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Victims Tortured In China Appear Before Fairfax City Council

Michael O’Connell, Patch Staff

FAIRFAX CITY, VA — Fairfax City Council passed a resolution at its June 22 meeting in support of efforts to inform city residents and the medical community about the risks of traveling to the People’s Republic of China for organ transplants.

Falun Gong practitioner Ma Chunling (right) appeared at Tuesday's Fairfax City Council meeting to support a resolution against organ harvesting in China. A city resident, she is shown with her son, Qiaochu Wang (left), and her husband, Jun Wang.
Falun Gong practitioner Ma Chunling (right) appeared at Tuesday’s Fairfax City Council meeting to support a resolution against organ harvesting in China. A city resident, she is shown with her son, Qiaochu Wang (left), and her husband, Jun Wang. (Family Photo)

The resolution also formally expressed the council’s opposition to China’s state-sponsored forced organ harvest of minorities, religious groups and political prisoners.

“A large component of this practice involves forced harvesting of organs from individuals who did not consent to such actions,” City Attorney Brian Lubkeman said during the presentation of the resolution. “And there’s increasing evidence that many of these organs and much of this organ harvesting is state-sponsored. These organs are harvested from prisoners of conscience, specifically political prisoners and certain minority and religions groups.”

In addition, Chinese government has been called out as one of the largest state-sponsored actors in this area, Lubkeman added.

“Along with this there is a growth in what is called ‘medical tourism,’ where individuals travel to other countries for medical procedures and, in this case, for organ transplantation,” he said. “The troubling aspect for this and another reason for this resolution is that it’s apparent that many of these individuals that travel overseas are not aware of the sources of these organs.”

Both Fairfax and Prince William counties have already approved similar resolutions condemning the practice and warning residents about the dangers of traveling to China for organ transplants. In addition, the bipartisan Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act was introduced in both houses of Congress earlier this year.

Councilmember Sang Yi, who introduced the resolution, said it was important for residents to know the sources of the organs they receive through a transplant.

“Apparently, there are a lot of people, especially in Northern Virginia, who become medical tourists,” he said. “They need an organ transplant, and they go to China; and there’s these reports about people coming up, approaching them and saying, ‘Hey, you need a new kidney will give me $50,000 and I’ll get a new one in China two weeks.'”

The source for many of these organs are persecuted minorities, such as Muslims, Christians, Uyghurs and practitioners of Falun Gong, according to Yi.

City residents Kim Eng, his wife Chunmei Ma, and sister-in-law Ma Chunling were among those who appeared before the council in support of the resolution. As practitioners of Falun Gong, they are familiar with the oppression exercised by the Chinese government.

“My wife is originally from China, so she has experienced issues related to being evicted, being a potential victim of forced organ harvesting,” he said. “The same also goes with my wife’s younger sister. She also went through a similar situation.”

Eng’s wife, Chunmei Ma, was imprisoned for four years in China. During that time, she was routinely beaten, kicked, handcuffed and hung for long periods. She was also drugged and forced to labor for 19 hours without break. Her sister also experienced similar ordeals at the hands of the government.

Eventually, Chunmei Ma was able to leave China and spent the next six years in Thailand. With the help of the U.S. government, she was able to seek asylum in the United States and became an American citizen.

While Eng and his family members were not actual victims of organ harvesting themselves, they condemned the practice and wanted to raise awareness in the community.

“We needed to let more people, not just the council and mayor, but pretty much everybody in the United States know the evilness of Communist men,” he said.

In an interview after the resolution passed, Yi said he found the testimony in support of the measure very emotional.

“I was quite a little overwhelmed,” Yi said. “They even had a petition going with like maybe 100, 150 or 200 people, who are all city residents. We actually do have a pretty strong Asian population in our city.”

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