Newsletter Q2/14 — April 15, 2014

In This Issue

The determination of the European Parliament to act against forced organ harvesting from prisoners and prisoners of conscience has influenced people and governments worldwide.


On December 12, 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting from prisoners, especially from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, and called for a EU investigation into the practice. This action was supported by MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament.


As if buoyed by the EU Resolution governments and organizations around the world have recently taken unprecedented action.

In mid December a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific adopted a parallel resolution, House Resolution 281, putting the U.S. Congress on record as condemning the forced harvesting of organs in China that was unanimously passed out of subcommittee.


In February, the state of Illinois in the U.S. passed House Resolution 730 urging the government to investigate organ transplants in China, and to prohibit any doctors who performed transplants using organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners from gaining entry into the U.S.


On March 12, 2014, Canada’s representative on human rights to the United Nations, Anne-Tamara Lorre, raised the issue of organ harvesting in China without consent at the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and mentioned the 1.5 million signature petition addressed to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in 2013.

On March 19, 2014, the influential European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) endorsed the EU Resolution and EESC President Henri Malosse hosted a conference entitled “Organ Harvesting in China: Europe must act now” at the EESC in Brussels. President Malosse called the organ harvesting practice in China a disgrace for humanity.

An Italian Senate commission on human right passed a resolution in March declaring that the Chinese Communist Party has harvested the organs of tens of thousands of prisoners, and called on the Italian government to take a range of measures against the practice.


At the end of February, 2014, the Transplantation Society (TTS) and the Declaration of Istanbul Custody Group (DICG) wrote an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping


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Ethan Gutmann’s research of Chinese Internet surveillance, the Laogai System, and the intersection of Western business with Chinese security objectives has received sustained attention for almost 15 years. He has provided testimony and briefings to Congress, the US Central Intelligence Agency, Geneva’s International Society for Human Rights, the United Nations, and the parliaments of Brussels, Ottawa, and Canberra. Mr Gutmann’s work has been published in the Asian Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business DailyThe Weekly StandardNational Review, and World Affairs Journal. His article “The Xinjiang Procedure” received the highly coveted Sidney Award from David Brooks at The New York Times and won a Browser Leaderboard Competition for the most popular long-form essay of the year. The research for his new book, TheSlaughter was supported by the Earhart Foundation, the Peder Wallenberg family, and the National Endowment for Democracy. His first book, Losing the New China won the 2005 Spirit of Tianamen Award.

DAFOH: Have you made any new discoveries in your research on forced organ harvesting in China?


Ethan Gutmann: Well, let me lead off with something I can’t fully talk about until my book is released. I interviewed well over a hundred individuals for The Slaughter. Among them was a surgeon with a peerless reputation for integrity and candor. He has personal and direct knowledge of the organ harvesting of Falun Gong in the Chinese mainland. It’s a shocking story. The embargo on his experiences and his identity will end on the day the book is released-August 12th, 2014.


I mention this because we face a world plagued by attention deficit disorder. Every three years, the BBC seems to rediscover that death-row prisoners in China are being harvested for their organs-even though the Chinese medical establishment confessed to it seven years ago and China experts knew about it for at least twice that long. So when it comes to the harvesting of prisoners of conscience-an exponentially greater crime which the Chinese medical establishment strenuously denies-we need a single data point, a smoking gun. I believe this surgeon will provide that. I also believe The Slaughter will provide much more: A beginning to the story, irrefutable evidence of the harvesting of Uyghurs and Tibetans, and a deeply unsettling ending-or rather a continuity: I just interviewed a witness whose testimony demonstrates that Falun Gong were being examined for harvesting less than a year ago.


I have no illusions. Even these findings will not satisfy some skeptics. For them, it is not the how,obviously the decision to start harvesting prisoners of conscience along with death-row prisoners was little more than a legal blurring around the edge, a technical triviality, but the why. Why would the Chinese leadership, which many in the West see as increasingly sophisticated, forward-looking, even admirable, take such a wild risk? Why would they commit atrocities on such a massive scale? There is nothing stupid about such questions; in fact they are the central dilemma that my book investigates. Six of my ten chapters are devoted to how and why the repression of Falun Gong spun out of control.

Statistics from China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission shows that about 300,000 Chinese people need organ transplants every year. However, only about 10,000 receive one due to a shortage of organs and a failure of the state run organ donation system.


Chinese officials have stated that as early as 1984 organs have been taken from executed prisoners and that since 2005, almost 90% of organs used for all transplants have come from prisoners. This is considered an unethical, non-voluntary form of organ procurement as prisoners lack the conditions to make a free, voluntary and informed decision. For years Chinese health and military officials have announced to phase out the use of organs from executed prisoners.


In November 2013, medical directors from 38 out of the 165 transplant centers in China signed a declaration, the Hangzhou Resolution, vowing to stop using organs from executed prisoners. The resolution prohibits hospitals from using prisoner’s organs for transplants, putting the full responsibility on the centers’ medical directors. However, asking the directors to refrain from the use of prisoners’ organs is shifting responsibility from the government to the medical profession. It was the Chinese government that legalized this practice in 1984 with a regulation that began by legalizing the use of organs from executed prisoners for research purposes. The CCP is the single best entity to abolish it immediately – provided there is the sincere wish to end it.


