Huang Jiefu, the spokesperson on Chinese transplantation issues, dodges reporters at The Transplantation Society’s recent biennial conference in Hong Kong on Aug. 19. (Yu Kong/Epoch Times)Huang Jiefu, the spokesperson on Chinese transplantation issues, dodges reporters at The Transplantation Society’s recent biennial conference in Hong Kong on Aug. 19. (Yu Kong/Epoch Times)

China’s organ transplantation authorities may be taking a leaf from the public relations playbook of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump: If you make a stumble, just pretend like nothing happened.

This, at least, would be a potential explanation for the silent substitution of the 491st question in the 500 “Frequently Asked Questions” on the website of China’s Organ Transplantation Development Foundation, a state-linked agency promoting voluntary donation.

In early August, the question asked was: “Can prisoners in jail apply to donate their organs after death?”

The answer: “As long as they meet the basic requirements of organ donation, the organ function is normal, they are willing, and there is no compensation, prisoners can all the same donate organs.”

The existence of the question and answer was, in the first place, a bizarre and public contradiction of the officially stated policy of the Chinese authorities on organ transplant reform.

China’s organ transplantation spokesperson, Huang Jiefu, has since December 2014 been promising that no more organs would be sourced from death row prisoners.

It remained unclear just why a question on China’s own semi-official website, belonging to the foundation run by Huang, would flatly contest his own public promises.

But it seems the answer to that question will now remain a mystery. Sometime later in August, after Epoch Times brought the aberrant Q-and-A to the attention of several Chinese and Western doctors, it was replaced.

“Will information about donations be widely reported by the media?” the new one asked. (No, is the answer.)

A screengrab from an archived version of the website of the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation, with the replaced question — affirming the use of prisoner organs — highlighted. (Screenshot/Epoch Times)

Yet the question of whether or not death row prisoners are still being used as an organ source remains unanswered. China, after all, has passed no new law banning the use of organs from prisoners, and nor have they rescinded the 1984 regulations that first gave the legal opening for their use.

An email to the foundation requesting comment was not immediately returned.

The failure to make these promised changes has led the international transplantation community to sour on endorsing China’s system, and led to public rebukes from the former head of The Transplantation Society at a major conference in Hong Kong last month.

Meanwhile, attention continues to focus on whether the primary source of organs all along has not been death row prisoners, as China claims, but instead extrajudicially executed prisoners of conscience—primarily practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been targeted for elimination since 1999.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning this practice in June, documentaries on the subject are winning prestigious awards, and the issue has been prominently raised in a number of recent reports in The New York Times.

On that topic, Chinese authorities have provided even less explanation than the deleted question. “Ridiculous!” was all Huang Jiefu, a former vice health minister, could muster at the recent Hong Kong conference, declining to address hundreds of pages of detailed evidence that researchers say documents the practice.

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The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will host The Transplantation Society's 2016 conference, where the claimed reforms to China's organ transplantation system will be given top billing. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will host The Transplantation Society's 2016 conference, where the claimed reforms to China's organ transplantation system will be given top billing. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

In June, a report examining over 700 hundred hospitals in China was published alleging that the Communist Party has been conducting secret industrialized slaughter of prisoners of conscience for their organs. The researchers met with no substantive rebuttal, and key leaders in international transplantation have given a nod to some of its important conclusions.

The response from the global transplantation establishment has, however, been muted. Top transplantation officials did not express outrage, or make known their concern over claims of transplant medicine being used as a new form of mass murder.

Nor did they submit polite questions to the Chinese authorities, enquiring about the origin of the surfeit of human organs that have fueled the massive, sustained surge of transplants in China since 2000. The report, authored by Ethan Gutmann, David Kilgour, and David Matas, estimates that between 60,000 and 100,000 transplants per year were performed from 2000-2015, with the most likely source for the organs being prisoners of conscience.

Instead, when The Transplantation Society (TTS) holds its biennial conference in Hong Kong this August, China will be the star.

In sessions like “The New Era of Organ Transplantation in China” and “Transplantation Reform in China,” Chinese officials will have the opportunity to tell thousands of medical professionals at the industry’s foremost gathering that they have thoroughly reformed their system, basking in renewed global standing and legitimacy without having passed a single new law. And without a single doctor or official held account for what has been described a genocide.

