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China Admits Use of Death-Row Organs

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-won't-be-needing-this-anymore dept.

Medicine 309

h.ross.perot writes "Like a page from Larry Niven's Known Space series, here is a real report of criminals' organs being harvested for 'profit.' From the article: 'China is trying to move away from the use of executed prisoners as the major source of organs for transplants. According to the China Daily newspaper, executed prisoners currently provide two-thirds of all transplant organs. The government is now launching a voluntary donation scheme, which it hopes will also curb the illegal trafficking in organs. But analysts say cultural bias against removing organs after death will make a voluntary scheme hard to implement.'"

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309 comments

F!st Sp0rt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212765)

Gotta have the heart of a murderer.

Re:F!st Sp0rt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213517)

Gotta have the heart of a murderer.

Why settle for the cheap stuff? Go for the Falun Gong practitioner! You know lots of meditation, and qigong practice, unstressed (until right at the end), a nice calm well conditioned heart. The best money can buy!

Oh, you forgot we were talking about China!

A Waste? (4, Insightful)

Russianspi (1129469) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212775)

I think that it would be a waste NOT to use these organs. The prisoners will be executed either way, might as well make them contribute some good to society to offset whatever they were sentenced to death for. There is a possible conflict of interest, though, if the judges start getting paid off to sentence people to death...

Re:A Waste? (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212795)

If it's profitable to kill, more will be killed. Simple like that.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Pommpie (710718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212801)

China and other totalitarian dictatorships haven't exactly been restrained in their executions regardless of the profit motive.

Re:A Waste? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212877)

China and other totalitarian dictatorships haven't exactly been restrained in their executions regardless of the profit motive.

China is actually a lot more restrained than Iran.

Re:A Waste? (1)

clockwise_music (594832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213021)

China and other totalitarian dictatorships haven't exactly been restrained in their executions regardless of the profit motive.

China is actually a lot more restrained than Iran.

Iran actually is a lot more restrained than North Korea.

Re:A Waste? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213063)

My Girlfriend gets a lot more restrained than North Korea. ...

Wait, what were we talking about again?

Re:A Waste? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213667)

So you find yourself in handcuffs a lot then?

Re:A Waste? (4, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213105)

China is actually a lot more restrained than Iran.

So what? That's not even like hailing a turd for being the least smelly in the park. It's like hailing it for being only the second most smelly as opposed to the worst.

Re:A Waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213425)

You lost me there. Perhaps start by explaining what type of car the smelliest turd represents.

Re:A Waste? (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213505)

You lost me there. Perhaps start by explaining what type of car the smelliest turd represents.

A taxi. Why else would you hail it?

Re:A Waste? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213559)

Welcome to human nature.

Why do you think those "reality shows" and afternoon "talk shows" are so popular? Because they show real life and because they give you a real impression of other people's lives, because people are actually genuinely interested how others are doing? Bullcrap. They're popular because they give people someone to point at and say "Gee, I'm not that good... but I'm still way better than them!". It makes people feel good because they can look down at someone and feel good about themselves because they're not as bad off as someone else. I have no job but at least I have fewer bottles lying around in my living room than that bum there. My son smokes and drinks, but at least he's not a deadbeat like that boy at Super Nanny.

Aspiring to something bigger would require work. Looking down at someone else is much easier.

Re:A Waste? (4, Informative)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213513)

China is actually a lot more restrained than Iran.

Not in terms of executions.

In 2008, China is purported to have performed 1,718 out of the 2,390 reported executions in the entire world. 72% is a pretty significant chunk. Iran's #2 with 346 (14%). Then again, China has not been reported to still be executing minors; Iran still does. (Source: Amnesty International [amnestyusa.org] )

Re:A Waste? (2, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213599)

In 2008, China is purported to have performed 1,718 out of the 2,390 reported executions in the entire world. 72% is a pretty significant chunk. Iran's #2 with 346 (14%).

I would not want to condone state-sanctioned murder in China, Iran or anywhere else. However, in a discussion about the relative "restraint" ... cough ... if China vs Iran, of what possible relevance can the figure of percentage of world-wide executions be?

