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China Plans To End Executed Prisoner Organ Donations Within 5 Years

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the have-you-considered-the-patch? dept.

China 214

An anonymous reader writes "China said that it planned to end the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners within five years, according to the state media report on Friday. Instead, China's vice minister of health Dr. Huang Jiefu said that the country will rely on a new national donation system for organ transplants at a conference in the city of Hangzhou on Thursday."

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214 comments

sure... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466337)

one of the few things that China did that actually seemed to make sense.

Re:sure... (5, Insightful)

madmayr (1969930) | about 2 years ago | (#39466361)

i know this will get me downmodded - but why is this something that makes sense? imho those organs (which are most likely needed) now just go to waste, because those people will get killed either way

Re:sure... (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#39466381)

Actually, I was wondering the same thing.

Re:sure... (5, Insightful)

pankkake (877909) | about 2 years ago | (#39466405)

Me too. Unless they kill prisoners just to get their organs.

Re:sure... (5, Informative)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#39466519)

And that Sir, is where you get the moral problem.

Re:sure... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466537)

Why? they are guilty evil people if they are prisoners. The judges and police would NEVER arrest innocent people.
it's not like it is the USA, This is CHINA!

Re:sure... (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39466953)

Citations [wikipedia.org] provided [usatoday.com]. It's pretty grisly stuff. The profitability of doing organ donations on the side, without official due process, has even motivated some jurisdictions to convict more readily. Better still, fraud is a capital offence [dailymail.co.uk].

Re:sure... (1, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39467485)

I've actually heard of some people who refuse to be an organ donor in the states on account of the fear of some hospitals or their families being all too ready to pull the plug on them and get those delicious organs. Organ donation is a huge business in any country.

Re:sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466403)

i know this will get me downmodded - but why is this something that makes sense?
imho those organs (which are most likely needed) now just go to waste, because those people will get killed either way

Yeah, those organs are wasted. However, here in Texas there seems to be enuf push for death penalties w/o organ harvesting. Dunno how many executions we would have if there was the added incentive.... (He's just a pot-smoking hippie liberal, let his organs do something useful!)

Re:sure... (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#39466581)

Execution in the US is too rare to make much of a dent in organ donation numbers. Under 50 executions took place in the last two years (source [deathpenaltyinfo.org]); in contrast, there's around 2000~2500 heart transplants in the US annually (see this page [infoplease.com] for more organs). As for China, from TFA,

Some human rights groups estimate that China puts to death thousands of prisoners annually, but official figures are a state secret, according to BBC correspondents.

Execution methods make a difference, as well... (5, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 years ago | (#39466649)

In the US, the execution techniques usually used would leave the organs unsuitable for re-use. They would either be saturated with toxins (lethal injection) or cooked (electric chair).

In China, the usual method of execution is a bullet into the back of the head.

Re:Execution methods make a difference, as well... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#39466767)

...the usual method of execution is a bullet into the back of the head.

Better to declare the condemned executed, maintaining the body as long as possible until (and as) organs are needed and harvested. The donor would be unconscious for humanitarian reasons :-D

Re:Execution methods make a difference, as well... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 years ago | (#39466943)

Then you run into the issue of "do no harm" and the Hippocratic oath. You effectively make the doctor harvesting the organs the executioner.

Re:Execution methods make a difference, as well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467045)

Then you run into the issue of "do no harm" and the Hippocratic oath. You effectively make the doctor harvesting the organs the executioner.

Do you really think that the Hippocratic oath is what keeps doctors from killing people?
While it might be sightly harder to find a doctor that is willing to kill people due to the reasons they went into medicine it's not like it would be a lot harder than finding a cop that is willing to kill someone.

Re:Execution methods make a difference, as well... (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467293)

Solution: Have the official executioner cut the spinal column near the head, then wait two minutes, and call the doctor. Besides, the Hippocratic Oath is considered outdated in more and more places, especially where some of its clauses become inconvenient.

Re:Execution methods make a difference, as well... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 2 years ago | (#39466975)

...the usual method of execution is a bullet into the back of the head.

Better to declare the condemned executed, maintaining the body as long as possible until (and as) organs are needed and harvested. The donor would be unconscious for humanitarian reasons :-D

Morbid thought: what happens if/when they wake up?

Re:sure... (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | about 2 years ago | (#39466439)

i know this will get me downmodded - but why is this something that makes sense? imho those organs (which are most likely needed) now just go to waste, because those people will get killed either way

The concern is that someone may have a mock trial and be condemned to death just because their kidneys (pancreas, liver, ...) are a match for the ailing party chairman.