Ethical Questions

But at the conference in August, two troubling issues stand out, say transplantation watchdogs. The first is that clinical research by Chinese doctors may have been based on organs obtained unethically. The second is that top TTS executives will be sharing a dais with the Chinese military doctors and transplant surgeons who are accused of engaging in the mass killing of innocents. 

In the most remarkable case, one well-known Chinese doctor leads a bizarre double life: he is a top liver surgeon, but he also serves as a leader of the Communist Party’s agitprop organ dedicated to inciting hatred against Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual practice that researchers say is heavily targeted for organ harvesting.

Problematic doctors will be at the TTS conference. (tts2016.org)

Problematic doctors will be at the TTS conference. (tts2016.org)

Allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong have dogged Chinese authorities for ten years, meeting with varying levels of shock, disbelief, and skepticism in the global public sphere. Now, one of the China’s prominent delegates at an international conference will represent the nexus of these two fields of activity.

On the same panel as Zheng sits Dr. Jeremy Chapman of Sydney, former head of TTS, current editor of the medical journal Transplantation, and long a personal friend to China’s top transplant official. Chapman also serves as the chair of the scientific program for the conference, granting him the task of ensuring that the abstracts from China did not use research based on organs from prisoners.

A review of over 50 presentations from China, conducted by Epoch Times, however, shows that at least a dozen pose questions about organ sourcing.

Unknown Organ Sources

Many of them do not provide any information about the source organ. For instance. “Influencing Factors of Fatigue in Liver Transplant Recipients,” presented by Liu Hongxia of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, provides no information about where the 285 livers came from, or when they were obtained, making it difficult to form a judgement about whether they were acquired ethically.

Wang Changxi has performed 700 kidney transplants in China, the majority during a period when the country had no voluntary donation system. (Hospital files)

Wang Changxi has performed 700 kidney transplants in China, the majority during a period when the country had no voluntary donation system. (Hospital files)

Other studies suffer a similar deficiency. “Pathological analysis of 544 cases of indicated renal allograft biopsies,” and another study on 658 kidney transplants, both presented by Wang Changxi, include kidney transplants performed beginning in 2010. As of 2009, China had only performed a total of 120 voluntary transplants, officials say. It is thus a distinct possibility that many of these transplants were involuntary.

Since 2005, Chinese officials have said that the vast majority of organ transplants come from executed prisoners; since 2013, a nationwide voluntary transplant system has existed, though reliable data about its operations is elusive.

Both of those presenters have a problematic history. Liu Hongxia, according to a journal paper she co-authored in 2003, participated in at least 60 kidney transplants from January 1999 until May 2002. It is almost certain that none of these were voluntary, and it is statistically likely that many of them may have come from prisoners of conscience, given that such prisoners are believed to have been the primary source of organs in China since 2000.

The same issues exist for Wang Changxi, who performed over 700 kidney transplants, according to his hospital profile, the vast majority at a time when China had no voluntary donation system. Other presenters or co-authors boast of similarly problematic histories.

There are several other cases of presentations where no year of organ transplant is provided; in some cases, the years in question overlap with a period when China claimed to have a voluntary donation system (post 2013)—though not all are of this sort.

Even after 2013, given the continued use of organs from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience, it is impossible for outsiders—including international transplant experts—to know for sure which research comes from organs obtained voluntarily, and which from executions.

‘Very Detailed Analysis’

When approached with questions about the abstract selection process, Jeremy Chapman wrote: “We undertook a very detailed analysis of all submitted papers using a group of highly experienced individuals with detailed knowledge of China transplant programs… Any papers that included any donor/transplants that were potentially from executed prisoners were rejected.”

Upon receiving a spreadsheet highlighting the dozen potentially problematic abstracts, along with questions about how the organ sourcing in them was verified, Chapman made clear that he and his colleagues had put trust in their Chinese counterparts to ensure compliance with ethical norms. Chinese presenters were required to assure the congress “on three occasions in writing” that organs were sourced ethically.

Chapman added: “All submissions in which executed prisoner organs were possibly used have been rejected, as have all submissions where there has been no response to any of our requests for declaration.” He did not respond to a query about how many abstracts were rejected.

The lack of verification has troubled some.

“I have reviewed many scientific abstracts for many meetings over 28 years,” wrote Dr. Maria Fiatarone Singh, a board member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, in an email. “The only thing reviewers get is a 250 word abstract and the names of the authors and institutions… nothing could have been verified beyond what is in those 250 words.”

