It’s not uncommon to see someone breaking down in tears in hospitals. So when Guo Zhigong, who was being treated for aplastic anemia, tried to help a fellow patient who was crying, he didn’t expect to hear a story about China’s opaque organ transplant business.
The patient, in his 40s, was worried about a kidney transplant scheduled the next day in eastern China’s Qingdao city. The promised organ was from a prisoner due to be executed hours before the life-saving surgery. They had already undergone blood matches.
But what followed was another eye-opener: the family of the executed appeared to have no knowledge that a part of their loved one’s body had been sold by the police.
The patient’s wife was told to give cash gifts to the police, Gao recalled what the woman told him. The police, according to the woman’s recount, told the father of the executed prisoner that he didn’t have all the necessary documentation to recover the body. This was an excuse the police gave so that they could keep the body for their grisly business.
“Once they got the body, the organs were sold to hospitals,” Guo, who now lives in the UK, told The Epoch Times. “This is the source of the kidney.”
That incident occurred in the early 1990s, when there was no voluntary organ donation system in China. Most kidneys, livers, corneas, and other organs for transplantation were taken from executed prisoners, the regime admitted in 2005. Prior to that, the authorities denied that it stripped organs from executed inmates, a practice that has long been criticized by human rights groups given that prisoners lack the ability to provide free consent.
But abuses in China’s transplant industry do not end there. Over the past decade-and-a-half, detailed accounts from informants and extensive research papers have shown that organs have been removed even before prisoners died.