Newsletter Q4/15 — December 2, 2015

In This Issue

Any significant sudden increase in apparent voluntary donors in China must be treated with skepticism. Based on the experience of functional donor registers in developed countries it takes decades for the system to be operational and to yield desired results. The sudden yielding of thousands of organs in a region that is traditionally reluctant to donate organs is suspicious. The semantic deflection of international criticism by describing prisoners as “citizens with the right to donate organs” and, almost one year later, referring to this description as “philosophical,” suggests that the previous practice is being disguised, not solved.

The New York Times brought attention and vindicated the concerns raised by medical doctors and humanitarian groups around the world about China’s unfulfilled pledge to stop using organs illegally harvested from executed prisoners. Two articles, “China Bends Vow, Using Prisoners’ Organs for Transplants” (Nov. 16), and “Fresh Doubt Over China’s Pledge to Amend Transplant Policy” (Nov. 18), described how Chinese authorities have used a rhetorical sleight-of-hand to rename prisoners “citizens” within the public civic domain and has failed to live up to its pledge to end the practice. In response, The World Medical Association Secretary General Dr. Otmar Kloiber, boldly stated, “The practice there is unethical and should be changed to an ethical practice. Administrative tricks don’t make it ethical.” DAFOH media quickly responded to the coverage with a national level PR Newswire press release with a distribution of over 80 million viewers.
China’s Huang Jiefu responded with a denial claiming that China’s announcement to rename prisoners as ordinary citizens was only meant “philosophically,” and was a lie, despite initiatives aimed at encouraging Chinese prisoners to “donate” their organs. Jiefu’s reaction was also covered in the New York Times article “Transplant Chief in China Denies Breaking Vow to Ban Prisoners’ Organs,” (Nov. 25).
New York Times Articles:
DAFOH Press Release:

In 2015, almost 20,000 people in California’s 39th congressional district signed a petition to support popular bipartisan House Resolution 343 condemning forced organ harvesting in China. Rep. Ed Royce, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and staunch human rights advocate proudly carries the 39th district.

Congressman Royce recently told reporters he supported the proposal in an interview at a local human trafficking event at California State University, Fullerton. Royce said there was a need to create a disincentive for forced organ harvesting, “I support getting it on the floor and passing it,” he said. Royce also said he hopes to work with U.S. hospitals to promote educating Americans about ethical concerns in transplantation and China’s reliance on prisoners of conscience to source organs.

“Forced. Organ. Harvesting. This was the title given to me for our session. But as you can see, I have created a new one. But, nonetheless, think about those 3 words for a moment….  “FORCED. ORGAN. HARVESTING.” The phrase gives me great unease, physical and moral discomfort. Organ transplantation is supposed to be a medical marvel, which pivots on the positive event of “organ donation,” not “forced organ harvesting. “FORCE…it means not voluntary, unnatural. HARVEST…this comes from the Latin word, carpere “to cut, divide, pluck.” These are NOT the concepts that spring to mind when one thinks of “organ donation.” Organ donation is a gift, not something plucked out from involuntary victims. From an ethics perspective, organ donation is the very opposite of forced harvesting because organ donation has the premise of voluntariness, and the procedure itself is not a rough and tumble harvest, but rather the careful, skilled, gliding of many hands in perfect sequence to reveal a beautiful treasure.”
Dr. Katrina Bramstedt is one of the world’s few formally trained transplant ethicists. She is a member of The Transplantation Society’s Ethics Committee, a Councilor Member of the International Hand and Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Society, and has a private practice for local and international patients. A professor at Bond University School of Medicine, Dr. Bramstedt is the author of five books, more than 80 manuscripts, and travels as a lecturer worldwide. 

The considerable number of authentic firsthand accounts from survivors of Chinese labor and detention centers that consistently detail both torture and medical evaluations continues to grow. A witness report was published on the US based Chinese news portal, Minghui, in September that describes the arrest of a 66-year-old Falun Gong practitioner who collapsed after having her blood forcibly drawn, and died six days later.

The differential diagnosis for the cause of death six days after having blood drawn might include: a hypotensive crisis due to an excessive amount of blood having been drawn; a hypertensive crisis as a result of stress that led to stroke or heart attack; or a mortal injury sustained while being restrained against one’s will. Although we may never know the true cause of Ms. Liu Lanying’s death, we can ask why she and other Falun Gong practitioners had blood drawn against their will. It is implausible and inexplicable to incarcerate people for their spiritual beliefs and then single them out from other prisoners for costly medical evaluations while at the same time subjecting them to life-threatening torture.

