Hobbs’ Veto of China’s Organ-Harvesting Bill Spurs Questions | The Gateway Pundit

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Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs/Image: InternationalTradeAdministration, Wikimedia Commons

This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire

By Susan Crabtree
Real Clear Wire

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has remained mum about her recent veto of legislation aimed at curbing China’s gruesome forced organ-harvesting trade, which targets detained ethnic and religious minorities, mostly Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners.

The April 10 veto has proponents of the legislation and human rights activists scratching their heads. Over the last year, Texas, Utah, and Idaho have enacted similar legislation, and legislatures in Missouri, Ohio, and North Carolina are debating similar measures. The bipartisan bills would prevent health insurance plans from reimbursing individuals for any organ transplants in China or other U.S. adversaries. They also would bar insurance payments for post-operative procedures related to organ transplants if the organ came from China or any other nation that funds or engages in forced organ harvesting.

Idaho’s and Arizona’s versions also included language prohibiting medical reimbursement for DNA and other genetic sequencing procedures conducted on sequencing devices from China and other adversary countries.

For decades, China has harvested prisoners’ organs even though the government initially asserted that all of its organ extractions were from voluntary donors. Yet, as far back as 2005, the top transplant doctor in China, then serving as the nation’s vice minister of health, admitted that roughly 95% of all organ transplants come from prisoners killed for their body parts.

Despite an international outcry over this practice, China ramped up its organ harvesting trade over the last two decades to become a $1 billion-a-year industry, according to international human rights experts. A growing body of research has revealed a particularly reprehensible aspect of the life-ending extractions: Religious minorities and political dissidents are the primary victims, with an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 being killed for their organs each year.

Other research has shown that Chinese authorities have used DNA tests on prisoners in forced labor camps to identify which prisoners would be ideal for organ harvesting.

China has vehemently denied these findings, but in 2019, the China Tribunal, a non-governmental commission in the U.K., concluded otherwise. The Tribunal found that the Chinese organ trafficking industry is harvesting organs from executed prisoners at an industrial scale, actions that constitute crimes against humanity.

Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and co-chair of the annual International Religious Freedom Summit, hailed the passage of the state measures aimed at prohibiting any U.S. complicity in China’s organ-harvesting trade, calling the steps “greatly encouraging.”

“For years, we have known that China is engaged in the despicable and ghoulish practice of forced organ harvesting. We also know that the victims of this crime are most often religious minorities and political dissidents,” she said in a statement. “Sadly, the beneficiaries are usually wealthy patients who may not know the details of this illegal practice. Still, their ignorance does not excuse them from being complicit in this crime against humanity.

“I commend the states that are acting to cut off any healthcare funding for this barbaric practice,” she added. “The demand from wealthy westerners for healthy organs cannot justify, and must never encourage, the brutal harvesting of organs from helpless victims in China and elsewhere.”

In issuing her veto, Katie Hobbs provided a three-line explanation, arguing that the measure “includes overbroad provisions for genetic sequencing equipment that create compliance challenges for hospitals, healthcare providers, and researchers.”

But the bill’s sponsors included language to accommodate concerns from the insurance industry that it would be punished for unwittingly breaking the law. Michael Lucci of State Armor Action, an organization that is spearheading the state-by-state legislative push to curb China’s organ-harvesting trade, said that neither Hobbs nor her staff engaged with him or other proponents to voice concerns while the measure was making its way through the Arizona legislature.

“Gov. Hobbs’ veto of HB2503 is shameful,” Lucci told RealClearPolitics. “Gov. Hobbs speaks of championing women’s medical rights and medical privacy. Yet her veto … undermines all that rhetoric.”

“Arizonans will continue to have DNA harvested by China’s government, and Arizona has failed in a state’s basic duty to stand up against the murderous practice of foreign organ harvesting,” he added.

Hobbs’ office did not respond to repeated RCP inquiries. While China’s transplant practices have spurred international condemnation for its organ “tourism trade,” there is no clear paper trail to determine whether U.S. insurance companies have reimbursed residents for any costs involving transplants performed in China or other countries. Proponents designed the bill to guard against any reimbursements and also to bar coverage for any post-operative care associated with organ transplants that occurred in China or other U.S. adversaries.

“We should make clear that when Americans interact with China’s communist government, what seems too good to be true is too good to be true,” Lucci told RCP. “China’s low costs are built on slave labor, and organ transplants come from political prisoners.”

“In other words, if you get an organ transplant from China, you are on your own,” Lucci told RCP. “You have to pay for the transplant and all follow-up care associated with the transplant.”

In recent years, efforts to curb China’s organ-harvesting practices have increased at the federal level. Last year, the House passed GOP Rep. Chris Smith’s Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, which would impose sanctions on any person who sponsors or facilitates forced organ harvesting or the trafficking of persons for the purpose of removing their organs. It would also require U.S. federal agencies to issue annual reports assessing the practice in China and other foreign adversaries.

Congress is also taking action against Beijing Genomics Institute, or BGI, which is already under U.S. export control restrictions, and Wuxi AppTec for their role in illegally collecting Americans’ and others’ genetic material and for its tracking of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region of China where the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against the Uyghur people. BGI, a company that developed its DNA technology with China’s military, has faced international condemnation for harvesting data from millions of pregnant women in the U.S. and around the world.

In Europe, BGI used a pre-natal test to collect genetic data on more than 8 million pregnant women without notifying them that their data was going to the Chinese government. The Chinese military would later use this data to conduct research, according to the House Select Committee on China.

U.S. security agencies are concerned that the enormous bank of genetic information could help China dominate pharmaceuticals and also potentially lead to engineered pathogens targeting the U.S. and other foreign populations and their food supplies.

BGI has faced several U.S. lawsuits over the theft of U.S. intellectual property. Wuxi AppTec, which has also been accused of stealing U.S. technology, has sponsored events with China’s military and jointly operated genetic collection sites with China’s military. Wuxi AppTec makes over 60% of its revenue from the U.S. market.

In mid-May, a bipartisan group of House members, including Reps. John Moolenaar, a Michigan Republican, Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, and Rep. Grad Wenstrump, an Ohio Republican, praised the Oversight Committee’s passage of the Biosecure Act, which is aimed at curbing these Chinese companies’ U.S. operations.

“The United States will not sit idly by as the CCP steals our genetic data,” the trio said in a statement. “We are proud to lead the Biosecure Act and look forward to working with House leadership to get this bill on the floor as soon as possible.”

The measure would prohibit medical reimbursement for genetic sequencing procedures conducted by China or another foreign adversary and bar any U.S. federal agency from obtaining any biotechnology equipment or service by BGI and Wuxi AppTec or any other “biotechnology company of concern.” It also directs the Office of Management and Budget to publish a list of entities constituting biotechnology companies of concern in coordination with secretaries of Health and Human Services, Commerce, the State Department, Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ national political correspondent.



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