March 19, 2016
The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) marked up H.Res. 343 on March 13. The resolution calls on the Chinese government to cease the practice of state-sanctioned organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, and to cooperate with investigations into these crimes. Currently, the resolution has 166 bipartisan cosponsors.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, “I strongly believe that this resolution is an important step in bringing a measure of accountability and transparency to what may be one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century: the 17-year effort to eradicate Falun Gong from China.”
New evidence that emerged this year, drawn directly from Chinese medical databases and hospital websites, indicates without question that the scale of the organ transplantation industry in the People’s Republic of China is far beyond what had previously been understood. With limited number of death-row prisoners, and extremely low rate of voluntary donation, the number of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience being killed for their organs could be much more than previously estimated.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) pointed out at the hearing that researchers David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann conducted detailed investigations and estimated that between 45,000 and 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs which were then sold for profit. “I’ve read those accounts and they are chilling,” said Rohrabacher. “Those estimates may now be much higher according to the forthcoming report by those three researchers.”
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) described the organ trade in China as “something out of a horror story.” He went on to say that, “Non-consensual organ harvesting represents a gross violation of human rights. And if this horrible abuse weren’t enough, we hear about victims being targeted for their religious beliefs, and of Chinese prison camps reaping profits off of harvesting these organs.”
“We cannot allow these crimes to continue,” declared Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who co-initiated H.Res. 343 with Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Ros-Lehtinin said, “By passing this resolution we can send a message to the Chinese regime, the U.S. medical community, and our State Department that we condemn China’s organ harvesting. We know that it’s still going on and we must do more to end this practice immediately.”