WASHINGTON—The Chinese regime has been killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs for more than 20 years and the United States needs to step up its efforts to end the despicable practice, according to a panel of experts.
Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by advocacy group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) on Nov. 19, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) condemned the regime’s forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, calling it a “heinous and barbaric” practice.
“The last time the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the persecution of Falun Gong was about four years ago,” he said, referring to H.Res. 343. “We have had a lot of turnover in terms of members of Congress and staff since then. So for many people, this could be an entirely new issue to them.”
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual practice that incorporates four gentle standing exercises, meditation, and moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The practice has been severely persecuted by the Chinese regime for the past two decades. Hundreds of thousands of adherents have been thrown into prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers, where many have been tortured in an effort to force them to renounce their faith, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
Chabot said he’s working on new legislation that would hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong adherents.
“The legislation isn’t complete yet. We’re still in negotiations, but I hope that we will soon have a bill,” Chabot said.
Allegations of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners for transplant surgery first surfaced in 2006. Former Member of Canadian Parliament David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas conducted independent investigations and published reports that substantiated the allegations. Investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann also conducted independent investigations and published a book on the subject, called “The Slaughter.”
Last summer, an independent people’s tribunal based in London, called the China Tribunal, concluded following its investigation that forced organ harvesting has taken place in China for years “on a significant scale,” with Falun Gong practitioners as the “principal source” of human organs.
The tribunal said the grisly practice has caused “many people to die horribly and unnecessarily.”
Matt Salmon, vice president of government affairs at Arizona State University and a former U.S. representative, urged more concrete action to stop organ trafficking.
“I’m not sure that just by putting out bills that condemn practices is enough. I think we have to have legislation that actually has teeth behind it,” he said.
Salmon suggested that one way to crack down on the practice is to impose sanctions on Americans purchasing or using harvested organs from China, as well as businesses that are engaged in the practice.
“If we really crack down on it here in the United States, it will make a big difference,” he said.
China is the only country that’s known to conduct state-run organ harvesting, according to Weldon Gilcrease, DAFOH’s deputy director.
“It’s really the only place where this can happen,” he said during the discussion. “You have a country and a government that … operates the health institutions, judiciary, prison system, labor camps, military, and military hospitals. It really has its hands in everything so it’s able to orchestrate forced organ harvesting.”
The CCP’s atrocities should have been investigated by the United Nations, according to Hamid Sabi, a lawyer who served as counsel to the China Tribunal.
“However, an unfortunate situation in the present-day political environment is that because of the power of major states like China, it’s very difficult to force any U.N. organization to investigate such atrocities,” he said during the discussion.