Medicine Icon Medicine

Fifteen Science Papers Retracted Over China Illegal Organ Harvesting

Wesley J. Smith

organ harvesting

If you have enough money, need organ-transplant surgery, and are so immoral you are willing for a stranger to be killed so you can have their organs, you can travel to China and buy a liver, heart, or kidney. And you only have to wait maybe a month, you know, the time it takes to find a suitable political prisoner to execute and harvest.

Human-rights activists have castigated China for allowing this organ bazaar for years. Now, knowledge of the dark harvest has led to 15 science papers about organ transplantation being retracted out of fear that they were inhumanely and unethically carried out. From the New Scientist story:

Fifteen studies about transplanted organs by researchers in China have been retracted this month due to concerns the work may have used organs from executed prisoners. Three other papers have been the subject of expressions of concern for the same reason, according to the website Retraction Watch which monitors questions raised over published research.

China’s government said in 2015 that the nation had stopped using organs from executed prisoners, which is illegal according to international conventions. But it is suspected that the practice continues in the country, particularly involving prisoners of conscience.

Based on the recent findings of an independent commission, I don’t think there is any question.

Retracting papers should be just the beginning. Chinese organ-transplant doctors should be barred from international symposia and such events in China should be boycotted, as well as refusing or retracting other honors until the country proves that it no longer countenances kill-and-harvest, whether for sale, research, or otherwise.

I would say that those who participated in the human-rights abuses should be punished in a court of law. But we’re talking China here. Rule of law means little and besides: Communist Party leaders almost surely knew what was (is) going on, so good luck with that.

Photo credit: Jim G, via Flickr.

Cross-posted at The Corner.