In Japan, organ donation is almost entirely unheard of, due in large part to a taboo associated with it according to traditional Buddhist beliefs. An organ transplant supposedly makes the body less clean and perfect — an odd mentality to take when you’re talking about replacing a black and diseased kidney with a functioning one. Nevertheless, those who are in dire need of organ transplants tend to die in Japan because there aren’t enough organs to go around.
To fill this need, some shady Chinese entrepreneurs have begun selling cheap and easy organ transplants to Japanese nationals. For $33,000 and a quick hop over to Beijing, a terminally ill patient can be given a second lease on life. The individuals who have gone in for the service have actually been shocked how easy it is, after years of waiting in line on Japan’s over-extended organ recipient list.
But two problems with these organs are emerging. The first is that a good number of organ recipients are dying later due to lack of decent follow-up care. But there’s also the issue of where all these Chinese hearts and kidneys are coming from. The answer is pretty appalling: executed Chinese prisoners. With 8,000 executed prisoners every year in Beijing alone, China is absolutely dripping with organs for sale. Or as the Chinese organ wholesalers are saying:”The donor was able to provide a contribution to society so what’s wrong with that?”
Well, everything, given that a large number of those executed in China aren’t murderers or rapists, but political dissenters. Taking organs off of bloggers who have been shot in the back of the head for expressing their beliefs isn’t humanitarian, it’s depraved and cannibalistic. More over, this reminds us of some Haunt of Fear story we read as kids, where an alcoholic had his liver replaced due to some insane mad-scientist procedure, only to find out the liver was homocidal when it crawled up his throat and strangled him to death.
But what we find saddest about the story is how a religious taboo is preventing the mortally ill in Japan from being treated. Just a reminder to all our readers: seriously consider signing an organ donor card, if you haven’t already.
Japan’s rich buy organs from executed Chinese prisoners [Independent]