Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter XI

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

XI. Additional evidence

1. Whistleblowers expose live organ harvesting

On March 9, 2006, The Epoch Times published an interview with a senior journalist with inside information, who revealed that the CCP had set up a secret concentration camp in the Sujiatun District of Shenyang City in northern Liaoning Province that rivaled those of Nazi Germany. Held in the camp were thousands of Falun Gong practitioners. [60] On March 17, 2006, The Epoch Timesreported an interview with a female witness who worked at the Liaoning Provincial Thrombosis Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine. She presented further evidence that the concentration camp was located underground, beneath the hospital. [61] When live organ harvesting took place, her husband at the time, a chief surgeon, participated in removing corneas from living Falun Gong practitioners. On March 31, a letter from a veteran military doctor was published in The Epoch Times confirming the existence of the underground concentration camp in Sujiatun District, Shenyang City. [62] By then, the dark curtain over the CCP’s live organ harvesting atrocities had been lifted.

2. Recordings from telephone investigations

Following the initial live organ harvesting reports, several overseas organizations started to make telephone investigations. Presenting themselves as people seeking consultations for their relatives who might need organ transplantation surgeries, the investigators called organ transplant sections in numerous hospitals across China. They specifically asked whether the hospitals were able to acquire organs from Falun Gong practitioners. These investigations further validated the allegations that Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs.

Lu Guoping of Nanning City Minzu Hospital, Guangxi Autonomous Region acknowledged organs taken from Falun Gong practitioners

Independent investigators David Kilgour, Canada’s former Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region, and David Matas, an award-winning international human rights attorney, published the transcript of a telephone conversation with Lu Guoping, a surgeon at the Nanning City Minzu Hospital in Guangxi Autonomous Region in Bloody Harvest – Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China. During the conversation, Lu acknowledged several times that Falun Gong practitioners were the source of organ supplies. He said, “Some are from Falun Gong. Some from families of patients.”

The following is an excerpt of the conversation between Lu and an investigator:

Investigator: Then did your classmate tell you that the [organ transplantation] operations they performed were all [with organ sources from] Falun Gong, is that right?

Doctor Lu: Some are from Falun Gong. Some from families of patients.

Investigator: Oh. Then if I want to find this type for my child, this type [of organ] from Falun Gong, do you think he can help me find any?

Doctor Lu: He definitely can find it for you.

[….]

Investigator: What you used before [organs from Falun Gong practitioners], was it from detention center[s] or prison[s]?”

Doctor Lu: From prisons.

Investigator: From prisons? And it was from healthy Falun Gong practitioners…?

Doctor Lu: Correct. We could choose the good ones because we assure the quality in our operations.

Telephone recording: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/Dr.Lu-Voice-Recording/2006-05-22-Dr.Lu-guangximinzuyiyuan.mp3

Transcript: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/Dr.Lu-Voice-Recording/Guangxi-mingzu-ch.pdf (English version: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/report0701/report20070131-eng.pdf)

Representative of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army No. 307 Hospital brokered for kidneys from Falun Gong Practitioners

During the investigation, World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) investigators contacted a broker representative of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army No. 307 Hospital in Beijing, in the name of helping family members and friends to find suitable kidneys for their transplant requests. The contact lasted for several weeks and the conversation time totaled several dozen minutes. WOIPFG has compiled a complete record of the conversations and other forms of evidence. If any interested organizations or individuals need further information, please contact WOIPFG. This report will be updated as new evidence becomes available in the future.

Excerpt of conversations:

Investigator: then you go ahead and help me check it out, whether….

PLA No. 307 Hospital Representative: I told you before, didn’t I? I told you before that we told you the real story, we have done two cases. You know, we did two cases.

Investigator: You mean two operations involving Falun Gong practitioners as source?

PLA No. 307 Hospital Representative: That’s right, we did two cases. The prison told us they did that with Falun Gong. I also told that lady that we indeed performed such operations. Now, however, it is getting more difficult than before.

[….]

Investigator: Where did you find the kidney sources before?

PLA No. 307 Hospital Representative: From Xicheng District [in Beijing].

[….]

Investigator: Alright, besides it, how could you be so sure he (the source) was a Falun Gong practitioner, did you find out for sure?

PLA No. 307 Hospital Representative: How to positively identify as Falun Gong practitioner, well, when the time comes — when the time comes our side, our Boss will have people showing you information, you know, he will show you the information and data, you can be sure.

Investigator: Oh, that’s fine.

Telephone recording: http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/cn/upload/audio/Investigation_Organharvest.mp3

Transcript: http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/cn/index2.php?option=content&task=view&id=1437&pop=1&page=0 (English version: http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/en/index2.php?option=content&task=view&id=175&pop=1&page=0)

Li Honghui, a director of Yuquan Hospital, or No. 2 Affiliated Hospital of Tsinghua University, admitted that organs were taken from Falun Gong practitioners

On April 28, a Sound of Hope journalist made contact with Li Honghui, director of the Kidney Transplant Department, Yuquan Hospital, also known as No. 2 Affiliated Hospital of Tsinghua University. Li admitted that organs were taken from Falun Gong practitioners.

Excerpt of conversation:

Li Honghui: It happened that for the past several years that donor organs were from Falun Gong practitioners.

Investigator: Do you mean that this type of donor was quite easy to get several years ago?

Li Honghui: That’s true.

Telephone recording: http://media.soundofhope.org/audio01/2006/4/30/tsendu_military_hospital.mp3

Transcript: http://epochtimes.com/gb/6/5/1/n1304909.htm (English version: http://theepochtimes.com/news/6-5-2/41097.html)

More telephone recordings

WOIPFG subsequently published more telephone investigations, including phone calls to the following hospitals with call dates:

Director Song Wenli, Tianjin No. 1 Central Hospital, also known as the Orient Organ Transplant Center, March 15, 2006, telephone number: 86-13920128990
Zhongshan Hospital affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai, March 16, 2006, telephone number: 86-21-64041990
Qianfoshan Liver Transplant Center in Shandong Province, March 16, 2006, telephone number: 86-531-82968900
Doctor Dai, Affiliated Hospital of Jiaotong University in Shanghai, March 16, 2006, telephone number: 86-21-63240090
No. 2 Affiliated Hospital of Hubei Province Medical University, April 2, 2006, telephone number:8627-67813104 ext. 2960 or 2961
Tongji Hospital in Wuhan City, March 30, 2006, telephone number: 8627-83662688 ext. Kidney Transplant Section (or Urological Surgery Section)

Recordings and transcripts: http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/cn/index2.php?option=content&task=view&id=789&pop=1&page=0 (English version: http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/en/index2.php?option=content&task=view&id=167&pop=1&page=0)

3. Testimony from intermediaries

On November 17, 2006, Yediot Achronot, Israel’s largest newspaper, reported that four men accused of pocketing millions of dollars that patients had paid for organ transplants were arrested in Israel. Yaron Izhak Yodukin, CEO of Medikt Ltd. and his associates, faced charges of not reporting incomes earned by mediating organ transplants for Israelis in China and the Philippines. The arrests followed months of investigation after the main suspect admitted to an Israeli newspaper that the organs were coming from Chinese death row inmates and prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners.

4. Testimony from Falun Gong practitioners and other inmates

Many Falun Gong practitioners released from labor camps and prisons recounted that they were taken for blood tests while in custody. In July 2008, David Matas, co-author of Bloody Harvest, located someone released from a prison in Jiangsu Province, who is not a Falun Gong practitioner. Between March 2005 and early 2007, he was taken to 17 different prison cells. Inmates who had been held several years in the cells told him that over the course of 2002 and 2003, at least two or three Falun Gong practitioners in each cell were killed for organs. A video production, Between Life and Death, produced by New Tang Dynasty Television, published the telephone interview with this witness. [65]

5. Investigative report by David Matas and David Kilgour

David Kilgour and David Matas published the results of their extensive investigation in their report,Bloody Harvest. According to data in the public domain, the authors argued that the source of 41,500 transplants for the six-year period of 2000 to 2005 is unexplained. When they first published their report in July 2006, they had gathered 18 elements of evidence to substantiate the charges of the CCP’s organ harvesting atrocities. When the revised edition of the report was released at the end of January 2007, the evidence had increased to 33 elements. The authors have traveled to over 40 countries around the world to report the results of their investigation, while continuing to gather new evidence. [66]

Bloody Harvest: The book

In November 2009, Seraphim Editions, a Canadian publisher released a revised, book form of Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs. This is the third edition of the investigative report by Matas and Kilgour. It now lists 52 different elements of evidence. Mr. Kilgour pointed out that although no element of evidence alone can prove the crime of live organ harvesting, all of the evidence combined almost irrefutably proves the allegations.

References

[60] The Epoch Times, “Exposing Shocking Horrors Inside Sujiatun Concentration Camp,” March 9, 2006, http://epochtimes.com/gb/6/3/9/n1248687.htm (English version: http://theepochtimes.com/news/6-3-11/39169.html)

[61] The Epoch Times, “New Witness Confirms Existence of Chinese Concentration Camp, Says Organs Removed from Live Victims,” March 17, 2006, http://epochtimes.com/gb/6/3/17/n1257362.htm (English version: http://theepochtimes.com/news/6-3-17/39405.html)

[62] The Epoch Times, “Sources Reveal Other Chinese Concentration Camps,” March 31, 2006, http://epochtimes.com/gb/6/3/31/n1271996.htm (English version: http://theepochtimes.com/news/6-3-31/39910.html)

[63] Minghui.net, Between Life and Death, a video production by New Tang Dynasty Television, http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2009/9/1/207542.html

[64] David Matas and David Kilgour, Bloody Harvest, 2007, http://organharvestinvestigation.net/report0701/report20070131-ch.pdf (English version: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/report0701/report20070131-eng.pdf)

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter VIII

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

VIII. Evolution of live organ harvesting

1. Isolated cases

Over the years, the process of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners evolved. The initial alleged cases of organ harvesting occurred on those practitioners who died in forced labor camps as a result of torture. As early as 2000 there were reports of death cases related to organ harvesting. This could explain why the number of organ transplants in mainland China began to increase in 2000.

