Promoting Ethics in Medicine

Letter from the Editor, Ann F. Corson, M.D.

Over the last twenty years, China’s transplant industry has been booming. Chinese surgeons have perfected rapid methods for harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience resulting in the deaths of the so-called donors. The Chinese Communist Party has monetized the bodies of those it deems undesirable to fuel a highly profitable medical industry that attracts paying transplant tourists from countries around the world.

With the world’s attention on the U.S. Presidential election coming up next week, DAFOH hopes, whichever party wins, that the administration will continue its current path of countering the incessant infiltration of American society by CCP elements, renouncing China’s appalling transplant abuses, and do more to encourage the disengagement of American medical institutions, medical supply companies, and pharmaceutical industries from China’s transplant industry.

Turning a blind eye to China’s crimes against humanity bespeaks compliance in covering up the world dirtiest open secret that the Chinese regime has been using live forced organ harvesting as a means to completely eradicate the practice of Falun Gong for over two decades.

DAFOH sincerely wishes that all those who have been complicit in any way with the abominable crimes committed by China’s transplant industry will change course, seek to distance themselves, and choose upright ethical behavior before it is too late as these crimes against humanity will surely soon be brought to justice.


Concerns about Complicity

In March of this year, The China Tribunal concluded in its final judgement, that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one - and probably the main - source of organ supply.” Evidence was also disclosed of medical testing of Uyghurs on a scale that could allow them to also become part of China’s captive, living organ bank.

Additionally, the Tribunal warned that “Governments and any who interact in any substantial way with the PRC [People’s Republic of China] … should now recognise that they are … interacting with a criminal state.” As a result, there are growing concerns about those who appear complicit with the Chinese regime’s organ transplant industry.

The United Nations (UN) has been asked to launch an investigation into the allegations, but has not. The World Health Organization (WHO) has neither responded to the Tribunal’s findings nor carried out its own assessment into China’s organ transplant system.

Instead, leading officials at both the WHO and the UN have denied that China is a significant transplant tourism destination, have praised the “remarkable results” of China’s reported reforms and have suggested that “other countries follow the example of the Chinese government’s strong support of organ transplantation.” The WHO Task Force on Donation & Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues includes two leading Chinese transplant surgeons long suspected of direct involvement in unethical transplant practices.

Miriam Karmali, Senior Advocacy Officer at Freedom United, expressed concerns in Thomson Reuters Foundation News that medicines manufactured with human tissue from forced organ harvesting victims could be imported into the United Kingdom (UK) due to the absence of consent and comprehensive traceability regulations.

These concerns have led Lord Hunt and Baroness Finlay, both Life peers in the UK House of Lords, to propose an amendment to The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill to prevent British complicity with China’s transplant crimes. The amendment would ensure that human body tissue and organs that have been forcibly harvested are not allowed to enter the UK for medicines or medical testing.

The analysis Economics of Organ Harvesting in China by the Institute to Research the Crimes of Communism reveals that over twenty Western companies have profited handsomely while enabling China’s transplant business to grow to its massive scale. Illegal organ harvesting in China is not a criminal offense just limited to China as it “inevitably depends on many factors outside of China.”

The authors detail evidence that these companies’ business presences in China are crucial for its transplant industry to function. “Regardless of whether these companies participate knowingly or unknowingly, they take part in it and are responsible for these crimes.”

Evidence also suggests that Western doctors may know more about illegal organ harvesting that they let on but that the “seeming global passivity of professional institutions – in comparison with the severity of the issue – and the restraint of the doctors, makes [it] hard to confirm the extent of information they are aware of.”

The authors admit that if the western pharmaceutical and medical companies involved take the morally correct and ethical stance by ceasing to support China’s transplant industry completely, it would indeed negatively affect their profits, but they express hope that shareholders in Western democratic countries would prefer the long-term positive effects of ethical behavior over short-term profits derived from criminal activity.

