Update on Numbers – Organ Transplants & Sources in China

figuresby David Matas

Remarks prepared for a parallel and poster presentation to the World Trade Congress, San Francisco, California, USA, 29 July, 2014)

How many organ transplants are there each year in China? What are the sources of these organs?

David Kilgour and I, in a report published first in July 2006 and then January 2007 , concluded that there were 41,500 transplants in the six year period 2000 to 2005 where the only explanation for the sourcing was Falun Gong practitioners. In November 2009, in our book Bloody Harvest, we concluded that, since our report, matters got worse, that there had been an increase in sourcing of organs from Falun Gong practitioners .

The Government of China has acknowledged that organs for transplants done in China has come overwhelmingly from Chinese prisoners. The claim of the Government of China has been that these prisoners who are the sources of organs harvested for transplants are convicted criminals sentenced to death and then executed who consented before execution to the use of their organs for transplants.

Organ Procurement From Executed Prisoners in China

ING63749By The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

Organ procurement from executed prisoners in China is internationally condemned, yet this practice continues unabated in 2014. This is despite repeated announce- ments from Chinese authorities that constructive measures have been undertaken to conform to accepted ethical standards. While there is unanimous agreement on the unethical nature of using organs from executed prisoners, due to its limitations on voluntary and informed consent, there is insufficient coverage of forced organ procurement from prisoners of conscience without consent. Strategies to influence positive change in China over the last few decades have failed to bring this practice to an end. While organ donation and transplantation services in China have undergone considerable structural changes in the last few years, fundamental attempts to shift practice to ethically sourced organs have floundered. In this article, we discuss the organ trade in China, reflect upon organ procurement from executed prisoners (including both capital prisoners and prisoners of conscience) and provide an overview of contradictory Chinese efforts to halt forced organ procurement from executed prisoners. Finally, we highlight current actions being taken to address this issue and offer comprehensive recommendations to bring this ethically indefensible practice to an immediate end.