What are the Organ Sources of Sun Yat-sen University's Third Hospital?
(Clearwisdom.net) Caijing, a Beijing-based finance and economics magazine, recently published a report revealing a shocking incident in which Zhang Junfeng, deputy chief physician of the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital (located in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province), along with two other doctors at the same hospital, harvested organs from a homeless person in Xingyi City, Guizhou Province. The eviscerated body was later found in a reservoir. One month after the article's publication, Beijing authorities ordered a three-month shut down of the magazine.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Propaganda forbade other Chinese media outlets from following up on this matter. Southern Weekly, a newspaper based in Guangzhou that it had sent reporters to Guizhou to investigate Zhang Junfeng's incident, was ordered not to do any further reporting about this issue. All online forums that posted the Caijing report were forced to remove the article. Shortly afterwards, the relevant web pages on the management of Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital were deleted. The liver transplant operations came to a halt at the hospital and no one knows when they will be resumed. At the same time, Zhang Junfeng has left the hospital and his whereabouts are unknown.
Zhang Junfeng's incident was initially disclosed on the China Organ Transplant Website, which reported on July 22, 2009 that three doctors from Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital went to Guizhou on June 15 to meet with an organ vendor, and that soon afterwards the above-mentioned homeless man was found dead, with all his organs removed. Caijing then sent reporters to Xingyi City to do further investigation. The locals described the 35-year-old homeless man as a good person. One day he was seen having his head and beard shaved and then being taken to a local hospital, where the locals suspect his blood type was checked to see if he was an organ transplant match. Soon afterwards his body was found in a reservoir with all his organs missing. The news shocked this quiet city. Almost all the panhandlers and homeless people in the area were terrified and fled upon learning of this tragedy.
Killing for Organ Transplants
Chen Zhonghua, director of the Organ Transplant Institute at the Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, once told the media that from 2003 to August 2009 there were 130 Chinese citizens that willingly donated their organs after their passing. However, since 2007 there have been around 10,000 organ transplant operations done in China, with no more than thirty organs coming from willing donors. According to Huang Jiefu (an organ transplant physician and minister of the Ministry of Public Health) however, China does not yet have an established organ donation system, and there is no agency to record and provide the number of organ donations.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indicated in a China Daily (English version) article that more than 65% of the organs used in transplants were from death-row criminals. The authorities also apparently doctored the statistics regarding organ transplants, attempting to present a false picture showing that the number of death-row criminals was comparable to that of organ transplants. If organs removed from death-row criminals could indeed meet the demand for organ transplants, then why would the above-mentioned three doctors take the risk of going to a remote city in a different province to harvest organs from a homeless man?
An organ transplant expert who preferred to remain anonymous said, "There is an underground market that provides the majority of organs used in transplant."
In China, the more organ transplant operations a doctor performs, the more well known he becomes in his field and the easier it is for him to get promoted. There are also other material interests involved. Many patients privately give doctors additional money [hoping to get organ transplants done earlier and better]. Moreover, doctors receive a commission from every medical examination they perform and drug they prescribe to patients. Nowadays, morality has gone downhill in China, and it is not uncommon for people to hire hit-men to kill others or buy organs for their transplant needs. No wonder organ transplant doctors got involved in the killing of the homeless man for the purpose of securing his organs.
Layers of Acquiescence to Live Organ Harvest
Zhang Junfeng, 37, is from Dongming County, Heze City, Shandong Province. According to Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital, he specializes in liver, gallbladder and spleen tumors, as well as in liver transplants. Zhang Junfeng, M.D., is able to perform various kinds of complicated liver removals and spleen operations independently. He is a post-doctoral fellow and a deputy chief physician who is an advisor for master students. He is also on the editorial board of Chinese Modern Surgery "Liver Transplant Clinical Research," a project that with Zhang as the principal investigator, won a first-place Ministry of Education Technology Advance Promotion award in 2007.
Zhang Junfeng is a well-educated person who should have known that killing for organs is a crime. Why was he still involved in this? Any presiding physician would certainly inquire about the source when presented with an organ that had no donor information. In the medical community, everyone involved in caring for patients bears responsibility. Anywhere there is a problem, the person responsible for that part of the process should be held liable. If Zhang Junfeng did not have consent from his supervisor, Chen Guihua (director of Liver Transplant Department), and other hospital management, he wouldn't have done such a thing that could ruin his career. Moreover, organ transplants are not easy operations that can be performed in a local factory in Guizhou. Many resources from a regular hospital are needed to conduct such operations.