Re:sure... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466589)

Thats a weak argument, an ailing party chairman powerful enough to do that sort of thing won't have any problem ordering the harvesting the organs anyways and ordering the cremation of the body. Or more likely, to kidnap the person, harvest the organs and dispose of the body, cheaper and easier to conceal that bribing a gazillon of officers and judges and hoping to prevent a leak that likely will destroy his political career.

Re:sure... (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39466909)

Thats a weak argument, an ailing party chairman powerful enough to do that sort of thing won't have any problem ordering the harvesting the organs anyways and ordering the cremation of the body. Or more likely, to kidnap the person, harvest the organs and dispose of the body, cheaper and easier to conceal that bribing a gazillon of officers and judges and hoping to prevent a leak that likely will destroy his political career.

I disagree. It's a lot easier to dip into a large organ stream rather than off people on the street with black ops-style operations. And how are you going to find that perfect organ match? Prison provides the testing infrastructure and keeps potential matches from escaping. All you need is a plausible means for killing the person, such as conviction of a capital crime.

Re:sure... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#39467201)

Except for the fact that pretty much anything in China is considered to be a "capital" crime. In most civilized countries they have either A) Abolished the death penalty or B) Have restricted it to the most serious of crimes (murder) and the trials are well publicized and generally have multiple trials and many people trying to prove that the accused party is innocent.

China though has 55 "offenses" that are a capital "crime" including theft, smuggling of drugs, counterfeiting currency, rape and murder. Now, murder is something that is hard to prove, on the other hand counterfeiting currency? That is pretty easy to "prove" in a secretive totalitarian state like China, smuggling drugs? Also easy to "prove". Stealing weapons? Just plant a few bullets and you have yourself a solid "case" against them...

Officers have been shown to plant evidence even in western courts where corruption is comparatively low and there is much more transparency than in China which won't even say how many prisoners have been executed! Kidnapping or wholesale murder is a lot harder than planting evidence of a capital "crime" and than using the Chinese "justice" system to carry out the punishments using the falsified evidence.

Re:sure... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466441)

I actually agree with you.

These people are going to be killed, might as well use their organs.
It's not like family or anyone will care for the internal appearances of their dead [whatever] when they are sitting at an open casket, or whatever other means they say their farewells.

Is it a case of rights? Criminals only deserve so many rights. And when it is a case of someone being executed? Practically none. Even if it is China where execution is likely done for the most petty of crimes.

Note that I don't really agree with termination at all, even for the worst offenders. I'd rather see them tortured for life (actual life, not whatever bastardized meaning has become of it in the law system)
Most people would crack under light torture. Those who don't were very likely the people who did do the crime.
It doesn't even need to be physical torture. Mental torture is far more mind-shattering than physical torture can ever be.
Think of it like Big Brother, except more painful, and every hour is a challenge. Challenges that stack. Challenges where you get basically no food at all if you fail them.
I'm for that. I want to see people who break actual laws suffer.
Of course, since this website is primarily American and your law system is so horribly broken and far from what it was meant to stand for back in the beginnings of its creation, people downloading the next Lady Gaga would be higher up on the scale than someone who beat a pre-school of kids to death with a bag of puppies.
So, I guess it wouldn't really work in America, but mostly anywhere else, fine.

Re:sure... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467039)

And here we have a perfect example of a sadist who waits for a moral and legal justification to do what serial killers do.

Congratulations sir, you are a creepy fuck and I hope I never find myself anywhere near you in real life.

Re:sure... (2)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#39467273)

You seem to presume that all these people being execute were actual criminals rather than just political prisoners being executed and harvested for organs.

Re:sure... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39467381)

I'd rather see them tortured for life (actual life, not whatever bastardized meaning has become of it in the law system)

Actually you could have your cake and eat it, as they say. Remove kidneys and liver, sew him up and release him.

Re:sure... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467503)

Ignoring your early-onset psychopathy for the moment, I'll just note that the Chinese have a very strong cultural bias in favour of corpses being buried or cremated intact.

While not as prevalent in recent decaudes, there are still Westerners who also believe that (their) bodies must be buried whole.

BTW, I hope you're able to find some counseling soon.

Re:sure... (2)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#39466451)

I think you two are agreeing actually.

Re-read it as "Sure, [cancel] one of the few things that China did that actually seemed to make sense"

Re:sure... (1)

wisty (1335733) | about 2 years ago | (#39466461)

> Government figures from the health ministry show that about 1.5 million people in China need transplants, but only 10,000 transplants are performed annually, according to Xinhua.

