Before there can be a breakthrough in scientific research, it is not surprising for scientists to experience numerous failed experiments. While there are science experiments that we should applaud for making human lives better, there are some that we shouldn’t encourage, like these Chinese science experiments below.
1. Genetically edited human babies
On Nov. 25, 2018, MIT Technology Review first reported that a group of scientists from the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Shenzhen are creating genetically edited babies.
The next day, He Jiankui, the scientist behind the project, told the Associated Press that the first gene-edited babies, later revealed to be twin girls named Lulu and Nana, had already been born in that same month.
He, an associate professor at SUST, told the audience at Human Genome Editing Summit, held at the University of Hong Kong on Nov. 28, 2018, that a gene-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 was used to alter the girls’ embryonic genes. He claimed it was to make the girls immune to contracting HIV (the girls’ father was HIV positive while their mother was not).
The news was soon met with international outcry with many questioning the ethics of the research.
The organizing committee of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing also issued a statement condemning He’s research.
“Even if the modifications are verified, the procedure was irresponsible and failed to conform with international norms,” said the organizers.
Soon after, Chinese authorities ordered a halt to the research and started an investigation, even though the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) state-run media, the People’s Daily, had initially reported favorably of He’s work.
A couple who had withdrawn from the experiment because they didn’t want to be “lab rats” later told LifeWeek magazine that they were promised a chance to “select the best from a number of genetically edited zygotes and embryos to have a healthier and smarter baby,” per Asia Times.
Moreover, if anything went wrong, He’s team would help “dispose of any unwanted, unhealthy outcome.”
Is this a medical achievement or a step towards producing “designer babies?”
2. Head transplant
As disgusting as this term sounds, a head transplant has indeed taken place. But of course, as of now, it was performed only on animals and the dead, not on living humans … yet.
In January 2016, New Scientist reported that Chinese surgeon Ren Xiaoping led a head transplant on a monkey in China, neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero of Italy said. The experiment was sponsored by the Chinese regime.
My friend and partner Prof. Xiaoping Ren from Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China, is talking about the first…
“The monkey fully survived the procedure without any neurological injury of whatever kind,” Canavero said, but he added that the monkey was only kept alive for 20 hours after the surgery due to ethical reasons.
Canavero, who claimed that he had performed successful head transplants on mice and human corpses, told the world that the next head transplant on a living human being would be “imminent.”
Prof. Sergio Canavero, M.D.Photo: OOOM AGENCY / Roland Unger / www.ooom.agency / firstname.lastname@example.org
The announcement was soon met with criticism and skepticism from the medical world.
“Unless Canavero or Ren provide real evidence that they can perform a head, or more appropriately, a whole body transplant on a large animal that recovers sufficient function to improve quality of life, this entire project is morally wrong,” James Fildes, NHS principal research scientist at the University Hospital of South Manchester’s Transplant Centre said, the Independent reported.
“Perhaps far more worryingly, this endeavour appears to revolve around immortality, but in each case a body is needed for the transplant, and therefore a human needs to die as part of the process.”
“I’m very sceptical about this and it’s impossible to know what has been done because there is no published paper,” Frances Edwards, professor of neurodegeneration at UCL, said. “But surely, if this were possible, it would be a whole body transplant rather than a head transplant—after all who would the person be afterwards?”
Even doctors would not want such transplants to happen to them.
“I would not wish this on anyone. I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death,” Dr. Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, told CNN.
Valery Spiridonov, a Russian who suffered from a muscle-wasting disease known as Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, initially volunteered to be the first person for the head transplant. He backed out in 2017, but his decision did not deter Canavero from going ahead with his plan. He ended up finding a Chinese donor or recipient, a detail he would not divulge.
But with getting a Chinese donor or recipient comes the problem of who are these people? Did they really consent to the experiment?
Two experts, Karen S. Rommelfanger, a neuroethicist and assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, and Paul F. Boshears, a scholar of East Asian and comparative philosophy and limited-term assistant professor in the Department of History and Philosophy at Kennesaw State University, shared their concerns with Newsweek after hearing the news.
They think that the surgery “would not appeal” to the Chinese people because “the predominant philosophical and spiritual traditions there would not favor organ donation—let alone brain donation—or any dismantling of the body.”
“It seems unlikely that there is a significant demand for human head transplants in China,” they added.
3. Live organ harvesting
We would all have heard of organ transplants, but what about live organ harvesting? Live organ harvesting refers to the forcible extraction of organs from involuntary “donors,” who have not consented to donating their organs to others.
According to The Epoch Times, a Chinese brain surgeon’s ex-wife, Annie (alias), came forward in 2006 to expose a shocking revelation—surgeons were involved in the forcible removal of 2,000 corneas from Falun Gong practitioners in a concentration camp in Sujiatun, Northeast China.
Introduced to the public in May 1992 in China, Falun Gong, also referred to as Falun Dafa, is an ancient cultivation discipline that is based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and consists of moral teachings and five gentle exercises.
Due to its rapid increase in popularity, the Chinese communist regime outlawed the practice in July 1999, and many of these practitioners were illegally arrested and jailed.
After the arrest, many practitioners were sent to concentration camps, where an unascertainable amount never made it out; their organs were likely forcibly removed while they were still alive, before their bodies were cremated.
Annie said that after hearing this from her ex-husband, she couldn’t accept that he had allowed himself to get involved with this modern medical genocide, and divorced him.
Annie is not the only witness to China’s horrifying organ trade.
A police officer who used to work for the Jinzhou City Public Security Bureau in Liaoning Province, northeast China, told the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) in 2009 that he saw firsthand live organ harvesting taking place.
In a room in the General Hospital of Shenyang Military Command, PLA, two military surgeons removed the heart and kidneys from a female Falun Gong practitioner in her 30s, without the use of anesthetics, NTD reported.
“When the scissor cut into a blood vessel in the heart, she began convulsing, it was extremely terrifying,” he said. “I can imitate her screams, but I am not good at it. Her screams were like something was tearing up, tearing up, and then, ah, ahhh … her mouth was gaping, her eyes popping, mouth gaping. Oh dear … I can’t go on talking about this.”
It was too much for the police officer to bear. After telling the surgeons off for cutting open the screaming lady before his eyes, he was demoted. He eventually left the Public Security Bureau.
Thumbnail Credit: Youtube Screenshot | Sunday Night