Fiatarone Singh and her colleagues at DAFOH have lodged their discontent with the fact that the congress in Hong Kong, including presenters and other panelists, will be heavy with doctors who have long been involved in what they regard as crimes against humanity.

Doctors Accused of Being Killers

“Despite mounting international concerns, TTS has booked China’s leading transplant expert, Huang Jiefu, as a plenary speaker at the upcoming transplant congress,” DAFOH writes in a recent press release.

“Under his tenure as deputy minister of health, China’s transplant numbers grew exponentially, coinciding with the nationwide outbreak of persecution and detention of prisoners of conscience after 1999, and reports of forced blood testing and medical examinations of detained Falun Gong practitioners targeted for their beliefs,” the group says.

Huang Jiefu himself is implicated in China’s kill-on-demand organ transplant system. According to Chinese media reports he has performed hundreds of liver transplants over the years. In 2005, from a hospital in Xinjiang, he put out an urgent call and obtained two livers within 24 hours, flown to him overnight. Though this required the killing of two people, in the end the livers were not even used.

Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu after a conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2010. Huang has recently come under scrutiny for his involvement in and knowledge of illicit organ harvesting in China while vice-minister of health. (Bi-Long Song/The Epoch Times)

Huang Jiefu, China’s top transplant official, after a conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2010. Huang recently blamed China’s transplant abuses on the former security boss, Zhou Yongkang. (Song Xianglong/Epoch Times)

One of the most problematic doctors to co-author a paper at the congress is Shen Zhongyang. Shen is the industrious surgeon behind Tianjin First Central Hospital, a transplant facility that has been the subject of significant scrutiny for both its tremendous volume of transplants, and for its boldness in advertising its services to an international audience.

This hospital was the subject of an 8,000-word investigation by Epoch Times in February 2016, which found that its transplant volume could not possibly be accounted for by death row prisoners, and that another organ source must have been relied upon.

Shen is the co-author of a paper that will be presented in Hong Kong about techniques for measuring livers.

But another surgeon who will be at the conference gives even greater pause: Dr. Zheng Shusen.

Zheng Does Double Duty

Zheng has personally performed at least hundreds of liver transplants, and has overseen thousands. From his base at the the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, he co-authored a 2005 paper about the rapid acquisition of livers, called “emergency transplants,” for patients suffering acute liver failure.

In the absence of a voluntary, national matching system as exists in other countries, this can only mean that fresh donors were identified locally and killed within as short a period as 24 hours. Researchers have pointed to such rapid organ acquisitions as key evidence that a pool of live donors is kept on standby, waiting to be harvested.

Meanwhile, Zheng leads a dual life. When not doing emergency liver transplants, he leads anti-Falun Gong indoctrination seminars, as head of the Zhejiang Anti-Cult Association.

Zheng assumed his role as chairman of the Party-run NGO in 2007. Since then, he has addressed schools and government work units, edited book volumes, and presented awards, all aimed at vilifying Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that has been persecuted since 1999.

Researchers believe that soon after Falun Gong practitioners were defined as the Party’s number one political enemy, and thus placed outside the protection of the law, they were targeted for organ harvesting—a lucrative activity conducted with impunity by China’s medical-military complex.

Zheng Shusen, a prolific liver surgeon who doubles as an anti-Falun Gong agitprop commissar, will appear at the conference alongside top TTS executives. (WOIPFG)

Zheng Shusen (C), a prolific liver surgeon who doubles as an anti-Falun Gong agitprop commissar, will appear at the conference alongside top TTS executives. (WOIPFG)

Anti-Cult Associations around China have played an instrumental role in the anti-Falun Gong campaign. They perform two tasks, according to records of their activities online. The first is to incite hatred against the practice; the second is to develop the curricula and training sessions for frontline ideological re-education. This refers to the attempt to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs and pledge allegiance to the regime. Victims describe it as a harrowing experience that involves isolation, demands of submission to Party will, and physical torture.

According to records online, Zheng chaired an “anti-cult” cadre training program at the Zhejiang University of Water Resources and Electric Power in October 2010. He gave the opening address while seated alongside the head of the Zhejiang 610 Office, the extralegal security agency in charge of imprisoning and torturing Falun Gong.

Discovering this other side of Zheng Shusen’s identity requires Chinese-language research, and a sensitivity to the highly politicized institutional context in which transplantation exists in China. This is an awareness that TTS leaders lack, according to the organization’s critics.

All Prisoners Are Equal

But after TTS officers were apprised of the hidden identities of their Chinese counterparts, no changes to the congress were made.

