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China Crime Medicine

China Plans To Stop Harvesting Organs From Executed Prisoners 200

Posted by timothy
from the seriously-just-one-more-then-we'll-stop dept.
cold fjord writes "The People's Republic of China continues its long march toward liberalization with two steps forward (And one+ step back?). The BBC reports, 'A senior Chinese official has said the country will phase out the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners from November. Huang Jiefu said China would now rely on using organs from voluntary donors under a new national donation system. Prisoners used to account for two-thirds of transplant organs, based on previous estimates from state media. For years, China denied that it used organs from executed prisoners, but admitted it a few years ago... Human rights groups estimate that China executes thousands of prisoners a year, but correspondents say that the official figures remain a state secret.'"
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China Plans To Stop Harvesting Organs From Executed Prisoners

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  • by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:06AM (#44617027)

    I plan to stop drawing water from my well, once it runs dry.

    I have a suspicion that the "voluntary donor program" means "we're going to shoot you anyway, but we won't charge your family for the bullet if you volunteer to let us harvest your organs."

    • Correct...prisoners in China will now have 2 options... 1) sign up for voluntary donor program with the complementary bullet 2) 48 hours of non-stop Justin Bieber & One Direction with a dull rusty knife, courtesy charge of $199.88 to your family.
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      No, it actually means: "You are going to die, would you rather be executed or undergo a medical procedure?"

    • The US Govt is going to pick this up, just in time for the elections.

      I'm sure the Prison Corporations will be in favor; as well as all the greedy politicians.

      It's not like it's legal, or anything, but Really; when has that stopped them from doing something?

      Welcome to the New World Order; where you ARE Fries with that.

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:06AM (#44617847) Homepage Journal

        The US Govt is going to pick this up, just in time for the elections.

        I'm sure the Prison Corporations will be in favor; as well as all the greedy politicians.

        It's not like it's legal, or anything, but Really; when has that stopped them from doing something?

        Actually, all hyperbole aside, my thoughts were "why are they stopping this and why aren't WE in the US doing this?"

        It sounds like a great idea. If someone is going to die anyway, after exhausting the judicial system (again speaking for the US), why waste these organs that could go to help the many people on the waiting lists?

        It seems a waste to lose such a vital resource that could help the lives of many innocent people.

        Most people are on death row for taking lives unjustly (premeditated murder, etc), why not use this as a method for them to give life to others?

        Seems like it would balance out the karma in life a bit, no?

        • by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:21AM (#44618021)
          People who take lives and have forfeited theirs (if you agree with the idea of capital punishment in the first place) are still humans, with basic human rights. Taking their organs without their permission, or coercing them into "donating" would not pass constitutional scrutiny in the U.S., and would probably be deemed "cruel and unusual."

          We could always amend the Constitution, but while I enjoy Larry Niven's Known Space stories, I wouldn't like to give government an incentive to harvest the organs of citizens. Look at for-profit prisons, which already have a large and powerful lobby. Imagine an organ-trading industry, always hungry for fresh meat.

          And since there's no such thing as "karma", no, that's not a good reason either.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Taking life-saving organs that would otherwise rot and be wasted from a sack of dead meat = cruelty? To the dead meat?

            By the way, while wasteful, shooting a dead cow hung on a hook in a warehouse cannot be called 'animal cruelty', due to the same distinction.

            Granted, if a corpse is to be frozen so that it can one day be repaired and revived, that's a different matter. ...hmm, and by default, perhaps organs would automatically be part of a person's estate, for relatives to sell (after paying inheritance tax

          • by geekoid (135745)

            "People who take lives and have forfeited theirs "
            so all the soldier should die?

            "(if you agree with the idea of capital punishment in the first place"
            I don't anymore. With what we know about the brain no one should. That said, if we are going to have it then it need to meet an even higher bar.

            " "cruel and unusual.""
            How can you be "cruel and unusual." to a dead person?

          • by Immerman (2627577) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @12:54PM (#44621221)

            Actually "karma" means "action" or deed", and the core concept is that the entire cause-and-effect cycle is a single inherently inseparable thing, and when you "create" a cause, you are simultaneously creating all of it's effects. It's somewhat analogous to the concept "you reap what you sow". But in it's originating culture it's a concept fundamental enough to have its own dedicated word. And a nice short one at that - those tend to be culturally important.

            The whole religious "spiritual economy", "you deserve what you get and/or are paying in advance for something great" thing is a cultural thing that grew up around that. I suspect that since for many cases "what goes around comes around" is closely analogous it becomes a convenient place for corrupt priests to hang the old "pie in the sky when you die" trick.

            Your own post espouses the concept - it's not the organ harvesting itself that is the problem, in fact that part seems rather benign to me - get as much good as possible out of this evil. The problem is the the potential consequences that can grow out of it, the perverse incentives it puts in place. "Crime is dropping and we have a shortage of organs? Well let's just retroactively lower the bar a bit as to what constitutes a capital offense, problem solved." That's not necessarily how things would go down, but if you build the system and it is eventually corrupted then the horrors it perpetrates will be in part your doing. Your karma. The responsible being tries to look at least a few steps ahead and create consequences whose net balance is as desirable as possible (by their personal standards) - to create good karma.

            Anyway, as a fellow SF fan I imagine you have a taste for the long vision and thought I'd do my part to share a source of real wisdom I've encountered. Those crazy old Eastern mystics and philosophers were actually pretty on the ball: they managed to take a deeply empowering perspective on our relationship with the cosmos and refine it into a "religion" to guide and shape individuals and society in productive ways, without ever invoking any sort of Authority beyond the individual. Even their rules for Acolytes are a very practical affair: "doing these things will disrupt your training, don't ask the Master to guide you if you're unwilling to follow". Don't let the New Age folks scare you off, every movement has it's groupies. And as groupies go the New Agers tend to be among the most friendly, tolerant, and generous folks you could hope to meet, which I think speaks well of the core philosophy.

          • I would look at it a different way. I do not believe that human rights would be only a part of the reason. Another important reason is that the situation is exploitable. How would you like to be accused of doing something you did not do (a set up) and be given a death sentence, and then your organs are harvested? There are always a loop hole in laws, and laws are not always right. As a result, the false positive cases could intentionally be the exploitation of the system (organ harvest). That said, to me, i

          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            People who take lives and have forfeited theirs (if you agree with the idea of capital punishment in the first place) are still humans, with basic human rights. Taking their organs without their permission, or coercing them into "donating" would not pass constitutional scrutiny in the U.S., and would probably be deemed "cruel and unusual."

            Err..how is that cruel and inhumane? They are dead when you harvest the organs, they feel no pain then.

            No one is saying to harvest the organs while they're still alive [youtube.com]

        • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:23AM (#44618067)

          Are you seriously wondering why they are stopping?

          You seem to be laboring under the mistaken belief that the death penalty is the same there as it is here. In China, they routinely execute political dissidents, politically-active members of disfavored minority groups, thieves, embezzlers, etc. Any trial that occurs is rather perfunctory. Yes, there are your typical death-row murderers and rapists too, but the high-volume organ supply comes from political prisoners, as they are easier to "warehouse" due to being less violent. They have their blood tested after arrest, and then are executed when a customer requires an organ.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            That's a great reason to stop killing but if the are doing it anyways, i seems wasteful.

            "They have their blood tested after arrest, and then are executed when a customer requires an organ."
            haha. You need to stop listening to the crazy train.

            • The Guardian (not exactly a sensational tabloid) had an article about this not too long ago. It included an extensive interview with a doctor that participated.

          • by Qwertie (797303)
            For more information about the organ-harvesting program, watch this [youtube.com].

            [Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D, Director of Medical Ethics, NYU Langone Medical Center:] If you're going to go to China and you're going to get a liver transplant during the three weeks you are there, then that means someone is going to go schedule an execution, blood type and tissue type the potential executee, and have them ready to go before you need to leave.

            [Damon Noto, MD, Spokesman, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting:] Starting at t

        • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:29AM (#44618159)

          It sounds like a great idea.

          So do private prisons. Conflict of interest, anyone? "We need more organs!" "OK, we'll make up some sentences."

        • by rainer_d (115765)

          The US Govt is going to pick this up, just in time for the elections.

          I'm sure the Prison Corporations will be in favor; as well as all the greedy politicians.

          It's not like it's legal, or anything, but Really; when has that stopped them from doing something?

          Actually, all hyperbole aside, my thoughts were "why are they stopping this and why aren't WE in the US doing this?"

          Trial-periods and time spent in prison before execution is much shorter in China.
          In China, the verdict is usually "final" on the spot and execution follows swiftly.
          Most inmates in the US and Europe probably have some sort of infectious disease (from sharing needles, drugs, etc.pp.) that they acquired in the years waiting for the verdict and the appeal and the appeal to the appeal....