The latest in a chain of attempts to appease the west and to buy time, the Hangzhou Resolution also outlines a bold plan for voluntary organ donation. We see a different picture when looking at  recent interviews with Chinese officials.


In early March 2014, China’s former Vice Minister of Health, Huang Jiefu, announced that rather than ending the practice it would require yet another undertaking, saying, “The question is, ‘When can China solve the problem of the shortage of donor organs?’ -I wish we could end it tomorrow. But it requires a process.” He elaborated saying “Many things are beyond our control, therefore we cannot announce any time schedule [for ending the organ harvesting from executed prisoners].”


Huang was again quoted by China Daily, saying “We [China] will regulate the issue by including voluntary organ donations by executed prisoners in the nation’s public organ donation system.” The most important aspect of this decision is that the prisoners’ organs will be entered into a computerized system that includes legitimately donated organs as well. Without full transparency prisoners organs are then susceptible to laundering.



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News In Review:
February 2014 – April 2014
Canada Raises Concerns over China’s Organ Sourcing at the United NationsDuring the United Nations Interactive Dialogue on Freedom of Religion, the Canadian human rights advisor at the UN expressed Canada’s concern over the reported taking of organs without free and informed consent of the donor in China. Canada’s strong statements sent a shock wave, as this was the first time Canada publicly addressed this human rights abuse at the UN.


European Economic and Social Committee Forum on Organ Harvesting

A conference condemning forced organ harvesting in China was held by the influential European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) forum in Brussels. Committee President Henri Malosse called China’s brutal, non-voluntary forced organ harvesting from prisoners “scandalous.” The EESC stated “Using body parts from prisoners of conscience, executed persons and minority groups, to be sold in China or outside the country, is a disgrace to humanity and should end immediately.”


Leaders from the Transplant Community Send Open Letter to Chinese President

Leaders of The Transplantation Society (TTS) and the Declaration of Istanbul Custody Group wrote an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping urging him to take personal action against ongoing corruption in the organ transplant system in China. TTS President Dr. Francis L. Delmonico wrote “The open letter is written by several international leaders intentionally, so to display a consensus resolve.”


Italian Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution on China’s Organ Harvesting

With the unanimous passage in March of a resolution to address the human rights atrocity of forced organ harvesting in China, the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Senate was the first nation to heed the call of the European Union’s Resolution in December 2013. The Italian resolution urges the Italian government to ask China for the immediate release of prisoners of conscience, investigate China’s organ sourcing, and consider changes to training programs and research related to Chinese transplant medicine.


Illinois House of Representatives Passes Resolution on Organ Harvesting

In response to grass roots petitioning to State Representatives by concerned Illinois residents, Illinois House Resolution 070 was passed, condemning forced organ harvesting in China. The resolution calls on the United States government to investigate and bring an end to the murder of prisoners for organs in China. One petitioner expressed the hope that this resolution will inspire similar action by the US Congress.


Israeli Knesset Liberal Lobby Session focuses on Transplant AbuseThe lobby session included statements from Knesset members, medical doctors, human rights leaders, and victims of Chinas brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin said, “It is the moral duty of the Jewish people to rise up against the crimes against humanity occurring in China.” The session was well attended by leaders and lawmakers working to broaden the scope of laws. Speaking at the event were leading organ harvesting investigator David Kilgour, Dr. Jacob Lavee, MK Hilik Bar of LaborMK Nissim Zeev of Shas and MK Boaz Toporovsky. 


Israeli Television Interview with David Kilgour on State-Sponsored Organ Pillaging

I24 Television in Israel aired an exclusive interview with former Canadian Parliament member David Kilgour. The station noted that Kilgours longtime effort to stop Chinas state-sponsored pillaging of prisoner organs was recognized by the International Society for Human Rights in Switzerland. The Society awarded Kilgour the Human Rights Prize in 2009.


British Transplantation Society Annual Congress Welcomes DAFOH

In a demonstration of support for the work of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), the British Transplantation Society (BTS) donated a booth to DAFOH at its annual Congress held in Glasgow, Scotland in February of 2014. Approximately 500 delegate transplantation specialists attended the conference, many of whom learned for the first time about the grave reality of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. One delegate shared that her organ preservation product company had ceased doing business in China due to ethical concerns.


Huang Jiefu Says China Will Continue Using Prisoner Organs for Transplants

China’s former Vice Minister of Health, Huang Jiefu was quoted by China Daily, saying “We [China] will regulate the issue by including voluntary organ donations by executed prisoners in the nation’s public organ donation system.” The most important aspect of this decision is that the prisoners’ organs will be entered into a computerized system that includes legitimately donated organs as well. Without full transparency prisoners organs are then susceptible to laundering.

Director of China Organ Transplant Response System Research Center Interviewed Wang Haibo, director of the China Organ Transplant Response System Research Center (COTRS) at the Ministry of Health, was interviewed in a radio program on German ARD. He stated that the Chinese government has no intention of announcing a schedule for weaning itself off the use of organs from executed prisoners.