On December 22, 2000, the Minghui/Clearwisdom website posted the following news from China: “According to insiders, some police officers in Mainland China are plotting with doctors and looking to sell the organs of Falun Gong practitioners for huge sums of money.” “One source indicates that a certain hospital in the city of Shijiazhuang specializing in Chinese medicine has received six such requests.” [47] This might have been the earliest report of the CCP’s organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

On February 16, 2001, Ren Pengwu, male, 33, a technician at the Harbin City Third Thermal Power Plant in Heilongjiang Province, was arrested for distributing informational materials exposing the staged Tiananmen “Self Immolation” incident. He was detained at the No. 2 Detention Center in Hulan County. Before dawn on February 21, he was tortured to death. Without obtaining the family’s permission, the police authorities removed all of Ren Pengwu’s organs before hastily cremating his body. [48]

Hao Runjuan, female, a practitioner from the Baiyun District in Guangzhou City, was arrested in late February 2002. She died on March 18, 2002, after suffering brutal torture in the Baiyun Detention Center. The police autopsied the body while the family members were unaware of anything at all. When the family was notified to identify the body, it had been rendered unrecognizable. [49]

Sun Ruijian, male, 29, a practitioner from Ningde City, Fujian Province, was arrested in November 2000 when he went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. On December 1, 2000, his family was notified that Sun Ruijian had died from “jumping out of a moving car” while under public security escort. When his wife saw Sun’s body, it had been autopsied, and Sun’s eyes had a noticeable bulge. [50]

Fu Keshu, 53, a practitioner and a retired teacher from the No. 1 Elementary School in Kaiyang County, Guizhou Province and her nephew, 34-year-old Xu Genli, disappeared in the Jinggang Mountain area in November 2005. In late April 2006, their bodies were discovered in the Wuzhi Peak area of Jinggang Mountain. Their heads had been shaved, and there were no eyebrows on their faces. Their eyeballs were missing. Xu’s chest and abdomen had been cut open. Their families believed that their organs might have been harvested and their bodies disposed of. [51]

According to a person who was detained in the Baiyun District Drug Rehabilitation Institute, several drug addicts beat up a Falun Dafa practitioner, which was seen by the Institute’s doctor. The doctor said, “Don’t hit his kidneys, they’re useful!” On several occasions he heard doctors there tell the drug addicts when they were suffering from withdrawal, “If you want some drugs, go beat up those Falun Dafa practitioners, but be careful not to touch their eyes and abdomens.” [52]

2. Large-scale live organs harvesting

The transition of individual organ harvesting cases to large-scale live organ harvesting was enabled by the following conditions:

Condition 1: The appearance of “concentration camps”

We have discussed in previous sections that many practitioners who refused to reveal their names or addresses were detained in undisclosed locations. These military-controlled concentration facilities provided the physical conditions needed for large-scale, live organ harvesting.

Condition 2: Policy to “defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially and destroy them physically”

The persecution of Falun Gong was initiated by Jiang Zemin, who mobilized the entire state apparatus in his campaign. The 610 Office adopted a policy to “defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically” in an attempt to eradicate Falun Gong.

According to Li Baigen, former director of the Reconnaissance and Design Administration Division of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning and Design, and who currently lives in the United States, on November 30, 1999, three senior officials at the 610 Office summoned 3,000 government officials and held a conference in the Great Hall of the People to discuss the persecution of Falun Gong, since more and more Falun Gong practitioners had continued to come to Beijing to appeal, despite several months of harsh suppression. During the conference, Li Lanqing, head of the central 610 Office, verbally relayed the new policy from Jiang Zemin, which was to “defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.”

This policy was never communicated as a written document. The outside world learned of this through practitioners who were detained in the brainwashing centers, forced labor camps, or prisons. Many of them stated in articles published on the Minghui website that, while in detention, they had heard the police or 610 Office personnel mention this policy.

A derivative of the policy is “beating them to death counts as suicide,” another common practice of some police officers in dealing with practitioners who refuse to give up their beliefs. Although the number of death cases of practitioners who died as a result of the persecution continues to grow (by 2009, at least 3,300 practitioners are confirmed to have died), the police officers responsible for these deaths were never punished by the CCP regime. On the contrary, they were recognized as model officers of the anti-Falun Gong campaign and rewarded with promotions and financial incentives.

Condition 3: Huge financial profits from the organ transplants

As stated earlier, expensive fees make organ transplants tremendously profitable, which is a powerful motivating force, particularly in an officially atheist country.

Condition 4: Hatred instigated by slanderous propaganda, from the staged “Tiananmen Self Immolation” incident to live organ harvesting

Since the beginning of the persecution, the CCP regime has fabricated countless lies to slander Falun Gong. A typical example is the “Tiananmen Self Immolation,” staged by the CCP regime in an effort to instigate nationwide hatred of Falun Gong. Live organ harvesting is part of the physical genocide of Falun Gong practitioners, driven by this hatred and the temptation of financial gain.

During the 53rd session of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion

and Protection of Human Rights, International Educational Development had discovered that the self-immolation cited by the Chinese Government, which was being submitted as “proof” that Falun Gong was an “evil cult,” had in fact been staged. [53]

The CCP’s overwhelming deceptive propaganda indeed instigated hatred among the general public in China, paving the way for those who participated in the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners several years later, but who otherwise may have refrained out of moral concerns.

It was the persecution by the CCP and the huge financial incentives that drove the individual cases of organ harvesting to large-scale live organ harvesting. According to insiders, large-scale live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners began to surface in late 2001.

The following diagram illustrates this evolution:

At present, there are still a large number of Falun Gong practitioners detained in the hundreds of forced labor camps in China. Many reports published on the Minghui website reveal that families of those who died from torture could not see their loved ones’ bodies, which were forcibly cremated by the police. We have enough reason to believe that organ harvesting still continues on practitioners who die from torture, and it will not end until the persecution stops and all detained practitioners are released.

3. A small step from “using death row organs” to “live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners”

The initial reaction of many people when they first heard of the live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners was, “How could that be possible? How could doctors do such a thing?”

If China had an organ donation system as many western countries do, and if there had never existed the practice of organ harvesting from death row inmates, then the allegations of live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners might indeed seem far-fetched. However, organ harvesting from death row inmates has been in practice for several decades. Some executed death row inmates were not completely dead when their organs were removed. Their cases were close to live organ harvesting. With this as a backdrop, and after the CCP regime labeled Falun Gong practitioners as “enemies of the state” ( a worse situation than that of death row inmates), moving from “using death row organs” to “live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners” was but a small step.

Testimony of Annie, whose ex-husband participated in live organ harvesting

In Bloody Harvest, The killing of Falun Gong for their organs, one of the authors, David Kilgour, interviewed Annie (pseudonym), the ex-wife of a Chinese surgeon who removed corneas from Falun Gong practitioners.

According to Annie, her ex-husband began to take corneas from Falun Gong practitioners at the end of 2001. His hospital was only responsible for the removal, not the transplant. He was a neurosurgeon but was asked to remove corneas. Before being pushed into the operating rooms, the Falun Gong practitioners were given an injection to cause heart failure. Initially he did not know these living people were Falun Gong practitioners. In the beginning, fearing information could leak out, different organs were removed by different doctors in different rooms. Each time after the surgery he would receive a large sum of money, and given cash awards several dozen times his normal salary. Later on, as the doctors continued to get money, they no longer feared repercussions. They started to remove the organs together. During one operation when he collaborated with other doctors, he learned that the bodies were Falun Gong practitioners. Annie learned this information in 2003. Later that year they divorced.

We can see that the customary practice of harvesting the death row organs played a key role in live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. With the policy of “beating them to death counts as suicide,” plus the deceptive and slanderous propaganda against Falun Gong, doctors became insensitive towards the “donors,” treating them as death row inmates.

Flowchart of Live Organ Harvesting

Based on information provided by Annie, the following diagram illustrates the flowchart of live organ harvesting.

Different parties are involved in different steps, as seen on the flowchart. The doctors who perform organ harvesting may or may not be the ones who do the organ transplant surgeries. Therefore not every doctor is likely to know the whole picture. If asked where the organs come from, different doctors may provide different answers due to their involvement at the different steps in the process. More importantly, given that the source of organs is controlled by the military, it is very difficult for the outside world to know the entire procedure.

Death row inmates” used as an excuse to shirk responsibility

From what we have learned, the common mentality of most organ transplant surgeons in China is that they are unwilling to ask questions about the true identities and backgrounds of the donors. The more surgeries they do, the more money they make, the better they get recognized, the more research papers they can publish, the faster they get promoted, and the less they want to learn about the source of organs. They do not have any qualms as long as they can make themselves believe that the organs were indeed from death row inmates. They follow the process to perform surgeries and do not give too much thought to whether the donors are indeed death row inmates or Falun Gong practitioners.

Every party in this process chooses to believe that the organs were harvested from death row inmates to shirk their responsibility:

  1. As a result of CCP brainwashing, the military police have treated Falun Gong practitioners as mental patients or death row inmates.
  2. Doctors who performed organ harvesting chose to believe that the donor lying on the operating table was a death row inmate, even if the donor was still alive, since they were accustomed to harvesting organs from executed death row inmates who were not completely dead.
  3. Doctors who did not participate in organ harvesting but performed organ transplant surgeries were more likely to believe that the organs they received were from death row inmates instead of Falun Gong practitioners.

In Annie’s ex-husband’s case, he initially believed that the donors were death row inmates. By the time he learned that they were Falun Gong practitioners, he had become indifferent and was driven by the desire to make more money. Since death row organ harvesting has become a common practice, participants in the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners tend to treat them as death row inmates.

Yet, those Falun Gong practitioners whose organs were harvested alive are not traditional “death row inmates.” Live organ harvesting amounts to cold-blooded murder. As the truth became known, out of fear, those participants decided to keep silent, and this has added to their crimes.

