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

 

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

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.

  1. Organ matching issues

A major issue with organ transplantation is transplant rejection by the recipient. The human body’s immune system protects the body and prevents unknown objects from entering. If the object appears to be an “uninvited guest” or “enemy,” the immune system will try its best to force the object out. For example, a newly transplanted kidney can help the patient excrete waste products, but the immune system will forever recognize the transplanted kidney as foreign.

  1. Tissue matching

The purpose of tissue matching is to reduce transplant rejection. The following are some primary concerns in measuring tissue compatibility:

  1. ABO blood group type – having the same blood type is ideal. The two blood types need to at least tolerate each other and meet the requirements for a blood transfusion.
  2. Cross-match test – a test of the recipient’s serum and donor’s red cells (main test) and a test of the recipient’s red cells and donor’s serum (secondary test). Even when the blood types are the same, a cross-match test is mandatory prior to a kidney transplant. A negative test result indicates that the transplant will not be rejected.
  3. Stem cell toxicity test – for a transplant to be successful, the result of this test has to be negative. This test shows how the recipient’s serum will work with the donor’s stem cells. If the rate at which the cells are killed is below 10 percent, the result is negative; if the rate is between 10 and 15 percent, the result is a weak positive; and if the rate is over 15 percent, the result is positive.
  4. Panel Reactive Antibody (PRA) test – a method of measuring anti-human antibodies in the blood. A person’s PRA indicates the percentage of donors whose tissue can be bonded with the antibodies in the recipient’s blood.
  5. Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching – this identifies the types of antigens found in white blood cells and other tissues in the body. HLA antigens are the “personal identification card” of human biology. Two haplotypes, consisting of a set of three antigens each (six antigens total), make up each person’s HLA. One haplotype comes from the father and one from the mother. Therefore, the probability of two siblings having identical HLA (the same two haplotypes) is one in four. The probability of unrelated people having identical HLA is almost zero. An HLA test is used to provide evidence of tissue compatibility and performed for potential kidney, bone marrow, liver, pancreas, and heart transplants. The probability that a transplant will be successful increases with the number of identical HLA antigens.
  1. Probability of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching

There are common, rare, and extremely rare types of HLA antigens. For a common HLA type, a match can be found within 300 to 500 people. The probability of finding a rare type match is one in ten thousand, and the probability of finding an extremely rare type match is one in several tens or hundreds of thousands. [12]

From a medical point of view, the probability of having two unrelated people matched to the final stage of transplantation is one in several million.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program’s website, http://www.marrow.org/, out of 4,000 volunteers, roughly 200, or 5 percent, can be potential donors, and out of 4.5 of these potential donors, only one can qualify. In other words, only 1.1 percent of the total volunteers can eventually be matched with a given recipient.

The invention and widespread use of immunosuppressive drugs have, to a certain degree, alleviated the graft rejection caused by inadequate HLA matching. Kidney transplants require matching six HLA antigens. At present, the common practice in mainland China is to match four HLA antigens. The number of matching antigens determines the probability of graft rejection and the need for medication during the late stages of transplantation. The optimum result is to have all six HLA antigens matched. According to media reports, the probability of unrelated people having four matching HLA antigens is between 20 and 30 percent. [13] The deputy director of Urology and Transplantation at the Shanghai No. 1 Hospital quoted a similar ratio during an interview withMorning News reporter Fan Yi. [14]

3. Probability of blood type matching

In China, the distribution of human ABO blood types differs among regions. The following table shows the distribution of ABO blood types in Guangdong and Beijing. [15]

Region O A B AB
Guangdong 46 25 23 6
Beijing 29 27 32 13

From this data, we can calculate the probability of identical blood type matching. For the Guangdong region, it is 33 percent, and for the Beijing region, it is 28 percent. That means that the probability of identical blood type matching among the Chinese population overall is around 30 percent.

4. Match requirements for liver transplants

From an immunological perspective, the liver is considered an “immune privileged organ,” and, therefore, unlike other organs, matching requirements between liver donor and recipient are not as strict. Ideally the donor and the recipient should have matching blood types, or at least meet the requirements for a blood transfusion, but there are no strict requirements regarding the lymphocytotoxicity test. Although HLA matching is still performed, neither the lymphocytotoxicity test nor HLA matching has any real clinical significance for liver transplants. However, there are other requirements for a potential liver donor: 1) Age – under 50. 2) Healthy liver – no liver disease; HBsAg negative; no active hepatitis; no high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, or other diseases that might impact the quality of the liver. 3) No tuberculosis. 4) No cancer. 5) No severe infection. 6) Death did not occur long after the donor was in a coma, i.e., the donor had sufficient blood circulation in the liver prior to death. 7) Size of the liver close to, or a bit smaller than, that of the recipient.

