Long overdue, protective resolutions aimed to stop forced organ harvesting and collusion have been passed in the U.S. on the state level. A new federal proposal, House Resolution 281 aimed to enact protective regulations, is currently pending after unanimous approval in the Foreign Affairs Committee with 215 representatives co-sponsoring. The congressional website predicts a 92% chance of H.Res. 281 being agreed to in the House.
Every year since the first reports of forced organ harvesting in China in 2006, new resolutions have been written and supported by lawmakers. DAFOH has explored dozens of proclamations and resolutions drafted in mayors’ offices, town meetings, church halls, state capitols, congressional suites and parliaments.
In 2012 and 2013 major resolutions were passed in Taiwan, pending in France, and a far-reaching enactment by the European Parliament. From 2006 to the present, a foundation has been laid in small towns and cities all over the world, with rallies, forums, petitions and protests to increase awareness.
This article highlights some of these historic resolutions in the context of the passing of H.Res. 281.
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|On September 30, 2014, the advocacy group World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) published a startling excerpt of a phone conversation that was part of an ongoing investigation into evidence of forced organ harvesting crimes in China. Bai Shuzhong, the former Minister of Health for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Logistics Department was interviewed about his role and insider knowledge of the organ procurement system in China. Bai Shuzhong held this position between 1998 and 2004. The role is equivalent to the Minister of Health, but related to military hospitals. His tenure in office coincided with the onset of the brutal persecution of the Falun Gong in 1999, and the exponential increase in transplant figures between 1999 and 2004 (from <3,000/year to ~20,000/year). WOIPFG reports that Bai Shuzhong admitted during a phone call that Jiang Zemin, former Chinese Communist Party Chief, had “instructed” the harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners’ organs for transplantation. “Back then it was Chairman Jiang … there was an order, a sort of instruction, that said to carry out such things, organ transplantation. … Because back then after Chairman Jiang issued the order, we all did a lot of anti-Falun Gong work,” said Bai.|
DAFOH interviewed WOIPFG spokesman Dr. Wang Zhiyuan on the groups investigation with Bai Shuzhong.
READ FULL INTERVIEW
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Governments and Parliamentarians
Mandated to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China released its 2014 report in October, which includes recommendations that the U.S. administration urge China to cease harvesting transplant organs from executed prisoners.
PA House Resolution 1052 passed unanimously in a 198 to 0 vote, five days after its introduction by Pennsylvania’s House Health Committee Chairman, Matthew Baker. The resolution encourages the medical community to raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China.
Ethan Gutmann, author of The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, addressed the Canadian Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights, urging Canada to call for an end to the Chinese government’s forced organ harvesting program. Former Canadian MP David Kilgour estimated that the Chinese government has made millions from the killing of prisoners of conscience for organs.
“Plausible deniability” for forced organ harvesting in China no longer reasonable
Chair of the Canadian Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee, Scott Reid, after hearing testimony in Ottawa from journalist Ethan Gutmann and DAFOH spokesman Dr. Damon Noto, stated that at this point no one can deny the occurrence of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China. Gutmann spent seven years investigating this human rights crisis in China.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting Actions
DAFOH Executive Director, Torsten Trey, MD, describes the dehumanization of innocent people and the loss of their human dignity. Exemplified by the gross violations of the most basic human rights, Trey details the forced organ harvesting on demand for profit from living prisoners of conscience at the hands of their own government.
DAFOH letter to the editor published in The New York Times
In August the New York Times published an open letter to the editor, co-authored by Dr. Torsten Trey, in response to the Times article on organ brokering in Israel.
Italian Society of Organ Transplantation National Congress in Siena
At the Italian Transplantation Congress in Siena, DAFOH discussed the crisis of forced organ harvesting in China with the transplant doctors in attendance. The doctors responded with questions, accounts from their patients and determination to share the information with their patients and colleagues.
DAFOH booth at the ILADS annual conference in Washington, D.C.
DAFOH members hosted a booth to increase awareness about forced organ harvesting at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society annual conference in October. Many doctors, nurses and patient advocates signed a petition supporting the pending Congressional H.Res. 281 and DAFOH’s petition to the UN.
