China raids death row for body parts

PEKING - Executed prisoners are regularly used as a source of organs for transplants in China, a human rights group said in a report published yesterday, writes Teresa Poole.

Some executions in 'very few localities' were deliberately botched, so that the prisoner was not dead when the organs were removed, the New York-based Human Rights Watch/Asia alleged. The report coincided with the 15th congress of the World Transplant Society in Kyoto, Japan. It claimed about 3,000 organs, mostly kidneys and corneas from prisoners, were used each year.

By law the authorities need permission from prisoners or their families before organs are removed. But the report said consent was rarely sought and prisoners were coerced in their final hours. Prisoners often are told of their execution only on the previous night, or are shot immediately after a court's guilty verdict.

In Chinese culture, bereaved families rarely agree to donate organs. The traditional belief is that the dead should be buried intact. In Hong Kong there is a shortage of organs available for routine kidney transplant operations. This has led to a steady number of dialysis patients travelling to China for transplants.

Human Rights Watch/Asia cited government documents, articles in medical journals and statements by doctors to back its claims. The organisation said foreign governments should bar their citizens from undergoing transplant operations in China and called on the Chinese government to allow United Nations investigators to examine execution and organ procurement procedures.

Government regulations issued in 1984 by the Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Public Health called for secrecy. 'The utilisation of the executed's corpse or organs must be extremely confidential . . . The operation car (can be) parked at the execution site to remove the organs. However no Public Health Bureau labels can be stuck to the car and no medical white gowns may be worn,' the regulations said.

They said corpses from ethnic minorities 'will not be utilized in the Han (Chinese) regions'.

The regulations say an inspector must be at the execution site to verify the prisoner's death before the corpse can be removed. Human Rights Watch/Asia cited one 1988 Chinese training manual for state prosecutors as saying: 'A very few localities, in order to be able to use particular organs from the criminals' bodies, even go so far as to deliberately avoid killing them completely when carrying out the death sentence, so as to preserve the live tissue.'

Human Rights Watch/Asia said that the role played by Chinese doctors violated international standards of medical ethics.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?