China's Lucrative Organ Harvesting Business|
August 11, 2008
The eyes of the world are upon Beijing. Images pour forth daily of new stadiums
full of cheering fans, Olympic athletes giving their all and dazzling fireworks
in a bustling modern city. The last thing spectators think of as they sit in the
new stadiums in Beijing, are the barbaric practices of their hosts. Namely, the
lucrative Chinese practice of harvesting and selling the body parts of executed
I have images also. The images I have, obtained by Chinese dissident Harry Wu, show
a stadium in the countryside, filled to capacity with Chinese citizens. On the stage
are a dozen hapless Chinese citizens who have been accused of a crime.
Military officials of the People's Republic of China point out their various crimes
and then pronounce sentence. The majority receive a death sentence.
The condemned are led to waiting trucks. A rope is secured around the throats of
these prisoners to cut off any last minute statements as they are ferried a short
distance to the execution fields. Crowds await, as schools and businesses have closed
for the occasion. Attendance is mandatory.
Prisoners are made to kneel. Each prisoner has two guards, one to position the rifle
and another standing by. Upon command, a dozen shots ring out and
a dozen bodies slump to the ground.
Officials wearing rubber boots stomp on some of the bodies to assure death. Then,
all the bodies are collected and taken to the waiting, unmarked white vans. Inside
the vans, the kidneys of these prisoners are extracted. Sometimes livers and corneas
are harvested also. The vans then travel ten miles to Huaxi University of Medical
Sciences in Chengdu, where six patients are prepped and ready to receive these organs
into their own bodies.
The Chinese describe this practise as "charity." In Zhenhzou City, a hospital worker
who had many times extracted organs at execution sites, said, "A shot in the head,
blow away his brain, and the guy is dead. He has no more thinking, ceases to be
a human being, just a thing, and we use the waste."
Chinese dissident Harry Wu spent 19 years in a Chinese logai, a prison patterned
after the infamous gulags of the former Soviet Union. Upon his release and subsequent
settlement in California, Wu travelled back to China several times under an assumed
name, carrying a concealed videocam. The images he obtained prove, without a doubt,
that China has been engaged in the wholesale trafficking of organs obtained from
executed prisoners since, at least 1994.
I produced a film with Harry Wu using this footage. Entitled 'Communist Charity,'
it shows an interview with a Chinese doctor making a sales pitch to someone he
thought was a prospective organ buyer (Harry Wu). "The quality of our kidneys is
better than America," he said, "because we remove the kidneys fast and at the appropriate
time. We can guarantee several kidneys in one month. The distance where we remove
the kidney and transplant is short. We can do it in, oh, less than 10 hours. In
America, it takes more than 20 hours." A sales office in Hong Kong actually provides
brochures for those shopping for a new organ.
A Chinese doctor currently residing in Germany was filmed confessing to harvesting
the kidney of a patient the night before the execution.
According to Wu, there are 90 hospitals in China capable of performing kidney and
cornea transplants. The going price for kidneys in the 1990's was $30,000. Prices
have since risen dramatically.
The South China Morning Post reported on Jan. 9, 2000, "Organs from executed prisoners
are being offered for up to $300,000 each to Hong Kong liver transplant patients
who travel to a mainland hospital." A doctor at Sun Yat Sen University of Medical
Sciences in Chengdu told the Post, "The organs are of good quality as they come
from executed prisoners."
T. Kumar of Amnesty International testified on this issue at a 1998 hearing before
the House Reform and Oversight Committee. "Amnesty International reported on this
practice in 1993 and called for China to ban this practise. However the use of organs
from this source continues in China, reportedly on a widespread scale." Kumar confirmed
that "90% of organs used for transplant in China come from condemned prisoners."
At a conference in Boston, Chinese transplant doctor, Dr. Zhonghue, admitted that
Chinese doctors had transplanted 8,102 kidneys, 3,741 livers and 85 hearts in 2005
Meanwhile, China has broadened the number of offenses punishable by death and, in
an amazing coincidence, more and more of the condemned are comprised of 25-year
old and younger, healthy non-smokers.
This is one of China's dirty little secrets. Why it remains a secret is the question.
Every member of congress and all the major media outlets were provided a copy of
'Communist Charity' years ago. The ensuing silence has been deafening.
Maybe now, with the eyes of the world on China, there will be more interest in making
known the ongoing, lucrative and horrific Chinese trade in illicit organs - and
the substancial profits which have undoubtedly contributed to the billions of dollars China has spent
in an effort to appear civilised before the world during these Summer Olympic Games.
Nancy Morgan is a colummnist and news editor for
She lives in South Carolina
Article may be reprinted, with attribution