        • by N1AK (864906)

          Most people are on death row for taking lives unjustly (premeditated murder, etc), why not use this as a method for them to give life to others?

          Having a voluntary system is one thing, as long as it is genuinely 100% voluntary.

          The issue with any other system is that it offers a perverse incentive to execute more people. It is also immoral in my opinion to treat other people as your property to do with as you please, even in death.

          Ignoring deeper ethics questions it'd also be pretty pointless. Very fe

        • by Grelfod (1222108)

          Because the typical execution of prisoners in America poisons all the organs....
          And the fact that they usually sit in prison for 10 - 30 years waiting for the execution (puts a lot of miles on what may have once been healthy young viable organs)

        • Lol it's bad enough that black people are already disproprotionately executed. Now you want to add a financial incentive to the for-profit prison model by harvesting organs? What could go wrong?

          "Whhhhhhhhhat? You're telling me we could be getting paid for executing black people? Where do I sign up?!"

          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            Lol it's bad enough that black people are already disproprotionately executed. Now you want to add a financial incentive to the for-profit prison model by harvesting organs? What could go wrong?

            "Whhhhhhhhhat? You're telling me we could be getting paid for executing black people? Where do I sign up?!"

            Geez, some people have to play the fucking RACE card at every turn of every conversation.....

        • by tragedy (27079)

          Actually, all hyperbole aside, my thoughts were "why are they stopping this and why aren't WE in the US doing this?"

          It seems like, if you're going to kill people anyway, that there shouldn't be a problem with this. The problem is, are you really going to kill the people anyway? Sure, it might start out that way. Pretty soon though, appeals for prisoners awaiting execution are going to be influenced by arguments that their organs could be saving lives. Same for the criminal trials in the first place. Same with the laws and mandatory criminal penalties, etc. It wouldn't take long for it to become like traffic tickets or ci

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          why? because we actually execute so few people in the US. death row inmates are more likely to die of old age, and ironically have a longer life expectency than those given the big LWP (life without parole...in large part due to death row inmates being held seperately from the rest of the population).

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Seems like it would balance out the karma in life a bit, no?

          No, but having your DNA turn out all over a crime scene you've never been near of because you happen to be compatible with the head investigators sick daughter might. That's something to consider before applauding a scheme that gives the state an incentive to execute as many people as it can. Karma oves irony.

        • by dissy (172727)

          my thoughts were "why are they stopping this and why aren't WE in the US doing this?"

          Because people like you are lying hypocrites whom claim to want this but then turn around and behave like you don't want it.

          Want proof? Ok, I, as someone upset at you, verbally claim you are a rapist and a murderer with no proof what so ever.
          Now that that part is out of the way, you now exactly match the type of person who should be killed for their organs. You just stated people, such as yourself now, deserve to be put to death and your organs given to those who accused them.

          I do fully expect you to hand

  • Sorry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry but morales aside. Why not harvest organs like this that can't be harvested from volunteers (without them dying). Go China.

    Flame on

    • Re:Sorry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Golddess (1361003) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:28AM (#44617347)
      I think one thought is that it creates incentive to push for the death penalty instead of just life in prison. But we'll see if it changes their execution rate (assuming those figures are released).
      • Those figures are not released, but Amnesty International has estimates and will probably monitor it as intensively as they can.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        Here is a recent example [wikipedia.org] of US judges who were caught and prosecuted for sentencing people to unnecessarily long sentences in order to generate profits for a privately-operated prison, in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks paid to the judges.
    • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:11AM (#44618741)

      Sorry but morales aside. Why not harvest organs like this that can't be harvested from volunteers (without them dying). Go China.

      Flame on

      Two problems:
      1. It creates a perverse incentive to execute more people.
      2. It creates a negative stigma for organ donors.
      Getting people to volunteer as organ donors, or even as blood donors, is a big problem in China. Volunteerism is not part of their culture, and giving up part of your body is considered a desecration. Even in America, Asian-Americans, and Chinese in particular, donate organs, and donate blood, at very low rates.
      I donate blood every eight weeks, and my Chinese wife always objects. She insists that I am shortening my life, even though there is plenty of evidence that blood donations are actually good for you [wikipedia.org].

      • by tragedy (27079)

        I thought that when you gave blood only the bad humours were drained out. You should explain that to your wife.

      • by number17 (952777)
        Also, 1/3 of humans with Hepatitis B live in China. That creates problems for donation.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatitis_B_in_China [wikipedia.org]
      • by firex726 (1188453)

        Have a guy at work with that attitude.

        He refuses to give blood, when asked he says "What have they done for me?".
        Never really understood since with blood you're constantly making more of it. It's not like giving up a kidney that will affect you for the rest of your life and you can only do once. Not giving blood is just going to have some of it go to waste eventually; most common worst case is you feel lethargic the rest of the day and need to eat some extra calories/sugar.

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      I agree. How in the world can the original poster say that this is two steps forward? Using organs from executed prisoners is a great idea!

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Sorry but morales aside. Why not harvest organs like this that can't be harvested from volunteers (without them dying). Go China.

      Why exclude Morales? I understand that she felt nothing.

  • Um, why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That is an excellent idea. On top of that, I'd harvest a kidney from everyone with a life sentence or on death row.

    • Re:Um, why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:00AM (#44617761)
      There are many stories about generals who needed an organ so a prisoner incarcerated with a minor offense suddenly changed status to "death row" and was executed within days (no appeal).

      I have no information on the validity of those stories, but once you grant people power there will be those who abuse it. If you don't know it, The Stanford prison experiment [wikipedia.org] may horrify you. There is a reason some experiments are not repeated. These were normal people.
      The Milgram experiment [wikipedia.org] is repeated, although the implications are about as shocking. The psychological damage to the test subjects is less though.
      • by macbeth66 (204889)

        Don't confuse people with facts. This is slashdot.

      • It is also similar to the Prison-Industrial complex in the USA. It is profitable for private companies to imprison people, so lobby for more laws to imprison more people. Except in China the ??? step is "then kill them and harvest organs", before proceeding to profit.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        There are many stories about Bigfoot as well.

        And you need to try to understand the studies you link to.

        The Stanford experiment was a 6 day experiment with very few people that the person doing the experiment participate in. It is, in no way, a valid study.
        The horror is that he didn't go to prison.

        The milgarm experiment link is incorrect:
        ". He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, 61–66 percent, regardless of time or place.[9][

        • Hmm? I'm pretty sure the Milgram experiment was exactly an investigation into the limits to the power of authority. The fact that if joe random tells people to administer a high voltage to someone, they don't do it - well that's not really a surprise. The surprising thing and the reason the experiment is famous is that simply dressing the guy in a lab coat and changing how the instructions are given resulted in people do it at way higher rates than anyone would have expected.

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:10AM (#44617089) Journal

    If these prisoners were serial killers, rapists, murderers and other assorted bad guys, then I fully support using their organs to save lives. I find it poetic justice and a very fitting end for the life of a person who (possibly) killed so many others.

    If these prisoners are political prisoners sentenced to death because they were at Tiannamen Square or oppose communism, then I welcome the end of such barbaric policies.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:16AM (#44617185)

      The problem, of course, is that once a government has this power, the government is the one able to decide who qualifies as a "serious criminal".

      A non-violent revolutionary is much more dangerous (to the state) than a murderer.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        The problem, of course, is that once a government has this power, the government is the one able to decide who qualifies as a "serious criminal".

        A non-violent revolutionary is much more dangerous (to the state) than a murderer.

        Ummmm... somehow I don't think it'll come to a balancing act between criminal/revolutionary... for the simple reason the emergency degree is given by the compatibility with the comrade(s) on the transplant waiting list.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:21AM (#44617247) Journal
      Why is the case history salient when deciding whether or not a dead person's organs should be used?

      The whole 'execution' phase seems like the place where the ethical problems would reside.
      • by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:39AM (#44617515)

        This is a complicating factor: China Admits Selling Prisoners’ Organs [go.com]

        When the state can profit from your death, safeguards are weak, and charges that can lead to a death sentence are a trivial problem....

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Many Chinese believe that their bodies are given to them by their parents, so they should look after them. Losing your organs is considered part of the punishment.

      • I have no moral dilemma with executing the worst criminal offenders. Charles Manson, Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, the world (is/would be) a better place without them in it. But I do not want to execute people who's only crime is exercising their God-given rights, like freedom, liberty, expressing an opinion. Being politically inconvenient to an oppressive communist regime is not a crime worthy of execution. Murdering 29 people and wearing their skin as clothing is.

        • Murdering 29 people and wearing their skin as clothing is.

          What about murdering one person and burning his crocs?

