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Promoting Ethics in Medicine

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"A Walk in the Park"
Letter from the Editor, Ann F. Corson, MD

Over the years, we have worked hard to educate the medical community and society at large about the horrors of China’s live forced organ harvesting on demand of innocent prisoners of conscience. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, many people have never even heard about these atrocious human rights abuses. However, I recently had an experience which showed me that deep down inside, people have some level of understanding regarding this issue.

One sunny April afternoon, I took my dogs for a walk in a beautiful city park close to where I live that was full of people enjoying the sun, a book, a picnic, a game, and each other. My older dog was searching for other dogs and friendly humans to greet and commune with. My younger dog only had eyes for squirrels.

As I rounded one corner of the park, I saw a young man seated, pecking away at an old-fashioned typewriter. His sign read “Dream Poet for Hire, donations accepted.” On an impulse, I decided to commission a poem.

I warned him though, that on this beautiful spring afternoon, my subject matter was dark. Without inquiring if he had any knowledge of the subject, I asked him to write a poem about “forced organ harvesting from living prisoners of conscience in China, specifically Falun Gong practitioners.”

He nodded and said nothing as he set about his work. Five minutes later, he handed me this poem:

                                 FORCED ORGANS HARVESTED                             
                           by marshall james kananaugh @DreamPoetForHire
                           april 16, 2022 philly rittenhouse sq.

                                     genocide isn’t new
                                but human consciousness
                     gradually has shifted towards
                                a new paradigm of concern
                                          for what doesn’t
                             reach the front page of the news

                        marginalized groups
                        treated as if not human

                        and growing from the awareness
                        a general resistance to power

                             these structures want us
                                       divided
                                  by race, religion, class, & gender

                        but a better world is possible
                            when unified
                                    we see through the veil
                               and recognize our hearts beat
                                         similar
                                 our parts are all human.

How is it that the few words I spoke to this poet were enough to evoke such insight in him while there has been such silence from the international community who have known of force organ harvesting for many years? Could this silence equate to willful blindness and complicity?

The poem above indicates to me that there exists a broad collective consciousness among humanity which recognizes that the persecution and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners (and other minority groups) is an attack on human goodness, dignity, and individual sovereignty. Only anti-human elements could perpetrate such evil on those who strive to align with the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.

All human rights abuses and genocides around the globe, including the state-run murder for organs in China, will end only when all people “see through the veil” of deception and deceit and come to recognize and respect that “our parts are all human.”

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David Kilgour (1941-2022): Honoring the Life of a Great Crusader

David Kilgour was a rare breed, a true gentleman of honor and virtue. He was willing to risk his reputation, face international criticism, and incur the wrath of a communist regime all in the name of helping others and upholding truth and justice.

Born February 18, 1941 in Winnipeg, Canada, David Kilgour spent his early career as a distinguished lawyer and principled politician. He went on to serve an impressive 27 years as a Member of Parliament, never wavering from his deeply-held beliefs and principles. He served as Deputy Speaker, Chairman of Committees, Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), and Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific). Following his time in Parliament, he devoted himself to championing human rights. With a selfless heart and tireless spirit, he gave a voice to the voiceless and helped expose atrocities that would shock the international community.

A man of faith, David’s beliefs served as an undercurrent, moving him to fight for freedom of belief for the oppressed around the globe. In 2006, when the Coalition to Expose the Persecution of Falun Gong was established, David Kilgour, along with highly-regarded international human rights lawyer David Matas, stepped forward to lead the investigation.

In the resultant Kilgour-Matas Report, the duo detailed accounts of unlawful imprisonment, torture, and state-sanctioned forced, live organ harvesting at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Though China fueled criticism of the two men and their report, the findings sent shock waves around the world. The report was updated the following year, and in 2009 it was made into a book entitled, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs.” In 2014, their work was highlighted in the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Human Harvest” by Canadian filmmaker Leon Lee.

In a climate brimming with Chinese propaganda, Kilgour and Matas were among the first to speak out in support of Falun Gong, and to publicly expose China’s dark secret. Although forced organ harvesting continues to this day, their work has played an invaluable role in raising awareness of China’s crimes against humanity as well as effecting positive change. For their tireless efforts in exposing the persecution of Falun Gong, the two David’s, as they came to be known, were bestowed with the 2009 Human Rights Award from the International Society for Human Rights. The following year, the two men were honored with nominations for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2012, “State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China” was released. Edited by David Matas and Dr. Torsten Trey, founder and executive director of DAFOH, the book includes further investigation into forced organ harvesting with chapters by Kilgour, Matas, and human rights analyst and author, Ethan Gutmann.

In 2014, Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann teamed up to found the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC). Through ETAC and other outlets, David continued exposing the CCP’s crimes against humanity. He traveled internationally to participate in panel discussions, held speaking engagements, wrote articles, did interviews, doggedly researched, and consistently met with lawmakers to advocate for legislation to help end forced organ harvesting in China. In 2016, Kilgour, Matas and Gutmann published an updated version of “Bloody Harvest,” adding further evidence to their prior work.

David Kilgour’s humanitarian efforts continued until shortly before his death on April 5, 2022. Passing away at the age of 81 from a rare lung disease, the loss came much too soon for those who knew him.

