Promoting Ethics in Medicine

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

Since 2006, when news of forced organ harvesting first brought attention to the persecuted group Falun Gong, DAFOH has been gathering, reporting, and educating the medical community and the public at large on information that substantiates the existence of China’s vast state-run transplant industry. Many of our readers are well aware that China’s transplantation system is based on illegal detentions, human rights abuses, and medical malfeasance, including the sale of unethically procured organs to transplant tourists from around the globe.

Any mention of Falun Gong has been strongly censored in China and around the globe for more than two decades. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled media have misled those inside and outside of China with blatant lies and propaganda. Therefore, much of our work has focused on Falun Gong practitioners who are the primary victims of forced organ harvesting. As it is impossible to discuss the Holocaust without mentioning the genocide perpetrated on the Jewish communities in Europe, it is impossible to expose forced organ harvesting in China without mentioning Falun Gong.

Today, we see communist propaganda tactics being used by some global media companies in order to deceive and control public opinion. Increasing recognition of the depths of CCP infiltration into and control over many aspects of Western governments, as well as academic and business institutions, has generated for many a whole new understanding of the true motivations behind China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Since the inception of communist rule by the Paris Commune in 1871, communist leaders have killed hundreds of millions of people. Communism is the antithesis of life.

In our last newsletter of 2020, DAFOH wishes to celebrate the efforts of those parliamentarians, politicians, and citizens who are taking definitive action against China’s transplant abuse. We also hope that those companies with significant economic entanglements and complicity with China’s transplant industry will choose integrity and goodness over greed and evil.

In our first newsletter of 2021, DAFOH will celebrate and honor the truth tellers: those medical professionals and others who are risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to expose the facts about the ongoing loss of basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to congregate as well as the damaging effects of lockdowns and disproportionate social distancing regulations that are strangling the world’s societies and economies, causing untold suffering and death to people around the planet. In light of the actions against the pandemic, we wish to remind all involved that the oath taken by the medical profession demands that physicians first do no harm.

Without truth tellers stepping forward to be heard, the entire world is at risk of becoming victims of the same injustices and inhumane treatment endured by Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, House Christians, and human rights advocates in China.

American flag waving with the Capitol Hill

US Senator and Congressmen Introduce Bill to Stop China’s Organ Harvesting

On December 16th, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) introduced the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, which aims to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience.

In the press release Cotton said, “There is growing evidence that the Chinese Communist Party has and continues to harvest organs from prisoners and members of Chinese religious groups. This bill will identify and punish CCP members involved in forced organ harvesting.”

The Epoch Times quoted Smith as saying, “Organ harvesting is a barbaric, inhumane, and egregious act of global significance as transnational human trafficking gangs, terrorist organizations, profiteers, and even governments—China’s Communist regime in particular—kill innocent people and sell their organs for profit.”

WPAP Talk News quoted Suozzi. “For years, the Chinese Communist Party has continued to take advantage of prisoners and members of ethnic minority and religious groups. Today, we are still witnessing them take further advantage of these groups through organ harvesting. Members of the Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for these unspeakable actions. Forced organ harvesting has no place in our world.”

The bill:

  • Authorizes the U.S. government to deny or revoke passports for illegal organ purchasers.
  • Mandates annual reporting by the State Department on forced organ harvesting in foreign countries. The reporting would identify foreign officials and entities responsible for forced organ harvesting.
  • Mandates an annual report on U.S. institutions that train organ transplant surgeons affiliated with foreign entities involved in forced organ harvesting.
  • Prohibits the export of organ transplant surgery devices to entities responsible for forced organ harvesting.
  • Sanctions foreign officials and entities that engage in or otherwise support forced organ harvesting.

The Stop Organ Harvesting Act - A bill to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking in persons for purposes of the removal of organs, and for other purposes was introduced as Senate bill S.5016 and House bill H.R.8972.


DAFOH Holds Virtual Conference on Forced Organ Harvesting for US Legislators

US Congressman Steve Chabot and former US Congressman Matt Salmon were two of the speakers at DAFOH’s November 19th virtual conference 20 Years of Forced Organ Harvesting in China: A Briefing for US Legislators. Rep. Chabot opened his remarks with an explanation of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 21-year persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by saying, “what makes this persecution particularly heinous and barbaric is that the CCP slaughters imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners so that they can harvest their organs for transplant. This despicable practice allows China to maintain a pretty much on demand organ transplant program which is unheard of even in the most developed countries. This is what makes today’s briefing so important.” He went on to say that DAFOH’s virtual conference was timely given the China Tribunal’s final judgement in March “documenting widespread and systematic human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China” and which, he noted, “adds another layer of independent corroboration to these allegations.”

