First Week of World Summit draws over 200,000 viewers
World Summit on Organ Harvesting
Summary of Week One
The World Summit on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, sponsored by five international NGOs, is providing crucial information regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s illicit transplant medicine practices and human rights abuses in six online sessions over a two-week period.
The first week of the Summit, live-streamed by The Epoch Times and NTD to an online audience of over 200,000 people, brought together professionals from around the world in the fields of medicine, law, academia, and politics who presented stirring speeches and participated in live Q&A sessions.
Transplant Medicine at a Crossroad: An Ethics-Based Profession Usurped and Repurposed for Genocide
Medical professionals from Taiwan, Germany, Ireland, and the United States agree that organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China is a gross violation of internationally accepted human rights and medical ethics. The medical profession should be guided by altruistic ideals rather than financial gain. The global medical community is called upon to choose between ethical action or complicity in crimes against humanity.
Raymond Scalettar, MD, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University and former chair of the American Medical Association, USA
The codes of ethics on transplantation of organs from living donors in the United States is well established by the American Medical Association (AMA) with informed and free consent for both donor and recipient without such conflicts of interests as payments for and commercialization of transplants.
Dr. Scalettar said, “The World Medical Association (WMA) represents millions of international physicians to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care and ethics and the AMA has significant influence. The WMA in 2020 issued a declaration to prevent and battle transplant related crimes” while noting sadly that in China, there is no transparency surrounding transplantation or commitment to international guidelines. He expressed hope that “future United States transplant trainees agree to these ethical principles before they can be allowed to enter into the transplant programs.”
He pointed out serious ethical concerns that were raised when the Annals of Surgery published an article by Chinese transplant surgeons who found matching lungs for an elderly COVID-19 pneumonia patient in only 3 to 4 days. “In the United States, with a huge registry of transplant donors much larger than China, the minimal wait time for this type of donor… is 15 days.”
Shi-Wei Huang, MD, Director of Urology, Taiwan University Hospital, Yunlin Branch, Taiwan
Transplant tourism from Taiwan began in the 1990s with patients going to China to receive kidney transplantations. Those numbers increased rapidly after 2000 though, soon after the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, with patients flocking to China from Taiwan as well as from South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Western countries.
Since 2000, China has developed a highly lucrative organ transplant industry that is an opaque system with no transparency or traceability. The actual number of transplant surgeries performed far exceed official government national statistics. There are many large major hospital centers that rely on organ transplants as the main source of revenue.
Dr. Huang said, “In China, as long as human rights violation persists and the CCP remains opaque about information and data, transplant abuse is unlikely to disappear.”
Declan Lyons, MD, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Ethics in medicine is a pillar for clinical care. It is the ethical responsibility of medical professionals to build mutual trust between patient and practitioner. “Trust is vital if patients are to seek and obtain the necessary help from doctors, it can’t be taken for granted,” Dr. Lyons said, while “altruism and generosity is the very essence of organ donation.”
China’s overt and outrageous ethical violations in transplant medicine offend physicians everywhere and such “state sponsored cruelty will erode moral and civic duties.” Trust in and credibility of the medical profession is damaged if doctors tolerate such gross violations of medical ethics.
Dr. Lyons stated, “disparity in bioethics anywhere weakens bioethics everywhere in all corners of the globe. Altruism, not state coercion, needs to be engendered in organ donation in China through public education,” and warned that “China must engage with the international community or risk isolation.” He concluded that “protecting human rights and safeguarding the environment will mark out successful societies during the 21st century.”
David H. Beyda, MD, Chair and Professor, Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, Professor, Child Health, and Director, Global Health Program, University of Arizona College of Medicine, USA
The practice of forced organ harvesting denigrates human morality and dignity by turning people into commodities. Dr. Beyda explained that the common rights of dignity, honesty, trust, and integrity are denigrated when persons are not recognizing as persons. Individuals not recognized as persons become vulnerable, are taken advantage of and turned into commodities. Regarding forced organ harvesting, he said, “from the ethical perspective, there is this significant… devastation of moral foundation, on the part of those who take advantage of these vulnerable people.”
