Several provinces and cities in China have released official guideline prices for human vital organs, such as livers, kidneys, and hearts. This is one of the actions taken by local governments following a notice issued by central authorities in July on fees and financial management measures for securing organs for transplant.
According to medical experts familiar with China’s organ transplant market, the actions indicate that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is attempting to normalize the country’s less than transparent organ transplant system as it continues to face pressure to disclose its sourcing of transplant organs.
In a July notice, the CCP ordered provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions to set their own rates for human organs effective Sept. 1.
In Henan Province, for example, six related departments, including the Health Commission, the Department of Finance, and the Market Supervision Administration, jointly issued “standard rates for donated organs.”
According to the list, organs for transplant include livers at 260,000 yuan ($40,700), kidneys at 160,000 yuan ($25,000), hearts at 100,000 yuan ($15,600), lungs at 80,000 yuan ($12,500), corneas at 10,000 yuan ($1,600), pancreas at 50,000 yuan ($7,800), small intestines at 50,000 yuan, and other organ segments.
Price Tags for Human Organs That Make No Medical Sense
Dr. Wayne Shih-wei Huang, a surgeon and director at the IRCAD Taiwan, Asia’s largest training center for minimally invasive surgery, said that the CCP is hoping to whitewash its black market transplant trade by putting a price tag on human organs.
Huang told The Epoch Times that the CCP document clearly states that the cost of obtaining what it says are donated organs is calculated based on resource consumption, technology, labor value, and public acceptability.
However, in the organ prices listed by province officials, a heart is much cheaper than a kidney, which makes no sense in terms of medical cost. The cost of obtaining a heart should be higher than that of a kidney, since the heart must be extracted, appropriately stored, and transported within hours.
Huang believes that the pricing of organs is instead a reflection of market value and demand, and nothing to do with medical cost.
In addition, both Hubei and Henan provinces listed different prices for organs for children and adults. The price in Henan province is 100,000 yuan ($15,600) for a child’s liver, less than half of the 260,000 yuan ($41,000) for an adult. The prices for single and double kidneys for children are also lower than those for adults by 60,000 yuan ($9,400) and 80,000 yuan ($12,500) respectively.
Dr. Alex Chih-Yu Chen, medical director of Novartis Japan, told The Epoch Times that in terms of medical costs, organ supply and transplants for children are more difficult and should be more expensive than for adults.
Questionable Donation Figures
Dr. Huang believes that the CCP’s organ transplant system, in which organs are obtained, supplied, and traded, is only open to organ transplant hospitals. The system is not open to the public and not transparent, and is for the hospitals to make money.
“The CCP cannot make its organ transplant system as transparent as that of Western countries,” he said, but it must have a system on the surface for others to see.
He explained that the Red Cross Society of China, which is actually under the control of Beijing, is one of the organizations that documents organ donations and releases data to the national database. It says that in China, “organ donation is voluntary and free.”
The CCP will ostensibly get some organ donation cases, which may be used for media coverage of heartwarming patient stories, Huang said, but China’s Red Cross’s figures cannot be trusted.
Hamid Sabi—an independent counsel on the London-based China Tribunal, which found that forced organ harvesting had taken place “on a significant scale” in China—told a press conference in Belgium on Oct. 27 that the Chinese authorities have used testimony from China’s Red Cross to counter pressure from Europe, the United States, and other countries to provide transparency on its organ donation program.
But the Red Cross Society of China has nothing to do with the International Red Cross, Sabi said—it is simply an internal organ of the CCP that will certify whatever the party’s authorities demand of it.
As for the CCP’s official organ donor database, Sabi said that China’s claims of being able to obtain 2.8 organs per donor—which is 180 times higher than what is achievable by donation systems in Europe and the United States—would still fall far short of providing for the 10,000 transplants officially recorded per year.
Many experts also estimate that the actual number of transplants being conducted in China is magnitudes higher than the official figures.
CCP’s Live Organ Harvesting From Falun Gong Students
A June 2016 report by David Kilgour, the former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific; David Matas, a human rights lawyer; and Ethan Guttmann, a senior American investigative journalist, estimated based on multiple sources of evidence that China could be performing between 60,000 to 100,000 transplants a year. Many indicators point to the main source of these organs being Falun Gong students and other prisoners of conscience caught up in China’s politicized judicial system.
Falun Gong is a spiritual meditation practice that became widely popular in China in the 1990s until it was banned in 1999 and its practitioners became the target of media slander, illegal arrests, and torture.
Reports from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) also suggest that since the CCP began persecuting Falun Gong, imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have become a large bank of living human organs for transplants in China.
The WOIPFG searched and analyzed hundreds of thousands of public media reports, papers, and databases from across 891 transplant hospitals and 9,515 transplant surgeons in China over the past 15 years, and found that, between 2000 and 2006, the number of organ transplants being conducted in China experienced exponential growth.
During the same period, at least one million Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and detained in China’s labor camps, prisons, detention centers, and brainwashing centers.
Of note, in addition to the top-rated hospitals in China that are qualified to perform transplants, many unqualified hospitals were transformed into transplant centers or started offering organ transplant procedures.
Eyewitness testimonies, audio recordings from interviews with 45 directors or doctors at 41 of China’s transplant hospitals and centers, and other information and evidence collated by the WOIPFG all point to the widespread forced removal of organs from Falun Gong practitioners across hospitals in China.
William Wang contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times