On Dec 13, 2013 in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution publicly condemning systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The resolution calls upon member states and the UN to publicly condemn the practice, immediately release prisoners of conscience and seek immediate legal retribution of those involved.
The Parliament specifically underscores that the proposed phase out of the barbaric practice in China is unacceptable and that an immediate cessation is needed to “end immediately the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience and members of religious and ethnic minority groups” with emphasis on the inclusion of the spiritual practitioners of Falun Gong as the main target. It demands a “full and transparent investigation by the EU into organ transplant practices in China and the prosecution of those involved in such unethical practices.”
The resolution demands that the UN special rapporteurs on torture and on freedom of religion or belief conduct an investigation of the source of organs used in transplantation and that the Chinese government allows the rapporteurs to investigate.
The EU and its member states are directed by the resolution to publicly condemn the transplantation abuses in China and to raise awareness among their citizens traveling to the PRC. Heightening public and government concern in the Fall of 2013 was the DAFOH Global Petition to the UN to end forced organ harvesting and the slaughter of prisoners of conscience for organ procurement. Signed by almost 1.5 million people, the petition has had an extraordinarily widespread impact on increasing awareness around the world.
The resolution specifically discloses the main target of forced organ harvesting in China: “In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched an intensive, nationwide persecution designed to eradicate the spiritual practice of Falun Gong leading to the arrest and detention of hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners … there are reports that Uyghur and Tibetan prisoners have also been subject to forced organ transplantations.”
In response to the new resolution Dr. Rafael Matesanz, director of the National Transplant Organization in Spain, stated “The position of the European Parliament is really very important. That the representations of the citizens of 28 EU countries express a common position in front of the Chinese government and ask them to stop immediately all these unethical practices … should be certainly welcome.” The outspoken Matesanz pointed out attempts by China to thwart global efforts as “other considerations” that have modulated the positions of many governments or international bodies” are being largely ignored. It is well known that the PRC uses diplomatic browbeating to suppress criticism of its human rights record.
Tunne Kelam, MEP from Estonia who introduced the resolution, stated “We should have done this earlier, but I think we have learned very much during this process of support. Now we are much more clear about what is going on in China, and much more determined to continue our support and express our solidarity to our Chinese friends.”
Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Erping Zhang stated that “Despite all the pressure and scare tactics Chinese officials have used internationally to keep foreign governments from highlighting this atrocity, many, including the European Parliament, are now challenging Beijing to halt this horrific practice.” Private investigators have reported between 45,000 and 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been killed and their organs sold for profit in the PRC.
Global initiatives in December to advocate for ethical organ procurement in China preceded the action in the EU Parliament. Canadian MP Irving Cotler introduced a law aimed at preventing Canadians from obtaining organs that were not willingly donated. In the U.S., the House of Representatives is currently discussing House Resolution 281, with nearly 170 congressional cosponsors, condemning organ harvesting in China and calling for investigations and prosecution.
The resolution can be found online in 23 languages:
Interviews with MEPs and reports on the EP resolution: