EXPRESSING CONCERN REGARDING STATE-SANCTIONED ORGAN HARVESTING IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
(House of Representatives - June 13, 2016)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 93 (Monday, June 13, 2016)]
[Pages H3727-H3730]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 EXPRESSING CONCERN REGARDING STATE-SANCTIONED ORGAN HARVESTING IN THE 
                       PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree 
to the resolution (H. Res. 343) expressing concern regarding persistent 
and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting 
from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic of 
China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and 
members of other religious and ethnic minority groups, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

[[Page H3728]]

  


                              H. Res. 343

       Whereas when performed in accordance with ethical 
     standards, the medical discipline of organ transplantation is 
     one of the great achievements of modern medicine;
       Whereas voluntary and informed consent is the precondition 
     for ethical organ donation and international medical 
     organizations state that prisoners, deprived of their 
     freedom, are not in the position to give free consent and 
     that the practice of sourcing organs from prisoners is a 
     violation of ethical guidelines in medicine;
       Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China 
     and Communist Party of China continue to deny reports that 
     many organs are taken without the consent of prisoners yet at 
     the same time prevents independent verification of its 
     transplant system;
       Whereas the organ transplantation system in China does not 
     comply with the World Health Organization's requirement of 
     transparency and traceability in organ procurement pathways;
       Whereas the United States Department of State Country 
     Report on Human Rights for China for 2014 stated, ``Advocacy 
     groups continued to report instances of organ harvesting from 
     prisoners'';
       Whereas Huang Jiefu, director of the China Organ Donation 
     Committee, announced in December 2014 that China would end 
     the practice of organ harvesting from executed prisoners by 
     January 1, 2015, did not directly address organ harvesting 
     from prisoners of conscience;
       Whereas Falun Gong, a spiritual practice involving 
     meditative ``qigong'' exercises and centered on the values of 
     truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, became immensely 
     popular in the 1990s;
       Whereas in July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched 
     an intensive, nationwide persecution designed to eradicate 
     the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, reflecting the party's 
     long-standing intolerance of large independent civil society 
     groups;
       Whereas since 1999, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong 
     practitioners have been detained extra-legally in 
     reeducation-through-labor camps, detention centers, and 
     prisons, where torture and abuse are routine;
       Whereas in many detention facilities and labor camps, Falun 
     Gong prisoners of conscience comprise the majority of the 
     population, and have been said to receive the longest 
     sentences and the worst treatment;
       Whereas Freedom House reported in 2015 that Falun Gong 
     practitioners comprise the largest portion of prisoners of 
     conscience in China, and face an elevated risk of dying or 
     being killed in custody;
       Whereas in 2006, Canadian researchers David Matas, human 
     rights attorney, and David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary 
     of State for Asia-Pacific, conducted an independent 
     investigation into allegations of organ harvesting from Falun 
     Gong prisoners in China, and concluded that Falun Gong 
     practitioners being killed for their organs was highly 
     probable;
       Whereas Matas and Kilgour have implicated state and party 
     entities in illicit organ harvesting, including domestic 
     security services and military hospitals;
       Whereas researcher and journalist Ethan Gutmann published 
     findings that Chinese security agencies began harvesting 
     organs from members of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic 
     minority group in the 1990s, including from Uyghur political 
     prisoners;
       Whereas the United Nations Committee Against Torture and 
     the Special Rapporteur on Torture have expressed concern over 
     the allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong 
     prisoners, and have called on the Government of the People's 
     Republic of China to increase accountability and transparency 
     in the organ transplant system and punish those responsible 
     for abuses; and
       Whereas the killing of religious or political prisoners for 
     the purpose of selling their organs for transplant is an 
     egregious and intolerable violation of the fundamental right 
     to life: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) condemns the practice of state-sanctioned forced organ 
     harvesting in the People's Republic of China;
       (2) calls on the Government of the People's Republic of 
     China and Communist Party of China to immediately end the 
     practice of organ harvesting from all prisoners of 
     conscience;
       (3) demands an immediate end to the 17-year persecution of 
     the Falun Gong spiritual practice by the Government of the 
     People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China, 
     and the immediate release of all Falun Gong practitioners and 
     other prisoners of conscience;
       (4) encourages the United States medical community to help 
     raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in 
     China;
       (5) calls on the People's Republic of China to allow a 
     credible, transparent, and independent investigation into 
     organ transplant abuses; and
       (6) calls on the United States Department of State to 
     conduct a more detailed analysis on state-sanctioned organ 
     harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the 
     annual Human Rights Report, and report annually to Congress 
     on the implementation of section 232 of the Department of 
     State Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (8 U.S.C. 1182f), 
     barring provision of visas to Chinese and other nationals 
     engaged in coerced organ or bodily tissue transplantation.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.

