US ‘Will Continue to Focus’ on China’s Forced Organ Harvesting: State Department

US ‘Will Continue to Focus’ on China’s Forced Organ Harvesting: State Department
Falun Gong practitioners walk in a parade in Brooklyn, N.Y., highlighting the Chinese regime's persecution of their faith on Feb. 26, 2023.(Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)
Eva Fu
3/20/2023
Updated:
3/27/2023

WASHINGTON—China’s state-sponsored forced organ harvesting continues to be a concern for the United States, a State Department official told reporters on March 20.

The communist regime’s systematic act of forcibly taking organs from prisoners of conscience for sale—which first came to light around 2006 after several whistleblowers came forward to The Epoch Times—has increasingly drawn attention in recent years. The European Parliament, as well as dozens of U.S. states and cities, have issued resolutions condemning the abuse, and federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have recently introduced legislation that seeks to hold perpetrators accountable.

Erin Barclay, the State Department’s acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said she’s aware of the congressional legislative proposal, and pointed to a section in the department’s newly released human rights report highlighting the issue.

“We will continue to focus on that as an issue on a broad spectrum of human rights and trafficking issues going forward where it comes up,” she said, in response to a question from The Epoch Times at a March press briefing accompanying the release of the report.

“The human rights situation in China is something that we are regularly raising with partner states bilaterally and in multilateral settings where China is present,” Barclay said later in the briefing.

“China was violating the ‘dead donor rule’ that an organ donor must be formally declared dead before any organs are removed,” the report states, citing a peer-reviewed research paper published in the American Journal of Transplantation in April 2022.

“The authors analyzed 2,838 papers from Chinese-language transplant publications and found in 71 cases that the cause of death was the organ transplant itself, carried out before doctors had made a legitimate determination of brain death.”

The findings constitute an accidental admission from the Chinese doctors that they are engaging in forced organ harvesting, the research paper’s co-author, Dr. Jacob Lavee, told The Epoch Times at the time. He is the president of the Israel Society of Transplantation.

“They have procured organs from people who are not proclaimed dead, meaning they became the executioners,” he said.

Falun Dafa adherents carry banners raising awareness about the persecution of fellow practitioners in China, during a march through the center of Warsaw, Poland, on Sept. 9, 2022. (Mihut Savu/The Epoch Times)
Falun Dafa adherents carry banners raising awareness about the persecution of fellow practitioners in China, during a march through the center of Warsaw, Poland, on Sept. 9, 2022. (Mihut Savu/The Epoch Times)
According to findings from an independent tribunal, the principal victims of forced organ harvesting are practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that practices meditative exercises and follows the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Falun Gong has been the target of a brutal suppression campaign by the regime since 1999, with adherents experiencing forced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and slave labor. Millions of detained Falun Gong practitioners have thus become the nonconsenting victims of the regime’s forced organ harvesting.

Human rights defenders attempting to lend legal assistance to persecution victims also have faced increased retribution.

Chinese human rights lawyer Liang Xiaojun lost his license for defending Falun Gong practitioners, the State Department report notes.

Among the political prisoners identified in the human rights report was Falun Gong adherent Bian Lichao, a former middle school teacher from northern China’s Hebei Province who was sentenced in 2012 to 13 years in prison. His wife, who didn’t practice Falun Gong, was jailed for publicizing details of authorities’ persecution of their family, and died in 2020 while in prison as a result of abdominal fluid buildup, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-website that serves as a clearinghouse for the persecution cases.

Their daughter was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after unfurling a banner that read “I want to see my father,” Minghui reported. She was 23 at the time of her arrest in March 2014.

Emel Akan contributed to this report. 
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]
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