VOC Applauds Passage of Organ Trafficking Bill in House, Urges Senate Approval

March 29, 2023
Press contact: Karina Lipsman

Washington, D.C. — The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) commends the near unanimous passage by the US House of Representatives on Monday of new bipartisan legislation addressing organ trafficking led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA). In a stunning 412-2 vote, the House has put on notice regimes that allow state-sponsored organ trafficking that the United States will not tolerate these atrocious human rights abuses supported by communist countries. 

“The passage of this legislation sends a clear message to not only China, but the rest of the world that the United States will not turn a blind eye to this atrocity, one that has been shamefully ignored by institutions and governments influenced by China for far too long,” said VOC President Ambassador Andrew Bremberg. “We applaud Congressmen Smith and Keating for their leadership, and we urge the Senate to quickly take up this bill, pass it, and send it to President Biden so it can become law.”

The Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act — also known as H.R. 1154 — authorizes the US Secretary of State to deny passports and visas to anyone involved in illegal organ trafficking. It also mandates annual reporting by the US State Department on forced organ harvesting in foreign countries, and sanctions on individuals and entities that facilitate organ harvesting. If signed into law, it would represent the strongest legislation ever introduced by any country to combat organ trafficking.

Forced organ harvesting is a gruesome human rights abuse that occurs around the globe but most acutely in Communist China, where for decades, tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed on demand for their organs, in a lucrative trade thought to be worth over $1 billion per year. As has been meticulously documented by VOC researchers and an independent China Tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice — former prosecutor of Slobodan Milošević for war crimes in Yugoslavia at the International Criminal Court — the likely primary victims in China are prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghur Muslims, and Tibetan Buddhists.

“These crimes against humanity are unimaginable,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who led Monday’s Floor debate on H.R. 1154. “Ethnic groups targeted for mass harvesting include Uyghurs, who suffer from Xi Jinping’s ongoing genocide, and the Falun Gong, whose peaceful meditation and exercise practices and exceptional good health make their organs highly desirable. The Chinese Communist Party has declared them to be an ‘evil cult’—fit for butchering.”

Rep. Smith has chaired multiple congressional hearings on China’s human rights abuses, including a hearing last May for the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission highlighting Beijing’s organ trafficking of political prisoners, at which VOC experts Matthew Robertson and Ethan Gutmann testified.

“Forced organ harvesting is cruel and immoral, often targeting ethnic and religious minorities and some of the most vulnerable groups in the world,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “The bipartisan Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act…will empower the Biden administration to take action against those who practice this despicable crime.”

The  Stop Act — a version of which was first introduced in March 2021 with bipartisan support — has received support from human rights organizations, including VOC, Uyghur diaspora groups, and the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), the group that initiated the aforementioned China Tribunal. The NYC Bar Association’s Asian Affairs Committee, Bioethical Issue Committee, and International Human Rights Committee also released a report March 28 called Human Organ Supply: Report on Ethical Considerations and Breaches in Organ Harvesting Practices including a significant section on forced organ harvesting in China, referencing VOC’s research.

“The Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 is one of the most significant international responses to the China Tribunal’s Judgment to date,” said Susie Hughes, Executive Director of ETAC. “We hope that more governments will be inspired to follow in the footsteps of the United States, to ensure their own citizens are not caught up in the mass murder of innocents for their organs in China.”

VOC’s widely-cited scholarly research on the organ issue includes a detailed review of the evidence for forced organ harvesting in China, a peer-reviewed paper demonstrating how Beijing falsified its organ data to support its highly doubtful claim to use only voluntary organ donations since 2015, and a seminal academic paper demonstrating the organ atrocity using China’s own medical papers, which was published in the American Journal of Transplantation, the leading journal in the field.