China’s Forced Organ Harvesting Must Be Stopped

By Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich

On March 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

The bill, authored by Representative Chris Smith, targets the Chinese Communist Party’s state sponsored forced organ harvesting by imposing sanctions or severe criminal penalties on individuals who fund, sponsor, or facilitate this inhumane practice. As the Epoch Times reported, the passage of this legislation in the House, which received 413 votes, marks “the first non-symbolic legislative measure in the nation to counter the atrocity.” It now heads to the Senate.

In recent years, appalling reports, testimonies, and evidence have emerged that reveal the Chinese Communist Party’s horrific practice of forced organ harvesting

In 2000, communist China’s organ transplant industry began to dramatically grow, eventually reducing wait times for a procedure down to weeks or days. By comparison, patients in most developed countries wait months or years for a procedure. Over the years, Communist Chinese officials have attempted to claim that their massive source of organ supply comes from a “voluntary organ donation system” or from death row prisoners. 

But none of these apparent explanations expose the cruel realities of the Chinese Communist Party’s forced organ harvesting industry.

It has now become clear that China’s $1 billion massive organ transplant trade, which conducts an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplant procedures in China’s hospitals each year, is fueled by the exploitation of prisoners of conscience. 

A 2018 investigation conducted by a seven-member international and independent China Tribunal concluded, “The Tribunal’s members are certain—unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt—that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.”

Practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been banned in communist China since 1999, as well as Uyghurs and other Central Asians, who are enduring an ongoing genocide in western China, are particularly targeted for their organs.  

According to Representative Smith, who has chaired more than 85 congressional hearings and markups on communist China’s human rights abuses, the Chinese Communist Party’s forced organ harvesting “is also an apparent form of punishment, and indeed a tool of genocide meant to cull minority populations deemed, quote, ‘undesirable’ by the State.”

Last year, Representative Smith chaired a hearing, with numerous witnesses providing alarming testimony, that further underscored the urgent need for congressional action.

Matthew Robertson, a doctoral researcher for the Australian National University, described an analysis that used thousands of Chinese-language medical papers to identify surgeons who execute human beings for their organs, in violation of standard procedures for establishing brain death.

According to Robertson’s testimony, “Seventy-one papers gave explicit descriptions of surgeons appearing to violate the dead donor rule while procuring hearts from prisoners. In plain language, the papers appear to show that the donors were alive at the time of surgery and were killed by the transplant surgeons in the process of heart extraction.”

Robertson’s findings appear to correlate with the experience of former surgeon Dr. Enver Tohti Bughda, who testified during the hearing that he was commanded to extract organs from a live prisoner. 

While beginning the operation, Bughda said that he could see blood, which indicated that the heart was still beating and that the executed prisoner was alive. At that moment, Bughda said, “My chief surgeon whispered to me, ‘Hurry up!’ His word was the command and also, I felt it was a kind of assurance that I did this by his order.”

As more troubling truths come to light, and as the U.S. House of Representatives moves to issue deserved repercussions, communist China has again attempted to issue denials. 

In an email to an aide for Representative Smith after the passage of the House bill, a communist Chinese diplomat claimed that the forced organ harvesting allegations are a “farce” and a “scam” – but these senseless denials couldn’t be further from the truth.

I encourage you to call your Senators and urge them to pass the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023. The United States Congress must resolve to penalize and hold accountable those who are complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s abhorrent forced organ harvesting enterprise and human rights abuses.