The organ transplant system in China has been under fire internationally for a while now, as Chinese continue to use organs from executed and sometimes still living prisoners. An appeal to the UN Human Rights High Commissioner was first started in June, and pleaded for an “immediate end of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.”For Taiwanese people, China is one of the most equipped and available nation to consult with if one is in need of transplant. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator You Mei-nu explained the situation: “China has been the main destination of Taiwanese needing organ transplants. However, we have to be aware that a lot of the organs used for transplants in China are sourced from prisoners of conscience and imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners… The public has the right to know and the transparency of relevant information should be enforced by our government,” she said.Mei-nu described her first-hand account of this morbid activity. “I’ve personally seen a Falun Gong practitioner calling a hospital in China and getting the response that a patient in need can undertake the matching process needed for an organ transplantation any time,” she added. “It makes people suspect that there exists an organization that operates like an organ supermarket.”As to why on Earth Chinese doctors would commit such crimes, has in part to do with the low voluntary donation rate. Many Chinese people culturally oppose removing organs before burial. The demand for organs is extremely high with only 63 voluntary donors in 2010, and 130 donations per month this year. Additionally, many believe that by using organ donations from prisoners on death row, the prisoner has a chance to redeem him/herself. While China claims to only use organs based on prisoner consent, human rights organizations claim there is evidence that organs are still harvested without consent and sometimes, when the prisoner is still alive.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting drew up a petition on Human Rights Day this year, in an effort to end the organ harvesting practices. Nearly 1.5 million people around the world have signed the petition, with just over 200,000 signitures from Taiwanese and one million from people in Asia.
As far as enforcing a law against these particular doctors’ actions the ministry has proposed an amendment to the Human Organ Transplant Act, which would make organ trafficking a crime subject to one to five years in prison.
– Laura Reinacher