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July 7, 2006 3:01 PM   Subscribe

China is reported to be harvesting organs from Falun Gong members without their consent. Elsewhere, to increase the numbers of donated organs, the organ donation system is opt-out rather than opt-in for the entire population.
posted by DataPacRat (47 comments total)

 
Have they ever actually proved that we're buying organs from there?
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2006


At least they wait for the person to die before harvesting the organs, right?
posted by birdherder at 3:07 PM on July 7, 2006


birdherder: from the first link: "...organs from alleged Falun Gong prisoners are promised to prospective buyers within as little as a week...", "...a Chinese surgeon who allegedly removed the corneas from 2,000 euthanized Falun Gong prisoners over a two-year period..."

('Euthanized' is the new 'executed'?)
posted by DataPacRat at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2006


"At least they wait for the person to die before harvesting the organs, right?"



Apparently they aren't according to the allegations. It's China, nothing shocks me about them anymore. But please keep selling us cheap trinkets and we won't do anything to your country.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2006


This Sunday's NYT is supposed to have some huge story by the Freakonomics guys about the organ trade. They just announced it on their blog.
posted by mathowie at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2006


They'd better be careful with all those clockwise-spinning organs...
posted by interrobang at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2006


Elsewhere, to increase the numbers of linked pages, manditory Google News searches, Everything2, and Wikipedia links are becoming opt-out instead of opt-in.
posted by Plutor at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2006


Opt-out?! Damned spammers organ harvesters!
posted by Mr. Six at 3:15 PM on July 7, 2006


Plutor: Well, if there was a Project Gutenberg copy of Niven's story, I would have linked to that, too... What else would you /want/ me to have linked to?
posted by DataPacRat at 3:16 PM on July 7, 2006


$170,000 for a pair of lungs! Highway robbery!
posted by mr_roboto at 3:31 PM on July 7, 2006


Obviously it's bad to kill people and harvest their organs, but what's with the prudishness of selling organs?

I mean when an organ gets transplanted, everybody makes money except the donor. The doctors, the hospitals, the people who haul the stuff around, the insurance companies, why shouldn't the donors or the donors family get any money?
posted by delmoi at 3:32 PM on July 7, 2006


delmoi: In the case of executed prisoners in China, the state (or, at least, local corrupt government official) gets the money, and the family nothing (or, at worst, get imprisoned themselves for being related to a prisoner).
posted by DataPacRat at 3:33 PM on July 7, 2006


A week ago, I lost a friend of some 25 years. He was waiting for a heart to become available for him. If you needed an organ, you would buy (get) one, no questions asked. In Bridgeport, Ct, a guy was arrested for trying to deal in organs. It seems there is a lucrative trade that moves them from China to Thailand and other countries and then, often, to the US. Recall that but a short time ago, a funeral home was found to be sellling body parts instead of cremating the bodies they were paid to cremate? That was in the US, not China.
posted by Postroad at 3:34 PM on July 7, 2006


Sorry, delmoi, I somehow missed your first paragraph. . Voluntary selling, I have nothing personally against... of course, I'm rather distant from most political charts, being a libertarian monarchist.
posted by DataPacRat at 3:35 PM on July 7, 2006


Larry Niven's "organlegging".... like so many SF concepts, coming true.
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2006


So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
posted by mr.marx at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


(oops, I JUST NOW saw the title. Nemmind.)
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2006


Elsewhere, to increase the numbers of donated organs, the organ donation system is opt-out rather than opt-in for the entire population.

Well that's inarguably a good thing. Killing some religous people to harvest their kidneys, not so much.
posted by jack_mo at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2006


I like the idea of making organ donation opt-out rather than opt-in.
posted by sophist at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2006


Awesome! I'm heading out to the dollar store for a set of lungs!
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2006


inarguably, eh?
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:56 PM on July 7, 2006


BTW, I'm pretty sure that organ donations it's Opt-out even in Italy.
posted by darkripper at 4:11 PM on July 7, 2006


If you get Falun Gong corneas will you be able to see god?
posted by srboisvert at 4:42 PM on July 7, 2006


Will Falun Gong organs make you fly or cure your cancer?
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:13 PM on July 7, 2006


I want me some of them Falun Gong legs. They have a protest around the corner from where I work every week and they're out there, standing for hours. They must have some pretty strong legs.

Seriously though, I don't know what to make of Falun Gong. From what I've seen and what I've read they seem like just another cult of whackos. That dosen't make what the Chinese Government is allegedly doing to them right.

I engaged one of the afforementioned protestors in conversation once. I asked if Falun Gong had any political ambitions. I figured that might be one possible motive behind what the Chinese Government is apparently doing to them. They said no, they don't. Fair enough, but then I've seen a lot of politicians asked if they have leadership ambitions and pretty much all of them say "no, I just want to serve my constituents." One day though... BAM! They're a leader.

You see my problem though, right? It's like who do I believe? The oppressive government or the apparent religious nutjobs? I get the feeling that the real truth of the matter here is less of a struggle between outright 'good' or 'evil' and is more steeped in shades of grey.