“The Government of China acknowledges that it has been sourcing organs for transplants from prisoners in large numbers. I and other independent researchers have concluded that many of these prisoners were prisoners of conscience, killed for organs without their consent. This research has shown that the primary prisoner of conscience source has been practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong.

Government of China officials recently have said variously that they have ended or will be ending the sourcing of organs from prisoners and that they have either replaced or will be replacing prisoner sources with voluntary donor sources. The question becomes, how do we know that this is so?

The killing by China of prisoners for their organs has generated widespread revulsion within the global transplantation community, leading to ostracization of the Chinese transplant profession. The Chinese transplant profession has every interest in overcoming that ostracization. How do we know whether the assertions of Chinese transplant professionals that they have ceased sourcing or will be ceasing organs from prisoners are real or just a self serving smokescreen, designed to overcome the ostracization without paying the price of real reform?”

When rumors first emerged that state-run hospitals were killing prisoners of conscience to sell their organs, it seemed too horrific to believe.
Transplant patients from around the world have sought surgery in the hospitals of China because of short wait times and a seemingly endless supply of organs. But, with practically no donor system in place, where do these organs come from? HUMAN HARVEST takes you step by step through the evidence uncovered by Nobel Peace Prize nominees David Matas and David Kilgour as they share a riveting tale of personal triumphs and unimaginable horror, piecing together one of the world’s worst crimes against humanity. As a special service to our readers, Flying Cloud Productions offers this special opportunity to view the film in advance of its public release.

On the eve of his retirement in October, Irwin Cotler, a Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Canada since 1999, called on fellow MOPs to continue ongoing efforts to pass legislation against forced organ harvesting in China. A parallel proposal in the US, H. Res. 343, calls on Congress to take a similar stand and pass much needed legislation.The process of passing a resolution through Congress or Parliament, and supporting the passage of a bill on forced organ harvesting in China requires near herculean efforts in the US and Canada. “The issue transcends partisan politics, as members from all major political parties have lent support to stop forced organ harvesting,” said Cotler of the process of resurrecting and re-introducing legislation in Canada.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We are grateful for the increasing number of U.S. legislators who continue to support human rights in organ transplantation by co-sponsoring House Resolution 343, which calls for an end to China’s unethical organ transplant industry.

This U.S. resolution in the House of Representatives highlights the “concern regarding 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 and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups,” and was introduced by Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA). To date, 142 House Representatives have expressed their endorsement.

China does not follow the internationally recognized standards for transparency in organ sourcing.
  • Chinese officials have admitted to using executed prisoners for organ transplantation, but they have not acknowledged the use of living prisoners of conscience.
  • Although officials announced in Dec. 2014, to end the unacceptable organ harvesting from executed prisoners, China has not written its end into law.
  • With the 1984 provisions that regulate organ harvesting from executed prisoners, it is still legal to harvest organs from executed prisoners, let alone from prisoners of conscience whose plight remains entirely unaddressed.

The government sanctioned killing of innocent people for their organs constitutes a crime against humanity. This makes H.Res. 343 a meaningful and critical testimony to the basic rights of each human being.


H. Res. 343 notes: “The killing of religious or political prisoners for the purpose of selling their organs for transplant is an egregious and intolerable violation of the fundamental right to life.”

As medical professionals, we have a moral obligation to prevent and stop unethical medical practices. We support the resolution’s signatories and urge federal legislators and the State Department to take action to help end such crimes.

We would like to express our appreciation to those who have contacted their representatives about co-sponsoring H. Res. 343. Please continue to call, write or email your representative and ask that he or she support House Resolution 343. We recommend forwarding this newsletter to your network to raise awareness about this urgent appeal to end these atrocities.
Torsten Trey, MD, PhD
Executive Director, DAFOH

News in Review

Governments and Parliamentarians

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report

The Commission’s 2015 report voices concerns that the regime is more repressive and brutal with a further deterioration of human rights, citing concerns by international medical professionals and human rights organizations that unethical forced organ harvesting continues.
Nearly 20,000 Californians in the 39th congressional district signed a petition to support bipartisan House Resolution 343 condemning forced organ harvesting in China. The district’s congressman, Ed Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and human rights advocate, recently told reporters that he supports the resolution.
China’s illegal organ harvesting a priority for Congress
Congress highlights the issue of organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in its human rights agenda for Chinese presidential visit.

