WASHINGTON, October 1, 2017 — In the 12 months between October 1, 2016 and 2017, more than 245,000 people have signed the petition initiated by Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting that calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to help end forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China. Evidence for the Chinese government’s practice of forcibly harvesting vital organs from non-criminal detainees is the focus of an urgent public outcry and global concern in transplant medicine. The petition also asks the UN to take steps to end the 18-year persecution of Falun Gong, the root cause for the forced organ harvesting of this victim group which researchers note has provided the largest source of organs for China’s transplant industry.
Since its inception in 2012 more than 2.7 million people have signed the DAFOH petition making it one of the largest civil petitions in world history. The signatures, collected by volunteers and supporters in more than 50 countries and regions, are a testimony to the fact that ending forced organ harvesting is a priority for people around the world. This year, citizens from some countries have expressed tremendous support for the petition. In the United Kingdom the count exceeded 77,000, in Ukraine, over 15,000 and in France, more than 10,000 people signed. Many other countries are submitting petitions include Spain, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Argentina, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and the United States.
Number of signatures between Oct 1, 2016 and Sept 30, 2017 (updated October 9, 2017):
Communist China’s penchant for brutality against its own people, as seen during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976 and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, paved the way for the current practice of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. In 1999, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin initiated a most brutal persecution on the popular Falun Gong spiritual practice that has utilized forced labor, unspeakable abuse as well as death from torture and forced live organ harvesting.
The state-sanctioned, systematic killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs in China has reached an unprecedented degree of depravity. A vast array of evidence makes the existence of these crimes against humanity indisputable. China has attempted to escape criticism by implementing whitewashing reforms, spouting propaganda and by courting delegations of international organizations. Yet total lack of transparency of China’s transplant system remains.
Most importantly, current discussions regarding China’s alleged reforms cannot erase the past and are meaningless in the face of the crimes against humanity that have already been committed.
Even Chinese citizens have found the courage to speak up and join the international critics. In 2006, Anni, the wife of a Chinese surgeon, came to public saying that Falun Gong practitioners were subject to forced organ harvesting. In 2013 a blogger in China was immediately arrested after he posted that forced organ harvesting occurred in his area—an unusual measure considering the amount of blogs in China. In 2017, Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui claimed that Chinese officials were involved in live organ harvesting.
Many countries are passing protective legislation and criminal laws to prevent their citizens from participating in transplant tourism and to end the practice in China. Ongoing investigation is urgently needed, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. Relatives of the victims and citizens of the world deserve nothing less.
Crimes against humanity scar all of humankind and will never be forgotten. The world paused last August for the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials against Nazi physicians, and will soon pause again over the decades of persecution and transplant abuse in China. The DAFOH Petition to the UN remains open year after year to give concerned people around the world an opportunity to act.
“Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”