A more meaningful metric would be something like number of executions per 100,000 citizens in each particular country.

Re:A Waste? (5, Interesting)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213831)

Fair enough. As of 2008's CIA estimate, China has 1,330,044,544 people and Iran has 65,875,224, making the execution rates 1.29 per million in China and 5.25 per million in Iran.

For fun, I ran the numbers on the next three highest (and consistantly highest) capital states. Saudi Arabia, with 27,601,038 people and 102 executions, has 3.70 per million. The USA, with 304,059,724 people and 37 executions, has 0.12. Pakistan, with 172,800,048 people and 36 executions, has 0.21.

Re:A Waste? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213737)

What are the figures relative to the criminal population of those countries? China is a nation of over 1 billion people, any absolute figure will be skewed by that.

Interesting Amnesty International report though: "in 2008 China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistand and the United States of America were the five states with the highest rate of executions. Together they carried out 93% of all executions worldwide."

Re:A Waste? (1)

!coward (168942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213541)

Regardless of comparative levels of restraint -- I mean, that's a bit like saying one lunatic's genocidal campaign was a little less bloody than another's, but I did get your meaning -- there have been a couple of reports recently that seem to indicate that the Chinese government intends to tighten up (read, make a tad more fair) the criminal court system and severely reduce the number of crimes that could earn you a bullet in the head.

Here's a 2006 USA Today article [usatoday.com] reported that the Supreme People's Court would have something like final say and/or oversight on capital sentences. FTA:

Chinese legal scholars and lawyers welcomed this week's announcement by the government that the country's Supreme People's Court will review all capital punishment cases.

The change is "an important procedural step to prevent wrongful convictions," said China's top judge, Xiao Yang, according to the state-run Xinhua news service.

China was responsible for 81% of the world's known executions â" 1,770 out of 2,184 â" last year, according to Amnesty International. Amnesty said the actual number of executions in China could be several times higher. In the USA, 60 people were executed in 2005.

A month ago, it was widely reported [nytimes.com] that they would also limit the crimes incurring death to "a small number of serious crimes, particularly those that threaten social stability", which would be a huge improvement since, FTA:

More than 60 crimes can draw the death penalty in China, including tax evasion, embezzlement and drug trafficking

Now, I'm against capital punishment on principle, but if a country is going to have it, then big time drug trafficking should probably be on that list. But tax evasion or small-time embezzlement? Geez!

On the upside, they do take that tough stance towards corruption in politicians (even if only of those who've made their actions *too* public) that we in the west so often deam of.. ;)

Re:A Waste? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212891)

Well, if it is profitable to incarcerate, more people will be incarcerated too, right?... welcome to america!

Re:A Waste? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213003)

If it's profitable to kill, more will be killed. Simple like that.

Maybe. We don't know what kind of mindset they have over there, towards this sort of thing.

But if it was US judges, then oh yes, you can count on it.

ROFL (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213625)

We don't know what kind of mindset they have over there, towards this sort of thing.

Come again?!

Oh sorry, that was bitter irony, I almost missed that.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Yogiz (1123127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213079)

Got any citations of any case where someone was sentenced to death for the reason that their organs were needed? I have to agree with the grandparent, it is a horrible waste of good organs.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213575)

You don't really think that this goes into the trial records, do you? I mean, not even China could be that brazen.

Re:A Waste? (2, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213679)

Yes, I've read that in China corporations can set up factories in prison camps and the prisoners will be forced to work for free. Apparently, the prison guards of some of these camps actually go and arrest people specifically when a larger workforce is needed. If there's profit in people being arrested and imprisoned, then more people will be arrested and imprisoned.

Re:A Waste? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213955)

And then when there are organ shortages, it "just so happens" that a lot more people get convicted to the death penalty. People who just happen to have rare bloodtypes stand a lot bigger chances of getting convicted to death ... that sort of thing.

You can't risk this. It'd be an extremely dangerous conflict of intrest.

plastic is no substitute, don't waste all those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212879)

rectums and vaginas

Re:A Waste? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212925)

In China, people are put on death row for disagreeing with the government, blogging about democracy, or protesting poor government inspections/building codes after situations like the earthquake a few years ago that killed a lot of children in a school.

