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The BBC's Clive Myrie
"It is sinisterly called organ harvesting"
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The BBC's Rupert Wingfield Hayes
"Wang claims... he was forced to remove the skin from a prisoner who was not yet clinically dead"
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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UK
China fury at organ snatching 'lies'
Doctors perform surgery
Dr Wang said it took 10 to 20 minutes to remove skin
China has denounced a former military doctor who says he removed skin and organs from executed Chinese prisoners that were then sold, sometimes to foreigners.

Ten to 20 minutes was generally enough to remove all the skin from a corpse

Dr Wang Guoqi
The doctor, Wang Guoqi, told the US Congress on Wednesday that he had taken part in nearly 100 such operations during his time in China's People's Liberation Army.

China says the former doctor is making it up to try to gain political asylum in the United States.

Involuntary organ donation is illegal under Chinese law, but critics say Beijing does not enforce the policy.

'Appaling lies'

Without naming the doctor directly, the foreign ministry in Beijing accused him of fabricating appalling lies, although it did not explicitly rebuff the allegation that organs are sometimes removed from executed prisoners.

Chinese prisoner is executed on Anti-Drugs Day
China has a high execution rate
Dr Wang Guoqi told the US Congress that he had removed skin and corneas from nearly 100 executed prisoners.

He said he had operated on at least one prisoner whose execution had been botched and was still breathing during the procedure.

Dr Wang said he felt "deep regret and remorse" over his involvement.

His testimony supports that of Chinese-born human-rights activist Harry Wu, who recently released a report detailing organ harvesting in China.


Mr Wu says rich foreigners pay more than $15,000 for transplants in China.

Chinese born human rights activist Harry Wu
Mr Wu says recipients pay $15,000 for organs
Dr Wang, 38, said the sale of organs netted huge profits for the People's Liberation Army.

He said prisoners selected to be donors were tested before execution for suitability and then shot in the back of the head so as not to damage their heart, liver, kidneys or skin.

"We had to work quickly in the crematorium and 10 to 20 minutes was generally enough to remove all the skin from a corpse," he said.

"Because this system allowed us to treat so many burn victims, our department became the most reputable and profitable" in the province, Dr Wang said.

'Unethical' behaviour

But, he added: "Whatever impact I have made in the lives of burn victims and transplant patients does not excuse the unethical and immoral manner of extracting organs".

The US Congress is considering punitive action against China in light of the reports.

Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, from Florida, has introduced a bill to ban Chinese doctors from receiving transplant training in the US.

An official from the State Department human rights bureau described the alleged organ harvesting as "repugnant".

Asked by Congress if it was possible that reports of the practice were unfounded, the official, Michael Parmly, said the evidence was "overwhelming and growing" and the sources who reported it were "credible and numerous".

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See also:

28 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Global demand fuels human organ trade
26 Jun 01 | Media reports
China executes drug offenders
14 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
China mine boss touts kidney
31 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Surgeons face kidney theft charges
09 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Organ scandal hits Australia
20 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shanghai balks at organ donation
28 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Gaining a kidney from an execution
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