In a touching tribute by friend and co-researcher David Matas, Kilgour was remembered as a man of integrity and empathy, a man who was at his best when he was standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves. Matas concluded his tribute with these words, “All who have known David will miss him. Yet he will not be gone. His example will endure to remind us of the difference between indifference and empathy, between bafflegab and honesty, between giving way and standing firm, between doing well and doing good. He has not disappeared because he has become part of us.”

To recognize David’s important work, Canadian MP’s recently urged the passage of Bill S-223 which has been put forward in some iteration or other for the past 13 years. The bill, which recently passed its second reading in open parliament would make it a criminal offense for Canadians to obtain organs abroad which have been procured without informed consent and deem anyone involved in the trafficking of organs inadmissible to Canada.

Just as the history books will surely do, DAFOH honors the life and work of David Kilgour. His fearlessness and tenacity in researching and speaking out on an issue that so many others turned a blind eye to provides hope and inspiration to us all. He has undoubtedly positioned himself on the right side of history, and his many contributions are immeasurable in value.

May David’s kind-heartedness, upstanding moral character, unwavering efforts, and dedication to defending the lives of the innocent, serve as a shining light to guide us all to be a little better and do a little better, to stand up for what’s right, and to not be deterred in the face of challenges and adversity.

What better way to honor the life of a great crusader.

DAOFH Roundtable June 2022

DAFOH Round Table Event: Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People - Past, Present, Future

On June 9, 2022, five experts in the fields of transplant medicine, medical ethics, and forced organ harvesting came together for a round table discussion moderated by DAFOH Executive Director Torsten Trey, MD, PhD, to review the existing evidence, present their latest research, and identify steps to stop forced organ harvesting (FOH).

Dr. Jacob Lavee, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and Heart Transplantation at Tel Aviv University, recounted the case that started him on the path to researching and advocating against FOH. His patient, who had been on a waiting list for a heart transplant for over nine months, said that he was scheduled to have heart transplant surgery in China in two weeks’ time. Dr. Lavee recalled “I looked at him and asked him, ‘Are you listening to yourself? How can anyone promise you a heart transplant ahead of time, you do understand that for a heart transplant to take place, somebody has to die on the very same day?’”

When asked how he felt when he was first presented with evidence of FOH, Martin Elliott, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at University College London and a member of the China Tribunal, said his reaction was horror, “The thought that I first felt when I heard about this was that this is some form of evil.” Dr. Elliot emphasized the importance of differentiating between the Chinese people and the Chinese government, “this is about the Chinese Communist Party's control over a system…which has put millions of people into camps over a number of decades and continues to do so.” He noted “As a transplant surgeon myself, the question of complicity…seems to me to be of paramount importance for the medical professional.”

Building on Dr. Elliot’s remarks, Dr. Lavee asserted that part of the challenge in mobilizing the medical community is how difficult it is to believe such atrocities are taking place. “As a physician, a surgeon, and mainly as a transplant surgeon, you can hardly imagine that our colleagues are taking live people to the operating theatre and by extracting their organs, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, they actually execute them.”

Weldon Gilcrease, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah and Deputy Director of DAFOH, explained the connection between the persecution of Falun Gong and FOH, “you cannot have forced organ harvesting…without a large population of depersonalized, dehumanized, demonized human beings in China, that are essentially looked at as non-persons or sub-humans, not only by the community at large and by the government, but also by the medical community.” After listing the evidence indicating Falun Gong as the primary FOH victim group, Dr. Gilcrease also noted that forced organ harvesting would not be possible “without a government that is organizing this awful persecution.”

Dr. Trey asked Dr. Lavee to explain the results of his most recent research on FOH published in the American Journal of Transplantation where he and fellow researcher Matthew Robertson found evidence in Chinese medical papers that the procedures breached the dead donor rule which states that organ procurement must not commence until the donor is both dead and formally pronounced so and by the same token that procurement of organs must not cause the death of the donor. “We have found in this computational text analysis more than 70 papers in which the authors by themselves admit that the organ procurement surgery has started before brain death has been formally declared,before the apnea test has been declared, because they mentioned that the intubation of these patients has been done only after the beginning of the organ procurement, which means that these surgeons are actually executing those patients, those prisoners. And by their own admission, during these years, they can only be prisoners and the surgeons have become the actual executioners of these patients… This is a final proof that Chinese transplant physicians are actually taking active part in executing these patients.”

One topic that several of the round table speakers had personal experience with was the issue of censorship. Dr. Gilcrease’s attempts to have his university hospital learn more about FOH to prevent complicity were halted by senior leadership, not because they doubted that FOH was taking place, but out of fear of losing the income generated by training doctors from China. When Dr. Lavee invited David Matas, one of the lead investigators in the first research released on FOH in 2006, to address the Israel Society of Transplantation annual meeting, the Chinese embassy, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had the Ministry of Health ask Dr. Lavee to cancel the talk. “I told them right away, forget about it, David Matas is going to present.”

David Beyda, Chair and Professor of the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, explained that in additional to institutional censorship, “there was also personal censorship…in terms of reputation.” He asserted that “ethically, is a very significant issue; to personally censor yourself, even though you know what is happening is wrong…the more complicit you become.”

The speakers agreed that medical associations have a responsibility to break the silence. Dr. Alejandro Centurion, neurologist and member of the DAFOH board of directors, expressed the importance of the American Medical Association (AMA) taking-up the issue. “Doctors need to know about this information. I can't convey how few physicians and nurses really know about this about these atrocities.” Dr. Gilcrease concurred stating, “less than 10% of the entire medical community actually knows what forced organ harvesting is. And even less than that…has any kind of understanding of the [China] Tribunal or the massive amount of data that's out there.” For Dr. Centurion, the AMA is the answer, noting that legislation in both Britain and Canada came about after their respective medical associations condemned FOH, “medical societies need to be our voice. [The AMA] needs to speak for all the community of medical doctors in United States.”

