WASHINGTON, D.C. — After The Epoch Times revealed the horrendous secret about the Sujiatun Death Camp in Shenyang City in China, where the Chinese communist regime detains a large number of Falun Gong practitioners and harvests their organs while they are still alive and secretly burns their bodies to destroy the evidence, two witnesses have stepped forward to testify. This news has received intensive attention from both broad masses of people and organizations.
In order to let readers know more about the Sujiatun Death Camp, The Epoch Times has conducted special interviews with a few medical doctors, experts, and scholars on China issues. A series of "Special Interviews on Sujiatun" have been published with the hope to report the truth rationally.
Below is the content of the interview.
Correspondent: Lately, The Epoch Times news group has revealed the shocking secret about a National Thrombosis Treatment Center located in Sujiatun District, Shenyang City. According to two witnesses, since 2001 over 6000 Falun Gong practitioners have been detained there. Their organs were extracted while they were still alive, their bodies were then burnt in an incinerator, and the remains were disposed of as ashes. This incident is extremely shocking and ruthless.
Today we invited two medical professionals; one is Dr. Wang Wenyi, who earned her medical doctor's degree in China. Now she is the chief editor of Medical Life , a journal published in North America. Our second guest is Dr. Pang Yubin, M.D. He has done medical research at the U.S. National Institute of Health. Previously he was a medical doctor at the Department of Clinical Oncology, Beijing University Hospital. He earned his medical doctor's degree in Italy.
I think today we will have a discussion from the medical point of view.
Correspondent: Dr. Wang, you are very familiar with the medical fields in both China and America. In your opinion, what is the current status of organ transplants in the U.S.? How about in China?
Dr. Wang: I can give a brief introduction. Organ transplants started in the 70s. In China, the first organ transplant was performed in the 80s. But within a very short period of 20 years, China has taken the lead as the country to perform most organ transplants. According to preliminary statistics by the highly authoritative Chinese Journal of Nephrology Dialysis & Transplantation , about 15,000 to 20,000 organ transplants are performed in China every year, which includes over 5000 kidney transplants. The Sujiatun Death Camp is very shocking to us, as many Falun Gong practitioners' organs were extracted while they were still alive. This is the most horrendous and miserable tragedy in human history.
Correspondent: Dr Wang, can you elaborate on the organ transplant situation in China?
Wang Wenyi: In terms of survival rate of organ transplant recipients, to achieve high a survival rate, the first criterion is that the blood type of the organ donor must match that of the recipient. Secondly, the HLA match has to be fairly good. It is not possible to find exact match between two people. It is similar to DNA, where everyone has their own unique DNA. It is impossible that two people will have exactly the same DNA.
As medical technology improves, such as the development of immuno-suppressants, the survival rate from organ transplants is gradually increasing. But finding the perfect match between donors and recipients is not easy. Based on some of the recent reports from China, especially the fact that during the last few years advertisements for organ transplants can be seen at commercial centers, hospitals, and even some bulletin boards, organ transplants have been shown to be extremely popular. This also demonstrates that the supply of organs is sufficient to meet demand, which implies that organs may come from different sources.
These different sources include what we were familiar with in the past, which is extracting organs from executed criminals. Most western countries do not use this method, but in China this method is widely used.
Another source revealed recently is from Falun Gong practitioners. After they were illegally detained, their organs were ruthlessly extracted while they were still alive. This additional source could explain why in recent years there have been such a high number of organ transplants in China.
Correspondent: In general, if one would like to donate one's kidney or liver, what type of procedures have to be followed? And under what kind of conditions can a transplant deal be made? Were such procedures followed when organs were removed from Falun Gong practitioners?
Wang Wenyi: Generally speaking, if the patient's visceral organs have ceased to function, he would need to have organ transplants. Firstly, much time is spent waiting for properly matched organs. As I said before, there is a very low rate of compatibility and only drugs or long waiting times will improve the prognosis for the organ recipient.
