Chinese Regime’s Organ Transplant Spokesperson Fired
Restructuring leaves Deputy Minister Huang Jiefu out of a job, weeks after suggesting reform
PRC Deputy Minister of Health Huang Jiefu is pictured at a World Health Organization meeting in India in July 2006. He recently suggested the Chinese regime needed to move away from using organs from prisoners for transplantation. (Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images)
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On March 12, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced that the job of deputy minister of health, currently held by Huang Jiefu, would be eliminated in the latest institutional restructuring plan. Huang’s firing came on the heels of remarks he made on Feb. 25 suggesting that less reliance on executed prisoners would be necessary for reform of the organ transplantation system in China.
Huang Jiefu was surrounded on March 12 by reporters at the northern gate of the Great Hall of the People. The Guangzhou-based daily New Express quoted him as saying, “As the last Deputy Minister of Health, I think it is fine … I will step down and start over in the Medical and Health Group of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and continue to support reform.”
Analyst Zhang Tianliang told The Epoch Times, “It is not uncommon for high-level officials relieved from their posts to go to the NPC or CPPCC for up to 5 years before full retirement.”
As deputy minister of health since 2001, Huang Jiefu has been the public face for the organ transplant system in China.
As such, Huang has been the regime’s point man for dealing with the discovery that China’s hospitals were engaged in systematic crimes against humanity. In March 2006, the outside world learned the organ transplantation system was supplied with organs harvested from prisoners of conscience—predominantly Falun Gong practitioners.
Huang has spoken at times about reform of the system, but he has never had the power to change it. He had no authority over military hospitals, which, according to investigators, account for the majority of organ harvesting cases.
In their book-length investigative report “Bloody Harvest,” David Kilgour and David Matas say that 41,000 transplantations took place between 2000 and 2005 for which Falun Gong practitioners were the most likely organ source. They believe organ harvesting in China continues to this day, with almost all of the 10,000 organs transplanted each year coming from prisoners.
In July 1999 then-regime head Jiang Zemin launched a campaign to eradicate the Falun Gong spiritual practice, in part out of fear of the popularity of its traditional moral teachings with the Chinese people.
Awareness of the atrocity of organ harvesting in China—both internationally and in China itself—has grown in the last few years. With the forced retirement of Huang Jiefu, the Chinese Internet has been alive with theories about the possible connections between Huang’s views on organ harvesting and his being sacked.
On March 5, at the opening of the NPC, a netizen with the domain name “Forbidden Fairness and Justice” posted a microblog on Sina Weibo (similar to Twitter) with screen shots of three contradictory news reports released by the Ministry of Health regarding “organ harvesting of executed prisoners.” Forbidden Fairness’s post, since deleted by regime censors, caused a sensation.
“When I tried to put the facts of the different news reports [about organ harvesting] together, I realized that I didn’t have the wisdom or information necessary to follow their logic,” wrote Forbidden Fairness.
The first report cited by Forbidden Fairness denied that transplanted organs were taken at will from executed prisoners.
The East Day website reported Mao Qun’an, spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Health, as saying on April 11, 2006, “The claim that transplanted organs in China come from executed prisoners is a hoax.”
The headline of the second news report was, “Ministry of Health: the major source of organs comes from executed prisoners,” which was reported by Beijing Times on March 7, 2012.
The third news report was published on China.org on March 5, 2013, the opening day of the NPC, and was titled “Ministry of Health: In two years, the source of transplanted organs will not rely on executed prisoners.”
On Feb. 25, Huang Jiefu had admitted that China was the only country in the world systematically using organs from executed prisoners. In tears, Huang declared that “Chinese organ transplant doctors can finally show off their skills on the international stage” with the establishment of the National Human Organ Donation Management Center, according to the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.
The Center’s purpose is to establish cooperation in the distribution of organs to transplant hospitals in China. With strong cultural prohibitions on organ donation on China resulting in a very small pool of voluntarily donated organs, it is not clear that such a center will do anything to wean the regime off its reliance on organs harvested from prisoners, contrary to the hopes expressed by Huang Jiefu.
Translation and research by Ariel Tian. Written in English by Barbara Gay.
Read the original Chinese article.