MEP Petri Sarvamaa: “The evidence on organ harvesting is simply devastating“
On February 7, 2014, in the European Parliament Information Office of Helsinki, Finland, NGO Supporting Human Rights in China (SHRIC) hosted a seminar on organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience and the European Parliament’s new resolution P7_TA(2013)0603, which expresses deep concern for coerced, state-sanctioned harvesting of organs in China.
French dentist Harold King, speaking for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), elaborated on the medical community’s international reactions to China’s organ harvesting. Dr. King examined the prerequisites for transparency in transplant operations and the medical profession’s options for exerting pressure on China and the creation of a European coalition of medical professionals wishing to stand up for higher ethical values and demonstrate the importance of European Union actions against these crimes that now involve the entire international community.
Human rights lawyer David Matas recapitulated the independent evidence on organ harvesting and touched upon the European Parliament’s resolution process. Matas stated that international pressure exerted on China is constantly accumulating: the organ harvesting evidence is extremely compelling and cannot be disregarded by anyone who is familiar with it. China has systematically refused to discuss the issue and turned down international investigations at the labor camps. Matas described how China’s EU embassy responded to the EP resolution with an approximately 130 word statement that did not even try to refute the evidence.
MEP Petri Sarvamaa (EPP) began his speech by stating that “the evidence on organ harvesting is simply devastating.” He asked for politicians to join in the discussion and find collaborative approaches to the problem. Sarvamaa cautioned that if politicians turn a blind eye, they are only deceiving themselves. Avoidance of this question may indicate that it is difficult to handle emotionally; on the other hand, many people give a lot of weight to trade relations. His final words underlined that this is fundamentally a struggle between democracy and anti-democracy, and that China’s human rights violations need to be exposed courageously.
MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D) said the European Parliament’s resolution means that the European Union absolutely demands that China end organ harvesting.
SHRIC chairman Olli Torma (M.A.) discussed the “Preconditions for illegal organ trade in China” in Chinese society during the 1990s and the emergence of a very large group of prisoners of conscience that consists of “ordinary citizens.” He pointed out that the China Qigong Research Society had demanded the establishment of a state-run Falun Gong organization in 1995, but as the inherently non-political Falun Gong could not be formalized and institutionalized under Communist Party control, certain Communist hardliners initiated Falun Gong’s gradual marginalization, which culminated in the 1999 crackdown and subsequent crimes against humanity, including systematic forced organ harvesting.
The conclusion of this seminar was that the European resolution is a first step and a lever which the medical and parliamentary community can use to stand up against the abusive practice of forced organ harvesting, while at the same time, help European member states, the European Union and the United Nations uphold their humanitarian principles and the rule of law.