SAN DIEGO—The state senator spoke with passion about what really gives meaning to public service. “There are very few issues in our lives that we can stand strong and really make a difference,” said California State Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon). “And standing up for human rights, no matter where they are in the world, I believe is that issue.”
Anderson had acted on his words by sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR 10) in July. In speaking at a panel on human organ trafficking at San Diego State University (SDSU) on Nov. 1, he was working to gain support for his resolution.
He and his fellow panelists also spoke at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) on Nov. 2, with both events hosted by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging.
Hon. David Kilgour, Canada’s former Secretary of State, and international human rights lawyer David Matas, joined Senator Anderson to raise public awareness about an unprecedented form of evil on this planet—forcibly extracting vital organs from innocent human beings—an extreme form of organ trafficking that has been industrialized by the Chinese communist regime.
SJR 10 would condemn any government-sanctioned persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, including forced organ harvesting, in China or elsewhere. After it received bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was tabled by the Senate leadership immediately after a three-page letter from the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco was received. With the legislature in recess, SJR 10 remains stuck in the Rules Committee.
‘Consequences to the crimes against humanity’
“When the allegation surfaced in 2006 that innocent Falun Gong practitioners in China were killed for their organs, Mr. Matas and I were asked to conduct an independent investigation,” Kilgour said.
“I was a prosecutor for 10 years, so I know something about evidence. Our investigation found evidence of large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.… Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers, corneas, and hearts, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries,” Kilgour said.
Kilgour and Matas published their investigation report, “Bloody Harvest,” in 2006. Because of their work, Kilgour and Matas were both nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. They have since lectured in over 55 countries about their findings.
In 2016, along with Ethan Gutmann, investigative journalist and author of “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem,” Kilgour and Matas published “An Update” to their original report. The updated report is 680 pages long with 2,400 footnotes, 80 percent of which came directly from Chinese sources, according to Matas.
Kilgour said, “In our update last year, we concluded there were a minimum of 60,000-100,000 transplants taking place in China every year. And if you take the lower figure of 60,000 and divide it by 365 days in the year it works out to 164 people a day in China are being killed for their organs.”
Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that adherents say strengthens and improves mental and physical health through meditation, gentle exercises, and living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Taught for free and spread through word of mouth, the practice attracted over 70 million people in China by early 1999, according to a state survey; practitioners say 100 million had taken up the practice by then.
The Chinese communist regime, fearing the number of people doing Falun Gong and the attractiveness of its teachings, launched a massive eradication campaign against the practice in July 1999, which continues today.
“It’s important that the Chinese government knows that there’s consequences to the crimes against humanity, which they’ve been committing. They shouldn’t be granted impunity, and people shouldn’t be turning a blind eye.” said Matas.
Systematic Screening of Healthy People
Other panelists included China scholar Dr. Shizhong Chen and former judge Grace Li.
“Ever since the crime of murderous organ extraction from live Falun Gong practitioners was first exposed in 2005, China has been categorically denying it. One fact that not even the Chinese communist regime can deny is that as of today, China still does not have a database of patients who need organ transplantation,” Chen said.
“The U.S, Canada, Europe and most parts of the world that perform ethical organ transplantations maintain and even share databases of organ transplantation patients. The people in these databases are benefited in times of unpredictable tragedies. Yet China builds a completely different kind of database by systematically screening healthy people. What predictable tragedies wait for those who are in such databases?”
“All these should send a chill down our spines, and our innate response should be an outrage. Yet, Sen. Anderson just gave us an example of how even our outrage is suppressed by the very regime that caused our outrage in the first place. This should send a second chill down our spine,” Chen said.
Once a highly respected judge in China, Li was jailed and tortured for her belief in Falun Gong. “I was sent to a forced labor camp without a trial. I worked 16-17 hours a day.”
She witnessed other jailed Falun Gong practitioners being tortured and blood tested. “Although at the time,” she said, “no one knew why. Only after did I realize that they were harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners.”
Support for SJR 10
In an interview with NTD, Matas said “What we see in China is something we haven’t seen before. We do see organ transplant abuses elsewhere but it isn’t institutionalized, industrialized, used as a state policy anywhere else but in China.”
Anderson urged the approximately 200 attendees to sign his petition in support of SJR 10. “I want legislators to unite and stand against this holocaust, as we have always come together to stand against other genocides.”
“That’s what I am going to be remembered for,” Anderson said. “It won’t be whether I raised your taxes or lowered your taxes, or fixed your roads or didn’t fix your roads, it will be because I stood on the righteous side of humanity and so I am asking people, if you agree with me, sign this petition to support our resolution. If you sign up and support, my colleagues will see there is great momentum for this.”
Mr. Eric Frost, director of the Homeland Security Graduate Program at SDSU, gave opening remarks at the Nov. 1 panel. He encouraged the audience members to “keep an open mind” and “really think about what each one of us can do.”
Upon hearing about the SJR 10 story, many audience members were shocked. One SDSU Senior majoring in Computer Science and Political Science said, “I was wondering why China was singled out on the organ trafficking issue. Now I know.”
Another recent graduate said, “We can’t allow the Chinese government to dictate our own state affairs.”
Dr. Manuel Belandres, the man behind the 2013 Medical Society of Virginia Resolution condemning forced organ harvesting by the Chinese regime, said, “SJR 10 should receive bipartisan support. I would want to know where my State Senator stands on this issue.”
Retired Judge Quentin Kopp: ‘I should like to testify’
A few days prior to the panels, retired judge Quentin L. Kopp, who served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and in the California State Senate, wrote a letter to Sen. Anderson regarding SJR 10.
Kopp wrote, “I know the subject matter well. I have expended time and effort to secure rights of public assembly in San Francisco for members of Falun Gong, and am aware of the suppression of their rights by undue influence of the People’s Republic of China upon the Mayor and other San Francisco public officials. As a member of the CA First Amendment Coalition Board of Directors, I am indignant about the discrimination against Falun Gong members in the use of public spaces and the persecution of members in China by the national government. I surmise SJR 10 is now a ‘two-year bill.’ I should like to be notified of further committee hearings during the recess and next year regarding SJR 10 so that I may try to testify in support.”
The letter was also sent to the Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon, Governor Brown, and other public officials.