Congressman Chabot shared that he is working with other legislators to complete a bipartisan bill that will “hold the CCP officials accountable for the persecution of the Falun Gong and hopefully get at the barbaric practice of forced organ harvesting.”

Hamid Sabi, Counsel to the China Tribunal, was among the panelists at the virtual conference. He explained that the Tribunal, tasked to investigate forced organ harvesting in China, was a “people’s tribunal” meaning that it was initiated by people to consider and decide on a matter that international bodies, such as the United Nations, had not investigated, though they should have. Mr. Sabi reported that the Tribunal heard testimony from 55 witnesses and experts and reviewed 4,000 pages of documents. Two of those witnesses were also present at DAFOH’s November 19th video conference. One told of the extensive medical tests he underwent while incarcerated in China for his faith. The other recounted her father’s suspicious death while in detention.

DAFOH Deputy Director G. Weldon Gilcrease, III, MD, provided context to the testimony of the witnesses with an overview of the evidence DAFOH has compiled on China’s organ transplant industry and how the persecution of Falun Gong has fueled that industry. He noted that forced organ harvesting has a very narrow and precise definition which he described as “state sanctioned, or government organized, or government run, systematic harvesting of organs by non-consenting prisoners of conscience.” Dr. Gilcrease differentiated forced organ harvesting from black market organ trafficking noting that forced organ harvesting requires the large-scale orchestrated movement and machinery of a central government. He also made clear that the victims were not convicted criminals or death sentenced individuals, but were wrongfully imprisoned and persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.

Mr. Salmon closed out the virtual conference encouraging US lawmakers to take legislative action and lamented that resolutions condemning the persecution of Falun Gong and forced organ harvesting are not enough. “When you condemn [China] for the constant practice of organ harvesting, then they just lie about it and sweep it under the rug and nothing is really ever done to change anything.” Mr. Salmon also described how his own views on China policy shifted during his five terms in the US Congress. In the 1990s, he believed that establishing normal trade relations with China would help improve human rights conditions in the country while 20 years later it is clear to him that “nothing has gotten better and in fact everything has gotten worse.”


DAFOH Hosts Webinar on Force Organ Harvesting for European Parliamentarians

On December 10, 2020, in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, DAFOH hosted The Pandemic and Forced Organ Harvesting - Europe's Opportunity to End its Illusions about China. The virtual conference was moderated by Harold King, BDS, MSc., Director of DAFOH France.

Founder and Executive Director of DAFOH Torsten Trey, MD., PhD. gave an overview of what we have learned since organ harvesting was first exposed in 2006:

  • Two thirds of transplant tourists worldwide go to China for transplant surgeries.
  • The exponential increase in transplant infrastructure and surgeries is implausible and indicates confidence in the abundance of an ongoing supply of organs in the future.
  • Short wait times for organs are unprecedent in global transplant medicine.
  • A 2017 undercover documentary film revealed that wait times for organs can be shortened if transplant tourists pay more.
  • Detained prisoners of conscience have been subjected to blood tests and organ exams and relatives of deceased prisoners saw the bodies of their loved ones had organs missing.
  • Organ donor program numbers appear fabricated.
  • In 2019, the China Tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, concluded that China has practiced forced organ harvesting extensively and that Falun Gong practitioners, who have suffered over two decades of persecution, are the primary group targeted.
  • The Chinese government is committing a cold genocide against Falun Gong by monetizing their bodies for transplantable organs.

Hermann Tertsch del Valle-Lersundi, MEP for VOX and Vice-President of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, bemoaned the lack of transparency from China, its ability to silence discussion in Europe about its transplant abuses, and berated those in the Western world who are complicit in keeping silent about China’s genocide. He said, “The moral conscience of freedom loving western people must be awakened to fight for liberty, for our freedom and the freedom of others. Unless we do so, people in the West may also become victims of forced organ harvesting as China strengthens it stranglehold on foreign governments and exports the methods of its genocidal crimes around the world.”

Thierry Valle, President of the Coordination of the Associations and the People for Freedom of Conscience (CAP-Freedom of Conscience) reviewed his group’s efforts to ensure freedom of religion and human rights in China.  He emphasized that all countries must work together and be persistent in their efforts to speak out against China to pressure the CCP to cease religious persecution and human rights abuses.

