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.


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.


[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


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