                              {time}  1815


                             General Leave

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include extraneous material on this resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for their 
leadership, for their support for human rights in China and, indeed, 
around the globe.
  I also want to thank my good friend, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. 
Connolly), for joining me in introducing this bipartisan resolution 
that has garnered over 180 cosponsors. Many may not know this, Mr. 
Speaker, but Mr. Connolly has been working on these issues ever since 
he was a staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  I am proud to have introduced H. Res. 343 alongside my friend from 
Virginia, a resolution that condemns China's ongoing, gruesome practice 
of harvesting organs from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience and 
religious and ethnic minorities.
  Falun Gong practitioners have long faced an intensive persecution by 
the Chinese Communist Party and, according to Freedom House, in 2015, 
comprise the largest portion of prisoners of conscience in China.
  I was extremely disappointed to read that the State Department's 
latest human rights report for China quoted a Chinese official's 
unsubstantiated claim that any harvesting of organs from prisoners 
would now be voluntary.
  China has been well-known to produce the majority of organs it uses 
for transplants from executed prisoners, people who are deprived of 
their freedom, unable to give their voluntary and informed consent to 
donate their organs. These are the basic preconditions for ethical 
organ donation, which China rarely, if ever, meets.
  The regime of the People's Republic of China does not comply with the 
requirements of the World Health Organization for transparency and 
traceability in organ procurement pathways, and the number of voluntary 
organ donations in China continues to be much lower than the reported 
number of transplants, let alone the number of unreported ones.
  All of this points to unethical practices at the very least, and 
something much, much more inhumane and gruesome at the very worst, and 
leads us to conclude that China's claim to have ceased with illegal 
harvesting is a dubious one.
  The Chinese regime's brutal repression and human rights violations 
are well known, but it is the horrific treatment of the Falun Gong 
practitioners, Mr. Speaker, that is particularly egregious yet does not 
receive the attention that it deserves.
  Followers of the Falun Gong are among China's most vulnerable to 
state-sanctioned abuse, which leaves them as likely victims to this 
ghoulish practice; and if the latest reports of China seeking to 
conduct full-body transplants are true, then it could put these 
peaceful individuals in even graver danger.
  Last week, The New York Times reported that Chinese doctors are 
seeking to conduct full-body transplants. But again, with little 
transparency and the lack of ethical standards, one has to wonder, Mr. 
Speaker, how will these doctors, how will these scientists, conduct 
their research and experiments? They will likely look to their prisons 
and target prisoners of conscience--and Falun Gong practitioners, 
specifically.
  The New York Times reported that China remains an international 
pariah that has long been dogged by ethical issues, yet its doctors 
remain undeterred by the horrid practices and plan on moving forward 
when they are ready.

[[Page H3729]]

  What will this mean for Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners 
of conscience in China, Mr. Speaker? I shudder to think of their fate 
as a result of these inhumane experiments and macabre practices.
  But by passing this resolution, sir, we can send a message to the 
Chinese regime that we condemn this continued practice of persecution 
of Falun Gong practitioners, and its sickening and unethical practice 
must stop, especially harvesting organs from nonconsenting individuals.
  We cannot allow these crimes to continue. I urge all of my colleagues 
to support this resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

