Austria, Belgium Stand Up to Beijing’s Forced Organ Harvesting Practices

June 27, 2020 Updated: July 8, 2020

Beijing’s grisly practice of live organ harvesting again came into the spotlight in June as two European countries joined a chorus of opposition against the illicit trade.

For decades, the Chinese regime has faced mounting allegations that it is killing prisoners of conscience en masse to sell their organs for profit.

“We are deeply concerned about this. It is simply unbearable,” Gudrun Kugler, a member of Austria’s parliament, said on June 23, after the parliament’s human rights committee unanimously passed her resolution to combat the trafficking of people and organs.

“Time and again reports of illegal trafficking of human organs have surfaced in the People’s Republic of China that contradict all human rights and ethical standards,” said a statement from Kugler’s office.

Ethnic and religious minorities, including Uyghur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, and Christians, are among the groups particularly affected by such abuses, she added.

The resolution asks for the Austrian government to protect organ trafficking victims by cooperating with international bodies, such as the World Health Assembly, the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Council of Europe, and to provide support for this cause whenever possible.

The Austrian parliament made the decision in response to a petition by citizens last October, which stated, “We Austrians do not want organs from China for which innocent people have been killed,” according to the statement.

In June 2019, an independent London-based people’s tribunal, after a yearlong investigation considering testimony from more than 50 witnesses, found clear evidence that forced organ harvesting has taken place in China for years and “on a significant scale.”

“The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, [and] that more may suffer in similar ways,” Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, chairman of the tribunal, said in delivering the judgment. Nice previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes.

The tribunal’s final judgment released in March said there was “no evidence” such transplant abuse has stopped, calling it the “greatest possible breach of a person’s human rights.”

On June 12, Belgium also adopted a resolution condemning the continuing practice of forced organ harvesting in China. In a bill passed in April 2019, the country officially banned its citizens from traveling abroad for organ transplants. Violators could face up to 20 years in prison and a 1.2 million euro ($1.35 million) fine.

Epoch Times Photo
Falun Gong practitioners hold up yellow banners in a parade in Hong Kong on Dec. 9, 2018. (Li Yi/The Epoch Times)

The Falun Dafa Information Center welcomed the gesture from the Austrian parliament, saying that the resolution has come at “an important moment” in light of China’s recent power grab of imposing a national security law for Hong Kong. The new law includes the establishment of a Beijing security agency in the former British colony.

In a June 25 press release in German, the center expressed concern for Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong, who “may soon fall victim to systematic organ theft.”

The disturbing issue has been an ongoing international concern since 2006, when whistleblowers first brought it to light.

Last August, the 168-member U.S. Republican National Committee unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the “vile practice.” In May, a response to the “organ genocide” was one of 12 recommendations that a Washington watchdog group, the Committee on the Present Danger: China, presented to President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress.

The United States, Canada, Czech Republic, and Italy are among a growing list of countries that have initiated or adopted measures to curb organ transplant abuses in recent years.

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