Thanks for the link, though. I had a bit of a lose end today; wasn't sure what to do. Now I think might do some more reading on this, to try and educate myself some more. Cheers.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2006


When will these be available at Wal-Mart? I could use a third eye.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sounds like Monty Python's liver transplant sketch is more of a documentary now.
posted by chef_boyardee at 7:26 PM on July 7, 2006


Half the folks here would probably love to start doing that with activist Christians.
posted by HTuttle at 7:32 PM on July 7, 2006


Never you worry. It'll soon be the christians doing it to the atheists and jews.
posted by nlindstrom at 7:53 PM on July 7, 2006


I get the feeling that the real truth of the matter here is less of a struggle between outright 'good' or 'evil' and is more steeped in shades of grey.

I agree, there's a lot of gray area in the ethics of killing people in order to harvest their organs and sell them to other people. Who's to say what's right or wrong?
posted by spacewaitress at 9:38 PM on July 7, 2006


Half the folks here would probably love to start doing that with activist Christians.
posted by HTuttle at 7:32 PM PST


Doing what?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:38 PM on July 7, 2006


See also China's mobile execution chambers:
Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China "promotes human rights now," says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van in which "Devil" Zhang took his final ride.
posted by spacewaitress at 9:44 PM on July 7, 2006


If you needed an organ, you would buy (get) one, no questions asked.

Speak for yourself.

I'd rather die an honorable person than live by directly causing and paying for someone else's untimely death. There may not be many people like me, I accept that. But we do exist. Not everyone is a bloodthirsty asshole.

And I guess this is great for the families of the executed Chinese prisoners - I remember reading that back in the old days of firing squads, the family would get a bill for the bullets used. No more of that, I guess. Maybe they can charge them for the syringes now?
posted by beth at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2006


Spacewaitress: I don't condone what China is, reportedly, doing. If they are harvesting organs from Falun Gong people, that is wholeheartedly wrong and disgusting.

My argument about shades of gray was about a seperate, but related, question as to why the Chinese government is persecuting these people. I was mulling over whether FG is to be taken entirely at their word, or whether they are doing something that is illegal, insofar as it its illegality is relatable to we who live outside of China. And to be clear, by that I mean something other than just existing, a 'crime' which I understand is something the Chinese Government would probably commit such atrocities over.

Please don't try to twist my words again in the future. kthnx.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:35 PM on July 7, 2006


Falun Gong could counter this by deliberately infecting themselves with hepatitis C.
posted by jamjam at 11:53 PM on July 7, 2006


Pursuant to jamjam's notion, I thought I remembered reading recently that they only take organs from non-smokers, so perhaps taking up smoking is another useful strategy to limit organ harvesting.
posted by beth at 3:16 AM on July 8, 2006


inarguably, eh?

I can't believe I used that word on MetaFilter, where everything is arguable! Still, I'm yet to hear a convincing argument against opt-out organ donation.
posted by jack_mo at 3:46 AM on July 8, 2006


mr_roboto writes "$170,000 for a pair of lungs! Highway robbery!"


Yeah robbery, it's a pair of coal infested, cigarette used chinese lungs. Yet hey , do you prefer suffering and death ? :D ! Welcome to the free market, in which I am free to do the fuck I like.
posted by elpapacito at 6:12 AM on July 8, 2006


I was mulling over whether FG is to be taken entirely at their word

I was wondering the same thing. Are there any reports of this happening to non-FG prisoners? Are there any reports that can be traced back to a non-FG source within China?

This document appears to be the Canadian report by Kilgour and Matas. Frankly, I'm a little dismayed at how much of the material here is referenced back to either clearwisdom.net, an FG website, or the Epoch Times, an FG news organization.

I have no doubt that the Beijing government is capable of brutality--but my trust level in Falun Gong is pretty low as well.
posted by gimonca at 8:12 AM on July 8, 2006


And, for what it's worth, U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China: Repression of Falun Gong, reports of organ harvesting still worry officials at the U.S. State Dept. Use your own judgment.
posted by gimonca at 9:08 AM on July 8, 2006


Evil, stupid cult vs. evil, stupid government. No matter who wins, we all lose.
posted by darukaru at 10:19 AM on July 8, 2006


There have been a few reports on this topic - largely sourced from Falun Gong-run papers like the Epoch Times. There's been no evidence offered for the Sujiatun 'death camp' that FG claims, and nobody with any kind of serious credibiilty buys those claims. It's not impossible that prisoners' organs are making it out onto the market (though the central government here recently passed a law making it illegal), but there's certainly nothing along the lines of the systemmatic holocaust that Falun Gong claims. Remember, these guys are cultists - the fact that a lousy government is oppressing them doesn't make them any less crazy.
posted by bokane at 11:34 AM on July 8, 2006


gimonca: I watched the press conference where this was released.. The Canadian report sourced a lot of the information themselves, by having their researchers directly contact prisons and detention centres. While Falun Gong has its share of nutjobs, this isn't the only source of information for these reports.

Also, the Bodyworks exhibition? Probably Falun Gong members. There exist multiple double-blind protections so they can't say either way, but where else would you get many young Chinese bodies?
posted by theducks at 4:38 AM on July 9, 2006


Message Board related to the Von Hagen exhibit and related ones at snopes.com, some posts with links to related articles. Note that there appears to be more than one plastination exhibit making the rounds.
posted by gimonca at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2006


Public Relations response from Von Hagen. Needless to say, he's not happy about what's being charged. The Guardian weighs in with an article that might be too short to untangle all the details.
posted by gimonca at 10:02 AM on July 9, 2006


Previously on Mefi, and even earlier.
posted by gimonca at 10:05 AM on July 9, 2006


And more stuff, this material originally from the NYT.
posted by gimonca at 10:13 AM on July 9, 2006


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