Doctors addicted to organ transplant surgeries

On January 26, 2005, Jiefang Daily published a story entitled “Nine-Hour Miracle,” on Xia Qiang, director of the Organ Transplant Center in the Shanghai Renji Hospital, who was “addicted to liver transplant surgeries.” On one occasion, Xia drove 140 kilometers to take a 72-year-old patient to the hospital for a liver transplant. The patient had several life-threatening illnesses – cirrhosis, liver cancer, stones in both kidneys and renal failure, and had been bedridden for a couple of months. The patient needed a liver-kidney transplant. Xia was driven to break the liver-kidney transplant record in Asia, where the oldest recipient was 65. Xia told the reporter: “I am crazy about liver transplants. I am addicted to them. I have to see patients every day, otherwise I do not feel settled. I have to do at least two to five liver transplant surgeries a week, and I am not afraid of failures. I’ll learn my lessons and continue the next day.” [54]

It is a good thing for a doctor to be so committed, and there is nothing wrong with pursuing success. However, when a doctor is addicted to organ transplants and has to do several surgeries a week to get satisfaction, all he will care about is how to get endless organ supplies. In that case, how many of them would care whether the donors are death row inmates or Falun Gong practitioners?

Life unworthy of life” – How the Holocaust happened

Many historians believe that the Holocaust was a natural result of Hitler’s promotion of racial cleansing under the Nazis. In 1920, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche introduced a new concept, “Life unworthy of life,” in their book, Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life. Those considered to be “deviant” or a “source of social turmoil” in Nazi Germany and the occupied areas of Europe fell under this designation, which included the mentally ill, people with disabilities, political dissidents, criminals, Jews, and “non-whites” or non-Caucasian peoples. [55]

According to psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, the author of Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, the policy went through a number of iterations and modifications: “Of the five identifiable steps by which the Nazis carried out the principle of ‘life unworthy of life,’ coercive sterilization was the first. There followed the killing of ‘impaired’ children in hospitals; and then the killing of ‘impaired’ adults, mostly collected from mental hospitals, in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas. This project was extended (in the same killing centers) to ‘impaired’ inmates of concentration and extermination camps and, finally, to mass killings in the extermination camps themselves.” [56]

While it is a huge step from “respect of all lives” to “mass killing of Jews,” it was only a small extra step from “destruction of life unworthy of life” to “mass killing of Jews.”

Similarly, it would have been a huge step to “live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners” had there never been organ harvesting from death row inmates. But it was only a small extra step from “harvesting death row organs” to “live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.”

The following graph depicts the environment and conditions under which live organ harvesting could exist.

References

[47] Clearwisdom.net, “Policemen Scheme to Sell the Organs of Jailed Falun Gong Practitioners,” December 22, 2000, http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2000/12/22/5759.html (English version:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2000/12/31/3661.html)

[48] Clearwisdom.net, “Falun Gong Practitioner Ren Pengwu Was Murdered and All His Bodily Organs Were Removed by the Hulan County Police in Heilongjiang Province,” April 19, 2001,http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2001/4/19/10084.html (English version:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2001/4/21/6812.html)

[49] Clearwisdom.net, “Further Facts Regarding the Death Case of Dafa Practitioner Hao Runjuan, Fatally Tortured at Baiyun District Detention Center of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province,” July 6, 2002, http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2002/7/6/32910.html (English version:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2002/7/11/24004.html)

[50] Minghui.net, “Request to Investigate the Cause of the Death of Sun Ruijian,” December 16, 2000,http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2000/12/16/4707.html

[51] Clearwisdom.net, “Organ Harvesting Suspected in the Murders of Ms. Fu Keshu and Mr. Xu Genli, Practitioners Visiting the Jinggang Mountain Area (Photos),” August 8, 2006,http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/8/8/135079.html (English version:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2006/8/12/76758.html)

[52] Clearwisdom.net, “International Community’s Immediate Attention Needed: Bodily Organs Removed and Sold From Falun Dafa Practitioners Tortured to Death in China,” June 16, 2004,http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2004/6/16/77099.html (English version:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/6/25/49505.html)

[53] United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, “Terrorism, Transnational Corporations, Traditional Practices Discussed,” Press Release by United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, 53rd session. August 14, 2001,

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/0/D1D7C610CB97B340C1256AA9002678B0?opendocument

[54] Jiefang Daily, “Nine-Hour Miracle,” http://old.jfdaily.com/pdf/050126/jf05.pdf (content no longer accessible)

[55] Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens (Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life), 1920.

[56] Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, 1986.

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter VII

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

VII. Sources of extra organs

If the annual number of organs from death row inmates is around 6,000, and with the number of relatives willing to be donors very limited between 2003 and 2006, where did all the extra organs come from to supply the more than 12,000–and as many as 20,000–organ transplants per year?

1. Features that likely characterize the new source of organs

  1. The number of people that make up the donor supply base is larger than the number of current death row inmates.
  2. Because this is an illegal undertaking, the donors need to be readily accessible and just as readily hidden once outsiders discover the new source of organs.
  3. Despite the illegalities involved, the participants bear no legal consequences. In other words, current government policies tolerate the exploitation of this source of organs. Harvesting organs from this source would be “turning waste into a useful thing.”
  4. These individuals need to be held in large numbers in given locations to increase the probability of organ matching.
  5. Last but not least, doctors bear no legal responsibility or moral obligation for killing these people for their organs.

2. Illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners – a new source of organs

Using death row organs requires legal authorization. Hospitals cannot casually go to a prison and harvest organs from death row inmates. But what about a group that is outside the justice system and is being suppressed and defamed by the government? And what if there is an illegally detainedsizable population of that group? The possibility of this group being an ideal live organ supply base is very high. In particular, organ transplant hospitals for the army and armed police forces would view this as an ideal source. So which suppressed group fits this category?

Since the persecution of Falun Gong began on July 20, 1999, a large number of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained. These detained practitioners were quickly viewed as an ideal source of organs because:

  1. They fall outside the justice system. Many practitioners are sent to forced labor camps without due process. Many practitioners who go to appeal for Falun Gong do not reveal their names and address to protect their families as well as to avoid implicating their workplaces. These practitioners are detained in large, concentrated numbers.
  2. They represent a huge supply base. Practitioners are detained for no other reason than to be persecuted and executed. As a result, the waiting period for organs can be shortened to 1-2 weeks–a most attractive feature that has allowed China to become a center for global organ transplant tourism.
  3. They are available for live organ donations. Live organs are always far better than organs from cadavers and are always the most sought-after by overseas patients who are willing to pay a premium. Use of live organs in transplants also increases the survival rate of patients; this means a live source is attractive to Chinese transplant doctors who are interested in furthering their careers.
  4. The quality of their organs is very high. Contrary to most death row inmates who are addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs, Falun Gong practitioners are required to refrain from such substances and are generally very healthy. In particular, young practitioners from rural areas are thought to have become a key target for live organ harvesting.

3. Uncertain whereabouts of many Falun Gong practitioners

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-led campaign against Falun Gong started, practitioners have regularly visited local and Beijing government appeal offices or unfurled banners in Tiananmen Square to draw the world’s attention to the violations of Falun Gong practitioners’ human rights. The report “The Journey of Falun Dafa: A Bright But Arduous Path” on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website states, “According to internal information from the Public Security Bureau in Beijing, by the end of April 2001 there had been a total of 830,000 arrests of Falun Gong practitioners for appealing in Beijing for the right to practice Falun Dafa. This number does not include those who refused to give their names or were not recorded by the police at the time of arrest.” [38] In its “2008 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau),” the U.S. Department of State stated, “Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in RTL camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher.” [39]

The CCP adds “implication of workplace” to the ancient practice of “implication of the nine generations of a family”

A phenomenon worth mentioning here is that the CCP has adopted a vicious implication policy in its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Members of a practitioner’s family can be fired from their jobs; supervisors at the person’s workplace can be punished; co-workers can lose their bonuses; in some cases, even local government officials can lose their positions. Through this policy, the CCP isolates Falun Gong practitioners and turns everyone against them. As a result, others are more willing to participate in the persecution. Those who previously sympathized with Falun Gong become resentful when they lose their bonuses, and local government officials do everything they can to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from going to Beijing to appeal so they can save their positions. Local public security members have been dispatched to Beijing to stop local practitioners from appealing to the Central Office of Letters and Calls; the Beijing Office of the local government has turned into a police station to arrest and detain Falun Gong practitioners who have gone to Beijing.

Many Falun Gong practitioners who refused to reveal their names and addresses went missing

Many practitioners who went to appeal refused to reveal their names and addresses to the authorities. Based on practitioners’ sharing articles on the Minghui website, resisting the demands to reveal identity and location became a common practice. What has happened to these practitioners? Many of them went missing and likely were detained in large concentration camps. In hindsight, the detention of these practitioners in large numbers would have helped facilitate large scale live organ harvesting.

In their book, Bloody Harvest, The killing of the Falun Gong for their organs, authors David Matas and David Kilgour interviewed many Falun Gong practitioners around the world who had been detained in China. These practitioners all mentioned that they had met many practitioners in detention centers who refused to reveal their names and addresses, and they eventually went missing. At the same time, many of the missing practitioners’ families did not know that these practitioners had gone to appeal for Falun Gong and therefore had no idea of their whereabouts. The harsh reality is they do not know where to find their loved ones.

Guo Guoting, a Chinese lawyer living overseas, confirmed that one of his clients, Huang Xiong, whom he represented while he was in Shanghai, was in a similar situation. Huang Xiong went missing from his dorm in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

In “New Leads in the Investigation of the Sujiatun Concentration Camp,” a practitioner stated, “After December 20, 2000, the number of practitioners sent to detention centers suddenly increased to dozens or even over a hundred each day, whereas previously only about one dozen practitioners would be sent there… All practitioners were assigned a number… Within a few days the cells were full. The guards interrogated them each day and asked for their names. They used electric batons and other forms of torture on the practitioners and also encouraged the inmates to beat the practitioners. Most of the practitioners still refused to tell their names. The guards finally stopped asking and said, ‘Ok, if you refuse to tell me, I’ll send you to a place where you will tell.’

