In July 20145, I was part of a contingent of human rights advocates standing against the practice of organ harvesting in China, with a peaceful dramatization of what occurs to victims of organ harvesting on the lawns of parliament house and an academic presentation to Federal Members of parliament in Canberra – discussing the importance of legislative change in this area.
At a recent NSW parliamentary Organ Harvesting Briefing in partnership with David Shoebridge – a member of parliament in NSW, and the Falun Dafa Community in Australia, I had the privilege of presenting on the legal and human rights implications of forced organ harvesting in China, which sees people killed to order, and the Transplant Tourism that occurs, even from Australia.
China is a known location for transplant tourism, using forced organ harvesting from detained persecuted minority groups. Australia, as a developed nation and economy in the Asia region, needs to ensure that we do not engage in the unethical Transplant Tourism, therefore creating a market for organ harvesting and organ trafficking in China.
Australia has an obligation to do its part in legislating against the unethical international trade in human organs, ensuring that we do not engage in transplant tourism, but also seeking to protect persecuted minorities in our region.
In my presentation at the NSW parliamentary Organ Harvesting Briefing, I highlighted evidence of forced organ harvesting taken from persecuted minorities, and its links to Australia, including the medical training Australia has provided to Chinese Doctors, Professors, and the Chinese Minister for Health overseeing the forced organ harvesting in China.
I wanted to thank all the Members of the New South Wales Parliament who stood for the rights of persecuted minority groups in China when they attended the Parliamentary Briefing on the Unethical Organ Trade and its Impact on NSW.
There were reported threats to those attending the Organ Harvesting Briefing at NSW Parliamentary Briefing not to attend, declaring that it was not in Australia’s economic best interest to do so.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the 8 August 2015: “China has launched an extraordinary bid to prevent NSW MPs from attending a briefing on the international human organ trade at Parliament House by implying that economic cooperation with Australia and NSW could be threatened if they show up in a letter from the Chinese consul general in Sydney, Li Huaxin, to the president of the NSW Legislative Council, Don Harwin.
I thank David Shoebridge for his courage in standing against this human rights violation of minority groups in the NSW parliament, who was able to present the Human Tissue Amendment Bill 2015 which addressed Transplant Tourism from Australia into China, and presented the 72,000 signature petition, calling for legislative reform relating to forced organ harvesting of persecuted minority groups.
This is one step towards highlighting a severe human rights tragedy in our region.
What is further tragic is the secondary persecution that occurs to those advocates and lawyers who seek to assist these persecuted minority groups who are detained and their organs harvested.
Christian Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zisheng is one such example who has been advocating for these minority groups in China since 2005, and since has experienced persecution through his legal license being taken away, his law firm shut down, he has been imprisoned and tortured beyond recognition.
I had the privilege of meeting the daughter of Gao Zisheng’s first Falun Gong practitioner imprisoned for her faith who was prepared for organ harvesting medically while in detention, but was rescued through Mr. Zisheng’s legal advocacy.
The victim and her daughter now live in Australia.