Organ transplantation, once an improbable dream, has now become a common clinical procedure for patients with terminal organ failures, thanks to surgical innovations and biomedical breakthroughs. Each year, tens of thousands of patients worldwide are given such a second chance at a new life via transplant operations.
However, for each organ recipient, there has to be a matched donor, either someone who has passed away unexpectedly or a living donor. The latter usually comes from the patient’s close relatives and constitutes a small percentage of the cases. As a result, organ donors are always in short supply, and patients awaiting transplants in Western countries often wait months or even years before finding a suitable donor.
In China, organ transplants started in the 1980s. Initially, the operation was mostly for research purposes and only performed in a handful of the largest clinical centers. Unlike the rest of the world, the vast majority of the donor organs in China come from executed prisoners, with only one percent coming from other sources. Although this poorly kept secret has drawn questions from international rights organizations, little has been done to change the situation.
In the last few years, organ transplants have been taking off in China, with the numbers of operations dramatically increasing each year, and many new hospitals are rushing into the lucrative business. Many patients from outside China go to China for organ transplants, so much so that some clinical centers’ websites advertise in multiple languages. Most significantly, some websites explicitly advertise that one can get a matched organ within one month or as short as one week. This is certainly a welcome sight for someone in need of a transplant, but it points to a chilling question of where such a large pool of organ donors is coming from.
Few thought much of this question until two witnesses who fled China gave shocking accounts to The Epoch Times newspaper: Thousands of Falun Gong members were kept in an underground concentration camp in the northeast city of Sujiatun and had their organs forcibly removed for transplants. Recorded follow-up telephone calls by reporters to doctors at several hospitals suggest that there is truth to these allegations. According to a veteran military doctor in China, a third witness who chose to remain anonymous, the Sujiatun camp is just one of the more than 30 such camps involved in a thriving organ trade fueled by Falun Gong practitioners.
Such an allegation is serious business and warrants immediate attention and further investigation. If indeed true, what we are seeing is one of the most chilling examples of human cruelty and barbarity since the Holocaust-and it must be stopped immediately.