Re:A Waste? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213019)

I think that it would be a waste NOT to use these organs. The prisoners will be executed either way, might as well make them contribute some good to society to offset whatever they were sentenced to death for.

"Got an influential position? Money? Power? Need a transplant? Just slip us your bloodtype and other necessary data and we'll upgrade a prisoner of your choice to death row inmate."

Re:A Waste? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213053)

I can understand your position from a technical perspective. However, in my opinion, taking organs from people without consent is wicked. Even bodies of executed criminals should be treated with the same respect as any human remains. I feel it is a fundamental human value that applies even to the worst criminals (and remember, in China, an unfortunate political opinion can be sufficient to put you on the death row).

If you believe that it is right to use organs from anyone deceased (executed or not), without consent or even against their expressed wishes, I have a bit more sympathy for your view. Perhaps you have the philosophical view that a dead body is simply biological waste, and anything useful that can be done with it is a good thing? I still don't agree, though.

Re:A Waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213265)

It's not only about philosophy and respect towards dead bodies. If dead bodies become valuable, there's an incentive to generate more of them. This directly affects living people and their basic human rights.

Re:A Waste? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213609)

Your argue on ethical grounds here, something that I can't really follow. My body is a living shell for my mind. If my mind is gone, dump the carcass if you want, I obviously don't need it anymore. If you find someone who does, more power to you, as long as I don't have to pay to get the waste out of the way, help yourself.

The problem is more that someone might be interested in my body while I still need it, because he needs it to, and he has the power to evict me. And that's something I would indeed mind. I don't have a spare body lying around.

Re:A Waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213811)

But honestly, perhaps the best defense against the killed-for-organs problem is to make all human corpses available, so there are always enough fresh organs on the market; then the only cases where killing someone (whether under color of justice or as overt crime) makes any sense at all is for rare blood types, etc.

Naturally, the organs are still the property of next-of-kin, or otherwise as provided by a will; they can sell them on the open market, or if they have weird religious/cultural hangups, they can keep the body intact for burial/. Of course, there's the risk of murder by your spouse/kids for the organ money, but that's no more justification to ban organ sales than to ban life-insurance, or any inheritable property, for that matter.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213851)

That would be sensible if human parts are interchangable indifferently, if your heart is as good as mine for anyone needing one. But that's not the case. Aside of different stages of "wear and tear" (I mean, would you want to get Dean Martin's liver?), compatibility isn't so easily accomplished. You need a fairly specific, "fitting" part.

The will to live is strong in most humans. Much stronger than the will to be rich or the will to have a certain piece of possession. If you know your heart is failing and you know someone, related or not, whose heart would be a matching fit, would you kill him, knowing that, due to compatibility issues, it's not so unlikely that you'll inherit his heart?

Dunno if I wouldn't.

Re:A Waste? (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213121)

I think that it would be a waste NOT to use these organs. The prisoners will be executed either way, might as well make them contribute some good to society to offset whatever they were sentenced to death for.

Assuming that the execution method does not damage the organs in question.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213135)

It needs to be completely voluntary. But, even if it is voluntary, prisoners can be pressured into donating an organ in order to "redeem" themselves.

Unlike being an organ donor who dies of an accident, capital punishment is inflicting death onto someone.

If judges have something to gain, one way or another, then perhaps capital punishment should be taken out of their hands, and be put into another group's hands. I don't know how the justice system works in China, so I can't say much.

Re:A Waste? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213633)

What people, as a group, have no interest in a supply of organs? You, me, anyone could at any time run into a disease that could make it highly desirable to have a matching spare organ.

I remember a religion there considers the opening of the body a mortal sin, thus devout members of that faith might be immune to the temptation. Though considering China's (official) stance on religion I guess that option is none.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29214009)

I would assume the alternative to capital punishment is a life sentence, and that a judge would have to make a decision as to whether sentence someone to life in prison or to death.