Zheng Shusen will appear on a panel alongside Jeremy Chapman, current TTS president Philip O’Connell, and the organization’s incoming president, Nancy Ascher. Other panelists include Huang Jiefu, and the prolific military transplant surgeon Shi Bingyi. Zheng will give a speech titled “Liver Transplantation in China in the New Era.”

Falun Gong practitioners meditate on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2014, calling for an end to the persecution in China. (Edward Dye/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2014, calling for an end to the persecution in China. (Edward Dye/Epoch Times)

Ascher did not respond to a research note emailed to her apprising her of the identity of her co-panelist; Chapman similarly declined to comment. O’Connell, copied by his colleagues in responding emails, also refrained from commenting.

TTS’s ethics guidelines on dealing with Chinese doctors, formulated by the organization’s leadership, have for years aimed to balance two goals: on the one hand, the imperative to uphold their own ethical standards, and the other to “promote dialogue” and “educate” Chinese doctors about “alternatives to the use of organs and tissues from executed prisoners.”

Traditionally, Chinese doctors have been permitted to become TTS members and to give presentations at its congresses—as long as the research itself is clean.

These ethical deliberations, however, have only addressed doctors who have used organs from death row prisoners.

What if the doctor, like Zheng Shusen, is reasonably suspected of killing innocents for their organs?

According to TTS, it makes no difference — a doctor like Zheng is free to take part in the conference.

In China, it is legal, although ethically problematic, to take organs from consenting executed prisoners… it is not overtly legal to murder people for their organs.

— Wendy Rogers, Macquarie University

“We wish to highlight that the ethical principles which form the basis of TTS policy regarding the procurement of organs from executed prisoners should be understood as also applicable to the procurement of organs from any person who is not able to provide valid consent–voluntary, informed and specific–hence including prisoners of conscience,” wrote Dr. Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, the chair of the Ethics Committee.

This obliterates the moral gulf between the two, ethicists say.

“In China, it is legal, although ethically problematic, to take organs from consenting executed prisoners,” wrote Wendy Rogers, a bioethicist at the University of Macquarie in Sydney, in an email. “Even in China, it is not overtly legal to murder people for their organs.”

She added: “Doctors participating in the former might be accused of unethical practice, but doctors in the latter category are criminal murderers. We generally make an ethical distinction between murderers and others. Any ethical theory I can think of would make this distinction.”

Dr. Jacob Lavee, who is featured in Hard to Believe, a documentary to be shown at the Hoboken Film Festival on June 4, 2016. (courtesy hardtobelievemovie.com)

Dr. Jacob Lavee. (Hard to Believe)

Boycott

The ethical slope descended by TTS has left some prominent members at a loss. Dr. Jacob Lavee, president of the Israel Transplantation Society, the country’s most prominent heart transplant surgeon, and a member of TTS’s Ethics Committee, will not be flying to Hong Kong.

“I have tried and failed to persuade TTS leadership to refrain from moving the TTS 2016 Congress, originally planned to be conducted in Bangkok, to Hong Kong,” he wrote in an email.

Providing China a global platform, while ignoring reports of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience “is a moral stain on TTS ethical code,” he wrote.

Lavee continued: “The amazing finding of so many ethical doubtful presentations in the congress’ scientific program is just another aspect of the disintegration of the moral fiber of my society. I have therefore announced to my colleagues, I will boycott the Hong Kong meeting and called upon them to follow me.”

 

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Dr. Huang Jiefu, the head of the Chinese regime’s Organ Transplantation Committee, enjoyed a prestigious honorary professorship at the University of Sydney, his alma mater, for eight years until 2015—but the title was quietly not renewed after a campaign of public pressure from transplant ethicists and medical advocacy groups, according to recently revealed documents.
The information comes from a cache of documents, including emails, which the university was forced to make public after a ten-month battle with a member of the Greens party in New South Wales, Australia. The office of David Shoebridge first lodged an application for the documents in April 2015, and finally got them—after bitter contention by the university—in January 2016. Shoebridge fought the university’s first attempt to release documents that had been almost entirely blacked out.
The attempt to gain the files grew from frustration with what appeared to be university’s blithe attitude toward Huang’s personal involvement in unethical organ trafficking, which Shoebridge alleged was part of an attempt to protect its brand.
“The university has wilfully ignored Dr. Jiefu’s history and even his current views on using executed prisoners’ organs, until pressed by external campaigns,” he said in a press release.
“It is extraordinary that the medical school at Sydney University was so willing to award a doctor who has admitted to engaging in the horrific practice of transplanting the organs of executed prisoners.” It is extraordinary that the medical school at Sydney University was so willing to award a doctor who has admitted to engaging in the horrific practice of transplanting the organs of executed prisoners.— Professor Maria Singh