In other words, prisoner "donations" just aren't enough. FTA, they don't like using condemned prisoner organs, because they aren't usually in good shape anyway. Nobody in China wants to donate, because of cultural reasons (they are selfish? they think it's "icky"? they don't trust doctors? it's not really Buddhist? no idea).

I'm waiting to hear what the "new national donation system" is. Perhaps registered donors will jump to the top of the list, in order of registration date. Everyone will sign up, knowing that if they don't they'll die waiting for a transplant if they need one.

Re:sure... (3, Informative)

koxkoxkox (879667) | about 2 years ago | (#39466681)

Nobody in China wants to donate, because of cultural reasons (they are selfish? they think it's "icky"? they don't trust doctors? it's not really Buddhist? no idea).

In traditional Chinese culture, it is important to preserve the body whole for the afterlife. I think the belief is that any deficiency is passed over to the afterlife.

Re:sure... (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467353)

So cremation is right out, then?

What did they do before modern embalming?

Re:sure... (1)

koxkoxkox (879667) | about 2 years ago | (#39467619)

Cremation was introduced by the communists and is now prevalent in modern China.

I am not sure whether they cared about preservation. The important part is to be buried whole.

Re:sure... (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#39466493)

The official reason given (or one of them, anyway) is that the organs harvested are often diseased or in some way defective.

Whatever the reason, I welcome the change. Since reading some of Larry Niven (The Jigsaw Man [wikipedia.org] in particular) I've shared his concern that once the public start to profit from the deaths of criminals they will increase the number of capital crimes, eventually to the point where people are being dismantled for mere traffic violations. This is of course a sort of reductio ad absurdum but I think the point remains valid even if that particular slippery slope stops at, say, rape or manslaughter.

Ultimately, though, in my opinion capital punishment is simply wrong; the state has no more right to kill a murderer than he/she did to kill their victim.

On a lighter note, who'd want to risk something akin to Homer's Hell Toupée? [wikipedia.org]

Re:sure... (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467443)

eventually to the point where people are being dismantled for mere traffic violations.

That was REPEATED violations. Sort of like three strikes out, with Reckless Driving being the lowest level of strike. Given that people could have died in each offense, it wasn't quite so absurd as, frex, False Advertising, which also would get one sent to the organ banks.

Of course, the ultimate was on the Home colony, where walking on the grass would and did get someone shot (at least back before the Brennan Monster killed everyone outside of the right age range with aerosolized Tree-Of-Life virus).

Re:sure... (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#39466507)

TFA is very light on details but does list one reason:

While Dr. Huang did not bring up any ethical issues involved in taking organs from prisoners at the conference, he said that organ donations from prisoners were not ideal because rates of fungal and bacterial infection in prisoner organs were quite high, and affected the long-term survival rates of those who undergo the transplants.

Re:sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466521)

Two reasons:

1) It would be too easy to abuse this system to harvest organs, especially if their medical system is dependent on it (e.g. finding guilt where there is no, imposing harsher sentences than the crime justifies).

2) It is the desecration of the dead. Even though this can be viewed as a form of punishment, it will probably have a far greater effect upon the relatives of the criminal and that doesn't seem proper.

Re:sure... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39466543)

It seems as if there are more people here agreeing with you on this, myself included. If we're downmodded, oh well... making serious restrictions as to how sentences are made and executed (no pun intended) FOR executions sounds more reasonable. Keep a man with failing kidneys away from the prison gates, but after a case is decided upon with the defendant getting the death penalty? Why the heck not?

Who gets the organs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467385)

Ordinary Chinese workers? Somehow I doubt it...

Either way, I think death penalty is cruel and inhumane, but I suppose not raiding peoples dead corpses without consent is a small step toward civilization.

Re:sure... (1)

alienzed (732782) | about 2 years ago | (#39467395)

It probably laid out an incentive to hand out the death penalty. Now there's no conflict of interest.

News For Nerds (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466351)

C'mon timothy. This is ridiculous.

This story does not belong here.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#39466501)

Don't blame timothy, it's his job to edit (so we should be complaining about his mistakes in that area). Blame the people who up-voted the article on the Firehose.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 2 years ago | (#39466553)

With so many China stories in the past couple of days, I'm starting to wonder if slashdot is becoming the US outlet for Xinhua news.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39466781)

Welcome to the global news, where crap from a country an ocean away from yours washes up on your evening news simply because that country is powerful and important to yours for political and economic reasons.

