This article was co-authored by Michael McGrady.
Falun Gong teaches its followers to be mindful while practicing truthfulness, bearing compassion for living beings, and to practice forbearance on a day-to-day basis. Hailing, in part, from the teachings of Buddhism, Falun Gong speaks of peace and being one with the world, but Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted for their religious and spiritual beliefs in stunning numbers by the Chinese government.
China contains one of the largest populations of Falun Gong practitioners in the world, and for years, this largely peaceful population has been victimized simply for holding religious beliefs the government finds offensive or out of the ordinary. While many groups in China and around the world are attacked for holding “strange” beliefs, Falun Gong members have been claiming for more than a decade the persecution against them has taken an especially dark turn: They say their own government has essentially been executing members of this religious movement after harvesting their organs.
Organs harvested from so-called “prisoners of conscience,” a group that includes Falun Gong practitioners, along with other religious and cultural groups—including some Christian groups—are then said to be sold to a growing number of desperate people, often from Western nations, who travel to China to obtain an organ.
According to a United Nations report on the allegations against the Chinese government, Chinese public health officials have established an organized system for harvesting organs from Chinese prisoners, with Falun Gong practitioners being one of the most-targeted groups.
“It is reported that employees of several transplant centers [in China] have indicated that they have used organs from live Falun Gong practitioners for transplants,” according to the U.N. report. The report further outlines vital organs of Falun Gong practitioners, such as hearts, corneas, and livers, were removed “systematically.”
The U.N. report also addresses other human rights allegations against Falun Gong members, including crimes committed by government authorities directly, such as the rape of imprisoned female Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2006, David Kilgour, a human rights activist and former member of the Canadian House of Commons, and human rights lawyer David Matas conducted the first comprehensive investigation into Chinese organ harvesting practices. They argue the allegations against the Chinese government are true.
“China violates human rights in a variety of ways. These violations are chronic and serious,” Kilgour and Matas state in their report.
Kilgour and Matas found a significant amount of evidence supporting the allegation the Chinese government forces prisoners of conscience to be organ “donors.” Some of the evidence Kilgour and Matas uncovered includes (circa 2006) expedited organ transplantation procedures, the lack of a known organ donation system (coupled with high organ “donor” rates), the money behind the allegedly forced organ transplants, and an established system for supplying those organs to “tourists” from foreign nations. According to Kilgour and Matas, the price of vital organs for transplant in 2006 ranged from $130,000 for a heart to $170,000 for a lung. Since 2006, prices for organs have been harder to assess after a crackdown by transplant service providers.
The Chinese government suggests its organ donation system is legitimate and totally within the ethics standards outlined by numerous international organizations, but after intense international pressure, China has pledged to discontinue some kinds of organ donation, including harvesting organs from prisoners on death row. Chinese government officials have also said they are making strides to “clean-up” their act. However, the fact that in the beginning of 2015 381 donors provided 937 organs for donation, an increase from some previous years, many experts now question whether any substantial changes have actually been made.
Reportedly, there are over 10,000 organs from religious and political prisoners in China that are harvested each year. Many of these “donors” are said to have their organs removed while they are still breathing, and often without anesthetics.
Since the second session of the 114th Congress of the United States has begun, many American citizens are urging their elected officials to condemn the practice in China and provide additional international pressure against the Chinese government.
A bipartisan resolution proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 343, aims to bring attention to the human rights violations related to organ harvesting in China. It was proposed during the first session of the 114th Congress, but the bill remains stalled in the House Judiciary Committee despite its proponents claiming the bill has the support of over 140 Republican and Democratic legislators. H.R. 343 has also received strong support from international organizations that advocate for religious freedom in China, medical coalitions against the practice, and many others.
Americans across the nation should support for this resolution and urge their congressional representatives to join with international human rights advocacy groups to express concern over these deplorable acts and to demand the Chinese government reform the country’s organ harvesting programs.
Michael McGrady writes from Colorado Springs, Colorado and has been featured in numerous publications, including The Denver Post, The American Thinker, and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @mikemcgrady2. Justin Haskins is a branded contributor for The Blaze and the vice president of the Alliance for Medical Aid. Follow him @TheNewRevere.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.