“In early 2001, groups of practitioners were sent away in big buses in the early morning every other day. An 18-year-old girl from Shandong Province shared the same cell with me. Her number was K28. One morning her number was called by mistake. She got on the bus but later returned. She said all of the practitioners were being taken to northeastern China. Later, the guards openly told us that they were sending the practitioners to northeastern China. During that period, many of them were sent there from Beijing.” [40]

Existence of “Concentration Camps”

An insider who worked in a mainland Procuratorate once told us that no forced labor camp or prison in China would detain an inmate who did not have a name or address for long because they could not complete the registration process. These inmates would be transferred to other locations.

Then what happened to those missing Falun Gong practitioners? In March 2006, a whistleblower alerted the world to the possibility of live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners at the Sujiatun Detention Center in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. Thus, a potential new source of organs was identified.

Shortly afterward, the word “Concentration Camp” began to appear in media reports to describe the facilities where a large number of Falun Gong practitioners were detained.

According to practitioners who were released from the detention centers and the forced labor camps, some detained practitioners who were extremely firm in their belief and refused to be “transformed” were transferred to unknown locations. The existence of the concentration camps provided a possible clue to their whereabouts.

Military-controlled concentration camps

Since the judicial system cannot accept inmates without names or addresses, based on the CCP’s usual practice, they would likely let the military take over these cases. According to sources inside the CCP, concentration camps are directly linked to military-controlled areas.

After the allegation of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners was made public in March 2006, a senior military doctor in the logistics service in the army in Shenyang Military Zone wrote to The Epoch Times and revealed that there were several dozen of such concentration camps around China. He further reminded the outside world to pay attention to military facilities, because organ transplants were being administrated by the military, implying that many military facilities were being used as concentration camps. [41]

The advantages of having the military in charge of the source of organs will be elaborated on in later sections.

4. Blood testing of detained Falun Gong practitioners

Some Chinese prisons have a regulation to provide “periodic physical exams” for inmates. In reality that is hard to carry out. However, the health checklist for Falun Gong inmates is different from the one used for regular inmates. According to a 2004 Xinhuanet website report on the Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison, common physical exam items for regular inmates included “taking blood pressure, listening to the heart and lungs, palpating the liver and spleen area, and taking chest X-rays,” which would cost roughly 60 yuan. [42] Blood tests are not done routinely on regular inmates. For detained practitioners, on the other hand, blood tests, which are a key step in organ matching, were very common.

In July 2009, during the taping of “Between Life and Death,” New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) interviewed several practitioners who had undergone such blood tests during their detention.

Ms. Gan Na, who currently lives in Toronto, Canada, was from Beijing. She was a former customs official at the Beijing Airport. In 2001, when she was detained for the third time at the Xin’an Women’s Forced Labor Camp, she was given a blood test, X-rays, an electrocardiograph test, and eye exams. She told NTDTV, “It seemed very strange to me at the time. The guards at the forced labor camp had never treated us like we were human, yet we were given this thorough physical exam. It felt very strange.”

Ms. Zhang Yijie, former director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the International Division of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), was detained seven times for practicing Falun Gong. The last time she was detained was in June 2001, when she was held at the Beijing Women’s Forced Labor Camp. Ms. Zhang said, “MOFTEC used to offer cadres one physical exam every six months. For a routine liver function exam, usually they took a small tube of blood. The amount of blood they took was pretty consistent. But they took more than the usual amount of blood for the blood test in the forced labor camp. We all asked why they took so much blood.”

In January 2000, Ms. Zou Yuyun from Guangzhou was taken to Chatou Women’s Forced Labor Camp in Guangzhou, where she was detained for 22 months. After she was released from the labor camp, she was arrested and detained in five different brainwashing centers. Ms. Zou told NTDTV, “I was eventually transferred to the brainwashing center in the Tianhe District in Guangzhou. The doctor there took me to the hospital specifically for a very thorough physical exam. They did an electroencephalograph test, and, of course, a blood test, on me.”

In Bloody Harvest, authors Matas and Kilgour also interviewed several Falun Gong practitioners who had been detained in China regarding the blood test issue. The blood testing and the physical exams are a puzzling issue for those who had firsthand experience. On the one hand, practitioners were subjected to inhumane torture and mistreatment while in detention. They were pressured to denounce Falun Gong and to sign statements to quit the practice. Since the “transformation” rate is directly linked to the political accomplishments of the local government, torture is commonly used on practitioners, many of whom have been tortured to death. On the other hand, the authorities also carried out systematic blood testing and physical exams on practitioners. Many practitioners have mentioned that the blood testing specifically targeted Falun Gong practitioners. What is more suspicious is that if, indeed, they found any health problem during the physical exam, the authorities would leave that practitioner alone instead of providing medical treatment. In other words, the physical exam was used to find healthy practitioners.

So far we have only gathered information on blood testing in forced labor camps and prisons. We have no information on the practitioners who were put in concentrated detention in undisclosed locations.

5. Detained Falun Gong practitioners – a reservoir for large-scale matching and live organ harvesting

We mentioned earlier that, in principle, in any given location at any given time, the organs from executed death row inmates can only be matched with the patients in that specific location at that specific time. Soon after death row inmates are executed, the organs are no longer usable. As an organ source, they have limitations, because executions take place in different locations at different times. Without an organ sharing system, death row organ matching is a “small sampling” process.

Detained Falun Gong practitioners, on the contrary, can be matched multiple times until a proper match is found. They are a “reserve resource.” At the same time, a large number of them have been detained in concentration in several undisclosed locations in China, so they are also a “large sampling resource.”

More importantly, the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners provides an explanation for all the unique features of the organ transplant market in China between 2003 and 2006.

6. Bypassing “the courts” in the handling of Falun Gong practitioners to facilitate organ harvesting

A key player in using organs from executed death row inmates is the court, which is left out of the process in handling of Falun Gong practitioners, many of whom have been sent to forced labor camps or detained in concentration camps without due process. In addition, CCP authorities discourage Chinese lawyers from representing Falun Gong practitioners, thereby cutting out the judicial system. The practice of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners thus bypasses the courts and is handled directly between the hospitals and the detention facilities. The consequences are grave:

  1. Without the involvement of the courts, Falun Gong practitioners potentially become a large, unrestricted source of organs.
  2. Without court involvement, hospitals or organ intermediaries deal with the detention facilities directly, without the need to go through any legal procedures or the inconvenience of having to harvest the organ at the site of an execution. The process is much more efficient .
  3. Without court involvement, the perpetrators are worry free. Going through legal procedures means that cases are handled out in the open, subject to restrictions from the outside as well as the families of the donors. The fact that the whereabouts of detained Falun Gong practitioners are unknown to their families makes them easy targets.

A point of clarification: The lack of court involvement only means that there is no legal protection for Falun Gong practitioners while they are being persecuted. It does not mean that the courts have not participated in the live organ harvesting.

Based on available media reports, we have illustrated the following flowchart, which shows the process of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners:

7. Live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners follows the “military driven model”

A key feature in the harvesting of organs from living practitioners is that the source of organs is controlled by the military and the participating hospitals are dominated by the military or those that have close ties to the military. Due to the nature of military security, the truth is concealed from the outside world.

China has a vast military medical system. There is the General Hospital of the PLA, and each military medical university has its own affiliated hospital. The various branches of the military all have their own hospitals. Organ transplantation is one of the most rapidly developing fields in the military hospitals. Zhang Yanling, Minister of Health of the General Logistics Department of the PLA and former president of the Second Military Medical University, was quoted in a December 17, 2008, article on the Xinhuanet website: “In 1978, there were only three hospitals in the military that could perform kidney transplants. Now there are 40 hospitals in the military that can perform liver, kidney, heart, lung, and multiple organ transplants. This is one quarter of the national total.” [43]

The most important enabler for the big leap in military organ transplants has been the control of organ resources.

Life Week magazine reported in April 2006: “98 percent of China’s supply of organs is controlled by systems outside the Ministry of Health.” In fact, whether it is harvesting organs from executed death row inmates or the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, military hospitals, including armed police hospitals, have the advantage. The non-military hospitals that do large-scale organ transplants all have close ties to military hospitals. In many cases their organ transplant surgeons are from military hospitals.

Military and Armed Police Forces hospitals, as well as hospitals along China’s coastline, are the primary impetus behind live organ harvesting

After enjoying rapid growth over a short period of time, the former organ transplant center in the Tianjin No. 1 Central Hospital changed its name to the Oriental Organ Transplant Center, which is the largest in Asia. In 2003, Shen Zhongyang founded the “Liver Transplant Research Institute of the Armed Police Forces” in the General Hospital of Armed Police Forces in Beijing and became its first director. The fact that Shen Zhongyang (and the several transplant facilities he manages) has ready access to organ supplies is largely because this facility is part of the armed police forces.

Shi Bingyi is another key figure that is very active in China’s organ transplant community and often in the media spotlight. He is the director of the Organ Transplant Center of the PLA, which is located in the General Hospital of the General Staff of the PLA, also known as the 309th Hospital.

In Bloody Harvest, Matas and Kilgour interviewed several patients who went to China for organ transplants. The surgeons of these patients all had military backgrounds. One of the patients was admitted at the Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital. His surgeon was Dr. Tan Jianming, who is the chief surgeon of the Fuzhou General Hospital of the Nanjing Military Region (formerly known as the 93rdHospital). Tan also does surgeries at the PLA’s 85th Hospital of the Nanjing Military Region in Shanghai.

Another patient went first to Huashan Hospital in Shanghai (affiliated with Fudan University) for a liver transplant. He was placed under the care of Qian Jianmin, deputy director of the liver center at Huashan Hospital. When no matching organ could be found after several days, Qian suggested that he be transferred to Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai, which is affiliated with Second Military Medical University, saying that it was easier to get organs there. A matching liver was found for the patient on the day he transferred to Changzheng Hospital.