          • What about murdering one person and burning his crocs?

            He was wearing Crocs. It was a public service. The person who killed him, and burned the crocs should get a parade.

      • by DdJ (10790)

        The whole 'execution' phase seems like the place where the ethical problems would reside.

        It's very deeply related.

        This news means China is going to give up some of the economic incentive for executing them. Over time, this should cause a reduction in executions as a side-effect.

        (This should not be true of the justice system under discussion were completely free of corruption. So, you should absolutely take my assertions with a grain of salt at least proportional to the degree to which you consider China's

    • by Baby Duck (176251)
      The problem is corruption. If your tissues highly match a party leader or his child, he might bribe a judge to make sure you are found guilty or sentenced up to execution. Truth be damned.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A big part of finding justice in the courtroom is the removal of motivations for denying justice. We saw in the US that for-profit prisons caused some judges to trade guilty verdicts for kick-backs. And if the profit also includes the possibility of human organs the motivation would be greater still. The consequences for crime certainly should be a temporary burden on the criminal, but allowing anyone to profit from a conviction is very dangerous to justice.

      The real long-term solution for organ replaceme

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        The real long-term solution for organ replacement is direct fabrication of the desired organ. And we aren't all that far off from that.

        Ummm... define your expectation for "far"... my back-of-napkin optimistic calculations: 10 years to maturity+5-6 years FDA or other approvals + 20 years for the patents to expire and competition in the market to kick in.

    • by Shoten (260439) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:31AM (#44617389)

      If these prisoners were serial killers, rapists, murderers and other assorted bad guys, then I fully support using their organs to save lives. I find it poetic justice and a very fitting end for the life of a person who (possibly) killed so many others.

      If these prisoners are political prisoners sentenced to death because they were at Tiannamen Square or oppose communism, then I welcome the end of such barbaric policies.

      You, sir, just hit the head on the nail with why this kind of thing is a problem. As soon as you say "well, everyone has rights, except for *those people*, you end up creating a line. When you create that line, you also create the need for someone to determine who ends up on which side of that line. And as soon as you do that, you give someone the power to take rights away from someone else. That always ends poorly; this is why the Constitution of the United States refers to rights as being "inalienable," or, in other words, irrevocable by man. Technically, "inalienable" means "Not subject to sale or transfer; inseparable."

      Once people are given the ability to take basic rights away, invariably at some point, that power will be abused. It just works out that way, and has done so in history over and over and over again. The problem isn't about when it's some serial killer/rapist who is gladly donating a spare kidney because he's genuinely sorry for all the harm he's done and at least wants to do something decent; that's like having weather alerts for nice days. The problem is how the system can be abused. Even more to the point, the system WAS abused, widely and profoundly, in China, which is why this is a story to begin with, in exactly the way you describe on the last line of your post. That's exactly my point.

      • I mostly agree, except for one point. Once someone is convicted of a felony crime, they do loose certain rights. In the US, they loose the right to vote, own a firearm, most of their 4th and 5th amendment protections, etc. While I am not opposed to revoking the 2nd amendment rights of someone convicted of armed robbery, I am opposed to revoking someone's 2nd amendment rights because they are "politically inconvenient".

        Do you notice the parallels to this issue and the NSA snooping (not to go off topic).

        • by adonoman (624929)

          If a right can be forfeit, then it's no longer a right - it's a privilege. In a democracy, the ability to vote has to be one of THE fundamental rights that can never be taken away. Otherwise, you end up with the situation the US currently sees where large chunks of people are disenfranchised, and the government loses its claim to be representative of its citizens.

          Whether you firearm ownership is a fundamental right, a secondary right that must yield to other more fundamental rights in a conflict, or a pr

    • If the justice system were truly blind, then I too would be okay with the organs of executed prisoners being used. It's simply the practical thing to do, after all.

      The problem is that it's not, and what this does is incentivize the execution of criminals (or, as the case may be, "criminals"), even if execution isn't warranted (whether or not it is ever warranted is outside the scope of this comment), since their death provides benefits to others. Those are exactly the sorts of things that you don't want to

    • by Guppy (12314)

      If these prisoners were serial killers, rapists, murderers and other assorted bad guys, then I fully support using their organs to save lives. I find it poetic justice and a very fitting end for the life of a person who (possibly) killed so many others.

      If these prisoners are political prisoners sentenced to death because they were at Tiannamen Square or oppose communism, then I welcome the end of such barbaric policies.

