On Feb. 23, the Arizona State House of Representatives passed a resolution urging federal lawmakers to take action by launching an investigation into forced organ harvesting in China by passing legislation to prohibit U.S. citizens from receiving organ transplants overseas if the source of organs is not transparent and forbidding doctors involved in unethical organ transplantation in China from entering the United States. The bill will now come before the Arizona Senate for a vote.
The California Republican Assembly (CRA), a volunteer-based activist group, passed a resolution urging state lawmakers to condemn forced organ harvesting in China. “Stop Chinese Human Rights Abuses—Resolution to stop the People’s Republic of China’s religious persecution and organ harvesting of prisoners” was introduced by the President of the Solano Republican Assembly Norman Reese and was passed on March 3 at the group’s 2018 Gubernatorial Endorsing Convention.
The Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs opened for signing by member states on March 23, 2015 and came into effect on March 1, 2018. The Convention criminalizes the illegal removal of human organs from living and deceased donors with the goal of eradicating trafficking in human organs. The Convention also provides measures to ensure transparency and equitable access to transplantation services, ensuring victims access to information necessary for the protection of their rights and health.
Japanese lawmakers who attended a panel organized by the Caution Against China Organ Transplant Association heard from David Matas, David Kilgour and Jacob Lavee about their research into the unethical organ procurement practices fueling China’s transplant industry. Japan has domestic laws banning the buying and selling of organs, but the lawmakers in attendance expressed their commitment to enacting legislation similar to that in Israel, Taiwan, Norway and Chile that would address organ tourism and prevent Japanese citizens from receiving unethically obtained organs abroad.
On January 24th, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian MP of the Asia Pacific region David Kilgour, and Israeli heart transplant surgeon Jacob Lavee briefed journalists at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on the evidence that they have gathered over a decade on China’s illicit organ transplantation practices.
The Human Rights Law Foundation published a public statement on abusive organ transplant practices in China. The exponential rise in China’s state-run organ procurement and transplantation medicine industry parallels the dramatic increase in the number of prisoners of conscience in custody, including practitioners of the persecuted spiritual discipline Falun Gong, as well as Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans and House Christians.
After watching an episode of the television series Grey’s Anatomy, criminal defense attorney Adam Banner dives into the ethics of using death row prisoners’ organs for transplant. Set in a hospital, the characters in the show consider using a death row inmate’s organs to save a child’s life. Comparing China and the United States, Banner concludes that such a practice would “violate long standing medical ethical rules” and turn surgeons into executioners.
Former surgeon Enver Tohti shares his personal account of removing organs from an executed prisoner in China. In order to stop participating in the government’s crimes, Tohti fled to the United Kingdom and now works to expose and put an end to China’s state sanctioned organ harvesting.
China’s slander against the country’s largest group of organ harvesting victims is being repeated by Western academics who take the government’s analysis of Falun Gong as a “cult” at face value. Former Premiere Jiang Zemin, who initiated the crackdown on the spiritual practice in July of 1999, first began using the term “evil cult” during an interview with a Parisian news outlet.
The article details how China’s explosive growth transplants began in 2000, six months after the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned in huge numbers for their spiritual beliefs. Evidence indicating that prisoners of conscience constitute the living organ donor bank that is driving an unethical transplant tourism industry in China has been exposed in medical journals and condemned by parliamentarians around the world.
Moshe Harel, an Israeli man in custody in Cyprus since December, has international warrants from both Russia and Kosovo and has been wanted by Interpol for over 10 years for involvement in an organ trafficking ring. Moshe is accused of promising to pay donors in Turkey and former Soviet Union countries for organs. Some donors never received payment. He reportedly sold organs to Israeli patients primarily.
A report issued by the Cambodian National Police states that 187 individuals involved in cases of human trafficking were arrested in 2017. The report cites organ trafficking as an emerging issue to be addressed. The U.S. State Department has asked Cambodia to strengthen its crackdown on human trafficking.
Julie Okah-Donli, the Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, believes human trafficking has surpassed the drug trade and money laundering to become the most lucrative international criminal enterprise. She described the “horrible dimension” of organ harvesting with victims being killed for their organs and indicated that the crimes involve the “high and mighty” that she aims to expose.
In this article, three Israeli women from different branches of Judaism share their views on organ donation. In their discussion, they reference the 2008 law which banned organ tourism and they “addressed much of the corruption and exploitation” in their country, pointing out that prior to the law some Israeli’s traveled abroad and paid large amounts of money for the organs they received.
According to Police in West Bengal, India, a man has confessed to selling his wife’s kidney. The woman, Rita Sarkar, says it was removed without her knowledge or consent when she was hospitalized for a supposed appendectomy. The WHO reports that South Asia has the most transplant tourism worldwide and experts in India estimate that each year approximately 2,000 Indians sell their kidneys.