                                         House of Representatives,


                                   Committee on the Judiciary,

                                     Washington, DC, June 2, 2016.
     Hon. Ed Royce,
     Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Royce: I am writing with respect to H. Res. 
     343, which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs 
     and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary. As a 
     result of your having consulted with us on provisions in H. 
     Res. 343 that fall within the rule X jurisdiction of the 
     Committee on the Judiciary, I agree to discharge our 
     committee from further consideration of this resolution so 
     that it may proceed expeditiously to the House floor for 
     consideration.
       The Judiciary Committee takes this action with our mutual 
     understanding that by foregoing consideration of H. Res. 343 
     at this time, we do not waive any jurisdiction over subject 
     matter contained in this or similar legislation and that our 
     committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as 
     this resolution or similar legislation moves forward so that 
     we may address any remaining issues in our jurisdiction.
       I would appreciate a response to this letter confirming 
     this understanding with respect to H. Res. 343 and would ask 
     that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
     included in the Congressional Record during Floor 
     consideration of this resolution.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Bob Goodlatte,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                         House of Representatives,


                                 Committee on Foreign Affairs,

                                     Washington, DC, June 8, 2016.
     Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
     Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for consulting with the 
     Committee on Foreign Affairs on House Resolution 343, 
     Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports 
     of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-
     consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic 
     of China, and for agreeing to be discharged from further 
     consideration of that measure.
       I agree that your forgoing further action on this measure 
     does not in any way diminish or alter the jurisdiction of the 
     Committee on the Judiciary, or prejudice its jurisdictional 
     prerogatives on this measure or similar legislation in the 
     future.
       I will seek to place our letters on H. Res. 343 into the 
     Congressional Record during floor consideration. I appreciate 
     your cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward 
     to continuing to work with your Committee as this measure 
     moves through the legislative process.
           Sincerely,
                                                  Edward R. Royce,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure, and I 
yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Again, I thank Chairman Royce and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, who 
introduced this very important piece of legislation.
  We just finished debate on a bill that would help us get a better 
handle on just how severe a problem organ trafficking is and to help us 
figure out what is needed to confront this challenge. This resolution 
underscores troubling reports about the practice of organ trafficking, 
specifically in the People's Republic of China.
  I have heard directly from some of my constituents about this, and 
what is particularly unsettling is that this practice allegedly targets 
prisoners of conscience, including practitioners of Falun Gong and 
other religious and ethnic minorities.
  Nonconsensual organ harvesting under any circumstance represents a 
gross violation of human rights, but these allegations are particularly 
egregious: authorities at Chinese prisons targeting prisoners because 
of their religious beliefs and then making a profit by trafficking 
these victims' organs. I cannot think of hardly anything that is more 
disgusting than that. The accounts of these activities are gruesome and 
shocking, and, again, we need to get to the bottom of this issue to see 
exactly what is going on.
  This measure calls on the Chinese Government to cease the practice of 
forced organ harvesting and to end the persecution of Falun Gong 
practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. It also calls on the 
Chinese Government to allow an investigation into this issue, and it 
urges the State Department to include an assessment of state-
sanctioned, nonconsensual organ harvesting in its annual human rights 
reports.
  So I again thank Ms. Ros-Lehtinen for her focus on this issue. I am 
pleased to support this measure.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), chairman of the Foreign Affairs 
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and 
International Organizations.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend and 
colleague Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for yielding. I want to thank the 
chairman emeritus of the full Foreign Affairs Committee for the defense 
of vulnerable persons in China, especially the Falun Gong, men and 
women who cannot speak for themselves, who have suffered unspeakable 
torture--some have survived--and to the families who have lost loved 
ones in Chinese prison camps, the Laogai, and detention centers that 
are sprinkled throughout all of China.
  This legislation is an important step in bringing accountability and 
transparency to what may be one of the great crimes of the 21st 
century: the 17-year effort to eliminate Falun Gong practice from 
China. I strongly believe that the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong 
will be seen as one of the great horrors.
  The Chinese Government continues to insist that the accounts of 
religious persecution, forced abortion, arbitrary detention, and organ 
harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners are mere rumors. They refuse 
to even discuss these issues in regular diplomatic dialogue and 
regularly jail and disbar lawyers who try to defend Falun Gong 
practitioners who expose the abuses that are committed by government 
employees. Nevertheless, evidence is quickly mounting of the horrific 
crimes committed against Falun Gong practitioners, including this 
terrible practice of organ harvesting.
  Over the years, Congress has received credible information about this 
unethical and corrupt organ transplant system that operates in China. 
The Chinese Government is at least grossly negligent but, more likely, 
grossly complicit in these crimes because huge amounts of money are 
made.
  We have received credible evidence that the actual number of organ 
transplants by China's hospitals remain underreported and that, despite 
the Chinese Government's promises to the contrary, the number of 
prisoners who are killed and have their organs taken continues to rise.
  Shockingly, researchers David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann 
conducted detailed investigations and estimated that between 45,000 and 
65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs, which 
then were sold for profit--45,000 to 65,000 victims who had their 
organs stolen and their lives snuffed out by the Chinese Government 
officials.
  There might be new estimates that are higher. These researchers will 
unveil their new findings next week at a hearing of the House Foreign 
Affairs Committee.
  Let me remind Members that the United States Congress isn't the only 
one that is bringing this terrible human rights abuse up. The U.N. 
Committee Against Torture and the Special Rapporteur on torture have 
expressed concern over these allegations, and they have called for 
accountability and transparency.
  The Ileana Ros-Lehtinen resolution condemns this practice; calls on 
the government to end it; demands an immediate end to the 17-year 
persecution of the Falun Gong; encourages the United States medical 
community to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant 
practices in China; calls on the People's Republic of China to allow a 
credible, transparent, and independent investigation into organ 
transplant abuses; and then calls on the U.S. Department of State to 
conduct a more detailed analysis on state-sanctioned organ harvesting 
from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in its annual