The authors also interviewed a patient who went to the Taiping People’s Hospital in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, for a kidney transplant. His surgeon was Dr. Gao Wei. Taiping People’s Hospital is a non-military general hospital, but Dr. Gao Wei is also a doctor at the Kidney Transplant Department in Zhujiang Hospital, which is affiliated with First Military Medical University. Dr. Gao is also a part-time surgeon at the Shenzhen Armed Police Forces Coastguard Hospital in Guangdong Province.

Sound of Hope Radio interviewed Dr. Peng Xuemei in September 2009. Dr. Peng works at the Anesthesiology Department in the Guangzhou Overseas Chinese Hospital and assists in organ transplant surgeries. Dr. Peng revealed that the hospital had many channels through which it could get organs. She said, “In many cases, Nanfang Hospital would get the kidneys first and then send them to our hospital. That’s why I said there are many channels. But we can’t discuss this openly.” Nanfang Hospital is the first affiliated hospital of Southern Medical University, which is the former First Military Medical University, which was handed over to the Guangdong provincial government in 2004.

In August 2008, the Minister of Health in China launched the “Chinese Scientific Registry of Kidney Transplantation,” or CSRKT (www.csrkt.org). Its data center is run by the 309th Hospital. This gives us a clear idea of the role military hospitals play in China’s organ transplant community.

As China became the center for global organ transplant tourism, hospitals along China’s coastline were particularly favored for their location. Having attracted a growing number of patients, they needed to develop more channels for organ supplies. The organ intermediaries for these hospitals would do all they could to establish close ties to military hospitals or hospitals with a military background.

Although the outside world knows little about how the military conducts live organ harvesting, the active roles the military and armed police forces hospitals play in the organ transplant market and their advantage over organ supplies is the result of the control it has over the concentration camps and associated organ sources.

8. Additional open questions

Story behind the “Kidney for Sale” advertisement

While on the topic of organ resources, some readers may have seen a “Kidney for Sale” advertisement posted on utility poles. How big of a market can these donors, who are advertising one of their kidneys to make a living, create?

First of all, this type of organ trade is illegal. Those involved can be sentenced to jail. The potential kidney sellers are taking advantage of a legal loophole regarding live donors among relatives. In this case, the seller would need to forge a document to prove that the donor and the recipient are related. It is risky business, but the high profits have driven this widespread behavior. On January 14, 2004, the Xinhuanet website posted a report from the Morning News. The report said that restrooms in hospital wards were where most of the “Kidney for Sale” ads were posted. One nurse told the reporter, “There are ‘Kidney for Donation,’ ‘Kidney for Sale’ ads all over the place. They cannot be washed off with water and have to scraped off. There is nothing we can do to stop them.” [44]

Another question is how many of these people successfully sold their kidneys. In reality, the probability of organ matching remains the biggest issue. Experts have stated, “The chances for two complete strangers to meet by accident and have matching organs are rare, unless the parties have done good preparation prior to hospital tests. But there exists another hurdle–no Chinese doctor would encourage or even get involved with this type of underground trade because it is illegal.” [45]

Some doctors stated that the costs to harvest organs from executed death row inmates are low, and the process takes only a few minutes. In addition, there is no need to pay the donors, nor is there a need for post-procurement medical care for the donors (similar in the cases of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners). On the other hand, the cost to purchase a kidney from a private seller would be much higher. Not only does it cost between 10,000 and 30,000 yuan for one kidney, post-organ donation medical care, such as a hospital stay, also needs to be provided to the seller. In an interview with Huashang Newspaper in late 2004, Wu Gang, associate professor of the Organ Transplant Department at the First Hospital of China Medical University, told the reporter, “To rashly purchase kidneys illegally from total strangers solely based on ads is to risk losing money and wasting time on unusable organs.” [46]

We should state that illegal kidney sales do exist, and there are people who have obtained kidneys through this channel. Nevertheless, it cannot be a sizable organ resource. Even the Chinese government admitted that the growth in China’s organ transplant market is largely driven by the huge profits in this market. The introduction of private sellers’ organs would increase costs, especially in comparison to organs harvested for free with no post-procurement medical care, and reduce the hospital’s bottom line. AAlthough “Kidney for Sale” ads are found in many areas, private kidney sellers as organ resources cannot drive the “vigorous development” of China’s organ transplant market. More importantly, between 2003 and 2006, detained Falun Gong practitioners provided a better source of organs. Wu Gang also revealed in the 2004 interview, “There is no market for those ‘Kidney for Sale’ ads because currently there are plenty of kidneys in Shenyang City!”

The China International Transplantation Network Assistance Center, or CITNAC, which is under the First Hospital of China Medical University, claimed on its website that the shortest waiting period for a kidney was one week, with an average waiting period of less than a month. If the surgery failed, a second surgery could be scheduled within a week. It also claimed that the waiting period for a liver was less than one month. (See Appendix 7) Where did these abundant organs come from? Obviously not from the “Kidney for Sale” ads posted on utility poles or in hospital restrooms. We also should note that, between 2003 and 2006, liver transplants increased significantly while few “Liver for Sale” ads were seen.

Starting in 2007, the source of organs from large-scale harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners began to disappear or decline. In order to develop a new source of organs, the Chinese government has launched vigorous propaganda campaigns to promote live donors among relatives. This might have opened a door for forged relationships and stimulated more rampant underground kidney trading, but this is a different issue. The focus of this report is on the period between 2003 and 2006, when China’s organ transplant market skyrocketed.

Can the increase in the number of organ transplant hospitals drive the increase in organ transplants?

Some may wonder whether the big increase in the number of organ transplant hospitals was the cause of the big increase in the number of organ transplants. This is not the case. The shortage of organ supplies is the greatest bottleneck for organ transplants. If the supply of organs could not even satisfy a smaller number of hospitals, the increase in the number of hospitals would only worsen the situation instead of creating more donors. Furthermore, according to the estimation formula we discussed in previous sections, the number of organs from executed death row inmates is fixed. An increase in the number of hospitals simply cannot produce more donors.

[38] Clearwisdom.net, “The Journey of Falun Dafa: A Bright But Arduous Path,”http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/9/26/52823.html

[39] U.S. Department of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), February 25, 2009, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eap/119037.htm

[40] Clearwisdom.net, “New Leads in the Investigation of the Sujiatun Concentration Camp,”http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2006/3/22/71075.html

[41] The Epoch Times, “Military Doctor Reveals the Official Process of the CCP’s Stealing and Selling of Organs from Live Falun Gong Practitioners,” http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/6/4/30/n1303902.htm

[42] Xinhua Net, “Hearing of Commutation Cases Is a Beneficial Exploration,”http://news.xinhuanet.com/comments/2004-06/10/content_1518473.htm

[43] Xinhua Net, “Thirty Years of a Big Leap in Chinese Military Health Care Condensed in Seven Groups of Data,” http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-12/17/content_10520230.htm

[44] Morning News, “Kidney for Sale Ads Taking Advantage of Internet, Shanghai Government Trying to Cut Underground Chain of Kidney Trade,” http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2004-01/14/content_1274416.htm

[45] Sina News Center, “Illegal Kidney Trading Rampant in Shanghai, Black Market Built on Legal Loophole,” http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2004-01-14/15361586708s.shtml

[46] Huashang Newspaper, “Hospitals Infested with Organ for Sale Ads, Doctor Claims Shenyang Has Plenty of Kidneys,” http://news.hsw.cn/gb/news/2004-12/24/content_1520547.htm

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter VI

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

Unprecedented market conditions for organ transplants between 2003 and 2006

By now, the readers may ask: Where did all the extra organs come from? Let us take a look at some unique features of the organ transplant market in China between 2003 and 2006.

1. Extraordinarily short waiting periods previously unseen

According to data published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the average waiting period for organs in the U.S. is two years for a liver and three years for a kidney. [27] In China, the waiting period for these organs at some hospitals is calculated in weeks.


The following table shows the average waiting period for organs published by three major organ transplant centers in China during the period of 2003 and 2006 versus that in the U.S. Such an extraordinarily short waiting period points to an extraordinary source of organs.

Average Waiting Period for Organs in China and the U.S.

Oriental Organ Transplant Center

(Tianjin No. 1 Central Hospital)

Organ Transplant Institute of the People’s Liberation Army

(Shanghai Changzheng Hospital)

CITNAC, China International Transplantation Network Assistance Center

(The First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang)

U.S. data fromhttp://www.organdonor.gov
Average Waiting Period 2 weeks 1 week for a liver transplant 1-2 months for a liver.

1 week to 1 month for a kidney. If 1stsurgery fails, 2nd surgery within 1 week.

(Liver 2 yrs; Kidney 3 yrs)

230 days for a heart

501 days for a pancreas

796 days for a liver

1,068 days for a lung

1,121 days for a kidney

 

(Source: See Appendix 7)

2. Expensive fees make organ transplants tremendously profitable

While fees for organ transplants vary between different hospitals, they are high across the board. Here is an example of fees for different organ transplants published by CITNAC.

Fees for Organ Transplants (U.S. Dollars)

Kidney transplant $62,000
Liver transplant $98,000 – $130,000
Liver and kidney transplant $160,000 – $180,000
Kidney and pancreas transplant $150,000
Lung transplant $150,000 – $170,000
Heart transplant $130,000 – $160,000

(Source: See Appendix 8)

According to a Phoenix Weekly report in 2006, as more and more overseas patients came to China for organ transplants, the fees gradually increased as well. In 2004, the fee for a liver transplant at the Oriental Organ Transplant Center was USD 32,000 (approximately 250,000 yuan). In 2005, it was over USD 40,000 (approximately 330,000 yuan). Some intermediary agencies charged a brokering fee as high as USD 13,000. In addition, overseas patients had to pay monthly fees to interpreters. Staying in the hospital also cost extra. [28] These extra fees explain the higher numbers listed in the table above.

