values which we have committed to, the principles and values which unite our human family. To stand by idly when innocent people are arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed for their organs on an industrial scale, that reduces the human person as merely a means to an end and ignores their inherent worth and value. It fails to see and acknowledge the dignity and worth of the victims and their families in favor of the cruel slaughter being perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Scott Perry, Member of the United States Congress, told webinar viewers that he has been pleased to work with DAFOH and others to advance legislation regarding the persecution of Falun Gong in China. One such bill, the Falun Gong Protection Act, was introduced to the U.S. Congress by Rep. Perry shortly after the webinar. He shared that this bill will authorize the American President to “sanction anyone who has directly or indirectly contributed to forced organ harvesting within China. It would also instruct the Secretary of State to determine whether China's persecution of the Falun Gong constitutes an atrocity under a 2018 human rights bill. The definition of an atrocity includes both crimes against humanity as well as genocide, and encourages the State Department to formally decide the nature of the persecution of the Falun Gong, something that has been sorely missing in our China policy.” He added that, “This bill also reinforces basic principles of internationally recognized human rights, that everyone, every single person, has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person. It also states that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude.”

Rep. Perry concluded, “China's persecution of the Falun Gong whether by forced organ harvesting, or unjust imprisonment, or forced labor is evil and perverse and the Congress must commit to ensuring that millions of Falun Gong practitioners are not denied the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs… We must challenge the evil designs of the Chinese Communist Party, which entails highlighting its wanton disregard for basic standards of human decency.”

Annick Ponthier, Member of the Belgian Parliament, also a member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs with a focus on Asia, said that the issue of forced organ harvesting has not received much attention from either Belgian politicians or the press. This, she said, was most likely due to economic and trade reasons. “In my opinion, however, forced organ harvesting should get a lot more attention from both the media and policymakers because it constitutes an unmistakable crime against humanity.”

Ms. Ponthier first heard about organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China after receiving a letter from the organization End Transplant Abuse in China in the spring of 2020 concerning the findings of the China Tribunal. She subsequently researched the topic on her own and began to take action within the Belgian Parliament, demanding that “the Belgian Government take a whole different approach regarding China and rethink our bilateral relations.”

She described how organ harvesting in China is driven by both commercial and ideological motives. “Beijing persecutes different groups on ideological and political grounds because their affiliation does not match the totalitarian communist state ideology that Xi Jinping wants to impose upon all citizens. The organ harvesting of Chinese minority groups also has a commercial side of course, because the organs get sold on the market. But most importantly, they are victimized because the government sees them as a threat to their ideology.”

She warned, “Chinese decision makers have a different conception of human rights than we do in the West. More so they do not care about human rights at all and have no regard for human life if those lives don't further their internal communist agenda and their ambitions to become a global superpower. This way, a stance against China becomes a stance for human rights around the world. Because China doesn't mean to limit itself to what happens inside its own borders, it wants to exert influence all around the world and advanced their totalitarian model.”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, House of Lords, United Kingdom, noted that “severe human rights abuses are still happening in our world. Arguably the worst of such abuses is taking place in China today.” He quoted Article 3, Subsection 2 of the recently released Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting which states, “The killing of vulnerable prisoners for the purpose of harvesting and selling their organs for transplant is an egregious and intolerable violation of the fundamental right to life.”

He affirmed that, “Over the years, evidence of forced organ harvesting has continued to build, and whistleblowers have stepped forward. The body of evidence is becoming vast, including detailed statistical analysis of transplantations and donations, numerous recorded undercover telephone conversations, legal, and policy statements and the practice of the Government and the party, advertisements, admissions of university and military personnel, and a large number of very brave personal testimonies.”

Lord Hunt described how his “Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill, which had its Second Reading on 16th July this year, serves to prevent UK citizens from complicity in forced organ harvesting by amending the Human Tissue Act to ensure that UK citizens cannot travel to countries such as China for organ transplantation and to put a stop to the dreadful traveling circus of body exhibitions, which sources deceased bodies from China.”

After outlining the five ways his bill would act as an amendment to the existing human tissue legislation in the UK, Lord Hunt concluded his talk by quoting Article 4 of the Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting which says, “All governments shall combat and prevent forced organ harvesting by providing for the criminalization of certain acts and facilitate the criminal prosecution of forced organ harvesting both at the national and international levels.”

