US tells China to end prisoner organ harvesting - but Beijing insists donations are voluntary
Beijing denies House resolution that says organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners persists despite its assurances that donations are voluntary
Associated Press in Washington
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee endorsed on Wednesday a resolution calling on China to immediately end what it calls state-sanctioned harvesting of human organs from prisoners. Beijing said the panel was making “false and irresponsible accusations.”
Human rights groups have long criticised China for taking organs from executed prisoners, the source of most transplanted organs. China said in 2012 it plans to abolish the practice in three to five years.
The resolution, which now goes to the full House, contends there are “persistent and credible reports” of state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners including large numbers from the Falun Gong meditation movement and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.
China banned Falun Gong in 1999, dubbing it an evil cult.
The resolution also calls for a State Department investigation into transplant practices in China.
The resolution’s chief sponsor, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, accused China’s government of a “violent and targeted campaign” against Falun Gong practitioners and claimed detainees are executed for their organs.
The committee’s top-ranking Democrat, Eliot Engel, called organ harvesting an “unconscionable violation of human rights,” and the targeting of people for their faith or ethnicity intolerable. He said there was no indication China is living up to its word to end transplants from executed prisoners and set up a voluntary organ donation system.
Chinese Embassy spokesman Geng Shuang expressed strong dissatisfaction with resolution. He said that according to Chinese regulations, every organ transplant requires the consent of the donor in written form.
“The so-called organ harvesting from death-row prisoners is totally a lie fabricated by Falun Gong,” Geng said, urging lawmakers to view the movement as a cult and stop “supporting and conniving” with it.