Uh, I'm talking european news including US stories, of course. Maybe.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467483)

Because nerds don't read science fiction (i.e., Larry Niven)?

Sending criminals to the organ banks, and dropping the level of crime that gets one sent there, is the subject of a number of his stories. Also, I expect that the Chinese have Mother Hunts, another trophe from the pre-Kzin War period of Known Space.

first the shutdown of the banned terms (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#39466377)

on the firewall of china, then the closure of a controversial forced organ donation program. hm....
the optomistic me says china has finally decided to become a socialist democracy like switzerland. full healthcare for the masses, equal job for equal pay, clean air and fresh water and heck even a pound of tea and a stockpot of porkbelly for everyone. who needs the american trade model, lets cash in and build a better tomorrow for us all!

but seriously this is probably a controlled set of government reform actions designed to bolster trust and confidence in the chinese people. The party is largely viewed as a corrupt capitalist dictatorship, and has been the target of an escalating number of street protests recently.

Re:first the shutdown of the banned terms (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39466397)

on the firewall of china, then the closure of a controversial forced organ donation program. hm....

the optomistic me says china has finally decided to become a socialist democracy like switzerland. full healthcare for the masses, equal job for equal pay, clean air and fresh water and heck even a pound of tea and a stockpot of porkbelly for everyone. who needs the american trade model, lets cash in and build a better tomorrow for us all!

but seriously this is probably a controlled set of government reform actions designed to bolster trust and confidence in the chinese people. The party is largely viewed as a corrupt capitalist dictatorship, and has been the target of an escalating number of street protests recently.

TFA says the announcement wasn't linked to ethical concerns, but only to health concerns - high rates of fungus and bacterial infections in prisoners are causing problems for the recipients.

Re:first the shutdown of the banned terms (3, Insightful)

tragedy (27079) | about 2 years ago | (#39466699)

Of course, the high rates of fungal and bacterial infections in prisoners suggest another ethical problem.

Re:first the shutdown of the banned terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467289)

If they said it was for ethical reasons, they would be admitting they had been doing something unethical. They would never say that.

End visible ones, or halt all of them? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#39466379)

It would be nice if China's end to organ harvesting from executed prisoners was a believable measure, but there is too much saving of face in that country. Administrative costs and bribery in China, given that issue, would mean that 5 years leaves too much time and opportunity to cancel it(with political pressure) or time used to move it deeper away from public view.

If they're willing to pull all the stops to defend their own factories (a la Foxconn) to defend the indefensible, I'd imagine it'd not be something that is going to end.

Re:End visible ones, or halt all of them? (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 2 years ago | (#39466529)

The cynical side of me says that we might see a rise in capital punishment rates to meet quotas before the ban comes into effect.

Five years?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466399)

How does it take 5 years to stop harvesting organs from political prisoners without consent? Why don't they just stop harvesting organs from political prisoners without consent?? You wouldn't accept a pledge from Santorum to stop beating his wife within 5 years.

Re:Five years?! (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | about 2 years ago | (#39466463)

Those organs would be LOST anyway... Their not beating their wife, they save peoples by ripping of organs from those who actually killed their wife or someone else. Sound good to me. It should be "We'll stop when we'll be able to grow them in lab" instead.

We should do that here too, as long as we can't grow theses in lab for cheap.

Re:Five years?! (5, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | about 2 years ago | (#39466885)

We're already running a largely for-profit prison system in this country. Forgive me if I don't trust that sort of system with "organ donations". There is already too high of an incentive to jail people for non-violent drug related crimes as it is.

Re:Five years?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467605)

We're already running a largely for-profit prison system in this country. Forgive me if I don't trust that sort of system with "organ donations". There is already too high of an incentive to jail people for non-violent drug related crimes as it is.

Haha almost had me stoner but I noticed you subtly promoting your agenda. 'Beelzebud' is your username, it all makes sense now.

Take your stoner bullshit back to wherever you came from.

Re:Five years?! (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39466657)

They need 5 years to get a good DNA collection/cataloging system in place to identify potential donors. Then they will decide it's better for society to continue harvesting the organs. Joys of big government and centralized control.

Re:Five years?! (1)

koxkoxkox (879667) | about 2 years ago | (#39466725)

In China, most of the organs for transplantation are harvested on such condemned. It will take time to develop other means of obtaining them (considering the cultural reluctance, I do not think 5 years will be enough).

