Family Members of Organ Harvesting Victims Warned Against Beijing Appeal

June 30, 2008 Updated: July 13, 2008

HONG KONG—China's Human Rights & Democracy Information Center in Hong Kong reported today that two death row inmates from Xinjiang, China had their organs removed by authorities before the execution, to be transplanted for profit. Family members of the prisoners who attempted to petition in Beijing were prevented from going by authorities in Xinjiang, who didn't want the family disturbing the preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Tan Kaizhi, uncle of one of the executed criminals, Tan Haotian, explained that Tan Haotian, Deng Guoyi, Ma Ming, and Liu Shuai were sentenced to death by the court of Changji, Xinjiang, for robbing and murdering a taxi driver in Fukang. All but Liu Shuai were sentenced to an immediate execution.

He said that on July 23, 2003, when the executions were supposed to take place, the prisoner's family members found that only Ma Ming was brought to the execution grounds, while Tan Tianhao and Deng Guoyi were sent to the hospital at Xinjiang's Medical University.

After being anesthetized, Tan Tianhao and Deng Guoyi allegedly had their organs removed. Their families estimated that the court and the hospital stood to profit tens of thousands of yuan from the procedure.

Upon discovering the details of this "execution," Tan Tianhao's family went to Beijing to petition the authorities. On March 20, 2006, Changji's court paid Tan Tianhao's father 50,000 yuan (about US $ 6,500) for "body handling fee." However since what the family sought was detailed information surrounding their son's death and not money, they decided to go to Beijing again.

An official from Fukang city's Political and Law Commission went Tan Tianhao's family's house on June 25, 2008, warning them not to go to Beijing anymore for fear they would disrupt preparations for the 2008 Olympics. The official also told the family that if they do not go to Beijing, they would get more money in name of a "body handling fee."

The Information Center said that although Xinjiang's court is investigating the case under the orders from the State department, two things are certain: One, the two criminals were sent directly to the hospital from the detention center, and two, the organs of the two criminals have been removed and used. What is not known is whether the criminals were injected with anesthetics before the removal of their organs.