Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sourcing Organs for Transplant: Vatican/China

"This source of organs is excluded from discussion with Chinese officials, because discussing the matter is labelled 'demonizing China' with 'fabricated evidence'."
"My first encounter with forced organ harvesting in China happened in 2005 when I was approached by a patient of mine, who has been hospitalized in my department for more than one year as top priority candidate on the Israeli waiting list for heart transplantation, with the amazing message that he was told by his medical insurance company to travel to China in two weeks’ time as he was scheduled to undergo heart transplantation on a specific date. When asked how come such an operation can be scheduled ahead of time, the patient responded he did not bother to inquire. The patient had indeed gone to China and underwent the operation on the exact date as promised ahead of time. This was the first time I have been made aware of the possibility to undergo heart transplantation in China as no Israeli patient has ever gone there for this operation before and the fact that one can get it on a specific pre-scheduled date was a total surprise to me and got me researching. What motivated me to take actions were not only the chilling facts of forced organ harvesting but also the fact that the Israeli patients going to China for organs were fully reimbursed by their insurance companies, thereby providing a de-facto recognition of the Chinese transplant activities as being legal and ethical."
"The 2008 Israeli Organ Transplant Law, which banned the reimbursement of any organ transplant performed abroad if it has been performed against local laws and if the prohibitions of the Law with regard to the trade in organs were not met, has practically closed the gates of Israel for outgoing transplant tourism in general and to China in particular. Meanwhile, unique regulations set by the law which incentivize organ donation after death, such as prioritizing candidates for transplantation who have been long term registered donors during organ allocation, have significantly increased organ donation rates in Israel, from 7.8 to 11.4 donors per million."
Dr. Jacob Lavee, cardiac surgeon, Director, Heart Transplantation Unit, Sheba Medical Center

"It is right to try to engage with China on these issues, but it is vital that we do so critically and with transparency, and not in a way that simply provides China with a propaganda victory."
Lord David Alton, human rights advocate, Catholic British Parliamentarian
Falun Gong members stage a protest against China in Hong Kong.
Falun Gong members stage a protest against China in Hong Kong.

Controversy surrounds the February 7/8 Vatican Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. That controversy is the result of the invitation extended by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, inviting Dr. Huang Jiefu, the official spokesman for the Chinese regime, to travel to the Vatican to address the summit. After Dr. Huang gave his presentation at the summit, Dr. Jacob Lavee insisted the WHO be permitted surprise inspections in China.

Among researchers studying the horrific issue of forced organ donations in China and the execution of prisoners of conscience to harvest their organs to be used in transplantation tourism, the appearance of a man whose reputation is held in great disrepute for his cooperation in organ harvesting represented a moral outrage. Dr. Huang is a leading transplant surgeon, the chairman of China's National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee.

The U.S. House of Representatives last summer validated by resolution claims brought by researchers linking prisoners of conscience, mostly practitioners of the outlawed Falun Gong, executed to enable the harvesting of their organs. Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese discipline of the spirit with 70 to 100 million Chinese practitioners. Falun Gong is also practised throughout the world, where Chinese have emigrated from China to settle elsewhere. In 1999 the Chinese regime pronounced it illegal, and set about a plan to eliminate it, arresting its leaders.

The Vatican's "academic exercise and not a reprise of contentious political assertions", according to Bishop Sorondo, excluded any condemnation of Chinese institutional organ harvesting for transplant. Wendy Rogers, professor of clinical ethics and chair of the International Advisory Committee of the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, responded  "To simply say that the evidence is 'political assertions' masks the real issue, avoids the truth, and provides support to those who have the strongest reasons to deny their crimes".

The crimes to which she alludes are those revealed by organ harvesting researchers which include forcing Uyghurs, Tibetans, house Christians and the huge population of Falun Gong prisoners to surrender their organs, harvested for transplant. Those researchers, included former Canadian member of Parliament, David Kilgour, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, and American investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann who had interviewed former interned Falun Gong practitioners, Chinese doctors and prison guards.
Patients queue at a hospital in China. More than 300,000 people require organ transplant operations every year.
Patients queue at a hospital in China. More than 300,000 people require organ transplant operations every year.

Dr. Huang, in addressing the summit, claimed that China's 'legitimate source' of organ transplantation came from among voluntary civilian organ donors. Organ harvesting researchers had challenged the Pontifical Institute for providing China with a venue where it could perpetuate "unverified claims about reform of organ donations in China". Dr. Lavee pointed out that the inability to verify the source of organs means that reform could not be guaranteed to have taken place.

Dr. Huang had himself given evidence of transplant abuse ten years ago. In 2005 he had given a public demonstration of a complicated liver transplant in the province of Xinjiang. Previous to the surgery he called hospitals in Chongqing and Guangzhou to provide two additional, matching livers which were delivered within 24 hours of the call. According to experts, this type of speed is possible only if a captive, pre-blood-typed population is available to be killed on demand.

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