Dave rightly pointed out in response to my recent rant on Chinese organ donations that it does not state in the article that the Chinese are purposely executing prisoners because of donations. I then decided to do a little further research into the topic and was horrified to find a statement from a July 2001 congressional hearing on the issue. Michael Parmly who is the Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of State was before the Subcomittee on International Operations and Human Rights addressing the issue of human organ sales in China when he made this statement:
In the past, according to available evidence, the majority of patients receiving transplants in China came from other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. A leading kidney specialist in Malaysia has estimated that over 1000 Malaysians alone have had kidney transplants in China. More recently, deeply troubling reports of Americans receiving transplants in China have been made public. American doctors, including Dr. Thomas Diflo, who will be testifying in a later panel, have reported seeing transplant patients from China in need of follow-up care. These patients have stated that they were informed by hospital personnel in China that the organs that they received came from executed prisoners.
The Department of State is also aware of reports that it cannot independently confirm, of other, even more egregious practices, such as removing organs from still-living prisoners, and scheduling executions to accommodate the need for particular organs. In addition, there are compelling first-hand reports that doctors, in violation of medical ethics codes, have performed medical procedures to prepare condemned prisoners for execution and organ removal. As former Assistant Secretary John Shattuck testified before this committee in 1998, our concern about the abhorrent practice of removing organs from executed prisoners without consent is compounded by our concerns about the lack of due process. According to Amnesty International there were 1,263 confirmed executions in 1999; according to another report 800 prisoners were executed in May 2001 alone as the government conducted another “strike hard” campaign against crime. A high court nominally reviews all death sentences, but as our Country Report on Human Rights Practices points out, and as a recent New York Times article graphically described, the time between arrest and execution is often days or even hours. Some prisoners are taken directly from the courtroom to the execution grounds. Appeals of sentences consistently result in confirmation of sentence.
I was horrified because it appears that this practice may have been taking place since the early 1990s and this is the first time I had ever heard of it. The article I cited was from the Independent which is out of England and that appears to be four years after this hearing. The New York Times article mentioned in the statement, but it only told of quick executions and lack of appeals. You would have thought the media would be all over a ghastly story like this. I guess if it doesn’t involve our nation’s government or military, human rights practices don’t make the front page any more.
Thanks for keeping me honest, Dave!