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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Getting some heart

Sometimes it would be encouraging if people didn't just think of themselves:

" Up to seven Australians have received kidney transplants from death-row prisoners executed in China, according to a report.

"The recipients are among dozens of Australians who have travelled overseas and paid up to $50,000 for organ transplants."

Yet another form of economic imperialism in action.


Blogger Shabadoo said...

This is really creepy....but you seem to be more outraged by the behaviour of Australian kidney patients than by the itchy trigger fingers of the ChiComs, as if somehow this is the fault of capitalism rather than totalitarianism.

Monday, December 19, 2005 5:30:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

What?! Western imperialism in action? Why can’t you accept the West isn’t always the problem? China is a sovereign state, it makes its own laws!

People who are dying get very, very desperate. China is feeding on this desperation. Not the US, or Australia, Britain or Poland- China!

How the hell is this story about ‘western imperialism’?

Oh I know, the West is selling China materials to make its prisons? Therefore ‘we’ are contributing to the organ business overseas? Or how bout this one: the West supplies the means of executing death row inmates, therefore our imperialism is allowing dying people to buy organs? No no… no doubt its this one: its part of Western culture to take advantage of those who are not as well off as us?

You’ve proved just how desperate you are to blame everyone but those who deserve it.

Monday, December 19, 2005 5:49:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

There is no one sided blame here Anthony, but as always, there is no supply without demand.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:36:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Addamo-01 ,
are you suggesting the criminals ,if that is what they are , are executed to order and screened to check they have healthy organs to "donate" ?
Do the chinese have a right to decide their own legal system and the punishments that they decide to dish out ?
I don't agree that any state has a right to execute anyone but if these people are executed how do the receipients of the transplanted organs make the situation worse?
The unwilling "donor" is dead so should the kidney or liver failure sufferer also die all the time thinking that they have made a principled stand ?
AL - the recipients of most of these organs are other chinese.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 2:55:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


Fair question.

In a country with China's human rights record and undeniable corruption, is it inconceivable that the excecution of those facing death penalities may be hastened if the profits are attractive enough?

This practice may be taking place to some extent already in China, but how many Chinese are in a position to fork out $50,000 for an organ?

And while Shina is certnaly entiteld to it's own laws, what would you say if there wer a sudden escalation is death sentences being handed out to political prosoners?

How is this any different to child prostitution rings or paedophile rackets? ( Like I said, there is only a supply when there is a demand.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 3:07:00 am  
Blogger anthony said...

Yes there's only supply where there is demand- in this case failed organs. It will be a long time before that demand goes away. Those who buy organs are not breaking the law (you could argue they are in breach of this or that part of international law, but that itself would contradict with China's sovereignty).

Therefore, it's China's fault- and not 'economic imperialism' as Antony suggests.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 3:22:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

If we were talking about organs being distributed on the basis of merit alone, I would have no disagreement with you, but what's to stop some official being bribed to swing a lung or two in the way of a wealthy westerner? And what if that westerner kinda needs the organ right away?

Ultimately, it is in the hands of the Chinese authorities, but everyone has their price.

We have a similar situation right now with terrorist detainees in Afghanistan and Guantanamo for example. The US is offfering considerable bounties ($25,000 and upwarsd) for the heads of "Al Qaeda" members. That kind of money is a fortune to those people, so we have a situation akin to the witch hunts were people are being grabbed off the street and handed to the US authorities, who are more than happy to accept the merchandise sight unseen.

Is that the fault of the Afghanistan government alone?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:10:00 am  
Blogger David Tan said...

Addamo is a long term Troll. He is best ignored.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:33:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

The vast majority of these transplanted organs go to overseas chinese , as the chinese from around south east asia are known.
I wouldn't be surprised if the organs were actually auctioned off so to speak. You mention the concept of "organs going to those who need them most "- thats a good one Addamo-01 ! Modern china doesn't follow this idea and in fact the collapse of health care is a major problem.Doctors need to be paid up front for operations , often the doctors won't operate in the state system and hospitals move patients out when their money runs out.
I don't read of many political prisoners being executed - most who are executed are violent , (and often horribly so)criminals and the judiciary seems to have a special hatred for drug dealers.
It is more usual for political prisoners to rot away from malnutrition and hepatitis or TB .As such they aren't such good "donors" .
I can't agree there is any imperialism about this issue. Desperate people with lifeshortening disease are placed in positions where their moral concerns are treated in an off hand manner by the healthy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:47:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Fair enough Boredlink,

I'm probably being a tad idealistic.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:43:00 pm  

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