The report concludes that as countries legislate against organ transplant tourism, innocent lives will be saved. Fortunately, many countries have already taken such actions or are in the process of doing so including Israel, Spain, the European Union, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, and Canada.

American flag waving with the Capitol Hill

U.S. Offers Strong Words, Legislation, and Investigation to Combat China’s Unethical Behavior

With mounting frustration towards the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for its poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. federal government has stepped up its efforts in addressing China’s unethical behavior in many areas of international engagement as well as condemning China for gross human rights violations, including the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners.

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback highlighted China’s forced organ harvesting practices in an interview with the Epoch Times on August 31st. Brownback said, “For years, the world kind of turned a blind eye to what the Falun Gong was saying about organ harvesting. But now there is evidence available that supports its existence…I think it should be absolutely chilling to people to think that this is happening once they hear this.”

On September 23rd, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Wisconsin legislators about the dangers of China’s infiltration into all levels of U.S. federal, state and municipal governments. Pompeo’s visit was in response to an email Wisconsin State Senator Roger Roth received from Wu Ting, a CCP representative in China’s Chicago consulate, self-proclaimed as “responsible for China-Wisconsin relations.” The email included a draft resolution that Ting asked the Senator to pass that praised China’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Pompeo noted that Ting’s request was another disturbing example of how the CCP is attempting to coerce U.S. politicians into supporting “Beijing’s form of authoritarianism…We watch the CCP campaigns targeting state-level officials, local interests. We’ve seen them at PTA meetings. They have been in full swing for years, and they’re increasing in intensity.”

Pompeo described how in 2017, the CCP successfully persuaded state legislators in California to shelve a resolution condemning the persecution and forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong. “The Chinese consulate – that is, Chinese diplomats – in San Francisco responded by writing a letter to the state legislature. It denounced Falun Gong as an ‘evil cult’ and claimed that the bill might ‘deeply damage the cooperative relations between the State of California and China, and seriously hurt the feeling of Chinese people and the vast Chinese community in California.’”

On October 1st, U.S. Representative Scott Perry introduced H.R.8491, a bill which designates the CCP as a transnational organized crime group. According to the Congressman’s website, the bill aims to include the CCP on the Top International Criminal Organizations Target List and “provide the United States law enforcement agencies a strategic directive to target the CCP’s malign activity.”

On October 2nd, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new policy manual with the following guidance. “In general, unless otherwise exempt, any intending immigrant who is a member or affiliate of the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible to the United States. Membership in or affiliation with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party is inconsistent and incompatible with the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, which includes pledging to ‘support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

At a press conference on October 16th, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Robert Destro called for joint efforts to stop modern slavery. When Epoch Times Taiwan journalist Ken Yang asked, “Would the Department of State step in and take specific actions to stop the forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party?” both Assistant Secretary Destro and Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons John Cotton Richmond replied that the State Department is indeed actively investigating China’s forced organ harvesting. Destro added, “And I encourage anybody who has information that we could use to nail this down to please be in touch with us.”


In-Depth Examination of China’s Organ Transplant System by Matthew P. Robertson

In a three-part series (part 1; part 2; part 3) published by The Jamestown Foundation, Matthew P. Robertson, Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University and research fellow with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), takes a deeper look at forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.

Robertson notes that earlier this year, Chinese media reported an incredible “world first” double lung transplant, not just once, but twice, in critically ill COVID-19 patients. But perhaps more concerning is the short wait times of just five days for one patient and three weeks for the second. Such wait times are unheard of in other countries, where wait times range from months to years.

According to investigators, since the year 2000, the number of hospitals performing organ transplants in China has skyrocketed. While the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ever-shifting narrative makes obtaining numbers difficult, it’s estimated that China performs between 30,000 and 100,000 transplants annually, far exceeding the number of voluntary organ donors.

While there is no way to account for the large number of organ transplants, the PRC’s ability to obtain organs, virtually on demand, is also unheard of.

