Beauty Queen Raises Awareness on Illegal Organ Trafficking in China

Last week, former Miss World Canada and actress Anastasia Lin arrived in Auckland, New Zealand to advocate for human rights issues in China. (Source: TVNZ)
Last week, former Miss World Canada and actress Anastasia Lin arrived in Auckland, New Zealand to advocate for human rights issues in China. (Source: TVNZ)

Last week, former Miss World Canada and actress Anastasia Lin arrived in Auckland, New Zealand to advocate for human rights issues in China.

Hosted by the Human Rights Documentary Screenings NZ, Lin was a special guest to the premiere of the film The Bleeding Edge at the Rialto Cinemas.

The film examines the underground practice of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. Evidence have suggested that Falun Gong practitioners and to a lesser extent Tibetans, Uyghurs, and House Christians are being intentionally murdered for their organs.

What these groups have in common is independent thinking, a trait regarded as a threat to China’s Communist regime which seeks control over the population as an authoritarian state.

In 2006, the issue was first brought into light by international human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian cabinet minister, Member of Parliament, prosecutor, lawyer, author, columnist and human rights advocate David Kilgour.

In the report, Kilgour and Matas investigated the discrepancies between the number of organ donors and number of organ transplants released by Chinese state officials.

In the report, Kilgour and Matas analysed bed counts, bed utilization rates, surgical personnel, training programs, hospital revenue, state funding and multiple other factors with the conclusion that the Chinese regime is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants each year as opposed to the 10,000 per year as released by Chinese officials.

Huang Jiefu, the then vice minister of Health, also disclosed in 2008 that “more than 90% of transplanted organs are obtained from executed prisoners.”

“Many governments have passed legislations to prevent their own citizens from going to China to get organ transplants, like Taiwan, Israel, and Spain,” said Lin. “The United States has also passed a resolution that condemned forced organ harvesting in China.”

Following an organ transplant, one of the most costly components is anti-rejection medication. To stop patients from sourcing organs from unknown sources abroad, some countries have stopped subsidizing the after-care of organ transplants after citizens have returned from an organ transplant in China.

Other countries such as Taiwan and Spain have established laws to prevent their citizens from procuring illegal organs from overseas.

Organ Transplants in New Zealand

In July, Phillipa Malpas published an article in the New Zealand Medical Journal voicing ethical concerns regarding the organ transplant industry in China.

According to Malpas, there are currently 500 patients waiting for an organ transplant in New Zealand, with kidneys in high demand. With a prolonged wait period and the possibility of dying on the wait list, patients may choose to obtain organs overseas, particularly in China where patients can be matched with their organs in a mere few weeks.

In New Zealand, the living donor must consent to an organ donation. In the case of deceased donors, consent must be granted from family members of the deceased, with the consultation from a health professional.

Despite assurances from Chinese official channels that organs in China are now sourced from voluntary donors, there is no transparency to support such claims.

As the Chinese believe in keeping the body intact after death, it will take time for voluntary organ donations to rise. Researchers have thus concluded that, to this day, organs still primarily come from executed prisoners.

These may be prisoners of conscience who were sentenced to death from holding differing viewpoints from that of the CCP. Hence the World Medical Association has stated that “executed prisoners must not be considered as organ and/
or tissue donors” because “it is impossible to put in place adequate safeguards to protect
against coercion in all cases”.

This means that any patients who travel to China for an organ transplant may inevitably contribute to China’s organ trafficking industry.

Malpas examines such ethical implications for both patients and clinicians in the report New Zealand transplant patients and organ transplantation in China: some ethical considerations. 

To terminate any involvement New Zealanders may have in illegal organ transplants, Malpas has recommended clinicians to inform any patients travelling overseas for an organ transplant on the ethical concerns of China’s organ harvesting practices.

In addition, transplant surgeons who intend to continue practicing in China should not be permitted to attend further transplant training in New Zealand.

To help patients who are waiting on organ transplants, a more effective organ donation system should also be established locally along with education to reduce the wait time for patients who are dying or undergoing severe organ failure.

Voices for the Chinese people

So what can we do for the Chinese people?

Former Miss World Canada, actress and human rights advocate Anastasia Lin at the forum in Auckland for the premiere of the film The Bleeding Edge. (Photo: supplied)
Former Miss World Canada, actress and human rights advocate Anastasia Lin at the forum in Auckland for the premiere of the film The Bleeding Edge. (Photo: supplied)

At the public forum held after The Bleeding Edge, human rights advocate Anastasia Lin sympathised “with the difficulties of overseas Chinese diaspora to speak up for the Chinese human rights issue because we all have families in China and we all have a business interest and connections to China.”

“By guilt of association the Chinese government would punish anybody whose inside China who has got relatives that speaks up. And my case is a very good example. My grandparents and my father are both being denied to leave China right now and they are being threatened, police visit them routinely.”

“But what I have learned from this journey is that I did my best and it’s proven effective to protect my family by speaking up more,” said Lin. “The media attention itself provides an extra layer of protection ultimately towards my family.”

“This is the only way to deal with a communist, authoritarian regime. It’s that when you expose the crime they know that you won’t compromise on, they won’t push it anymore.”

“The situation will become a lot more difficult if you show a sign of weakness; that you’re willing to compromise your value and stifle your own voices so they will push it all the way.”

“Of course I’m not saying that we should all risk our families back in China. But there’s so much more we can do. First, we’re in a liberal, democratic society. We can talk to the government and we can show them what we really believe.”

“A lot of times I realised that in Canada or Australia or New Zealand where there’s a larger population of Chinese people the government are often reluctant to talk about Chinese human rights issues because they are being branded as racist and they don’t want to upset the Chinese overseas community.”

“But if we really think about it, it is the Chinese government that’s persecuting the Chinese and it’s a government that’s saying that the Chinese people are not responsible enough to deserve civil responsibility. So to stand with the Chinese people is to really help them.”

Lin added, “Overseas Chinese care about their lives here. They left China for a reason. They don’t want the same situation to China to happen here.”


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