Expensive fees, along with the cheap supply of organs, made organ transplants tremendously profitable. The Organ Transplant Center of the 309th Hospital of the People’s Liberation Army stated, “The Organ Transplant Center is one of the most profitable departments. Gross income was 16,070,000 yuan for 2003 and 13,570,000 yuan for January through June in 2004. It is expected that the gross income will exceed 30,000,000 yuan in 2005.” [29]

Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo] reported, “The Oriental Organ Transplant Center’s rapid growth has brought about huge revenue and profits. According to previous media reports, liver transplants alone bring the Center an annual income of 100 million yuan (with the exchange rate at 8.11 yuan per US dollar).” [30] In September 2006, the Center put to use a new building with a price tag of 130 million yuan. The new building has 500 beds with a more than 10,000 overall annual turnover rate. The surgery center in the new building can support the operation of nine liver transplants and eight kidney transplants simultaneously. It is the largest, vertically integrated organ transplant center in Asia.”

Such profit from organ transplants bore a grave consequence. On the one hand, people with financial means are willing to buy organs at a high cost. On the other hand, the huge profit pushes the hospitals to pursue new sources of organs by all means. Given China’s political and legal environment, certain groups of people become especially susceptible targets.

3. China turns into a center for global organ transplant tourism

Given the fees involved, the majority of organ transplant patients in China are made up of:

  1. Overseas patients (global organ transplant tourists)
  2. Rich business owners, celebrities, and Communist government officials in mainland China
  3. A small group of desperate, ordinary patients who exhaust all their financial resources for an organ transplant

According to a Lifeweek magazine report in 2004, most of the domestic patients are those who “have their own businesses or enterprises,” or those who “have positions in the government.” The report also stated that within a few years, thousands of overseas patients had gone to China for organ transplants, turning China into “a center for global organ transplant tourism.” “Besides Korean patients, there are patients from more than 20 countries and regions in Asia such as Japan, Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who have come to the Tianjin No. 1 Central Hospital (also known as the Oriental Organ Transplant Center) for organ transplants… The ward café looks like an international conference center where patients of different colors and ethnic backgrounds gather to share their medical experiences.” [31] (In July 2007, the Ministry of Public Health in China put a stop on Chinese hospitals performing organ transplant surgeries on foreign patients.)

4. A niche market within China’s limited organ market takes off

Exorbitant fees did not make the organ transplant market inaccessible. On the contrary, there was an unexpected, rapid growth in China’s organ transplant market starting in 2003, with an annual growth of 5,000 to 10,000 or even more cases of organ transplants.

Every year, approximately 150 million people in China need organ transplants due to late-stage organ failures. The scarcity of organs was worse than that in the United States and other countries that have advanced organ transplant procedures. However, starting in 2003, China turned into a center for global organ transplant tourism due to its abundant source of organs. In a 2004 interview withLifeweek magazine, Zheng Hong, deputy director of the Oriental Organ Transplant Center, proudly stated, “The availability of organs in China is in fact much better than that in other countries.” [32]

So what was happening here?

In China’s unregulated, overall limited organ market (small market), there is a niche market with abundant availability of organs for special patients (big market). We have to understand this “big market within the small market” phenomenon before we can fully understand the true situation of China’s organ market.

In its denial of the allegations of live organ harvesting, the Chinese Communist regime claimed that there were more than 100 million patients in China waiting for organs. It used this as an argument that it was not possible to get matching organs within a short period of time. However, this denial was contradicted by claims at various organ transplant hospitals.

5. High quality organs used for overseas recipients

There were many abnormal phenomena in China’s organ market during the 2003-2006 period. Besides the features discussed above, there is another one worth mentioning. The quality of the organs was not compromised as the quantity of organs increased. On the contrary, the quality of the organs supplied between 2003 and 2006 was superb. During the peak of China’s global organ transplant tourism, the majority of China’s organ transplant recipients were overseas patients. Similar to exported products, the organs used for these patients had much higher requirements.

In the Q&A section on its website, CITNAC provided this answer to the question on organ quality: “The live donor kidney transplant provided in China is completely different from the cadaver donor kidney transplant provided by hospitals and dialysis centers in Japan.” “The key to kidney transplants is tissue matching. Before the live donor kidney transplant surgery, we test the functions of the donor kidney as well as the donor’s white blood cells to ensure the safety of the donor kidney. It is safe to say that compared to a cadaver donor kidney transplant in Japan, kidney transplants are much safer and more reliable here.” (See Appendix 9 for reference.) The ‘live donor’ characteristic is the selling point to attract overseas patients.

Some independent overseas investigators have phoned organ transplant hospitals in mainland China, posing as patients or patient family members, to inquire about organ transplant information. The answers given were similar: “Donors are all healthy,” “Donors are around 30 years old,” “Quality is guaranteed to be the best.” [33]

6. Sudden disappearance of the abundant donor resources after 2006

Under normal conditions, the availability of organs is rather steady, which, as we discussed earlier, is the case for Canada and the United States, where there has been no major increase or sudden decrease in the past decade. A drastic increase of organs was seen between 2003 and 2006 in China. But after the allegations of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners surfaced and attracted international attention in March 2006, there was a sudden drop in organ transplants in 2007 in China.

While denying the allegations of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, the Chinese Communist regime accelerated the reorganization of its organ transplant market. It introduced several acts to regulate organ transplants and restricted the number of organ transplant hospitals to be by “permission only.” Out of more than 600 previously existing organ transplant hospitals, only 160 received permission to continue operations.

Is the reduction in the number of organ transplant hospitals the reason for the reduction in organ transplants? It is certainly not. At least, this is not the root cause. The reduction in the number of permitted hospitals should lessen the competition for organs. If there is no major change to the source of organs, there should now be more organs available to those major hospitals. Yet, the number of organ transplants at these major hospitals has decreased drastically. Therefore, the issue lies in the disappearance of donor resources, rather than the number of organ transplant hospitals.

In an interview with Science Times in May 2007, Shi Bingyi, director of the Organ Transplant Center of the People’s Liberation Army and member of the standing committee of the Chinese Medical Association Organ Transplant Society, said, “The number of organ transplants in China reached a historic peak in 2006, in which nearly 20,000 cases of organ transplants were performed. For the first five months in 2007, the number of organ transplants has decreased compared to that of the same period in 2006, largely due to the shortage in organ donors.” [34]

An article published in Nanfang Zhoumo in July 2007 describes the issue further: “Organ transplant surgeons complained about the shortage of organ donors.” “Zhu Zhijun is the deputy director of the Orient Organ Transplant Center. In his office on the second floor of the Center, Zhu appeared to be worried. He told the reporter that since the Chinese New Year, the Center, which is the biggest organ transplant facility in Asia, has performed only 15 liver transplants in nearly six months, while in 2006, the Center had set a record of more than 600 liver transplants in one year.” [35]

Relatively Stable Supply of Death Row Organs

Earlier we assumed that the number of organs from death row inmates is relatively stable. Prior to 2003 and after 2006, the number was around 6,000. Several factors contributed to this stability:

1) Organ transplant technology and the use of immune depressants matured in the late 1990s. There was no sudden increase in the number of organ transplants as a result of breakthroughs in technology.

2) Matching requirements for organ transplants remain high; technology has not lessened these requirements, making the same organ resource relatively stable.

3) Lack of an organ sharing network in China, which means most of the matches take place between a local hospital and local death row inmates. This and local protectionism have limited the scope of matching.

4) Death row sentencing is in lock-step with political direction. With no recent Strike-Hard campaigns, the number of death row executions is relatively stable.

5) The legitimacy of using death row organs, as well as the moral acceptance among Chinese due to years of indoctrination that organ donation is the least contribution death row inmates could make to society, have allowed the organ transplant hospitals in China to care less about pressures from the international community.

Based on the above reasons, it can be concluded that organs from executed death row inmates are a relatively stable source of organs, and not responsible for the spike in 2003-2006, or for the subsequent sharp decline.

Impact of the Supreme People’s Court’s Ruling on Death Row Organs

On January 1, 2007, the Supreme People’s Court reclaimed the right to review death row sentences from the provincial supreme courts, resulting in the reduction of death row sentences. Was this the cause for the severe shortage of organ donors in 2007? It had an impact but was not the root cause. According to a Xinhua News Agency report on March 10, 2008, after the Supreme People’s Court’s reclamation of reviewing death sentences, 15% of death row sentences were overturned in 2007. [36] This percentage (likely to be overestimated) indicates that the recovery did not have a large impact on organs available from the executed death row inmates. This can be supported by the actual number of organ transplants performed. In the section, “Reference to Historic data” in Chapter I, we quotedChina Daily that 65% of organs came from death row inmates in 2008 and 2009, in which close to 10,000 cases of organ transplants were performed each year. That means that approximately 6,000 organs came from death row inmates, which is close to the level between 2000 and 2002.

Therefore, the sudden decrease in organs in 2007 has to be due to the sudden disappearance of other organ resources (although it is still uncertain whether they have completely disappeared).

In conclusion, the rapid growth between 2003 and 2006 and the ensuing quick disappearance of organ resources in China are unprecedented in history and bear unique features that are not supported by the theory that death row inmates were the main source of organs during the years in question.

Since 2007, due to the shortage of organ donors, live related donors have become a new source of organs. Chinese media have also carried out extensive campaigns on this subject in an effort to raise awareness. According to a People’s Net report, the Oriental Organ Transplant Center in Tianjin performed 84 cases of live donor liver transplants in 2007 (with a relative donating a partial liver). [37] However, since live donors did not become a major organ resource until after 2006, this does not help explain the period between 2003 and 2006, when China’s organ market skyrocketed.