Optometrists Association of Australia Warns Members about Organ Harvesting

This article, published in the Optometrist Association of Americas newsletter, informs Australian optometrists about the realities of forced organ harvesting in the region. Australians that are waiting two years to receive a cornea are now traveling to China to purchase corneas for transplant in just two weeks. Sydney based optometrist, Sophia Bryskine, reacted stating “The horrific thing is that someone will actually be murdered for that transplant operation to take place.”


Israeli Rabbi Calls for Immediate Action to Protest China’s Forced Organ Harvesting 

On April 9, 2014 one of Israel’s leading rabbis, Shlomo Aviner, openly admonished the CCP for the brutal persecution and forced organ harvesting of the peaceful Falun Gong in China. The rabbi called on the Jewish Nation and the global community to take immediate action to protest, and send a clear message to the Chinese government to stop the practice. “The Jewish Nation must cry out and voice opposition.”

The Italian Parliament and Chinese Organ Transplant Abuse

This presentation was made by international human rights lawyer, David Matas, on December 19, 2013, to the Italian Senate Human Rights Committee hearing and Chamber of Deputies briefing session of the Italian Parliament. Matas refers to the 1.5 million petition signatures he presented to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and calls upon Italy to pass a resolution similar to that adopted by the EU Parliament. In March 2014, Italy adopted such a resolution.

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, which expresses deep concern for coerced, state-sanctioned harvesting of organs in China. Speakers included MEP Petri Sarvamaa, MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari, SHIRC chairman Olli Torma, human rights lawyer David Matas, and DAFOH member Dr. Harold King.
International News Briefs

In 2013, DAFOH initiated a global petition to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay. The petition received very positive international support. It not only garnered 1.5 million signatures, but after the November 30, 2013 deadline, many supporters immediately expressed their wish to continue the petition into 2014.

With a DAFOH delegation of three doctors and three lawyers, we delivered the 1.5 million petition signatures to the office of Ms. Pillay at the U.N. in Geneva (OHCHR) on December 9, 2013, on the eve of Human Rights Day. During an hour and a half meeting with the High Commissioner’s staff, we elaborated on our findings and concerns from medical and legal perspectives. In a parallel effort that day, a separate DAFOH delegation visited the New York office of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Samantha Power, with an update on the petition and other international efforts.

We have not yet received any response to our petition from the united Nations. We hope that more individuals and organizations can help to follow up with the OHCHR and ask High Commissioner Pillay for a response. The UNHRC failure to respond to this urgent crisis in China, while at the same time addressing other human rights violations around the world, is insufficient.

With doctors around the world expressing strong interest in continuing the global petition, and in light of the silence by the OHCHR, we have decided to continue our petition with a renewed deadline of November 30, 2014.

If you have not yet signed our petition to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, please consider endorsement with with your signature.


Download the petition form in other languages:

Chinese Language UN Petition

French Language UN Petition

Spanish Language UN Petition

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Videos, Books, Web, Reports, Interviews


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) and our international membership have closely observed China’s organ procurement practices for years. It is the wish of medical doctors to end what we call “forced organ harvesting”. We understand this to be organ procurement practices without voluntary, free and informed consent, which is the foundation of ethical and altruistic organ donation. All major ethical declarations and guidelines relevant to transplant medicine underscore the altruistic approach to organ donation. We will continue to actively support and promote all ethical practices for which medical doctors have taken their oath and denounce those that do not comply with international standards.

China has not only publicly acknowledged its widespread harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, but defiantly boasts that it will continue to do so, and to defend it. Contrary to bold media-lobbying announcements promising change, actions in China speak differently: the regulation from 1984 that allows organ harvesting from prisoners has not been abolished and in recent interviews Chinese officials state that they plan to enter prisoner’s organs in a computerized allocation system. This is no different than a computerized “organ laundering” system. Organ procurement from prisoners of conscience, which has been thoroughly investigated and reported by human rights leaders for over eight years, has never been acknowledged by China. Without acknowledgment, there is little hope that China will stop this unethical practice. This is the crucial point where the international community has a responsibility to act.

In 2013, 1.5 million people signed the DAFOH petition to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, yet with no response to date. This March, however, representatives from Canada took the issue of China’s killing prisoners of conscience for their organs to the floor at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva. In December 2013, the European Parliament passed a comprehensive resolution opposing China’s organ harvesting practice.

In early 2014, many events followed which illustrate not only a growing public awareness, but also a shared wish to see an end to the unethical and criminal organ procurement practice in China.

DAFOH booth at ISHLT Annual Meeting

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting has taken a critical role in raising awareness on this topic. Beginning with grassroots efforts in 2006, doctors around the world now actively support DAFOH’s mission to promote ethical practices in medicine. In addition to speaking at forums, serving as a resource for research and investigation, informing parliamentarians, initiating the global petition to the U.N. High Commissioner and other events, we plan to do more.


In this context, we are pleased to announce that, based on our previous non-for-profit status, we have recently received our 501(c)(3) status as a public charity organization in the United States.


Torsten Trey, MD, PhD

Executive Director, DAFOH

Become a DAFOH member doctor:
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Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting
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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.