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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 168

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 03/16/2017 04:36pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Introduction Posted on 01/11/2017

Current Version - as introduced

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A resolution
expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned,
forced organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience, primarily from
Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their spiritual beliefs, and members of other
religious and ethnic minority groups in the People's Republic of China.

WHEREAS, when performed in accordance with ethical standards, the medical discipline
of organ transplantation is one of the great achievements of modern medicine; and

WHEREAS, organ transplantation depends on altruistic organ donation, which is based on
free, voluntary, and informed consent of the donor; and

WHEREAS, free, voluntary, and informed consent cannot be guaranteed for death row
prisoners who are deprived of their freedom and exposed to coercion; and

WHEREAS, forced organ harvesting is understood as organ procurement without prior free,
voluntary, and informed consent, and includes the jeopardizing of the survival of the nonconsenting
organ donor; and

WHEREAS, the People's Republic of China implemented a regulation in 1984 that permits
organ harvesting from executed prisoners, a practice that is banned by the World Medical Association
and international ethical standards but continues unabated to date in China; and

WHEREAS, the organ transplantation system in China does not comply with the World
Health Organization's Guiding Principles of traceability and transparency in organ procurement
pathways, and the government of the People's Republic of China has resisted independent scrutiny
of the system; and

WHEREAS, the Department of State Country Report on Human Rights for China for 2011
stated, "Overseas and domestic media and advocacy groups continued to report instances of organ
harvesting, particularly from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs"; and

WHEREAS, Falun Gong, a spiritual practice involving meditative "qigong" exercises and
centered on the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, became immensely popular in
China in the 1990s, with multiple estimates placing the number of practitioners at upwards of 70
million; and

WHEREAS, in July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched an intensive, nationwide
persecution designed to eradicate the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, including physical and mental
torture; and

WHEREAS, since 1999, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been
detained extra-legally in Chinese reeducation-through-labor camps, detention centers, and prisons,
where torture, abuse, and implausible medical exams and blood tests on Falun Gong practitioners
are routine; and

WHEREAS, the number of organ transplant operations in China increased by more than 500
percent within five years after 1999, corresponding with the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong;

WHEREAS, the increase of transplant organs is not attributable to an overall increase in the
number of death row inmates or to a public organ donation system or another publicly recognized
organ source; and

WHEREAS, the Government of the People's Republic of China has not provided any
explanation for the sudden increase of donor organs and the short wait times of 1 to 4 weeks for
kidney and liver transplants; and

WHEREAS, three researchers - David Matas, a human rights attorney, David Kilgour, former
Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, and Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning China analyst
and human rights investigator - conducted investigations into the allegations of organ harvesting
and concluded in their 2016 investigative report, "An Update to Bloody Harvest and the Slaughter,"
that the Chinese regime may be performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year as opposed to
10,000 per year; and

WHEREAS, in 2006, doctors from 17 Chinese hospitals admitted in phone calls with
undercover investigators that they have used or could obtain vital organs of Falun Gong prisoners
of conscience for transplant, with some of the doctors implicating local courts and security agencies
in the organ procurement process; and

WHEREAS, Ethan Gutmann published findings that Chinese security agencies began
harvesting organs from members of the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority group in
the 1990s, including from Uighur political prisoners; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations Committee Against Torture and the Special Rapporteur on
Torture have expressed concern over the allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners,
and have called on the Government of the People's Republic of China to increase accountability
and transparency in the organ transplant system and punish those responsible for abuses; and

WHEREAS, Huang Jiefu announced in December 2014 that the People's Republic of China
will end organ harvesting from executed prisoners by January 1, 2015, while simultaneously stating
that death row prisoners are citizens who have the "right" to donate their organs, and that their
organs will be entered into the organ allocation program, and therefore the organ procurement from
death row prisoners will continue under this new semantic terminology; and

WHEREAS, the aforementioned announcement made by Huang Jiefu has not been verified
on official, publicly accessible Web sites or information boards of the Chinese ministry of health,
and therefore remains an announcement by a single person, but not an announcement of the
government; and

WHEREAS, the People's Republic of China neither acknowledged the organ harvesting from
prisoners of conscience, nor expressed the cessation of it; and

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group, the International Society of Heart
and Lung Transplantation, and Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting expressed in public
statements that the announcement to end the organ harvesting by January 2015 is not credible, but
only a semantic alteration of the same practice; and

WHEREAS, in January 2015, the White House, in response to the petition "We the People,"
expressed its opposition to China's practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners; and

WHEREAS, the killing of religious or political prisoners for the purpose of selling their
organs for transplant is an egregious and intolerable violation of the fundamental right to live; and

WHEREAS, in September 2012, experts testified before the House of Representatives Foreign
Affairs Committee that United States patients continue to travel to China for organ transplants and
that the medical community continues cooperation and training with Chinese colleagues, creating
the risk that they may be indirectly aiding abusive practices; and

WHEREAS, Kirk C. Allison, Ph.D., Director of the Program in Human Rights and Health
of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, testified in 2006 before the Subcommittee
on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations, United States House
of Representatives, on the topic of his report, "Mounting Evidence of Falun Gong Practitioners
Used as Organ Sources in China and Related Ethical Responsibilities"; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota that it:

(1) calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end the practice
of organ harvesting from all prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and explicitly from Falun Gong
prisoners of conscience and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups;

(2) calls upon the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end the
16-year persecution of the Falun Gong, and the immediate release of all Falun Gong practitioners
and other prisoners of conscience;

(3) calls upon the President of the United States to undertake a full and transparent
investigation by the United States Department of State into organ transplant practices in the People's
Republic of China, and calls for the prosecution of those found to have engaged in such unethical

(4) will take measures to initiate a registry for residents of Minnesota who travel abroad to
receive organ transplants; and

(5) will take measures to ban the entry of those who have participated in illegal removal of
human tissues and organs, and seek prosecution of such individuals should they be found on the
soil of Minnesota.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is directed
to prepare copies of this memorial and transmit them to the President and Vice President of the
United States, the President and Secretary of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Clerk of
the United States House of Representatives, the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs,
the chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, and Minnesota's Senators and
Representatives in Congress.