The House of Representatives on March 27 overwhelmingly passed a bill to punish communist China for its forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, marking the first nonsymbolic legislative measure in the United States to counter the atrocity.
H.R. 1154, dubbed the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023, passed by a vote of 413–2. It would sanction anyone involved in the act and require annual government reporting on such activities taking place in foreign countries. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) were among more than a dozen lawmakers leading the measure’s companion version in the Senate.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the principal sponsor of the bill, called attention to the penalties in the bill for those found to be involved in forced organ harvesting: a civil penalty of up to $250,000 and a criminal penalty of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.
“It’s got real teeth. We’re not kidding,” Smith told The Epoch Times ahead of the floor vote. “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.”
On the House floor, Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) highlighted the annual reporting requirement in the bill, which she said would ensure that the United States makes “an informed assessment regarding the magnitude and prevalence of this problem.”
“Given the ongoing genocide, we cannot take Beijing at its word about what it is and is not doing,” she said. “We need to investigate and we need to verify.
“We should never look away from injustice and repression wherever it takes place.”
The news of the bill’s passage was heartening for many survivors of the regime’s persecution who have escaped to the United States for refuge, as in the case of Han Yu, an adherent of Falun Gong. Practitioners of the spiritual discipline have been named as the primary victims of the regime’s illicit organ trade.
By Eva Fu