Transplant surgeons in China are awash in human organs. Some complain of working 24-hour shifts, performing back-to-back transplant surgeries. Others ensure they’ve got spare organs available, freshly harvested—just in case. Some hospitals can source organs within just hours, while others report transplanting two, three, or four backup organs, when the first fails.
All this has been taking place in China for over a decade, with no voluntary organ donation system and only thousands of executed prisoners—what China says is its official organ source. In phone calls, Chinese doctors said the real source of organs is a state secret. Meanwhile, practitioners of Falun Gong have disappeared in large numbers, and many have reported being blood tested while in custody.
An unprecedented report by a small team of relentless investigators was published on June 22, documenting in sometimes astonishing detail the ecosystem of hundreds of Chinese hospitals and transplant facilities that have been operating quietly in China since around 2000.