Do they have juries in China? If so, do the juries have any say in whether someone gets life in prison or the death sentence?

Re:A Waste? (2, Informative)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213279)

Except that a lot of executed people are innocent, like the members of Falun Gong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falungong [wikipedia.org]
Basically, it's a large sect, which teaches QiGong.

Repression is very hard, and Falun Gong members are sent to prison, and a lot of them have been executed to grab their body parts.
I guess that because they practice qigong, they are healthy and provide nice body parts.

Funnily, China government said that Falun Gong was a dangerous sect, probably because you risk your life by following this movement.

Here is an article:
http://www.rferl.org/content/Article/1071999.html [rferl.org]

Words Fail Me. (3, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213311)

I mean, "ghoul" comes to mind, but it's the only one that comes close.

They are parting people out for profit. Literal chop-shops for human bodies. It's a proposition only the most extreme horror movies have touched. It's the walking definition of Capital-E Evil.

You have to remember there have been three parts to the accusations. They just ADMITTED to the first one.

1. That the Chinese were selling organs of condemned prisoners, which they've always denied until now, and
2. That many of these people were condemned for their political views, and
3. That many of these people were condemned for being a marketable genotype.

Dear God. We have a government admittedly selling human organs for profit, the one thing that every medical ethicist in the world has always agreed would be the prima facie standard of "morally and ethically repugnant" and your response is "Waste not, want not"?!

They are killing people and selling the meat on an open market. I don't care that they're only doing it to the "bad" people. All of the fantasy Halloween monsters are laughable in comparison. Even the Texas Chainsaw family could cry hunger, not greed, as a motive.

Our beloved trading partners, who probably manufactured half the stuff in my house, are literally selling the human flesh and bone of the people they killed and butchered.

We don't have the words to fit this crime. I've always had a problem with the idea of an Eternal Hell, but stuff like this makes a strong argument for it.

   

Re:Words Fail Me. (1)

gargletheape (894880) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213399)

We have a government admittedly selling human organs for profit, the one thing that every medical ethicist in the world has always agreed would be the prima facie standard of "morally and ethically repugnant"

- [Citation needed]
- Not every ethicist surely. Here's one [project-syndicate.org] extremely prominent bioethicist who makes the opposite case.
- Doesn't apply to death row organs, but does apply to the sale of organs in general - why should everyone, from doctors and hospitals to the recipient to the economy, benefit from organ donation, but not the one fricking person who actually makes the sacrifice?

that is actually old news (2, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213433)

I dunno why everbody is suddenly surprised, it has been known for quite a long time that China harvest organs from death row prisoner (end of 90 local china group were claimoring it, 2000 some major paper reported it, and I assume by then many state department knew it), what is NEW is that they admitted it *NOW* and want to introduce ethical organ harvesting practice. So whereas everybody get their panty in a knot and cheap shot China, one should note (as the WHO did) that this is a bettering of the situation. China should be encouraged at that point in time , because they are trying to do the right thing. And all I see in this thread are cheap shots.

Panty knots and cheap shots (1)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213701)

Ted Bundy just called and promises to be a much better date from now on.
Ed Gein promises to start collecting only stamps tomorrow.
And Albert Fish is going to be a better baby-sitter than Mary Poppins, come the morning.

Take these three monsters, toss in the Zodiac, the Ripper, and all the other shattered bloody psyches we now know by their full first-middle-last names. Hell, you might as well throw in Jason Vorhees and Dexter to boot, because it won't matter when it comes to numbers.

All of them together PALE next to Hu Jingtao's now-confessed body count. You have to bring in the scythes like Stalin, Pol Pot and Godwin to get close. The men who run China have decided to murder, butcher and sell human meat for money, and their promise to try to do better in the future matters not a damn. NO ONE who calls themselves Chinese can hold their head up today, and yeah I'm well aware of my own country's recent atrocities.

Sure, we've betrayed our most sacred princples, killed by the thousands and tortured people to death in secret prisons.

But we have yet to wrap the bloody parts in slick white paper and begin singing the auction call.

       

Re:Words Fail Me. (0, Troll)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213459)

It's the walking definition of CAPITALISM.

