Epoch Times: Australian Surgeons Condemn “Horrific” Organ Trade

Prison inmates are given instructions from a police officer. Leading
Australian transplant surgeons have condemned the practice of harvesting organs
from executed prisoners.

Australian transplant surgeons
have confirmed that organs from executed prisoners are used for transplants in
China and have publicly condemned the practice.

Several surgeons from the
heart, lung, liver and kidney transplant units in Brisbane told The Epoch Times,
it was common knowledge that there was virtually no waiting list in China because
organs came from prisoners on death row.

“The intended recipient is actively
matched with the donor while the donor is still alive,” one doctor said, adding
that the practice “is abhorrent to our way of life.”

Spokesperson for The
Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), Professor Peter
Macdonald, said their members were unreservedly “against the use of organs and
tissues from executed prisoners for the purposes of therapeutic transplantation.”

The statement from TSANZ is in line with the British and International Transplantation
Societies, who recently issued public statements condemning the Chinese organ

Professor Macdonald, who is joint head of the transplant programme
at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, said he had no specific knowledge of
the practice in China other than what he had been told by colleagues, but that
he, and TSANZ members, were united in their opposition because “it is an unethical

Professor Steven Lynch, Director of the Liver Transplant Unit at
Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, said there was “No doubt that there are
huge numbers of executed prisoners being organ donors.”

Professor Lynch explained
that Princess Alexandra Hospital has a training facility for international transplant
surgeons and that, over the years, he had received around 60 applications from
Chinese students.

“Whenever we had a request [from China for transplant training]
the standard reply was that you have to come self funded, you have to come with
a letter from your hospital and the equivalent of the local premier or provincial
leader, to say that none of the skills you would learn would be used to transplant
organs from executed prisoners.

“I think it was only three of those who could
provide that reassurance and the rest of them, I never heard another word.”

Professor Lynch said it was not until he was a guest lecturer at the Tianjin transplant
hospital in China that he fully understood why.

“I asked them what proportion
of the donors are executed compared to the brain dead and they said it was illegal
to use brain dead donors in China, so virtually all of them are executed prisoners.”

While the Chinese communist regime tells Western medical authorities that
all executed prisoners have signed consent forms, Professor Lynch said there was
never any mention of documentation showing informed consent from the medical staff
at Tianjin Hospital.

“It is an ethical problem. When it is run by the state
it becomes like 'the ultimate tax.' Once dead, the body is not yours
to give but the states to decide.”

Professor Lynch said he had given a lot
of thought to the issue and felt that the fault lay with the Chinese communist
regime rather than the doctors.

“The problems lie in the ethical practices
of the Chinese Government rather than the doctors who are working very hard, legally,
within the government requirements.”

Professor George Javorsky, who runs the
heart transplantation unit at Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, also condemned
the practice saying it was “horrific” to consider that prisoners of any sort,
let alone those who may be there for their spiritual or political beliefs, would
be used as donors against their will.

Professor Javorsky wondered why, after
so many years, the organ trade in China was suddenly in the public eye.

from China's growing economic power, John Deller, President of the New South
Wales Falun Dafa Association, says he believes it is because thousands of Falun
Gong practitioners held in detention throughout China have been executed for their

Before the crackdown on Falun Gong began in 1999, there were an estimated
70-100 million Chinese practising the spiritual discipline which involves Tai
Chi-like exercises, meditation and adherence to moral principles.

Mr. Deller
explained that after the persecution began, practitioners were forced from their
homes, their families and their businesses and thrown into labour camps.

information about what goes on in China is difficult to obtain, Mr. Deller said
that through the Chinese Falun Gong community in Australia, they know that thousands
of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners have disappeared.

“It is very hard to
verify just how many practitioners have been detained,”

Mr. Deller said. “The
figures can vary from anywhere between 200,000 to 2 million.”

“What concerns
us is an amazing number of practitioners who are still hidden away and who are
not necessarily in the known labour camps.

“There are other camps that have
been set up, based on the information we have received, and it is clear that the
number of operations for organ transplants from websites and third parties far
exceed the numbers of executed prisoners.”

Amnesty International estimates
there were 1,770 executions in China last year but add that figures were based
on “public reports” and that “official national statistics on the application
of the death penalty remain classified” in China.

A report in The Sydney Morning
Herald indicated that the Chinese government claims around 20,000 kidney transplants
are conducted in China annually.

However these figures pertain to domestic
transplants only and do not include operations for foreigners, which implies that
there are many more transplants occurring.

Certainly there seems to be no
shortage of organs available. The Internet highlights many English language websites
touting for foreigners to visit China for organ transplants.

One site for
the China International Transplantation Network Assistance Centre starts its spiel
with the line “Viscera providers can be found immediately” and claims “it is more
safe and reliable here than in other countries, where the organ is not from a
living donor.”

Mr. Deller said the Falun Gong community had been active worldwide
to draw attention to the flourishing organ trade in China.

“Our concern is
that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are being kept there as organ

“It is shocking information, but that is what we believe is happening,
and really hope that those who are concerned about human rights will expose these
things and go into China to investigate.”

date: 3/May/2006

Original article date: 30/April/2006
Category: Media


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