The UK also passed a piece of legislation aimed at stopping the crime.
by Marco Respinti
On May 5, 2022, in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament (EP) passed an urgency resolution to condemn forced organ harvesting in China. The resolution was adopted by show of hands, so the number of voters and the rationale of votes were not officially recorded. In the meantime, Falun Gong practitioners‒who for decades have been the privileged victims of this horror, and whose fate is now sadly shared by other ethnic and religious groups‒peacefully demonstrated outside to “urge the urgency.”
Among other provisions, the EP:
- expressed “its serious concerns about the reports of persistent, systematic, inhumane and state‑sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners in the People’s Republic of China, and, more specifically, from Falun Gong practitioners;”
- considered “that the practice of organ harvesting from living prisoners on death row and prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China may amount to crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; urges the People’s Republic of China to sign and accede to the Rome Statute;”
- called on “the Chinese authorities to promptly respond to the allegations of organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;”
- expressed “its concerns over the lack of independent oversight as to whether prisoners or detainees provide valid consent to organ donation; denounces the lack of information from the Chinese authorities on reports that the families of deceased detainees and prisoners are being prevented from claiming their bodies;”
- urged “the Chinese authorities to request and ensure the free and informed consent of prisoners or detainees in connection with medical examinations and to adopt a regulatory framework, in line with international conventions, for a voluntary and transparent organ donation system;”
- called for “the EU and its Member States to raise the issue of organ harvesting in China at every Human Rights Dialogue; insists that the EU and its Member States publicly condemn organ transplant abuses in China; calls on the Member States to take the necessary actions in order to prevent transplant tourism to China by their citizens and to raise awareness of this issue among their citizens travelling to China;” welcoming “the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to China; urges the UN to continue its investigation into organ trafficking during this visit;”
- called for “the EU and its Member States to raise the issue of forced organ harvesting in its engagement with third countries, especially with its partners in the Gulf region, where Chinese transplant centres have advertised ‘halal organs’ from Uyghurs and Muslim minorities in China;”
- required “that the Chinese authorities grant open, unfettered and meaningful access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the mandate holders of the special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council to visit Xinjiang; asks the Chinese Government to cooperate with the UN organisations on this matter; urges the UN Human Rights Council to deal with the issue of forced organ harvesting as a matter of priority;”
- and instructed “its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the People’s Republic of China and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”
This new decision builds on two previous EP urgency resolutions, one passed in December 2013 and another adopted in the form of a written declaration in September 2016.
Few horrors committed by the CCP-led regime are so blatant as forced organ harvesting, an industry created by the Communist state to both harshly repress dissidents and make easy money at the expenses of decency and human rights.
The findings of the China Tribunal speak for all. China has not been able, despite many vicious attempts, to refuse the documents produced through the years by such leading NGOs as Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) and the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China. And the great effort of the Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting (to which Bitter Winter is proud to have been called to contribute) served as an indirect basis for the new resolution.
Indeed, two key documents‒both examined by Bitter Winter‒have been submitted to MEPs, facilitating the drafting of the EP text. The first is a special report written by a Canadian human rights lawyer, David Matas, a celebrity in the fight for truth and justice on organ harvesting, alongside the late David Kilgour (1941-2022) and Ethan Gutmann. The second is a new important report by World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, based on a March 22 and an April 9, 2022, update of research in the field: it in fact which includes transcripts of telephone conversations with Chinese healthcare workers admitting that they still use Falun Gong practitioners in China as live organ “donors.”
The EP urgency resolution was an initiative of Belgian MEP Maria Arena, of the Socialist Party, later joined by Dutch MEP Peter van Dalen, of the Christian Union party, well-known for his great attention to forced organ harvesting.
The May 5 vote in the European Parliament follows another important event: the unopposed approval of a new British piece of legislation aimed at stopping that very same crime in China. The amendment to the UK’s new Health and Care Bill, passed on April 28, now importantly holds British residents accountable if they are involved, in any way, with organ harvesting and trafficking.
As Health Minister Edward Argar said during the debate on March 30 in Westmister, “[t]he amendment would encompass paying for the supply of an organ, seeking to find someone willing to supply an organ for payment or initiating or negotiating any commercial arrangement for an organ to be supplied. Such things are already illegal, and we are extending the territoriality of that for English, Welsh and Scottish residents.” Even UK companies risk legal action if they are found to have links with harvested organ trafficking in Communist China.