There fixed that for you. Funny though, we like to think we're the capitalists.

Re:Words Fail Me. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213681)

Thank you for your moral outcry. We're all in shock and horror about it. What a terrible, terrible thing to do, the horrors only paralleled by the child soldiers of Africa and the ethnic clensing there, nothing else could even come close.

Let's go to the mall and buy some cheap electronic crap to calm us down, will we?

Re:A Waste? (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213471)


possible conflict of interest

Possible? Are you a moron? whatever they were sentenced to death for might be exactly no more than "we needed some organs, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." You assume that the prisoners, in China, would be guilty of whatever they were charged with. I wouldn't make that assumption in the US, let alone China.

Re:A Waste? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213533)

I do agree to some degree, but there are a few arguments against it. Most of them, based on human nature.

1) If it's profitable, it will be done.
If it is profitable to execute people, people will be executed more easily. This could well lead to some sort of prejudice towards killing certain groups of people (with rare blood types or other features that make them more "desirable" as donors).

2) Selective "killing as needed".
As a result of the last sentence under 1), it could lead to 'harvesting' organs from prisoners. I don't want to see some sort of "human pen" develop where the death row inmates are kept until something they have is needed. Personally, I'd consider it a horrible crime against humanity to force someone to live in prison for an uncertain time, with his exit meaning that he's now "ripe" for harvesting. China farmer gets a whole new meaning.

3) Trial and verdict according to test results rather than crime
If some bigwig needs a new heart and you happen to be compatible, do you think you'll get a fair trial?

And so on. In short, while it's generally a good idea from a purely logical point of view (why waste the organs, they don't need them anymore and those organs can save lives), human nature dictates that this would be horribly abused. People want to live. It's one of the most urgent desires of human. The legal system is abused for so many other, comparably petty, reasons, from greed to hatred, I don't think anyone would have any pangs of conscience to abuse it to prolong his (or a loved one's) life, given the ability to.

Re:A Waste? (2, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213777)

Well, to avoid the problems that go along with illegal organ trade (e.g. abduction of grown-ups and especially children), some countries have a reverse approach:
In Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech republic and Hungary, you have to register if you do not want your organs to be donated after you passed away.

Why so little outcry vs Israel? (-1, Offtopic)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212779)

China publicly harvests organs and people hardly notice. Israel is accused of harvesting organs, a total fabrication, and there's an outcry, demanding an investigation into these Zionist barbarians. What the hell?

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (2, Insightful)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212805)

Who hardly notice? China's in the news for this quite often. I've heard of the story of Israel a few times (there is some quite compelling testimony, if no evidence). I have never seen anyone seem to care about either beyond news outlet in the wider world. Obviously killing innocents for organs, as Israel was accused of, is vastly different than harvesting the already-going-to-be-killed.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (1, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212811)

How do you **know** that it's a total fabrication? You can never be sure with governments or even individuals that are part of the government. What your heart says to you is , unfortunately, often not the reality. I'm not saying the Israel is doing it. What I'm saying is that I won't be chocked is the accusations were true, but sure, they are innocent until proved guilty.

On the other hand, when there is smoke...

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0, Troll)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212817)

Whaaaat! When did this happen? I demand an investigation into these Zionist barbarians!

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212881)

I have not heard any outcries about "Zionist barbarians". I believe you are misrepresenting the views of the people you are opposing. It is a cheap trick that does not add anything constructive to the discussion. Please stop doing that.

It is a fact that there is organized, illegal organ trade in Israel. See for example an article in Jerusalem Post, Jul 23, 2007 (available on the web). I do not believe that this a "total fabrication", as the Jerusalem Post would presumably have little interest in fabricated smearing in this case. Or do you mean that the accusations against the _state_ of Israel are untrue, as opposed to the accusations against _citizens_ of Israel?

In the case of China, I believe it has been proved that the state is involved. On the other hand, Chinese organ trade uses bodies of its own citizens, whereas in the Israeli case, bodies of citizens from other countries are used. I think it is completely fair to demand investigations in both cases.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212883)

Uh, an outcry? At least here (Finland) The Israel story only became news when Israel demanded the Swedish government to condemn something an independent newspaper said in an article... The outcry has been about that not about the contents of some obscure and unverified article.