“We must take action internationally and in the UK in order to do all we can to prevent this abhorrent practice,” he said. “My bill takes us a step forward.”

Dr. Abraham Mathai, Founder of The Harmony Foundation, India, reminded the audience that “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

He stated, “Organ trafficking can be referred to as one of the most cruel and grimmest crimes in the world. As such, it demands a human rights-based approach in analysis and response to this problem by placing the victim at the center of initiatives to combat this rise. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should also be amended and adjusted to effectively address this grave concern of organ harvesting and trafficking which is allegedly occurring in China on a very large scale,” and added, “An aggressive campaign should also be launched for China to be placed under sanctions and even ostracized from the international community until it outlaws and bans organ harvesting and trafficking within its borders and amongst its trading partners.”

Dr. Mathai said, “Falun Gong practitioners have been targeted in this heinous atrocity of organ trafficking to the blind eyes of the world for over two decades,” and rhetorically asked, “How can our world live with tolerating this organized atrocity and still state to uphold the rights and dignity of all humans and right-living and conscionable citizens of the world and as the United Nations? [where should the quotation marks be to end his quote? Here?]

He closed his speech “unequivocally urging the adoption of the new Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting initiated by DAFOH in order to fill the gaps that the 1948 document of the Universal Declaration was not able to fill in stopping forced organ harvesting in large scale from living people with a specific call for accountability on China.”

Erping Zhang, Spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center, United States, spoke about the spiritual practice that is so brutally persecuted in China. “Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual practice of the Buddha school. It consists of five sets of gentle meditation exercises and a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of truth, compassion, and tolerance. After its introduction to the public in 1992, government officials actually praised Falun Gong for saving a great amount of insurance costs for the government, owing to its health benefits, and for stabilizing a Chinese society seeing increasing social disparity through its moral-centered teachings.”

In July of 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin, fearing the challenge Falun Gong’s popularity and spiritual tenets might pose to the Communist Party, launched a campaign, which is ongoing today, to viciously persecute and eradicate Falun Gong.

Mr. Zhang then explained how, “In response to the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have launched the largest peaceful resistance movement in modern Chinese history. From the basements and backrooms of homes across China, Falun Gong practitioners produce and distribute pamphlets and DVDs to expose the CCP’s lies and crimes. They also distribute free copies of internet freedom software that have helped millions in China to bypass the Great Firewall to see beyond the blinds of authoritarian censorship,” adding that, “These efforts have had a profound impact on Chinese society and encouraged over 300 million Chinese people to withdraw from the CCP or its affiliated organizations.”

He warned that, “The implication of the CCP’s human rights abuses extends beyond the borders of China. Other than the commonly-known issue of slave labor, the ethics of organ transplantation should concern the free world. Many recipients of organs forcibly harvested from Falun Gong practitioners are actually not from China, and with countries subsidizing their healthcare fees for post-transplant recovery, they might be unknowingly acting as accomplices to the CCP’s crimes against humanity.”

“In other words, China’s human rights abuses and the international community’s inaction have material consequences to the West – morally, and socially. The free world ought to pay attention to societal needs and recognize the benefits gained from a humanitarian approach,” he added.

Mr. Zhang concluded, “In every historical era, there is a defining moment that calls for basic human conscience and dignity in making this world a better place… and with the support from so many kind-hearted people like the ones on this panel, we are very hopeful that the day will soon arrive when the biggest communist tyranny ends.”

Lucica Humeniuc, President of the Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights, Romania, explained how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “is recognized as part of universal customary international law and is the key to reforms at all levels of international, regional, and national representation, respecting the universal, inalienable and indivisible nature of the whole range of human rights (political, civil, social, economic, cultural).”

“However, recent history has shown that there have been obstacles to the full protection of human rights amidst major humanitarian crises caused by the destructive policies of totalitarian regimes, inter-ethnic conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and forced harvesting and trafficking in human organs,” Ms. Humeniuc said.

She told the audience she was speaking out because she had experienced the suppression of the most totalitarian communist regime in Eastern Europe as Romania “had the harshest and longest lasting totalitarian apparatus that could only be overthrown by bloody popular revolt and the sacrifice of those who lost their lives.”

