(Minghui.org) [Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Chinese on January 19, 2010 and updated on August 19, 2023]
For surgeons in Switzerland or other countries in Europe, it is never possible to know when a transplant is going to be done, because the premise of the operation is that someone dies, and no one will know when there will be a donor or if the family will agree.
Surgeries may be performed at night, on weekends, and sometimes there may be two or three operations in a row. Sometimes there may be no surgeries for a long time. However, in 2007, Dr. Franz Immer, a heart surgeon and chairman of the Swiss National Foundation for Organ Donation and Transplantation, had some appalling realisations about organ transplants in China.
“In 2007, I was invited to attend a medical conference in Beijing, during which a hospital invited us to observe a heart transplant operation. Of course we would like to visit Chinese hospitals, but they asked me what day I wanted to watch the operation, in the morning or in the afternoon. At that moment, I realised that this means that there is a specific date for organ transplantation, that is, the person who provides the organ will die at a specific time, or be killed.” The experience gave Dr. Franz Immer, an experienced heart surgeon, a horrifying insight into organ transplant operations in China.
Dr. Franz Immer declined the invitation, “We don’t want to be mistaken for our support of that behavior.”
He was even more shocked when he discussed some principles with his Chinese counterparts in later meetings. He tried to search for relevant information on the Internet, and found some clues, but he did not expect such large-scale organ harvesting until he met David Matas and David Kilgour, the authors of the book Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China, and a Falun Gong practitioner who personally experienced the persecution.
At the seminar on organ trafficking and organ donation held on January 15, 2010, Dr. Immer also heard the experience of Ms. Liu Wei, a Falun Gong practitioner. During the 16 months that Ms. Liu Wei was illegally detained for practicing Falun Gong, she underwent five physical examinations without being told the reason.
The first examination was at the Dongcheng Detention Centre in Beijing. Several doctors came to the detention centre and brought a lot of equipment. All Falun Gong practitioners were to undergo the physical examination, including blood tests, electrocardiograms, and ultrasound scans. After the physical examinations, the practitioners who were examined were not told the results.
The practitioner’s account further confirmed Dr. Immer’s judgment, “Not only blood tests, but also ultrasound scans, that’s very clear evidence. They (the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)) not only want to harvest organs, they also pay attention to the quality of the organs. They make judgments on the organs in advance, whether the structure of the heart is normal, whether the liver and kidneys are normal, and then make something like a catalog.
“This is clear evidence to the professionals like me as a doctor involved in organ transplantation, that they do harvest organs.”
Dr. Immer knew very well that there were about 100 people in Switzerland waiting for organs. Based on a ratio of roughly 20 donors per million people in each country, there were about 100 to 150 donors. So it often takes a long time to get the right organ.
But multiple hospitals in China stated that the average wait time for organs was about two weeks. In the Institute of Organ Transplantation of the Second Affiliated Hospital of the Second Military Medical University in China, the average wait time for a liver is one week. This was also strong evidence for Dr. Immer.
“In Switzerland it takes almost three years to wait for a kidney, which is about the same as in Europe and other countries. It takes about nine to twelve months to get a suitable heart or liver. If you have a special blood type, the wait time will be even longer. So it is impossible to find a suitable donor within two weeks, and it is impossible in China.”
The CCP’s crime of organ harvesting is a human disaster. Dr. Immer also heard of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He said, “I strongly condemn them (the CCP) for treating the people like this. I clearly condemn the treatment of people as living organ banks. When I mention this, tears come to my eyes. It makes me very sad as there is such a thing in today’s society.”
He said that although the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has been exposed, “I want to stress that, as a member of mankind, we should stand up and declare war on all violations of human rights.” He said that more people should know about this situation, and everyone should help stop live organ harvesting and stop the persecution.
“As long as this kind of behavior exists, I and my family will not go to China. I feel sorry for the people there, because it is not their fault. But I think each of us should express our position so that those who are in power feel the pressure to respect humanity and govern a country humanely in the future. I think if (China) can improve, the knowledge and talents they have now will be a good partner for us, but humanity must be fundamentally respected.”
Dr. Immer also said that the Swiss National Foundation for Organ Donation and Transplantation has a clear position that it will not accept or provide illegal organs or organs related to illegal organ trafficking. They will communicate this information with patients waiting for organs and relevant personnel, so that more people can know it.
He also hoped that politicians can put pressure on the CCP instead of just considering economic interests. “Understanding is one aspect, and actions are needed. We will always communicate with people, and those politicians should also actively respond. In this regard, those economic factors in China should be put aside, and focus on respect for humanity. We cannot make deals with a country that tramples human rights. This is my view as a doctor and as a person.”
He said that it was a special honor to host an expert seminar with the International Human Rights Association and to present awards to two investigators who investigate the CCP’s crime of organ harvesting. “The Swiss National Foundation for Organ Donation and Transplantation is a non-governmental organisation, a humanitarian organisation. We must express our objection to this behavior (organ robbery by the CCP), and everyone should express it. This is a special honor for me. We can make it clear that we have our principles. Human dignity and human rights come first to us and we can always contribute to that.”
Chinese version available