The New Zealand Herald Covers China’s Forced Organ Harvesting

An article titled “The ‘living dead’: Chinese prisoners executed for their organs then sold to foreigners for transplants” was published in the New Zealand Herald on June 3, 2017. The article reported that prisoners of conscience in China, including Falun Gong practitioners, are killed for organs to be transplanted to foreign patients.

The article stated, “An organ transplant can be the difference between life and death for many people. For those in need of one, the wait for a call from hospital to say a match is available is an excruciating one. Sometimes life outruns them before the call comes.

“And so a booming black market for human organs has emerged in several countries including India and Pakistan. Researchers say China is home to the most rampant illegal organ trade in the world and is the number one destination for ‘transplant tourism’.”

The patients who take part in ‘transplant tourism’ are from countries where waiting lists are longer than their life expectancy or costs are exorbitant.

The article noted, “But there’s a major catch: Researchers say the donor organs are often sourced illegally from prisoners executed for their religious, political or cultural beliefs, who have not consented to any of it.

“Many of China’s prisoners have testified to having been subjected to medical testing consistent with organ transplant screening but without explanation while behind bars. ‘They called these people the living dead. You just haven’t died yet, but you’re gone,’ one organ transplant recipient said.

“The man, who didn’t want to be identified, told PBS News Hour he had end-stage kidney disease 11 years ago until he travelled to China and paid $10,000 for a transplant. Within one week, he received a new kidney.

“He said he would have died before he reached the top of the waiting list for a new kidney in Canada, where he lives with his family.”

Forced Organ Harvesting Is Still Occurring

The article stated, “In 2005, Chinese officials admitted they harvested organs from prisoners and promised to reform the practice.

“In 2013, director of the China Organ Donation Committee, Dr Huang Jiefu, told medical journal The Lancet that more than 90 per cent of transplant organs were still sourced from executed prisoners.”

China announced in 2014 that it would end the practice of harvesting of organs from executed prisoners and adopt a voluntary donation-based system.

“But according to several reports, the controversial practice is far from abolished, and there is evidence it still continues.”

A recently published research article by author Ethan Gutmann, former Canadian politician David Kilgour and lawyer David Matas estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants are performed in China a year.

They pointed out that this is far more than the Communist regime’s estimates of about 10,000 and that it cannot be explained by China’s fledgling program for voluntary organ donors.

“The (Communist Party) says the total number of legal transplants is about 10,000 per year. But we can easily surpass the official Chinese figure just by looking at the two or three biggest hospitals,” Matas said.

“That increased discrepancy leads us to conclude that there has been a far larger slaughter of practitioners of Falun Gong for their organs than we had originally estimated.”

The investigators conclude many of the organs are forcefully taken from prisoners of conscience, mainly the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners, but also Uyghurs, Tibetans and “House Christians” who congregate secretly in worshippers’ homes.

The report accuses the Chinese government of continuing the mass killings of innocent people in order to obtain their organs for transplants.

“We interviewed Falun Gong who got out of prison, got out of China, systematically blood-tested, organ-examined, not for their health – they were being tortured – and only the types of examinations relevant to transplantation,” Matas said.

The author referred to that last year interviewed about half a dozen Chinese refugees who had been imprisoned in China for their spiritual beliefs. They all said they were subjected to torture and medical testing while in prison.

Australians ‘coming back with livers from prisoners’

The article continued, “Researchers estimate that as many as 1.5 million victims have had their organs harvested for China’s transplant industry.

“Patients reportedly pay about $15,000 for an illegal organ transplant operation in China, according to previous state media reports. In the US, the average hospital charge for a kidney transplant is $150,000. In Canada and Australia it’s free, because the government pays for health care. But wait lists can be long. For some, too long.”

The article described data from the Australia & New Zealand Dialysis & Transplant Registry (ANZDATA). At least 55 Australians traveled overseas to receive a kidney transplant between 2006-2015.

Professor Jeremy Chapman expressed grave doubts about China’s transplant program in the Medical Journal of Australia in December 2013. He stated that “China cannot enter the global community of civil societies while current practice continues in its prisons and hospitals.”

Prof Chapman also quoted a physician in Australia who was allegedly told by a patient of Chinese origin: “I cannot come in for dialysis tomorrow. I have to fly tonight because they are shooting my donor tomorrow.”

Researcher Ethan Gutmann told, “There needs to be an end to the normalisation of mass murder. Israel, Spain and Taiwan have banned it. That took guts. So how about this: No more Australians going to China on the QT, and coming back with a liver taken from a political or religious prisoner?”

Senator Derryn Hinch encouraged to have illegal transplant

The article described that Senator Derryn Hinch was encouraged to travel to China for an organ transplant after he was told he had only 12 months to live.

“As the months ticked by and there did not seem to be any chance, other than a couple of false alarms, of getting a new liver, I was told by a senior businessman in Melbourne that I could go to Shanghai and for $150,000 get a new liver next week,” Hinch told parliament in November last year.

“I presume from that they would almost execute on order. How you could morally extend your life by doing that I cannot believe, but I was also told I could go to India and do the same thing.

“Some well-known people have bought organs for transplant over the years. But I condemn those practices in China.”

‘In China they make you dead’

The article also described research by Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH). DAFOH performs systematic research into the reports of the state-sanctioned practice in China from prisoners of conscience.

DAFOH Australia spokeswoman Sophia Bryskine said the organisation was “particularly focused on China because, unlike anywhere else in the world, it is the only place where systematic forced organ harvesting continues to occur on a mass, state-sanctioned level.

“There are no formal laws prohibiting the practice,” Dr Bryskine said. “In fact, a ‘1984 Provision’ still remains in place, which allows for executed prisoners to be used as donors – in direct violation of all international guidelines.”

Dr Bryskine said that a lot of prisoners “don’t even go through a legal sitting. The Chinese legal system is corrupt. It has to stop.”

The article referenced Arthur Caplan, leading US ethicist and founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU, who offered his observations on organ harvesting in China.

“In the US or Europe, you have to be dead first in order to be an organ donor. In China, they make you dead,” he said.