Session 2 – Pursuing Accountability for Forced Organ Harvesting Crimes

Legal experts from Canada, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan discussed the legal precedents of past and current efforts to combat live forced organ harvesting. They recommended that countries unite in their efforts to pursue legislative action to stop China’s transplant atrocities and punish perpetrators and accomplices.

 David Matas, Esq., Senior Counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, Human Rights Attorney, Canada

David Matas, world renowned for being among the first to research and expose China’s mass killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs, gave an overview of the legal landscape surrounding transplantation in China. Laws that have existed for decades permitting the use of prisoner organs have never been repealed, with newer rulings easily circumvented by loopholes. Regardless of the existence of laws, he said, “The rule of law does not exist in China. Instead of the rule of law, there is the rule of the Party.”

Matas added, “The mass killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs serves a dual purpose for the Party. The killings eliminate what the Party sees as its political enemies. The organ sourcing plays a large part in funding the health system. The selling of organs in China is a multi-billion-dollar business… It is implausible to suggest that the Party would have shut down or would shut down this organ trade, no matter what the law said.”

He concluded that despite some changes since organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience was first exposed in 2006, “The changes have not been sufficient inside China to stop the mass killing of prisoners of conscience in China for their organs or outside China to stop foreign complicity in those killings.  A lot more needs to be done.”

Kim Song, Judge of the Seoul Administrative Court of Korea, South Korea

Judge Song argued that the most available and convenient measure for countries around the world to use against China’s forced organ harvesting is a Magnitsky act. The 2016, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act authorized the U.S. government to sanction foreign persons implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world, freezing any U.S. assets they hold, and banning them from entry into the United States.

Judge Song said such acts have several advantages. Each sovereign country can decide how such an act is to be enacted and implemented. Actions are taken against individuals, not governments, and are therefore free from “infringement of sovereignty” criticism that the actions of one country is interfering in the domestic affairs of another. There is less burden of proof for initiating entry bans and assets seizure that is required for criminal courts and individual nations have wide discretionary power over immigration control. She also described a Magnitsky act as “a form of ‘smart sanctions’ which can avoid the unintended adverse impact on the vulnerable populations who are not involved in the crime.”

Judge Song related how those who are silent about the CCP’s gross violation of human rights are negligent and are wrong to have accepted the totalitarian state of China “with open arms and trusted the regime to be a good partner in the international society.” The global community would be obligated, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to act against the brutal persecution and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other religious and ethnic minorities, such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.

Carlos Iglesias Jimenez, Esq., Spain

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) restricts and eliminates the individual and collective freedoms of the Chinese people, while focusing on persecuting spiritual beliefs and eradicating the 5,000-year-old traditional culture of China.

Carl Jimenez described how the crime of forced organ harvesting has three characteristics, saying, “We are faced with a crime that has never had this truly atrocious design, seeking to murder people, seeking to generate a multimillion-dollar business, and seeking to wash its image in a transplant system whose donations are absolutely non-existent.”

Jimenez believes the lack of action by international regulatory bodies is due to CCP infiltration into international organizations, including the United Nations and Human Rights Council, and the World Health Organization. Therefore, he said, “It is time, through this Summit, to encourage civil society, individual people, the hearts of each person, to become aware that what makes us different and at the same time unites us as human beings, is… respect for life; respect for beliefs; respect for freedom.”

He concluded, “Justice, in the future, will not only judge those who are guilty of these crimes, but also all those people whose complicit silence has facilitated, made it possible for all these atrocities to take place, will have to answer to justice.”

Theresa Chu, Esq., Taiwan

Theresa Chu stated, “The atrocity [of forced organ harvesting] affects both China and beyond.” Organs are removed from innocent Chinese prisoners of conscience and sold to tourists who travel to China for transplantation operations. Medical and pharmaceutical professionals from around the world “who assist China in developing its organ transplantation have all become accomplices” to the crime of forced organ harvesting. She added, “Forced organ harvesting is not only used to carry out the cleansing and genocide of Falun Gong practitioners and ethnic minority groups, such as Uyghurs, but is also implicated in massive economic profits from organ transplantation, transnational organ sales, transplant tourism, and organ brokerage. Therefore, to combat and prevent forced organ harvesting requires endeavors at the international and national levels simultaneously.” She called upon “all governments around the world to promote the criminalization of forced organ harvesting comprehensively. “

Referring to a declaration to be announced to the public at the end of the World Summit on September 26, 2021, Chu explained that, “The Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, also referred to herein as the UDCPFOH, is an international document wherein mankind of the 21st century proclaims their determination to stop the most diabolical atrocity of forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party. The UDCPFOH builds on the foundation of inalienable rights which cannot be deprived by any person or regime and lays bare the core principles of the universal values, including the inviolability of human dignity and the fundamental protection for human life, body, and freedom. The UDCPFOH proposes measures to combat and prevent the CCP’s forced organ harvesting from gravely violating the value of human existence. The UDCPFOH is…an important starting point to unite forces overall from different fields of the international community to combat and prevent forced organ harvesting.”