The American Journal of Transplantation (AJT) published on April 5 a research report which examined more than 120,000 Chinese-language papers on organ transplants. Researchers then found 71 papers where medical staff had carved out hearts and lungs from people for transplant without first performing a test to declare brain death.

These highly problematic details reveal that surgeons executed patients for their organs to facilitate China’s lucrative organ transplant industry.


The report’s authors are Matthew Robertson, a China studies fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and Ph.D. candidate in political science at the Australian National University, and Jacob Lavee, the surgical director of the Heart Transplantation Unit at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

They define Brain Death Declaration (BDD) as “problematic” based on three criteria. First, if the Chinese medical records state that the donor was intubated after brain death declaration and/or the donor was intubated shortly before organ procurement, as part of the procurement operation. The other is that the donor was ventilated only by face mask.

348 medical professionals, including surgeons, nurses, researchers, and anesthesiologists from 56 Chinese hospitals, 33 cities, and 15 provinces, were listed as authors of 71 publications.

In the Chinese publications marked by the study, physicians declared the inmates they performed to be brain dead, but other information disclosed in the paper suggests otherwise.

Confirming brain death is a lengthy procedure that usually takes several hours, with a key step being turning off the ventilator to assess whether the patient can breathe on his or her own.

However, the paper details that Chinese doctors continue to intubate donors after they have been declared brain dead or before they are about to be operated on. In some cases, donors were ventilated through face masks, indicating that no brain death assessment was performed.

Lavee told The Epoch Times, “They have procured organs from people who are not proclaimed dead, meaning they became the executioners.”

Evidence shows that doctors in Chinese state-run civil and military hospitals have executed prisoners by removing their organs, violating universally accepted ethical standards – The Dead Donor Rule (DDR).

The DDR specifies that the donor is both dead or formally pronounced so before the surgeries take place. By the same token, the procurement of organs must not cause the donor’s death.

However, the research shows that the declaration of brain death could not have been medically sound. In these researched cases, death must have been caused by the surgeons harvesting the organ. The 71 papers almost certainly involved breaches of the DDR.

Robertson told 9news that both researchers were shocked when finding evidence that surgeons had become executioners, not that organs were being harvested.

He said, “We were surprised that the admissions were so blatant and clear, and that we actually found what we were looking for.”


According to Lavee, the findings appear to be accidental admissions on the part of the Chinese physicians.

He said, “Somehow both the authors and their editors in the respective medical journals have forgotten to take out these incriminating details, which we have found.”

Lavee added that if these publications were submitted to Western medical journals, they “would have been rejected outright because of these sentences” since “no editor of any decent journal would have published a paper that incriminates the authors in such deeds.”

Lavee said, “It was mind-boggling.”

He presented, “When I first started reading, my initial reaction is, ‘This can’t be.’ I read it once, and again, and I insisted that Matt get another independent translation of the Chinese just to be sure. I told him, ‘There’s no way a physician, a surgeon could write this — it doesn’t make sense.’ But the more of these papers we read, we saw it was a pattern — and they didn’t come out of a single medical center, they are spread all over China.”

When asked why these medical staff wrote such self-incriminating evidence, the researcher said it was unclear.

However, Robertson suggests, “They don’t think anyone’s reading this stuff.”

He added, “Sometimes it’s revealed in just five or six characters in a paper of eight pages.”

Lavee wonders if it’s also ignorance.

He said, “If this has been a practice for 20 or 30 years in China, I guess nobody at that time was aware they were doing something wrong, although how to declare brain death is something that is known in China. They’ve published a lot about it.”

According to the study’s co-authors, such admissions ceased appearing in Chinese papers dated after 2015, but the abuse very likely hasn’t stopped.


The study’s data involves transplant surgeries between 1980 and 2015. There was no voluntary donation system and very few voluntary donors during this period.

However, China has established one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated systems of organ transplantation, with waiting times far shorter than in most other countries.

Particularly, while waiting periods for organ transplants in the United Kingdom and the United States are measured in months and years, they are recorded in weeks in China. Chinese hospitals continue to advertise organs to transplant tourists with websites in English, Russian and Arabic.

In the study, co-authors presented that the number of voluntary (or non-prisoner) organ donors in China cumulatively as of 2009 was from 120 to 130, accounting for only 0.3% of the 120,000 organs officially reported to be transplanted during the same period.

The researchers offer evidence that the execution process “appears to have transitioned from a firing squad in a field to the operating room itself.”

Arthur Caplan, Mitty Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, stated that it has been obvious for some time that China is engaging in human rights violations in the field of transplantation. He said, “The volume of transplants done there is not consistent with voluntary donation rates from cadaver sources.”

International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China reported in 2016 that the government was performing roughly 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year. This figure far surpassed the officially reported figure of 10,000 to 20,000 each year.

The surgeries are highly profitable for doctors and hospitals.

The Epoch Times showed the price tags of human organs in Henan Province as an example. Livers, priced at 260,000 yuan (40,700 dollars), kidneys at 160,000 yuan (25,000 dollars), hearts at 100,000 yuan (15,600 dollars), lungs at 80,000 yuan (12,500 dollars), corneas at 10,000 yuan (1,600 dollars), pancreas at 50,000 yuan (7,800 dollars), small intestines at 50,000 yuan (7,847 dollars) and others.

According to 9news, an international tribunal declared Chinese inmates were being executed and their organs sold in a lucrative more than 1 billion dollar transplant trade in 2019.

The research authors allege that the procedure, which China denies, has been going on for three decades and that other organs, including livers and kidneys, have been taken.

Lavee said, “It’s a very profitable industry.” He added that if hospitals can make profit out of it, they can simultaneously take care of the wishes of the Communist Party. That is a win-win situation.

Robertson reckoned, “We found that the physicians became the executioners on behalf of the state.”

Chinese officials now say they will be performing 50,000 transplants by 2023, all allegedly from voluntary donors. However, the researchers noted that Beijing’s statements about its organ transplantation sector are frequently conflicting, and the government has released confusing and falsified information to the international community.

Robertson and Lavee also discovered in another report in 2020 that official Chinese donation datasets match nearly exactly to mathematical data, indicating that the Chinese regime likely systemically falsified its organ donation data.

While many people keep arguing about the clear evidence of killing people for organ harvesting, Caplan said, “The evidence is plain.”

He presented that the thorough review by Robertson and Lavee supplies “incontrovertible proof” that medical professionals have been involved in vital organ procurement from individuals who did not meet the criteria for declaring them dead.

He continued that as this study shows organ removal has been the cause of death for somewhere transplants took place. “This abhorrent conduct is a grievous violation of medical ethics, human rights, and basic human dignity.”

The co-author Jacob Lavee stated, “As a physician, a transplant surgeon, and the son of a Holocaust survivor, I find it impossible to understand how fellow physicians could take part in such atrocities.”

He added, “I hope that our findings will resonate around the world and help bring these practices to a complete halt.”

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