An Urgent Message at Global Humanitarian Summit

Few know about organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience

It's happened before: governments killing their own citizens for political or spiritual beliefs. But it's never happened like this.
An Urgent Message at Global Humanitarian Summit
Ayi Zhou (R) teaches Falun Gong exercises during the Global Humanitarian Summit in Marietta, Ga., on March 19, 2016. (Mary Silver/Epoch Times)
Mary Silver

Dr. Frank Xie had an urgent message to share at the Global Humanitarian Summit in Marietta, Ga., on March 19. According to Xie, Falun Dafa or Falun Gong practitioners around the world follow the principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance. They practice gentle exercises and meditation. The practice is good for their health. They become better and kinder people by following the principles. But in China, the communist regime imprisons, tortures, and kills Falun Dafa practitioners. More than 3,900 deaths from the regime's persecution have been verified, but the real number is sure to be much higher, according to Xie.

He told his fellow humanitarians that news of government-sponsored organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners in China first emerged in 2006. Since the story first broke, multiple witnesses and a few participants have come forward. It is an unprecedented crime against humanity, according to Xie. He is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina—Aiken, and an author.

The Canadian human rights lawyers David Kilgour and David Matas published "Bloody Harvest," detailing the corroborating evidence of organ harvesting in China. Independent journalist Ethan Gutmann published "The Slaughter," which detailed what he and others learned about it over years of investigation. The 2013 documentary "Free China" won multiple awards. The documentary "Human Harvest: China's Illegal Organ Trade" won a Peabody award. The 2015 documentary "Hard to Believe" has the tagline "It's happened before: governments killing their own citizens for political or spiritual beliefs. But it's never happened like this."

Yet it is still a story not everyone knows. Xie's fellow Falun Gong practitioners had a booth for the three days of the summit. A big poster on the booth denounced China's state-sponsored organ harvesting. Sheets on a clipboard for people to sign up to learn more rapidly filled.

A mother, with her tall, quiet teenage daughter at her side, stopped at the booth. When she heard about organ harvesting, she began to weep. She asked what she could do. She wanted to act to end the atrocity. She said she plans to ask her representative, Hank Johnson, to cosponsor House Res. 343. She praised Mr. Johnson for his service to his constituents.

The resolution says Congress is "Expressing 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."

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced House Res. 343 last summer. As of March 24, it had 168 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors. The committees assigned to the resolution, Foreign Relations and Judiciary, sent it to the House for consideration for a vote on March 16.

My dream would be for even more representatives to cosponsor this. It's America's place in the world to speak out against human rights violations. But too often we have been slow or blind. We certainly have been too slow about this. I told the weeping, kind-hearted mother that I wept, too, when I first heard about organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. That was ten years ago.

It's ten years of relative media silence, and of false claims of reform in China. Xie has doggedly done his best to tell the story. So have my colleagues at Epoch Times, and many other good people.

I'm grateful to Dr. Neil Shulman for starting the summit. Neil "Doc Hollywood" Shulman founded the Global Humanitarian Summit, and his gentle, welcoming spirit shines through the annual event. An associate professor at Emory University, Shulman co-founded the "International Society of Hypertension in Blacks" and helped launch the journal Ethnicity & Disease and the Heart to Heart Program which brought children from developing countries to the United States for life-saving heart surgery," according to his Emory bio page. Here's a video of him speaking about the event. The Global Humanitarian Summit was a weekend of speakers, exhibits, and performances. The common thread uniting the participants was altruism.

Shulman has welcomed Xie to his events multiple times.

Mary Silver lives and works in Atlanta.

Mary Silver writes columns, grows herbs, hikes, and admires the sky. She likes critters, and thinks the best part of being a journalist is learning new stuff all the time. She has a Masters from Emory University, serves on the board of the Georgia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and belongs to the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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