The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) marked up H.Res. 343 on March 16. The resolution calls on the Chinese government to cease the practice of state-sanctioned organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, and to cooperate with investigations into these crimes. Currently, the resolution has 166 bipartisan cosponsors.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, “I strongly believe that this resolution is an important step in bringing a measure of accountability and transparency to what may be one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century: the 17-year effort to eradicate Falun Gong from China.”
Congressman Smith pointed out at the hearing that researchers David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann conducted detailed investigations, and estimated that between 45,000 and 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs, which were then sold for profit. “I’ve read those accounts and they are chilling,” said Smith. “Those estimates may now be much higher according to the forthcoming report by those three researchers.”
New evidence that emerged this year, drawn directly from Chinese medical databases and hospital websites, indicates without question that the scale of the organ transplantation industry in the People’s Republic of China is far beyond what had previously been understood. With limited numbers of death-row prisoners, and an extremely low rate of voluntary donations, the number of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience being killed for their organs is likely much higher than previously estimated.
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) described the organ trade in China as “something out of a horror story.” He went on to say, “Non-consensual organ harvesting represents a gross violation of human rights. And if this horrible abuse weren’t enough, we hear about victims being targeted for their religious beliefs, and of Chinese prison camps reaping profits off of harvesting these organs.”
“This resolution will make sure that we put everybody on notice that this is not going to be ignored anymore,” said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), adding that “the American people are going to be informed that in fact we have developed a trading relationship with the world’s worst human rights abuser.”
Rohrabacher said that by passing resolutions like H.Res.343, “we are proclaiming to the good people of China that we are on their side, and that we too would condemn this type of horrific activity that does not reflect the moral standards of the people of China, of the people of the United States, or decent people anywhere in the world.”
“We cannot allow these crimes to continue,” declared Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who co-initiated H.Res. 343 with Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Ros-Lehtinin said, “By passing this resolution we can send a message to the Chinese regime, the U.S. medical community, and our State Department, that we condemn China’s organ harvesting. We know that it’s still going on, and we must do more to end this practice immediately.”