Commissioners Urge State Department Action to Disrupt Illegal Organ Trade in the PRC

(Washington)—A bipartisan group of Commissioners from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released a letter today asking the State Department to utilize existing rewards programs to seek information that will “deter and disrupt the market for illegally procured organs…and hold accountable those responsible for the gruesome practice” of forced organ harvesting in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  CECC Chair Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) was joined by CECC Ranking Member Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Zach Nunn (R-IA) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT).

The signed letter can be accessed here.

The State Department has rewards programs to seek actionable information on atrocities and transnational crime. These programs may be used to gain information on individuals complicit in “crimes against humanity” and “severe forms of human trafficking in persons.”  The final judgment of the Independent People’s Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China concluded that the estimated $1 billion dollar organ trafficking industry in the PRC “harvests organs from executed prisoners and political prisoners at an industrial scale,” actions that constitute “crimes against humanity.”  

The Commissioners conclude the letter saying that expanded efforts to disrupt forced organ harvesting networks “will be critical in ending this horrific practice [in China] and promoting, long term, the establishment of a truly voluntary organ donation system. With effective enforcement mechanisms, we can work towards ensuring organs are procured safely and ethically.”

The initiative emerged from a recent CECC hearing “Stopping the Crime of Organ Harvesting—What More Must be Done” where the Commissioners heard testimony on illegal organ procurement in the PRC, the complicity of U.S. corporations in transplant abuse, and how medical associations and journals, and U.S. state legislatures, are grappling with the legal, ethical, and human rights issues associated with organ harvesting. Statements by the Chairs, witness testimony, and an archived hearing video can be found on the CECC’s website.