Investigation lead: “China has developed into the world organ transplant center;” Where do the organs come from?

An article entitled “China Has Developed Into the World Organ Transplantation Center” was published on page six of the LifeDigest newspaper from China on March 3, 2006. According to the author, the number of foreign patients in need of organ transplants has increased dramatically. Such is the case with the Tianjin City No. 1 Central Hospital Transplant Outpatient Department, also called the Oriental Organ Transplant Center (OOTC). This facility began admitting Korean [transplant] patients in 2002. The number of patients increased to 500 in the year 2006.

Patients at this hospital come from more than 20 countries, including Japan, Malaysia, Egypt, Palestine, and India. According to published data, surgeons at the OOTC had performed 1,500 liver transplants, about 800 kidney transplants and an unknown number of cornea transplants by the end of 2004. Chosunilbo, a Korean newspaper, stated that the OOTC once carried out 44 liver transplants within one week in December 2004, which averages 8.8 liver transplants a day during a five-day workweek. OOTC director Shen Zhongyang said the center had performed 597 liver transplants by December 16, 2005. The number jumped to 650 by December 30, 2005, which means 53 liver transplants were completed within two weeks. Of those undergoing surgery, 370f the liver transplant recipients were Korean, and 16% were from other countries.

Why does China have such an “ample” supply of organs? OOTC director Shen Zhongyang refused to reveal the source of the organs. Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu said at a liver transplant conference in July 2005 that the majority of organs used for transplant in China were from executed prisoners. Statistics published by Amnesty International show that the number of death row inmates averaged 1,616 a year between 2000 and 2005; yet, the OOTC alone performed 650 liver transplants in 2005, not accounting for other types of transplant surgeries, such as kidney transplants. Currently, several hundred hospitals in China perform transplant surgeries. No matter how one explains the situation according to the common definition of “executed prisoners,” those prisoners cannot account for the overall quantity of transplant surgeries, unless the definition of “executed prisoners” is broadened to include people that the Communist Party wants to kill, including those who are wantonly killed without trial. Then, Falun Gong practitioners would make up the largest group of victims, who are subject to the regime's policy, “the death [of Falun Gong practitioners] from beating shall be counted as suicide,” and are sent to prisons and labor camps without any due legal process.

The Vice Health Minister even addressed “ethics principles,” “China’s situation and cultural background;” the importance of obtaining “consent from [prisoners’] families” and “humanitarian treatment of death row inmates.” From ancient times to this day, according to China’s situation, ethics, and Chinese cultural background, Chinese people are unwilling to donate organs after death. Even organ donations among relatives are still few and far between. Besides, only organs from live bodies are used at the OOTC. Is the Vice Health Minister aware of organs harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners and the bodies cremated and the traces of the crime extinguished? Can he present evidence that the practitioners’ families gave consent and the practitioners received humanitarian treatment?

According to transplant recipients' families, they were told that most “donors” were in their 20s and 30s, which is suspicious, given the current situation in China. We absolutely have no way of knowing their exact identity.


Apr 05,2007
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