Dr. Lavee sits on the ethics committee for the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, which revised its ethics statement in May to prohibit research, presentations and papers coming from China. Dr. Lavee is optimistic that such actions can have an impact. “No Chinese transplant surgeon who's doing heart or lung transplantation can either submit papers to the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, no such surgeon or physician can come to the annual meeting of the society. As we've seen in the past, such an academic boycott is a very important, it's a very powerful tool for us as physicians to exert some pressure over our colleagues in China.”

Dr. Lavee noted that “in 1962, when the Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was tried in Jerusalem for his part of exterminating the Jews during the Holocaust, Hannah Arendt, the American German philosopher, termed the coin, ‘the banality of evil,’ as expressing what's the Nazi were doing. It's chilling to see that the banality of evil, which we thought we [would] see never again, is taking place for the past 30 years in China and even to the very this day.”

Dr. Trey ended the round table discussion by stating definitively that FOH from living prisoners of conscience “can by no means or excuse be accepted in today's global community, and every doctor, and every individual, has to make a decision. ‘Do I want to live in a world where a government can arbitrarily kill innocent people for their organs or do I speak up now?’ I think it is time to break the silence and National Medical Association's should take the lead to end this atrocity.”

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American Journal of Transplantation article
by Matthew P. Robertson and Dr. Jacob Lavee

Another seminal piece of research and analysis was published in the American Transplant Journal (AJT) on April 4, 2002 by Matthew Robertson and Dr. Jacob Lavee who have both, over many years, contributed vital information, research, and evidence on the Chinese Communist Party’s unethical and illegal forced organ harvesting of ‘undesirables’ on an industrial scale nationwide.

The authors state that the two most cherished tenets in transplant medicine are the dead donor rule which “is fundamental to transplant ethics” and the injunction that doctors do not kill or use their skills to destroy life.

Robertson, a PhD Doctoral researcher at Australian National University and Data scientist for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and Prof. Jacob Lavee of the Heart Transplantation Unit, and Deputy Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, conducted a computational text analysis using highly targeted keyword searches to find text consistent with what they termed “problematic Brain Death Declaration (BDD)” in thousands of Chinese language medical journals published between 1980 and 2020. They found 71 papers from hospitals all across China that met their strict requirements for problematic BDD.

The authors developed two criteria for determining which text was consistent with problematic BDD and therefore inconsistent with the international transplant community’s latest consensus statement for assessing brain death before the extraction of donors’ vital organs. The criteria were fulfilled when the text described clinical procedures where either patients were not on mechanical ventilation and only intubated after being declared brain dead, or where intubation took place right before the surgical procedure to explant organs.

Their analysis strongly implies that transplant surgeons in mainland China are participating in a nationwide murder for money practice. Prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience, constitute a captive living organ pool supplying organs not only to Chinese patients but also to those who flock to China from other nations to pay for readily available organs that can be ordered fresh on-demand.

On April 7, 2022 two human rights NGOs, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) and the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) hosted a webinar entitled “Execution by Organ Harvesting: A discussion on China's crimes against humanity” where Robertson and Lavee define, in precise and clear detail, their definitions, research methods, and evidences used in the paper.

After publication, the Robertson and Lavee analysis was widely covered by media in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, India, Asia, and online. The coverage given this article has helped to break through years of censorship of this topic by global media.

United States

USA Today provided a concise summary of China’s organ harvesting of prisoners, and referenced Robertson and Lavee’s paper, “New evidence suggests that execution by organ donation is a continuing part of the systematic campaign against Uyghurs, Falun Gong, Tibetans, Christians and other people Beijing classifies as politically problematic.”

WebMD quoted Robertson, “What we found were improper, illegitimate, non-existent or false declarations of brain death,” and Lavee, “We have shown for the first time that the transplant surgeons are the executioners — that the mode of execution is organ procurement. These are self-admissions of executing the patient.” Robertson concluded, “In the past, I don’t think the question of China’s medical professional involvement in the execution of donors has been taken as seriously as it should have. I certainly hope that with the publication of this paper in the leading journal in the field, this will change.”

Breitbart wrote, “The researchers concluded that China had likely breached a medical ethics standard known as the ‘dead donor rule,’ which asserts that doctors should not kill people to transplant their organs into another person. The report follows years of mounting evidence – organized similarly by medical researchers, human rights activists, journalists, and attorneys – suggesting that China has systematically killed political dissidents and members of religious and spiritual communities it disapproves of to sell their organs to wealthy buyers.” Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, dissident Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists are all “at particularly high risk for illicit government organ harvesting.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that evidence from the AJT article proved China is not abiding by the dead donor rule. The analysis of text in 71 Chinese medical articles described organ procurement in ways that would be impossible unless the donor was still alive. “For the declaration of brain death to be legitimate, the organ donor must have lost the ability to breathe spontaneously and have already been intubated.”

The National Review pointed out why disengaging from Chinese medical institutions is important for Western universities and industry. “These findings show a uniquely close and long-running collaboration between the PRC’s medical establishment and its public security system,” [Robertson] said. “This would make PRC surgeons, many of whom were trained in the West, involved in medicalized extrajudicial killing.”

