Bill passed by US to counter China’s forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong followers brings spotlight back on the issue

Taking aim at Beijing’s gruesome practice of forcefully harvesting organs and selling them for profit, the United States passed a bill Tuesday to counter the Chinese regime’s long-running campaign of persecution against the spiritual group Falun Gong.

The bipartisan Falun Gong Protection Act (H.R. 4132), introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) with 18 co-sponsors, was passed by a voice vote on Tuesday (June 25).

According to The Epoch Times, the Falun Gong Protection Act is the first US legislative bill addressing the Chinese communist regime’s brutal suppression of the faith to advance through the chamber.

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), which is a modern qigong discipline combining slow-moving exercises and meditation with a moral philosophy, has been the subject of a relentless campaign in communist China designed to eradicate the faith.

For the last 25 years, adherents of the meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance — numbering up to 100 million in 1999 according to estimates at the time — have faced lengthy imprisonment, torture, forced labour, and forced organ harvesting by the Chinese authorities.

According to the report, the Falun Gong Protection Act, which still needs Senate approval, calls for “an immediate end” to the persecution.

If signed into law, it will require the US to shun any cooperation with China in the organ transplantation field and to deploy targeted sanctions and visa restrictions to address the persecution of Falun Gong on the international stage, as per reports.

Rep. Scott Perry said on the House floor on Tuesday (June 25) that having to discuss the issue of systematic forced organ harvesting in 2024 is itself “very frightening.”

“If you’ve got the money in China, there is no waiting list for you to get an organ. … There’s a ready supply of these organs,” Rep. Perry said.

Scott Perry also described the bill as the “first binding commitment by Congress to take strong legal action against the persecution and forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong, making Falun Gong the centerpiece of legislation — an action long overdue after 25 years.”

The Falun Gong Protection Act would also mandate sanctions on Chinese officials, military leaders, or others who are “knowingly responsible for or complicit in, or have directly or indirectly engaged in, the involuntary harvesting of organs” in China, the media report said.

According to the publication, anyone on the sanctions list would be unable to enter the United States or engage in US-based transactions and would have their current visas revoked.

The bill also carries a civil penalty of up to $250,000 and a criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison for offenders, as per reports.

Under the Falun Gong Protection bill, the secretary of state, the secretary of health and human services, and the director of the National Institutes of Health would need to determine whether the persecution of Falun Gong constitutes an “atrocity” under the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 and find out how much the United States grant money has supported organ transplantation in China.

“The widespread, systematic, state-sponsored persecution of the Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party leadership of the PRC constitutes a clear violation of Falun Gong practitioners’ basic human rights and may constitute genocide,” the legislation’s text reads as accessed by Epoch Times.

According to the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in the United States, organ transplantation in China began with a kidney transplant in 1960, and during this time, organs were primarily sourced from executed prisoners.

In 2005, at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting, the Chinese government pledged to reform its organ transplantation system, which previously included few deceased donor organ transplants, and transition to a voluntary, citizen-based organ donation programme.

Later in 2015, the China Human Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee officially announced the discontinuation of organ donation from executed prisoners, and voluntary organ donation by citizens after death was now the only legal source of deceased organ transplantation in China.

Despite these optimistic reforms, concerns of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience persist, as claimed by the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Allegations surfaced in 2006 that Falun Gong exercise group practitioners were being forced to undergo live organ harvesting in China, effectively being murdered in the process of organ procurement.

Canadian attorneys and human rights activists David Matas and David Kilgour led an investigation that uncovered 41,500 unaccounted for organ transplants in five years, from 2000 to 2005, as reported by the Markkula Centre.

These transplants did not have identifiable donor sources, such as willing family members or brain-dead donors, suggesting that transplanted organs could have come from prisoners of conscience, reports said.

This discovery, in addition to witness testimonies, led Matas & Kilgour to verify these allegations: imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners were executed and their organs involuntarily harvested, and 18 years later, these concerns remain unchanged, according to the Markkula Centre.

The Epoch Times said it first reported on organ harvesting in China in 2006 after eyewitnesses came forward alleging that killing for organs was taking place in Chinese hospitals and underground facilities.

After the London-based China Tribunal concluded in 2019 that the abuse had been taking place in China on a significant scale, with Falun Gong practitioners as the main source of organs, the issue has since gained more attention.

Over the past two years, three US states have enacted laws banning health insurers from funding organ transplant surgeries in China, while the United States Congress, United Nations-affiliated experts, and the European Parliament have publicly decried the gruesome practice, the media report said.

The House, in 2023, overwhelmingly passed its first bill addressing forced organ harvesting in general, as per reports.






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