July 25, 2006
Chinese body parts are in hot demand, with Western patients sick of long waiting queues and in need of a transplant.
Customers, including dozens of Australians, are prepared to pay up to $US170,000 ($255,700) for a major organ such as a lung or heart.
Earlier this month PM reported on a Canadian human rights study about political prisoners being executed and then harvested for body parts.
It claimed since 2000 almost 40,000 transplants have been carried out using body parts harvested from executed members of the Falun Gong movement.
Former Beijing policeman Sun Liyong says he knows the methods used by Chinese authorities to harvest body parts from prisoners.
Mr Sun now lives in Australia, but during the 1980s he says he was well aware of what was happening to executed prisoners.
"Before the prisoners were executed the Public Security Bureau would go to the detention center and test their blood," he said.
"As far as I know during the period I was a policeman all the organs were harvested by the Friendship Hospital in Beijing."
Records show the Friendship Hospital boasts of an excellent reputation in transplant operations.
"The Beijing Public Security Bureau would notify the Friendship Hospital before they carried out the execution of prisoners," Mr. Sun said.
"The Friendship Hospital would then send an ambulance, and as soon as the prisoners were executed, the police on the spot would put them in a plastic bag and throw them into the van."
Mr Sun says the date and time of the executions were determined by patient demand.
He says once prison authorities had carried out the execution, hospital staff were ready to act.
"And the staff from the hospital would already have everything prepared for the organ harvesting," he said.
Mr. Sun left the police force in 1987, but afterwards he became involved in China's democracy movement.
He was eventually arrested for anti-government activity and spent eight years in prison.
In prison he came across more cases of political prisoners being used for organ harvesting spending
Former diplomat Chen Yonglin defected to Australia last year.
He says it was no big secret in government circles that both criminal and political prisoners were used for organ harvesting.
Mr. Chen says it is as much for political purposes as it is commercial ones.
"In China, especially in modern time, the ethics standard is extremely low. A lot of, you can see that fake products, fake medicine everywhere in China. People just want money," he said.
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons warns Australians against traveling to China to undergo transplants for both medical and ethical reasons.