DAFOH’s Director of Business Development, Gina Sturdza, MBA, described how China’s aggressive “Made in China 2025” policy is focused on seizing global technology and manufacturing supply chains. She outlined the methods China uses to commit economic warfare to sabotage and devalue Western companies and become worldwide leader in the next industrial revolution by disregarding international business standards.  Additionally, the CCP uses its state-run media to further its own agenda and even controls what is reported by Western media.

Ms. Sturdza provided a timeline showing that China encouraged significant foreign travel during the early days of the pandemic while restricting domestic travel. The pandemic has unequivocally demonstrated that economic ties with China can be dangerous. Through its “Belt and Road Initiative” face-mask diplomacy, China spread the virus around the world via its “Silk Road of Health,” and portrayed the CCP as the world’s savior while profiting from unethical business actions. She outlined that China’s transplant industry is an important part of the CCP’s 5-year plan for economic development and that Western companies must stop providing material, drugs, and devices to China’s transplant trade.

Dr. Trey emphasized that the world must break its silence about forced organ harvesting and the key to doing that is to understand Falun Gong better and thereby remove the incentive for the CCP to persecute people for their faith in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. He noted that these principles are deeply ingrained in Western culture and wondered if Europeans are willing to bear the consequences of collaborating economically and medically with the CCP.

South Building at UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC’s Center for Bioethics Addresses Transplant Abuse in China

The University of North Carolina medical school’s Center for Bioethics recently hosted a symposium entitled Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience: A Workshop on the Intersection of Medical Advocacy and Medical Ethics.

Transplant surgeon Alexander Toledo, M.D., opened the workshop with the story of a 41-year-old patient who, after not meeting criteria for a liver transplant, returned two months later asking for follow-up care after having flown to China for an on-demand liver transplant from an unidentified donor. Concerned, Dr. Toledo researched, and soon uncovered China’s crime of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

Toledo stated, “There’s continuing evidence that this flagrant human rights violation continues up until this time, and the medical community and the international community continue to struggle with the response to this.”

Guest speaker and Falun Gong practitioner Winston Liu shared his experience of being jailed three times before escaping China, saying the abuse he suffered brought him to the verge of mental collapse.

Executive Director of DAFOH Torsten Trey, M.D., Ph.D. spoke on the implausible rise in the number of organ transplants, stating that in the early 2000’s, China’s organ transplant industry grew 20 times faster than the global average. Trey also noted the tremendous rise in the number of transplant hospitals, as well as China’s unheard-of organ wait times, which typically range between 24 hours and 14 days.

International human rights lawyer David Matas presented twelve standards to ensure organs are sourced ethically, and urged the transplant community to use these as a guide. He added that the international community has failed to take concrete action on the issue.

Concerned audience members asked what they could do to help. Trey suggested people use their voice on social media and elsewhere to help break the existing institutional silence, while Matas suggested physicians warn their patients about the forced organ harvesting taking place in China, so they do not become complicit in these crimes.

German flag fluttering front of Reichstag building. Berlin, Germany

German Parliament Holds Hearing on Human Rights in China

Members of the German Parliament’s Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, led by Gyde Jennsen, held a hearing on November 18th in the Bundestag. Individuals gave testimony about members of oppressed minority groups in China including Uyghurs, Tibetans and members of the Falun Gong spiritual practice. Some of these individuals recounted personal experiences as to how the Chinese Communist Party carries out repression of beliefs that are in conflict with communist ideology.

In her testimony, freelance journalist Lea Zhou drew attention to China's "extrajudicial brainwashing facilities." The first such center was set up in 2001, partly to persecute followers of the Falun Gong movement. Dissenters or members of other religions, such as Christians, Buddhists and Muslims, are also held in these facilities and forced to give up their faith. China’s “thought transformation” procedures can involve arbitrary mass arrests, brainwashing, ill treatment, and torture.

The Bundestag hearing carries a strong sense of urgency as these practices have increased under Xi Jinping ‘s rule rather than decreasing, as was anticipated by Western democracies. The majority of experts testifying accused the Chinese regime of engaging in human rights abuses and encouraged the German Government to take more decisive action to pressure the Chinese government to stop such offenses.

Zhou Lei, spokesperson for the German Falun Dafa Association and senior media professional, said eliminating the CCP is the only way to fundamentally end the severe human rights abuses in China.