Huang Jiefu is a complex and controversial figure: he has played the role of both key player in, defender for, and then finally activist against, the use of organs from executed prisoners in China. His public position has changed over the years depending on the audience he is talking to, say critics.
“I believe that the University had a duty to investigate very seriously and expeditiously the allegations of unethical behaviour of this honorary professor, just as it has in many other cases in which legitimate, factual claims about misconduct have been raised,” said professor Maria Singh, faculty at University of Sydney and a board member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, a transplant ethics advocacy network.
“Given that in his own words he admitted openly to harvesting organs from prisoners up until 2 years prior to the time of the allegation, this alone should have served as proof of his violation of the university’s Code of Conduct, and provided reason for his dismissal,” she added.
Prof. Singh pointed out a recent comparison: In 2014 the University of Sydney professor of poetry Barry Spurr was famously suspended, before resigning, after racist personal emails he sent to a friend were published online.
But two professors that the University of Sydney consulted on whether Dr. Huang’s honorary professorship should be retained or not—Dr. Jeremy Chapman and Dr. Richard Allen—thought that Huang’s vows to end the use of prisoner organs in China should be taken as definitive.
The precise number of unethical transplants Dr. Huang performed is unclear—but in an interview with Chinese media in early 2013, he said he had personally performed hundreds of transplants in 2012, and that only one was from a citizen donor.
“Last year I performed over 500 liver transplants,” he said to Guangzhou Daily. “Last November [2012] the liver transplant I did in Guangzhou was the first liver transplant done according to the national regulations on voluntary citizen donation.”
While it is almost certain that Dr. Huang did not personally perform that many transplants in a single year, reports about the extent of his involvement in the unethical practice still far outstrip the response that Dr. Huang gave one of his defenders, Dr. Chapman, a clinical professor at Sydney University and a former president of The Transplantation Society.
“We have pressed Jiefu on what he did with respect to personal executed prisoner surgery—the answer was once or twice in the 1990s, but none since then and it drove his decision to work against their use,” Dr. Chapman writes.
A photograph of the redacted initial release of files by University of Sydney to NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge’s office. The university later was forced to release the full documents with few redactions. (Office of David Shoebridge)
It is unclear if Dr. Chapman had failed to note an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in May 2013 in which Dr. Huang indicates that up until two years prior he was still using prisoner organs. “Why you object?” Dr. Huang asks, defending the practice. Transplant ethics groups have also widely publicized Dr. Huang’s activities.
Dr. Chapman did not immediately respond to an email asking about his familiarity with the extent of Dr. Huang’s actual involvement in illicit organ harvesting.
Another report, published in the pro-Beijing Phoenix Weekly in September 2013, recounts how Dr. Huang performed a liver transplant when he was traveling with the security chief Luo Gan in Xinjiang. Dr. Huang is reported to have requested two spare livers for the operation, which came from Chongqing and Guangzhou the following evening. He performed the transplant and the spares were discarded, the report says.
Critics point to this incident and argue that three people must have been killed for that operation, given how quickly the livers were obtained.
Dr. Richard Allen, a professor of surgery at the University of Sydney’s medical school, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on his awareness of these reports before he offered the advice that the university ought to maintain its association with Dr. Huang. Why you object?— Huang Jiefu, defending the use of prisoner organs in 2013

Both Dr. Allen and Dr. Chapman did not respond to a question asking whether they intended to gain a response from Dr. Huang about these reports, which complicate the portrayal of him as a dedicated reformer with a clean record.
But Dr. Huang’s position is further compromised by what other researchers call his obfuscation of an even more extensive crime than extracting organs from executed prisoners: the mass

