A Courtenay lawyer who spent many years in China does not believe the country will stop a long-standing practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners, as announced Jan. 1.
“It’s a total crock,” said Clive Ansley, who lived and worked in China for 14 years.
“China likes to do this every few years. When they get bad publicity, they announce something. Don’t expect any change.”
He says Huang Jiefu, China’s former vice-minister of health and the main person in charge of organ transplantations, had committed to stopping it when pressured by various groups a few years ago.
“This is at least the third time that they have committed to end it,” Ansley said. “Until 2006, they didn’t even admit they were using organs from executed prisoners.”
In 1988, China enacted laws on organ transplants that required all prisoners who donate must give written consent — which he said was attacked by international agencies on the premise that a prisoner under a death sentence is hardly in a position to give any form of consent.
Ansley notes aspects of Chinese culture that believe the body is a gift from parents not to be defiled. But he also notes massive numbers of transplants take place each year for “international organ tourists.” A heart, for instance, sells for six figures.
“It’s a massive, big industry, and there’s no source except prisoners,” Ansley said, noting also that a growing percentage of executions take place in hospitals to facilitate immediate harvesting.
“It took us years to get the evidence, to get it to politicians. It’s just now so well documented, it can’t be denied.”