Organ harvesting in China – The world cannot be fooled
Letter in the Schweizer Aerztezeitung, December 2013
By Dr. Torsten Trey
For almost three decades, the People’s Republic of China has bypassed the shortage of transplant organs by a method considered unethical and even criminal to the rest of the world. In 1984 a transplant law in China permitted the harvesting of organs from prisoners after execution. Yet, the World Medical Association and the World Health Organization have made it clear in their ethical guidelines that prisoners are not in the position to provide free, voluntary consent for organ donation. When sentenced to death, with only a few days remaining until execution, one cannot speak of a free, voluntary organ donation. When harvesting the organs immediately after execution without a valid consent, one cannot speak of altruistic organ donation.
From 1984 to 1999 hundreds to several thousand transplants were carried out annually. Then between 1999 and 2004 there was a sudden increase to over 10,000 transplants per year, an atypical increase in transplant numbers. What has happened? Concurrently in 1999 a statewide systematic persecution against Falun Gong, a peaceful spiritual cultivation discipline that aims to apply the principles of truthfulness, kindness, and tolerance in everyday life, had begun. Initially only targeted for brainwashing, labor work and torture, the Falun Gong later also became subject to reported cases of torture and death.
Canadian investigators David Kilgour and David Matas indicate that Falun Gong practitioners are the primary victims of organ harvesting [ 2]. The possible outcome of death by torture with a worthless body, is transformation into a valuable biomass; a kidney selling for $60,000 and a liver for $100,000 offered publicly. Almost all Falun Gong practitioners who were sent to labor camps were systematically tested, blood was collected, and they were medically examined- a costly screening for detainees, who otherwise did not earn much for their 16 hour workday. Even clearer evidence are the recorded telephone calls investigators Kilgour and Matas placed to doctors on the mainland. Some of the Chinese doctors who were called even said that they had “fresh ” organs of Falun Gong practitioners. As if this were not enough, some Chinese hospitals also advertised on the internet that one can obtain any organ within 2-4 weeks. Organs per order – that cannot be found in any other country. This can probably only happen if there is a permanent organ donation pool. Since 1999 approximately 1-2 million Falun Gong practitioners are held imprisoned. Often they do not reveal their names and addresses to protect their family members. As anonymous “number prisoners” they are particularly vulnerable and at risk.
The 1984 regulation allowed the harvesting of organs after executions. What followed was that, according to the public advertisements of Chinese hospitals, including cases of non-plausible organ supply, heart transplants could be ordered with two weeks advanced notice. [3 ] Thus it is highly likely that as this regulation changed they would then perform ” executions ” per order for the purpose of harvesting organs on demand. The removal of organs from prisoners for the purpose of transplantation is an abuse of transplant medicine and one of the greatest human rights violations in the 21st Century.
In 2007, as an expression of appreciation of ethical values in medicine, the medical organization Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting( DAFOH ) was founded. Doctors did not want to simply watch without taking action on how ethical and medical values continued to be abused. In addition to providing research and in depth information to medical doctors, DAFOH initiated a petition to the United Nations in July 2013 (dafoh.org/petition-to-the-united-nations/).
Within four months more than 800,000 people from around the world signed the petition. It is evident that people will not tolerate the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience. The recently announced phase-out in China and the initiation of a computerized organ allocation system cannot change this fact. The end of the practice is uncertain and cannot be verified due to a lack of transparency. It is also envisaged that organs of executed prisoners continue to be harvested and are being diverted into the computer system, making it even more difficult to identify the “organ donor.” The Petition to the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights is an important step to end these crimes against humanity.
Torsten Trey MD, PhD
3 Matas D, Trey T. State Organ: Transplant Abuse in China. Woodstock, Canada; 2012; see chapter by Dr. Jacob Lavee.