The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to advance the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023, which would sanction China for its forced organ harvesting practice, Breitbart reported. The legislation, penned by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), will go on to be debated on the House floor.
The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Bill Keating (D-MA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Kathy Manning (D-NC). Smith held a hearing last May that brought the issue to light with experts explaining that political prisoners, particularly Muslims in concentration camps, have been killed so their organs can be sold on the black market.
"Under Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, the cruelty of murdering between 60,000 to 100,000 young victims every year—average age 28—to steal their organs is unimaginable," Smith said after the successful vote Wednesday. The fact that the legislation is advancing could be a step to stop the practice.
Testimony revealed that other camp survivors noted that victims would be taken "in the middle of the night" and never seen again. Mostly they were around 28 years old and had recently undergone medical testing.
The proliferation of concentration camps for Turkic and Uyghur Muslims has provided Xi Jinping with a steady flow of more prisoners to the camps who can be killed for their organs. Accusations that the Chinese Communist Party has been engaged in this forced organ harvesting have been circulating for decades.
It's been well-documented, including through the testimony of Uyghur surgeon Enver Tohti at the Canadian House of Commons, who said he'd removed organs from a prisoner. Tohti took the liver and kidney from a man who had been shot in the head even as the prisoner's heart kept beating.
"My chief surgeons were happy to put those organs, a liver, and two kidneys, into a weird-looking box," Tohti said in previous testimony. "Then they said: 'Ok, now you take your team back to the hospital, and remember that nothing happened today.'"
Both Tohti and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, who helped launch an extensive probe into the matter, testified at Smith's hearing last year. "If we assume that at any given time since 2017, there are approximately a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Hui in the camps, my estimate is that 25,000 to 50,000 camp detainees are being harvested every year," Gutmann asserted at the hearing.
"Twenty-eight-year-olds from the Xinjiang [East Turkistan] camps can be theoretically harvested for two or three organs, translating into a minimum of 50,000 organs or a maximum of 150,000 organs," he added. Gutmann went on to call for solid activism against the practice.
"We need to abolish all Western contact with the Mainland Chinese transplant industry," he said. "No Chinese transplant surgeons in our medical journals, our universities, and our conferences," Gutmann added.
"And a freeze on all sales of surgical equipment, pharmaceutical development, and testing in China." Although not following Gutmann's particular prescription, Smith's legislation would go a long way to ensuring America can do its part.
The Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 would impose sanctions on those found trafficking people and their stolen organs for sale on the black market. For Americans caught in the practice, they would not be able to obtain a U.S. passport.
The language of the bill also states it would "block and prohibit all transactions in property and interests in property and makes that person inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to receive a visa" for foreigners. However, dignitaries to the United Nations would still be welcomed there and only there because of longstanding arrangements.
The human rights abuses in China are appalling, and there should be bipartisan support to do what it takes to stop them. Hopefully, the bill is the beginning of a larger movement to stop this gruesome and criminal practice.