Testimony of Omer Kanat on Texas House Organ Transplant Tourism Bill

texas house

Omer Kanat
Texas House, Austin, TX. Monday, April 24, 2023
Hearing on House Bill 2025

[House Bill 2025 would prevent health insurance plans from paying for procedures related to organ transplants, if the organ came from a country with a government that sponsors forced organ harvesting.]

Distinguished Members of the House,

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. 

The Uyghur people in my homeland are suffering mass roundups; torture and sexual assault in concentration camps; and forced labor. The dehumanization of Uyghurs by the Chinese government is fundamental to the ongoing atrocity crimes, which the State Department has designated as a genocide. 

This is what Chinese officials have said, to describe Uyghur culture and religion: Uyghurs who do not assimilate into the majority Chinese culture are “weeds” that should be “exterminated.” 

They say that Uyghurs’ religious faith is like “an ideological disease,” and it needs to be cut out, like a “tumor.”  

An official said that the government must “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.” 

Under these conditions, there is nothing to stop the authorities from using Uyghurs as a “living organ bank.” Mandatory DNA collection from all adult Uyghurs began in 2016. Every person taken into the detention camps has a “health check” by a doctor. The Urumchi airport, in the capital city of our homeland, has a “fast track lane,” for transporting organs for transplant surgeries.

China’s organ tourism is a big business because of extremely short waiting times. Some brokers have advertised “halal organs” to people in Muslim-majority countries. The strong implication is that Muslim Uyghurs could be killed on demand for their organs. 

The Uyghur Genocide is the largest mass detention of an ethno-religious group since the Holocaust. 800,000 to a million children have been taken away from their parents and taken into state custody. They are in so-called “orphanages,” where they are raised to be loyal to the Communist Party. Their parents are in camps, prisons, or factories, where they are used as modern-day slaves, producing goods even for American corporations.

I am very grateful to this committee, for your action to make sure that Texans will not be complicit in the suffering of my people. Ending complicity in forced organ harvesting is a strong step in ending complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. 

Thank you.