Surgeons who participate in illicit organ procurement as well as those who pay for and receive such organs have lost all ethical principles in favor of self-promotion. Dr. Beyda stated, “There is no moral intake or input on the part of those who seek the organs other than the self-gratification, this whole concept of me first, me principle. The surgeons who do these atrocious things to the vulnerable, they themselves are so far outside the boundaries of the profession and the vocation of healing, are they themselves completely unworthy of the gift that was given to them of being a physician healer.”
Huige Li, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, University Medical Center of Mainz, Germany
The grim history of the removal of organs from living persons in China began with the non-lethal shooting of condemned prisoners at execution which left the heart still beating at the time of organ removal.
Dr. Li describes an article from the Intermediate People’s Court of Lu’an City that extols the advantages of lethal injection that “takes only 10s of seconds from the start of the injection to the death of the death row prisoner.” In China, executed prisoners are considered dead and have organs harvested within seconds of lethal injection. In the United States, protocols for lethal injections take “nine minutes to thirteen minutes from the start of injection to [result in] cardiac arrest.”
He related that medical publications and eyewitness testimonies prove that prisoners are alive when organs are harvested and may “have suffered from extreme pain.” A research paper describes the removal of a still beating heart from a patient who had not underdone brain death determination. “It was a living patient who was killed by the doctors by removing the heart.”
Dr. Li explained, “Live organ harvesting, mean[s] that organ harvesting from a still living person was carried both from prisoners sentenced to death and from political prisoners, and this is a crime against humanity.”
Kathleen Thimsen, DNP, Associate Professor, Program Director, Director of Nursing Practice, University of Nevada, USA
Forensic nurses have joined the World Summit as advocates for prisoners of conscience, the primary victims of forced organ harvesting, and for naive and vulnerable pre-transplant patients. Dr. Thimsen, a member of the US Academy of Forensic Nurses, advocated for inclusion of forced organ harvesting prevention and education in the Universal Code of Ethics for Nurses. She felt that nursing schools also have an obligation to include this in their curriculum.
Dr. Thimsen added, “The act and conduct of forced organ harvesting is a significant public health issue as well as a human rights violation to the many persons that are implicated during the transplant procurement, retrieval, and implantation process.”
- Weldon Gilcrease, MD, Associate Professor of Oncology, University of Utah School of Medicine, USA
The overwhelming evidence of forced organ harvesting has gone unrecognized by most of the medical community, and indeed most of the world. American medical teaching institutions continue with engagement and cooperation with China on many levels. Collaborating with a medical system run by the totalitarian regime in China is dangerous. Those responsible for such egregious crimes must be held accountable.
Dr. Gilcrease stressed that we must act to stop forced organ harvesting rather than remain silent about it. “I think that as one common voice, we can make a difference. We can make a difference in our institutions, at our transplant centers, but it simply will take a strong unified voice saying that we simply can’t tolerate this to continue happening. And we can’t say nothing because, as we’ve said nothing, we’ve seen that it does continue to happen.”
Scales of Justice, Universal declaration of human rights on a wooden background, human rights concept.
Pursuing Accountability for Forced Organ Harvesting Crimes
Legal experts from Canada, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan discussed the legal precedents of past and current efforts to combat live forced organ harvesting. They recommended that countries unite in their efforts to pursue legislative action to stop China’s transplant atrocities and punish perpetrators and accomplices.
David Matas, Esq., Senior Counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, Human Rights Attorney, Canada
David Matas, world renowned for being among the first to research and expose China’s mass killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs, gave an overview of the legal landscape surrounding transplantation in China. Laws that have existed for decades permitting the use of prisoner organs have never been repealed, while newer rulings are easily circumvented by loopholes. Regardless of the existence of laws, he said, “The rule of law does not exist in China. Instead of the rule of law, there is the rule of the Party.”