The china situation on the other hand has been in the papers before.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212947)

Total fabrication? Says who?

The claims are not even being investigated. Instead, a huge government backed moaning and whining took place to hide the real issue: sweden as .eu lead would have taken up the issue of settlement construction. So Isreaeli government just avoided the issue by raising a stink about the whole thing, therefore banning swedish pm thus eu from entering the country.

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213051)

Just typical anti-semitic comments

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212953)

China is a totalitarian regime, demonized by the US media. Barbaric act like harvesting organs is just par for the course for them.
Israel is supposed to be a civilized country, receiving tremendous aid from the US. Is it surprising that people have different expectation, and thus different reaction to the same accusation from the two countries?

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (-1, Troll)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212995)

The only outcry I heard was Israel screaming "ANTI-SEMITISM!!" when the reports surfaced.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (2)

Omestes (471991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213325)

China publicly harvests organs and people hardly notice. Israel is accused of harvesting organs, a total fabrication, and there's an outcry, demanding an investigation into these Zionist barbarians. What the hell?

When were these allegations against Israel? I've been paying pretty close attention to media driven hysteria for a couple years now, and I think I've completely missed this one. Where is the proof of the hysteria (from an American-centric POV), and where is the disproof that it actually happened? Are you sure you aren't thinking that minor outcry over things you pay attention to and care about are not being greatly conflated?

Actually if there was public, and proven, allegations of ANYONE harvesting organs against their will, I would be generally angry, and somewhat apathetic at the same time.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213587)

The hubbub is about a article published in the Swedish newspaper "Aftonbladet" on 17th of August this year (link in swedish: http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab [aftonbladet.se] ) claiming that IDF harvested human organs from palestinians. This caused the israeli foreign minister to demand that the Swedish government condemn the article. The Swedish government responded that they would not due to freedom of press. (link to NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/world/middleeast/24mideast.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=aftonbladet&st=cse [nytimes.com] )

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29214063)

Ah... Thank you.

First I've heard of this.

Re:Why so little outcry vs Israel? (3, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213613)

The allegations are recent and were made by a Swedish tabloid newspaper, see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

BBC News article [bbc.co.uk]

CNN article [cnn.com]

There have been allegations of an Israeli human body part smuggling ring for years (2003 BBC report [bbc.co.uk] ).

The new allegations centre around a scandal in New Jersey in which two state legislators and several Rabbis have been arrested for trafficking in human body parts [slate.com] . The Slate article claims that Jewish religious law allow most other laws can be broken to save the life of a Jew ("for the sake of saving a life, a Jew is allowed to break just about any commandment." [slate.com] ) and that the Rabbis would see human body part trafficking as a good thing ("They sincerely felt they were not hurting anyone; indeed, by giving life to another, they probably felt they were mimicking the divine. They were in the business of saving lives.") The additional allegation made by the Swedish newspaper is that the IDF were removing organs from Palestinian prisoners who die in custody, and from other sources of dead Palestinian bodies, in order to supply the smuggling groups.

Don't worry (4, Funny)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212789)

I'll get this all sorted out in a few hundred years.

Love,
The Brennan-monster

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29212969)

Let me guess, you'll make sure the organs go to your descendants.

Bodies Exhibit, anyone? (4, Interesting)

loteck (533317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212993)

You'll note [bodiestheexhibition.com] that all the specimens are Asian...

Re:Bodies Exhibit, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213881)

>>You'll note that all the specimens are Asian...

Yeah. My wife and I refuse to go to those plasticized body exhibits because there's a fairly good chance they were political prisoners executed in China and then put on display for us to gawk at.

It's truly disgusting.

what if u get the soul of the prisnor (1)

IAmKidding (1623797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29212999)

What if you get heart of a serial-killer? :))

Re:what if u get the soul of the prisnor (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213277)

This post sucks, but it reminds me of several stories I've read (I think one of them might've been here) about people inheriting personality traits from donor organs. I have no idea if at this point it's just a collection of anecdotes or if there has been an actual study on it, but it'd be kind of weird to think that a little old lady with ten cats and a bum ticker could get a heart that turns her into a serial rapist.

