The United States must take stronger action to combat the Chinese regime’s extensive killing of prisoners of conscience for organ harvesting, according to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J). Speaking at a House Committee of Foreign Affairs hearing on religious freedom, Smith highlighted the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “supply chain for organs” and its connection to the murder of young people, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Christians, and Buddhists.
Smith emphasized the need for a robust effort to sanction Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his involvement in these atrocities. He stated that the forced organ harvesting carried out by the CCP is comparable to the atrocities committed by the Nazis and happens tens of thousands of times every year.
The China Tribunal, an independent people’s tribunal, concluded in 2019 that the Chinese regime has been engaged in forced organ harvesting on a significant scale, with detained Falun Gong practitioners being the primary victims. Other persecuted minority groups, such as Uyghurs, Tibetans, and House Christians, are also at risk of organ harvesting, as various experts have pointed out.
The persecution of Falun Gong first came to light in 2006 when allegations emerged of the regime killing practitioners to harvest their organs for transplant. Since then, numerous investigations have confirmed the grisly details of this practice. Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that gained popularity in China during the 1990s. The practice is based on three core principles: truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. However, fearing that it posed a threat to its control, the communist regime launched a campaign to eradicate the practice in 1999, resulting in millions of adherents being detained in prisons, labor camps, and other facilities. Inside these facilities, adherents are subjected to torture and face the possibility of being killed for their organs.
Organ harvesting has become a lucrative business for the CCP. At a 2021 hearing before the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Geoffrey Nice, who chaired the China Tribunal, revealed that the Chinese regime could earn up to half a million dollars from each victim’s body.
Rep. Smith emphasized the need for increased efforts to address forced organ harvesting, calling for action from the United Nations and other international bodies. To that end, the House of Representatives recently passed a bill, introduced by Smith, to punish the CCP for its forced organ harvesting. The Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 (H.R. 1154) would impose sanctions on individuals involved in the act and require the government to report annually on such activities in foreign countries. These sanctions would include civil penalties of up to $250,000 and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.
As Smith noted, this bill is still pending in the Senate. Additionally, he introduced another bill (H.R. 7193) that would tie Beijing’s trade privileges with the United States to its human rights record. Under this bill, China would need to demonstrate considerable progress in improving its human rights situation to maintain its normal trade relations status with the U.S.
Smith stressed the importance of holding Xi Jinping accountable for his actions and stated that severe economic sanctions are the only tangible way to achieve this. He also referenced a recent incident where the FBI arrested two individuals charged with operating a secret overseas police station in New York City on behalf of the CCP. These individuals were accused of conspiring to silence Chinese dissidents, particularly Falun Gong practitioners, living in the United States. Smith called for increased aggression from the FBI in addressing these transnational repression activities.
In conclusion, Smith called for the United States to be a safe haven for those fleeing from the CCP’s tyranny and a place where the perpetrators of these crimes cannot come with impunity. He urged stronger action, both domestically and internationally, to combat forced organ harvesting and hold the Chinese regime accountable for its human rights abuses.