In what constitutes a reference point in bringing the European Union closer to the values upon which it was founded, while claiming its place as the main political actor in the international human rights scene, the European parliament passed a resolution on organ harvesting in China on 12 December 2013.
In the resolution the parliament condemned the Chinese government for its systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience and minority groups. The parliament called for an immediate end to the practice.
As the European parliament's resolution stressed, it is essential that the EU and its member states condemn this practice and raise awareness among their citizens so that this inhumane behaviour ceases.
As the president of the European economic and social committee, the institution charged with representing the voice of European civil society I will hold a meeting on 19 March in Brussels with the Taiwan association for international care of organ transplants, a civil society organisation composed of lawyers and doctors.
The purpose of the meeting is to review the evidence and raise awareness of the inhumane organ transplants. We need to act now to avoid more organs being harvested and to protect those receiving the transplants which cause further health risks to the recipients.
The world medical association, the Korean medical association, and the Chinese medical association reached an agreement in 1998 that stated these practices were undesirable and they would jointly investigate them with a view to stopping them.
"We need to act now to avoid more organs being harvested and to protect those receiving the transplants which cause further health risks to the recipients"
However, in 2000, the Chinese withdrew their cooperation. Amnesty International claimed to have strong evidence that the Chinese police, courts and hospitals were complicit in the organ trade, facilitated by the use of mobile execution chambers, or "death vans".
This could explain China's refusal to consider abolishing the death penalty, with the number of executions per year still being unclear since Beijing refuses to release such data.
According to reports from NGOs and international media the main target of this inhumane state practice have been the practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong.
Concentration camps have been set up throughout China, where Falun Gong are detained with the approval of the Chinese communist regime since 1999 simply for practicing their belief.
As the parliament's resolution also acknowledges, the Falun Gong and other religious groups and minorities in China, such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, have been systematically used as a source of organ transplant and despite the request from the United Nations to provide information on such transplants, the Chinese government has yet failed to respect such requests.
The European Union, respecting its own principles, has a duty to take action on this matter by requesting the government of China immediately end forced organ harvesting from its prisoners and the persecution of the Falun Gong community.
An international investigation that will lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity is essential.