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Virginia Medical Society Asks US to Investigate China’s Organ Transplant Practices
By Brianna Pendleton

The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) has passed a resolution to condemn systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China and to express its support for a pending House Resolution in the U.S. Congress of the same nature.

“It [organ harvesting] is medical malpractice, immoral. I would consider it a modern holocaust in medicine,” said Dr. Manuel M. Belandres, the initiator of the resolution, an MSV member and a general trauma surgeon. “And the only way to stop that is to give them a voice of conscience. It is not the right way to do things, to harvest organs. It’s state-sanctioned… It’s totally, absolutely wrong and a new form of evil,” Dr. Belandres said.

The resolution calls for “a full and transparent investigation by the United States Department of State into organ transplant practices in the People’s Republic of China, and for the prosecution of those found to have engaged in such unethical practices.”

It also recommends that the U.S. State Department issue a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to China for organ transplants and bar the entry of those who have participated in organ harvesting.

In addition, Dr. Belandres personally appealed to the conscience of his colleagues in China: “It’s state-sanctioned. There’s no reason to believe that they [doctors in China] cannot change.” He asks them to stop blindly carrying out the state-sanctioned orders and to be aware that the global medical community knows about the crimes of organ harvesting in China and won’t tolerate it.

“It’s about time that they have to discontinue this kind of practice, if they want to be members of the global medical community,” he added.

MSV is a professional association of physicians, physician assistants, and medical students. Its official website boasts nearly 9,000 members. The association’s House of Delegates met for a special interim meeting at the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen, Virginia, on May 31.

The resolution also calls for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong and recommends that the MSA Board of Directors study the issue.

House Resolution 281
U.S. House Resolution 281 was initiated in the summer of 2013 by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Congressman Robert Andrews from New Jersey to condemn the systematic, state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China, a large majority of whom are Falun Gong practitioners.

Over 160 congressmen, more than a third of the House, have co-sponsored the resolution before the pending floor vote. The almost equal number of Democratic and Republican co-sponsors highlights the bipartisan support for Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since July 1999.

The resolution passed the Asia Subcommittee markup of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Dec. 11, 2013. The subcommittee markup is the first step that leads to markup at the Full Committee of Foreign Affairs and scheduling for a vote on the House floor.
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