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Dr. Huang Jiefu, Beijing’s point man for selling its murderous organ transplantation system to the world, has been on a roll.
In October, Beijing Youth reported that the International Society for Organ Transplantation and Procurement announced it now welcomes Chinese transplant doctors to be members, present papers at its conferences, and publish in medical journals.
If true, this reversal of previous bans follows upon a year in which some Western medical organizations have made supportive noises for the “reforms” of China’s transplantation system that Huang Jiefu is said to be leading.
Seemingly blessing these developments, in August Huang received the Gusi Peace Prize for “human rights.” And in late November, he picked up more hardware, the Wu Jieping Medicine Research Prize.
Prisoners’ Organs
In the midst of this celebration of Dr. Huang, the New York Times ran an article that raised an inconvenient question. The great hopes for the transformation of China’s transplantation regime lay in the promise made by Huang Jiefu one year ago that China would establish a voluntary organ donation system that meets international standards.
No longer would it use organs from executed prisoners—a shorthand way of saying that no longer each year would thousands of death row prisoners and prisoners of conscience be executed by having their organs ripped out of their bodies.
In the first year under China’s new transplantation regime of not using organs from executed prisoners, China’s organ supply did not decrease. How is that possible?

The New York Times had noticed that in the first year under the new regime of not using organs from executed prisoners, China’s organ supply had not decreased. How could this be possible? The New York Times quoted an earlier statement by Huang that prisoners’ organs might still be used if they were “voluntary donations.”
On Nov. 18, the day after the New York Times published, Huang surfaced. He met with the reporter who had raised this uncomfortable scenario and did what he regularly does. He tried to throw sand in the eyes of those who might be paying attention.
Huang denied he ever meant that the executed prisoner’s organs are included in the voluntary donation system. His previous words were just idle musings. He said he had spoken “philosophically and theoretically.”
China’s former Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu (R) at a press conference on the China’s human organ transplant system at the Health Ministry office in Beijing on May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
But actually, not only had Huang said on more than one occasion that prisoners’ organs were included in the “voluntary” donations, but so, too, had other Chinese transplant doctors. Many Chinese official media mouthpieces have quoted Huang saying similar things many times over the past couple of years, with no protest being raised by Huang or anyone else.
That prisoner organs were part of the voluntary donation system must have been part of the approved talking points until the day the New York Times discovered that the math of “voluntary” donations did not add up.
According to the Beijing Youth reporter who went with the NYT reporter to meet Huang, that meeting was neither requested by Huang nor by the NYT. It was arranged by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC). That means that someone at a higher level in the Chinese regime was not happy about the report and ordered Huang to fix it.
Who Is Huang Jiefu Anyway?
Westerners have a long history of seeing in China the reflection of their own desires, a weakness Chinese have long grown expert at manipulating. On Dec. 4, 2014, when Dr. Huang Jiefu announced China would, beginning in 2015, only use voluntary organ donations, he became the vessel for the West’s longings that China would not use its medical system to commit crimes against humanity.
Those desires have persisted in the face of stubborn facts: Huang has never had the authority to enact any reform; no law or regulation in China recognizes the supposed ban on using the organs of executed prisoners; and the new voluntary donation system has no functioning structure or source of donors.
Western media typically refer to Huang as the former vice minister of Health. Forget about that title, as the “former” vice minister has no authority to announce any policy, regulation, or rule.
China’s former Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu (C) surrounded by journalists after attending the ASEAN + 3 Health Minister Special Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 26, 2003. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
On the official Chinese Leaders Database, Huang Jiefu has only one position, the Deputy Chief of the Central Health Care Committee, which takes care of the health of the core leaders of the Party and the state. Obviously, this title doesn’t give Huang authority over transplant reform and has never been used in his public role.
According to the Chinese regime’s propaganda, Huang is the chairman of the Human Organ Donation and Transplant Committee (HODTC). However, the Organ Donation and Transplant Committee is only seen in Chinese media reports. It doesn’t have its own website, and is not listed under any state agency, not even on the website of the NHFPC, which supposedly supervises the Committee.
MORE:Peace Award Given to Chinese Transplant Official, but Not All CelebrateOrgan Transplant Abuse in China: What Is to Be Done?
In November 2005, Huang announced that most transplanted organs were from executed prisoners. Since then, he has been perceived as the only one in charge of everything related to organ sourcing. However, not a single agency or official, whether from the Party or the state, has ever endorsed or openly supported Huang’s activities.
In fact, Huang’s claim in 2005 was twice denied by state agencies in 2006. First by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, who was his subordinate.
No Legal Basis
When Huang began saying that China would stop using organs from executed prisoners, he did so with no legal basis.
China has three regulations on organ transplantation.
The 1984 Interim Provisions by the Supreme Court, Supreme Procuratorate, and several ministries is the only directive that regulates how

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