By Ming Chen, MD
When this month’s elections gave the Republican Party control of Congress, both President Obama and incoming congressional leaders pledged themselves to try and find ways to work together despite their political differences. But an opportunity to demonstrate that kind of leadership doesn’t need to wait until the next Congress is sworn in; in fact, that will be too late.
House Resolution 281 condemns a little-known but brutal practice in the People’s Republic of China known as “forced organ harvesting”: transplant organs are taken, without consent, from inmates in Chinese prisons, typically from people imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs.
This practice, which began 30 years ago and has continued despite dissembling and evasions from Chinese officials, has been extensively documented by journalists and human rights advocates. Among other things, this gruesome practice is a cash cow for China’s state-run hospitals: Chinese patients and wealthy “medical tourists” from abroad will pay between $60,000 and $100,000 for more common transplants, while organs like hearts and livers fetch prices as high as $350,000.