Another National Review article discussed the scale of organ harvesting in China. Robertson and Lavee, who found descriptions of murder on operating tables in China, said “Thousands of papers have been published in China about heart and lung transplantation, but most say nothing about how the donor was handled.” They also believe the international outrage over organ harvesting is restrained by China’s involvement with the World Health Organization.

The BL explained that Dr. Lavee was initially incredulous that Chinese surgeons would describe such unethical procedures in medical articles. “Somehow both the authors and their editors in the respective medical journals have forgotten to take out these incriminating details, which we have found,” adding, “If this has been a practice for 20 or 30 years in China, I guess nobody at that time was aware they were doing something wrong, although how to declare brain death is something that is known in China. They’ve published a lot about it.” Lavee also noted that “no editor of any decent journal would have published a paper that incriminates the authors in such deeds.”

A second article in The BL went into detail over the methods used in the Robertson and Lavee paper and pointed out that “Procuring vital organs from prisoners requires close cooperation between executioners and transplant teams. The state’s role is to administer death, while the physician’s role is to procure a viable organ.” According to human rights researchers, China now surpasses the United States in number of annual transplants performed, with wait times of weeks rather than months or years as in the U.S.

United Kingdom

GBN reported that the researchers said the “principle way to determine death” is by assessing if a “patient can breathe without a ventilator” and this was not done by the Chinese doctors in these studies before declaring brain death.

The New Arab raised concerns about the fate of thousands of Muslim Uyghurs, who, along with the Falun Gong, are victims of live forced organ harvesting.

The Daily Mail pointed out the analysis of Chinese medical records found prisoners’ hearts were removed before they were brain dead, the official cause of death did not align with medical procedures performed, and over 300 medical workers across China are involved in the state-sponsored killings.

The Byline Times wrote “The 71 reports span a period of 35 years and include 35 hospitals, spread across 33 cities and 15 provinces, which is indicative of a practice that is systematic and widespread. Both Robertson and Lavee pointed to public health officials within the Chinese Government who have admitted that 95% of the organs used for transplantation come from prisoners, along with documentation that shows China had no voluntary organ donor system during the time when the 71 papers were published.”

United Kingdom/Canada

Iflscience described how evidence of hearts being extracted from living, not brain dead, people was “reported from 56 hospitals in 15 provinces [across China]. The earliest paper [was] from 1980, and the most recent from 2015.”

Australia

In an interview with Australia’s 9news, Robertson said the evidence they uncovered “showed the surgeon had become an executioner” and that “the study could not confirm exactly how the prisoners ended up on the operating table, but he warned there were ‘multiple troubling scenarios’ as to how this could have as to how it could have happened. While extremely unethical, removing the heart from a living person [is] an optimal way to conduct a transplant.”

The Australian edition of the International Business Times and Sky News reported on the new research indicating prisoners were operated on while still alive and not brain dead.

Mercatornet reported “Although this atrocity is impossible to prove definitively because of the secrecy surrounding most government statistics in China, activists have accumulated mountains of indirect evidence.”

Israel

The online English edition of Haaretz in Israel reported on the article’s findings that doctors in China are executing prisoners by removing organs while they are still alive while Israel’s Chinese embassy officials claimed the analysis was all lies and distortions.

India

OpIndia’s byline read “Chinese surgeons are reportedly recruited by the state to kill prisoners through organ transplant surgery” and quoted Robertson saying, “We found that the physicians became the executioners on behalf of the state and that the method of execution was heart removal. These surgeries are highly profitable for the doctors and hospitals that engage in them.”

The Wire reported that the AJT study provides evidence that “Chinese state and military affiliated hospitals have killed prisoners using organ transplant surgery because organ harvesting is extremely profitable.”

The Wire Science pointed out “While there have long been credible allegations about China harvesting organs from death-row inmates and persecuted groups, the study is the first to offer scientific evidence.”

Firstpost wrote “According to the study, China has developed one of the largest transplantation systems in the world, from the 1980s to the present, based primarily on organs from prisoners, supplied by the state's security and judicial system.”

Qatar

Aljazeera quoted Robertson as saying, “We found that the physicians became the executioners on behalf of the state, and that the method of execution was heart removal.”

Online media

The ASEAN Post  reiterated that “International guidelines on the ethics surrounding organ transplants state that organ removal must not cause the death of the donor, but the new research… suggests Chinese surgeons might have done just that.” The reporter explained problematic Brain Death Declaration as when “doctors did not check whether a patient could survive on a ventilator, or patients were only partially ventilated with a mask and did not have a tube inserted into the throat.”

Robertson told Medscape Medical News that in the Chinese language scientific journals, “surgeons wrote that the donor was brain dead, but according to everything we know about medical science, they could not possibly have been brain dead because there was no apnea test performed.”

The Insider reported the study found that 348 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical workers or researchers who participated in the executions of inmates between 1980 and 2015 had removed … organs prior to legitimate determination of brain death. "If the reports we examine are accurate, they indicate that heart and lung procurement by the surgeon was the proximate cause of the prisoner's death, thus directly implicating the surgeon in the execution."

Tweaktown quoted Robertson describing their evidence. “What we found were improper, illegitimate, non-existent or false declarations of brain death. The surgeons wrote that the donor was brain dead, but according to everything we know about medical science they could not possibly have been brain dead because there was no apnea test performed."

