(Minghui.org) The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) marked up House Resolution 343 on March 16, 2016. The resolution calls on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to cease the practice of state-sanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.

According to reports from human rights organizations, Falun Gong practitioners comprise the largest portion of prisoners of conscience in China, and face an elevated risk of dying or being killed in custody.

Voice of America (VOA) reported on March 17 that Resolution 343 expressed the concern of the House of Representatives about “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China.” The following is translated from the Chinese-language VOA report.

“Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) strongly condemned the organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. He said, 'Non-consensual organ harvesting represents a gross violation of human rights. And if this horrible abuse weren't enough, we hear about victims being targeted for their religious beliefs, and of Chinese prison camps reaping profits from harvesting these organs.'

“The resolution states that 'Whereas voluntary and informed consent is the precondition for ethical organ donation, and international medical organizations state that prisoners, deprived of their freedom, are not in the position to give free consent, and that the practice of sourcing organs from prisoners is a violation of ethical guidelines in medicine;

“'Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Communist Party of China continue to deny reports that many organs are taken without the consent of prisoners, yet at the same time prevent independent verification of its transplant system;'

“The resolution also pointed out that Chinese authorities had announced 'China would end the practice of organ harvesting from executed prisoners by January 1, 2015, but failed to address organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience;'

“A New York Times article on November 17, 2015, reported 'The relabeling of prisoners has enabled Chinese officials to include them in a new, nationwide 'citizen donation' system that China is building to reduce its longstanding reliance on organs from prisoners.' The report quoted the World Medical Association General Secretary, who called this an 'administrative trick' because 'there is no way of knowing if such donations are truly voluntary.'

“Resolution 343 quoted an investigation in 2006 that concluded: 'Falun Gong prisoners were the only plausible source for 41,500 organ transplants performed from 2000 to 2005.'

“Another investigation shows that approximately 65,000 Falun Gong adherents may have been killed for their organs from 2000 to 2008, and that a number of other religious and ethnic minorities may also have been targeted.

“Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced this resolution, and urged the State Department to provide deeper analysis of organ harvesting by the Chinese regime in its annual human rights report and to report to the Congress about visas denied to foreign officials who have ever been involved in forced organ and human issue transplants.

“She said, 'China's ghoulish organ harvesting has not stopped, and when official Chinese transplant statistics do not match up to the facts on the ground including witness' accounts and the dramatic increases in the hiring of transplant teams, we must see the regime's claims for the lies and the propaganda that they indeed are.'

“Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said, 'It is wrong for us to close our eyes, permitting our doctors to buy a kidney from some prisoner in China who happens to be a Falun Gong member. It's wrong for us to permit a doctor here to transplant that organ because that's us participating in a crime, in a horrific crime that shouldn't be excused.'

“The resolution encourages the United States medical community to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China.

“According to 'Transplant Tourism in China: A Tale of Two Transplants,' an article published on American Journal of Bioethics in February 2010, 'the extreme shortage of transplant organs in the U.S. continues to make organ transplantation in China an appealing option for some patients with end-stage diseases.'

“Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Congressman Ed Royce said the resolution called for American doctors to educate patients on the danger of transplant tourism.

“Currently, the resolution has 166 bipartisan cosponsors.”