China has a large population of hepatitis carriers. In his interview with Yangzi Evening News, Zhao Wei, vice president of the Nanjing No. 2 Hospital and a Hepatitis B expert, told the reporter that the Hepatitis B virus has a high infection rate: approximately 57.6 percent of the Chinese population has been infected at some point, and there are roughly 120 million current Hepatitis B carriers.[16] Article 31 of the “Interim Provisions of the Administration of the Clinical Applications of Human Organ Transplant Technologies” also stipulates that hepatitis carriers and other patients with infected blood cannot qualify as organ donors.

This means that, although there is no strict HLA matching requirements for liver transplants, there is still an acute shortage of liver donors due to the requirements mentioned above.

Further background information on organ transplantation is included in Appendix 1.

References

[12] Sunshine [Yangguang] Volunteers’ Association of Beijing University, Basic knowledge of HLA,http://www.isun.org/ch_cure/article_156.html

[13] Jiaozuo Daily, “Crime under the sun,” http://epaper.jzrb.com/shck/html/2009-10/19/content_139678.htm

[14] Morning News, “People’s Congress representative urges to clean up the underground kidney market,” January 14, 2004,http://www.spcsc.sh.cn/renda/node103/node124/node143/userobject1ai1562.html

[15] “Racial and Ethnic Distribution of ABO Blood Types,” http://www.bloodbook.com/world-abo.html

[16] Yangzi Evening News, “690 million infected with Hepatitis B?”http://www.hbver.com/Article/ygfz/ygzs/200404/2789.html

 

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

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 I. How many organs can be accounted for by death row inmates?

1. Reference to historical data

It is probably not possible to get an accurate count of organ transplants performed with organs derived from death row inmates between 2000 and 2008. However, historical data may serve as a reference. For this discussion, we have divided the period from 2000 to 2008 into three phases: prior to 2003, between 2003 and 2006, and after 2006. We suspect that between 2003 and 2006 a large number of Falun Gong practitioners were victimized as live sources of organs. But let us first take a look at the time periods before 2003 and after 2006 to analyze the number of organs from executed death row inmates. Assuming that the number of organs prior to 2003 and after 2006 from death row inmates was stable, this should allow us to extrapolate the numbers accounted for by death row inmates between 2003 and 2006. Any significant increase in organ harvesting between 2003 and 2006 will then raise questions about the sources of those organs for that time period.

According to official reports, from 2000 to 2008, the percentage of organs donated for transplant purposes by family members of the patient increased each year. At the same time, the percentage of organs accounted for by death row inmates was decreasing. The number derived from unrelated donors post-mortem remained insignificant throughout. In 1999, family donors accounted for 2% total organ transplants. In 2004, the number was at 4%. [4] In 2006, it had risen to 6%. According to authoritative sources quoted by China Daily, by 2008 and 2009, related donors accounted for 40% all organ transplants, and nearly 60ame from death row inmates, while organs taken from unrelated donors post-mortem accounted for only 130 cases. [5] China’s Caijing magazine (No. 24, 2005) reported that “950rgans were from cadavers, almost all of which were executed death row inmates.” [6] Life Week magazine reported in 2006, “Control of 98% the sources of organs for transplantation in China resides outside the system of the Ministry of Health.” [7] The China Liver Transplant Registration website listed incomplete statistics on liver transplants from 1999 to 2006. Although the total numbers listed were far below the actual number of transplants performed across China, it is useful in showing the percentage of live organs among all organs transplanted, which confirmed that live organs accounted for a very small percentage prior to 2006. [8]

Sources of organs for organ transplantation provided by Chinese officials are shown in the following chart:

Number of organs derived from death row inmates prior to 2003 and after 2006

The data mentioned above indicate that over 95% the organs came from death row inmates between 2000 and 2002. By 2008, this number had dropped to around 60%. If we only consider kidney and liver transplants as an example, according to data provided by Huang Jiefu, deputy minister of China’s Health Ministry, there were 6,000 to 6,500 organ transplant surgeries between 2000 and 2003. [9] Shi Bingyi, director of the Organ Transplant Center of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), provided 2008 data when he was a guest at Xinhuanet.com in September 2009. He said that there were “between 3,000 and 4,000 liver transplants and over 6,000 kidney transplants” in 2008. [10] In other words, the combined count of liver and kidney transplants ranged from 9,000 to 10,000. Based on an official claim published by China Daily, that 650rgans came from death row inmates, the number of organs derived from executed prisoners would be 65% 9,000 to 10,000, that is, between 5,850 to 6,500.

[MS]

However, the years between 2003 and 2006 were significantly higher in terms of total transplants performed. There were 12,000 to 20,000 cases annually during that period (see details in Chapter V of this report). This cannot be explained if executed death row prisoners were the only source.

