The European Parliament’s resolution on unethical organ harvesting in China
is succeeded by a chain of international reactions
The determination of the European Parliament to act against forced organ harvesting from prisoners and prisoners of conscience in China has influenced people and governments worldwide.
On December 12, 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting from prisoners, especially from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, and called for a EU investigation into the practice. This action was supported by MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament. The EU resolution, coming just days after a DAFOH delegation of physicians hand delivered 1.5 million petition signatures against the practice to the UNHRC, has sent a clear-cut demand to the CCP to stop this crime against humanity without delay.
As if buoyed by the EU Resolution governments and organizations around the world have recently taken unprecedented action. This global response followed similar resolutions by parliaments, professional associations and lawmakers.
In mid December a U.S. congressional sub-committee on Asia & Pacific adopted a parallel resolution, House Resolution 281, putting the U.S. Congress on record as condemning the forced harvesting of organs in China that was unanimously passed out of subcommittee.
In February, the state of Illinois in the U.S. passed House Resolution 730 urging the government to investigate organ transplants in China, and to prohibit any doctors who performed transplants using organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners from gaining entry into the U.S.
On March 12, 2014, Canada’s representative on human rights to the United Nations, Anne-Tamara Lorre, raised the issue of organ harvesting in China without consent at the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva reiterated the recent European Parliament resolution and the urgency to advocate for prisoners of conscience in China and mentioned the 1.5 million signature petition addressed to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in 2013.
Canadians remain deeply concerned that Falun Gong practitioners and other religious worshippers in China face persecution, and that organ transplants took place without free and informed consent of the donor.
Mrs. Lorre acknowledged reports of organ harvesting in China. “We remain concerned that Falun Gong practitioners and other religious worshippers in China face persecution, and reports that organ transplants take place without free and informed consent of the donor are troubling.” A week later, the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China was again raised before the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Vancouver-based NGO Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada. On behalf of the NGO Vani Selvarajah addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva during March.
On March 19, 2014, the influential European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) endorsed the EU Resolution and EESC President Henri Malosse hosted a conference entitled “Organ Harvesting in China: Europe must act now” at the EESC in Brussels. President Malosse called the organ harvesting practice in China a “scandalous” practice, a disgrace for humanity and that it should end immediately.
An Italian Senate commission on human right passed a resolution in March declaring that the Chinese Communist Party has harvested the organs of tens of thousands of prisoners, and called on the Italian government to take a range of measures against the practice.
The Extraordinary Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, a committee within the Italian Senate, heard testimony in December from organ harvesting investigator, Attorney David Matas. The Italian resolution on organ harvesting in China, which has binding effect on the legislators, calls to reconsider training programs for Chinese doctors, to collect further information about the organ harvesting practices in China through diplomatic and other channels, and to prosecute, in accordance with international conventions, individuals involved in organ trafficking.
In March 2014, as reported by China Daily, Huang Jiefu, director of the China Organ Donation Committee and former vice-minister of health in China announced that China is set to further strengthen the regulation of organ donations from executed prisoners and integrate it into the existing public voluntary organ donation and allocation system. Despite Herculean efforts by the international medical community to dissuade Huang, his resolve remained unchanged, “By doing that, organs from death-row inmates used for life-saving operations are secured in a fair, transparent, and corruption-free manner,” he said.
What we see in 2014 is a growing awareness about the unethical medical practices in China which the international community is no longer willing to tolerate. End of February 2014, the Transplantation Society (TTS) and the Declaration of Istanbul Custody Group (DICG) wrote an open letter to the Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a globalized world, where education, research and patient treatment is shared internationally, knowing about transplant abuse carries the responsibility to act. This moral obligation is not exclusive to China. It is a matter of appreciating our own ethical values. This is manifested in the increasing international reactions.