One in five organ recipients in China’s controversial transplant industry is a foreigner, says a leading expert. (Image: Phalinn Ooi via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )
Prisoners of conscience are murdered on demand for their organs in China to supply a state-run transplant industry where one out of five transplant recipients are believed to be from overseas, says a leading expert in the issue.
It is estimated that foreigners are the recipients of 20 percent of the 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants performed in China each year, investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann told a Q&A session at the Foreign Correspondent Club Thailand, October 17.
The majority of the foreign organ tourists come from the Asian region, Gutmann said via Skype following the club’s screening of Hard to Believe, an award-winning documentary on organ harvesting in China that was shown on PBS last year.
“Based on what they do know — the most number of foreign organ tourists [to China] is from Japan,” Gutmann said, adding that South Koreans were the second highest.
“I think it is quite common. I think it is quite convenient because of the proximity, but there is also a lot of what we don’t know,” he said.
“There’s a lot of wealth and there is an aging population and very long waiting lists in these countries as well.”
The Taiwanese used to be the largest number of foreigners going to China for a transplant until their government made it illegal to do so in 2015 due to ongoing reports of organ harvesting, including Gutmann’s book The Slaughter, published in 2014.
In China, there is no waiting period unlike in other countries with a voluntary donation system, because the Chinese transplant industry uses a reverse matching system. The source of the organs comes primarily from prisoners of conscience — mainly Falun Gong practitioners — who have been killed on demand, says Gutmann and others.
Image courtesy The International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China.