Promoting Ethics in Medicine

Letter from the Editor, Ann F. Corson, MD

China continues to seek economic and military ascendancy abroad, mainly through predatory economics and coercive behavior, with the ultimate goal of global preeminence. These opaque and one-sided actions are being played out in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

It is naive to think that transplant medicine, given its exponential growth in China, exists as an isolated island of moral and ethical practice given the systematic foul play demonstrated by China’s economic, military and diplomatic affairs as well as its unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, media censorship, and human rights abuses.

After a year of deliberation on evidence and testimony, an independent People’s Tribunal echoed in June what DAFOH and others have been reporting since 2006: the Chinese government has been procuring vital organs unethically from living prisoners of conscience at an alarming rate for almost two decades. The resultant massive international press coverage has added much needed momentum to the avalanche of truth required for the world to act.

Investigators universally agree that Falun Gong adherents are the primary victims of live forced organ harvesting and constitute the majority of China’s prisoners of conscience. At any one time, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong are illegally detained in prisons and black jails where they are invariably subjected to brainwashing and torture while concomitantly being medically tested for retail organ health.

On August 2nd, as a result of the Tribunal’s judgement, the Republican National Convention (RNC) unanimously passed a resolution opposing force organ harvesting in China, adding to previous actions by U.S. politicians to raise awareness of this issue on the international stage.

On July 7, 2019, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced Senate Resolution 274 – “A resolution expressing solidarity with Falun Gong practitioners who have lost lives, freedoms, and other rights for adhering to their beliefs and practices, and condemning the practice of non-consenting organ harvesting, and for other purposes.”

Three years ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 343 condemning China’s organ procurement practices.

The RNC Committeeman who led the Convention’s resolution, reiterated the call by others for “American universities, foundations, and doctors” to “disassociate themselves with Chinese medical entities or face penalties for collaborating with them on transplantation research.” Additionally, he called upon “the United States government to follow the lead of Israel and Taiwan and enact laws preventing American citizens from traveling to China for organ transplant surgeries.”

July 20, 2019 marked the twentieth anniversary since the Chinese government began persecuting Falun Gong. Then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin’s intention was to wipe out this faith-based movement within three months. Two decades later, Falun Gong is still practiced by millions inside China as well as in more than one hundred countries around the world. Only in mainland China is it persecuted. Throughout the rest of the world, Falun Gong practitioners are known for the universal principles by which they live: Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.

People’s Tribunal Finds China's Forced Organ Harvesting Continues on a “Significant Scale”

On June 17, the China Tribunal in London delivered its final judgement on China’s forced organ harvesting practices. The seven-member panel chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, lead prosecutor in the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, found that forced organ harvesting from prisoners has taken place “on a substantial scale by state-supported or approved organizations and individuals…” and that there is no indication that these practices, charged by the Tribunal as Crimes Against Humanity, have stopped. The panel estimated that there are as many as 90,000 organ transplant operations taking place in China each year, a number far higher than official statistics, and that adherents of the Falun Gong practice are likely the “principal source” of organs for forced organ harvesting. The panel also determined that China's transplantation practices may constitute genocide. The Tribunal's final judgment has been covered by major media outlets around the world.

DAFOH Press Release Calls on U.S. Congress to Investigate and Act/

In a June 19th press release, DAFOH’s Executive Director, Torsten Trey, M.D., Ph.D., called on the U.S. Congress and President Trump to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Dr. Trey urged Congress to act, calling what is happening in China a “cold genocide;” a slow, deliberate and focused elimination of the peaceful spiritual practice known as Falun Gong.

Falun Gong incorporates meditative exercises and character improvement by living by the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. In 1999, fearing the traditional morality of an estimated 100 million Falun Gong practitioners, the CCP established a secret, nationwide, gestapo-style police force, known as the 610 Office, with the sole purpose of eradicating Falun Gong by any means necessary. The systematic incarceration, brainwashing, torture and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners over the last twenty years shows clear intent to eliminate this specific group. Such intent is a necessary requirement for this persecution to be deemed a genocide.

DAFOH’s call to action came just two days after the independent People’s tribunal known as the China Tribunal released its final judgement that crimes against humanity are taking place in China with “clearly established” elements of genocide. “The Tribunal’s judgment demonstrates beyond all doubt that China is continuing to kill prisoners of conscience for their organs. We believe that forced organ harvesting in China… amounts to a deliberate campaign of genocide against Falun Gong practitioners,” Dr. Trey stated.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Dr. Trey added, “A genocide is not an internal affair of a single country, but a global affair of humankind.”  He echoed the Tribunal’s lament over the paucity of state actions. “Parliamentary hearings in several countries have heard evidence on the issue, and some have passed legislation in response,” the Tribunal’s website states. “To date however, there has been no investigation into to what if any crimes have been committed by such forced organ harvesting by the Chinese State or state-approved bodies.”

In an appeal for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to issue a statement on these crimes, Dr. Trey exclaimed, “The judgment is out in the public. It created a historical record. Given the severity and urgency of the matter, one cannot claim anymore that one does not know. Each action or non-action will, from now on, also become part of the historical record.”

Professionals from Three Continents Express Outrage Over China’s Organ Harvesting

In the UK publication The Conservative Woman, Scottish Presbyterian minister Dr. Campbell Campbell-Jack succinctly summarizes the reasons behind the Chinese regime’s suppression and persecution of Falun Gong and other faith-based groups. He describes the “aim of the Chinese government is to crush Falun Gong… using Falun Gong as a cash crop. China’s organ transplant sector has grown dramatically. It is estimated that the trade is worth $1billion per year to the Chinese economy. To prosper it needs a steady supply of healthy organs. Systematic forced organ extraction from prisoners of conscience provides a gruesome resource for this flourishing industry.”

Australian based bioethicist Michael Cook, writing for BioEdge, details two publications supporting allegations of genocide perpetrated by the Chinese government. Robertson, Hinde and Lavee have concluded that officially reported voluntary donor data are contradictory, implausible, or anomalous.  Rogers et al., in BMJ Open, after examining 445 research papers, call for the retraction of Chinese research articles as the “transplant research community has failed to implement ethical standards banning publication of research using material from executed prisoners.”  Cook adds that the recent judgement by an international Tribunal proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Chinese regime has committed crimes against humanity.

In American Thinker, David Archibald, Australian scientist and visiting fellow at The Institute of World Politics in Washington DC, advocates the use of trade tariffs to stop the Chinese Communist Party from building its military to the point where it can attack the United States and equates the volume of Chinese imports to US military casualties. He describes how China’s organ harvesting industry has expanded to a billion-dollar industry, selling organs form prisoners of conscience to wealthy transplant tourists from all over the world. Archibald concludes by calling the Chinese Communist Party a rogue regime whose “true nature is readily apparent. [They] are aggressive, amoral barbarians. Let’s treat them as such which starts with not allowing them into this country for any reason.”

In The Epoch Times, the Honorable David Kilgour, former Canadian politician and statesman, human rights advocate and Nobel peace prize nominee, calls for disengagement with Beijing. “Since seizing political power in 1949, the [Chinese] party-state has persecuted minorities mercilessly, instilling terror in the Chinese people.” Forced labor camps make a wide range of export products for multinational companies for world markets in a gross violation of World Trade Organization rules. “This gross corporate irresponsibility and violation of WTO rules call for an effective response by all trading partners of China.” Additionally, Kilgour points out that “transplant professionals face the abuse of transplant surgery in China, but their response has been mostly disappointing” as many western transplant professionals have fallen for Chinese propaganda. He concludes, “What is most needed from Washington, Ottawa, and other capitals is stronger political will and more sophistication in exerting universal values with Beijing on all bilateral issues, especially on organ pillaging.”

