Illegal organ harvesting on the rise in China

Followed by a thorough investigation, The Epoch Times has accused the Tianjian First Central Hospital outside Beijing, China as being an illegal organ harvesting facility.

“What happens in China does not stay in China,” stated Leo Timm, a reporter on China for The Epoch Times.

Illegal organ harvesting could “constitute one of the most disturbing mass crimes of the 21st century,” wrote The Epoch Times.

Illegal transplant facilities charge between $100,000-$200,000 to provide an implant for those fortunate enough to afford one. Those with elementary educations or low income may receive as little as $1,000 for a kidney.

The Orient Organ Transplant Center shows a graph of organ transplants stopping documentation in 2004. The number of documented liver transplants begin in 1998 at nine documentations until 2004 at 1,601 documented transplants. There is no information as to why the graph stops at 2004.

The Epoch Times profiled 15 accounts of innocent people who were oppressed and tortured for their organs. In 2014, a total of “91 deaths due to torture, 6,415 detentions without trial, and 983 adherents tried and sentenced,” for practicing Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is a traditional Buddhist and Daoist-based faith system. Their rebellion to expose the Communist Party has led to vast amounts of persecution because of their religious beliefs and supposed threat to national stability. Lawyers continue to note that there isn’t a law in place that actually bans Falun Gong.

“Estimates put the number of legally-conducted executions in China between 2,400 and 10,000 a year” Timm stated. He also noted that the hospital reported over 10,000 transplants a year, but this would not be possible because most death row prisoners aren’t healthy enough to donate organs.The organ supply had to come from an outside source.

Just after he began transplants in 2006, Dr. Shen Zhongyang and his team of transplant technicians performed over “1,600 liver transplantations,” reported The Epoch Times. The Party took notice and donated $20 million to Tianjian Hospital to build bigger, better facilities, leaving investigators reason to assume a connection.

Improper Documentation

While in other countries there are data lists for transplant procedures, China vaguely reported information such as that the, “organs were removed from homeless people,” wrote Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting Chinese government website.

The Epoch Times reported that the hospital stated an increase in voluntary organ donors, but this is against Chinese tradition because “for the body to be dismembered is shameful,” Timm said.

Many years ago, the deceased went through a specific ritual that helped preserve their body. Now people wouldn’t want to go against those rituals and become an organ donor, Timm stated. Hospital records show that there isn’t enough staff or beds for this many procedures to safely take place.

Communist Party involvement

The Communist Party benefits heavily from the success of these procedures due to wealthy buyers. “It was a high-profile operation targeting wealthy customers with a premium, very rare product: fresh human organs available at a rapid turnaround, no questions asked,” wrote The Epoch Times.

Members of Falun Gong have worked to uncover the Communist Party’s crimes. Falun Gong believers organized a “Chinese petition condemning organ harvesting [that] attracted over 50,000 signatures” The UN reported.

According to Timm, the Party’s propaganda sought to cover up Falun Gong’s attempts to reveal the atrocities behind the regime, leaving Falun Gong marked as societal outcasts by the media. As a result, they’ve become a target for China’s illegal organ harvesters. “The ban on Falun Gong is unconstitutional” Timm stated, though the persecution continues.

According to Timm, officials appear hopeful that the persecution is at the end of its course. Authorities have reported a rise in lenience of the handling and reporting of the prisoners. It does appear to have an effect with the recent change in Party Leader in 2013 to President Xi Jinping who does not approve of anti-Falun Gong policies.

There is no information yet as to whether Tianjian First Central Hospital and Dr. Zhongyang will be punished for these actions.

Some countries have taken notice of this human rights issue. According to DAFOH, other countries such as Taiwan, Israel and Australia find illegal organ harvesting to be a human rights violation and have banned the practice entirely.