Bitter Winter Op-Ed Charges China Covering Up Transplant Abuses

On November 13th, Bitter Winter, a magazine dedicated to religious liberty and human rights in China, published an op-ed by DAFOH Executive Director, Torsten Trey, MD, PhD.  Dr. Trey points out the unprecedented and explosive growth of China’s transplant medicine industry from its infancy in 2000 into today’s “massive industry, producing well-matched organs from healthy, young donors on demand.” He questioned China’s claim that it ceased its decades-long practice of using organs from executed prisoners as of January 2015.

Chinese authorities said that during 2017, 15,000 organ transplantation surgeries took place and 375,000 citizens were registered as organ donors. But, only a fraction of registered organ donors provides organs for transplant in any given year and not all donated organs are appropriate for use as transplants. Dr. Trey noted that “the ratio of actual organ donations to the number of registered donors in China is 140 times larger” than ratios for the United States and the United Kingdom. This calls into question whether the Chinese government’s official numbers have been manipulated or fabricated in order to cover up the absence of any real reform and to hide the true inner workings of its transplant industry.

Dr. Trey detailed impediments within the Chinese system that make the probability of reform remote. Legally binding 1984 provisions still allow the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience. There is no Chinese law banning such practices. The nation of China lacks consistent rule of law. Placing the ruling communist party’s agenda and actions above the Chinese constitution encourages ongoing organ procurement abuse and profit mongering in a highly commercialized and government-subsidized medical industry.

China’s transplant industry lacks both transparency and accountability yet its ambition to lead the world in organ transplantation is widely publicized. The willful blindness demonstrated by some in the international community of accepting unsubstantiated Chinese claims only acts to enable and perpetuate the state-driven cold genocide against the Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Tibetans, House Christians and political dissidents.