Washington D.C.—The United States House of Representatives unanimously passed an unprecedented resolution Monday, condemning forced organ removal from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China. House Resolution 343 (full text
) was co-sponsored by 185 Democrat and Republican members. Among other actions, it demands that the Chinese government immediately end the practice of forced organ removal and stop the persecution of Falun Gong, and calls on the U.S. State Department to provide more detailed analysis of the topic in its annual human rights report.
“China has been perpetuating … some of the most gruesome … human rights violations against the Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who introduced H.Res. 343 in June 2015. “The regime’s ghoulish and inhumane practice of... executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants... must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally.”
Referring to the resolution as a “very important piece of legislation,” Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) voiced his support, stating that “these allegations are particularly egregious: authorities at Chinese prisons targeting prisoners because of their religious beliefs and then making a profit by trafficking these victims’ organs. I cannot think of hardly anything that’s more disgusting than that.”
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) called forced organ harvesting "maybe the greatest crime of the 21st century," and cited independent investigations that estimate "45,000 to 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs."
H.Res. 343 expresses the U.S. House of Representatives’ concern “regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups."
It asserts that the “killing of religious or political prisoners for the purpose of selling their organs for transplant is an egregious and intolerable violation of the fundamental right to life.”
The resolution then:
- Condemns the practice of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting in China
- Calls on the Communist Party and Chinese government to immediately end organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience
- Demands an immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong, including the release of all Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience
- Encourages the U.S. medical community to raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China
- Calls on China to allow a credible, transparent, and independent investigation
- Calls on the U.S. State Department to conduct a more detailed analysis on state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in its annual Human Rights Report
- Calls on the U.S. State Department to report annually to Congress on the implementation of an existing law barring provision of visas to Chinese and other nationals engaged in coercive organ transplantation.
H.R. 343 is the fifth resolution passed by the U.S. Congress since 1999 condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group, but the first to focus explicitly on forced organ harvesting. It comes on the heels of a similar resolution passed by the European Parliament in December 2013 and legislative initiatives in Israel, Taiwan, and elsewhere, which seek to stem the flow of transplant tourism patients to China.
“This resolution is another critical step forward in the global campaign to end one of the most horrific human rights crimes of our time—state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from innocent prisoners of conscience in China, most of which are Falun Gong practitioners,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Erping Zhang. “We urge the Obama administration and the next U.S. president to take this resolution and its call to action to heart, implementing concrete steps to ensure the United States and its citizens are not complicit in the Communist Party’s crimes against humanity.”