Ms. Humeniuc shared, “Between 2000 and 2004 and 2012 to 2015 Romanian governments reactivated the controversial bilateral relationship between Romania and China. During these periods the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Romania intensified and they were intimidated, expelled, and removed from public places where they practiced, [they were then] investigated and fined. Most of the time, the police car in which they were taken for investigation turned into a room of mental and physical torture.”

She added, “The dark side of communism offers insights into the disaster of civilizations and the loss of the very notion of humanity. Communism suffocated the countries of Central and Eastern Europe… I want to share with everyone that everywhere and at all times, communism is, and will always be a utopian construct which turns the individual into a mere cog in the immense machinery of the single party, and totalitarianism is a regime which denies human rights and subordinates the individual to its interests.”

Regarding China, she said, “The state-organized eradication of the Falun Gong spiritual group through extrajudicial security, the 610 Office, is one of the most serious violations of the Declaration in the 21st century… over 20 years, a mechanism of human destruction has been formed that is now self-perpetuating,” and added, “Forced harvesting and illegal trafficking of human organs should be on the permanent agenda of international and regional bodies and a priority for each individual state to marginalize and sanction the Chinese state.”

Ms. Humeniuc concluded that, “It should not be forgotten that against all the eloquent data presented for 20 years, the testimonies and the existing evidence, China's dictatorship's best ally was and continues to be silence” and called on all the world to break this silence and “stop the brutality of the CCP” by signing the recent Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting… In the 21st century, the forced harvesting of organs from living persons is by no means just a national problem, but a problem of humanity.”

Brazil Argentina and world flags

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.

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United Nation Experts Speak Out Against China’s Forced Organ Harvesting

Twelve United Nations human rights experts stated in June 2021 that they are “extremely alarmed by reports of alleged ‘organ harvesting’ targeting minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians, in detention in China.”

The experts included nine Special Rapporteurs who are special procedures mandate holders of the UN Human Rights Council charged with independent fact-finding and monitoring. They noted that similar concerns had been raised by UN experts 14 years ago but that the response from China was insufficient to mitigate the concerns.

In their statement last June, the 12 experts cited credible evidence that detained minorities are specifically targeted for medical exams believed to be used for organ allocation and added that “this form of trafficking with a medical nature allegedly involves health sector professionals, including surgeons, anaesthetists and other medical specialists.”

The statement called for a prompt response from China and repeated the ongoing request that “international human rights mechanisms” be allowed access to independently monitor organ sourcing in China. China responded two months later with blanket denials, not only of the specific forced organ harvesting allegations, but also denying any mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities and any use of forced labor, repeating the refrain that the allegations are all human rights rumor-mongering.

In an article published in Forbes, Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab, founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response, asserted that the “allegation-denial ping-pong” would cease when the UN makes public an assessment currently being finalized. This is an assessment which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet mentioned in her opening remarks of the UNHRC in September.

Former U.S. representative to the UN Andrew Bremberg commended the experts for raising their concerns and said that “the Chinese Communist Party’s blatant lies in response to the questions raised by the UN Special Rapporteurs on state-sponsored forced organ harvesting is shameful but not surprising.” He highlighted the role the U.S. and other UN member states now have to determine if the UN experts’ statement will result in holding China accountable for its crimes, or whether it will simply be ignored.

The concern that the statement could fail to motivate an appropriate international condemnation was echoed by the Christian human rights NGO ChinaAid which endorsed the statement of the UN experts as an important “step forward,” but expressed concern that the world “remains idle” in the face of these crimes against humanity.

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People from All Walks of Life Speak Out Against Organ Harvesting

More than ever before, people from all around the world in all sectors of society, including politicians, doctors, journalists, and activists are taking a stand against China’s forced organ harvesting crimes.

New Zealand Labour MP Louisa Wall broke her government’s de facto cone of silence in July when she commented on detained Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghur Muslims, “we know that they are slaves. We also know that they’re being used to harvest organs.” Wall, a member of the International Parliamentary Alliance on China, cited evidence from the China Tribunal in 2019 and called on New Zealand to take action.