Robertson and others, including the independent China Tribunal, have come to the same disturbing conclusion that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, a desirable organ source known to be much healthier than the average prison population due to their spiritual practice, are pre-screened for organ health, blood typed, and tissue typed, and constitute a bank of living organ donors ready to be executed on demand.

Investigators have found that the spiritual group Falun Gong, suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999, has been the main target of forced organ harvesting for over twenty years with the recent accelerated use of the Uyghur Muslim population as well.

There is much evidence to back these claims. For example, Falun Gong prisoners receive medical tests that others do not, and often disappear. Investigators have made numerous undercover phone calls to hospitals across China, with many doctors and nurses confirming that organs come from living Falun Gong. Many Falun Gong have died mysteriously while in custody, with some having scars consistent with organ removal. In addition, China’s organ transplant industry’s growth began in 2000, just six months after the start of the campaign against Falun Gong in 1999.

A major obstacle in exposing these crimes has been the PRC’s control of the narrative. And while the PRC may say the right things, they have never been held to the same basic requirements of transparency and traceability required in other countries.

As ‘friendships’ are formed with the PRC to help build a transplant system, the price foreigners must pay, in exchange for praise or financial benefit, is turning a blind eye to any suspicious activity.

Robertson asserts, “If it were not for a coalition of dissenting ethicists, scholars, and doctors, the CCP may well have succeeded in portraying its simulation of a voluntary transplantation system as the real thing.”

The international community has an obligation to look more deeply at the evidence, and take a more proactive approach in its dealings with the PRC on this issue. By failing to confront China about its unethical and illegal actions, those who collaborate or profit from its transplant industry become accomplices to crimes against humanity.


Hidden Agenda and Deception: China’s National Intelligence Law and Silk Road of Health Initiative

DAFOH is concerned that there is a hidden agenda behind both China’s National Intelligence Law and the Silk Road of Health Initiative and that China be utilizing information gathered as a consequence of the National Intelligence Law to deceptively expand its organ transplant market via the Silk Road of Health in their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries.

In January of 2017, China's president, Xi Jinping, and the World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros signed a memorandum to establish the Silk Road of Health Initiative, a global initiative to "achieve universal health coverage with [improved] infrastructure, access to medicines, human resources, and a platform to share experience and promote best practices."

The Silk Road of Health Initiative could potentially be a semantic trick designed to replace the term “transplant tourism” with “organ exchange platforms,” thereby normalizing, while helping to expand, China’s transplant tourism industry. As China has been and remains to this day a major destination for global transplant tourism, DAFOH asks the countries participating in the BRI to be on their guard so that transplant tourism to China is not normalized as part of the BRI’s infrastructure development strategies.

China’s National Intelligence Law, which became effective in July 2017, requires individuals, organizations, and institutions both inside and outside of China to assist Public Security and State Security officials in carrying out a wide array of intelligence work. Such work includes Chinese students studying abroad, Confucius Institutes’ staff, Chinese employees in Western companies, as well as Chinese nationals being trained in Western academic, scientific, and medical institutions. The law also requires unconditional cooperation from such individuals, organizations, and institutions.

Thus, all Chinese companies are therefore mandated to gather information for Chinese intelligence agencies. For instance, Huawei, by spreading its 5G network to hospitals, would be in the position to identify those hospitalized patients in need of organ transplant surgery.

A recent report by the Institute to Research the Crimes of Communism, found some western patients in need of transplants were contacted by organ brokers either before or soon after being put on transplant waiting lists. The authors pondered how clinical information regarding the need for transplantation could have been so easily accessed by third party entities.

Over the past twenty years, there has been exponential growth in China’s transplant industry in direct correlation with the persecution and incarceration of adherents of the spiritual movement Falun Gong. The unequivocal judgement of the recent China Tribunal stated, “In the long-term practice in the PRC of forced organ harvesting it was indeed Falun Gong practitioners who were used as a source—probably the principal source— of organs for forced organ harvesting.”

The National Intelligence Law could force Chinese citizens anywhere around the world into complicity with the forced organ harvesting of all prisoners of conscience in China, including Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Christians.