East facade of the US Capitol Building,  Washington DC, USA.
Government Actions Against the Persecution and Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong in China

U.S. State Department may bar entry to Chinese officials involved in Falun Gong persecution
In accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act which bars entry of any foreign officials who violate religious freedoms, the U.S. State Department may bar the entry of Chinese officials who have violated Falun Gong adherents’ right to religious freedom. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback commented “[The] Chinese government is at war with faith. It is a war they will not win”.

U.S. Speaker of the House urges use of trade tariffs to leverage human rights issues in China
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has shown support of tariffs raised against China by President Donald Trump. Pelosi says “If we don’t speak about human rights in China because of economic concerns, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights in any other place in the world”.

U.S. Congress passes Resolution condemning China’s persecution of faith groups
By passing H.Res.393, Congress has expressed solidarity with the victims of China’s human rights violations, condemns China’s persecution of any who hold religious beliefs and the Chinese government’s 20 year-long attempt to eradicate Falun Gong. The House of Representatives “condemns the ongoing restrictions on universally recognized human rights by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and its efforts to quell peaceful political dissent, censor the internet, brutally suppress ethnic and religious minorities, and detain and torture lawyers and rights advocates seeking the Government’s commitment, in law and practice, to international human rights treaties and covenants to which it is a party and that are reflected in the Chinese constitution.”

Maine passes Joint Resolution S.P. 574 condemning China’s illegal organ harvesting
The Maine House and Senate passed a Joint Resolution on May 7, 2019 that pledges to condemn China for its illegal organ harvesting activities. Maine’s elected officials resolved, “that medical community in the State of Maine is encouraged to educate our citizens about the risks of traveling to China for organ transplants so as to prevent them from unwittingly becoming involved in murder in the form of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience and members of religious and ethnic minority groups.”

Canadian government urged to end complicity in China’s brutal organ-trafficking regime
Prof. Maria Cheung, Chair of the Canadian Committee of the International Coalition To End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), wrote in both the Vancouver Sun and The Conversation, “Bill S-240 seeks to put a stop to Canadian complicity by criminalizing organ tourism. The bill has received unanimous consent from both the Senate and the House of Commons, and is awaiting final Senate approval before the end of the parliamentary session before it can be passed. This is a critical moment of decision for Canada.”

Canada begins harvesting organs from euthanized humans
Following in the footsteps of communist China, Canada is now pursuing organ harvesting from euthanized patients. As reported by LifeSiteNews: “The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has issued guidelines for how the harvesting of organs from people who elect to be killed by medical practitioners should work. Despite some hand-wringing about ethics, the June 3rd document allows doctors to canvas their vulnerable, suicidal patients for their organs.” This has raised concerns that doctors and hospitals may become driven by greed and, like their Chinese colleagues, hasten patients’ deaths by harvesting their organs.

Belgium bans medical tourism for organ transplants
On April 25, 2019, Belgium's primary legislative body passed a new bill that criminalizes all activities involved in buying and selling of human organs for commercial uses. According to the new bill, violators will face up to 20 years in jail with a fine of up to 1.2 million euros ($1.35 million USD). All 134 members of the Chamber of Representatives, the upper house of the Belgian Federal Parliament voted to add the bill to the penal code. The bill will subsequently be moved to the Senate, then to the King, who will sign the bill into law.

Germany issues statement about the persecution and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners
Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued a statement on the 20th anniversary of the start of the persecution of Falun Gong in China: “The Chinese Government has been conducting a brutal campaign against the spiritual meditation movement Falun Gong for the past 20 years. Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted and detained without trial. There are many reports of torture and even of people not surviving prison. …  I also appeal to the Chinese Government to comment on the serious and long-standing allegation that the organs of detained Falun Gong followers are systematically harvested. The Chinese Government should urgently increase transparency on the procurement of organs and grant independent observers free access to prisons and internment centres in order to counter these allegations.”

