The first World Transplant Congress (WTC) was held from July 22 to July 27 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., the place where the world's first transplant operation was conducted in 1954. The 2006 WTC was the largest conference in organ transplant history and was held by three of the world's largest transplant associations. Over 5,000 experts from around the world attended the conference.
Doctors in attendance at the conference discussed various aspects of organ transplanting, including improving the organ transplant success rate, identifying causes and treatments of immune rejection, and so on. Organ transplant ethics was also a hot topic.
Morality Plays an Important Role in Organ Transplants
The biggest challenge for organ transplants in the western world is the shortage of organ donors. As the number of patients waiting for organs always exceeds that of donors, a patient has to wait for a long time for an organ. In US, the average waiting period is five years. Forty percent of the patients die before the organs arrive. So, how soon the organ is available is essential to patients' lives as well as the results of the operations.
Experts from the transplant associations discussed whether providing financial incentives to encourage organ donations or allowing patients to receive transplant operations in other countries are ethically justifiable means to shortening the waiting period.
Professor Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, stated his reasons against paying organ donors and allowing organ transplant tourism. He pointed out that without a consistent bioethical and legal ground between nations, allowing patients to receive transplants in other countries would only promote confusion in the management thereof. Prof. Caplan said some countries have no legal and ethnical regulations for organ donations. So, in these countries, organs are harvested from unwilling prisoners and traded on the black markets. His criticism was that in these countries a healing process like an organ transplant has been linked with the black market and made into a crime.
The Crime of Organ Harvesting
Being a doctor myself, I was deeply touched by western doctors' speeches. In the western world where people enjoy democracy and freedom, a patient's position on the waiting list is decided by various factors such as the severity (of the illness), timeliness, cross-categorization, and so on. But in communist China, money decides the time and quality of the organ transplants.
In the past few months, I have traveled to many places to speak about organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at various institutes, universities and conventions. During my travels I made many acquaintances with people who know what is happening in China. The cruelty they had experienced is far beyond imagination.
Military hospitals in China have benefited the most from organ trading. These hospitals have been providing organs and operations for the CCP leaders, and trying hard to attract Chinese patients from overseas. Before the Chinese government started persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, I went back to China several times and visited some friends in military hospitals such as the 301st Military Hospital, the 309th Military Hospital, and the Navy General Hospital. I noticed at that time how luxurious and well equipped each of these hospitals was.
For example, some military hospitals in Guangzhou City and Chongqing City are equipped with rooftop helicopter pads. These hospitals could command military vehicles guarded with fully-armed soldiers. This is an open secret in China.
An ex-transplant surgeon from China, now a western pathologist, described how he witnessed the organ harvesting of an executed prisoner. He told me that before the prisoner was shot, the surgeons, waiting to harvest his heart, painted a target on the prisoner's back to protect his heart. The prisoner was shot once in his right lung. He was then immediately carried into a waiting van where the doctors provided him with oxygen and blood transfusions to keep his heart "alive" before it was taken out.
Getting a signature on the necessary documents is absolutely not a problem; they can easily find someone, anywhere to sign it. The amorphousness of the diagnostic criteria for brain and heart related deaths becomes a green light for live organ brokers and corrupt doctors who disregard moral principles in pursuit of profit
One should pay special attention to the changing way in which the CCP implements the death penalty, where about 40 percent of these prisoners are now executed in a large vehicle. According to USA Today, a weekly magazine, on June 14, 2006, the Chinese Communist Party's Judicial Departments began using a lethal injection that involves a mixture of several drugs capable of killing a person within a minute. Why did the CCP choose this method of execution? An official in charge of the Hong Kong branch of Amnesty International pointed out that this method is better for organ removal.
The staff members of the civilian and military hospitals controlled by the CCP have developed a much distorted sense of humanity. Doctors are supposed to follow an ethical code where they help to preserve and save people's lives, but this ideology has been challenged by the theory of money worship under the influence of the CCP's culture. This has transformed these doctors, both intentionally and unintentionally, not only into victims but also into criminals against humanity.
Especially during the past seven years, some doctors have been actively or passively involved with the exterminatory persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP. Those who were involved were tricked by, and agreed with, the CCP's demonising propaganda against Falun Gong. These same people then threw away their humanity by removing the organs of Falun Gong practitioners. They have committed the most atrocious crime against humanity in the 21st century.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2006, Canadian Independent Investigator, David Kilgour, conducted a seminar at a hotel conference room opposite the WTC's meeting room. 170 people participated in the discussion. Many transplant surgeons were present, as well as several executives from the WTC. Mr. Kilgour was interviewed by journalists and the chief editors of several medical magazines. Mr. Kilgour and his partner, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas analyzed 18 different types of evidence and came to the conclusion that the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners is indeed taking place in labor camps under the control of the CCP. The once silent room was soon filled with active discussions of the topic at hand. Their human consciences were shocked by this most horrible crime.
Outside the conference room, more doctors and participants gained an understanding of what is taking place in China and obtained the independent survey reports written by Mr. Kilgour from Falun Gong practitioners who were peacefully demonstrating outside.
During the meeting, renowned human rights attorney, Terri Marsh, on behalf of all Falun Gong practitioners and their families who have been victims of the organ harvesting in China, presented the case to the Prosecutor's Office of the state of Massachusetts on July 24, against three doctors in China who have been identified as having been involved with organ harvesting. The three doctors are Cheng Zhonghua, head of the Organ Transplant Research Institute of the Wuhan Tongji Hospital; Zhu Tongyu, head of the Research Institute of the Organ Transplant Center at the Shanghai Zhongshan Hospital; and Shen Zhongyang, head of the Organ Transplant Centre at the Tianjin Oriental Hospital.
Appeal Outside Conference Awakens Consciences
During the latter portion of the meeting, many participants were asked what they had gained the most from the conference and what they were bringing home.
Members of different professions expressed that they had gained professionally in different ways, but most of the participants mentioned that the appeal of the Falun Gong practitioners and their demonstration outside of the conference had shocked their conscience and their souls.
A surgeon from Sydney Australia exclaimed, "This is a choice between good and evil. As a surgeon, I can't imagine that something as horrible as killing people by removing their organs exists in this world. It is even crueler than the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. 60 years have passed but it seems that we are still not any better. All of the countries are taking off economically and modernizing, but material prosperity cannot replace humanity's conscience and moral responsibility."
Dr. Wang from Southern China said, "I knew that the management for organs is a mess, and sooner or later, it will cause problems, but I actually knew little about the persecution and the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. If there is really some proof of this, then it would mean the end of the CCP. Who will let a regime like this run a country? The CCP will end."
After we left Boston, we received a number of letters from medical organizations and transplant associations expressing their continued concern about what is happening in China, saying that they will bring the appeal of the Falun Gong practitioners to their countries so that more people will know and will stand up to stop the crime and stop the persecution.