In the United Kingdom, Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath introduced a bill which would prohibit traveling to China for organ transplant and which Lord Hunt says will “protect UK citizens from complicity in forced organ harvesting.” He also expressed a hope that the legislation would inspire further action in the UK and elsewhere.

United States Congressman Scott Perry said in July that there is “no time to waste” and listed several concrete steps that the U.S. administration and Congress could take, including “sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials, removing Chinese diplomats from the United States, or denying China access to U.S. financial markets.” Two pieces of federal legislation, S.602 and H.R.1592, would, if passed, prohibit surgical devices used in transplant medicine from being exported to those associated with forced organ harvesting crimes and would deny or revoke the passports of anyone illegally purchasing organs. Congressman Perry said that China needs to know there will be consequences. “There’s going to be pain, there’s going to be economic pain, diplomatic pain, there is going to be a reputational consequence.”

Calling for a boycott of the February Olympics, former UK Liberal MEP and former Vice-President of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott noted that forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners is directed by top officials in the Chinese government and cited growing evidence that it constitutes not only a crime against humanity, but may constitute a genocide.

Dutch politician Peter van Dalen is calling on the European Parliament (EU) to place human rights above financial gains after eight years of what he called “silence all over the place” since the EU’s adoption of a resolution in 2013 addressing China’s forced organ harvesting. Van Dalen, who serves on the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and is the co-chair of the Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance, asserted that an EP investment deal should be put on hold “to make clear to China that the violation of human rights is important.”

Even local governments, such as 23 counties and cities in the U.S. state of Virginia, are taking a stand and calling for the federal government to act. Virginia House Delegate David Bulova sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, stating that he would like to see more done at the federal level to stop these atrocities.

Professor Russell Strong, a world renowned transplant doctor in Australia said in an interview that “hospitals and universities should stop receiving and training any surgeons from China, not just for transplants, any surgeons because the Chinese doctors know what is happening and they in a way are covering up all of this.” Strong adopted his stance on training Chinese surgeons over 30 years ago when he received training requests after performing Australia’s first liver transplant in 1985. At that time, he required any trainee from China to sign a statement confirming that they would not go back to China and use prisoner organs for transplant. As none were willing to sign, he did not train any surgeons from China, though he went on to train countless others from surrounding free countries in the region. Strong pointed out that some institutions prioritize the high fees paid by Chinese trainees over human rights and in so doing are “kowtowing” to a country committing genocide.

David Kilgour, former Canadian MP and Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific Region has also said that money is at the heart of the matter when it comes to effectively addressing forced organ harvesting. He asserted that “any deal with China on any matter must include an insistence that the barbaric practice is stopped immediately.” Dubbing it a “grotesque commerce,” Kilgour points out that China alone is perpetrating forced organ harvesting, and “among about 200 countries today, there’s only one, the People’s Republic of China, where the organ harvesting…is run by the government for the benefit of the government and the people who do the operations.”

Gary Cartwright, is the publishing editor of the London-based media EU Today, which helped to organize a conference on organ harvesting at the Press Club in Brussels. Cartwright said, “when I started to do my research, it’s not an exaggeration to say that sometimes I had to just close my computer and walk away and take some deep breaths.” Calling forced organ harvesting “one of the most dehumanizing policies that I’ve ever come across,” Cartwright pointed out that “more than 70 years after the horrors of the Second World War, we were told these things could never happen again. And we see it happening in front of our eyes.”

In a podcast interview, Epoch Times reporter Jennifer Zeng told of her experience of being wrongfully imprisoned for her faith in Falun Gong and being targeted for blood tests and medical exams. She said the purpose of the exams was never explained, but after she learned about forced organ harvesting, she believes she narrowly escaped being killed for her organs thanks to a diagnosis of Hepatitis C that made her organs unsuitable for use in transplantation.

An August National Interest article provided a thorough background of the persecution of Falun Gong, the findings of the China Tribunal and stated that “China’s acts meet the legal definition and scholarly description of genocide pursuant to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The article also notes that of the “seventeen U.S. Senators and Representatives who supported a Falun Gong request to show support on the twenty-second anniversary of its persecution, eight were Democratic, and nine Republican.”