Taiwan deserves world support for standing up to big brother China on religious freedom
British human rights activist and journalist Benedict Rogers wrote about Taiwan’s recent efforts “not only to defend its own freedoms but also to promote democracy and human rights, including religious freedom, around the world.” In March, President Tsai addressed a conference alongside U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. The President appointed Pusin Tali as Taiwan’s first Special Ambassador for International Religious Freedom and committed to donate US$1 million over five years to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Fund. Rogers concluded, “for a small island nation already vulnerable to pressure and intimidation from China, this is a bold move. It deserves support and encouragement in this quest.”

Leaders Concerned about Global Religious Persecution Criticize China

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a press conference on June 21st to highlight the State Department’s annual report on global religious freedom.  He criticized the Chinese government for its continued persecution of religious and spiritual adherents saying, “The Chinese Communist Party has exhibited extreme hostility to all religious faiths since its founding.”

Pompeo hosted the Second Annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, DC July 16th-18th. The conference included 1,000 civil society and religious leaders and more than 100 foreign delegations. In his opening remarks, Pompeo said, “We’ve got folks from civil society and from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Falun Gong, and other secular backgrounds.”

Coinciding with the Ministerial was the 20th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, is a spiritual self-cultivation discipline of the Buddha school that spread exponentially in China garnering over 70 million practitioners in 7 years. Since the persecution began July 20 1999, Falun Dafa has gone on to spread to over 100 countries around the world.

To mark the 20th anniversary and the second Ministerial conference the Falun Dafa Information Center published a report detailing the persecution suffered by Falun Gong practitioners including unlawful incarceration, forced labor, brainwashing, torture and live organ harvesting.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in a panel discussion at the Ministerial conference where she said that given China’s economic clout, the huge scale of the violations of religious liberty in the country is a “challenge to the conscience of the world.” She added, “Unless we’re willing to speak out against human rights and violations of religious freedom in China, we lose all moral authority to talk about it any other place in the world.”

In a side event to the Ministerial held at the National Press Club, the China Organ Harvest Research Center presented updated evidence on China’s unethical transplant practice of using prisoners of conscience as non-consenting organ donors. The report’s authors believe that “Studying the genocide of Falun Gong provides a lens through which the world can understand the persecution of other faiths in China. Addressing the persecution of Falun Gong is a crucial step towards ending religious persecution in China and the atrocities being committed against humanity and morality itself.”

To further promote the cause of religious freedom, President Trump met with twenty-seven victims of religious persecution in the oval office on July 19th.  Ms. Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner who escaped to the United States in 2015, told the President that her husband remains imprisoned in China for his faith and that “he could be killed for his organs like an unknown number of Falun Gong practitioners have been.” While in China, Ms. Zhang, now 59, was repeatedly imprisoned and tortured for a combined period of seven and a half years for refusing to renounce her faith.

Falun Gong practitioners perform the exercises at a rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill on July 18, 2019. (Mark Zhou/The Epoch Times)
Twenty Years of Unlawful Persecution, Torture and Organ Harvesting

July 20, 2019 marked the twentieth anniversary since the start of the Chinese government’s persecution of the peaceful spiritual movement Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. Then Chinese leader Jiang Jemin’s initial intention was to wipe Falun Gong out in three months. Two decades later, Falun Dafa is still practiced by millions inside China as well as in over one hundred countries around the world. Only in mainland China is this faith-based movement persecuted. Throughout the rest of the world, Falun Dafa practitioners are known for the universal principles by which they live: Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.

To mark the anniversary, Falun Dafa practitioners gathered in their respective countries to bring attention to the unjust imprisonment, brainwashing, torture and forced live organ harvesting of their fellow practitioners in China.

Health Europa wrote, “In capital cities across the world, including London, Washington, DC, New York, Sydney, Ottawa and other European capitals, tens of thousands of people will mark 20 years of persecution with peaceful protests. The protests are set to include candlelight vigils, marches and speeches delivered by survivors and leading experts on China’s criminal violations of human rights.”