Re:Five years?! (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39466929)

I agree. If it's a real problem now, then discontinue it now. The "we'll stop doing it in five years" claim may well mean that they never stop doing it.

Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (2)

walkerp1 (523460) | about 2 years ago | (#39466407)

At first I thought, "Wow! Somebody actually considered the ethics of this program," but then I read, "Organ donations from prisoners were not ideal because rates of fungal and bacterial infection in prisoner organs were quite high, and affected the long-term survival rates of those who undergo the transplants." So, confronted with the need to improve the incubation environment for their organ supply and consequently the living conditions of their wards, they choose instead to ditch the program. And just like that my cynicism is once again vindicated. Wretched!

Re:Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466523)

Who gives a shit? These people were dead anyway. It doesn't matter what happens to their body afterwards.

Every country should have mandatory organ donations upon death - the entire world would be better off for it.

Re:Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (3, Insightful)

walkerp1 (523460) | about 2 years ago | (#39466665)

Who gives a shit? These people were dead anyway. It doesn't matter what happens to their body afterwards

“How we treat our dead is part of what makes us different than those did the slaughtering.” - Shepherd Book

Re:Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467261)

You realize there's already a big controversy with voluntary organ donations, where doctors sometimes (often?) pronounce the patient "dead" when really she's in a coma and could wake up in a few days, just so they can harvest her organs and give them to somebody who has a better chance of survival.

Basically, agreeing to donate your organs can get you killed at the hospital. So what do you think would happen if instead of patients, we were talking of people accused of breaking the law? I'll tell you what would happen:

- The police will have an incentive to find a culprit faster, leading to botched police work and innocent people being charged.

- The police will also have an inventive to actually mess up their work and get the wrong guy convicted before finally finding the right guy. The police might not charge the innocent, hard-working and loving family dad on purpose, but if one of their suspects is a complete jerk they'll have little remorse having him convicted, executed, his organs harvested, before finally finding the real killer.

- Then the juries will have the same incentive to convict an innocent person. Again, a hard-working father might not fall victim to the greed of the jury, but a poor schmuck who's only crime is to have tattoos, wear a leather jacket and have poor manners probably will fall victim to the jury thinking "he's probably innocent, but even if he is his organs will be more useful to someone nicer".

- The judges will face the same dilemma.

- Judges and jury will not only be more likely to convict, but will also opt for the death penalty more frequently. Innocent people will be more likely to be executed, as well as criminals who, due to attenuating circumstance, would have normally only received jail time.
Do you want to see a young woman get the chair because she murdered her rapist 3 days after the fact? Do you want to see an 18 year old kid be executed because all his life, he was psychologically and physically abused by his father, and one day he just snapped and killed the guy? People like this currently get lesser sentences, because although they are criminal, they are not the worse criminals.
But the fact is, they're still criminals, while there are hundreds of perfectly innocent people out there who need a transplant. The question is no longer "Does a woman who kills her rapist deserve to be executed?". The question becomes "Who should live? The woman who got revenge on her rapist, or the woman who never hurt a fly?".

- And then there will be incentive to punish lesser crimes with the death penalty. For instance, people who speed on the highway or drive drunk. It's easy to argue that these people are endangering other lives and thus deserve the death penalty. Imagine getting the chair because you went a few miles over the limit.

- Also, there are a few organs we can live without. Once you harvest the organs of executed criminals, you are only a step away from harvesting organs from LIVE criminals. You know, harvest a kidney or a lung (we got 2 of those and can live with only 1). Or why not also harvest their hands or legs while we're at it? (Yes, limb transplants are quite successful). Or their eyes.

Re:Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#39467263)

Capital punishment as it is currently practiced is barbaric. It is even more barbaric in countries such as China which have non-violent "crimes" as capital offenses. Such as drug smuggling. While I agree with the death penalty in theory for murder (and only for intentional murder) in practice it does nothing but create two murder victims.

Mandatory organ donations is also barbaric because we stop seeing people as people and instead see them as sacks of meat and valuable organs. Rather than a doctor doing all they can to save your life, what if they know that if they let you die they could save someone "more important" than you? While it makes sense to donate organs, doctors should not know if someone is an organ donor or not until they have already done all they can do to save the person. Only then after every possible means of saving them has been exhausted and they know that for certain they are dead (knowing when death occurs is scarily vague) only then should they try to harvest the organs.

Re:Honk if you Like Basic Human Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467291)

Let's hope I'm not a match for your ailing organs, then, because I consent to my organs being harvested and have endeavoured keep my organs reusable on the sole condition that I am not compelled to do so :-).