That explains the taste.... (0, Troll)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213007)

I thought the beef fried rice had a slightly ozone-ish smell. Last time I go there for lunch. I demand nothing but sinless virgin meat on the buffet!

Inmates and Organ Donation in the United States (2, Interesting)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213045)

The Indiana University Center for Bioethics has an interesting bibliography about inmates and organ donation in the United States (not harvesting) http://www.bioethics.iu.edu/body.cfm?id=79 [iu.edu] . Obviously inmates are - in some states at least - not even allowed to donate their organs and in some cases not even to close family. The ethical questions concering the death penalty aside: Harvesting without consent is IMHO not an ethical thing to do under any circumstances. Whatever guilt there was has been paid with the death penalty, after that, the will of the deceased should be respected. In doubt, consider silence as a "no". That inmates are prohibited to donate organs (donate as in: Not for profit and of their own free will) is equally nonsensical.

Be a sensible geek (2, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213059)

I suspect most of us agree that after death we won't be needing those organs... So give society a favor and fill out that organ donor card. It's just one more card in your wallet after all. Saving someone's life post-mortem is not a bad last accomplishment. :)

Granted, your liver might end up in a person worthy of a Darwin award, but it's a risk I'm willing to take myself. ;)

Re:Be a sensible geek (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213147)

Some of us find that keeping people who are genetically weak alive fundamentally wrong.

Re:Be a sensible geek (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213207)

Some of us are in biology, and would gladly point out that evolution doesn't work that way. And if it did, this is slashdot you're talking about, you're part of the weak, AC.

Re:Be a sensible geek (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213727)

Some of us find that keeping people who are genetically weak alive fundamentally wrong.

And the rest of the people in your head disagree? Or abstain from the vote?

Smartaleckism aside (sorry, but people using the pluralis majestatis when talking just for themselves really tempt me to reply with something fitting), why? You are aware that by your theory Stephen Hawking should have been dead for a few decades by now, yes? Think the world would be a richer place without him?

And if you are a Christian? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213731)

One of the Christian beliefs is that at Judgment day, people will be resurrected with their full bodies intact.

It's absurd, but what if someone claims it? doesn't he/she have the right not to donate their organs?

Israel does this too (0, Troll)

doomy (7461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213067)

But then it becomes a non-story, and something that should not be commented on, and if you do write a story about it, your whole nation would get black listed. But then again the Israeli organs are harvested off terrorist Palestine people who probably deserved it right? I suppose it's ok for IDF to go around rounding about militants and other terrorist elements, and conviently have them die and be returned to the miltiants parents sans organs. Many of which are exported out to western nations.

I don't see what the big deal is about China, if those are condemned people just like the above terrorists.

Re:Israel does this too (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213149)

[Reliable citation needed]

Re:Israel does this too (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213209)

mod parent jew

Re:Israel does this too (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213869)

Yeah, the journalist "Aftonbladet" said afterwards no one said that stealing organs happened, he just wants an investigation.
Now that he can do, although he won't be a hero of his profession, but what's up with Israelis playing the race card? Onto the government and the Swedish nation? Seriously? That Sweden won't move a finger just shows integrity.
Minister Carl Bildt hits the nail on the head: "We can't apologise for an article in a independent newspaper. What Aftonbladet publishes, Aftonbladet has to take responsibility for."

Re:Israel does this too (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213413)

I can't believe that got an "Informative" tag when it's based on one old phone interview and wild speculation by a tabloid reporter. There is zero evidence that the IDF kills people in order to harvest their organs. This is blood libel, plain and simple.

Israel has an extreme shortage of organs, and every time there is a successful transplant it's all over the news sites, with the identity of the donor (usually a motor accident victim). Now you'll tell me that's all a fabricated conspiracy? Give me a break.

