October 19, 2006

Off the people, by the people, for the people!

No, that is not a typo in the title. Forcible organ harvesting in China seems to have given a new meaning to this famous phrase from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. According to the Agence Free Press, David Kilgour, Canada's former secretary of state for Asia, has urged the Government of Japan to issue a travel advisory against "organ tourism" in China (via Seed Magazine). Addressing a press conference in Tokyo, he asked,

"Why can't Japan, for example, issue a travel advisory telling organ tourists that if they go to China, the organs they get may well be coming from some young man or woman in good health who has been executed a la carte?"

Kilgour, and his co-author and human rights lawyer David Matas, have recently released a report on the persecution of the Falun Gong practitioners in China. The authors' findings are based primarily on interviews with doctors, hospital and detention center officials, and the family members of the "donors", supplemented by data from public reports and websites. Here are a few highlights from the report:

...there were approximately 30,00016 transplants in total done in China before 1999 and about 18,50016,17 in the six year period 1994 to 1999. Professor Bingyi Shi, vice-chair of the China Medical Organ Transplant Association, says there were about 90,00018 in total up until 2005, leaving about 60,000 in the six year period 2000 to 2005 since the persecution of Falun Gong began.

...the size of the profits for transplants was suggested in the following price list:
Kidney US$62,000
Liver US$98,000-130,000
Liver-kidney US$160,000-180,000
Kidney-pancreas US$150,000

[In conclusion]...the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas, were virtually simultaneously seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada has dismissed the report as "groundless and biased". China has admitted that inmates on death row may "donate" their organs, but asserted that it "abides by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs and require written voluntary consent from donors."

Well, of course! May we request that these "written voluntary consents" be released under the Freedom of Information Act of the People's Republic of China, circa 19...er...they don't have one, do they?

1 comment :
  1. You wanna see "written volunary consent"? Here's one:


    Many such cases exists in China:


    Some people would simply disregard Chinese media's reporting about themselves, insisting on what they know about China, like Buddhist culture and people's desire to die "whole" (probably learned from the movie "The Last Emperor".)

    It probably is still true to some degree, but folks forget most Chinese are not criminals. Does one really believe "wholeness" applies to criminals in Buddhism? Above article demonstrates a common rationale for the condemned to consent to organ donation - the Buddhist desire for redemption.

    You may find this irrational and indefensible.

    But just for reference US allows death row inmate to donate organ to relatives on a case-by-case basis, and there are state legislations in proposal. Also until very recently Republic Of China (Taiwan) allowed this too.

    Chinese culture and Buddhist religious foundation makes organ donation difficult to promote. However the condemned often seek redemption and last act of contribution to family and society, under the same cultural and religious foundation.

    Yes, the Chinese government's organ donation compensation fund seems to be direct at this population, but its aim is to promote organ donation.

    You may find faults in it, as they too have isolated cases of abuse. But who are we to deny their reality, and self-righteously accuse them with our Western sensitivity?


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