International Transplant Nurses Society annual conference
DAFOH members hosted a booth at the International Transplant Nurses Society, ITNS, annual conference in Houston, Texas in September. The presentation booth attracted hundreds of transplant nurses and medical doctors, many learning about the crisis of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China for the first time.
Students Against Forced Organ Harvesting (SAFOH) forms in Canada
A new independent advocacy group, Students Against Forced Organ Harvesting, SAFOH, aims to provide an opportunity for its members to connect, share information, discuss the work of raising awareness of unethical and illegal organ harvesting in China, work collaboratively to coordinate events and stand in solidarity to advocate against this inhumane crime. With almost 250 members, the Canada based group hopes to garner student support globally.
Investigators and Media
Pope Francis meets with the Custodian Group of the Declaration of Istanbul
The Custodian Group of the Declaration of Istanbul met with Pope Francis in search of support for altruistic donation and ending organ trafficking. According to transplant surgeon and Mayor of Rome, Dr. Ignazio Marino, the Pope authorized the statement that “the trade in organs is immoral and a crime against humanity.”
New York Times article tracing illegal organ brokering from Israel to Costa Rica
The article “Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica,” details the workings of an illicit organ brokering network, including the stories from recipients, donors, doctors, brokers and the authorities that took action to stop them.
Transplant congress in China not supported by international communityInternational transplant societies did not support the Chinese Society of Organ Transplantation’s Transplant Congress held in October in Hangzhou, China. This lack of support was the result of a statement made by China’s Organ Transplant Committee’s head, Huang Jiefu, in March 2014 declaring that China would not stop using executed prisoners as sources of organs for transplantation.
With no transparency or documentation transplant surgery in China is high risk
After a 15 year old girl received a compromised kidney transplant in China in 2012, she may now need another transplant. Troubled by not knowing the events in China, the patient’s mother struggles to make appropriate medical decisions.
Human rights lawyer speaks to Chamber of Deputies in Italy
David Matas, international human rights lawyer and co-author of Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs, spoke in Rome this month about forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China. He stated that the burden of proof lies not with investigators but solely with the Chinese government. Matas highlighted internationally accepted transplantation ethics and suggested 11 strategies that can be taken to stop the genocide.
Keynote speaker at the University of Alberta’s October forum, Dr. Char Els, a psychiatrist who works with transplant patients, said it’s an embarrassment that the medical community doesn’t know enough about forced organ harvesting in China, and that pharmaceutical companies are not held responsible for their actions.
International Medical Travel Journal reports on transplant tourism
Reporting on a recent talk by David Matas at the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation, the International Medical Travel Journal listed the international standards of the WHO, TTS, WMA and the Declaration of Istanbul regarding transplant tourism and asserts that more needs to be done in the region to prevent transplant tourism to China from the Middle East.
Podcast: Hinckley Institute Radio Hour reports on Organ Harvesting
In September, the Hinckley Institute Radio Hour featured a forum with DAFOH Spokesman Dr. Damon Noto, international human rights lawyer David Matas, and Dr. Kirk Allison from the University of Minnesota. The experts spoke in depth to an audience in Utah.
Podcast: Barry Farber Show commentary on the atrocity of forced organ harvesting
Talk show host Barry Farber, interviewed The Slaughter author and China expert Ethan Gutman in September, spotlighting the stark contrast in public sentiment between terrorism and forced organ harvesting from living prisoners of conscience for profit in China.
One month wait for matching transplant kidney and liver in Tianjin, China
After just one month of waiting, a Taiwanese patient received a matching liver and kidney transplant in September, 2012, at Tianjin First Center Hospital, Tianjin City, China. Little information was given to the patient about the source of the organs, and the overseas patients accommodations were subject to intense security measures.
David Matas calls for a resolution from Conference of the Parties to the UN
In October, international human rights lawyer David Matas presented remarks at an independent forum during the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Vienna, Austria. Matas asserted that the UN protocols instruct legislation to criminalize trafficking in persons and he clearly defined how forced organ harvesting differs from other forms of exploitation for organs in depravity and scope.
UCLA Awareness Film Festival presents Killed to Order documentary
The 10-minute documentary film, Killed to Order, presented at the UCLA Film Festival this year, follows the journey of a father in need of a kidney as his search leads him to the discovery of forced organ harvesting in China.
