For years the international transplant community proceeded under the assumption that China’s organ transplant system would be shifting away from a reliance on prisoner organs, and instead developing its own voluntary donation system.
The matter has been at issue since 2006, after dark revelations emerged about mass, live organ harvesting from practitioners of Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual discipline. Chinese officials said that only prisoners on death row, due for execution, were harvested for their organs. And only after giving consent.
Since then, organizations like The Transplantation Society and the World Health Organization sought out ways to cooperate with China, and were generally careful not to say anything that could be construed as negative about the Chinese Communist Party’s transplant system. International cooperation and progress were the watchwords.
But those efforts seem to have paid off very little indeed, judging by recent remarks by Huang Jiefu, China’s organ czar.