A Virginia county on Jan. 27 unanimously adopted a resolution condemning forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.
County officials especially highlighted the plight of practitioners in the Falun Gong spiritual group.
While “there has been little media coverage of this problem,” dozens of residents in the state’s Frederick County have come forward to voice concerns, the resolution said.
“I think it’s of use to all members of the Frederick County community to know what is involved in doing business of that kind with China,” said Shawnee District Supervisor David D. Stegmaier before the resolution was adopted.
“[W]e strongly condemn the illegal and immoral organ harvesting being conducted at the direction of and under the protection of the Government of the communist People’s Republic of China,” it added. Copies of the resolution will be passed to the county’s representative to the Virginia General Assembly and the Virginia delegation to the U.S. Congress.
Around 220 residents from Frederick County have signed a petition in support of the resolution.
For years, China has been one of the top destinations for transplant tourism.
In recent years, Falun Gong adherents have sought to raise awareness about China’s forced organ harvesting through distributing informational flyers and gathering petition signatures.
Stegmaier, introducing the resolution to the board, said he wants to “acknowledge the Falun Gong members for their courage and their persistence in letting the world know about this travesty.”
Falun Gong practitioner Alex Wang said that the resolution was both “very timely” and necessary. Organ harvesting, he said, is “one of the most heinous methods the Chinese Communist Party uses in its massive and ongoing religious persecution.”
“Harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners has set a precedent in China, if it remains unchallenged, it may well be used against other groups, such as Uyghurs in Xinjiang … and cost more innocent lives,” Wang said.
Tiny Tang, also a local Falun Gong practitioner, thanked Frederick County for “taking this step to save lives and support human rights.” She said she knew of a resident who received a kidney transplant offer from China for $50,000, but eventually rejected it because “finding a matching organ in such a short period of time was suspicious.”
“Your resolution will help reduce this type of black market activity in our county,” she said.
Virginia officials have been vocal about China’s organ harvesting issue.