Matas added, “The mass killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs serves a dual purpose for the Party. The killings eliminate what the Party sees as its political enemies. The organ sourcing plays a large part in funding the health system. The selling of organs in China is a multi-billion-dollar business… It is implausible to suggest that the Party would have shut down or would shut down this organ trade, no matter what the law said.”
He concluded that despite some changes since organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience was first exposed in 2006, “The changes have not been sufficient inside China to stop the mass killing of prisoners of conscience in China for their organs or outside China to stop foreign complicity in those killings. A lot more needs to be done.”
Kim Song, Judge of the Seoul Administrative Court of Korea, South Korea
Judge Song argued that the most available and convenient measure for countries around the world to use against China’s forced organ harvesting is a Magnitsky act. The 2016, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act authorized the U.S. government to sanction foreign persons implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world, freezing any U.S. assets they hold, and banning them from entry into the United States.
She said such acts have several advantages. Each sovereign country can decide how such an act is to be enacted and implemented. Actions are taken against individuals, not governments, and are therefore free from “infringement of sovereignty” criticism that the actions of one country is interfering in the domestic affairs of another. There is less burden of proof for initiating entry bans and assets seizure than is required for criminal courts, and individual nations have wide discretionary power over immigration control. She also described a Magnitsky act as “a form of ‘smart sanctions’ which can avoid the unintended adverse impact on the vulnerable populations who are not involved in the crime.”
Judge Song asserted that those who are silent about the CCP’s gross violation of human rights are negligent and are wrong to have accepted the totalitarian state of China “with open arms and trusted the regime to be a good partner in the international society.” The global community should be obligated, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to act against the brutal persecution and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other religious and ethnic minorities, such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.
Carlos Iglesias Jimenez, Esq., Spain
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) restricts and eliminates the individual and collective freedoms of the Chinese people, while focusing on persecuting spiritual beliefs and eradicating the 5,000-year-old traditional culture of China.
Mr. Jimenez described how the crime of forced organ harvesting has three characteristics, “We are faced with a crime that has never had this truly atrocious design, seeking to murder people, seeking to generate a multimillion-dollar business, and seeking to wash its image in a transplant system whose donations are absolutely non-existent.”
He blamed the lack of action by international regulatory bodies on the CCP’s infiltration into international organizations, including the United Nations and Human Rights Council, and the World Health Organization. Therefore, he said, “It is time, through this Summit, to encourage civil society, individual people, the hearts of each person, to become aware that what makes us different and at the same time unites us as human beings, is… respect for life; respect for beliefs; respect for freedom.”
Mr. Jimenez concluded, “Justice, in the future, will not only judge those who are guilty of these crimes, but also all those people whose complicit silence has facilitated, made it possible for all these atrocities to take place, will have to answer to justice.”
Theresa Chu, Esq., Taiwan
Ms. Chu stated, “The atrocity [of forced organ harvesting] affects both China and beyond.” Organs are removed from innocent Chinese prisoners of conscience and sold to tourists who travel to China for transplantation operations. Medical and pharmaceutical professionals from around the world “who assist China in developing its organ transplantation have all become accomplices” to the crime of forced organ harvesting. She added, “Forced organ harvesting is not only used to carry out the cleansing and genocide of Falun Gong practitioners and ethnic minority groups, such as Uyghurs, but is also implicated in massive economic profits from organ transplantation, transnational organ sales, transplant tourism, and organ brokerage. Therefore, to combat and prevent forced organ harvesting requires endeavors at the international and national levels simultaneously.” She called upon “all governments around the world to promote the criminalization of forced organ harvesting comprehensively. “
Referring to a declaration to be announced to the public at the end of the World Summit on September 26, 2021, Ms. Chu explained that, “The Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, also referred to herein as the UDCPFOH, is an international document wherein mankind of the 21st century proclaims their determination to stop the most diabolical atrocity of forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party. The UDCPFOH builds on the foundation of inalienable rights which cannot be deprived by any person or regime and lays bare the core principles of the universal values, including the inviolability of human dignity and the fundamental protection for human life, body, and freedom. The UDCPFOH proposes measures to combat and prevent the CCP’s forced organ harvesting from gravely violating the value of human existence. The UDCPFOH is…an important starting point to unite forces overall from different fields of the international community to combat and prevent forced organ harvesting.”