BioEdge published Dr. Lavee’s reason for exposing China’s unethical and criminal transplant practices, “As the son of a Holocaust survivor who was in a Nazi concentration camp, I cannot stand aside and remain silent when my professional colleagues, Chinese transplant surgeons, have for years been partners to a crime against humanity by cooperating with the authorities and serving as the operational arm for mass executions.”

Yahoo! News pointed out “The primary reason for the increase in transplants allegedly comes down to profit. The price tag on a new heart goes for over $160,000. Other organ prices include $62,000 for a kidney, $30,000 for a cornea and a whopping $170,000 for a pancreas.”

The Vision Times explains that researchers have found that “the Chinese transplant industry had taken off only following the mass arrests and detention of Falun Gong adherents, a pool of people numbering in the tens of millions,” and “[m]uch of the existing research into organ harvesting implicates high-ranking officials in the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).”

Ruetir writes, “The identity of all the captive donors is also unknown, and it has long been debated whether non-convicted political prisoners, such as Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghur Muslims, were used as organ sources.”

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Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on Forced Organ Harvesting

On May 12, 2022, Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and James McGovern (D-MA) held a hearing entitled “Forced Organ Harvesting in China: Examining the Evidence.”

Upon opening the hearing, Rep. Smith descried the arrogance and depravity of the CCP, “nowhere is that principle of utter disregard for the dignity of the human person, and of using people as a utilitarian means to an end, more apparent than in the horrific practice of harvesting the organs of human beings, even before they meet the standard of brain death.” Smith sounded a call for action, “China’s organ harvesting industry is truly barbaric. We cannot accept more excuses. We do not want more false promises. We need answers. We need a concerted effort to stop this barbaric practice—not only in China, but also by its global enablers.”

Also giving opening remarks was Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) who said, “While this heinous practice has been used against a variety of ethnic and religious groups like the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians, Falun Gong practitioners in particular have been the target of the CCP.” He added, “The right to worship and freedom of belief must be protected throughout the globe. No person should ever be intimidated, forced from their ancestral homeland, imprisoned, or murdered because of their beliefs.” Bilirakis also stated that he was supportive of H. R. 6319, the Falun Gong Protection Act.

Guest speaker Sir Geoffrey Nice, Chairman of the China Tribunal, an independent, non-activist, impartial panel that took a dispassionate look at the evidence. They reached the judgement that the CCP is committing crimes against humanity including “murder, extermination, imprisonment, torture, rape, and enforced disappearance” against the Falun Gong. The Tribunal concluded that “Any person or organisation that interacts in any substantial way with the PRC – the People’s Republic of China – including doctors and medical institutions; industry, and businesses, most specifically airlines, travel companies, financial services[,] businesses, law firms, and pharmaceutical and insurance companies, together with individual tourists; educational establishments; arts establishments should recognise that, to the extent revealed in this document, they are interacting with a criminal state.”

Matthew P. Robertson, PhD Doctoral researcher at the Australian National University and China Studies Research Fellow for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, told the Committee that China is “the only country that has run what amounts to a state-sanctioned organ trafficking business out of its hospitals, while systematically using prisoners as the almost sole source of organs over many decades.” He also said that despite China’s gestures of reform, there is no evidence to indicate that China has made any changes to how organ transplants are conducted. In fact, he said that Huang Jiefu is reported to have claimed China will be performing 50,000 transplants a year from voluntary donors by 2023, which is more than the United States.

Robertson and Prof. Jacob Lavee of the Heart Transplantation Unit, and Deputy Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, wrote an article published in BMJ Medical Ethics detailing suspicious data regarding China’s voluntary donation program. The researchers explained how a statistical analysis of the CCP’s reported expansion of the nation’s voluntary organ donation system matched so exactly the pattern of a simple quadratic equation that fabrication of data is highly suspect, especially when compared to data from voluntary organ donation systems of other countries.

Their most recent American Journal of Transplantation article reported the results of their computational text analysis using highly targeted keyword searches of Chinese medical publications. Their findings revealed 71 papers that described Chinese surgeons, many of which were trained in the West, killing prisoners by extracting their hearts while still alive.

Ethan Gutmann, author and investigative journalist, told the Committee about his experience interviewing 20 thousand Uyghur refugees who escaped from Chinese detention camps. Detained 18-year-olds leave the camps to work in forced labor factories while 28-year-olds are preferred by the CCP for organ harvesting. Every year, between 2.5 to 5% of 28-year-olds disappear from the camps. He estimated that the organs of 25 to 50 thousand Uyghurs are harvested annually.

Gutmann recalled how the World Psychiatric Association denounced Russian psychiatrists for using psychiatric hospitals to torture dissidents, thereby causing them to be ostracized from international psychiatric meetings and academic discourse, journals, and collaborations for drug development.

“Now, we know more about Chinese transplant hospitals then we ever knew about Soviet psychiatric hospitals,” Gutmann said. Yet instead of condemning China’s transplant professionals, he argued, the West rationalizes collaboration with Chinese transplant professionals. “We need to abolish all Western contact with the Mainland Chinese transplant industry. No Chinese transplant surgeons in our medical journals, our universities, and our conferences. And a freeze on all sales of surgical equipment, pharmaceutical development, and testing in China.”

Dr. Enver Tohti described his experience in 1995 of extracting the liver and kidneys from a man who was still alive after having been shot in the right side of the chest at an execution field.

