Twelve people accused of illegally trading human kidneys anticipate the results of their trial that closed earlier this week at a district court in Wuhan, Hubei Province. If found guilty, they could be fined and sentenced for up to five years imprisonment.
The group are suspected of organising six illegal kidney transplants between 2012 and 2013, each costing their receiving patients 170,000 to 360,000 yuan.
These operations were performed by an unnamed doctor from a hospital in Shaanxi Province, aided by two nurses and an anaesthetist. Procedures took place in a secret apartment in Wuhanʼs Jiangxia district.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the organisers earned 400,000 yuan from the scheme whilst the surgeon pocketed 80,000 yuan per operation.
China has one of the largest organ transplant schemes in the world. Despite this, demand enormously outstrips supply with roughly 10,000 receiving transplants each year of a 1.5 million person waiting list.
Only 169 hospitals in China are qualified for organ transplantation. Strict regulations surround the process, in which organs from living donors can only be harvested from the blood relatives of a patient.
Controversially, some organs have previously been harvested from executed prisoners. As of 2012, the Chinese government has faded out this practice due to ethical and logistical concerns.
This particular case highlights the implications of the all too prevalent Chinese illegal organ black market. Banners offering to pay prospective donors are openly displayed in public, capturing the attention of those desperately in debt. The trade emphasises the growing gap between the rich and poor-it would appear that to many, money is the true lifeblood of todayʼs China.
By Justina Crabtree
[Image via ctdsb.com]