Otherwise feel free to scrape what remains of my organs from the bottom of a cliff, because that's how I'll be going if I find myself with a terminal illness and anyone else dictates that he's only days away from owning my body.

Similarly, I'm happy to do voluntary work, but hope I would have the fortitude to refuse compulsory labour, just as I refused military service. I'm similarly happy to receive a citizen's wage in return for community work, but if I ever found myself desperate then I would rather steal than be part of the subsidised labour provided by the state in several Anglo-Saxon countries to private companies (either inside prisons or from the long-term unemployed).

The basic point here is that if you enslave people then they don't work very effectively and your country turns to shit. The best you can do is expand out as far as you can, increasing the availability of resources to exploit, until you can exploit no more - then you collapse. See also every other empire throughout history.

Will we see a growth of vigilantes? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#39466415)

Will we see a growth of vigilantes because of this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigilante [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_squads [wikipedia.org]

One could see this as move to privatize the business, favoring an entrepreneurial attitude!

Very scary.

Re:Will we see a growth of vigilantes? (1)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#39466891)

Will we see a growth of vigilantes because of this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigilante [wikipedia.org]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_squads [wikipedia.org]

One could see this as move to privatize the business, favoring an entrepreneurial attitude!

It seems to me if– in the presence of an established voluntary organ donation system, a society's organ supply is measurably affected by the withdrawal of killed prisoners' non-consensually harvested organs– that society is so morally bankrupt and dysfunctional, they need to reevaluate why they're bothering to extend lives with medicine in the first place.

Very scary.

Should the scenario I described comes to pass, I agree. On the other hand, living under an imperfect government that retains the authority to end its citizens' lives is scary, but mostly depressing and disappointing in its backwards, childish and petty implementation of justice.

Re:Will we see a growth of vigilantes? (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467529)

It seems to me if– in the presence of an established voluntary organ donation system, a society's organ supply is measurably affected by the withdrawal of killed prisoners' non-consensually harvested organs– that society is so morally bankrupt and dysfunctional, they need to reevaluate why they're bothering to extend lives with medicine in the first place.

Except that they would be too morally bankrupt to bother. Did the Germans end oven cremations because the Greens objected to the air pollution?

This word, "donations" (4, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | about 2 years ago | (#39466495)

China Plans To End Executed Prisoner Organ Donations Within 5 Years

This word, "donations", I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:This word, "donations" (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 2 years ago | (#39466541)

This word, "donations", I do not think it means what you think it means.

I agree. Will the government create a fair system that protects the life of the donor first and foremost? Will the system let doctors make the decisions, and ensure that all incentives encourage saving the patient, not harvesting organs? Will the rich and powerful be treated equally with the poor?

IMO we haven't accomplished this in the west, and I have less faith in China doing the right thing.

why ? (2, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39466549)

Seriously, why?

The countries that have voluntary donation programs are in a constant shortage for most organs. Taking them from people who are dead only shocks us because of antiquated remainders of religious nonsense, and not even that is thought through very well (your soul apparently doesn't need your body, so why would it need some parts?).

People who get the death sentence have a very serious debt to society. Let's ignore for the moment whether or not you agree with what people in China get the death sentence for, or the death sentence in general. Even if you don't like it, you can not deny the reality.

If you have forfeit your life to society, then why not the parts that remain? It's not like you'd have any use for them, or that taking some organs out of a corpse would be any more evil, wrong or whatever than killing someone in the first place.

Re:why ? (5, Insightful)

kbolino (920292) | about 2 years ago | (#39466677)

The problem arises when the fact that an executed person's organs can be harvested plays into the calculus of the judge or jury who decides to sentence a person to death. Put another way, if every executed prisoner is a potential source of organs, then you've created a very perverse incentive to execute more prisoners. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad idea, but you have to be mindful of unintended consequences.

Re:why ? (0)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39466729)

But that's a fallacy based in unproven assumptions. You could just as well claim that donor cards make people drive less carefully and thus should be banned. The first thing you need to do is show that your assumption is correct.

Re:why ? (2)

thue (121682) | about 2 years ago | (#39466819)

> You could just as well claim that donor cards make people drive less carefully and thus should be banned.

That analogy doesn't hold. A judge can be paid or pressured to deliver organs via death sentences. In contrast, having a donor card doesn't give you any incentive to driving carelessly.

Re:why ? (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39467093)

More assumptions.

I'm not saying you are wrong. I am saying you haven't shown that you are right.

Re:why ? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39467557)

I'd go by the data that every potential form of abuse that exists has been used by a lot of politicians at every point in history.