Politicians, as the stewards and leaders of society, have a responsibility to combat forced organ harvesting
Government leaders and policymakers from Sweden, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States unanimously condemned and called for an end to China’s human rights abuses, particularly the regime’s state-sponsored forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, and stood united in advocacy for the global adoption of accepted human values and ethical norms.
Ms. Ann-Sofie Alm, Member of Swedish Parliament, Member of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), Sweden
The Chinese Communist Party’s rule has decimated Chinese culture and traditions. There is no free speech or freedom of belief in China and information is strongly controlled and censored. The Chinese regime is openly aiming for world domination by waging a silent war using information, technology, and money, lots of money.
Ms. Alm suggested, “Perhaps that is why illegal organ transplants of prisoners of conscience in China is still taking place, despite it being made illegal. Organs from prisoners that are involuntary donors are free and they can be sold very, very expensively.”
“In China…. there are no waiting times for organs. You can even call a hospital and order a heart at a time that is convenient to your travel schedule. If you are willing to pay extra, you can even get a healthier organ, such as a fresh and healthy heart from a Falun Dafa practitioner,” she noted.
“The world needs to know about these cruel and evil human rights abuses that the Communist Party of China is subjecting its people to.” She suggested that with this knowledge, the world can make a change and “call[ed] on the EU and the US and all other representatives and communities in the free world to stand up for human rights in China, and stop the illegal, inhumane trade of human organs from prisoners of conscience in China.”
André Gattolin, PhD, Senator Haut de Seine, Paris, Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), France
A staunch advocate for human rights and the international rule of law, Senator Gattolin proclaimed that the “European Union must act to denounce repeated violations of human dignity and fundamental rights perpetrated by the Chinese regime, at the risk of becoming an accomplice.”
He shared that IPAC was making significant progress against the “increasingly repressive and invasive policies” of and the “increasingly flagrant violation of human rights and international law” by the Chinese regime in Beijing.
He felt that the lack of awareness by many Western parliamentarians of China’s forced organ harvesting was due to Beijing’s obscuration, censorship, and intimidation of those who expose its transplant practices. In addition, Gattolin opined that the majority of French people are reluctant to talk about organ transplantation, which is “almost taboo in our society,” and there is a lack of sympathy among the French people as Beijing has used propaganda to mislead them with a false negative image of Falun Gong.
In France, the Senator’s attempts to introduce or revise laws on bioethics have proved challenging, yet his efforts have resulted in a commitment by the French government to sign the Council of Europe’s Compostela Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, concluded on March 25, 2015.
Senator Gattolin felt that “our scientific and medical cooperation must absolutely be rethought. Collaboration in these fields raises essential ethical questions and can only be carried out in a spirit of reciprocity, responsibility and high standards.”
He concluded, “The EU must also now take very concrete action to denounce all the flagrant and repeated violations of human dignity and fundamental rights perpetrated by the Chinese regime, at the risk of becoming an accomplice.”
John Hoffman, U.S. Senator from the State of Minnesota, USA
Senator Hoffman said, “Leaders of all levels of government in every country have a responsibility to ensure such violations of human rights cease and that everyone has the opportunity to live free of the terror that is forced, and that is part of forced organ harvesting.”
Upon learning about China’s live forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, he was shaken to the core. “Forced organ harvesting is truly a monstrous practice that is difficult to conceive even exists until it is brought before you. The idea that there are those that take someone’s life and treat them like parts for pay or favors, still leaves me horrified.”