Robert A. Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, advised everyone to “follow the money.” He noted that many US agencies end up serving the interests of the Chinese Government but are not held accountable. He suggested that Congressional hearings be held to determine how US agencies are using the billions of dollars they are appropriated each year for China related issues in order to advance US policy.

Destro felt the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Acts H.R. 1592 and S. 602  are “steps in the right direction” as “those [Chinese] on the other side of transactions – whether for trade in solar panels, electric cars, or other business transactions – [who] have turned their own citizens into ‘commodities’ and run the human equivalents of auto ‘chop shops’ are not to be trusted.

“Congress must engage with executive branch and the business and medical communities to change … a culture that excuses operational failure because it is impossible to change the CCP and other bad actors,” Destro concluded, and bemoaned the current State Department culture regarding China, which he described as “institutionalized foot dragging.”

Congressman Smith then explained that the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, if passed, would (1) establish property-blocking and visa-blocking sanctions; (2) prohibit exports of certain surgical devices to entities that are identified as being responsible for forced organ harvesting or related human trafficking; and (3) require the Department of State to report on these practices.

He added that the American medical community must examine moral complicity in these heinous crimes. The American business community, he argued, should link human rights with trade instead of putting profits before human rights.

Smith deplored the fact that forced organ harvesting in China has been “trivialized for so long” by U.S. government agencies, international NGOs and the medical community: “Why aren’t we speaking out as part of our healthcare diplomacy about this terrible abuse?”

Smith then charged the media with performing the investigative journalism required to expose forced organ harvesting of innocent prisoners of conscience in China.

Media that covered the Commission’s hearing included:

The Epoch Times: China’s persecution of Falun Gong shows CCP perceives freedoms as threat: Rep. Smith

Catholic News Service: Smith calls organ harvesting in China ‘a horror story’ at hearing on Hill

Daily Caller: China harvests organs from tens of thousands of living prisoners each year, activist tells Congress

NTD: Testimony on forced organ harvesting in China

The Vision Times: Chinese regime harvests over 150,000 organs from jailed prisoners each year: expert

The BL: U.S. Human Rights Committee calls on China to stop forced organ harvesting practice

The Ohio Star: China harvests organs from tens of thousands of living prisoners each year, activist tells Congress=

American Thinker: China’s monstrous organ harvesting practices

Union of Asian Catholic News: US Congressman calls organ harvesting in China 'a horror story'

Breitbart: Expert: China is harvesting as many as 150,000 organs from concentration camp victims annually

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UK Parliament creates new law against transplant tourism

Lord Hunt, author of the forced organ harvesting amendment to the Health and Care bill, was encouraged when the UK House of Lords, by a comfortable majority of a 203 to 159 vote, “showed its overwhelming cross-party support for victims of forced organ harvesting and genocide in China.” Hunt’s amendment “seeks to protect UK citizens from complicity in forced organ harvesting and organ trafficking by prohibiting UK citizens from travelling…[outside the UK] for the purpose of organ transplantation.”

Health Secretary Edward Argar presented an amended version of Lord Hunt’s bill to the House of Commons that he felt would not create “disproportionate impact on vulnerable recipients and NHS staff.”

In mid-April, the House of Commons amendment became law and was given royal assent. The new law states that British nationals will no longer be able to travel outside the UK to purchase an organ and prohibits commercial organ tourism to China, as well as other countries.

European Parliament in Brussels

EU Parliament Action Against Forced Organ Harvesting

On May 5th in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament passed an emergency resolution expressing “serious concerns about the reports of persistent, systematic, inhumane and state-sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners in the People’s Republic of China and, more specifically, from Falun Gong practitioners.”

Sponsored by Belgian MEP Maria Arena, the emergency resolution states that China’s forced organ harvesting may constitute crimes against humanity and calls for “independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.” Arena hopes to prevent the European transplant industry from engaging with perpetrators of forced organ harvesting. The resolution was also sponsored by Dutch MEP Peter van Dalen, who has been outspoken on the subject and has argued that Europe can no longer turn a blind eye.

International human rights lawyer David Matas presented specific case studies from his extensive research to the MEPs which informed the drafting and adoption of the emergency resolution. One of the more compelling cases he included was that of Chinese transplant doctor and former Deputy Minister of Health Huang Jiefu who received two livers within 24 hours for a transplant operation in 2005. Drawing on available information about the timing of various portions of the procedure, Matas shows that “two living donors were killed at calculated timing to satisfy Huang Jiefu’s order of two backup livers.” Another case was Lu Guoping, a transplant doctor who admitted in a recorded telephone call that “he used to go to a prison to select Falun Gong practitioners for their organs.”

Matas related Uyghur Surgeon Enver Tohti’s account of performing organ extraction after an execution as well as the confession from an anonymous military doctor in Shenyang who emailed The Epoch Times with details of the process of killing Falun Gong practitioners on demand for their organs, explaining that “anyone targeted for organ transplantation would be taken away from prisons, forced labor camps, detention centers, secret camps, etc. At that point, their real name would be replaced with a code corresponding to a forged voluntary organ’s name—the next step would be to undergo the live organ transplant.”

Other specific examples presented by Matas came from a healthcare worker in Jinan, a police officer in Jinzhou, a vice president of a medical university, and an official of the Ministry of Public Security.

The emergency resolution is the first action the European Parliament has taken on the issue since its initial resolution in 2013. It is a welcome step, but in an interview with The Epoch Times, DAFOH Executive Director Dr. Torsten Trey points out that simply “calling” on China to address the issue is not enough, “We need actions on China, not calls. China heard these calls for two decades and ignored them.”