Calling it state sanctioned murder, investigative journalist Mitch Gerber, in an interview on the Stew Peters Show, asserted that forced organ harvesting is the worst in a long list of atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party. He explains that Falun Gong bodies are “strip mined for organs,” fueling a $1 billion transplant industry. Gerber also chastised the Olympic committee stating, “the Winter Olympics are about to be conducted in China where people are being harvested in 252 concentration camps and more than 3,000 hospitals. It’s forced labor and forced organ harvesting for the Falun Gong, Uyghur Muslims, Christians, and Tibetans.” When asked why this issue should matter to the average American, Gerber first pointed out that the undeniable impact of the CCP caused the pandemic, which is “now in your backyard” and then asked the audience, “Imagine if it was your family that was ripped out of their homes in the middle of the night, or the middle of the day, or the middle of the morning, sent to concentration camps, cut open while alive, and their organs harvested and sold for massive amounts of profit. Wouldn’t you want to do something about it?”

Join the people from all walks of life who have decided to do something about China’s live forced organ harvesting. Watch and share this seven minute explanatory video from End Transplant Abuse in China with all your family, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Torsten Trey

DAFOH’s Executive Director Interviewed on NTD’s Crossroads

DAFOH’s Executive Director Torsten Trey, MD, PhD was interviewed by Joshua Philipp on NTD’s Crossroads program in September 2021.

Dr. Trey described how live forced organ harvesting is occurring all over China wherever there are detention centers. This highly lucrative practice, which is directed by the Chinese regime, involves people from many layers of society who contribute to the perpetration of a slow “cold genocide” of Falun Gong practitioners. He described live force organ harvesting as the removal of organs of living people by surgeons in operating rooms across China that results in the “donors” death.

Several Falun Gong practitioners who escaped China related to Dr. Trey that, while incarcerated, they were blood tested frequently despite being tortured. Relatives of those killed in detention reported that their loved ones’ body cavities were devoid of organs.

Dr. Trey pointed out that the general silence of news media around the world over the last two decades may be due to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence. Despite this, there has been support from governments around the world speaking out against China’s forced organ harvesting, though not nearly enough, given the volume of evidence that demonstrates this unethical and illegal practice is ongoing.

Medical institutions that train Chinese transplant surgeons, pharmaceuticals that sell transplant medicines to China, medical tourists who travel to China for organs are all either “unknowingly or knowingly becoming accomplices in these crimes against humanity,” Trey said. “The impact on the West is tremendous and much larger than conceived of at the moment.”

By bypassing Western ethical norms, China is reaching its goal to dominate the global transplant medical field. Dr. Trey said this will “tear down the ethical standards” of the transplant field around the world. He said, “If China is able to make forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience a stable source of organs in the transplant field then China has become the world leader of transplant and is unrestricted in its pursuit to eradicate ostracized prisoners of conscience.”

He concluded, “The most powerful way to stop organ harvesting is to give the victims a voice. Talking about Falun Gong… breaks through the silence.”

Medical ethics

Medical Ethics is Sliding Down a Slippery Slope

Medical ethics, specifically ethics surrounding the transplant profession, has been the focus of DAFOH’s mission since its inception. Our mission states that we will “respect the dignity of human beings and promote the highest ethical standards in medicine.”

From the Nuremburg Code and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the Declaration of Istanbul, free and informed consent without pecuniary compensation is essential for ethically performed medical procedures, especially organ donation and transplantation operations.

Sadly, in China there exists a massive nationwide transplant industry based on the procurement of organs from living people, prisoners of conscience who have been incarcerated solely due to their spiritual beliefs or ethnic origins. A total absence of ethical organ donation, procurement, and allocation is the norm.

Yet it is not just the Chinese transplant profession that is complicit in murder for profit. Due to short wait times, citizens from around the world travel to China to obtain organs without ensuring that the organs being received are ethically obtained. Medical professionals and academic institutions in Western countries train, collaborate with, and fund transplant research with Chinese colleagues involved in the forced live organ harvesting of innocent people.