Throughout its history, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has incarcerated and eliminated those it deemed undesirable, such as religious believers, ethnic minorities, and political dissidents. To cover up the most heinous crime of live forced organ harvesting, the CCP has used deception to deny, hide, and disinform the world regarding its unethical actions while profiting handsomely from the monetization of its own citizens’ bodies.

A DAFOH report focusing on the CCP’s use of deception states, “The nature, intent, and actions of the CCP should no longer be allowed to continue unabated. The world must act to stop abusive transplant practices in China, protect internationally accepted medical ethics, and prevent individual patients and institutions from becoming criminally complicit in cold genocide against the Falun Gong practitioners in China.”


Ongoing Evidence of Forced Organ Harvesting in China

Over the past fourteen years, multiple in-depth investigations, an international “China Tribunal” and hundreds of pages of reports have established and documented the shocking reality of China’s state sanctioned system of harvesting organs from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, and evidence continues to surface.

Chinese citizens who believe their family members were killed for their organs while detained have come forward to recount their stories. Han Yu was informed that her father had died in custody. When viewing his body, she was forcibly removed from the morgue when she tried to unbutton her father’s shirt because of a scar on his throat. Yu’s relative managed to open the shirt and discovered a long scar from his throat to his stomach. Another woman, Jiang Li, visited her healthy father one day only to be told the next day that he had died. At the morgue, Li was permitted to see only his head, not his full body. When she felt the skin near his mouth, it was still warm and he was biting his lip, indicating that he was still alive. After calling for medical help, Li was forcibly removed from the morgue, and was never permitted to see her father again.

Survivors of Chinese prisons have testified about undergoing extensive medical examinations and being evaluated for organ health, such as Jennifer Zeng who believes her prior diagnosis of hepatitis C made her organs unsuitable for transplant which saved her life. There are also increasing reports of police going to the homes of Falun Gong practitioners and forcibly taking blood samples or bringing them to the police station for blood draws.

Reports of transplants with short wait times indicate an abundance of transplant organs waiting for recipients. A Japanese woman traveled to China and received four matching hearts within a ten-day period, which Dr. Jacob Lavee, Director of the Heart Transplantation Unit and Deputy Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Sheba Medical Center and Professor of Surgery at Tel Aviv University said “raises high suspicions as to the nature of these donors.” DAFOH Executive Director Torsten Trey said this blatantly indicates an “on demand” system of organ procurement.

Undercover investigators have recorded telephone calls with doctors in Chinese hospitals that indicate that imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners are having their organs removed for transplant. In a recent call a military doctor said that patients could visit the bed of the person whose organ would be used to see for themselves that they were young and healthy. When the investigator asked “So you are saying, you guys are using Falun Gong (practitioners’) organs. But you can’t openly say so. You can only say those are disease-free, primary-disease free organs,” the doctor replied “Exactly, that’s the way to put it. Your way of putting it is correct.”

The growth of China’s transplant industry is fueled and sustained by the systematic persecution of Falun Gong that has lasted more than twenty years. Recent reports indicate that this persecution has continued and even intensified. China’s transplant industry is highly lucrative and forced organ harvesting, as well as the persecution of Falun Gong, will only end when world governments and oversight bodies demand it of China. As one journalist stated, “It is an evil trade, and one for which China should be shunned by the international community.”

European Parliament in Brussels

EU Considers Magnitsky Act to Sanction Human Rights Abusers

European Union President Ursula Von der Leyen recently stated in her State of the Union speech that she intends to create a Magnitsky Act which would allow adoption by all members states. Unlike Canada and the United States, the EU currently has no formal structure to impose sanctions on people suspected of human rights abuses. The EU's three Baltic members, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have already each adopted their own Magnitsky Acts.

The Magnitsky Act is named for Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor and lawyer working for London-based investment fund Hermitage who died in 2009 following alleged mistreatment in prison after being arrested by Russian government for exposing that millions of dollars in tax payments paid by Hermitage had been diverted to Russian officials.

