U.S. legislators are seeking to pass a law to punish those involved in the theft of organs from religious believers in China. The legislation was presented by a bipartisan group and was introduced in both houses of Congress.

The bill is called the Organ Harvesting End of Forced Removal Act of 2020. It was introduced on Dec. 15 in the Senate (S.5016) by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and in the House (H.R.8972) by Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.).

“There is growing evidence that the Chinese Communist Party has and continues to harvest organs from prisoners and members of Chinese religious groups,” Cotton said in a press release.

“It’s past time to hold Beijing accountable for these heinous acts,” he added.

The lawmakers echoed various reports and investigations that for years have documented what human rights specialists have called “genocide.”

In 2019, a London-based international tribunal concluded that Chinese doctors remove organs from religious believers imprisoned for their faith. They held that the macabre practice is carried out even while the victims are still alive, fueling a lucrative business worth billions of dollars a year. 

The so-called China Court was presided over by the prestigious British lawyer Geoffrey Nice, along with a panel of experts in international law, human rights, transplant medicine, and international relations.

Report highlights 20-year practice

The report highlighted that there is concise evidence of forced organ removal in China for at least 20 years.

It concluded that the state-authorized practice of forced removal of organs was occurring on a “significant scale” in China, with practitioners of the discipline Falun Dafa being the main source of organs.

Falun Dafa practitioners, also known as Falun Gong, have been persecuted for their religious beliefs since 1999.

According to estimates by the Falun Dafa Information Center, millions of people who follow this spiritual belief are sent to prisons, labor camps, psychiatric wards, and other facilities. Hundreds of thousands have been tortured.

In 2016, the House unanimously voted on a resolution expressing concern about “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting 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.”

“Organ harvesting is a barbaric, inhumane and egregious act of global significance as transnational human trafficking gangs, terrorist organizations, profiteers, and even governments—China’s Communist Party in particular—kill innocent people and sell their organs for profit,” said Smith.

“For years, the Chinese Communist Party has continued to take advantage of prisoners, members of ethnic minority, and religious groups. Today, we are still witnessing them take further advantage of these groups through organ harvesting,” added Suozzi.

If the bill is passed, the government could deny or revoke passports to illegal organ buyers.

Also, the State Department should make annual reports on the forced removal of organs in foreign countries, identifying foreign officials and entities responsible for these crimes.

In addition, an annual report is requested on U.S. institutions that train organ transplant surgeons affiliated with foreign entities involved in this practice.

The report prohibits the export of organ transplant surgery devices to entities responsible for the forcible removal of organs.

And finally, it would empower the White House to sanction foreign officials and entities engaged in such an aberration.

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