According to a recent article in The Gateway Pundit, “U.S.-based scientists, both Chinese nationals and Americans, are directly or indirectly subsidizing China’s economy and military and possibly contributing to human rights abuses.” The article states, “On October 11, 2021, a scientific article was published by Megan Sykes of Columbia University in New York and Yong-Guang Yang, who listed his affiliations as Columbia University and the Laboratory of Organ Regeneration and Transplantation of The First Hospital of Jilin University.” The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Additionally, between 2006 and 2018, Yang received over $6.6 million in NIH funding with most of that from NIAID.

The First Hospital of Jilin University was formerly known as The Affiliated Hospital of the First Military Medical University of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Changchun, China. This hospital has long been denounced for its practice of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.

An article in The BL expanded on the above adding, “While Yong-Guang Yang received public funds from U.S. agencies, he also held dozens of positions as a senior manager of various entities. He won multiple awards that in Chinese society only come with being connected to the top ranks of the CCP.”

The Unity News Network reported on the “massive financial links” between the scientific community in the United Kingdom and the Chinese Communist Party claiming that, “The Imperial College London’s website states ‘Imperial is the UK’s number one university collaborator with Chinese research institutions’ and that ‘More than 600 research papers [are] published with Chinese institutions every year’.” Other universities with links to the Chinese regime include: University College London, University of Nottingham, and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The UNN article goes on to detail how “The links between China and the UK also exist at the heart of government. In 2018, the UK Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock travelled to Beijing to ‘promote cooperation on healthcare innovation’… [and] this trip coincided with a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin that Britain co-chaired.”

Anders Corr of The Epoch Times summarized a recent study of China’s global influence operations by France’s Ministry of Armed Forces. He noted that, “the authors boldly construct a taxonomy of CCP influence operations, including propaganda, lawfare, espionage, and organizational influence tactics. They cover some of the most controversial topics in the field of Chinese politics, including Beijing’s foreign election interference, the capture of foreign elites through trade relations, the CCP’s persecution of the Falun Gong, and the CCP’s attempt to control narratives about global organ trafficking, even as the Party engages in forced organ harvesting from China’s prisoners of conscience.”

The CCP’s influence extends to medical universities and teaching hospitals in the United States and around the world. During the September World Summit on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, speakers discussed both medical and press reluctance to broach the topic of China’s forced organ harvesting for fear of reprisal by the CCP and loss of its funding.

Transplant professionals around the world have started down an unethical slippery slope as they deny patients life-saving transplant operations due to personal medical choices regarding their own bodily integrity.

The transplant center at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus has refused to perform surgery on patients who have opted not to have any of the vaccines being used for COVID-19. One patient was actually removed from its transplant list for choosing not to be injected.

Days before surgery was scheduled, with the donor ready, the Cleveland Clinic delayed a patient’s kidney transplant surgery due to its policy that requires both the donor and recipient to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Cleveland Clinic also denied a liver transplant to a patient because both donor and recipient were unvaccinated.

The University of Washington Medical Center is removing unvaccinated patients from its transplant lists. According to Red Voice Media, several patients have been denied or have been threatened with denial of treatment over COVID vaccine refusal.

The Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland is also requiring organ donors and recipients to be fully vaccinated against COVID or be removed from the transplant list.

In essence, such requirements, which are in violation of both the Nuremburg Code and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, deny patients medical treatment that would save their lives. Ethically, how is this not equivalent to pre-meditated murder?

Apparently, bioethicists are now blurring the line between informed consent and murder. In an article in the National Review, Wesley Smith said, “When organ transplant medicine began, the “dead donor rule” was instituted to assure a wary public that people’s vital organs would only be procured after the person was dead… Many bioethicists are now pushing to allow doctors to kill via organ harvest, sometimes called “organ donation euthanasia” (ODE). At first, this proposed killing license was supposed to be limited to patients on the verge of death or the permanently unconscious. Now, a prominent bioethics journal has published a piece urging that healthy people be allowed to die by removal of vital organs,” should they give consent.

Mr. Smith pointed out that, “these proposals are not fringe ideas. Bioethics, which published this article, is a wholly mainstream publication. The idea of killing for organs is considered respectable in the field. And it gives these advocates no pause that their plans would also transform organ-transplant doctors, known for focusing exclusively on saving lives, into outright killers.” If ethicists and medical professionals around the world are heading down this path, how long will it be until the CCP’s model of organ procurement for transplantation becomes the global norm?

