“I do it not for myself; this is volunteer work that
is saving lives.”
Ms Rena Sim is one of a handful of volunteers in Singapore who travels around the island to collect signatures from people on the street every day. Carrying a reusable grocery bag containing a small poster and stack of petitions with signatures from people of all walks of lives, the 47-year-old housewife said, “I do it not for myself; this is volunteer work that is saving lives.”
Four months ago, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), an NGO that seeks to end forced organ harvesting in China and to promote ethical standards in medicine, initiated a petition addressed to the UN Human Rights High Commissioner.
The petition called for an immediate end to the forced organ harvesting carried out on detained Falun Gong practitioners in China by the Chinese authorities. The organs are removed from the practitioners while they are still alive, killing them. The organs are usually then sold to wealthy buyers, including foreigners who travel to China for organ transplants.
Since then, the global effort has collected over half a million signatures from 32 countries worldwide, including Singapore, Malaysia, and eight other countries in Asia. The campaign was launched here in August with the help of 15 volunteers, who have since collected some 3,000 signatures.
To Rena, the figure is still far from what they hope to eventually achieve, though she added that numbers do not matter to her as much as the sincerity of the act.
“We don’t want to go for the numbers. We want to do this from our heart.”
“Many people want to know what is going on. They want to know why I am standing here and doing this because they did not see this in other places,” she said.
Rena recounted the initial stares from mostly middle-aged passersby when she first stood outside MRT stations holding a poster that read, “Stop Organ Harvesting in China”.
“The aunties and uncles thought I was asking for donations, to help the victims.”
“I chose to do this because a lot of Singaporeans are still unaware of what is going on in China. Imagine if they get organs from there and if these organs are removed by force from innocent people… this is inhuman and unethical. This is a serious sin for them (the Chinese authorities),” she said.
Increasing Global Awareness of Organ Harvesting
There is mounting evidence that many high-ranking Chinese officials are implicated in the highly profitable organ harvesting racket, including the former Party Security Czar, Zhou Yongkang, and the disgraced former Politburo member, Bo Xilai. A rising number of people around the world, including doctors, politicians, human rights lawyers and journalists, are becoming increasingly involved in spreading the awareness of the forced organ harvesting in China.
On June 27, members of both parties in the US Congress jointly initiated House Resolution 281 – a resolution that calls for China to
immediately stop forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience.
The resolution also called for an end of its 14-year-long persecution of Falun Gong; banning entry into the United States of individuals who have participated in the unethical removal of human tissues and organs; and prosecuting such persons who may be in the United States.
“Now I think a lot of people know what is happening. Last week when I was doing the petition, I heard so many voices around me, such as ‘Keep it up!’ ‘I need to support and I need to sign’,” she said.
“On numerous occasions, when I approached our local doctors, many showed their support without hesitation.
I remembered I was standing there… a doctor was looking at me. He told me he knew everything and signed the petition right away. So you can imagine how fast the news has been spreading around.”
It did not take long for the folks around Rena’s neighbourhood to spontaneously show her their support or lend her a helping hand.
Rena said she was happy to receive much encouragement and support from passing students, many of whom even offered to help raise awareness of the petition through Facebook. Now, she hopes to reach more people using social media herself.
“Even though I’m a housewife and am computer illiterate, I am now learning how to use computers to access Facebook to interact with all my friends.
“Now, after about 3 to 4 weeks, a lot of people just approached me automatically. They say that they read about it on Facebook.A lot of kind people said they wish to pass this message around so that people will know what is happening,” she said, beaming for the first time.”
“Many people are tapping my shoulders and giving me encouragement. That’s something that really impresses me and encourages me to keep going.”
“Some people asked, ‘Does it help to put my name (on the petition)?’ I said yes!… This small gesture of yours counts. I hope that everybody will be true to their hearts and help relay the message to stop this unethical act that is happening in China,” she said.