[[Page H3730]]

human rights report. And it also calls on the government, our 
government, to bar provision of visas, pursuant to current law, to 
Chinese and other nationals engaged in coerced organ or bodily tissue 
transplantation.
  Again, I want to thank Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mr. Connolly for their 
leadership on this.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to close once Mr. Engel 
yields back his time.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, a commitment to human rights for people around the world 
is a fundamental American value and a pillar of our foreign policy. So 
when we hear reports of horrific abuses, such as state-sanctioned organ 
harvesting, we have a responsibility to determine the scope of the 
problem and respond.
  I want to thank Ms. Ros-Lehtinen for her tenacity in bringing this 
forward. I want to thank Mr. Smith, who is always there for human 
rights. I want to thank Chairman Royce, again, for allowing this 
resolution to come forward and, again, for making this a bipartisan 
concern.
  I have heard from colleagues and constituents again and again about 
grievous violations of human rights that Falun Gong and other prisoners 
of conscience have endured at the hands of Chinese authorities. We need 
to send a clear message that this sort of abuse is unacceptable.
  So again, I want to thank Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen for bringing our 
attention to this issue and bringing forward this measure. This is a 
resolution that everyone should vote for, and I urge a ``yes'' vote.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in recent years, sadly, the United States has receded 
from our role as a promoter and defender of human rights 
internationally. Once a central part of U.S. foreign policy, we have 
witnessed the protection of human rights fall far down on our priority 
list as administrations have become too eager to make deals with 
despots and tyrants in places like Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.
  Those who once looked to the United States to be the leader, to stand 
up and protect those suffering and those who are being denied their 
most basic and fundamental rights, no longer view us as the voice for 
the voiceless, willing to stand up for those suffering around the 
world.
  Shame on us, Mr. Speaker, because this failure to promote our ideals 
and our principles, well, that leads ruthless thugs to believe that 
they can get away with whatever they want, and, ultimately, it 
increases the suffering of the people that they exploit.
  The United States must once again make our core values and beliefs a 
central tenet of our foreign policy agenda in order to restore our 
credibility and to restore the faith that so many have in our ability 
to help bring about change for those who cannot protect themselves.

                              {time}  1830

  Passing this resolution today, Mr. Speaker, sends a clear signal to 
China that the United States opposes its gross violations of human 
rights, particularly against the Falun Gong practitioners. They are so 
peaceful, and they are so full of composure. They pose no threat to 
China, yet this ruthless dictatorship forces them to commit unspeakable 
acts. This resolution sends a signal to countless others suffering 
around the world that the United States will, once again, make the 
protection of human rights a priority.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join us to support this 
resolution, support our ideals and values, support human rights, and 
help the practitioners of Falun Gong.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 343, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________