News in Review

US Government sanctions Chinese official for human rights abuses

On December 10th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration is sanctioning Huang Yuanxiong for his involvement in “gross human rights violations” against practitioners of Falun Gong, the largest victim of forced organ harvesting in China. The sanction against Huang, chief of police at the Wucun police station in Xiamen city, southern Fujian Province, was designated under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2020. The sanction also includes Huang’s wife and marks the first time the United States has punished a Chinese Communist Party official over his or her role in persecuting Falun Gong adherents.

US Congressman condemns China for human rights violations on anniversary of UN Declaration

On December 10, US Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey cited China’s forced organ harvesting crimes and other human rights violations on the 72nd anniversary of the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Smith noted that the Chinese Government’s illegal actions and gross misconduct are not only in direct opposition to universal values but also run contrary to China’s own cultural heritage, which places the utmost importance on spiritual and moral cultivation.

French Parliament expresses concern over China’s organ trafficking

On November 27, 2020, France’s largest daily newspaper, Le Monde, reported that 60 members of the French Parliament have expressed concern about the Chinese Communist Party’s harvesting of organs from living people for transplantations and suggested introducing new legislation to prevent French citizens from going to China for organs. China expert Joshua Rosenzweig said, “Amnesty has long raised the question about the transparency issue in the organ transplant industry in China.” In France, the average wait time for organs is three years and 15% to 30% of patients die waiting. But in China, where transplant tourism has become a lucrative industry, the average wait time is only 12 days.

Canadian leaders claim religious freedom in China worst since Cultural Revolution

Cardus Religious Freedom Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank, hosted a webinar on October 26th to address what many in Canada are saying is a growing escalation of worsening religious persecution and restrictions in China. Panelist Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch who has frequently spoken out against forced organ harvesting in China, noted that China’s revised regulation on religions, created in 2018, has contributed to greater repression and intolerance.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister condemns China on International Religious Freedom Day

In a statement marking International Religious Freedom Day, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne joined many parliamentarians in sharing his country’s concern for ongoing religious persecution in countries like China, Iran, and North Korea. Champagne stated that some instances of “persecution and discrimination” based on religion or spiritual beliefs have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

China has “organ farms” where millions are “prepped for slaughter”

An article in Haaretz exposes the forced organ harvesting taking place in China, recounting in heartbreaking detail personal stories of forced labor, rape, and torture that prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioner and Uyghurs, endure. According to expert Ethan Gutman, it is the tens of thousands of disappeared prisoners who have most likely been killed by the forcible harvesting of their organs. “The CCP has created a policy of ethnic cleansing – a potentially very profitable one,” performing 60,000 - 100,000 organ transplants a year, largely for wealthy foreigners.Guttman and others assert that “China has established ‘organ farms,’ where millions of people are...‘prepped for slaughter.’”

Article in The Houston Courant details evidence for forced organ harvesting in China

A community paper in Texas published an article detailing some of the most significant findings of forced organ harvesting in China.  Co-authored by four Falun Gong practitioners, Sarah Guo, Tao Peng, Jimmy Li and Ruth Li, three of whom work in the medical field, the article references the groundbreaking research on this subject which has highlighted short wait times, a dramatic increase in transplant procedures without a substantial donor base, and transplantation growth coinciding with the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong.

Secret state document reveals CCP’s intent to commit genocide against Falun Gong

The Epoch Times recently obtained a top-secret state document issued on Nov. 30, 2000 which confirms that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been abusing the judicial system and manipulating the country’s security apparatus to commit genocide against Falun Gong practitioners. The document states that the “political and legal departments at all levels must resolutely implement [then head of the CCP Jiang Zemin’s] important instructions to eradicate Falun Gong.”

China’s former health minister ties organ transplantation to the country’s economic development

Former health minister Huang Jiefu announced that China is set to expand its transplantation infrastructure. Setting a target of 2023, Huang, who is currently the head of China’s Organ Transplantation Development Foundation, stated that the country’s organ transplantation numbers will surpass the US and be able to meet the demands of China’s rising economy. New regulations will make it easier for more hospitals to engage in carrying out organ transplants and for more doctors to become transplant surgeons. Short wait times of days to weeks for organs in China continue to raise concerns over donor sources.

Concise and thorough overview of forced organ harvesting in China
This article published by the Organization for World Peace provides an overview of forced organ harvesting that is both concise and thorough. Beginning with the exponential growth of China’s lucrative transplant industry and the unreliability of reported transplant data, the author then outlines the history of forced organ harvesting and its connection to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The article concludes with the report of the China Tribunal in March and the call for the UN to investigate forced organ harvesting as a genocide.

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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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