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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003