The mission of physicians is to care for their patients without prejudice. The medical profession should not participate in discriminatory practices but instead call for morally upright and ethical behavior. It is time to place ethics and the sanctity of human dignity and life above profit, professional and/or personal gain, reputation or political ideology.

Women selling yoghurt at a market near Kashgar

China’s Persecution of Uyghur Muslims Constitutes Genocide

Reports continued to surface throughout 2021 regarding the persecution of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority. In April, the Daily Telegraph described concentrations camps where arbitrary detention, rape and forced sterilizations, torture, unpaid labor, and organ harvesting is the fate of over 1.5 million Xinjiang Muslim Uyghurs. The Washington DC based think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy found overwhelming evidence that the Chinese regime is violating all five provisions of the United Nations Convention on Genocide.

In a May interview, Japan-based Uyghur human rights activist Tur Muhammet claimed that “based on the local population decrease, it is estimated that at least three million people, at most five million people, were placed in the [detention] camps between 2017 and 2019.” Additionally, “In 2019, the Chinese government’s internal documents leaked, revealing that the camps were divided into three levels of discipline: ‘reinforced control,’ ‘strict control’ and ‘normal control,’ in order of strictness. Furthermore, all the reports of tortures, rapes and murders come from the least strict ‘normal control’ camps. There are no survivors from the two stricter levels.”

The Liberty Web article states, “The Uyghurs were distributed throughout the country [from September to December 2019] so CCP can transplant fresh organs in any region. It is known that China is harvesting organs from Falun Gong believers, but the number of living believers has been on the decline, and the ‘donors’ are almost gone. The Uyghurs are filling this role.”

Widely reported in Australian and Indian newspapers, Australia’s Herald Sun described the horrors allegedly being perpetrated on Uyghurs and other minorities by the Chinese regime, including forced organ harvesting. “The hospitals that carry out the organ transplant, the report said, are reportedly found not too far away from the detention centres… [and] the number of performed operations in the hospitals and the short waiting lists indicate there has been ‘forced organ harvesting’ for a very long time on a large scale.” A healthy liver “fetches around USD 160,000” with the organ trade providing an estimated annual income of “at least USD 1 billion” for China.

In June, a nine-member tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, conducted the first set of hearings in London known as the Uyghur Tribunal. More than 30 witnesses and experts provided testimony regarding “enforced disappearances, the compulsory sterilization of women and forced contraception, organ harvesting, and torture” at the hand of Chinese officials. Later, leaked documents shared with the Tribunal revealed that members of China’s top leadership have been directly responsible for the persecution of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang. On December 9, 2021, Sir Nice presented the Tribunal’s summary judgement which concluded that China’s treatment of the Uyghurs constitutes a genocide.

Lee-Jung-Jae-and-Park-Hae-Soo-Squid-Game-1200x666

The Squid Game Imitates China’s Real-life Organ Harvesting

The Squid Game, released by Netflix on September 17, 2021, is a game that pits players against one another in deadly battles to win a huge cash prize and has quickly become Netflix’s most-watched international show in its history. In the game, human beings are also sold for their organs. This is eerily similar to what has been happening in China for over two decades where prisoners of conscience are killed on demand for their organs in order to generate enormous profits for the Chinese regime.

Retired Australian transplant surgeon Russell Strong told the Daily Mail Australia that “many Chinese medical trainees take what they’ve learnt in the West and use it to harvest human organs back home in a terrifying ‘kill-to-order’ market that parallels a side plot in the smash hit South Korean Netflix horror series.”  Dr. Strong, who refused to train Chinese surgeons due to his concern over unethical organ procurement practices in China, has urged Western medical teaching institutions to follow his lead.

The International Business Times accused Chinese surgeons of taking part in a real-life Squid Game. Citing the June 2021 UN report, “… the UN Human Rights office also noted that health care workers, including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and others are helping Beijing in their organ harvesting program. ‘Some prisoners receive death threats and threats of their organ being harvested by the police if they do not comply with the law enforcement agencies or refuse to give up their beliefs, the statement said’.”  The article also pointed out that, “In the WHO [World Health Organization] approved process, the deceased's organs are first matched with the most critical patient on the transplant list and who can make it in time to the hospital for the surgery. In China, however, the recipients are NOT put on a transplant list and asked to wait for their turn, instead, they have the authority to book their surgeries as per their convenience, which shows the implicit role of China's government in supporting and allowing organ harvesting.”