Hospital director and Chinese doctor arrested for organ trafficking in Cambodia
Nine people were arrested in Cambodia for organ trafficking just weeks after Cambodian police arrested a woman accused of brokering kidneys to patients at Thai hospitals. Among those arrested were the Preah Ket Melea military hospital director and deputy director, as well as a Chinese doctor who was providing training at the hospital.
Canadian transplant doctors concerned about medical ethics and patient care
Speaking at a recent forum on forced organ harvesting at Toronto General Hospital, Canadian transplant surgeons made clear their uncertainties over how to address the grim reality of forced organ harvesting in China and managing aftercare for patients who collude. On the one hand doctors cannot support a patients decision to receive a transplant from an unethical source in China, where the government sponsors taking a life for the organ. On the other hand, Canadian patients require post transplant care, and denying such care may be a violation of medical ethics.
The major German news journal, SWR 2, asserts that the West has turned a blind eye to China’s forced organ harvesting of living prisoners of conscience. From pharmaceutical companies to the medical community, some Western professionals have compromised their moral integrity to maintain a secure relationship with the Chinese government. Without the weight of international pressure, Chinese officials offer vague promises, which remain unfulfilled.
Call for Action:
Ask the U.S. Congress to schedule a vote for H
ouse Resolution 281
|House Resolution 281: “Expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”|
More info athttps://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-resolution/281
Time is of the essence: The United States Congress needs to vote on House Resolution 281 before the end of December 2014 or the proposed resolution will expire.
Strong bipartisan support: Introduced in July 2013, H.Res. 281 has met with strong bipartisan support within the U.S. Congress. As of today, there are currently 111 Republican and 104 Democratic co-sponsors, nearly half the Congress, from 44 states.
Unanimous approval in committee: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific gave unanimous approval to the resolution in December of 2013 and the full House Foreign Affairs Committee gave its unanimous approval in July 2014.
Waiting to be scheduled for a vote: Since this July, the co-sponsors and other supportive representatives have been waiting for the resolution to come before the congress for a vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is now tasked with scheduling the Resolution for a vote.
Your help is needed: Please contact Majority Leader McCarthy’s office and ask him to help schedule H.Res.281 for a vote this November.
How to contact Congressman McCarthy about scheduling H.Res.281 for a vote:
Call his DC office: 202-225-4000 or 202-225-2915 and ask that Congressman McCarthy schedule House Resolution 281 for a vote in November or as soon as possible. Express your view on the importance of H.Res. 281 to save the lives of prisoners of conscience in China. Express your hope that the U.S. Congress states its position on this important issue.
Other methods to contact Congressman McCarthy:
Mail: H-107, The Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20515
Fax: (202) 225-2908
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Videos, Books, Web, Reports
The Slaughter: Mass Killing, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
We have heard the words “Never again!” They are words of hope, usually spoken after crimes against humanity or genocide have occurred. Yet, this “Never again!” does not fulfill hope by itself. We have to work for it; we have to take action. Then, there is indeed hope to prevent these crimes from reoccurring. This is an issue of moral obligation and responsibility.
DAFOH’s mission and activities persistently gravitate towards calling for an end of forced organ harvesting. Living in the 21st century, organ procurement has to follow ethical guidelines. Killing people for their organs to be used for transplants renders medicine an absurd discipline.
To preserve our human dignity, we are morally obligated to speak up if we encounter crimes against humanity. This applies to individuals as well as to medical organizations and sovereign countries. Everyone blessed with freedom of speech has the moral responsibility to point out where others suffer from crimes against humanity, including the forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. When we run into situations which make us say “Never again!” then this is an indicator that a principled response is needed. Following this moral obligation is usually not reimbursed with business contracts and economic returns, but it is always paid off with freedom and human dignity.
In this regard, the pending Congressional House Resolution 281 is a striking example:
- H.Res.281 has the potential to send a clear signal to China to say “Never again! -Stop the killing of innocent prisoners of conscience for organs now!”
- H.Res.281 reflects the principled, uncorrupted commitment of moral responsibility.
- H.Res.281 is a testimonial for human dignity.
But before it can serve as a beacon for ethical values and human dignity, Congress must choose to vote on H.Res.281. We hope that Congress will seize this opportunity and vote on it before the next “Never Again!” echos from our walls.
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.