Members of U.S. Congress Urge State Department to Release Information on Organ Harvesting in China
Over 100 representatives sign bi-partisan letter asking for details divulged by Wang Lijun
04 Oct 2012
WASHINGTON DC – In an unprecedented step to unveil organ transplant abuses in China, 106 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on October 3. The letter requests the release of information about transplant abuses in China that the U.S. government may possess, including details that former Chongqing deputy mayor Wang Lijun is believed to have transmitted during his stay in the U.S. Consulate in February.
“Medical doctors in the United States and around the world are growing increasingly concerned about alleged unethical organ procurement practices and abuses of transplant medicine abroad. This is no truer than in China, where serious allegations suggest unimaginable abuses have occurred," reads the letter.
“While at the US Consulate, it is claimed that Wang Lijun may have divulged information about the harvesting of organs from still living Falun Gong practitioners. If such evidence was received and brought to light, measures could be taken to help stop such abominable abuses. We therefore ask that the State Department release any information it may have that relates to transplant abuses in China, including any documentation that Wang Lijun may have provided to our Consulate in Chengdu."
The Dear Colleague Letter follows on a hearing about organ harvesting from religious and political prisoners in China that was held on September 12 (news). The letter states that testimony presented implicated “Chinese hospitals and doctors in the practice of forced organ harvesting from prisoners, to allegedly include from living practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, Uighurs, Tibetans, and House Christians."
The letter was submitted with bi-partisan support, co-sponsored by Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), and signed by 106 members from across both parties. The full text of the letter is available here.
Chinese Citizens Killed, Organs Extracted to Fuel Lucrative Transplantation Business
China now performs the second highest number of transplants per year after the United States, around 10,000 according to official statistics. The Chinese government claims that over 90 percent of the organs are from executed death row inmates, However, medical experts and human rights workers say that the numbers do not add up, and that the logistics of performing transplantations means that such an arrangement is unfeasible.
Several investigations suggest the gap is filled by prisoners of conscience, especially detained practitioners of Falun Gong. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are held, pre-screened (for blood type and other qualities required to match an organ to a patient) and reportedly killed on-demand in order to extract organs to fuel the transplantation industry in China, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue (fact sheet).
Publicly available evidence indicates that Wang, whose flight to the U.S. consulate sparked a high-profile political scandal and the downfall of Chongqing Communist Party Chief Bo Xilai, was involved in organ transplants from prisoners. Wang admitted during a 2006 award ceremony to having been present at thousands of organ removal and transplant operations as chief of police in Liaoning’s Jinzhou. In an earlier state-media interview, he referred to the experience of seeing someone executed and “within minutes" seeing their organ in another’s body as “soul stirring."
* See here for the written testimonies from the September 12 hearing.
* See here for a Falun Dafa Information Center fact sheet summarizing the history and evidence of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.
In July of 1999, China’s autocratic Communist Party launched an unlawful campaign of arrests, violence, and propaganda against Chinese citizens practicing Falun Gong (or “Falun Dafa") with the intent of “eradicating" the apolitical practice. Former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched the persecution fearing the practice’s growing popularity among the Chinese people (70 to 100 million) was overshadowing his own legacy (article). Since then, the Falun Dafa Information Center, based in New York, has reported over 3,500 deaths from abuse and over 80,000 cases of torture. The United Nations, Amnesty International, Chinese human rights lawyers, and foreign media have also documented Falun Gong torture and deaths at the hands of Chinese officials (samples). Hundreds of thousands of Chinese who practice Falun Gong remain in captivity, rendering them the single largest group of prisoners of conscience in China (article). Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that is Buddhist in nature, but not part of the religion of Buddhism. It consists of slow-moving “qigong" exercises, meditation, and teachings for daily life centered on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance (about Falun Gong).