An article in The Epoch Times implied that by including organ harvesting, the Korean game may actually help increase awareness of China’s unethical transplant practices.

selective-focus-on-reading-eyeglasses-with-stacking-of-newspaper-picture-id609812912

News in Review

DAFOH Secretary Urges Medical Journals to Boycott China’s Transplant Research

In BMJ’s Views and Reviews, consulting nephrologist and DAFOH Secretary Adnan Sharif from Birmingham, UK explained why medical journals should stop publishing transplant research from China. The mounting evidence of organ procurement from living prisoners of conscience and the implausibility of the Chinese government’s official transplant data should raise sufficient ethical concerns to ban publication of any transplant research from China.


Chinese Provinces Advertise Vital Organ Prices

In an effort to whitewash its black-market organ industry, the CCP has ordered provinces to set local prices for organs. However, pricing is the opposite of what medical costs would be. For example, Henan province advertises a heart for less than a kidney, while a child’s organ is less than an adult’s. Prices most likely reflect market value and organ demand. In addition, the CCP has never been able to explain its exponential organ industry growth, while a number of investigative reports have concluded that Falun Gong practitioners are the primary victims of forced live organ harvesting.


After Mentioning Organ Theft on Social Media, Chinese Law Professor’s Accounts Disappear

China University of Political Science and Law Professor Luo Xiang had 2.5 million followers on Weibo until he posted a video about criminal gangs around the country that abduct homeless people for illegal organ harvesting. Despite raising concern over a serious crime, all of his media posts disappeared after his video circulated in June 2021. Perhaps the censors were concerned that the professor’s comments might raise awareness among the Chinese people that their own government is actually the world’s biggest criminal organ trafficking gang.


Organ Donation Coordinator Exposes Unethical Methods That Violate International Standards

A former organ donation coordinator from northeast China said he was really only a salesman who used the lure of money to convince poor or indebted people to donate their critically ill loved ones’ organs. This is in direct violation of internationally accepted guiding principles that forbid monetary compensation for organ donation. He also said China’s transplant industry is rife with corruption and bribery where everyone from hospitals, doctors, and local police profit from convincing people to donate organs.


U.S. Scientific Institutions Train and Collaborate with Chinese Scientist Spies

Influential academics in the U.S. have profited by collaboration with CCP agents, such as Xiang Gao, a scientist who stole vital American biotechnology for use in China’s biowarfare program. Gao obtained a PhD at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and did post-doctoral training at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Jackson Laboratory, Maine, and the University of North Carolina. He then set up identical labs at Nanjing University in eastern China with People’s Liberation Army scientists linked to China’s biowarfare program in order to make human ACE-2 receptors in genetically engineered mice more susceptible to coronaviruses.


Lagos Assembly Reviews Bill Criminalizing Illegal Organ Harvesting

A Nigerian bill to regulate human organ harvesting and transplantation has scaled its second reading. The Lagos State House of Assembly reviewed the Lagos State Organ Harvest and Transplantation Bill 2021 during a plenary session in June. The Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Hakeem Sokunle, explained that the bill captures the legal framework for the regulation of organ transplantation. The bill requires that “a person who removes the organ of another person for a reason other than for therapeutic purposes commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years without an option of fine.”


Dozens March in New Zealand’s Capital to Protest China’s Forced Organ Harvesting

Several dozen people marched along the streets of Wellington, NZ to protest the repression of Falun Gong practitioners in China and their being subjected to murder through forced organ harvesting. The group handed out flyers with information about organ harvesting in China and asked people to sign a petition calling for an end to the religious persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party. A brass band played as the group set up a demonstration of a Falun Gong practitioner being tortured.

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Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) aims to provide the medical community and society with objective findings of unethical and illegal organ harvesting. Organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor, without free and voluntary consent, is considered a crime against humanity, as well as a threat to the integrity of medical science in general. This edition of our newsletter offers up-to-date information on international efforts to stop unethical organ harvesting.

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