The United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel Act Against Organ Harvesting

Combating China’s unethical practices from within Chinese territory is not feasible for Western countries. Therefore, countries efforts are best focused on minimizing their own citizens’ participation in transplant tourism to China. Over the past few months, the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Israel have taken action.

United States Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) urged President Donald Trump to raise the issue of human rights directly with Chinese leader XI Jinping during their meeting in Argentina on Nov. 30th. At a Congressional hearing on Nov. 28th, Smith said that the American people “stand in solidarity with the Chinese people and not with a dictatorship that “kills lives … tortures … and crushes religion.” He added, “We had eight years of President Obama who looked the other way when it came to China” and called on President Trump to use the global Magnitsky Act to sanction individual perpetrators of these crimes.

In addition, Smith and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have introduced legislation that would call on the Commerce Department to stop U.S. companies from sending surveillance capabilities to Chinese police and other security apparatuses that enable ongoing persecution, including the state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting and monetization of human body parts for profit.

Bill S-240, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs) was unanimously passed by the Canadian Senate in October 2018 and was introduced to the House of Commons by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis. The bill would make it a criminal offense in Canada to receive an organ abroad without consent from the donor, and it would also make people involved in forced organ harvesting inadmissible to Canada. As of December 10, 2018, Bill S-240 is in committee after passing a second reading in the House.

A petition signed by more than 38,000 people was submitted to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic asking lawmakers to condemn the crimes against humanity being committed by the Chinese regime. In response to the petition, a public hearing was held on November 19, 2018 at Wallenstein Palace and a seminar in the Chamber of Deputies attended by experts, nongovernmental organizations, and victims of the persecution.

This is the first attempt by the Czech Republic to establish a new ethical standard regarding foreign transplantation surgery and punishment for organ harvesting crimes. The Senate has commissioned an analysis of legislative treatment in other countries by the Parliament Institute.

Several Czech politicians and experts support a draft amendment to the transplant law. Member of Parliament (MP) Mikuláš Peksa (Piráti) and Senator Marek Hilšer (Independent) are preparing a draft of a new organ transplant tourism law limiting transplant tourism to China similar to those already adopted by other countries. “It is a public secret that China’s booming transplant industry is the result of taking organs from political prisoners and the Chinese communist regime makes money from this. If we cannot directly influence these crimes, it is our moral duty to adopt legislation to combat organ transplant tourism. If we act against the illegal trade of animals, then we must not tolerate trade with human organs,” said Hilšer in a press release on Jan. 14. MP Peska and Sen.Hilšer will complete a draft of this law by June 2019.

One of China’s most famous transplant surgeons, Dong Jiahong, was disinvited from the November 2018 Haifa Economic Cooperation China–Israel Innovation and Investment Summit, a high-profile conference organized by the Chinese and Israeli governments. The organizers were shown evidence that the Chinese prison system holds prisoners of conscience: Falun Gong; Uighurs; House Christians; and Tibetans who comprise a pool of non-consenting living donors whose organs are explanted on operating room tables all over China by surgeons such as Dong.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) states that “Dong Jiahong is strongly suspected of extracting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.” Dong is executive president of Beijing’s Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, Tsinghua University and chief expert of the hepatobiliary and pancreatic center. Previously, Dong was head of hepatobiliary surgery at the elite 301 Hospital run by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.