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Chinese Officials Advertise Human Organs on Public Website, Raising Scrutiny About Transplant Abuse

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: November 5, 2021
This photo taken on August 9, 2013, shows plastic surgeon Wang Xuming (C) performing a "special" nose operation on a patient at his clinic in the southwest Chinese city of Chongqing. (Image: PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Officials in Henan Province, central China, have published a schedule of fees and availability for different “donated organs” — and inadvertently spotlighting the large-scale transplant abuse that has been occurring with the support of the Communist Party for decades. 

State-run media Xinhua reposted the notice published by daily newspaper Zhengzhou Evening News on Nov. 3. According to the report, six governmental departments had collaborated on the joint statement, however only three were mentioned: the Henan provincial Health Commission, Department of Finance, and Market Supervision and Administration Bureau.

The announcement stated that “organs are priceless,” then proceeded to detail the price breakdown as costs included for organ evaluation, function maintenance, acquisition, testing, preservation and transportation.

“The fees are not the ‘prices’ of organs since organ donation is voluntary and free,” the notice read, emphasizing that listed fees were aimed at at “further regulating collection of fees” and to “protect the rights of organ donors and its recipients.”

The Henan Province announcement raises major concern in light of mounting evidence that rather than willing organ donors, the vast majority of organ transplants conducted in China come from murdered prisoners jailed for their religious faith or political activities. 

Notably, the Chinese organ transplantation industry shot up in the years directly following the start of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, a meditation discipline practiced by an estimated 70 to 100 million Chinese at the time. Later investigation and testimonies have linked the Chinese transplant industry with the mass murder of Falun Gong practitioners.  

‘Murder in disguise’

Many in the public expressed shock and disgust that human organs were made so easily available for purchase, while others criticized the prices as being too steep.

“In addition to the surgical expenses, patients need to pay an extra fee of 260,000 yuan [for a liver.] You guys really know how to make money!” one user commented.

Another user questioned the nature of the breakdown: “Why is a liver, capable of regenerating, more expensive than a heart or a kidney, which are unable to regenerate?”

An anonymous individual who went only by the username of “qzone1418566686344999UUI” said, “I would rather be buried in soil than hand my organs [to the government] as this is murder. Murder in disguise!”

Some users ridiculed the Chinese government for listing organs on sale as though they were casual items one could shop for online.

“Is there a 20 percent discount for purchasing two organs at the same time? Is the shipping free on China’s National Day [a public holiday]?” one user in Taiwan commented.

A black market for organ harvesting

This isn’t the first time the Chinese government has made global headlines for the sinister practice of organ trafficking.

BBC reported in an article on Nov. 27, 2020 that six people including several doctors had been arrested and jailed in China for illegally harvesting organs from accident victims.

According to the report, the group had tricked families of the deceased into thinking they were making official organ donations.

Local media said they would target victims involved in car accidents or patients who suffered from brain bleeds at the Huaiyuan County People’s Hospital in the country’s eastern province of Anhui.

There, the hospital’s ICU director, identified as Yang Suxun, would approach patients’ family members and ask if they would like to donate their loved ones’ organs. The families would then sign what would later turn out to be bogus consent forms.

The victims would be wheeled out of the hospital in the middle of the night and placed into makeshift vans disguised to look like ambulances where doctors would harvest the organs. These would then be sold to sick individuals in the black market or to other hospital connections the trafficking ring maintained.

A report compiled by Washington-based human rights group Victims of Communism also noted the coincidental timing of then-Party leader Jiang Zemin’s anti-Falun Gong campaign in China, which began in July 1999 — six months before the rapid growth of the transplant industry — and cited reports by those targeted of blood tests and physical examinations, noting consistent data with those used for organ procurement.

Experts weigh in

Ohno Akira, professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Shizuoka University in Japan said the problem is serious.

“This would not happen in a democratic country,” Akira said, “organ removal and transplantation surgery are included in the entire cost,” adding that the official publication of organ fees could increase crime as vulnerable groups could potentially be targeted and killed for their organs — undermining social stability.

Current affairs commentator Cai Shenkun told Radio Free Asia on Nov. 2 that the surge in organ transplantation was most likely attributed to the perception of low-priced Chinese goods and obtaining organs in China being viewed as easy and fast, with a relatively low surgical cost.

In comparison, in the U.S, the average wait time for a kidney is 5 years, 11 months for a liver and 6 months for a lung. According to organ donation statistics, a new patient is added to the transplant list every 9 minutes. There are currently over 120,000 people in need of an organ transplant, with 17 individuals dying everyday while awaiting a life-saving organ.

The Epoch Times also published a large-scale exposé featuring Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, head of the World Organization’s Investigation, into the persecution of Falun Gong.

Dr. Wang, a former military doctor specializing in aviation, has spent almost 15 years investigating state-sanctioned organ harvesting.

According to the analysis, there are two main reasons for the CCP’s attempt to regulate organ sales: one being to legalize the practice of organ trade and the second as a comprehensive cover up of mass genocide that exists in China today.

According to a report by Radio Free Asia published on March 12, 2020, the international community has consistently questioned the source of China’s transplanted organs. Uyghurs of Xinjiang imprisoned in mass concentration camps and persecuted Falun Gong practitioners are believed to be the main source of organs since the Sujiatun Incident in 2006.

“Shopping list” for organs

Below is an image of the detailed price chart, translated from Chinese. All prices are approximates:

The pricing chart published by the Henan provincial authorities. (Image: via WeChat)

Adult liver: 260,000 Chinese yuan (US$40,000)

* Child’s liver: 100,000 yuan (US$15,000)

Left or right liver lobe: 100,000 yuan (US$15,000)

Heart: 100,000 yuan (US$15,000)

Single adult kidney: 160,000 yuan (US$25,000)

Both adult kidneys: 230,000 yuan (US$36,000)

Single child kidney: 100,000 yuan (US$15,000)

Both child kidneys: 150,000 yuan (US$23,000)

Single/double lung: 80,000 yuan (US$12,000)

Pancreas – 50,000 yuan ($8,000)

Corneas were listed for 10,000 yuan ($1,500), with a single cornea selling for only about $1,500 and a pair for $3000.

* The term “child” was explained as any individual under the age of 18.