US Congress unanimously passes resolution, joins other federal bodies,
state governments and individual legislators in addressing the issue of
forced organ harvesting in China
On the evening of June 13, 2016, the US House of Representatives passed House Resolution 343 (H.Res.343) by unanimous consent. The resolution expresses concerns over China’s organ procurement from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, including from “large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.” The legislation notes that the Chinese government continues to “deny reports that many organs are taken without the consent of prisoners yet at the same time prevents independent verification of its transplant system” and that “the organ transplantation system in China does not comply with the World Health Organization’s requirement of transparency and traceability in organ procurement pathways.” Among its recommendations, H.Res.343 requests that the House of Representatives encourages the United States medical community to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China.
In her comments before H.Res.343 was taken to a vote, the legislation’s initiator, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), referred to China’s killing of innocent people for profit, “a sickening and unethical practice [that] must stop.” One of the resolution’s co-sponsors and an outspoken critic of China’s human rights abuses, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) exclaimed, “I strongly believe that the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong will be seen as one of the great horrors.”
Many in the medical community were reassured by the vote, which occurred during the convening of the American Transplant Congress in Boston. Attendees who heard the news at the DAFOH booth there expressed their relief. A nephrologist from Berlin exclaimed, “It’s about time!” and a transplant administrator from Boston noted her disgust in what the Chinese government is doing and that she was “so happy” that the vote was by unanimous consent.
On June 14th, the day after H.Res.343 passed, Chinese Embassy Spokesman Zhu Haiquan stated that the allegations of forced organ harvesting were fabricated, but did not provide further data to support his claim. The spokesman’s statement calls to mind the case of Dr. Wang Guoqi who, after testifying before Congress in 2001 about organ harvesting from executed prisoners, was called a liar by the Chinese embassy the following day. Four years later, then Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu admitted that more than 90% of transplanted organs were harvested from executed prisoners, rendering the accusation that Dr. Guoqi was lying, to be a lie itself.
On June 13th, the US House of Representatives also passed H.R.3694, Strategy To Oppose Predatory Organ Trafficking Act or the STOP Organ Trafficking Act, which was introduced in the House on October 6, 2015. The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, calls on the Department of State to address and prevent organ trafficking.