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Global Rights Compliance Calls for Disengagement from Chinese Transplant Professionals

Global Rights Compliance (GRC) is an international human rights law and development NGO founded in 2013 and based in The Hague. Its core purpose is “to achieve justice through the innovative application of international law.”

In April 2022, it published a Legal Advisory Report on global forced organ harvesting and organ trafficking that detailed the evidence of these crimes against humanity, described what constitutes complicity with these atrocities, and explained the responsibility of the business and medical communities is to abide by human rights and ethical principles.

The report, titled “Do No Harm: Mitigating Human Rights Risks When Interacting with International Medical Professionals and Institutions in Transplantation Medicine,” concluded that “Unethical organ transplantation is a global phenomenon that is rising as global demand for organs exceeds availability. The practice of removing organs from living or deceased persons without their voluntary, free and informed consent may constitute individual criminal activity, as part of organ-trafficking crimes, or under state-sanctioned regimes as part of widespread or systematic persecutory conduct. Medical entities and transplant professionals are at risk of prosecution to the extent that they are complicit in these crimes.”

The BL wrote that the GRC report identified countries with “record high levels of organ trafficking and unethical organ transplantation, such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Egypt—and particularly China, where a state-sanctioned organ harvesting industry reach a market value of $1bn a year.” In a video conference, British lawyer Wayne Jordash QC, managing partner at GRC, said the report “explored the possible risks of working with Chinese medical professionals, including hospitals, universities, medical journals, and Chinese medical schools, among others, as it might constitute an act of complicity in this crime” and that “the most significant risk to the transplant industry [is] the crime of forced organ harvesting in China, wherein people are killed for their organs. Within four years since the early 2000s, China’s organ transplant technology has gone from a being follower to a leader in the industry.”

The Law Society Gazette explained how the GRC’s report is the first to address “the role of Western medical professionals and institutions in unethical organ transplantation, organ trafficking, and forced organ harvesting” by stating that “entering and/or maintaining relationships with Chinese institutions entails the highest risk of complicity in international crimes.”

Despite the plethora of evidence that China is harvesting organs from innocent prisoners of conscience, medical professions around the world “are still actively collaborating with China in transplant medicine, research, training and funding, or considering future collaborations.”

Jordash was quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, the transplantation community can be complicit in unethical organ transplantation practices, often unknowingly. The medical community must join in the global effort to stamp out all types of unethical organ sourcing. Together, this trade in human misery must be stopped.”

In its article “UK companies ‘risk legal action’ if they are linked to forced organ trade in China” Metro.co.uk quoted Jordash saying, “institutions need to improve their due diligence to avoid the possibility of them inadvertently helping a state sponsored system of removing people’s organs without their consent, in some cases even while they are still alive. Organizations such as medical journals, universities, hospitals, and companies selling medical products all need to be even more stringent in examining their supply chains, who they work with, and what they endorse.”

In an opinion piece for the Tablet, Martin Elliott, Emeritus Professor of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at University College London, wrote that the “evidence implies that in China, skilled people, almost certainly medically trained, took blood samples, analyzed those samples, examined prisoners, and removed and implanted organs without either explicit or implicit consent. I still struggle to understand how they could do this, although some evidence we heard reminded us that many of the doctors themselves had reason to fear personal retribution or threats to their families.”

Elliott went on to say, “As Global Rights Compliance has proposed, it is vital that organizations—academic, medical, and business—that work with equivalent Chinese (or other nations’) institutions do three things: First, establish a human rights commitment to prevent involvement in unethical practice (including transplantation); second, conduct human rights due diligence processes to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for unethical medical or transplantation risks; and third, disengage from any relationship where such unethical organ transplantation is not preventable, mitigatable, or remediable.”

In an interview with NTD, Dr. Martin Elliott praised GRC for creating guidelines for transplant ethics, saying we need to “get our own act in order” and cannot allow “trade to trump human rights” as “too many people in China have suffered as a result.” He concluded that it is “time to be tough now.”

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The U.S. DOS 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Abuses and Annual Report on Religious Freedom

Two reports from the U.S. Department of State, the Country Reports on Human Rights Abuses and the Annual Report on Religious Freedom, highlight the persecution and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

A new organ harvesting sub-section in the Country Reports states: “Some activists and organizations accused the government of forcibly harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, including religious and spiritual adherents such as Falun Gong practitioners and Muslim detainees in Xinjiang. In June several UN experts issued a statement expressing alarm concerning allegations of organ harvesting ‘targeting minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians, in detention in China.”

The Country Report statement on China was seen as too weak by some, given the strength of the available evidence for the highly profitable and state-organized transplant industry.

The Annual Report on Religious Freedom dedicated 140 pages to abuses in China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on June 2, “The People’s Republic of China continues to harass adherents of other religions that it deems out of line with Chinese Community Party doctrine, including by destroying Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Taoist houses of worship and by erecting barriers to employment and housing for Christians, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners.”

Beginning in 2021, officials implicated in the persecution of Falun Gong face visa restrictions to the US.

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News in Review

Falun Gong Protection Act introduced in US Congress
Late last year, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) introduced the Falun Gong Protection Act (H.R.6319), which the lawmaker described as a measure to aim at “pressing the Chinese regime to abandon its cruel, regressive extermination agenda” toward the faith group, including forced organ harvesting, unjust imprisonment, and forced labor. If passed, the bill would mark the first legislative measure in the United States to hold human rights abusers accountable on this issue.