The only way to ensure a minimum of a bad practice is to outright make it illegal or impossible via the law.

Example: Using eminent domain to seize private property and turn it over to land developers on the basis that the higher property taxes collected would be for the good of the people overall.

Re:why ? (1)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | about 2 years ago | (#39466773)

Are judges and jury members more likely to need organ transplants than anyone else? If not, it makes no sense to say there's a perverse incentive for them to order more executions; they have no more interest in it than the rest of the public does.

Re:why ? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39466867)

Do judges and jury members want money?

FIFY. Too often the answer will be "yes" and the "perverse incentive" will exist.

Re:why ? (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39467553)

Increasing the supply of waiting organs increases the chance that they will find one for the judges or jurors. It is altruism, or a nasty sort.

Re:why ? (2)

jperl (1453911) | about 2 years ago | (#39466695)

I agree with you that it does not make a difference from whome the organs come from, regardless whether this is a prisoner or someone else. But I think you should have to have the possibility to opt out, again regardless whether you are in prison or not. At the end of the day it is your body and this is a human right they are taking away from you.

The problem of too little organ donors in some countries could easily be solved with opting out systems. A lot of people are just too lazy to opt out. However also some countries with opt out systems like Sweden have low donor rates.

Re:why ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467459)

Why always force people to do as you want with more laws? I mean, what the fuck is wrong with you? Do you have secret fantasies of being Hitler?

How about, I don't know, educating people about the importance of organ donations? Making them realize the difference it can make? Truth be told I really don't feel like there's an organ shortage. Yeah, I read there is one, but I don't feel it. Maybe if you could show me more than numbers and stats, maybe mention a few cases of people who died because they could not get an organ, I'd be more aware of the issue.

Second, how about listening to why people don't donate? I'll give you a few reasons why I won't donate my organs:
1) If you are listed as a donor, doctors are more likely to kill you (or more exactly: to let you die) to get your organs for somebody who seems more sympathetic (somebody younger or somebody who has a family, etc). If I'm in a coma, I'd like to be given a few years before being unplugged. I want a chance at recovering. I don't want to be killed off right away so the guy in the next room can have my heart.
Address this problem first, instead of being a Nazi.

2) I'd rather have my organs preserved and given to a family member in 10 years should they need them. Why should I care about strangers when I have family to think about?

3) Why should I be forced to give my organs to a dumb teenager who got hurt by doing something stupid? Or a fucktard who decided to smoke and now needs new lungs? I know that people who are responsible for their own problems don't get priority in organ donations, but once every dead person donates organs, even the idiots who injured themselves will have organs available. Explain why I should give a fuck about these people? I'm happy if they can find organs, I might actually be willing to donate my own, but I don't want to be forced. No way.

4) It's my body and you have no right to it. You think I'm selfish? Fuck you! MY BODY. MINE. MINE! MINE! MINE!
By the way, by acting like such a Nazi you actually managed to convince me not to donate my organs ever. You made me think society is made of dicks who feel entitled to my organs and now I think nobody deserves my organs. And they're in good shape. I eat healthy and I exercise. Never smoked, I drink one beer a year at most and I have a strong immune system. They're top quality. And thanks to you, nobody will get them. Screw you all, you organ vampires!
Sad really. Until now the only thing holding me back was the risk of doctors unplugging me when I could still recover, and I was still willing to consider donation if this risk could somehow be waved. Not anymore. I don't want my organs to go to somebody like you, you don't deserve them.

And yes, I am actually serious. Thanks do you I'm done worrying about becoming a donor.

Re:why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39466757)

We should have an organ donation program like that in this country.

They should extend it to the long term unemployed .

Re:why ? (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#39466789)

People don't oppose taking organs from the executed because of "antiquated religious nonsense". They oppose it because it gives the government a perverse incentive to execute more people.

If you're on trial, do you really want the judge or jury thinking, even subconsciously, "gee, we could sure use that guy's organs"?

By the way, in the future you might want to put the tiniest modicum of effort into understanding people's positions before launching into, "hurr hurr religious people are dumb and haven't thought this through."

Re:why ? (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39467121)

People don't oppose taking organs from the executed because of "antiquated religious nonsense". They oppose it because it gives the government a perverse incentive to execute more people.

There's a million or so people waiting for donor organs in China right now. A thousand additional death sentences would cover less than 1%, and that's assuming every single one of them has multiple useable organs.

On the scale the government of China is concerned about, that's a rounding error, not an incentive.