[27] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The Matching Process — Waiting List,” website maintained by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Healthcare Systems Bureau (HSB), Division of Transplantation, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,http://www.organdonor.gov/transplantation/matching_process.htm

[28] Chen Yanhui, “Investigation on Global Organ Transplants – Thousands of Foreigners Rushing to China for Organ Transplants, Mainland China Becoming New Center for Global Organ Transplants,”Phoenix Weekly, 2006, No, 5,http://news.phoenixtv.com/phoenixtv/83932384042418176/20060222/751049.shtml

[29] Organ Transplant Center of the 309th Hospital of the PLA, “Brief Introduction of the Organ Transplant Center of the 309th Hospital of People’s Liberation Army,” the Center has deleted certain contents in its introduction, but Chinaaffairs.org has saved all related information,http://www.chinaaffairs.org/gb/detail.asp?id=61744 or http://www.aibang.com/detail/828118414-695423180

[30] Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo], China stops organ transplant tourism, July 18, 2007,http://www.infzm.com/content/9556

[31] Wang Hongliang, “Investigation in Tianjin: No. 1 Organ Transplant [Facility] in Asia,” LifeweekMagazine, September 22, 2004, http://www.lifeweek.com.cn/2004-09-23/000019783.shtml

[32] Wang Hongliang, “Investigation in Tianjin: No. 1 Organ Transplant [Facility] in Asia,” LifeweekMagazine, September 22, 2004, http://www.lifeweek.com.cn/2004-09-23/000019783.shtml

[33] World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), “Telephone Messages: Evidences of Harvesting Organs from Live Falun Gong Practitioners in China,”http://www.zhuichaguoji.org/en/index2.php?option=content&task=view&id=168&pop=1&page=0

[34] Science Times, “Shortage of Organ Donors is the Bottleneck in Developing Organ Transplants,”http://www.sciencenet.cn/html/showsbnews1.aspx?id=182075

[35] Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo], China stops organ transplant tourism, July 18, 2007,http://www.infzm.com/content/9556

[36] Xinhua News Agency, “China’s Death Row Sentences with Immediate Execution Dramatically Reduced,” March 10, 2008. http://news.xinhuanet.com/misc/2008-03/10/content_7761537.htm

[37] The People’s Daily website, “Tianjin Orient Organ Transplant Center Performed 84 Cases of Live Donor Liver Transplants in 2007,” Windows on Tianjin section, http://www.022net.com/2007/12-25/425567353391331.html

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter V

By Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, and Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

V. China’s organ transplant market skyrocketed in 2003

According to Huang Jiefu, deputy Minister of Public Health, “The number of organ transplants in China has grown rapidly in the past ten years between 1997 and 2007.” [24] In a story published by Nanfang Zhoumo, “China stops organ transplant tourism,” Huang criticized the explosive growth of organ transplants in hospitals: “There are more than 600 hospitals and over 1,700 doctors engaged in organ transplant surgeries. This is way too many!” [25] By comparison, there are approximately 100 hospitals in the United States specialized in liver transplant surgery and less than 200 specialized in kidney transplant surgery. In Hong Kong, there are only three hospitals, and each is specialized in liver, kidney, and heart transplant surgery respectively. The statistics published by the Tianjin Oriental Organ Transplant Center and the No. 2 Hospital of the Second Military Medical University (also known as Shanghai Changzheng Hospital), two hospitals that have close ties to the Chinese military, provide a glimpse into the rapid growth of China’s organ transplant market. (Appendix 2)

Chinese experts’ figures on organ transplants, although they vary, clearly indicate the massive growth in China’s organ market in the past ten years. (Refer to Appendix 3 for exact data.) Between 2003 and 2006, underground hospitals emerged as well (Appendix 4). The organ transplants from these underground hospitals are very likely not included in the public statistics. Therefore, the number of actual organ transplants during this period should be higher than the public data.

Using the data provided by Huang Jiefu, and Shi Bingyi, director of the Organ Transplant Center of the People’s Liberation Army, as well as reports by the Chinese media, we have created the following table to show the trend in China’s organ transplant market. (See Appendices 3 and 5 for detailed background information.) In it, we have divided the period from 2000 to 2008 into three phases: prior to 2003, between 2003 and 2006, and after 2006.

2000 – 2008: Three phases in China’s Organ Transplant Market

Timeframe Annual No. of Organ Transplants Main source of donors
Phase I Prior to 2003 Averaged around 6,000 since 2000 (with even lower numbers prior to 2000) Death row inmates
Phase II Between 2003 and 2006 12,000 in 2004; other estimates placed the 2005 number at 15,000, and 2006 numbers at 20,000; no conclusive national data available for 2003, however, in a leading military organ transplant hospital, there was an increase of nearly 60% from 2002 to 2003 (with 801 cases), which then almost doubled to 1,601 cases in 2004 (claimed by the hospital website to be the highest number of organ transplant operations in the world in 2004) Death row inmates and other unknown sources
Phase III 2007 and later Dropped approximately 40% by 2008 (no conclusive national data available for 2007) Death row inmates and living donors among relatives

Although the number has dropped significantly since 2007, it is still higher than the period prior to 2003. According to the Chinese government, the higher number is due to the increase of living donors among relatives as a result of vigorous promotions. At present, 40% of organs come from living donors among relatives. [26]

But this doesn’t address the sudden, large increase in transplants from 2003 to 2006.

The question is, who was the source of organs that caused China’s organ transplant market to skyrocket?

The number of organ transplants during the ten-year period between 1997 and 2007 was relatively stable in other countries around the world. In Canada, the number of organ transplants rose from 1,500 in 1997 to 2,200 in 2007, while in the United States the number rose from 20,000 in 1998 to 27,000 in 2008 (Appendix 6). Yet in China, after a relatively stable period between 1997 and 2002, there was a sudden, rapid growth of transplants. After the allegations of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners emerged in 2006, the number of transplants dropped drastically. China does not fit the worldwide pattern.

[24] Huang Jiefu, Mao Yilei, and J. Michael Millis. “Policy of organ transplant in China,” The Lancet,http://download.thelancet.com/flatcontentassets/series/china/comment11.pdf

[25] Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo], “China stops the organ transplant tourism,”http://www.infzm.com/content/9556

[26] China Daily, “Public Call for Organ Donations,” August 26, 2009,

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-08/26/content_8616938.htm

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter IV

Estimating the upper limit on suitable organs that can be derived from death row “donors”

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

In this section, we will explain why we are assuming that the number of death row inmates with organs suitable for transplantation is 30% the total.

1. Tissue matching – a bottleneck with death row “donors”

In Chapter II and Appendix 1, we have shown that HLA matching is extremely complex. There are seven groups of HLA, with a total of 148 antigens. The possible permutations number well over 2,000,000. Except for twins from the same egg, it is practically impossible to locate a supplier and a recipient with identical HLA. As a result, rejection reaction always follows a homograft. It has to be treated with intense immune suppression. The probability of unrelated people meeting minimum matching HLA requirements (for immunosuppressant drugs to be effective after transplantation) is between 20-30%. Thus, the percentage of death row inmates with matching organs cannot exceed 30% with any significant sample size.

2. Critical time window dictated by cold ischemia

When an organ leaves the human body, the tissue will break down. When a person’s heart stops beating, his or her organs will be useful for a 15-minute window, and must be procured promptly and preserved by a special medium at very low temperatures. Even under optimal conditions, the organ must be transplanted within a critical time window because of cold ischemia (cooling of an organ with a cold perfusion solution after organ procurement surgery). With current technology, the critical time window is 24 hours for a kidney, 15 hours for a liver, and 6 hours for a heart. Therefore, in addition to tissue matching, cold ischemia is a second critical restraint. It is simply not yet possible to preserve organs suitably for future needs.

In addition to these technical limitations, there are other important considerations when using organs from death row inmates that will be explained below.

3. Death row inmates’ organs, a one-time resource

Organs from death row inmates are a one-time resource. Unlike organs hosted by a pool of living people, organs from death row inmates cannot be reserved for future use. Of course, there are reports that some courts have stayed executions until the hospital found a matching recipient. However, in most cases, executions of death row inmates are a political act for the Chinese Communist regime to maintain its power, and therefore, not every execution can be put on hold for medical reasons. For example, due to perceived political needs, the Chinese Communist regime makes a habit of executing death row inmates on national holidays, such as New Year’s Day, May Day, or National Day, to get the most exposure from the event. Quite often, the dictated times of such executions mean that the inmates’ organs are not used. Wang Guoqi, formerly a burn specialist at the Paramilitary Tianjin General Hospital in Tianjin, testified before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the United States House of Representatives. In a written statement he stated, “I have removed skin from the corpses of executed prisoners,” and further described how he went to the places of execution to remove the organs. Among four inmates executed, only one was a match for organs. Dr. Wang was told to take the corpse to an ambulance within 15 seconds of the gunshot. He and another doctor then took 13 seconds to remove the skin. [21]

4. Factors limiting death row inmate organs

Execution of death row inmates happens in different locations and at various times. Since China does not have an organ sharing network, such as the United Network for Organ Sharing in the United States, the tissue matching of organs from the executed inmates can only take place in or near the area of execution. Therefore, death row inmates are considered a rare resource. Some scholars have pointed out that local courthouses often team up with the local hospitals to protect local interests. This phenomenon makes it much harder for hospitals outside the area to get access to organs. It was not until August 2009 that China announced an experimental organ donation system in ten selected provinces and cities.

The following chart illustrates how death row inmates can be divided into four different groups based on their location and times of execution. In principle, in any given location at any given time, the organs from the executed death row inmates can only be matched with the patients in that specific location at that specific time. Thus, the number of wasted organs is likely to be very high.

For this reason, we fear that detained Falun Gong practitioners have become a reservoir for large scale matching and live organ harvesting, which we will discuss in later sections.

5. Harvesting of death row inmate organs follows the “court-driven model”

On October 9, 1984, China’s Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Health, and Ministry of Civil Affairs promulgated and implemented the “Interim Provisions on Using Cadavers or Organs from the Cadavers of Death Row Inmates,” providing legal authority for using organs from executed death row inmates.

