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China's Dirty Little Secret Other articles by this author  

China's Lucrative Organ Harvesting Business
Nancy Morgan
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 prisoners.
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 alone.
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 RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina

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