Economist Thomas Rawski from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study in 2000 on China’s GDP statistics. Based on public data released by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s accumulated GDP growth was 24.7 0uring the three years between 1998 and 2000. However, energy consumption decreased by 12.8 0uring the same period. Rawski thought this was impossible. He concluded that the CCP falsified the GDP numbers. Despite the controversy over this study, one thing is clear: The CCP has not been able to produce falsified numbers without introducing inconsistency. If we study the official data, it is possible to reveal the CCP’s contradictions.

2. Numbers based on an “estimation formula”

The actual number of organs taken from executed death row inmates can be estimated using various other sources. Historical data has provided the approximate number of organs from death row inmates annually, which is around 6,000. We used a formula to estimate how many organs death row inmates could account for.

The estimation formula is as follows:

Total number of organs (kidney and liver) from death row inmates =
Annual number of death row inmates executed X
Percentage of death row inmates executed with suitable organs X
Number of organs an executed death row inmate can provide X
Percentage of organs suitable for transplantation in an individual

We based our estimate on kidney and liver transplants because China’s transplant experts often only consider these two organs when providing data. In fact, transplants of other organs are relatively rare. Therefore, the kidney and the liver are the most useful indicators for our purposes.

The variables in our estimation formula are based on an assortment of publicly available data. At the outset we made assumptions about the total number of annual executions of death row inmates.

We assumed that the total number of annual executions is 10,000. If the percentage of death row inmates executed whose organs can be used is 30%, the maximum number of organs an executed death row inmate can provide is three (two kidneys and one liver), and the percentage of an individual’s usable organs is 75%. We set these variables near the upper limit of their ranges, which may slightly overestimate the number of organs available from death row inmates each year. The result of our calculation is as follows:

Estimate of maximum number of organs (kidney and liver) supplied annually by death row inmates in China

Annual number of death row inmates executed Percentage of death row inmates executed whose organs can be used Number of organs an executed death row inmate can provide Ratio of an individual’s usable organs Number of organs (kidney and liver) supplied annually by death row inmates
Estimate 10,000 30% 3 75% 6,750

The result indicates that the maximum number of organs (kidney and liver) derived from executed death row inmates annually is approximately 6,750. This correlates well with historical data. As mentioned earlier, between 2000 and 2002, and again in 2008, this number ranged between 6,000 to 6,500. Since our estimate used the upper limits of the variables, our result is quite reasonable.

Explanation of variables in the estimation formula

1) “Percentage of organs suitable for transplant in an individual”

An executed death row inmate can supply two kidneys and one liver (with other organs out of consideration in our current calculation). However, not all three organs always turn out to be useable. As a special source of organ supplies, death row inmates are executed in different locations or at different times. Without an organ sharing network, even if an inmate has multiple organs for supply, not all of the organs may be used. The newspaper China Medicine stated in the article “Establish an organ transplant registration network” that without such a network, sometimes only kidneys were taken from a supplier while other organs were wasted. [11]

Despite this constraint, we use the 75% value in the above formula to make our subsequent analysis more convincing.

2) “Number of death row inmates executed annually” and “percentage of death row inmates executed whose organs can be used”

One may wonder why we set the annual number of death row inmates executed at 10,000 instead of 20,000, and why we set the percentage of death row inmates executed whose organs can be used at 30 0nstead of 500r 80%. This will be analyzed in more detail later. At this point we will look at the issue of organ matching because it is an important factor in one of the variables of the formula.

References

[4] Henan Province Kidney Transplant Center, “Science enhances family ties – an overview of family and relative organ donors,” http://www.china-kidney.com/shownews.asp?id=819

[5] China Daily reported that live organ transplants account for 15urgery cases in 2006. The number has now approached 40%, 65% which are from death row inmates. China Daily, “Public Call for Organ Donations,” http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-08/26/content_8616938.htm

[6] Caijing magazine, No. 24, 2005, “Organ transplants – an area of accelerated regulation,” http://magazine.caijing.com.cn/2005-11-28/110062607.html

[7] Life Week magazine, “The difficulty of organ transplant regulation,” http://www.lifeweek.com.cn/2006-04-17/0005314976.shtml

[8] China Liver Transplant Registration website, “2006 annual report by the China Liver Transplant Registration,” https://www.cltr.org/view.jsp?id=76

[9] Huang Jiefu, Mao Yilei, and J. Michael Millis, “Government Policy and Organ Transplantation in China,” The Lancet, http://download.thelancet.com/flatcontentassets/series/china/comment11.pdf

[10] Xinhuanet.com, “Interview with Shi Bingyi – A detailed look at organ transplants,” http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2009-09/11/content_12035251_2.htm

[11] China Medicine newspaper, issue No. 2887, “Establishing an organ transplant registration network, passing the law on brain death – a solution to the scarcity of organ suppliers,” November 15, 2004, http://www.100md.com