Respected Surgeon Urges Others to Speak Out Against Forced Organ Donation in China

Surgeons in the Western world should publicly oppose the forced organ harvesting of prisoners in China, a respected transplantation physician said in a recent interview.

Professor Jan Lerut, former president of the European Society for Organ Transplantation, said that the practice of killing people for their body parts was "awful" and "should not exist".

"I think that what we should do on a personal and national level is to object as much as possible and to make people aware that this is not the way to go," he told NTDTV reporters, referring to the unethical practice.

"If the people become aware then the politicians become aware then you go higher up to the United Nations and other organisations defending human rights."

Dr. Lerut said that the practice of forced organ removal was a violation of the principles of free volition and non-obligation that made donation an act of charity and "social togetherness". Moreover he stated that most surgeons in Europe object "not always on an international level but always on a personal or institutional level":

"For instance in my hospital if someone wants to come from China to learn about transplantation he must declare that he is not involved in the practices that are going on in China in relation to forced organ donation as it is done today."

"I think that everyone should object in his own way, and if everyone objects then it will have a result."

Dr. Lerut, who has worked as a transplantation surgeon for 25 years, argued that not only does China's forced harvesting represent a dereliction of ethics; it is also damaging what is essentially an innocuous practice in the West:

"Every negative statement about organ donation wherever in the world undermines all the efforts that people do to promote organ donation and organ transplantation in countries where these things are regulated."

Dr. Lerut's comments come soon after the chair of the ethics committee of the British Transplantation Society, Professor Stephen Wigmore, called for a "full, frank" international enquiry into China's organ harvesting and urged for a consensus statement from transplantation societies condemning the practice.

During an international organ transplantation conference in London on the 11th and 12th of May, 47 professionals signed a petition initiated by pressure group 'Friends of Falun Gong', condemning forced organ donation in China and calling for an "urgent open and independent investigation into all prisons, detention centres, labour camps and related hospitals by the United Nations, World Health Organisation, and other relevant international organisations without the Chinese government's sanctions on information."

Among the signatories were the Chief of the transplantation centre in Czech University Hospital, President of the Belgium Transplantation Coordinators, and the Chairman of Urology Department in Fujita Health University, Japan.

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