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Reports of Organ News in Taiwan

Chinese Medical Doctors Brokering Organ Transplants Will be Banned from Visiting Taiwan
By Wang Chagnmin/ Reporter of the Liberty Times in Taiwan, 10/26/2007

To prevent visiting Chinese medical doctors from illegal solicitation of organ transplants under the cover of scholastic exchanges in Taiwan, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Executive Yuan, announced yesterday that before China’s organ transplantation environment is improved, all the Chinese doctors brokering organ transplants will be banned from visiting Taiwan. For other medical doctors who want to visit Taiwan purely for the purposes of scholastic exchanges, the case will be dealt with separately.

Thorough probe into overseas organ transplants

In addition, the MAC also announced that the Council, along with the Department of Health (DOH), will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegation that some local doctors have been involved in brokering overseas organ transplants. Yang Chiachun, director of MAC’s Department of Legal Affairs indicated that MAC has identified some local doctors involved in brokering Taiwanese patients’ organ transplants in China, and that as long as further evidence is confirmed, they shall be subject to administrative and criminal liabilities. He also said that doctors from three or four local hospitals are suspected of involving in the illegal deals.

Mr. Kuang Qingyuan, Sectionchief of MAC’s Department of Legal Affairs said that as prosecutors are able to exert the power of compulsory disposal to subpoena witnesses and interested parties as well as conduct searches and make seizures, the DOH and the MAC may refer relevant cases to the judicial authorities for further investigation.

Mounting controversies over Organ transplants in China

In view of the fact that Zhu Zhijun, director of the Orient Organ Transplant Center in Tianjin ( conducted assessments of Taiwanese patients prior to their traveling to China for liver transplants during his visit to Taiwan in March 2007, Legislator Tien Chiuchin, together with representatives from human right organizations and officials from the MAC, the DOH, the Ministry of Justice and the National Immigration Agency, held a joint press conference at the Legislative Yuan and called on the government to launch a thorough probe into the reports that local doctors are engaged in illegal brokering of organ transplants between Taiwan and China.

“Were the executed criminals in China really unpardonable or just because transplantable organs are in short supply?” asked Tien Chiuchin. In fact, it has long been a human right controversy that China used organs from death row criminals for transplants. Moreover, the most despicable and horrendous incident were that Falun Gong practitioners were killed and their organs were harvested when they were still alive. The number of victims is hard to calculate, and the Chinese regime has been strongly condemned by international human right organizations. Among the most notorious facilities was the Orient Organ Transplant Center which was renamed from the Tianjin First Central Hospital.

Theresa Chu, an international human rights attorney and Asia Director for American Human Right Association pointed out that Zhu Zhijun is by no means the first Chinese medical doctor coming to Taiwan for solicitation of liver transplants, but she hoped that he would be the last one.

Call on the government to seriously punish medical doctors brokering organ transplants in China

Ms. Chu suggested that Taiwan amend relevant laws as soon as possible and that after having organ transplant operations in China, the patients should report the relevant medical treatments information to the government. As to local medical doctors brokering organ transplants in China, they should be subject to serious punishments by the government, regardless of whether it was free or not.

Yang Chiachun expressed that though China, under mounting international condemnation, promulgated the Regulations on Human Organ Transplantation in May 2007 to ban trade in human organs, it was regrettable that Chinese medical doctors still openly came to Taiwan to solicit local patients seeking organ transplants in China. The MAC would send a letter to its counterpart in China to ask the Chinese regime, pursuant to its Regulations on Human Organ Transplantation, to seriously punish Zhu Zhijun and several other Chinese doctors for their illegal acts in Taiwan.

Doctors acting as organ transplant brokers subject to penalties: DOH
By Deborah Kuo, 10/29/2007  (CNA)

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) - Taiwanese doctors who are found to have helped solicit local patients seeking organ transplants in China are subject to legal penalties, an official with the Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Hsueh Jui-yuan, director of the DOH Bureau of Medical Affairs, said such doctors could be disciplined for violation of medical ethics. The penalties, depending on the seriousness of the violation, range from an official reprimand to having their licenses to practice revoked, he added.

Hsueh made the remarks at a news conference held at the Legislative Yuan by ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin who alleged that China might have become the world's "organ transplant supermarket."

Pointing out that many international human rights organizations have expressed concern about China's frequent execution of prisoners, Tien implied that many of those executed -- many of whom were reportedly young and strong -- might be executed for their organs rather than as punishment for their crimes.

Tien claimed that a "young and strong" executed prisoner would be worth about NT$5 million (US$154,320) if his organs were to be removed and sold to Taiwanese patients.

Tien also alleged that China has offered "organ transplant tourism" packages, soliciting Taiwanese citizens seeking organ transplants in China, taking only two or three weeks to match patients with suitable organs and make other relevant arrangements.

The DOH has instructed that a probe be conducted into reports of a Chinese doctor coming to Taiwan to solicit local patients seeking liver transplants in China, DOH officials said.

The Taipei-based Liberty Times reported Oct. 24 that Zhu Zhijun, director of the organ transplant center of the Tianjin First Central Hospital, came to Taiwan in March and conducted assessments in the company of two Taiwanese doctors on liver disease patients waiting to travel to China to get transplants. The Tianjin hospital is touted as the biggest liver transplant center in Asia.