And the reason the chinese prefer burrying their dead in one piece actually is religious superstition, some other comment laid out more details on that.

By the way, in the future you might want to put the tiniest modicum of effort into understanding people's positions before launching into, "hurr hurr religious people are dumb and haven't thought this through."

Actually, I have spent several years understanding religion, and the current result of my studies is that religious people are dumb and don't think things through. As always, there are exceptions, I am talking about the average.

Re:why ? (4, Informative)

asparagus (29121) | about 2 years ago | (#39466803)

Because this is China.

Executable offensives include: political dissent, terrorism, drug dealing, child pornography, being of the wrong religous groups, the usual laundry list.

Where it gets exciting is when they send doctors to determine your blood type to decide if you've committed an executable offense [weeklystandard.com].

Re:why ? (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#39467233)

Good narrative, and we all love naratives, but it doesn't deliver many new facts. Most importantly, not what you are alleging.

Since we can't make China a great place within a few days, how about accepting reality and then improving it, instead of wishing for some fancy lalaland?

I think TFA is spot-on: The practical issues happen to be the deciding factor. Funny how nobody said that in a response to my "why" so far (but it has been said in other comments). It's simple, straightforward, truthful and answers the question well.

Re:why ? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39467041)

Because it creates an incentive for killing people? When you can get a death sentence for almost anything in China, and when thousands get executed there every year some might start to wonder if the strict laws are there because it's cheaper to sell the organs of criminals than to keep them in prison. There are also rumors of barbaric practices where organs are harvested from still living bodies because they are of better quality.

Re:why ? (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#39467347)

People who get the death sentence have a very serious debt to society.

Assuming they deserved the death sentence in the first place. There are some pretty frivolous laws in this world that carry the death penalty, not to mention police corruption and wrongful convictions.

I get what you're saying, but it's worth keeping in mind that not all convictions are deserved.

Making it a choice? (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39466597)

Why not have those convicted and set for execution sign a form, stating that they would/wouldn't want their bodies donated for organ-harvesting or to science? I remember a case from years and years ago, wherein the executed man chose to donate his body to scientists who wanted to make a 3D "travel" from feet to scalp by slicing the body into paper-width pieces and using computer-imaging to put it altogether, as if it was a flip-book. Gruesome, yes, but the executed knew where their body was going. And, seriously, the video displaying the results WAS super-cool.

I doubt every prisoner sentenced to the death penalty would tick 'yes' on the form, but it gives a level of respect in making it an option. I'm sure some would be glad to do it, as they might see it as a small way to forgive themselves of their crimes--if they regret them, anyway, but some honestly do.

does is really make a difference? (1)

goffster (1104287) | about 2 years ago | (#39466951)

What percentage of organs are actually from convicted felons ?

If the answer is "miniscule" then it makes sense to do whatever
pisses people off the least.

I, personally, am far more concerned about doctors declaring me dead
when I am "not dead yet".

So many chicks in life didn't want my organ . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#39466981)

. . . so I'll just keep all the rest of them when I am dead, just out of spite, thanks.

Are there any religious or cultural issues, that discourage folks in different countries from donating organs? Is there any ranking of organ donating cultures?

I wonder if.. (1)

ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) | about 2 years ago | (#39467065)

Dick Cheney's new heart has "Made In China" stamped on it. Just sayin'.. you know.. the timing of the two stories... just sayin'

Donate my ass, how about you pay up. (3, Interesting)

nbritton (823086) | about 2 years ago | (#39467309)

Donald Trump, in I forget which TV show, estimated the value of a human body to be worth around $23 million. I for one am not going to give that away when I die, not when my family could benefit from it. Currently the hospitals don't even borther to cover funeral expenses after you give them your extremely valuable organs, which are likely worth more then the life insurance policy your making payments on. Why do we have a system like this?

I think all you would need is some kind of modified durable power of attorney in place, prior to death, that transfers ownership of your cadaver to a beneficiary who can part you out to the highest bidders. I would imagine the cryonics industry would be able to capitalize on this, they have already proven the ability to reanimate individual organs.

Re:Donate my ass, how about you pay up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467585)

Society demands the death of people on death sentences, expecting that same society to pay the guy they just killed is, at the very least, very naive. The guy on death sentence has a debt to society, a debt which he must pay with his life - he's the one who screwed up, he's the one who'll pay for it.
About selling human organs it already happens, although it isn't legal. Legally selling human organs would create many problems, as I'm sure you can imagine. Our society simply is not ready for that yet.

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