The 2012 Magnitsky Act initially barred 18 Russian officials thought to be associated with Magnitsky's mistreatment and death from entering the U.S. or engaging in its banking system and froze their assets inside the country.

In 2016, the US Congress expanded the Act’s provisions into the Global Magnitsky Act which allows for sanctions against human rights abusers in all parts of the world. Since then, officials from China, the Dominican Republic, Gambia, and Turkey have been sanctioned.

Those who have committed crimes against humanity, genocide, and torture will be subject to EU sanctions under the new adoption. A leaked document reported by The Shift shows that those involved in slavery, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings will be the first to face EU asset freezing and visa bans.

According to the EUobserver, those individuals engaged in human-trafficking, sexual violence, and the suppression of freedom of peaceful assembly, expression, or religion will also be targeted. The sanctions are meant to squash impunity for abusive regimes around the globe. “By targeting individuals and entities, instead of foreign administrations, they are meant to end exemption even for the servants of powerful and strategically important states.”

DAFOH hopes these sanctions will include those Chinese individuals, doctors, and government officials who have participated at any level in the persecution of Falun Gong and the forced live organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience.


News in Review

Activists in Glasgow, Scotland demand an end to partnership with Dalian, China

Human rights activists in Glasgow, Scotland are demanding an end to the 33 year-long twinning arrangement between Glasgow and the Chinese city of Dalian in northeast China over organ harvesting. The activist cite evidence that Dalian is a hub for illegal organ transplants where organs are forcibly harvested from prisoners who are often from minority groups routinely subjected to persecution and torture.

Vatican’s provisional agreement with China may be renewed
Chinese media assert the two-year provisional agreement made in 2017 between Beijing and the Vatican is set to be renewed. The agreement, believed to grant Beijing authority over the naming of Bishops in China, was kept secret and was alarming to many, considering the CCP’s horrific human rights record and ongoing persecution of religious groups. The Vatican has welcomed and defended China, including Bishop Sorondo’s speaking out against the longstanding and well researched charge that China has a system of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, the majority of which are religious believers.

Report names 28 Western companies supplying China’s transplant industry
The Institute to Research the Crimes of Communism report entitled “The economics of organ harvesting in China: The part of companies and doctors in democratic countries in the illegal organ harvesting in China” concludes “At least 28 Western companies supply China, in some cases for over 20 years, with the materials, drugs and devices supporting the development of the transplantation business.” The report imputes that these companies must be fully aware of the evidence regarding China’s transplant crimes yet continue to choose profits over ethics.

Taipei Courts have dropped charges against The Slaughter Author for Defamation
District prosecutors in Taipei, Taiwan have dropped charges against investigative journalist and author Ethan Gutmann and publisher Brian Wu for allegedly defaming Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je. In his book The Slaughter, Gutmann accuses Ko Wen-je of serving as an intermediary in facilitating illicit organ transplants from mainland China for Taiwanese patients.

DAFOH member publishes letter to the editor
A letter to the editor from DAFOH member Dr. Xudong Li was published in Charlottesville, North Carolina’s The Daily Progress commending Virginia State Senator Deeds for co-signing a letter to Secretary Pompeo urging action to stop the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong and forced organ harvesting. Dr. Li also thanks U.S. Senators Warner and Kaine for co-sponsoring Senate Resolution 274 “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.”

 Human Rights Report on the Tens of Thousands Disappeared in China
The international human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders recently issued a report saying that tens of thousands of people have been disappeared in state-sanctioned kidnappings in China. The report outlines the prison system, police behavior, and how prisoners are treated.

Bitter Winter Takes a Critical Look at Organ Harvesting by the CCP
Human Rights Magazine Bitter Winter examines the systematic illicit organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party, whether it constitutes genocide as defined by the United Nations, and whether the world has become complicit in China’s crimes in order to secure cheaper trade goods.

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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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