US Representative Steve Chabot Calls Out the CCP’s Organ Harvesting
United States Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), co-sponsor of the Falun Gong Protection Act (H.R. 6319), spoke about his views on ending forced organ harvesting in China. He emphasized that many people focus too much on the trade benefits of working with China and ignore its human rights abuses. He described the need to push China on its human rights abuses and further explained that the regime continues to pretend they are an upright and important power in the world only to act barbarically at home where they are not under scrutiny. He said that organ harvesting is one of the most heinous acts being committed today.

“The Killing in China of Prisoners of Conscience for their Organs: Smoking Guns”
In a presentation to the European Parliament, Canadian human rights attorney David Matas described individual testimonies as smoking guns. “A smoking gun is evidence of only one murder. The instances set out below are bits. Yet, they are emblematic. By seeing pieces, we get glimpses of the whole.” Matas concluded, “Through the eyes of those engaged in the system, we can see the guilt or willful blindness. Through the eyes of the witnesses, we can see the bewilderment. Through the eyes of the surviving victims or their families, we can see the horror. The physical trail of evidence is itself irrefutable.”

Bill Combating Forced Organ Harvesting Presented in Canada’s House of Commons
Canada’s House of Commons passed a second reading of a bill sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Salma Ataullahjan that seeks to make it illegal for Canadians to receive an organ transplant sourced without the consent of the donor and that would prevent individuals involved in such transplant and trafficking activities from entering Canada. The motion to read the bill a second time in parliament was in part an homage to recently deceased David Kilgour, former MP for many years, in honor of his work to bring the issue of organ harvesting to the public's attention. MP Garnett Genius, who presented the motion, expressed regret that Kilgour did not live to see the bill made into law.

Resolution in Virginia House to End Forced Organ Harvesting Passes Unanimously
The state of Virginia unanimously passed a house resolution that urges Virginia residents and its medical community to be “fully informed” about the risks associated with transplant tourism to China. The resolution is designed to prevent Americans from “unwittingly becoming accomplices” to Beijing’s state-sponsored organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. The article presents the resolution through the eyes of Wang Chunyan whose husband was believed to be murdered in China by police who were attempting to arrest her because of her spiritual practice. Mrs. Wang was later imprisoned in forced labor camps. In the camp she was forced to undergo blood tests which she believes were for checking organ compatibility for possible organ harvesting.

NGOs call on the UN High Commissioner to address China’s organ harvesting
DAFOH’s Executive Director Dr. Torsten Trey and CAP Liberté de Conscience President Thierry Valle called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to acknowledge the evidence prompting concerns by millions of people around the world and demand that China end unethical and illegal transplant practices and to allow free and independent investigations.”

British Medical Association and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges descry China’s organ harvesting
Zoe Greaves, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) ethics committee, called on health care professionals globally to “engage without delay.” A January 2022 article in the British Medical Journal described the abuses as “among the worst violations of international medical codes and standards since they were set out after the second world war.” In addition to leaders of the BMA, chairs of both the Royal College of Pathologists and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges urged healthcare professionals to individually and collectively lobby political representatives to demand “a thorough, impartial, independent investigation appointed by a credible international organisation.”

The Main Driver of the Rise of Organ Transplant Tourism Globally is China
A new report by Global Rights Compliance (GRC) examines the growth in organ tourism internationally with China as the main driver of organ tourism despite China’s lack, until recently, of a public organ donation program. The number of transplants continues to increase each year despite the number of official executions decreasing, pointing to a growing number of individuals being executed for their organs outside of the judicial system. The industry is estimated to generate between $840 million and $1.7 billion each year, according to GRC.

Interview with Mitch Gerber: “CCP Live Organ Harvesting & Bioweapon Attacks”
This interview with Mitchell Nicholas Gerber, an investigative journalist who has dedicated over 20 years to exposing the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, provides an overview and historical context to forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party, why they targeted Falun Gong and what Western countries are doing to try to counter this. He also discusses the CCP’s involvement in bioweapon attacks past, present and future, including COVID. He explores the enabling atmosphere of Western businesses and governments who continue to collude with the CCP.

Labor camp survivor escaped becoming organ harvesting victim
Annie Yang, 56, was detained in three different Chinese camps between March 2005 and September 2006 because she practices Falun Gong. Despite being subjected to both physical and psychological torture, she was routinely taken to a police hospital for medical examinations including blood tests, liver scans, and ultrasounds. After her escape to the UK, she realized she could have become a victim of organ harvesting.

The man behind the persecution and forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong
The BL provides a concise summary of the history of the persecution of Falun Gong begun by then CCP leader Jiang Zemin. It describes how, with Jiang Zemin’s tacit approval, Chinese military hospitals started harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in order to achieve his persecution goal of “physical elimination.”

The BL: “Falun Gong are the Victims of the Most Perverse Genocide in History”
This article provides an overview of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The article examines the roots of communism as an atheist system where the elimination and subvertion of religion is one of the main objectives stated in its most fundamental ideology. When the spiritual movement Falun Gong became prevalent in mainland China, it presented a threat to communist ideology and was therefore severely persecuted. The state apparatus designed to suppress Falun Gong forced the mass incarceration of adherents who became what is believed to be the largest source of organs harvested on demand.

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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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