      Here's the issue: it would be a remarkable coincidence to find a murderer that just happens to match the tissue type of the local party official's cousin, who is in desperate need of a new liver.

      But finding a random prisoner who happens to be a match, and then afterwards absolutely coincidentally discovering that he's connected to some unsolved murder that's been sitting around in the cold case file?

      Might turn out to be remarkably more likely.

  • Everyone a donor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:27AM (#44617319) Homepage

    I was surprised to learn that where I live, everyone is automatically considered an organ donor. The doctors can takes organs from my body when I die, even if my family object. If you object, you have to sign an opt-out.

    Great system actually. The only way to avoid the horror stories of people being kidnapped for organs or, worse, the poor selling their organs, is to ensure there are enough donated organs available. A lot of people don't care about losing their organs after death, but requiring people to opt-in means that most just don't bother.

    There were just two problems with China's policy. One is that the organs were given to the ruling class, rather than being distributed on a basis of need. The other is that it encourages judgements and policies which increase the number of people sentenced to death.

    • by Nukenbar (215420)

      Are any US states opt-out versus opt-in? Every state I have living in is opt-in. If we made most places opt-out, it seems like it would greatly increase the supply.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)
        My state is opt-in, but if you opt-in you got a discount on your license. So it is incentivized opt-in.
    • > The other is that it encourages judgements and policies which increase the number of people sentenced to death.

      Well... probably not. Even in China, the wheels of justice turn at a glacial pace relative to organ-transplant timelines. Organ transplantation has timeframes measured in weeks... at most, a few months... from establishment of need to actual organ harvest. If you needed a lung transplant & had to wait for someone with matching compatible genotype to get arrested, convicted, and executed, y

      • by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:51AM (#44618453)

        China's policy *starts* once a prisoner is already on death row... they're genotyped, then kept alive until recipients are found for their organs. The system mostly works well, because it eliminates the rush to perform a transplant on short notice and the dependency on local availability. They can schedule the execution, harvesting, and transplant well in advance, and have everyone in place & ready to go before the prisoner gets executed... The *real* ethical problem

        Holy shit, you think the fact that the victims may not actually deserve their fate is the only ethical problem? How about keeping people alive in detention indefinitely with the promise that eventually, one day, they'll be killed for their organs? That's fucking goulish, and far crueler than simply executing them immediately.

    • Good compatible organs are always going to be scarce, and doctors, who are used to death and playing God, will not hesitate to kill you to take your organs to "sell" them by performing a high-priced transplant procedure. But I guess there are lots of people like you who enjoy sacrificing themselves for "something bigger". I recommend you watch the 2008 documentary Martyrs to see what more you could be doing!
      • The only people I've met who are scared by corruption or psychopaths in the health care system are people in countries where it's privatised.

  • from the article::
    "Human rights groups estimate that China executes thousands of prisoners a year, but correspondents say that the official figures remain a state secret."

    non-Google translation:
    "Nobody knows -- not even the Chinese government -- how many prisoners are executed each year...
  • I wonder if recipients know where the organs are coming from. In my experience I'd expect them to be a bit wary about the source of those organs, what with the way they worry about bad luck, karma and all that.

  • are they actually planning to stop harvesting or are they just saying this to return to their previous state of denial? perhaps they devised a scheme to harvest organs covertly. if the bodies of the executed start(?) being cremated then it's plausible deniability.

  • Am I the only one who though of the Lexx [wikipedia.org] after reading this?

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:26AM (#44618117) Homepage

    All you need is better spin and propaganda.

    Are we supposed to believe they're just going to stop doing this completely?

    Or will they just come up with a new way to spin it -- "Comrade Yang, in contrition for his terrible crime of jaywalking has volunteered to be euthenized and have his organs harvested. He hopes the glorious People's Republic will accept his noble sacrifice as atonement for his transgressions." Forcing someone to sign the paperwork probably isn't that tough when you can get away with anything in secret and threaten people's families.

    And then they'll be right back where they are now, but with better PR.

    I'd like to think China is going to halt the practice. But in reality, it's probably quite lucrative, and power once held is seldom given up.

  • must be overjoyed. Way to go! Let's waste even the single good thing that can come from those scheduled for execution.
  • >> China executes thousands of prisoners a year
    >> Prisoners used to account for two-thirds of transplant organs

    Based on the math, organs are donated by volunteers five-hundreds of times per year. I think this low voluntary number speaks more to the social problems in China.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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