The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

China’s Organ Harvesting Policies Cause Outrage

“Ten to 20 minutes was generally enough to remove all the skin from a corpse,” said Dr. Wang Guoqi, a former military doctor for China’s People’s Liberation Army.The 39-year-old Guoqi told the U.S. Congress that he has personally removed skin, corneas, and organs from over 100 freshly killed prisoners, often without prior knowledge or consent of the prisoner. The organs were then sold to civilian patients in need of transplants.

“Reports of Chinese authorities removing organs from executed prisoners in China, without the consent of the prisoners or their families, are not new,” said Michael Parmly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

Parmly spoke extensively on the issue last year before the Subcommittee of International operations and Human Rights in Washington.

“Organ harvesting” has been a hot topic since the mid-1980’s when the drug Cyclosoporine-A, a “wonder drug” in the transplant realm, was made widely available.

Recent reports from Guoqi and others have rekindled interest in the subject.

Huang Peng, an official at Shenyang No. 2 Prison, told The New York Times, “Executed prisoners are basically the only source [of organs] for transplants.”

Last year China executed 10,000 prisoners – a number that exceeds the total of executed prisoners from all other countries combined. China performed nearly 5,000 transplants that same year. Peng said that prisons and hospitals would coordinate executions with the need for fresh organs. Guoqi agreed, “Timing is everything.”

According to Amnesty International, China’s “unparalleled use of the death penalty” is due to the renewal of the “Strike Hard” campaign. Strike Hard was reintroduced to China in April 2001, mainly in hopes of cracking down on organized crime. This “zero tolerance” campaign has sentenced the full spectrum of criminals to death, from political activists to murderers.

China’s government insists that Peng, Guoqi, and others who have come forward with similar accounts are lying. The New York Times reports that Guoqi’s “identity and credentials have been confirmed and some people…remember [the incidents] as he described.”

Here at Guilford, professors and students have mixed feelings about the alleged organ-harvesting practices. Jeff Vanke, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies, said, “As far as I know, the evidence of China’s selling organs from executed prisoners is entirely oral (including from a former transplant surgeon) but also extensive. It seems credible to me.”

Senior Cindy Liu said, “I have never heard of anything like that before…..I was in Taiwan this summer and imagine [rumors] would have carried over….I can’t imagine they could do something that terrible.”

A native of China, senior Xizhen Wang said, “I know there are many prisoners in China, but I have no knowledge of people being killed for organs.”

Vanke said “Such a practice would be deplorable, because it would give a financial incentive to rush to identify a capital crime, where the evidence may be in doubt or even non-existent.”

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Vance Ricks said, “It’s well known that fewer than half of those who need organs receive them…it’s clear that we’ll have to do something different from what we’re doing now. How else will the supply have any chance of catching up to the demand? While organ harvesting may not be the solution, we may decide, however reluctantly, that there IS a marketplace for human organs.”

If Peng and Guoqi’s claims are true, it seems that China has found a way, however unethical, to provide for the ever-increasing need for human organs. Transplants in China are offered to Americans at a fraction of what the procedure would cost here.

The price that even a petty criminal pays, however, is clearly deadly.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *