Morning Pre-Coffee Videocast: The International Financial Mystery
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Tom Friedman Edition)

Involuntary Organ Donors

Jockey of Norfolk, be not bold, for Dickon thy master is bought and sold:

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China 'selling prisoners' organs': By Jill McGivering BBC News: Top British transplant surgeons have accused China of harvesting the organs of thousands of executed prisoners every year to sell for transplants. In a statement, the British Transplantation Society condemned the practice as unacceptable and a breach of human rights. The move comes less than a week after Chinese officials publicly denied the practice took place.

In March, China said it would ban the sale of human organs from July...

Professor Stephen Wigmore, who chairs the society's ethics committee, told the BBC that the speed of matching donors and patients, sometimes as little as a week, implied prisoners were being selected before execution.... "The weight of evidence has accumulated to a point over the last few months where it's really incontrovertible in our opinion. We feel that it's the right time to take a stance against this practice."

The emergence of transplant tourism has made the sale of health organs even more lucrative. Patients increasingly come from Western countries, including the UK, as well as Japan and South Korea. Professor Wigmore... and his colleagues, he said, had all seen cases of British patients who had considered going to China for transplants. He really hoped, he added, that people would think very hard about whether they should.

Secrecy surrounding executions in China has always made it difficult to gather facts.

The Chinese authorities recently announced steps to tighten regulations. From July, selling organs will be illegal and all donors must give written permission.

But the practice is lucrative and critics say much will depend on how well those rules are implemented.

Gives new meaning to the phrase, "worth more dead than alive."