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Scholar lambasts Chinese province for organ transplant menu

In extraordinary step, Henan Province makes full list of organ prices public

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The list of costs for various donated organs announced by China's Henan Province (Henan Province official online image)

The list of costs for various donated organs announced by China's Henan Province (Henan Province official online image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A scholar has denounced the listing of prices for various donated human organs by the Chinese province of Henan, drawing attention to the fact that no such thing would ever happen in a normal democratic country, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Six Henan Province agencies, including the Health Commission, recently issued a joint statement on “the standards of charges for donated organs” in the province, the report said. The statement claimed the organ donations are voluntary and gratuitous.

The agencies insisted the listed costs for receiving donated organs are not prices but rather a reflection of the expenses incurred by medical providers. These expenses include the organ assessment, the maintenance of function, the obtainment and inspection, and the preservation and transportation.

According to the price list, an adult liver and a child liver cost RMB¥260,000 (US$40,632) and RMB¥100,000, respectively, while the costs for an adult kidney and a pair of adult kidneys are RMB¥160,000 and RMB¥230,000.

The announcement further said the purpose of making the price information public is to further regulate the business and protect the rights of organ donors and recipients, according to RFA.

In an interview with RFA on Tuesday, Beijing-based independent commentator Cai Shenkun (蔡慎坤) said that China has a huge organ transplant market as many foreigners go there for discount prices and greater availability.

However, the prices do not include the cost of the transplant surgeries, the report said. Cai, who is familiar with China’s medical industry, said that with the announcement of the price list, the authorities have provided a cost reference for illegal organ transplants.

Yang Haiying (楊海英), a professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shizuoka University in Japan, said the issues raised by the Henan agencies’ organ prices list announcement are very serious. After the revelation of the costs, child abductions, homicides, and in particular murder of the underprivileged to obtain organs could increase, according to RFA.

China has in the past been accused of harvesting organs from live prisoners, including from members of the Falun Gong religious community as well as ethnic Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province.