Hsueh said the DOH has instructed the Taipei city government Department of Health to conduct a thorough probe into the matter, including who were the two Taiwanese doctors who reportedly accompanied Zhu during his visit in Taiwan.

He added that Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, which invited Zhu to come to Taiwan, should also be dealt with according to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the people of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

Also speaking at the Legislative Yuan session, Yang Chia-chun, director of the Legal Affairs Department under the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council, said that doctors from three or four Taiwanese hospitals are suspected of having served as brokers between Taiwanese patients and Chinese organ suppliers. He added that the investigations into those cases are continuing.

Illegal organ transplants to be punished: The Mainland Affairs Council
CNA, October 26, 2007

TAIPEI, Taiwan - All those involved in the illegal solicitation of organ transplants, reportedly connected to a visit by a Chinese medical doctor to Taiwan earlier this year, will be punished if the results of an investigation confirm the report, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said yesterday.

The council has also asked the Cabinet-level Department of Health to investigate whether the organization that invited the Chinese medical doctor to Taiwan, and the doctor himself, were involved in other illegal medical practices during his stay in Taiwan, the official noted.

The remarks came after the Taipei-based Liberty Times recently reported that Zhu Zhijun, director of the organ transplant center of Tianjin First Central Hospital in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, visited Taiwan in March under the cover of medical exchanges, but instead conducted assessments of liver disease patients in the company of two Taiwanese doctors with a view towards traveling to China for a transplant.

The Tianjin hospital is touted as the biggest liver transplant center in Asia.

If the reports are confirmed, Zhu could face a prison term of between six months and five years should he ever return to Taiwan, and if the Taiwanese doctors who helped Zhu are found to have engaged in the sale of human organs they could be disciplined for violating medical ethics and have their licenses to practice revoked.

Meanwhile, the council warned the Taiwanese public of the possibility of violating Chinese laws by having liver transplant surgeries in China, the official said.

The Chinese government outlawed the sale of human organs in May and will issue huge fines to those who violate the laws, the official said.

In addition, violators will face criminal prosecution as Chinese laws require that a written approval be obtained from the organ donor and the organ transplant surgery be conducted only at third-class, first-grade hospitals, a category equivalent to Taiwan's top grade medical centers, the official went on.

Despite the Chinese government's efforts, the official said that the illegal trade in human organs remains rampant and that organs often come from unknown donors.

International media outlets have also reported that Beijing often illegally harvests organs from executed prisoners or Falun Gong practitioners for transplant, the official said, urging the public to beware of possible moral and human rights violations in receiving organ transplant in China.

The MAC urged locals who intend to receive such transplants in China to consult Taiwanese hospitals first and to work through legal channels, the official said.

Copyright © 2007 The China Post.
All rights reserved.

Taiwanese Unwittingly Become Accomplices in the Illegal Organ Harvesting in China
By Wang Changmin/ Reporter of the Liberty Times, Taiwan, 10/30/2007

“What kind of country does Taiwan intend to build?” asked solemnly Legislator Tian Qiujin. She continued, “If we kept silent about the atrocity of killing or organ-harvesting that occured in our neighborhood today, we children might eventually take it for granted and follow suit.”

In July 2007, China’s Ministry of Health announced that Taiwanese will be regarded as Chinese citizens and, like people in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwanese are entitled to the priority of having organ transplants in China. The Ministry’s announcement also stated that, in principle, China would not accept organ transplants for foreigners except for emergency. Taiwanese are very likely to become the biggest group of buyers for “the supermarket of human organs in China”.

Tien stressed that although doctors have responsibility to rescue their patients, they ought to understand the serious human rights infringement, ethical considerations as well as the profit entanglement that may involve in having organ transplants in China. In response to Tien’s interrogation, Mr. Hsueh Juiyuan, director of Bureau of Medical Affairs, Department of Health, indicated that the Bureau would enhance the awareness of the seriousness of this matter among medical doctors.

Falun Gong Practitioners Are Suspected as the Organ Source in China

Theresa Chu, an international human rights attorney and Asia Director for American Human Right Association pointed out that according to investigations, many none death-row criminals in China were blood tested and given a number respectively right after being imprisoned, and the their tissue matching data were stored in an exclusive database. Once their tissue matched with that of domestic or foreign organ buyers, they would be executed after their identities were tampered with to harvest their internal organs for transplants.   

What’s more horrendous is that according to a report of the investigation conducted by Canadian independent investigators, from 2000 to 2005, on average there were about 1,600 death row criminals being executed per year, but the number of organ transplants in that same period of time was as high as over 41,500. As the sources of these organs were unknown, it was very likely that these organs were forcibly harvested from Falun Gong practitioners.

Yesterday, Tien Chiu-chin showed a photo of a Falun Gong practitioner being executed by the Chinese Communist regime several years ago, which had dubious surgical scars over his chest as if he had been forcibly dissected to harvest his organs before he died. She added that after the organ-harvesting incident was exposed, the Chinese authorities did not allow Falun Gong practitioners’ family to claim their corpses, and the bodies were incinerated on the spot so as to eliminate evidence of the atrocities.

Tien Chiu-chin said that when the Nazi Germany’s holocaust was first exposed, few people believed it, which was similar to the current scenario that many people don’t believe that the Chinese regime would arbitrarily kill innocent people. Ms. Tien hoped that this horrendous tragedy would never happen again, and she urged Taiwanese people must not become apathetic toward this incident; otherwise, they would be tantamount to accomplices.

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