In China, if a hospital wants to be considered a "Tier Three Best Hospital," (1) it must have a minimum number of organ transplant operations performed each year. Since this tier three title equates to fame and profit, some hospitals will even invite surgeons from other hospitals to come to their facilities to perform organ transplants so they can meet the requirements for a "Tier Three Best Hospital." Take kidney transplants as an example. If the kidney is from a death-row inmate, the patient has to pay 60,000-100,000 yuan from initial examination to hospital admission, and from operation to hospital discharge. Afterwards, the patient has to spend 30,000-100,000 yuan every year on the drugs that help strengthen one's immune system, with the first year being the most costly. After taking into account the cost of medicine, examinations and networking fees to obtain organs, the organ transplant centers and medical staff are certainly turning a profit. In other words, with organ transplant operations, the hospitals earn a profit and everyone on the staff, from the top management to various departments, get a piece of the pie. The whole medical system in China has become a money machine revolving around organ transplants.
After the Zhang Junfeng incident was exposed, Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital and the university, as well as the Guangdong Province Public Health Department have all remained silent on the matter. If this were considered an isolated case, then Zhang Junfeng would have been deemed a criminal suspect and the public health department would have ordered disciplinary actions against the hospital.
However, Zhang Junfeng remains at large and various local government agencies are mum on the issue. Perhaps because Zhang Junfeng knows too much about the whole organ transplant market, the public health department is hesitant to discipline or punish him for fear that more truth could be revealed and even the whole Guangdong medical system would face judgment.
Organ Procurement Breaks World Record
On May 20, 2006, the Southern Newspaper Group website posted an article initially published by Southern Daily, reporting that the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital was able to find a liver and kidney in only one day for patient Ren Zhenchao, who had suffered terrible side effects after being injected with a counterfeit drug made by Qiqihar Second Pharmaceutical Company in Heilongjiang Province. After the hospital urgently decided to look for a donor liver and kidney, they called approximately ten organ transplant centers around the country for help. According to the newspaper, patient Ren's blood type is "O," which is the most difficult blood type for which to find a match. Even though "O" type blood can be transfused to any other person, they can only accept organs from people with the same blood type. Moreover, the liver and kidney had to come from the same donor. Otherwise the patient's body would contain genes from three different people that would repel each other. Unbelievably, in just one day, an out-of-province hospital announced that a matching kidney and liver had been found. Of course, the source of the organs forever remains a secret.
A reporter for a media outside of China recently posed as a patient and called Dr. Lu Guoping of Minzu Hospital in Guangxi Province, regarding its organ transplants. In a recorded telephone conversation, Lu said, "Some of the organs are from Falun Gong practitioners, while others are from deceased people." "If you want a quicker operation, I would recommend that you go to Guangzhou since it's quite easy to secure organs there. They can look for organs across the whole country. When they do a liver transplant for you, they can at the same time secure a kidney for you. It's fairly easy for them."
When the reporter asked about the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University Third Hospital, Lu said, "Every week they do about seven to eight liver transplants and a dozen or so kidney transplants. They do several dozen transplant operations every month and they never worry about sources of organs."
Professor Shao Li of Nottingham University in the U.K. once said, "According to some witnesses, there are at least 36 places similar to Sujiatun Camp. Since the Chinese labor camps began harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in 2000, such atrocities have been going on in various labor camps, prisons, secret camps and relevant hospitals, some of which even indicate on their websites that they guarantee matching liver and kidney in a very short period of time. As is well known, even in the United States where people have great awareness of organ donation, the average waiting time to find matching organs is two to seven years. But in some Chinese hospitals, such as the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University, it's possible to find a matching liver and kidney in just 24 hours."
Chen Guihua, director of the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University, as the chief surgeon, has presided over 1,000 liver transplant operations. In 2005 alone he performed 246 operations. Some people revealed in online blogs, "Chen Guihua got awards every year. As a matter of fact, Sun Yat-sen University appropriates tens of millions of yuan to the Liver Transplant Department for organ purchases, however most purchases are never recorded on the accounting books. Chen Guihua and Yang Yang decide how to use the money."
Since the money received by the Liver Transplant Department was not used to purchase organs, it is obvious that their organs didn't come from the police system or organ vendors, who would require money-based networking to secure organs.
It is very likely that organs used by the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University were from Falun Gong practitioners, which explains why the hospital could obtain a matching liver and kidney in just 24 hours, breaking the world's record. As the truth continues to be exposed, it has become more and more difficult for the Liver Transplant Department in Sun Yat-sen University to find organs from Falun Gong practitioners. As a result, some of their doctors have turned to organ vendors who target homeless people.
In my opinion, the sources of organs used in many transplants are from living people, especially detained Falun Gong practitioners.
(1) In China, hospitals are divided into three tiers according to specified criteria, with tier three being the best category. In each tier, hospitals are again divided into sub-categories, from best to medium to average, etc. "Tier Three Best Hospital" is the highest ranking a hospital can achieve.