While the court, the procuratorate, the detention center, and the hospital are integral parts of the process to harvest the death row inmates’ organs, the key party is the court, since it hands down the death sentences and carries out the executions. Prior to execution, the death row inmate is required to undergo blood tests with approval from the detention center. Then the court carries out the execution under the procuratorate’s supervision. Both the court and the procuratorate restrict access to the execution site and assist the doctors in harvesting organs from the executed inmates. The Chinese Communist government adopted this process when China’s organ transplant market was in its earliest stage and introduced the aforementioned 1984 Interim Provisions to give the process legal authority. It has been following this process since. Phoenix Weekly (number 21, 2005) quoted a source as saying, “Without the Justice Department’s approval, it would be impossible for hospitals to harvest organs from executed death row inmates.” [22]

The courts play a key role in procuring organs from executed death row inmates

The court-driven model renders the process of using organs from executed death row inmates a rather public, programmed, and sometimes even bureaucratic one, in which the court, the procuratorate, the detention center, and the hospital play integral roles with their own interests in mind. This process is known to human rights watchers, despite the Chinese Communist government’s consistent denials until recent years (see Preface). It should be made clear that doctors cannot simply go to the detention center and ask the prison guards for executed death row inmates to harvest the organs. The more parties and steps involved, the less efficient the process of organ harvesting.

6. Legal requirements for an “unclaimed bodies” classification

The 1984 Interim Provisions provided the following guidelines for accepting organs from unclaimed cadavers or those from executed inmates; the guidelines stipulate that cadavers are acceptable if:

  1. They are unclaimed or refused by the family of the executed;
  2. They are voluntarily donated by the death row inmates;
  3. Family of the executed gives consent.

Inevitably, driven by potentially huge financial benefits, some people have found ways to exploit loopholes in these guidelines. For example, in some cases, families were not notified of the time of execution and the bodies remained unclaimed as a consequence. Nevertheless, these guidelines do impose legal restrictions on the use of death row inmate’s organs.

Reactions from families of the executed to the embezzlement of death row inmate organs

Since 2000, families of executed inmates have openly complained about the removal of organs without consent. Some have even filed lawsuits. This has increased the uncertainty surrounding the use of death row inmates’ organs.

In September 2000, Yu Yonggang from Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province was sentenced to death for robbery and murder. Yu’s mother repeatedly stated that the hospital and the court had taken away her son’s organs without her consent. She wrote a letter entitled “A Citizen’s Tearful Complaint” to bring the matter out into the open, pointing fingers at the relevant government bodies.

In May 2000, Fu Xingrong, a farmer from Jiangxi Province, was executed for murder. The local court sold his kidneys to one of the major hospitals in Jiangxi Province without Fu’s family’s consent. Out of grief and indignation, Fu’s father committed suicide. Fu’s sister hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit against the local court.

On September 23, 2003, Lanzhou Morning News reported a case in which a detention center in Gansu Province had “donated” organs from an executed death row inmate without his consent. The local court later ruled that the detention center must pay the family 2,000 yuan as compensation. The director of the detention center admitted to the media that organ donation must have written consent from the death row inmate, and that the detention center did not have any written document from the inmate in this case. [23]

The reactions of families such as these have created hesitation about the use of death row prisoners’ organs, at least to a certain degree, and at this time, death-row-derived organs can no longer be considered a broad and readily-available resource.

Other considerations include age (ideally, the ‘donor’ should be between 20 and 30) and health status. Many inmates are addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, which makes them less than ideal donors.

All of this explains the relatively low percentage of potentially useful organs that can be derived from death row “donors.” We have discussed how a poorly matched organ directly impacts the quality of the transplant surgery. If a high number of patients were to die on the operating table or have a short survival time after the surgery, it directly impacts the surgeon’s reputation and career. It stands to reason, then, that the transplant surgeon prefers not to use a randomly sourced organ in surgery. In summary, we consider a figure of 20-30% suitable organs derived from death row inmates a reasonable, if not optimistic, estimate, and in our calculations, we have settled on the 30% figure as the upper limit.

Due to these limitations on the use of death row prisoners’ organs, the annual number of organs from executed inmates is probably around 6,000. Yet, between 2003 and 2006, there was a massive growth in China’s organ transplant market. Clearly death row prisoners’ organs alone did not meet this skyrocketing demand.

References

[21] Wang Guoqi, “I have removed skins from the corpses of executed prisoners – testimony by Wang Guoqi, a surgeon at the Tianjin Armed Police Corps Hospital,” cited from The World Journal at http://www.chinamonitor.org/news/qiguang/wqgzb.htm

[22] Phoenix Weekly (number 21, 2005), “Investigation of Organ Donation from Death Row Inmates,” http://www.ifeng.com/phoenixtv/72951501286277120/20050823/617113.shtml

[23] Deng Fei, “Investigation of Organ Donation from Death Row Inmates,” Phoenix Weekly, http://health.sohu.com/20081120/n260760080.shtml

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Systematically Murdered for Their Organs: Refuting the Chinese Regime’s “Death Row” Explanation, Chapter III

by Ouyang Fei, Sun Sixian, Lin Zhanxiang

(Clearwisdom.net) In 2006, The Epoch Times newspaper broke a stunning story about what is undoubtedly one of the most horrible atrocities to be committed by any government, not only in modern times, but in all of recorded history. As documented in the investigative report, “Bloody Harvest,” by noted human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific region David Kilgour, there is overwhelming evidence of the Chinese Communist regime’s chilling role in systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs while they are alive, and making huge profits from doing so. In response to the international outcry, the Chinese regime has attempted to explain away one of the main pieces of circumstantial evidence–the meteoric rise in the number of organ transplantations in recent years and the extremely short wait times in a culture notoriously averse to organ donation–by stating that it has harvested organs from executed criminals after their deaths. Faced with undeniable evidence, it has attempted to escape culpability for a monstrous atrocity by admitting to a lesser crime. In this report, we will show evidence that directly contradicts this claim and lends further credence to the serious charges leveled against the Chinese regime.

Chapter III. Number of death row executions

Through our estimates, we have set the number of annual death row executions at 10,000. In this section, we will explain how we reached this number.

Some may wonder whether the massively growing organ market was the result of a sudden increase in China’s death row executions. According to the article, “The number of death row executions has decreased significantly,” posted on Chinanews.com on September 6, 2007, “For more than a decade, the People’s Court has continuously been strict and prudent in the use of the death sentence, resulting in the steady reduction of death row executions.” [17] Although there is little credibility in the Chinese Communist government’s propaganda, it is a fact that there was no sudden, massive increase of death row executions during the peak of China’s organ market between 2003 and 2006.

Let us take a look at how organizations outside of China, as well as experts in mainland China, have estimated the number of death row executions in China.

1. Number of annual executions of death row inmates in China

First of all, we need to distinguish the number of death row executions from the number of death sentences. A significant portion of those sentenced to death in China receive a stay of execution. In most cases these sentences are often commuted to time in prison. The aforementioned article on Chinanews.com also quoted Jiang Xingchang, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, who said, “In recent years, in many places in China the percentage of death sentences with a two-year reprieve has come close to, or even surpassed, the percentage of death sentences with immediate execution.”

Outside estimates of the number of annual executions of death row inmates in China vary from 1,000 to 10,000. In the article “Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty” published on January 1, 2007, Amnesty International stated, “At least 1,010 people were executed in China during the year, although these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Credible sources suggest that between 7,500 to 8,000 people were executed in 2006.” [18] In its 2007 report, Hands Off Cain, an Italian-based organization against the death penalty worldwide, stated, “In 2006, there were at least 5,628 executions worldwide,” and “at least 5,000 executions took place in China.” [19] In an interview with the media, Liu Renwen, professor at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stated that academic circles estimated that roughly 8,000 people were executed annually. In his article “The Puzzle of the Number of Death Row Executions in China,” Wang Guangze, a mainland scholar, revealed that according to a veteran criminal defense lawyer in Henan Province, the number of annual executions in Henan Province is over 500 in a non-strike-hard year, and can reach as high as 800 in a strike-hard year. Wang thus deduced that with 30 provinces, an annual number of 10,000 death row executions in China is highly possible. [20] In March 2004, China Youth Daily reported that while urging the Supreme Court to reconsider all death sentences, the National People’s Congress claimed that the country executed approximately 10,000 people every year.

As most of the outside estimates come from organizations that are against the death penalty, it is possible that their estimates are high. In other words, the actual number may turn out to be less than 10,000. Thus, in our calculation, it is safe to use 10,000 as the upper limit.

Some may ask whether there were nationwide strike-hard campaigns that would have increased the number of executions.

2. No large-scale Strike-Hard campaigns from 2003 to the present

Between 1983 and 2002, there were three large-scale nationwide Strike-Hard campaigns: from 1983-1987, from 1996-1997, and from 2001-2002. While it may not be clear to the outside world how many people were executed during these three campaigns, the first campaign between 1983 and 1987 could be referred to as “random killing.” The campaign slogans at that time were: “Arrest borderline cases without hesitation;” “Sentence borderline cases without hesitation;” “Execute borderline cases without hesitation.” This campaign resulted in grave consequences, so the latter two campaigns changed policy from “taking strict, prompt action” to “combining punishment with leniency,” and to “reducing and avoiding the death penalty” and “executing doubtless cases and holding the ones with doubts.” There has not been a large-scale Strike-Hard campaign from 2003 to the present. In other words, Strike-Hard campaigns have not played a key role in the massive growth of the organ market.

References

[17] China News Agency, “Steady reduction of death row executions in China,” Chinanews.com.cn, September 6, 2007, http://www.sh.chinanews.com.cn/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=31395

[18] Amnesty International, Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty (1 January 2007),http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/002/2007

[19] Hands Off Cain, “The Most Important Facts of 2006 (and the first seven months of 2007,” Hands Off Cain 2007 Reporthttp://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/index.php?tipotema=arg&idtema=9324906

[20] Wang Guangze, “The Puzzle of the Number of Death Row Executions in China,” http://crd-net.org/Article/Class7/200703/20070320091911_3703.html