Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester) delivered the following statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on his bill, the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023, which addresses the murder of between 60,000 and 100,000 people every year in China for the purpose of stealing their organs:
“I would like to thank Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Meeks for including my Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 in today’s markup.
And I would also like to thank our lead Democratic cosponsor Congressman Keating in joining me on what I believe is extremely important and timely legislation, as well as Committee Chairman McCaul for being an original cosponsor of the bill.
And a special thanks to Mary Vigil, Janice Kaguyutan, Piero Tozzi and Doug Anderson for working to get this bill ready for today.
Mr. Chairman, the United Nations Office and Drugs and Crime (UNDOC)—which monitors trafficking in persons as well as narcotics—last year estimated that human trafficking for forced organ removal is a criminal enterprise worth between $840 million and $1.7 billion, but that this is the “tip of the iceberg,” and calls it a “hidden crime.”
What has become apparent, however, through open-source investigation and witness accounts, is that there is one country—one country in particular—which is engaged in state-sponsored harvesting of human organs from otherwise healthy human beings, on a systematic and industrial scale in absolute violation of ethics governing transplantation.
That country is the People’s Republic of China under Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party and the cruelty of murdering between 60,000 to 100,000 young victims every year—average age 28—to steal their organs is unimaginable.
In May of last year, I chaired a chilling and eye-opening hearing at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission entitled “Forced Organ Harvesting in China: Examining the Evidence.”
Ethan Gutmann, Senior Research Fellow in China Studies Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation testified that “at any given time since 2017, there are approximately a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Hui in the camps, my estimate is that 25,000 to 50,000 camp detainees are being harvested every year… 28-year-olds from the Xinjiang camps can be theoretically harvested for two or three organs, translating into a minimum of 50,000 organs or a maximum of 150,000 organs.”
“The Kilgour-Matas-Gutmann report of 2016 estimated China’s total transplant volume as 60,000 to 100,000 annually,” he said.
Religious dissidents targeted for harvesting include the Falun Gong, whose peaceful meditation and exercise practices unfortunately make their organs desirable. They are declared an “evil cult” – “othered” – and thus fit for butchering.
Uyghurs and other Central Asians in concentration camps in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region targeted as well.
Indeed, we even know the ideal age for the harvesting of organs—28 years of age. That has been deemed the ideal age for organ ripeness by the Chinese medical establishment—and young Uyghurs are subjected to comprehensive blood tests to find a crossmatch for organ recipients.
Between 2.5% and 5% of these 28-year-olds in concentration camps disappear a year. That is the “cull rate.”
Sifting through the evidence, an independent body—an international tribunal sitting in London—has concluded that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one—and probably the main—source of organ supply.”
And the evidence has been hiding in plain sight.
One of our expert witnesses last year, Matthew Robertson of Australian National University, co-authored with Dr. Jacob Lavee examined Chinese medical journal articles and found
that “71 papers gave explicit descriptions of surgeons appearing to violate the dead donor rule while procuring hearts
from prisoners. In plain language, the papers appear to show that the donors, who were prisoners,were alive at the time of surgery, and were killed by the transplant surgeons in the process ofheart extraction.”
Their work, published last April in a top, peer-reviewed U.S. medical journal, The American Journal of Transplantation, is a testament to the People’s Republic of China’s egregious practices and violation of international standards and, indeed, the most fundamental human rights and standards of humanity.
We also know though open-source Chinese language media that elderly high ranking Chinese Communist Party officials have received replacement organs from the very people they despise and oppress at the People’s Liberation Army Hospital 301 in Beijing.
While this still shocks me, I cannot say it surprises me.
Almost 25 years ago, I chaired a human rights hearing with a Chinese security official who testified that he and his other security agents were executing prisoners—with doctors, of course, there, and ambulances—to harvest their organs for transplantation.
Indeed, at last year’s hearing, we produced a doctor who testified how he had performed one such surgery on a victim of a botched execution who as he began cutting he discovered was in a state of shock—a live vivisection on a living human being.
It is to combat these heinous and inhumane practices, that we’ve introduced H R. 1154, the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023.
- Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to require reports on forced organ harvesting and trafficking in persons for purposes of the removal of organs in foreign countries,
- The imposition of sanctions on any person the President determines funds, sponsors or otherwise facilitates forced organ harvesting or trafficking in persons for purposes of the removal of organs,
- Sanctions include blocking and prohibiting all transactions in property and interests in property, and making that person inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to receive a visa.
But more must be done, and this is just the beginning.
We in the United States – in the medical field in particular – must examine our moral complicity in this most heinous of crimes.
Why is there medical tourism to China?
Why are Chinese transplant doctors invited to conferences in the West – individuals such as Dr. Wang Haibo and China’s former Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu?
China’s organ harvesting industry is truly barbaric.
Today’s mark-up is an extremely important first step, but we need a concerted effort to stop this barbaric practice—starting first and foremost with the People’s Republic of China, but secondly its global enablers.
Thank you for your support, and I invite you to join Chairman Keating, Chairman McCaul, and me as cosponsors of the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act.