He described how he is working with fellow legislators in Minnesota on a resolution calling for the United States to oppose these “grievous violations of basic human rights.”
Françoise Hostalier Former Minister of Education, Member of Parliament, France
Ms. Hostalier expressed concern that organ trafficking “may one day affect people around us or even ourselves. I am talking about organ transplantation and the risk of being caught up in trafficking without knowing it.”
She wondered what philosophers and writers who were already questioning the moral integrity of science 500 years ago “would say today about China’s behavior, especially in its practice of forced organ removal and lucrative transplants?”
Many may be incredulous as “in our societies based on the respect of humanistic values, how can we imagine what is happening in China? How can we imagine that in a country, at the state level, organ trafficking can be organized from living people who obviously do not consent? This is beyond our comprehension…”
Both the epidemic of COVID-19 and “spoliation by China of the interests of many African states” were cited as examples of how the leaders of “Western countries including France, and the Chinese leaders, do not function, intellectually, with the same software!” She added, “We must therefore already be aware of the discrepancy in the perception of moral and ethical principles that we have with the Chinese leaders.”
She urged the scientific community to open their eyes to the risks of engagement with China. “There is a great risk that our researchers, doctors, laboratories, industrialists, and students, through scientific or economic exchanges, will find themselves complicit in the inhuman and criminal practices of their Chinese counterparts, which are contrary to all ethics, but without being aware of it!”
Steve Chabot, U.S. Congressman from the State of Ohio, Senior Member U.S House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, USA
Longtime advocate for human rights, Congressman Chabot said, “Although many of us have been fighting the evil practice of forced organ harvesting for some time now, the public overall is mostly unaware of this horrific practice, much less than it occurs on a vast scale.” He stressed the importance of raising awareness of this atrocity.
He detailed how “Beijing’s efforts to remake the world in the image of the Chinese Communist Party” is “open and obvious whether we look at the PRC’s territorial ambitions against its neighbors, its rampant theft of intellectual property, it’s manipulation of the international trading system, its penchant for secrecy and cover-ups which led to the COVID-19 pandemic, or any number of other issues.”
Given the CCP’s history and current leader Xi Jinping’s beliefs, Congressman Chabot said the “most fundamental challenge [from China] to the free world is in the area of human rights.”
“Over the past several years, however, the evidence that has become increasingly clear that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] is engaged in state sponsored organ harvesting. In 2019, the China Tribunal released its final judgement documenting widespread and systematic human rights abuses against the Falun Gong practitioners in China. The important practices documented by the China Tribunal echo the findings of other recent efforts to document these horrific abuses. Taken together, these reports make clear that the CCP’s view of human rights stands in direct opposition to nearly every other nation in the civilized world.”
He concluded that “a world that conforms to the values of the CCP is one in which those who don’t tow the party line can be put in a concentration camp or have their organs harvested. That’s a vision for a world that nobody wants to live in. And that’s the vision of the world that we are all fighting against.”
Philip Hunt, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, House of Lords, former Health Minister, United Kingdom
Lord Hunt, who has spoken out against forced organ harvesting many times in the House of Lords, said, “when I first heard about forced organ harvesting in China, I was horrified. Organ donation is a precious act of saving a life, but forced organ harvesting is commercialized murder and without doubt, among the worst of crimes.”
This year, he was successful in making changes to UK law. “In January this year, after huge pressure from across the House, my amendment to the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill was the first piece of UK legislation to fight against forced organ harvesting by ensuring that no medicines in the UK could include human tissues from victims of forced organ harvesting.”
Additionally, he shared that, “In May this year, my Private Members Bill ‘Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill’ was given its First Reading. This Bill serves to further protect UK citizens from complicity in forced organ harvesting by amending the Human Tissue Act in two ways. First, by ensuring UK citizens cannot travel to countries such as China for organ transplantation. Though the wording of the bill is not specific about the country, but it is specific about the restrictions that are based on ensuring appropriate consent, no coercion and no financial gain. Second, to put a stop to the dreadful traveling circus of body exhibitions which sources deceased bodies from China.” Lord Hunt said the plastinated bodies used in the exhibits in the UK came from “unclaimed bodies with no identity documents or consent, sourced from Dalian Hoffen Biotech in Dalian, China.”
