Joint NGO Letter Urges US Senate to Pass the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act
Click HERE to view the original letter.
The Honorable Ben Cardin
Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable James Risch
Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations
483 Russell Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Cardin and Ranking Member Risch,
The undersigned civil society groups, religious freedom advocates, trade unions, and human rights solidarity groups, urge you to act on S.761, the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, which passed in the House (H.R. 1154) this March in an overwhelming 412-2 vote.
The landmark legislation authorizes the US Secretary of State to deny passports and visas to any individuals involved in illegal organ trafficking. It also mandates annual reporting by the US State Department on forced organ harvesting in foreign countries, and sanctions on individuals and entities that facilitate organ harvesting. If signed into law, it would represent the strongest legislation ever introduced by any country to combat organ trafficking.
Forced organ harvesting is a gruesome human rights abuse that occurs around the globe but most acutely in China, where for decades, tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed on demand for their organs, in a lucrative trade thought to be worth over $1 billion per year. Forced organ harvesting and organ trafficking are interlinked crimes where organs are taken from victims through coercion or without informed consent and sold illegally. This means that patients undergoing organ transplants abroad are at-risk of receiving trafficked organs.
In the case of China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically harvested the organs of prisoners of conscience. The victims have been primarily Falun Gong practitioners, with accumulating evidence that Uyghurs are also now killed for organs. Since 2015, China’s organ transplantation system has claimed to only source organs from voluntary donors, but evidence demonstrates that this data has been falsified. A close examination shows that Chinese hospitals have performed at least several times more transplants than even the largest estimates of death row prisoners can account for.
The China Tribunal, an independent, international people’s tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice KC, lead prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has concluded “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.” The China Tribunal’s judgment presents the first-ever independent legal analysis of all available evidence regarding forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.
After reviewing multiple lines of evidence and conducting public hearings over 12 months the China Tribunal concluded that state sanctioned forced organ harvesting in China amounts to Crimes Against Humanity.
To fight the global organ trafficking trade and to specifically address the CCP’s practice of forced organ harvesting, the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act expands the U.S. government’s powers to combat organ harvesting, imposes harsher penalties for purchasing organs, prohibits the export of organ transplant surgery devices to entities responsible for human organ trafficking, imposes sanctions on individuals and government officials in countries who support human organ trafficking and forced organ harvesting, and introduces mandatory reporting on human organ trafficking in foreign countries and on U.S. institutions which train organ transplant surgeons.
As Congressman Chris Smith, who authored the bill, said during the Floor Debate on H.R. 1154 in March, “These crimes against humanity are unimaginable…Ethnic groups targeted for mass harvesting include Uyghurs, who suffer from Xi Jinping’s ongoing genocide, and the Falun Gong, whose peaceful meditation and exercise practices and exceptional good health make their organs highly desirable.”
The Stop Act was introduced in the Senate earlier in March. Upon introduction of the bill, Democratic sponsor of the bill Senator Chris Coons stated, “Forced organ harvesting is cruel and immoral, often targeting ethnic and religious minorities and some of the most vulnerable groups in the world. As co-chair of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, I am proud to re- introduce the bipartisan Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act that will empower the Biden administration to take action against those who practice this despicable crime.”
In 2021, a joint correspondence issued by nine UN Special Rapporteurs called on China to “promptly respond to the allegations of ‘organ harvesting’ and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms.” In 2022, the European Parliament passed a resolution on reports of continued organ harvesting in China and laws have been passed in the UK and Canada. The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) introduced policy banning surgeons from China from presenting at ISLHT conferences and publishing in their journal. In addition, international law firm, Global Rights Compliance, published a Legal Advisory Report and Policy Guidance that outlines the complicity risks of interacting with China in relation to organ transplantation medicine, research and training.
The Stop Act has received bipartisan support from a plethora of human rights organizations, and in March of this year, the NYC Bar Association’s Asian Affairs Committee, Bioethical Issues Committee, and International Human Rights Committee also just released a report, “Human Organ Supply: Report on Ethical Considerations and Breaches in Organ Harvesting Practices” including a significant section on forced organ harvesting in China, which also references the legislation.
We urge you to bring the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act to committee consideration as soon as possible, so the United States Senate can join the House of Representatives in sending a clear message to not only China, but the rest of the world that the United States is combating and not complicit in the heinous practice of forced organ harvesting.
Thank you for your leadership and for swiftly considering this legislation to combat this grotesque human rights atrocity.
Christian Freedom International, Wendy Wright, President
Citizen Power Initiatives for China
Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, Thierry Valle, President
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, Dr Torsten Trey, Executive Director
Falun Dafa Information Center, Cynthia Sun, Researcher
Falun Gong Association Belgium, Nico Bijnens
Friends of Falun Gong, Alan Adler, Executive Director
Families of the Missing, Jane Durgom-Powers, CEO & Founder
Gerard Noodt Foundation for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Hans Noot Human Rights Foundation
International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, Susie Hughes, Executive Director
International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue, Stephen Eric Bronner, Co-Director
Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU), Eleonora Mongelli, Vice President
Justice for All, Hena Zuberi
Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, Katrina Lantos-Swett, President
National Council for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, Chairman
New York City Bar Association, Bioethical Issues Committee
New York City Bar Association, Asian Affairs Committee
Norwegian Uyghur Committee, Muetter Iliqud, Head of Communications
Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell, Executive Officer
Stefanus Alliance International, Ed Brown, Secretary General
Students for Falun Gong, Emily Huang, President
Uyghur Human Rights Project, Omer Kanat, Executive Director
United Nations Watch, Hillel Neuer, Executive Director
Victims of Communism Remembrance Alliance, Kristina Olney, Executive Director
World Uyghur Congress, Zumretay Arkin, Director of Global Advocacy
World Without Genocide, Ellen J. Kennedy, Executive Director
Chen Guangcheng, Human Rights Activist
Enes Kanter Freedom, NBA player, Human Rights Activist
Nina Shea, Director, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
 Robertson, Matthew P. “Analysis of official deceased organ donation data casts doubt on the credibility of China’s organ transplant reform.” BMC Medical Ethics, November 14, 2019. https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-019-0406-6
 Matas, Kilgour and Gutmann. “Exposing China’s Lucrative Organ Transplant Industry.” EndTransplantAbuse.org. June 22, 2016. https://endtransplantabuse.org/an-update/