When there is a source of organs for the transplant, the organ generally can survive for 48 hours. In other words, the donor's organs must be used within 48 hours. If the donor's life ended quickly, or the procedure is done faster, then the results of the transplant are better.
Correspondent: Falun Gong practitioners are being held there (in Sujiatun) and, unbelievably, their organs are being taken out while they're still alive. How does Doctor Pang see this matter?
Pang Yubin: Indeed this matter is extremely cold-hearted. It is very incredible that this kind of thing would occur in contemporary society! However, during my medical investigations and research, I feel that these practices that have been exposed are indeed believable and they have occurred. Why do I say this? A moment ago, Doctor Wang talked about the issue of organ matching and organizing. In the United States, a patient will usually have to wait seven to eight years before a suitable organ is available. It is an extremely difficult process.
But now I see that there are advertisements in China saying that a foreigner needing a transplant has to wait only a few days or at most two weeks, before an organ would be available and the transplant could be performed.
There appears to be a problem. To explain this problem, I will first talk about the organizing and matching process. As Doctor Wang said before, the matching process is very harsh. The probability of a match in China is reported to be 1.2 percent. That is to say, it is extremely difficult for a person to find a donor. There are the thousands, tens of thousands of patients waiting for a transplant. Thus, through a computer matching process, the organ will be given to the person deemed to be the best match. Because an organ is very precious, an exhaustive process is used to find an appropriate match.
However, if it is like what the Chinese have said that they do this in a few days or a few weeks, then their matching processing isn't like I described, it is the opposite. I call it "opposite matching". Why is that? A patient will present with certain need and in a few days a matching organ is found. As I said earlier, the chance of a match is around one percent. That is, only if there are one hundred live donors there waiting, could this match be possible so quickly.
Some people would say that China has a very large population and thus their reserve stock is also huge. However this argument does not hold in medicine. A moment ago Doctor Wang said that it is best if the organ is freshly taken out, then immediately matched up to the recipient of the organ. This way the success rate would be higher. If you wait more than 24 to 48 hours, then the success rate would be very low. Thus, on this issue I think it is a reverse matching process in China. In other words, if a foreigner goes there to get a transplant, there would be many, many organs choices for you to pick from.
Correspondent: Surely this is very abnormal.
Pang Yubin: Yes! For this to occur it must be a huge organ bank. Let us talk in medical terms what organ bank means. In reality, it means that there is a large population of people classed as donors, any one of whom, if they are deemed a match with a potential recipient, would have their organs taken out, while still alive.
Correspondent: That is why they can, in a very short period of time, like the internet advertisement promises, guarantee organ transplant within two weeks.
Pang Yubin: Therefore this bank is very large, and we know organs are not something that can be stored for a long time. Generally, once taken out, if it isn't handled properly, then the organ would soon commence to deteriorate. In time, the cells of the organ would no longer be viable and the transplant would be impossible. Therefore, you must perform the transplantation quickly. Then, for this rapid process to be possible, the reserve bank should be very large and they all need to be living people, isn't that right?
In organ transplants, there is also a very sensitive moral and ethical problem. In China it is acknowledged that organs can be harvested from death-row prisoners after execution. In order to do this, the operation to remove the organ must occur very rapidly after the execution has taken place or when the prisoner is deemed to be "brain-dead". However, the reality is that such organs are taken from people that are actually still alive.
Then there is a moral ethical question. Has this person really died or not? In reality, I've read reports in China of its cruelty. A doctor wrote about the transplantations which he participated in while he was in Harbin. He took this prisoner to the hospital and killed him in the hospital. Then the doctor immediately took the organs out for them to be transplanted. It gets a bit more gruesome. Normally, they would strike the patient in such a way as to kill him by say, damaging the brain stem. However, they often strike the patient in other ways so as to just render them unconscious and then proceed to remove the organs. In this scenario, the patient is not dead, raising serious ethical and moral dilemmas. Fundamentally speaking, they are still alive when the organs are transplanted.