Lord Hunt said that despite the fact that “Spain, Italy, Taiwan, Israel, Belgium, Norway, and South Korea have already taken legislative action to prevent organ tourism in China… International government action must continue. It is all our duty to act when we see innocent people falling victim to such dreadful crimes.”
Hermann Tertsch del Valle-Lersundi, Member of European Parliament, Member of the Foreign Affairs and Environment Committees of the European Parliament, Spain
When speaking about the forced organ transplants carried out by the Chinese dictatorship, Mr. Tertsch said that “the Falun Gong movement is greatly affected by it and that political prisoners in general are always one of the targets who can at any time be subjected to forced transplantation… We know that this atrocity, this monstrosity happens thousands and thousands of times a year.”
He berated the West over its silence about China’s transplant abuses. “Why are they all so indifferent to the denunciations and so indulgent towards the Chinese communist regime? Because they manufacture a lot there, because they have many economic relations… it is only considerations of immediate economic interests that lead these Western elites to be complicit with the Chinese Communist Party, with the regime of the People’s Republic of China, to hide the monstrosity of the transplants, which are taking away, we do not know how many thousands of political prisoners, of common prisoners, of people from the Falun Gong movement, of dissidents.”
Mr. Tertsch concluded, “We are in a situation full of uncertainties in the world but there are a few certainties that we must always be very clear about: if we want to maintain our aspiration for a dignified life we have to fight against cruelty and injustice such as the monstrosity of forced transplants, we have to fight whoever perpetrates them. We must unite to raise our voices and tell the People’s Republic of China, tell the Chinese dictator, and tell all the allies of this Chinese dictator, that this is intolerable and that enough is enough. “
Robert Spalding, Retired Brigadier General United States Air Force, Senior Director National Security Council, USA
General Spalding explained that “War is about political influence, it’s about influencing an opponent to adopt a political position that they are otherwise unwilling to” and that authoritarian regimes have adapted “the global economy… to essentially create the capability to change warfare from primarily a kinetic problem of ones of bombs and bullets, to an information and finance problem. One where these platforms, these social media platforms in the global economy could be leveraged to create political outcomes that favor their interests.”
After describing how this strategy was used during the global pandemic, he added, “Now this same political warfare is used to desensitize, to deflect any criticism on understanding of things like the genocide of the Uighur population, the lockdown and control of the people of Hong Kong, the mass incarceration and organ harvesting of the Falun Gong, and the outright oppression of certain elements of the Chinese population, particularly those that the Chinese Communist Party fears.”
He then related how this political influence has spread to Western societies. “U.S. corporations, multinational corporations are influenced both in terms of the ability to do business in China or the ability to gain Chinese investment. And this, in turn, creates an incentive on them to basically influence the political systems of their host countries. And so, U.S. corporations are influencing the U.S. political process, the same for Germany, same for every other democracy, in anticipation of the profits that can be gleaned either from working in China or working with China or working with Chinese money.”
Therefore, any attempts to address China’s human rights abuses are met with political pushback domestically by the business communities in those countries and “these nations now are adopting more authoritarian principles because they are incentivized to do so by the Chinese Communist Party.”
General Spalding stressed that the most important action is to decouple from the Chinese Communist Party in “our political, our academic, our financial, and our economic and trading systems, and letting the American free market economy work with other democracies to promote the prosperity of the citizens of those free societies.”
Also, he said we must rebuild, “to use the innovation, technology, talent, and capital that has been flowing for the last 25 years into China, to flow into free societies, to lift the prosperity and productivity of those nations.”
Lastly, he stated, we must “inspire other nations to adopt the principles of democracy.”