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Taiwan Strengthens Laws to Combat China’s Illegal Organ Harvesting

Taiwan has made amendments to a law to try and stop its citizens having organ transplants in Chinese hospitals. (Image: Julen/Flickr)
Taiwan has made amendments to a law to try and stop its citizens having organ transplants in Chinese hospitals. (Image: Julen/Flickr)

Last year, I read Ethan Gutmann’s The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.

If you’re at all interested in modern-day China, I’d recommend you read it.

In his book, Gutmann interviewed a senior Taiwanese doctor who painfully regretted that patients from his clinic had gone to China for organ transplant surgery.

Over time, that doctor discovered that the source for those organs came from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners who were in effect being killed on demand by the state.

It’s an act seemingly out of a horror movie, but it’s a well-known controversy among the international medical community that you can see in this video below made in 2012:

The bulk of those people killed by communist authorities for their organs are believed to be prisoners of conscience, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, as well as lesser numbers of Tibetans, House Christians, and Uyghurs as well.

These are people who have not been convicted of any crime.

The persecution of the meditation practice Falun Gong in China is well known in Taiwan, largely in part because tens of thousands of Taiwanese freely do the practice themselves.

The organ harvesting issue has also been increasingly recognized in Taiwan where organ transplantation laws were amended recently, criminalizing the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners in China.

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu said many Taiwanese go to Mainland China for illegal organ transplantations.

“That is why the law was amended to require those who have received organ transplants abroad to provide information to domestic hospitals where they are to receive post-transplant treatment about where the surgery was done and who the surgeons were,” Yu said, according to the Taipei Times.

The evidence

Below, former Secretary of State for Canada David Kilgour talks about the critical amounts of circumstantial evidence that have been gathered about on organ pillaging in China:

According to the updated legislation, any Taiwanese who go overseas to receive an organ through illegal means can be punished by up to five years jail time and fined up to NT$15,000,000 ($484,000).

It also places some accountability on the Taiwanese medical profession. Doctors now need to fill out a report on any patient going abroad for an organ transplant ad who then receives follow-up treatment upon their return. Both doctors and hospitals will be fined nearly $5,000 if they do not lodge the report, and criminal charges will be laid if they submit a falsified report.

Doctors can send patients abroad to have an organ transplant if it is done via legitimate means. Doctors still need to submit a report on these cases upon their patient’s return.

‘Crime against humanity’

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin told the Taipei Times that due to an international shortage of organs, “transplant tourism” has become a serious medical ethics and human rights issue, “especially the harvesting and selling of organs from living people.”

“The practice is not only against the principle that organs should not be sold, but also a crime against humanity,” Tien said.

Despite a few instances, such as the European Parliament in 2013 passing a resolution condemning the People’s Republic of China for its practice of forced organ harvesting, the issue has not received the attention that it deserves in the Western press.

This phenomena is covered in the below episode of China Uncensored:

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