Correspondent: Some people have doubted that there are so many Falun Gong practitioners in captivity providing so many organs, and they have doubted that there could be so many hospitals conducting the organ transplant surgeries, because it is believed that only high-level hospital are able to perform this procedure.
Wang Wenyi: I want to make it clear that the subject under discussion today should not merely be the matter of illegal organ transplants, but rather how live organ harvesting is one of the methods being used by the CCP to persecute Falun Gong practitioners to death. Actually, the problem is essentially not organ transplantation from a medical perspective, but the fact that Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted over the past six years. We all know of some horrifying cases.
The point is that today, the persecution has been escalated to such an inhuman extent that so many people have been locked up in one hospital with no choice but to wait for heir gruesome death—to die while having the organs cut from their still-conscious body. This method of profiteering and extermination is unconscionable. I believe our audience now probably understands that we are not discussing how to transplant organs, but revealing to the entire world to what horrible extent the CCP has been persecuting Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Correspondent: Doctor Pang, just now you mentioned something called "opposite matching." This concept is quite new and unfamiliar [to us], could you give us some examples?
Pang Yubin: Sure. "Opposite matching" is a term that I coined. First I'll give you an example of "positive matching," a medical term that has to do with organ transplant surgery. In the U.S., for every organ that is donated, there are tens of thousands of patients waiting for it, hoping that it matches their blood type criteria. Any one of these thousands of patients would be extremely lucky if the organ was their match. In the U.S. in 2000, there were fifty thousand patients who were waiting for kidneys at that time and only five thousand people who could actually provide their organs. That year, 5,700 [patients] died because they were not able to find any donor who matched. The level of technology in the US is very high: patients can dialyze in order to prolong their lives. Under such fine medical condition, there were still 5,700 [patients] who died.
Therefore, the fact that in China a patient who needs organ transplantation can be matched within a few days to two weeks shows that the stock [of organs or live human beings] must be extremely large. Such a large stock implies that the facts already revealed are probably only a drop in the ocean. Based on the numbers, we expect to discover an even wider network of organ harvesting. I have just emphasized that these organs cannot be frozen. People might think organs are stored until they can be used. But frozen organs do not work by any means!
Modern human science has not been able to overcome the problem of organ defrosting. You could freeze organs, but the defrosting process would need to be done in an instant. Modern science has not yet achieved this. At this point, no organ can possibly be used after freezing and defrosting. Therefore, only fresh organs work, which requires the [organ] donor and the acceptor to be operated upon simultaneously.
So, under such situations, you can imagine how large this stock should be. According to the current situation, I believe it is definitely not just six thousand Falun Gong practitioners, but a much greater number. [The organ transplantation operations] are conducted all over China, even village and town hospitals are doing kidney and liver transplantation surgeries—you can imagine on what a large-scale operation this is.
Correspondent: If there is such a great source of organs in China, then who are qualified to perform these operations?
Wang Wenyi: From a technical perspective, the most common organ to be transplanted is the kidney, second is the liver; heart transplant has also become more frequently performed these past years. The most general and earliest was transplant of skin and corneas. Skin transplant operations are performed by surgeons or dermatologists. Cornea transplant is performed by specially trained oculists in the department of ophthalmology abroad. Such training normally starts after someone graduates and lasts for at least four to six years. Kidney and heart transplant procedures require five to eight years of training at the minimum.
Correspondent: What is the current situation in China then?
Wang Wenyi: In China, we have seen on some CCTV programs some cases of transplant abuse. For example, one incident that recently occurred at Guangdong Yanling Hospital. Under usual circumstances, only first-class hospitals are allowed to conduct transplant operations. But currently in China, third-class hospitals and even village or town hospitals, as Doctor Pang just mentioned, are doing kidney transplant operations. At Yanling Hospital, it was found that even a plastic surgeon is performing kidney transplant operations.
Correspondent: Today, we have talked about this incident from a medical perspective. As more and more of facts are revealed, I believe more witnesses will stand out and more evidence will be exposed. We will continue reporting on this issue. Thank you!