(Minghui.org) U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) spoke at the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit on January 31, 2024. He condemned the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for harvesting organs for transplant from living Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline and meditation practice whose guiding principles are Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. The CCP launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, and it continues to this day.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks at the International Religious Freedom Summit on January 31, 2024.

During the Summit in Washington D.C., Johnson said he devoted most of his adult life and career to defending religious freedom. “It’s an honor to join you all as we speak against religious persecution around the globe,” he said.

When he talked about the CCP’s persecution of religious freedom, he said, “Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners are placed in forced labor camps, and they have their organs harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.

“In the Uyghur Autonomous Region, Uyghur Muslims are suffering under the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal campaign of forced sterilization, forced detention, and reeducation,” he emphasized.

He mentioned that China is one of the most repressive countries in the world, and those countries, “have the least to offer their citizens in terms of economic prosperity and social mobility, and that’s no surprise because if you’re going to restrict and torment people for their religious beliefs, it’s going to be a tyrannical regime.

“The U.S. has an obligation to prevent genocide, and punish those who commit it,” he stressed.

“We know that freedom of religion or belief is a universal value. It’s given to people everywhere, to us by our Creator.

“We gather at this Summit under one banner, saying that religious freedom truly is for all the people,” he continued, “and we declare the universal self-evident truth that our inalienable rights, especially the right to religious freedom, come from God, and not the government.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023, which criminalizes forced organ harvesting, on March 23, 2023 on a vote of 413–2. This is the first time the U.S. directly addressed the CCP’s atrocity of harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience with legislation, and the bill was passed by a landslide majority.

The penalties stated in the bill include a civil penalty of up to US$250,000 and a criminal penalty of up to US$1 million and 20 years in prison.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the principal sponsor of the bill, spoke out against forced organ harvesting, “This is an atrocity, this is a crime against humanity, and it’s a war crime, because this is a war on innocent people in China, and [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping is directly responsible. Those who willingly engage in this will be held responsible.”

Smith said in a statement in April 2022 opposing the persecution of Falun Gong, “Today, Falun Gong practitioners continue to be arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and subjected to the cruelest of deaths—including live vivisections to remove their organs for sale in the medical marketplace simply because they believe in basic human rights and the fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly.”

Smith urged the U.S. Congress to pass the bill he sponsored to fight forced organ harvesting and human trafficking. He said the bill also aims to sanction countries that take part in or connive such inhumane and barbaric acts.