Lucy Zhao, President of the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, was quoted by The Epoch Times describing the persecution as “a battle between goodness and evil” that is “shocking to all the governments, all the people who have conscience.” Wendy Rogers, Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University and chair of the international advisory committee for the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, was also quoted as saying, “It is time for the transplant community to speak up and stop all transplant-related interactions with China until there is evidence that organs are procured ethically and prisoners of conscience are released.”

In recognition of the July 20th anniversary, Bärbel Kofler, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, condemned the Chinese regime for the abuses it has committed against adherents of Falun Gong.

The Washington Free Beacon marked the anniversary with a summary of the Falun Dafa Information Center’s report “20 Years of Persecution & Resilience” about what Falun Dafa practitioners have suffered in China. In a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, Gayle Manchin, Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom said, "The Chinese government’s brutal and ongoing assault on religion and faith is precisely why religious freedom needs to remain a priority for the U.S. government! It is high time to use all the tools at its disposal—including targeted sanctions against Chinese government officials—to hold China accountable for perpetuating these atrocities."

The editorial staff of The Epoch Times published a comprehensive article on July 20th detailing how Falun Gong practitioners have persevered in “their faith in the universal values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance” despite “an unprecedented onslaught that applied every technique developed by the Communist Party throughout its long history of political repression.” The editors conclude, “It has been 20 years since the practitioners of Falun Gong began their peaceful appeal against the brutal violence meted out by a totalitarian regime. They have held up the torch of hope to break through the darkness of persecution. Their will to persevere are the legends of our generation, to be etched in eternal record and retold for ages to come.”

News in Review

An insider’s account of live organ harvesting
An article titled, “Chinese dissidents are being executed for their organs, former hospital worker says” by Stephen W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, for The New York Post documents a graphic and terrifying account from Zheng Qiaozhi, once an intern at China’s Shenyang Army General Hospital. The former hospital worker is quoted as saying he saw the following as part of an organ-harvesting team:

“The prisoner was brought in, tied hand and foot, but very much alive. The army doctor in charge sliced him open from chest to belly button and exposed his two kidneys. “Cut the veins and arteries,” he told his shocked intern. George did as he was told. Blood spurted everywhere. The kidneys were placed in an organ-transplant container. Then the doctor ordered George to remove the man’s eyeballs. Hearing that, the dying prisoner gave him a look of sheer terror, and George froze. “I can’t do it,” he told the doctor, who then quickly scooped out the man’s eyeballs himself.”

Organ transplant market predicted to generate massive revenues
A holistic prospectus on market’s growth from the industry’s leading countries: United States, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, Korea, India, South-east Asia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and South Africa, examines manufacturing cost, pricing structure, value chain, maintenance cost, capacity utilization, plant locations, raw material sources, and global presence.

Chinese media uses death of child to draw attention away from organ transplant crimes
In the same week that an independent tribunal reported its findings that Falun Gong practitioners in China are undoubtedly being killed for their organs, Chinese media was flooded with detailed reports of a 7-year-old boy at a transplant center in Shandong Province whose liver, kidneys and corneas were transplanted after consent for donation was given by his parents.

President Trump hears from wife whose husband is at risk of forced organ harvesting
During a meeting in the oval office following the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, a Falun Gong practitioner spoke with the President about her husband’s wrongful detention in China and her fears that he may be killed for his organs during his imprisonment.

First-hand account from man who had blood tested and organs x-rayed during detention 
A Falun Gong practitioner who has been granted asylum in Australia testified before an independent tribunal about his experience in a Chinese labor camp. The man recalled that inmates who were beating him were instructed by guards not to harm his organs. He was also made to give large blood samples and undergo x-ray imaging during the same period that he was being tortured in custody.

Letter to the Editor applauds Fairfax, VA officials for motion on organ harvesting
The Fairfax, Virginia Board of Supervisors passed a motion to raise awareness about the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. One local resident published a letter to the editor to thank them for their courageous stand that will inform the Fairfax community so that they will not unknowingly travel to China for transplant organs.

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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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