- Anonymous Coward, aka Eitheladar

Re:Israel does this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213479)

Israel gets way more negative press worldwide about their treatment of the Palestinians than China gets about it's treatment of the Uighurs.

Re:Israel does this too (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213657)

That is true. However, China does not receive weapons and military aid from the West, and it does not pretend to be a democracy, or pretend to have freedom of the press. OTOH, China has had a lot of negative press about Tibet.

A moral point I've been pondering (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213081)

In a free society, when a person dies an accidental death or becomes brain-dead from same, why does their right to leave a pretty corpse trump the right to life of someone who needs a transplant? Our current transplant system is opt-in...how is that justifiable? (Once again, I'm referring to donation at death rather than live donation.)

Re:A moral point I've been pondering (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213125)

In a free society, when a person dies an accidental death or becomes brain-dead from same, why does their right to leave a pretty corpse trump the right to life of someone who needs a transplant? Our current transplant system is opt-in...how is that justifiable? (Once again, I'm referring to donation at death rather than live donation.)

You own your body, for better or worse. A lot of people would have cultural and/or religious objections to being "harvested." I won't debate the logic of any beliefs, just answering your question. Free society = freedom of religion.

Re:A moral point I've been pondering (3, Interesting)

Laminan (1625947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213167)

Some people feel that they will not get the full medical care that they would have gotten otherwise. For instance when you do not opt-in, Doctors would hopefully fight until the very end to save you. Should you opt-in, when does the Doctor draw the line to save you versus save the organs for transplant. Doctors cannot save you AND the organs, so when people feel troubled that this creates a conflict of interest with their mortality at stake, they vote against it. This may be based on incorrect data, but it is a prevalent attitude.

Stop the Insanity (!) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213109)

Doctors make bank. Insurance companies make bank. Maybe it is different in China, but if only we PAID surviving beneficiaries for organs, resistance would go down. Imagine, even if you die penniless you don't have to saddle your family with funeral costs. It would still be voluntary but it would be beneficial (or not - nothing prevents pure donations). They could set up a standard 'no risk' payment schedule ("we harvest/we pay") and nations would be swimming in organs. Black market influence - whether real or imagined - should be diminished. It works for plasma and sperm.

Re:Stop the Insanity (!) (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213243)

The problem with this is that the ridiculous-sounding nightmare horror story opponents of this spout would probably actually happen: suicide and murder would become even more popular among the poor than they already are, and they'd wind up being organ farms for the rich. The "easy fix" you're probably going to come back with, that we not pay out for suicides similar to how insurance doesn't, just means that we're either wasting the organs, or making the poor into slave organ farms.

reduce reuse recycle (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213123)

come now China is merely being green, reduce the criminals, reuse the organs, recycle the bodies (as fuel)

After Death? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213213)

But analysts say cultural bias against removing organs after death will make a voluntary scheme hard to implement.'"

Pah! Up here in Canda, we harvest human hearts while the donor is ALIVE!

Donate but can't receive... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29213585)

I wonder how many people who can't afford to pay for transplant surgery are willing to donate to help wealthy few you can afford it. This is why I stopped donating blood.

Truth and sensationalism in one... (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29213743)

That is what I thought when I read TFA.

There has long been speculation that killed inmates were used for organ donations - not in the least because often the family can not see the body, and execution dates are set usually less than a day or sometimes only hours before the execution. So many families can not say farewell to the prisoner. And organs for donation are of course best used fresh.

What is new of course, and what surprises me, is that the China government admits they are doing it. They are usually so secretive about anything that may be controversial, this admission comes really as a surprise to me.

Organ donation in China is far far lower than in the West. This is largely cultural (same as in Hong Kong, my place of residence), as people believe the body is best kept intact for burial/cremation. While in Western cultures that is not so much an issue. As a result there are very few people allowing organs to be donated.

But this article is also a bit sensationalist: they claim China puts more people to death than any other country. I am not surprised. China is the most populous nation in the world. Nr 2, India, also has the death penalty but is barely using this form of punishment. What would be more interesting would be the number of people put to death per million population or so. The USA is known for putting many people to death also, but China simply has more than four times the population.

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