A New England constituent publicly thanks U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd) for co-sponsoring House Res. 343 calling for new legislation.

Seasoned MP Irwin Cotler will not be seeking re-election, but asks that his colleagues continue to support efforts to end unethical organ harvesting practices around the globe, including China’s harvesting of organs from Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience.
The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China again criticized China’s ongoing state sanctioned human rights violations and forced organ harvesting.

Medical Professionals and Associations
DAFOH joined David Matas and over 3,000 medical and legal professionals at ESOT’s 17th biennial congress in Brussels with the goal of collaborating on seeing an end to forced organ harvesting and banning cooperation with Chinese doctors involved with China’s current transplant practices.
Without legal precedent, China redefined organs from “consenting prisoners” to “voluntary donations from regular citizens.”  Medical organizations around the world, hopeful for quick reform of China’s transplant medicine, have been slow to acknowledge that the long held WHO standards that prisoners, deprived of their freedom, cannot “donate” their organs, continues to be ignored in China.

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting Actions

The one question Xi Jinping doesn’t want to answer on his first visit to the US

Press Release: President Xi Jinping is in the best position to improve China’s human rights abuses that intensified under his predecessor Jiang Zemin. The unlawful harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience blackens China’s reputation.
In an open letter, DAFOH, the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, the Swiss branches of the Society for Threatened Peoples and the International Society for Human Rights called on His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to move from words to deeds in confronting the harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience in China.
The Organ Donation and Transplantation Conference in Guangzhou in August was staged to be a platform to fast-track an unverified new organ donation program. DAFOH remains concerned that China’s promises of change to improve its unethical organ procurement practices are insufficient, as organs continue to be unlawfully extracted from prisoners of conscience.
The International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations endorses the efforts and advocacy of the NGO and promotes the DAFOH petition for 2015.

Investigators and Media
A group of doctors, speaking for leading international transplant organizations, give premature recognition to China for mere promises to reform ongoing illegal and unethical organ sourcing.
Chinese state-run media report that the majority of donated transplant organs are wasted because of coordination and transport deficiencies.

With comments from the Secretary General of the World Medical Association and the first person testimony of a transplant doctor in China, this Nov. 16 article documents China’s continued abuse of taking prisoners’ organs for transplantation.

In December 2014, on the eve of new announcements to end organ harvesting from executed prisoners, a prominent Malaysian patient received a full liver transplant in mainland China after waiting only one month for a matching organ.
Film Human Harvest screens in UK Parliament and honored with AIB award
Awarded best international investigative documentary by the Association for International Broadcasting, Human Harvest continues to expose the killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs to audiences worldwide, most recently the UK Parliament.

Nearly all organs from donors in China go unused

The French Le Parisien newspaper reports that almost all donated organs in China are wasted because of slow transport and lack of coordination. Scarce donations, high demand and unlawful practices have led to illegal trade and forced organ donations. International organisations warn that prisoners are renamed as voluntary donors.
Taipei Times references Human Harvest film as warning to local citizens 
New documentary examines China’s illicit organ harvesting practices and includes the cases of three Taiwanese patients who purchased organs from China. The film notes that the Taiwanese may be vulnerable to China’s cross-straights offer of short wait times and viable organs.
Blunt statistics and overwhelming reports of human rights abuse form the foundational evidence of forced organ harvesting atrocities in China. David Kilgour reflects on the facts.
A new art exhibition raising awareness of religious persecution, forced organ harvesting and human rights abuses in China makes the first stop of a European tour.
After seeing the film Human Harvest and learning about forced organ harvesting at her University in India, a young student authored a petition to her government and to the National Human Rights Commission of India.

Multilingual News Briefs



Petition till FN:s Kommissionär för mänskliga rättigheter



KANLI KAMPANYA Çin’deki Falun Gong Uygulayıcılarından, Organ Toplanmasına Yönelik Suçlamalara İliskin Gözden Geçirilmis Rapor





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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.